Best Smokers – Electric, Charcoal, Propane & More!

Best Smokers

Last Update: December, 2019

You’ve gone to every BBQ spot in your town and you’ve seen every episode of every outdoor cooking show on Hulu and Netflix. The next step is finally getting your own smoker and seeing if you’ve got what it takes to cook up some great barbeque at home.

You might be wondering how you’re going to know which smoke is the best one for you. Lucky, there are plenty of different options available nowadays when it comes to shopping for a smoker. Depending on the space you have, the amount of food you plan to make and what kinds of barbecue you want to make, how experienced you are - there’s something for everyone.

Smoker

Summary

Masterbuilt 20075315

Masterbuilt 20075315 Front Controller Smoker

This innovative smoker features four chrome-coated racks, all visible through its full, front-facing viewing window. It is controlled with a digital panel.

Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

This classic dome smoker is great for cooking multiple items at once while allowing you to control the heat precisely to your liking. Thanks to its easily adjustable dampers.

Dyna-Glo Charcoal Smoker

Dyna-Glo Charcoal Smoker

For a fully customized smoking experience, this vertical smoker allows you to fuel with either wood chips or charcoal. It even offers a whopping 1,176 square inches of space for cooking.

Masterbuilt 20051311

Masterbuilt 20051311

Get cooking fast with this smoker’s electric push-button igniter. Maintain control of the heat at all times, thanks it is built-in temperature gauge.

Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker

Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker

A 1,500-watt variable temperature heating element allows to cook with wood chips or water to smoke all kinds of ingredients in this large smoking chamber.

Pros:

  • Patented wood chip loading system on the side
  • Set time and temperature with a built-in digital control panel and RF remote
  • High cooking capacity with four smoking racks
  • Full-size viewing window

Cons:

  • Doesn’t allow for charcoal or propane use
  • Requires batteries

More About The Masterbuilt 20075315

Whether you’re a smoking pro or just getting started, the Masterbuilt 40” Digital Electric Smoker makes smoking easy and allows you to make top quality meals without having to mess with propane or charcoal. This high-tech smoker makes it easy for you to experiment with different woods and flavors, so you can discover your favorites.

Cooking large quantities of food is easy and convenient. With enough room to up to 12 whole chickens and 2 whole turkeys, you’ll be able to feed everyone and enjoy the company without constantly putting meat on the grill.

You’ll have complete control of the cooking heat, thanks to an integrated thermostat temperature control. This ensures that you’re getting consistent and even smoking at all times, with little work or stress on your part.

>> Related Content: Best vertical Smoker

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Masterbuilt MB20073716

Masterbuilt MB20073716

Char-Broil Offset Smoker

Char-Broil Offset Smoker

Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Masterbuilt 20060516 Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Pros:

  • Porcelain-enameled water pan adds steam and moisture during cooking
  • Heavy-duty steel-plated cooking grates
  • Built-in lid thermometer
  • Separate vents on bowl and lid

Cons:

  • No means of viewing without some smoke escaping
  • Propane is not an option for fuel

More About The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

This vertical smoker is ideal for slow smoking. The slower the meat is cooked, the more tender and moist it will come out. The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is a charcoal smoker which gives your food that classic smokehouse flavor in your own backyard.

With two adjustable cooking grate, this smoker gives you 481 square inches of total cooking space, allowing you to smoke up to two large things at the same time.

The bowl, lid and center section of this smoker are finished with porcelain-enamel to help retain heat and resist peeling and rusting over time. So this smoker is sure to hold up through many cooks and comes with a 10-year limited warranty.

>> Related Content: ​Best Electric Smoker Under $200

Shop Related PRoducts

Masterbuilt MB20073716

Masterbuilt MB20073716

Char-Broil Offset Smoker

Char-Broil Offset Smoker

Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Masterbuilt 20060516 Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Pros:

  • Six adjustable cooking grates hold up to 25 pounds each
  • Porcelain-enameled steel charcoal and wood chamber ensure maintenance-free cooking for hours at a time
  • Adjustable flue on a smokestack
  • Built-in thermometer made of stainless steel with an easy-to-read gauge

Cons:

  • A vertical design may require adjusting of longer cuts of meat
  • No option for propane use

More About The ​Dyna-Glo Charcoal Smoker

You shouldn’t have to choose between using just wood chips or charcoal for the life of your smoker. Dyno-Glo gives the option to use either one as your fuel source.

