Z Grill vs. Pit Boss – Comparison review
Wood pellet grills are the fastest growing segment of all grills on the market. They combined the simplicity of a gas grill and the flavor of a charcoal one. Wood pellets are ideal fuel for tasty grilled food; they generate 8200 BTU per pound, are carbon neutral, and are produced from pure raw materials.
Wood pellets have various blends recommended for different flavors of pork, fish, beef, and chicken: hickory, mesquite, apple, cherry, whiskey, etc. The only minus is that you need a storage place for different wood pellet blends, but it is worth it.
This article will review two top brands in the budget category: Z Grill vs. Pit Boss. Two grills from each brand will be compared to find a better solution for family gatherings.
Z Grill vs. Pit Boss – Comparison Table
Main Differences between Z Grill and Pit Boss
The presented grills have the same fuel type – wood pellets; also, they need electricity or automatic ignition. So, in general, these grills have a lot of similarities; on the other hand, some features make them different.
- Boss grill has the longest warranty for grills in the industry – 5 years, while Z grill has only 3 years. All Pit Boss grills are the winners.
- The Boss grills have a thermometer on the lid and a bottle opener on a frame (only 440D2). Boss grills, again, are the winners.
- Z grills and Boss grills have an excellent choice of hoppers, 15/20 lbs and 5 /21 lbs. No winner.
- Pit Boss 440D2 grill has a control board with a place for 2 probes for internal food thermometers (meat or grill probes). Also, this board has more control functions, such as the Z grill temperature knob. This Pit Boss grill is the winner.
- Pit Boss grills have several positions of boiler plates to make a direct or indirect fire in the barrel. All Pit Boss grills are the winners.
- Z grills have a smoke stack for hot air and smoke; Pit Boss has exhaust ventilation holes on the back side of the barrel. This construction detail does not impact efficiency, so there is no winner here.
In the detailed review of grills, and their cooking and cleaning procedures, you will see other differences between these grills.
Face-to-face comparison of Z Grill and Pit Boss
Pit Boss vs. Z Grill Brands overview
Pit Boss Grills is a subsidiary company of Dansons Inc. They produce not only different types of grills but also have complete set barbeque services. The high-quality and authentic Boss Grills are sold in more than 30 countries worldwide.
Pit Boss became one of the top-selling brands in the USA in 2020. Designed by a talented team with a complete set of cooking accessories, Pit Boss grills are one of the most popular on the market.
Both companies are trustable and produce various types of grills – gas, charcoal, electrical. No winner is here.
Z grills detailed reviews
Z grill ZPG-450 A is a nice example of an outdoor pellet grill. The bronze and black body is made from heavy-duty steel and has high-temperature powder coating. On the left side, there is a hopper for 100% hardwood pellets with a 15 lb capacity that ensures a nice flavor for your meal. In addition, the large size of the hopper offers longer cooking time without refill.
Below the hopper, a digital PID controller with a temperature range from 180 to 450oF (450oF is a “high” setting) and a power button are located. Inside a stainless steel cook box (chamber), there is a fire pot; from the pellets, based on the set temperature, the hot air goes through the rod into the pot and reflects from the heat reflector for even convection heat distribution. An auger located in the rod moves pellets to the firepot exit (pellet feed system), where automatic pellet ignition is designed.
On top of the fire pot is a drip pan where the grease is collected and goes to the special grease bucket. A drip pan removes all food residues and grease to prevent flare-ups and fire. There are two cooking grates for cooking: a warming smaller top rack (128 in2) and the main bottom rack (331 in2). The distance between two racks is 4 inches, and the total height of a cook box is 7 inches.
The grill is perfect for small families and gatherings; you can prepare 18 burgers, 4 ribs, or 3 whole chickens.
The temperature range allows you to grill, sear, bake, smoke, barbecue, braise, char-grill, and roast with ZPG-450A – 8 different cooking styles. The temperature controller is fully responsible for the cooking; you do not need to adjust or change parameters during cooking; it keeps inside +/- 10 degrees from the set value. 15lbs of pellets is enough to cook for 15 hours. With lower temperatures (up to 250oF), you will have more wood smoke flavor than with higher.
The grill has a body frame with four legs and two wheels for easy grill transportation. Also, the grill has a front shelf to keep its accessories and food. The assembling process based on detailed instruction takes not more than one hour, and all required tools are included in the package.
Z grill 7002E (another name is 7002B2E) is another example of a wood pellet grill; it looks similar to ZPG-450A. It has the same construction: a black steel cook box (chamber) with a silver stainless steel lid, a separate hopper on the left, a smokestack on the right, and a steel frame with wheels.
The differences are the volume of the hopper (20 lbs for 20 hours uninterrupted cooking), much bigger porcelain grates – 697 in2 (also two pieces), and no front and side shelves, only the bottom one for storage.
The location of the heat pot with the heat baffle is the same. It is equipped with an automatic auger system with a VSD fan for automatic ignition at any feed rate. The heat distribution is maximum because of venture-style design, which ensures complete combustion of wood pellets and their maximum usage.
