The Stoker

The Competitor

If we had a nickel for every time someone asked us to recommend either The Stoker or The Competitor, we'd be lying on the beach in Bermuda rather than sitting here typing this web page! But we digress.... Our answer to the question about which one is best is basically this: The Competitor is easier to use, but the Stoker is expandible. They each have some functions that the other doesn't. They both work very very well at controlling the temperature of your cooker, so you need to look at the features and functions they have and then decide what you want and/or need. So, we have provided the following comparison of features to help you make your decision:


The Stoker BBQ Guru Competitor
Pit Temp Range 100 - 450 F 175 - 400 F
Food Temp Range ? 105 - 210 F
Temperature Display 2x12 LCD Display LED Graph Display
Display Backlight Yes, via button n/a
Scrolling Temperature Display Yes n/a
Temperature Units F or C F
Data Input Method Keypad and 2x12 display Two dials, one for pit temperature, one for food temperature
User Upgradeable Software Yes No
Blower capacity 5 CFM 4, 10 and 25 CFM (note 2)
Damper Self regulating: open when blowing, closed when not Manual
Adapters Available for many popular cookers Available for many popular cookers
Adapter connection Bolted to blower. Fan must be removed after cook. Blower presses into tube on adapter. Blower can be removed, adapter can be left attached to cooker and closed with provided kill plug.
System unit/blower connection No Yes, system unit can be attached to hook on blower.
Blower on indication Yes, on display Yes, LED on front panel
Audible alarm Yes Yes
Configurable High/Low Alarms Yes, for food and pit probes No, preset at the factory
Alarm disable Yes, you must disable each alarm individually through the menu Yes, Good Neighbor Feature disables all alarms
Audible blower alarm No Yes
Temperature sensors Stainless steel, teflon coated wires Stainless steel, teflon coated wires
Number of temperature sensors In theory, unlimited (note 6) 2
Probes separate Yes, pit and food are separate plugs No, pit and food are wired into single plug
Probe accuracy (note 4) < 4 degrees < 2 degrees
High temperature probe Yes, to 1000 degrees, stainless steel cable No
Pit Temp Accuracy Low (note 5) + < 1 degree + 11 degrees
Pit Temp Accuracy Med + < 1 degree - 2 degrees
Pit Temp Accuracy High + < 2 degrees - 4 degrees
Pit Temp Swing Low (note 5) ± 1 degree ± 1 degree
Pit Temp Swing Med ± 2 degrees ± <1 degree
Pit Temp Swing High ± 4 degrees ± <1 degree
Countdown Timer No No
Clock Yes, set manually or automatically if connected to Internet No
Countdown Timer No No
Power interruption recovery Yes Yes, but Ramp Mode will be enabled if off, Good Neighbor feature will be disabled if on
Ramp Mode No Yes
Low temperature smoking Yes, will control down to 100 degrees. Yes, with variation of Ramp Mode, down to 105 degrees.
Multiple cooker operation Yes No
Cookers supported In theory, unlimited (note 6) n/a
Internet connection Yes No
Control via web page Yes No
Wireless control Yes (note 3) No
Power supply 5 volt mini brick 12 volt brick
Cigarette lighter Yes, w/ $35 12-volt adapter Yes, w/ $12 plug
Stand Yes Optional $8 accessory
Our Review The Stoker Review Competitor Review
Website www.rocksbarbque.com www.thebbqguru.com
Price (note 1) $235 $221

Notes:
  1. The price we have listed is as of January, 2007 and based upon what we consider to be a "standard" system. In the case of The Competitor, this includes a BGE large door adapter, 4-foot probe wires, and a 10 CFM blower. For The Stoker, this includes a 5 CFM blower, food and pit sensors, and a BGE large flat adapter.

  2. 4 and 10 CFM blowers are adequate for ceramic cookers, 25 CFM available for larger metal cookers.

  3. To have wireless control, you must purchase some sort of network bridge or wireless gaming adapter. This then has to be configured into your existing wireless network. (There may be other options for accomplishing this, but these are the two we have seen mentioned.)

  4. Temperature probe accuracy was measured by placing multiple probes in boiling water. Value indicated is the difference between the lowest-reading probe we tested and the highest-reading probe.

  5. Pit temperature swing was determined by observing the low and high temperatures recorded as the device controlled the temperature of the pit, once stability had been reached. The pit temperature accuracy value is the difference between the target temperature set on the device and the average of the high and low temperatures recorded once stability was reached. These readings were done three times (Low, Medium, High) at the low, middle, and high ends of the devices control temperature range.

  6. The Stoker system unit allows direct connection of up to 5 temperature probes and/or blowers. More devices can be attached with optional 3-port expanders ($23 each) and 20-port expanders ($110 each).


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