Want to buy a Traeger but don’t want to pay retail price for it? If you said yes, then this post if for you. Traeger grills are pricey and there is a learning curve to their use. Traeger grills will produce quality barbecue and if cared for properly will bring you and your family years of GREAT tasting food. This is not always the case with some Traeger Grill owners and there is secondhand market for them. For example, I recently purchased gently used Traeger Grills Tailgater with front fold shelf and cover for $150. I will outline where you can find these deals and what to look for when purchasing a used Traeger to ensure it is properly working.
So where does one find a used Traeger Grill. Well the obvious is the Internet and specifically Craigslist. Craigslist is not your only option though. I often find killer deals on apps like Let Go and Offer Up. These apps don’t appear to be as popular in my area and I have found quality Traegers that have been available for weeks.
Don’t be afraid to bargain with the seller and negotiate a lower price. Sometime sellers were given the Traeger as a gift or they were handed down. These sellers do not know what they are sitting on and are more motivated to sell. It’s also much easier to haggle with a person over text or on the telephone. What’s the worse they can say, “no?” Big deal. Move on and keep looking. It may take a few weeks but you will find the right deal for your pocket book.
Be sure to study the pictures and asked the seller to send you additional photos if necessary. Take a few minutes and study the photograph. If it appears the photograph was taken under a patio covering or enclosed area this may be a sign that the Traeger was kept out of the elements. This is a good thing. Also, look at the grill itself. Many times the seller will not properly describe the grill. In the case of my $150 Traeger Tailgater the seller listed is as a Jr. Elite. In reality it was actually a Tailgater and a more valuable and desired grill in my opinion.
Check for other Traeger postings by the same seller. If a single seller has multiple Traeger postings he or she is probably very familiar with the Traeger brand and knows the value of these grills. This is not always bad thing. More than likely these grills were refurbished by an experienced person. These grills normally require no repairs or cleaning and are less expensive than retail. These grills will last years to come but keep in mind within time may require some parts to be replaced.
So you found a deal on a Traeger now its time to see it in person. Plan ahead and make sure there is going to be a power source available. If not bring your own. Also, bring a set of rubber gloves, a towel and something to transport the grease bucket in.
Be smart and think safety first. You are meeting a complete stranger who knows you will be carrying cash. Pick a mutually agreed upon public place and bring a friend. If you agree to go to the person’s residence be aware of your surroundings and have a plan. One person should be talking to the seller and inspect the grill, while the other sits back keeps their head on a swivel. In the worst case you get robbed. Give them what they want and be observant. No amount of money is worth getting hurt over.
Time to inspect the Traeger. What should you look for? Start with a visual inspection. This will tell you the story of the grill and how it was cared for. Check for runs in the paint, and the texture of the paint. This will tell you if the grill has been repainted. Check the bottom rear portion of the grill for paint flakes or noticeable circular discoloration in the barrel. This will tell you if there has been a grease fire in the grill and may be why the seller is getting rid of the grill. Again, this is not a bad thing. Use this observation to leverage the seller for a lower price.
Open the grill and continue with the visual inspection. Check the inside of the barrel for circular discoloration in the paint. Check the left side of the interior of the barrel and inspect the thermostat. If the thermostat is extremely dirty this can be a cause for extreme temperature swings and can be fixed with a little cleaning.
Understand the grill grates are going to be dirty, greasy and ugly. No big deal. Use the rubber gloves to remove the grill grates, the drip pan and heat baffle. The drip tray will be discolored, dirty and the heat baffle may have a little warp to it. Don’t worry about it. This is normal wear and tear.
Inspect the firepot for cracks and the amount of ash that is present. If there is a large amount of ash present in the firepot this may be the cause for an extinguished flame and may be the reason the seller is parting with the grill. This is a simple fix. Inspect the four nuts on top of the firepot for signs of removal. If it appears the nuts have been removed this is a good sign there has previously been repairs to the unit.
Open the hopper and inspect inside. Look any sign of moister and wet pellets. It is a bad sign if moister and wet pellets are present. Though this is a bad thing its not a complete deal breaker. There is a little more of a risk, however worth it a reduced price. Understand when pellets get wet, and dry its acts like cement causing the auger to seize up. This can be fixed just a time consuming task.
Try to remove all pellets from the hopper and set aside. With the lid open power the grill on and turn it to the smoke setting. Listen for the sound of the fans and look into the hopper to ensure the auger is turning. Once you see the auger turning add some pellets into the hopper. Place you hand over the firepot being careful not to touch the hotrod. When you place your hand over or the firepot you should feel the slight breeze. This will ensure the fans are working properly. Watch the pellets fall into the firepot and wait for them to smolder. Once the pellets start to smolder this will ensure you hotrod is working and you inspection is over. Power the grill off and negotiate a price.
If after your inspection you learn the hotrod and/or fans are not working. Is this a deal breaker? Absolutely not! All Traeger parts can be replaced and relatively inexpensive. The controller, fans, hotrod and thermostat can all be purchased and replaced fairly easy. Traeger has several “how to” videos on their site and YouTube. Replacement parts can be found ON the Traeger website.
Do yourself a favor and look past the cosmetics of the grill. This is a barbecue meant to smoke fatty meats that produce grease. There will be grease stains on the outside of the grill and it may appear to be dirty. This can easily be cleaned up and should not influence your decision to purchase the grill.
Thanks for reading good luck. Follow my food and barbecue journey on Instagram @freedomsohard.