The top rack (cooking grate) is 193 in2; the main one is 504 in2. The distance between two grates is 4 inches; the total cook box height is 9 inches. The enlarged cooking area 697 in2 allows to prepare of a great range of food for a big family – 29 burgers, 6 ribs, or 5 whole chickens.
The same PID controller allows you to keep eight different styles of cooking: grill, BBQ, bake, braise, char-grill, roast, smoke, and sear. You need only to set the temperature and wait the required time. Temperature fluctuations are not more than 10oF. Smoke is circulating in the closed lid to create a wood flavor for the meal. It is recommended not to open the lid frequently, it will increase the cooking time, and you lose some smoking flavor. Also, the grill should not be moved during operation.
The grill should be appropriately stored with a cover from wind, rain, and heat. In the cold time, it should be stored inside. If the water comes to a hopper or fire pot, let the grill dry, it is forbidden to use the grill with the water. The grill should be connected to the power to make it work – the controller with ignition works from electricity. 7002E as ZPG-450A has a detailed assembly instruction included in the package.
The 7002E grill is part of the 700 series that looks very similar to each other – they have the exact dimensions, cooking area, hopper, and a number of grates. The main difference between the 700D from 7002E models is a storage cabinet instead of a bottom storage shelf. Meanwhile, Z Grill 700D vs. 700E differs in the color and material of the lid – 700E (the same as 7002E) has stainless steel lids of a hopper and a chamber, while 700D has coated bronze lids.
- PID temperature control by keeping temperature +/- 10oF from the set value
- Large hopper (15 or 20 lbs)
- Electrical auto ignition
- Even heat distribution
- Two porcelain-coated steel cooking grates with a total large cooking area (from 459 in2 to 697 in2)
- Two wheels on the frame for easier transportation
- 8 styles of cooking with a wide temperature range up to 450oF
- Easy cleaning with grease pan and bucket
- Easy cooking without constant monitoring of the process
- Rain cover included in the package
- 7002E does not have a front or side shelf
- Electricity is required for the temperature controller and auto ignition
- Warranty only 3 years
Pit Boss Grills detailed reviews
440D2 proposes for its user’s incomparable grilling experience results in restaurant quality meals. It allows you to cook quickly or slowly in eight different cooking styles – searing, smoking, grilling, char-grilling, barbecuing, baking, roasting, or braising. The body is made from heavy gauge stainless steel with a high-temperature mahogany finish on the barrel’s lid.
The grill has a steel frame with two steel wheels, a stainless-steel side shelf for serving and cooking, a solid bottom storage shelf, and an excellent addition to a stainless steel bottle opener for gatherings. As Z Grills, this Pit Boss 440D2 has porcelain-coated steel cooking grates creating a 518 in2 cooking area:
- the top cooking rack (145 in2)
- main cooking grid (373 in2) from two parts.
The size allows you to prepare up to 20 burgers.
Grill’s management system consists of a flame broiler main plate placed with the angle directing the grease to a grease bucket hanging on the spout hock outside the main barrel. The fire pot looks the same as for Z Grill models; it is connected with a 5 lb hopper, and in the barrel, it is covered with a flame broiler slider and the main plate. A flame boiler side plate is used to make a direct or indirect flame.
The fire pot has a 200 Watt Auto igniter for automatic ignition. The hot air flow is distributed evenly inside the barrel for convection cooking; the exhausted air goes through vent holes on the barrel’s back.
The temperature is controlled with a dial-in digital controller located on the control board from 180o to 500oF. The control board has an LCD screen with information about desired cooking temperature, actual cooking temperature, probe 1 and 2 temperatures (an additional thermometer should be connected to the board via plug-in connection ports on the board), and chosen style of cooking (“P” set button). On the board the “prime” button is located for extra pellet feed in the burn pot from a hopper to decrease cooking time (recommended for professional cooks). The smoke mode on the temperature knob proposes the lowest operating temperature with maximum smoking flavor creation.
You need only to set the temperature and wait the required time. The lid is also equipped with a thermometer for dual control of the temperature inside the barrel.
The instruction is included in the package to assemble the grill; it is recommended for a faster and easier process for two persons to assemble. Before preparing the food, you need to complete grill burn-off at any temperature in the range of 176-350oF for 30-40 minutes to get rid of chemical residues on the internal surfaces.
700 FB is an outdoor perfect grill and smoker for restaurant-quality food preparation. It looks almost the same as 440D2, but the body color is black. The differences are the overall dimensions and the hopper’s size.
The fire pot is made the same way; a flame broiler with a side plate controls direct or indirect flame during food preparation. The cooking barrel is significantly bigger, so the cooking area from the porcelain-coated steel is 700 in2. You can prepare about 32 burgers on it for a small and big family. The main rack is 507 in2, the height for the food is 4 inches (also has two parts), and the top rack is 193 in2 with a height of 5 inches.
