How Long Does Traeger Pellets Last?
Traeger grills are a perfect grilling companion if you like focusing more on the grates and less on managing the fire. With its automatic temperature settings, you can let the grill control how fast it feeds the pellets and how hot it gets.
It will still take a couple of grilling sessions to get the hang of it. You will need time and research before figuring out how long a given amount of pellets lasts in the grill.
What Determines How Long Traeger Grill Pellets Last?
Estimating Traeger pellets’ run time depends on a couple of things. Figuring these out is better than memorizing a table on how long a 10-pound bag, a full hopper, or 20 lb bag of pellets will last.
The Type of Pellets
The biggest determinant is pellet type and quality. This shouldn’t be an issue since we are sticking to Traeger pellets. They are created from 100% natural hardwood. Hardwood makes the longest-lasting firewood.
Converting it to pellets carries over the same results. You can be guaranteed that the very expensive bag of Traeger pellets you purchased will most probably outlast most of the other pellet brands in the market.
What You are Doing on the Grill
The only variable determining how long you can grill with a given amount of Traeger pellets is what you are doing on the grill.
You should expect anywhere between six and 20 hours of burn from a 20-pound bag, depending on whether you are grilling at the highest temperature or smoking on the lowest setting.
The temperature and setting (grilling or smoking) determine how fast you burn through the pellets. Grilling generally consumes more pellets than smoking. Running the grill at a higher temperature consumes more pellets that burning at lower temperatures.
On average, you will burn through three pounds of Traeger pellets in an hour when running at the highest temperature and a pound per hour when smoking at the lowest heat setting.
Here is an estimate of what to expend from different pellet bag sizes
|Bag Size||Grilling on High||Smoking on Low|
|18 lbs||6 hours||18 hours|
|20 lbs||6.7 hours||20 hours|
|40 lbs||13 hours||40 hours|
If you grill at varied temperatures, you will have to find different ways to figure out how many pellets you need for your grilling sessions.
How Long Does a Full Hopper of Pellets Last in a Traeger
Again, it will determine the temperature and whether you are grilling or smoking. We will do an arbitrary check when running the Traeger at 225.
With a full hopper and the grill running at 225F, you should expect around 18 hours of runtime as long as you fill the hopper when starting and let the automatic feed system handle everything.
You will get less time if you increase the temperature, fill the hopper partially, and manually take care of the loading.
How Long Can Traeger Pellets Sit in the Hopper
Traeger recommends not leaving any pellets in the hopper – especially if the grill isn’t in a humidity-controlled room.
If you have to, the pellets can sit in the hopper for up to six months. Exposure to humidity, wild temperature fluctuations, and rain will ruin the pellets in the hopper. They will soften and not burn well.
In the worst-case scenario, leaving the pellets in the hopper could lead to problems like:
- Rotting pellets
- Moldy pellets that will, in turn, contaminate your food
- A clogged auger
- A generally nasty, smelly, and hazardous mess
Only fill the grill with as many pellets as you think you need. If you overshoot, plan to grill again within a week or so.
If leaving your grill unused for months, consider running it until it runs out of pellets. While you will have to prime the auger again when you use it after running it dry, you won’t risk pellets rotting or clogging up in the hopper.
How to Tell if it is Time to Top Up Pellets on Your Traeger Grill
Even the most experienced Traeger grill users run out of pellets at one point. This is common if using an older grill without a pellet level sensor.
Pellet sensors are a nifty addition found in WiFIRE grills and are accessible through the Traeger app.
The sensor communicates pellets levels to the onboard grill controller or your smartphone app. You can view the levels by:
- On the grill’s controller, navigate to Menu > Pellet Sensor
- If on the smartphone app, navigate to the Grill’s Dashboard and check the ‘Pellets’ section
Even though some WiFIRE grills don’t have a pellet sensor, you can purchase it as an add-on accessory. The only bummer is that the pellet sensor doesn’t work with non- WiFIRE grills.
|INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE||OPTIONAL UPGRADE|
|Timberline Models |
2020 Ironwood Models
Newer Silverton 810
|Pro 575 |
2019 Ironwood 650
2019 Ironwood 885
If you have the sensor, you will get a Pellets Level Low warning before running out. There is always a real-time readout of pellet levels in %.
People using older Traeger grills not compatible with the Hopper level monitor can use the following indicators to check whether their grill is empty or about to run out.
Open the Hopper and Check
The simplest way to figure out how much fuel you have left in your hopper is by checking. Open the hopper’s lid and take a peep at the level.
It is time to top up if it is down close to the auger level – unless you are done grilling. With time, you will learn to estimate what level of remaining pellets is enough to keep you going until you are done grilling.
You can also use this opportunity to scrape down any pellets stuck to the hopper’s sides so that they drop down into the auger and feed into the burning box.
ProTip: It is always good to check on your pellets level in the hopper every time you go to check the food you are grilling.
Monitor the Temperature
A steady dip in temperature in the middle of a grilling session hints at critically low pellets levels. The grill needs to burn fuel to maintain a given temperature constantly. The only reason it might start losing heat are:
- It has run out of pellets
- The pellet feeding system is tunneling (we will explain tunneling below)
- The auger is stuck
- There is no electric power to the grill. The auger and pellet feeding system need electricity to run.
What is Tunneling?
Tunneling is when the auger feeds all the pellets in the middle of the hopper but leaves some stuck to the hopper’s sides. This is common on older grills and smaller units like the Bronson, Tailgater, and Junior models.
Here is what to do if you experience tunneling
- Stir around the pellets when checking your food to ensure they are feeding evenly into the auger
- Check the inside of the hopper for damages or dents. These will increase the chances of tunneling.
- Sweep the hopper clean before refilling. A lot of sawdust and residue encourages tunneling.
- Ensure you use fresh and dry pellets. Sticky pellets stored wrong and gathered moisture are more susceptible to tunneling.
How Long Can You Store Traeger Pellets?
Dry pellets will last up to a year. This is rarely practical since most people will store their pellets in the shed, garage, or the backyard next to the grill.
While these places might be protected from direct rain and sunshine, they are not humidity controlled. Increased humidity increases the rate at which the pellets absorb moisture and become moldy or soggy.
Do not store the Traeger pellets in their original bag for better keeping time. The bag isn’t waterproof or properly breathable. Removing them and putting them in a ventilated container in a cool, dry room will make it easier to hit the 1-year mark.
Check this too: Pit Boss Pellet Grill How-to and Troubleshooting Guide.
I prefer buying fresh pellets when I need them and rarely have enough stock to last me over a month. Remember to check the expiration date and go for bags that leave you with as close to six months of store time as possible.
It will take a while before you can nail down how often you have to refill your grill when using Traeger pellets. Expect to burn around 0.5 pounds per hour of mixed grilling and smoking. This translates to around 10 hours of use from a 20-pound bag.