Skip to Content

How many Pellets does a Traeger use per hour? (Explained)

How many Pellets does a Traeger use per hour? (Explained)

Traeger Pellets Per Hour

A Traeger grill works by delivering a steady, regulated stream of wood pellets to an internal fire pot via a special auger system.

A small internal fan then ensures that the fire has the necessary airflow to support combustion.

When you dial up the target temperature of the grill the system starts to deliver more pellets per hour to support the vigorous flame.

When set to a low target temperature of around 225 to 250-degrees, the auger will deliver roughly one pound of pellets per hour. Perhaps a 10 to 20% more if the outside weather is overly cold, windy, or wet.

If you turn the temperature up to more than 300 to 350 degrees, your Traeger grill might go through 2-pounds per hour.

At a temperature of over 500-degrees, a Traeger grill might burn through as many as 3-pounds of wood pellets in an hour. 

Understanding the typical cook time for certain popular cuts of meat will help you plan ahead to make sure you don’t run out of wood pellets in the middle of a smoking session.

Most classic barbecue cuts of meat need long smoking sessions at temperatures around 225 to 250-degrees.

A typical Traeger grill will burn through around a pound of wood pellets in an hour.

If you were smoking a 10-pound Boston butt pork shoulder, which takes around 12 to 14 hours, you would need to load the hopper up with at least 14 pounds of wood pellets. 

If you have a smaller Trager model like the Tailgater with only an 8-pound hopper, you might want to consider investing in a hopper sensor.

This lets you walk away from the grill to do other things.

The sensor can connect to the WiFire app on your phone to let you know when the hopper needs to be reloaded. 

Though if you have a larger Traeger grill, there is little risk of a full hopper running out during even a long smoking session.

You can expect a 40-pound bag of wood pellets to last up to 40-hours in a Traeger grill set to a target internal temperature of 225-degrees. 


How Many Pellets Do Traegers Use Per Hour?

A Traeger grill will burn through roughly one pound of wood pellets per hour when you set it to a temperature of 225 to 250-degrees.

When you turn it up to 350 to 400 degrees it can burn up to 2 pounds per hour.

AR a temperature of 500 degrees or more you can expect your Traeger to burn through as much as 3 pounds of wood pellets per hour.

Also, keep in mind that weather and exterior temperatures can have a mild impact on the burn rate.

If it’s cold out, under 40 degrees, or colder the Traeger’s internal auger might need to be set a little higher than the intended target temperature, which can increase the volume of pellets burned in an hour by 10 to 20%.


How To Plan Ahead When Smoking with Traeger Pellets

Planning ahead to make sure you don’t run out of wood pellets in the hopper in the middle of a smoking session starts with understanding how long it will take to finish a specific cut of meat.

If we assume that you are smoking or grilling at a temperature between 225 to 250-degrees, then you can anticipate that your Traeger grill will go through roughly one pound of wood pellets per hour.

You can then factor in the typical cook time for a piece of meat. 

A 12-pound brisket will take 16 to 18 hours at 225-degrees.

An 8 to 10-pound Boston Butt pork shoulder will take 12 to 16 hours at 225-degrees.

A 14 to 20-pound turkey will take 6 to 8 hours at 225-degrees.

A full rack of pork ribs will take 5 to 7 hours at 225-degrees.

A whole chicken will take 45 minutes per pound, which is 2 to 4 hours at 225-degrees.

Using this cook time information as your guide will help you understand just how many wood pellets to put into your Traeger.

If you are using a smaller Traeger like the Tailgater with an 8-pound hopper, it can help you plan just when to refill it with wood pellets in the middle of a smoke.

This spares you from having to be close at hand monitoring the hopper level. 


Do Temperatures Affect the Amount of Pellets Used?

The outside temperature and weather can increase the volume of wood pellets your Traeger grill burns in an hour by as much as 10 to 20% at a lower target temperature like 250 degrees, a Traeger grill will burn through roughly 1 pound of wood pellets per hour. 