For such big cooking grates, a hopper is larger, too – its capacity is 21 lbs. The temperature control is performed with a knob – the temperature range is 180-500 °F with a smoke mode. All 8 styles of cooking could be used on this grill too.
There is also an LED screen with temperature indication on the control panel on a hopper. There is a thermometer on the lid, the same as in the 440D2 model.
Unfortunately, there are no bottle openers on the frame and a side shelf on this model, only a bottom wire shelf for storage and two big steel wheels for moving. The grease management system is the same as the 440D2 model – collection grease bucket. During extended storage, ensure the grill is covered, and there is no water in the hopper. For that, there is a polyester cover included.
- Digital temperature controller
- No smoke stack
- Grease bucket easy to clean
- Electrical auto ignition
- Slider flame broiler plate to control the direct or indirect flame
- Different sizes of hoppers (5 lbs and 21 lbs)
- Convection air flow distribution
- Two porcelain-coated steel cooking grates (from 456 in2 to 700 in2)
- The thermometer on the lid
- A bottle opener on the frame of the 440D2 model
- Two steel wheels for transportation
- Bottom shelf for storage and a side shelf of 440D2
- 8 styles of cooking in temperature range 180-500 °F
- 5 years warranty
- No side shelf for 700 FB
- Electricity is required for a control board
- Frame boiler plate should be regularly cleaned from grease and food residues
- No drain pan for grease
Detailed review of construction and functionality of these two grills Z Grill vs. Pit Boss, showed their similar simple design, different only in color and absence of smoke stack and side shelves. All presented grills have hoppers on the left with different capacities, digital temperature control, auto ignition, and a fire pot; the cooking area consists of two porcelain-coated steel racks and a grease bucket. Nevertheless, Pit Boss 440D2 becomes a winner as it has a control board for more precise control, ports for installing two probes, and a thermometer on the lid. Also, Pit Boss has a broiler with moving plates to change the flame direction.
Cooking procedure of Z Grill and Pit Boss grills
440D2 and 700 FB
The cooking process with Pit Boss grills is as with any other wood pellet grill, similar to Z Grill. Be sure to place the grill at least 305 mm out of combustible construction, this space is also enough for convenient operation. It consists of the stages:
- Fill the hopper with the wood pellets.
- Plug in the grill – 120 V, 50/60 Hz.
- Turn on the grill, and set the desired temperature with the closed lid and required position of the flame boiler (direct or indirect fire). The automatic ignition will start the fire. See the smoke and wait until the grill is warm enough (10-20 minutes, depending on the outside temperature).
- Place the food on the cooking grate. Please turn it on from time to time until it is ready. Meat thermometers (probe 1 and 2) helps to determine the internal temperature of the food, which prevents overcooking and drying out.
Please check the instruction manual – section tips and techniques for more tips.
The main cooking steps are the same on all presented grills. All temperature digital controllers allow you to keep the temperature without people’s presence +/- 10oF from the set value. All grills can cook in 8 styles, but Pit Boss grills achieve 500oF. To summarize, Pit Boss 440D2 is the winner as you can control actual and set temperatures on the control board and the lid thermometer. Also, you can add heat with the “Prime” function and position of the boiler flame.
Cleaning procedure of Z Grill and Pit Boss grills
440D2 and 700 FB
All Pit Boss grills require minimum cleaning; the main step of it is a self-cleaning procedure. To make the self-cleaning after each use, running the grill for 5-10 minutes at a high temperature is required.
- You should clean a hopper assembly with a long-handled brush after 5-6 cooking times. Hopper’s electric components with soapy water should be cleaned once a year.
- You should clean after each use a grease bucket, a meat probe (if available), and a side shelf with a scrubbing pad and soapy water. In a grease bucket, you can put an aluminum foil to eliminate any cleaning operations and throw it away after each use.
- The cooking grates should be burnt off to remove food residues and then brass with a wire brush after each use too.
- All inner surfaces in the grill should be scrubbed with a pad in soapy water after 5-6 uses of the grill.
- All outside surfaces should be cleaned without abrasive solutions and pads, only with soapy water. In case of scratches on the finish, all painted surfaces can be touched with BBQ paint.
Both brands use gravity to collect grease in the bucket. But Z grills have a grease pan that collects grease and could be covered in aluminum foil for easy cleaning, while Pit Boss broiler plates can’t be covered and require more frequent cleaning. But Pit Boss grills have a self-cleaning function, so there is no winner here.
The winner in this article is PIT BOSS PB440D2. The construction of all four reviewed grills is almost the same; all of them can cook in eight styles. But only this model has two shelves, a lid thermometer, and a control board with ports for two probes. The only minus is a small hopper, only 5 lbs. If this parameter is essential for you, and you cook for a big family, then Pit Boss 700 FB and Z grill 7002E are an equally good choice with a larger cooking area – up to 700 in2 and up 21 lbs of a hopper capacity. The auto-ignition, heat distribution, grease management systems, and porcelain-coated steel grates will make the food preparation on all these grills a pleasure.