You’ll get the benefit of over 1,170 square inches of cooking space with this vertical smoker, but It’s offset design keeps the direct heat of whichever fuel source you choose away from the food to prevent the bottom from cooking too fast. While the double doors keep the heat in whenever you need to access the food or add more fuel to the fire.

More importantly, the smoker is made up a heavy-duty steel body with a high-temperature withstanding, powder-coat finish that will ensure a long life of cooking delicious meals.

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Masterbuilt MB20073716

Masterbuilt MB20073716

Char-Broil Offset Smoker

Char-Broil Offset Smoker

Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Masterbuilt 20060516 Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Pros:

  • Four chrome smoking racks
  • Stainless steel burner
  • Porcelain-coated water pan and wood tray
  • Electric push start ignitor

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with wheels
  • Must open an entire door to view contents

More About The ​Masterbuilt 20051311

Get your fire going quickly with the convenience of an electric push start igniter and enjoy 700 square inches of cooking space to get everyone fed in one go. You'll be able to easily cook all kinds of things to perfection, thanks to the built-in temperature gauge that lets you know the ideal temperatures to add in the certain type of foods.

You’ll be at ease knowing that the heavy-duty inner liner and locking door are keeping the heat and flavor locked inside at all times and preventing leaks. When you do need to open it up to reach inside, the cool touch wire handles make it easy to do without the need of hand protection.

>> Related Content: Best Komono Grills

Shop Related PRoducts

Masterbuilt MB20073716

Masterbuilt MB20073716

Char-Broil Offset Smoker

Char-Broil Offset Smoker

Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Masterbuilt 20060516 Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Pros:

  • 505 square inches of total cooking space
  • Porcelain grease cup and ash pan
  • Handle is chrome plated

Cons:

  • One door access to everything
  • Requires maintenance while cooking

More About The ​Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker

Char-Broil offers a large smoking chamber with three cast iron cooking grates that can be adjusted to accommodate a variety of foods. Thick, double walled sides ensure that the temperature stays consistent and you’re getting a nice, even cook throughout.

One of the best features on this smoker is the 1,500-watt variable temperature heating element that makes getting started smoking with wood chips or water quick and easy. The built-in temperature gauge is mounted on the lid so you'll know what the internal temperature is at all time with just a quick glance.

>> Related Content: Best Vertical Smoker

Shop Related PRoducts

Masterbuilt MB20073716

Masterbuilt MB20073716

Char-Broil Offset Smoker

Char-Broil Offset Smoker

Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Masterbuilt 20060516 Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Types of Smokers

There are a few different types of smokers in regards to design and they all come with their own set of pros and cons. When you’re shopping for your smoker, it’s important to familiarize yourself with each different option so that you’ll know which one is going to work best for you.

Bullet or Vertical Smokers

These types of smokers are great for their compact size and can fit easily in smaller areas. They’re a great option if you’re just starting out because they’re pretty straight forward and have no electric or mechanical parts.

These are typically fueled using wood chips or charcoal. The wood chips or charcoal are placed at the bottom with a water pan placed above it. This helps to keep in moisture while cooking and ensure even distribution of the rising heat. The meat then goes on the racks above the water pan and the lid on top of that.

A common downside of these types of smokers are that it typically doesn’t offer a very high cooling capacity. Also, the water pan is positioned at the bottom. This means it might catch a lot of grease and needs to be cleaned after each use.

Offset Smokers

 These types of smokers are more commonly seen being used by professional pitmasters and on cooking shows.

Unlike vertical smokers, these have the heat source in a separate compartment that prevents the food closest to it from cooking too quickly.

Offset smokers come in a lot of different shapes and size, depending on your preferences and needs. It's even possible to find offset vertical smokers if you're wanting the compact convenience of a vertical design, but don't want the food on your bottom rack to overcook.

