The Best Smoker Buying Guide
Table of Contents
Top Best Smoker Based on Reviews and Price
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 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.
Smokers are available in a different price range for different requirements. So, you should analyze your budget, the features that you will use, the brand and price 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 brand they own and their working efficiency before you choose a smoker for your needs and budget.