If rain, strong cold winds, or an outside temperature under 40 degrees is robbing the primary chamber of heat, an extra 10 to 20% burn rate isn’t a big deal.

It’s when you start burning through 20% more wood pellets at higher temperatures above 400 degrees where the additional volume of pellets burned per hour might be a factor.

When you do the math, a 500+ degree target temperature might mean the Traeger is burning through 3 pounds per hour.

If it’s rainy and cold out, an extra 10 to 20% can mean burning through another half pound per hour or more.

Though there are ways to mitigate the influence of outside weather.

Covering your Traeger with an insulating grill blanket and placing it somewhere sheltered from the wind and rain can improve thermal efficiency for a more modest burn rate per hour.


Is the Traeger Pellet Sensor Worth It?

The Traeger Pellet Sensor is designed to work with WiFire enabled grills and comes in handy if you truly want to “Set It & Forget It” while you go about doing other things.

It carefully monitors the pellet level inside the Traeger grill during a smoking session. It then relays this information to the Traeger app on your phone.

If you are working on a project, like reroofing your house, and the Traeger is smoking a “Thank You Meal” for your helpers, the pellet sensor gives you some peace of mind. 

Though the hopper on a lot of Traeger models is usually large enough that you can leave it running for over 10 hours without having to worry about the pellets running low.

When you factor in that it costs around $80, the Traeger Pellet sensor is more of a luxury item than an essential grilling accessory. 


How Fast Do Pellets Burn in a Traeger?

A Traeger grill set to a target temperature of 225 degrees will burn through around 1 pound of wood pellets in an hour.

When you turn it up to a higher temperature it can burn through as much as 2 or even 3 pounds of pellets per hour.


How Long Does a 40 lb Bag of Wood Pellets Last? 

A 40-pound bag of wood pellets should last for up to 40 hours on a Traeger grill set to a target temperature of 225 to 250 degrees.

At that temperature range, it will burn through roughly a pound of wood pellets per hour. 

If you were to turn your Traeger grill up to 500 degrees or more it might burn through as much as 3 pounds per hour. This would reduce the total duration of a 40-pound bag to roughly 13 hours.

Though you rarely need to grill at this high of a temperature for that long in the real world.


How Long Do Traeger Pellets Last at 225 Degrees?

At 225-degrees your Traeger grill should burn through around 1 pound of wood pellets in an hour.

This is the ideal temperature for a lot of classic barbecue cuts of meat like Boston butt pork shoulder, ribs, and brisket.  


Final Thoughts 

Traeger grills use an automated internal auger system to deliver a consistent stream of wood pellets to the internal firepot.

The rate of delivery and a small internal fan support combustion and make it possible to maintain consistent temperatures throughout a long smoking session.

If you turn up the target temperature the auger will gradually speed up to deliver more wood pellets to support the necessary flame.

A Traeger grill set to a target temperature of around 225 to 250-degrees will go through one pound of wood pellets in an hour.

Though it might burn through 10 to 20% more if the outside weather is cold or wet.

Should you need to turn the temperature up to 300 to 350 degrees, the Traeger can burn through 2-pounds per hour.

If you set the temperature over 500-degrees, it might burn through as much as 3-pounds per hour. 

You can use the typical cook time for certain popular cuts of meat to help accurately estimate the number of wood pellets you need for a single smoking session.

When set to a temperature of around 225 to 250-degrees, an average Boston butt pork shoulder will need to smoke for 12 to 14 hours.

This means you would need to load the hopper with at least 14-pounds of wood pellets. 

If you frequently need to walk away from the Traeger during a smoking session, or you have a smaller model, you might want to consider investing in a hopper sensor.

It is designed to connect via the WiFire app on your phone to let you know when the hopper needs to be reloaded.

Though this is rarely an issue with the large wood pellet hoppers that come on most models. 

Buying wood pellets in bulk is a great way to save money on the price per pound.

If you have a 40-pound bag of wood pellets, you can expect it to last up to 40-hours in a Traeger grill set to a temperature of 225-degrees.