If you’re looking for a smoker that can hold and cook a lot of food at once, this is a great option. However, they do require a lot of monitoring while cooking and you’re going to have to know how to build and control a fire.

Ceramic Smoker

 Sometimes called a Kamado grill, these smokers are made out of ceramic. This makes them highly insulated. You’re able to maintain very steady cooking temperatures for long periods of time - even low temperatures. They can be fueled by charcoal or wood chips.

You can find these ceramic smokers in different sizes, but they can be quite expensive. However, if you want the versatility to grill, smoke, roast or even bake, this might be worth it to you.

They’re very durable and can last a very long time. But keep in mind: being made of ceramic, they can easily break if they get knocked over.

Electric Smoker

If you’re looking for something that needs little babysitting or monitoring, the electric smoker might be the perfect fit for you. These smokers are pretty effortless.

The electric element heats the wood chips and helps create smoke. The more expensive ones tend to have a built-in thermostat inside that helps to regulate temperature. But most will at least have a dial for adjusting the temperature. 

These come in a variety of sizes, depending if you just want to cook for your family or larger groups. However, note that even the smaller units can hold quite a bit of food.

They’re a convenient size that can fit easily on most patios. But since they are electric, they need to be stored either inside or under a cover to keep them dry.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Smoker

When you're out shopping for your smoker, it's easy to just pick the best looking one or go off a few customer reviews. There are a few more specific things to consider before taking the plunge:

Pricing

You don’t want to go overboard on your smoker. Especially if it’s just something you’re starting out with. If it’s something you’re really wanting to get serious about, maybe you’ll want to spend a little more.

Set a reasonable budget for yourself. Also consider if you’d like to add any accessories that you also need to budget for.

Value for the Price

Even if you don't have a big budget you still want something that will be worth your money. Determine your budget and then consider the features that are coming with a price that you're going to be paying.

How functional is it going to be? Look for something with at least the basic parts you'll need and is made of quality, durable materials.

You'll also want something that is going to give you good control of the temperature and is well insulated because those are key to making great barbeque.

Long-lasting

Look for high-quality materials like stainless steel to ensure that your smoker will hold up over time. Some cheaper units might look durable, but they can really be made of lower-grade material that won’t last.

Not only do you want your smoker to have a long, functional life, but you want it to be safe. Don’t be cheap when it comes to materials.

Size

Be realistic about the size of the smoker you need. There are some pretty big ones out there, but if you're not planning to cook regularly for a crowd, don't give yourself the extra work of manning a huge smoker just to make dinner for your family.

Save money and space by getting the appropriate size from the start.

What Accessories to Use for your Smoker

Having the right accessories can really make your smoker easier to use and help ensure your food comes out as delicious as possible. Here are a few accessories that can really make a difference:

A Tarp or Cover

Especially if you’re going to be leaving your smoker outdoors, it’s important to have something to cover it with. This helps protect it from the outdoor elements and keeps it clean, you are cooking food on it after all.

Adding Wheels

Surprisingly enough, a lot of smokers don’t come with wheels. If portability is something that’s important to you, either make sure that your new unit comes with wheels by default or purchase and install them yourself.

Side Table

It can be really nice to add a side rack or table to your smoker. These are great for holding your utensils, cutting meat, adding seasoning, serving or holding condiments.

A Tip for Your First Try

If you’re a newbie, don’t be nervous. Approach smoking with the idea that it’s all about testing and learning. Rest assured that even if you don’t get it right the first time, chances are, your food could still taste pretty good.

For your first try, go for some cheaper meats like pork. Then, gradually try different kinds of sauces. It’s all a trial and error process.

Conclusion

When shopping for your new smoker, consider how much you want to spend and how to get the best value for your budget. Keep in mind what features are included and the quality of the materials its made with. You can always add extra accessories and upgrades over time. 

If you really want to master your outdoor cooking, investing in your own smoker is a great way to go. But it can be a daunting task to actually find the right one. There are so many different options available, but with the right knowledge and research, you’ll be able to find the perfect one to meet your needs and start making some seriously delicious food.

Ultimately, remember to have fun – that is the main point of a really great BBQ.   

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