Dan Thiessen founded Pit Boss in 1999, making it one of the first brands to compete with Traeger Grills, which were American made at the time. The company has its headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, but that’s not where its manufacturing happens.
Today, they sell wood pellet grills, charcoal grills, gas grills, and combination-fueled grills. From the start, they tried to compete with Traeger on price, which may leave you wondering how they lowered their cost and where exactly Pitt Boss makes its grills.
Pitt Boss Grills are made in China. Dansons Inc owns Pit Boss as a subsidiary, and they work with third-party factories to do their manufacturing. Being made in China, their wood pellet grills are some of the most cheaply priced.
If you go to a store that offers Pitt Boss grills, you’ll likely see a label that looks like this on the packaging.
Does Pit Boss Produce Any American-Made Grills?
While the brand bases itself out of Scottsdale, Arizona, Pit Boss manufactures none of its grills in the United States. That said, Dansons Inc, the parent company of Pit Boss, has another subsidiary called Louisiana Grills. We also wouldn’t call that one a great American-made company, but some of the components that they produce were sourced from the United States.
We understand how frustrating this can be when all the pellet grill companies outsource the manufacturing to China. For that reason, we created a full article on American-made pellet grills. Luckily, we still see some patriotic companies holding out against sending the manufacturing overseas.
You do have one product that Pit Boss produces in the USA, and it isn’t grills but ratherhardwood pellets. Pit Boss sources its hardwood pellets from one of four locations in the United States. In fact, they produce all their hardwood pellets in the United States to use in their grills.
When they produce this product in the United States, they use 100 percent all-natural hardwood. The hardwood doesn’t have glue, chemicals, sprays, or spray-on scents on it.
Where does Pit Boss manufacture wood pellets in the United States? They have four locations where they source wood for their pellets. We were able to locate the one in Hayward, Wisconsin, and from what we’ve heard, Pit Boss likes sourcing from the Great Lakes Region. After they source the wood, they take them to a facility in Arkansas to produce the pellets.
They offer a broad range of 14 wood pellet products, all sourced from the United States that include:
- Whiskey Barrel
- Pitmaster Blend
- Fruitwood Blend
- Classic Blend
- Competition Blend
You can buy them in two sizes: either 20 pounds or 40 pounds. In the case of the 40-pound bag of pellets, they cost less than Traeger; although both companies source their wood pellets from America.
We wouldn’t even consider them the most expensive wood pellets, despite their American sourcing. They may not cost the least, but they’re not the most expensive either. In cases where you can buy American products for less than foreign-made products, is there really a question of what to buy?
In case you’d like to learn more about Pit Boss and how it produces its wood pellets, check out the video below:
Pit Boss American Manufacturing: Reasons for Optimism
We wouldn’t say that all hope is lost. We give Pit Boss some leniency especially considering how they started this company to provide a more affordable wood pellet grill—one of Traeger’s original competitors.
They were successful, and company revenue has consistently grown over the years to make them the best in the market. Pit Boss announced plans in 2021 to build a barbecue wood pellet mill in Hope, Arkansas, which would create between 50 and 100 jobs for the local region.
The facility would become the largest barbecue wood pellet mill in the USA with a 335,000-square-foot facility. Along with manufacturing wood pellets, it would serve as a distribution center for their wood pellet barbecues.
We have seen it before where a distribution center can turn into a manufacturing facility for other products if successful. Just because it’s a wood pellet manufacturing facility doesn’t mean it can’t expand. While we can’t say for sure that it would happen, it is not impossible.
Dansons Inc. has said that this location in Hope, Arkansas, will become the crowning jewel for the brand’s wood pellet manufacturing. This is due to the strong infrastructure for wood pellet manufacturing. You have several sawmills, paper mills, and particleboard plants already located in Hope.
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Are Pit Boss Grills Made in China?
All of the manufacturing from Pit Boss comes from China, and they do this by working with third-party factories. That can make it harder for us to know exactly where they produce in China, but luckily, we found detailed information about where they might be manufacturing. For example, we found one of their suppliers as Damco China Limited Shenzhen Branch. This supplier has its operations in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Another supplier that we found was Guangdong Dehe Technology Co Limited. We traced this supplier to Guangdong province in Jiangmen City. Another supplier that we found was Shengye Industrial Limited, which is a supplier located in Shanghai.
In case you’d like to know where we pulled this data from, you can check out their supplier list here. They left clues in their shipment details. We found that this information wasn’t as straightforward as some of the others we have encountered in the past, where they would detail the exact location.
For example, we had to further look up the suppliers used to learn of their locations. Instead of them highlighting the city in the shipment details, they simply gave a vague answer about China. However, this is information that they never intended for the consumer anyhow.
Still, we think it to be educational information for those interested in learning exactly where Pit Boss makes its grills. That matters because some provinces in China have a reputation for using very unethical labor—we’re referring to Xinjiang province here. However, we didn’t find anything to suggest that Pit Boss uses suppliers from that region.
We’re simply showing you the reasons that you want to know where in China they make their products—it does matter. The one thing that we like about Dansons Inc. is that the brand says that they aren’t like other companies in that they value integrity as much as profits. They say that they donate 10 percent of all their profits to sponsor and support non-profit Christian organizations. An example of that was Operation BBQ Relief, which helps to serve hot BBQ meals after a disaster.
We would say that all their grills come from China, but we would like to highlight a couple of them for you. For example, if you want a cheaper wood pellet grill, we would recommend the Pit Boss PB440D2. They make this grill in China, but it offers you a cheaper starting point with wood pellet grills. At times, wood pellet grills can become laughably expensive if made domestically.
While American-made is always the ideal choice, we understand how not everyone can afford an American-made wood pellet grill. That’s why we highlight this information, but you can also use it to avoid those grills if you don’t want products made in China.
