10 Best Smokers – Reviews and Buying Guide
Table of Contents
By reviewing built-in grills, gas grills, kamado grills, and pellet grills, we found smokers are essential for family parties and events. Smokers can be used as pizza ovens and are perfect for grilling beef, lamb, and BBQ. Smokers do not like air fryers which can control the temperature precisely. The temperature in smokers has fluctuation which is the key to accelerating the organic aroma of the food. Some smokers are similar to charcoal grills, but most smokers have different design and feature for grilling, which makes the food has a different taste.
Here are top-rated smokers that are high quality on the market:
- Best Electric Smoker – Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker
- Best Smoker-Grill Combo – Camp Chef WIFI Woodwind Pellet Grill & Smoker
- Best Design – Dyna Glo Vertical Gas smoker
- Best Portable Smoker – Char-Broil Bullet Smoker
- Best Overall Smoker – Bradley BS611 Electric Smoker
- Best Budget Friendly Smoker – Cuisinart Vertical Smoker
- Best Vertical Smoke – Char-Broil Vertical Liquid Propane Gas Smoker
- Best Gas Smoker – PIT BOSS Gas Smoker
- Best Smoker for beginners – Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker
- Best Propane Smoker – Cuisinart 36” Propane Smoker
Top Best Smokers
1. Best Electric Smoker – Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker
Technology has made it so much easier to smoke food items without having to gather firewood or charcoal. This electric smoker is equipped with multifunctional features that help you smoke your pork, chicken, ribs, etc to your desired flavor and texture. All you need to do is plug it in.
This smoker measures 20.47” W x 19.88” L x 33.26” H and weighs 45.9 pounds. It is elegantly designed with a digital panel that lets you switch the smoker on and off. You can also control the cooking temperature and time with this panel. It can reach a maximum temperature of 275F which is more than enough to cook your meal to your desired texture.
It has the capacity to hold up to 4 Pork Butts, 4 Racks of Ribs, 2 Turkeys, and 6 Chickens. Its body is also fully insulated to help retain heat. You have a side wood chip loading system to help you load more wood chips without having to open the door.
It is a great option for both beginners and pros. The thermostat-temperature control features help you achieve consistent smoking with no hassle at all.
2. Best Smoker-Grill Combo – Camp Chef WIFI Woodwind Pellet Grill & Smoker
When looking for durability and portability all rolled up in one, this portable smoker is the answer. It is equipment that works well both indoors and outdoors, featuring quite an elegant design.
It comes with two features – grill & smoker for your jerky. Weighing 132 kilograms with a dimension of 30 x 42 x 49 inches. Its sturdy 2 legs with 2 wheels ensure it is leveled and well supported. You shouldn’t have trouble moving this equipment around the house.
The Camp Chef Pellet Grill & Smoker has WIFI & Bluetooth PID controller that helps you regulate temperature while cooking. Foods such as ribs, turkey, chicken, and even pie can be cooked using this smoker. Cooking temperatures usually range between 160 F to about 500 F, which enables you to fully control grilling and smoking.
3. Best Design – Dyna Glo Vertical Gas smoker
Coated with black powder, this Gas smoker from Dyna-Glo looks both elegant and modern. It is perfect for cooking in the backyard all year round. Equipped with many fascinating features that make this gas smoker a must-have.
Weighing a total of 54 pounds and with a dimension of 27 x 19.2 x 46.46 inches, this smoker is a blend between small and medium-sized. It is equipped with an impressive 784-square inch cooking space and 4 wire racks to cook your delicacies on.
The gas burner is a 15,000 btu cast iron and you have with it an electronic push-button for easy ignition. In this section, you will also find a large steel wood chip box that where you can put wood chips for smoking.
It also features a double-door design that gives you more control over your cooking. You can easily control the heat by using the sliding air dampers available at the top and side of the equipment.
4. Best Portable Smoker – Char-Broil Bullet Smoker
If you seek a smoker that gets the job done and also takes little space, this is the one for you. This Bullet Charcoal smoker is the definition of portable. It comes in two sizes, the 16” Bullet smoker and the 20” Bullet Smoker.