This gives you an idea, but most of their products were produced in China. Despite their choosing to manufacture in China, Pit Boss has a reputation for exceeding the standards of most grills. China catches a lot of flak, but some of the most advanced factories in the world are located in China.
We consider them a straightforward grill, making them a decent choice for those who don’t want to deal with complicated controls. They don’t have many advanced features, but they would work for a Sunday family barbecue.
The brand is most well known for its pellet grills, and the one advantage of producing them in China comes from the more affordable price.
Pit Boss: Transparency
The one thing that we respect about Pit Boss comes from its transparency on being made in China. While they make most of their products in China, they at least remain open about it. With other brands, we find that they try to cover it up, intentionally mislead, or hide the origin of their products.
Pit Boss products read, “Proudly Made in China.” That’s not ideal for someone looking for American-made, and we understand that, but the point isn’t to force people into one mode of thinking. Instead, we give you the information in its entirety and fairly and let you make up your own mind about it—that’s what all companies should do. That is respect for the consumer.
Strategy: Buying a Chinese-Made Wood Pellet Grill
Due to the prohibitive cost of some American-made wood pellet grills, not everyone can afford American made. Some of those grills can cost as much as $7,000, and when you look at the cost of the other grills, it doesn’t seem practical to a lot of people.
We see one way that you can address this with two companies manufacturing their wood pellets in the United States. You could buy a Chinese-made wood pellet grill if you can’t afford an American one and then focus on buying the American-made wood pellets to support America ever after. We think over the long term, this could add up to as much support, especially when you barbecue often.
Granted, this supports our nation in a roundabout way, but it still supports the United States. You may not be able to afford the grill, but you can buy some of the smaller products that they do make here, like wood pellets.
Buying outside of that will be hard with this company because everything comes from China. We saw some people say how they made some of the grills in Canada and France, but we could find no evidence to support that claim. Everything comes from China except for the wood pellets. In addition, that statement made little sense because both of those countries cost as much as the United States when it comes to labor.
That means that the wood pellet grills wouldn’t cost any less—since this brand was founded on offering a cheaper wood pellet grill, we would be surprised if they truly produced any of these grills in those countries. If you found any evidence to suggest otherwise, we would invite you to leave it in the comments below.
The Pit Boss motto, “Where quality and economy come together,” suggests that they won’t be bringing manufacturing jobs to the United States any time soon because of the high cost of labor in the United States.
Is Pit Boss Owned by Traeger?
Pit Boss falls under its parent company Dansons Inc, and they compete with the original wood pellet grill brand Traeger. In fact, they were one of the first companies to go up against Traeger when Joe Traeger sold his company for $3.4 million in 2006. Originally American-made, he made this decision at the heels of his patent protection ending and knowing how the market would flood with Chinese-made wood pellet grills. He knew he would be unable to compete on price—a huge disadvantage. Rather than send the jobs overseas, he sold the brand.
Pit Boss has remained a rival from the start, and they are owned by another company. Dansons Inc., which, in fact, is a play of words. Dan Thiessen and his two sons, Jeff and Jordan Thiessen, started the company in 1999. Take Dan plus sons, and you have Dansons Inc. That was how the name of the brand started. Originally, they weren’t making wood pellet grills and only decided to enter this market when Traeger’s patent protection ended.
Struggle for American Made
Even today, American-made wood pellet grills struggle because of the high cost of manufacturing. You have to raise the price of the grill to an almost laughable and outrageous cost that not everyone can afford. Even those who can afford it may not want to pay that much. On the lower end for an American-made wood pellet grill, you will pay $1,000, and they can cost as much as $7,000.
We understand this which was why we even recommended that some people buy the lower-cost ones and buy the American-made wood pellets after. Like in other product categories, certain niches are less feasible for American-made, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t support them either. The advantage of American-made wood pellet grills is that you buy them once, and they should last forever. Check the warranty ahead of time to make sure.
At the end of Joe Traeger’s patent protection, the market had a real need for cheaper wood pellet grills, and other companies fulfilled that demand. This shows us market efficiency and how it all works. In one way, it is sad because a great American-made company sent all of its manufacturing overseas to compete, ending an era.
Pit Boss vs Traeger: Which Should You Choose?
We can’t recommend either of them based on being American-made since neither of them is produced in the United States. Pit Boss tends to cost less than Traeger, and they have a more extensive lineup of grills, which includes charcoal and gas grills. Pit Boss has an advantage for its “slide and sear” system. You have a small searing zone that you can use directly above the firepot.
Traeger often costs more when looking at a smaller wood pellet grill. In most cases with grills, the bigger, the better. The only exception to that rule is if you have limited space. Pit Boss does have a disadvantage in that its grills can sometimes become confusing to use. The other thing is that many of their grills are the same with only slight variations.
Pit Boss ranks higher than Traeger in that they are one of the fastest-growing companies in the industry, and we do believe that that has happened for a reason. Joe Traeger and his sons even joined up with Pit Boss in 2018 to elevate the brand even higher. Think about that—the original inventor of the wood pellet grill has joined hands with what was once his fiercest rival to make their grills even better. You can learn more about that here. If you’d like an in-depth guide on where Traeger Grills are made, reference this article.
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Pit Boss Grills are made in China, and we understand how people may not want to buy a wood pellet grill made overseas. We showed you the options above with what American-made wood pellet grills you could buy instead. If you have any further questions, let us know in the comments section below.
Hi, my name is Kevin and I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Choosing products made in America is important to me because it supports local economies, creates jobs, helps the environment, and ensures ethical labor practices. I also find that American made products are usually of higher quality so although they’re a little more expensive, you save money in the long run. Before starting this website I was in the USMC infantry and nowadays I work on this website as a hobby.