Standing on 3 firm legs, this smoker has a very rigid structure. The steel body is porcelain coated making it rust-proof. It has two cooking grates that make up the 584 sq cooking surface. They are very easy to clean. With its airflow control system, you can easily maintain cooking temperature.
Down below is a removable ash pan that collects ash over a period of time. It is very easy to cleanout. On the lid is a temperature gauge that helps you monitor the temperature while cooking.
5. Best Overall Smoker – Bradley BS611 Electric Smoker
When it comes to getting quality, it is always worth the cost. This Bradley Electric Smoker is made to last while also doing a great job. It is loaded with special features that make it stand out from other smokers.
Bradley is known for its world-class smokers; this one is no exception. Its interior is made of stainless steel making it easy to clean and free of rust. You can smoke various foods at the same time with its multi-rack design. Meat hooks can be hung on an of the racks available for smoking jerky or sausage.
Using CleanSmoke Technology, this smoker produces clean smoke. The vent above the racks helps get rid of dirty smoke. It does not accumulate ash as wood briquettes are doused before they can turn to ash. The magnetic door ensures the smoke stays where it should and also makes cleanup easy.
It also features a smoker generator which helps control the temperature in the smoker. The generator can be easily cleaned and maintained by removing the side panels.
6. Best Budget Friendly Smoker – Cuisinart Vertical Smoker
Cuisinart Vertical Smoker is both portable and affordable. Do not mind the small sturdy structure, it is still quite capable of smoking food for the whole family.
Its 402 sqr inch cooking space houses 2 stainless steel racks where you can smoke your food. Below the racks is a porcelain steel bowl to hold water so the food doesn’t dry out. Smoke can exit through two air vents located at the top and bottom. This makes heat control quite easy in this smoker. You can easily add fuel through the vertical side door.
All you need to start using this smoker is some charcoal and wood chunks. Cleaning is quite easy as food does not stick to the racks. You can trust Cuisinart vertical smoker to give you your smoke-flavored food exactly the want it.
7. Best Vertical Smoke – Char-Broil Vertical Liquid Propane Gas Smoker
Another great smoker from Char-Broil is the vertical smoker. It is multifunctional equipment that can smoke, grill, and roast food items as well.
This versatile smoker has a 595 square inch smoking space that can take large chunks of food like meat or turkey. It also has a propane gas system that cooks your food from the inside out giving the well-known juicy but crispy taste.
To enjoy the full benefit of this smoker, you need to get a liquid propane tank. You can add wood chips from the side through the side-mounted smoker box.
8. Best Gas Smoker – PIT BOSS Gas Smoker
This is another gas smoker that is worth checking out. Featuring a dual valve burner and see-through door, that speaks modern and convenient.
It is a medium-sized gas smoker weighing 52 pounds and sizing 21.4 x 23 x 47 inches in dimension. The first burner is a 3,500 BTU stainless steel burning that supplies heat to the wood chips and the other is a 10,000 BTU burner that takes care of the cabinet area. Lighting can be done with just the push of a button. Cooking temperature ranges from 100° F up to 350° F
The cooking space is 884 square inches wide, housing 3 racks. With this gas smoker, you can slowly smoke your pork or chicken to perfection. You can easily monitor your food while it is smoking through the large see-through front window.
9. Best Smoker for Beginners – Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker
This smoker is a great and affordable option for beginners. It is relatively easy to use. All components are designed specifically to make the cooking process easy for you.
It has a large cooking space of about 544 square inches. This space houses 3 chrome-plated cooking grates. The internal space is well insulated to retain more heat and smoke while cooking. Its wood chip box is large enough to hold enough wood chips for long hours of smoke.
You can easily monitor the cooking temperature through the door-mounted temperature gauge. With this, you can regulate the heat. Keep the moisture in by putting water in the water tray. The grease cup also helps in cleaning up the smoker.
10. Best Propane Smoker – Cuisinart 36” Propane Smoker
Large cooking space is a quality many lookout for in smokers. This will enable them to cook a variety of foods at the same time. Cuisinart Propane Smoker is just the right equipment for you if you’re in this category.
Although huge with a weight of 69.5 pounds, this smoker can easily stay on your patio or barbecue kitchen due to its vertical build. It has an impressive 5.45 square feet cooking space where you can cook from meats to even vegetables. There are four removable stainless-steel racks available and they are safe to wash using a dishwasher.
The gas supply is easily adjustable to maintain the cooking temperature in the smoker. Heat and smoke can be further controlled by opening the rear vent. Monitoring the temperature is quite easy with the built-in thermometer located on the front door. This equipment comes with a 40-inch hose & regulator.
How to Choose a Smoker?
If you plan to expand your outdoor cooking options, the best thing you can do is to think about buying a smoker. You might be looking for a new device for updating your hobby or even you might be thinking about buying an all-in-one smoking machine that will help you with winning the local contests. It remunerates to carefully judge before you buy this appliance. Here are the top 10 factors to consider in the process of your shopping:
10 Factors to Consider When Buying a Smoker
#1 Consider the Types of Smoker
When you compare smokers, you will come across different types like charcoal, gas, pellet, and electric smokers. Each one of them has their own merits and demerits. Here, let us gain a basic understanding of these types to help you with the right selection:
As you can judge from the name, these smokers are powered by electricity. If you plan to replace a charcoal-based smoker in your home, an electric unit can be the best replacement. You will have to just plug-in and select the right temperature and can start cooking. Without any further interference, the smoker will complete the task once you set the right temperature. You will be relieved of the manual efforts and attention that a charcoal smoker requires when you choose an electric-based unit.
- Safe to operate as compared to other types
- User-friendly compared to charcoal-based units
- The operation even though is safe, but it will take time for users to get used to the features
If you look for better control over the smoke produced and the temperature required for making juicy meat that is flavor-rich, you can choose a pellet smoker. In this type, you will see a rod that burns when you switch on the smoker and begins feeding the wood pellets.
The entire smoking process is carried out by this type of device almost automatically. So, you can save time working either with temperature, charcoal, or wood chips in other types of units. Also, the pellets used in these units are made using natural materials and they do not contain any additives or fillers like charcoal-based units. For flavoring, compared to microwave ovens or electric burners, you need not have to use any flavoring agents, as the pellets themselves can produce a mild-smoky flavor to your meat.
- Convenient fuel
- High efficiency
- Easiness to use
- Expensive variant
- Noisy cooking
- Maintenance requirements
If you are a person interested in getting the smokier flavor in your meat, then you can undoubtedly go for a charcoal smoker. This type of smoker comes in different sizes and shapes. The good thing about this type of unit is that you can manually control the temperature and air of the smoker. And it can be a portable grill. Even though initially you might find this control difficult, once you get used, it will be an enjoyable thing for you.
- Retains flavor
- Easy maintenance
- Easy cleaning
- Temperature controlled cooking
- Tough flame maintenance
- The requirement to maintain the internal temperature
- Cooking in the winter will be hard
If you look for an easy method to get the real BBQ flavor at home, you can confidently choose a gas-based smoker. In addition to being tasty, the meat smoldered in a gas-based smoker is healthy too. It brings an aroma to the meat that any other type of smoker cannot bring. It does not, however, impart the taste of the heating source to the meat.
- Easy to use
- High-temperature cooking is possible
- Needs a regular supply of gas
- The small parts can break easily in gas smokers
#2 Temperature Adjustment
When you compare smokers, you will have to consider the temperature adjustment facility. Only when you have this convenience, you can adjust the temperature based on the type of meat you cook. When you get the chance to control the temperature, your cooking time will also lessen.
Even if temperature adjustment is not possible, you should get a unit with a smart temperature probe. It will help you monitor the temperature via your phone. It means that you need not have to spend time standing in front of the smoker. To create the best smoking experience, there should be precise temperature control along with little programming.
#3 Design and Shape
You should choose the design and shape based on how you will be using the appliance. For instance, if it is going to be used for your family, it is recommended to choose the bullet-shaped smoker. On the flip side, if you are going to engage in some serious smoking business or if you have plans to smoke a wide variety of meat, then it is better that you choose the barrel-shaped unit. Otherwise, you can also choose a cabinet smoker, as it will give you more space to fit. It is quite different from a built-in grill, it may take much more space. Do consider it as an important factor.
Irrespective of the model you wish to invest in, it is better to choose the one that is made using heavy steel and thick walls. The reason is that such a unit in addition to concentrating on the heat can also hold it for longer.
As you know, user-friendliness is an essential thing to consider. Only when you can get to understand the controls of the smoker, you will find it easy to handle. At least, you should be in a position to easily learn the functions even though it is hard initially. This is something important to consider ensuring that you will continue cooking your favorite meat with the utmost joy of cooking.
#5 Distribution of Heat
Heat distribution is something that is closely associated with the design and shape of the unit. When you buy a smoker, it is better to understand what areas of the smoker will be the hottest at the time of cooking. You should particularly consider this thing when you go for charcoal grills that extend as smokers. The reason is that this variant tends to have to change hot zones that should be managed with care.
#6 Workmanship, Material, and Durability
As you can judge, smokers with sharper edges can increase the risk of injuries. So, it is better to keep away from such units. Also, make sure to check how stable are the wheels and legs of the unit. The paint used in the smoker should be durable as well. When talking about the material, stainless steel is a dependable material for the exterior of the unit. The reasons are not just its attractive looks, but also it is free of rust as well.
#7 Consider Versatility
You will come across many smokers in the market that can both grill and smoke. In case, you are like many shoppers, who need the best of both worlds, then it is better to choose a charcoal-based smoker.
When the smoker is multi-functional, you can cut down on the cost of shopping for two different appliances for different purposes like grilling and smoking meat. To some extent, a smoker can work as many grills, like kamado grills, pellet grills, and gas grills. Most of the lower-end models available in the market do either one of these and not both.
#8 Consider the Size
The smallest smokers in the market can prepare sufficient food for a large family. You might be surprised to know that they can prepare meat for about 20 people. When this is the case of the smallest smokers, you can very well judge the ability of the largest units in the market. They can barbecue to meet the needs of a party host all day long.
So, before you buy, you should decide on the quantity of barbecue you will have to make and whether it is portable or used for the outdoor kitchen. In case, you will be smoking for family weekends, you can very well go for a small unit.
On the other hand, if you plan to serve your company’s party, then you will have to choose the larger unit. The good thing here is that most smokers will give you a specification of how much food you can prepare.
It is needless to say that you should give the utmost importance to the safety of smokers before you shop for one. Check the safety features specified by the manufacturer. Check for complete safety instruction before you move on with any unit. This is the thumb rule to follow regardless of the type of smoker you choose for your requirements.
As you are excited about shopping for a new smoker, you should never overlook the manufacturer’s warranty. Check the warranty terms specified by different manufacturers and finally select the one with the best warranty terms.
Most people tend to smoke food items in their backyard which gives enough room to put smokers of any size. However, if you have limited space, you might have to consider the size of a smoker before making a purchase. There are a lot of portable smokers to fit your need although cooking space might be limited.
When looking out for a great smoker, it is important you take note of the fuel source. Most smokers use either gas or charcoal as heat sources. There are also electric smokers that make use of heating coils to heat up the wood chips. The best overall smoker for both beginners and pros alike is the Bradley BS611 Electric Smoker with all its amazing features. If what you seek is a portable smoker, then the Char-Broil Bullet Smoker is the one for you.
Smokers are available in different price range for different requirements. So, you should analyze your budget, the features that you will use, the brand and price that make impressive smokers, and other factors mentioned above before making the right choice. The appliance is going to stay with you for long. So, make a wise choice and even you can talk to your friends about the models and brands they own and their working efficiency before you choose a smoker for your needs and budget.