Electric Smokers Reviews
If you love the taste of smoked food, but don’t have space or time to tend to a traditional smoker, an electric model may be the best choice for you.
Why are electric smokers so popular? Because they’re:
- Set it and forget it. There are no coals to tend to or pellets to refill.
- Easy to use. Assemble it, plug it in, and start smoking.
- Choose the temperature you want, and let the smoker take care of the rest.
- Ideal for most living situations. Whether you live in a home with a large yard or a small apartment with a tiny balcony, an electric smoker can work for you. If you have strict fire codes in your area, an electric smoker may be your only
You may hear people complain that electric smokers offer inferior flavor to charcoal or pellet options, but today’s models are designed to smoke meats that taste just as good as traditional methods.
If you’ve decided that an electric smoker is a right choice for you, you may be wondering how to buy one. What should you look for? What makes one model better than another?
We’ll cover it all in our detailed guide
How to Find the Best Electric Smoker
There are a few things you need to keep in mind when looking for an electric smoker. Some of the most important include:
- Price: Your budget is probably the first and most important thing you need to consider. The more you have to spend, the more features you can take advantage of.
- Temperature Control: Nearly all electric smokers offer some form of temperature control be it a simple thermostat or digital controls. Ideally, you want to be able to set the exact temperature, but a simple dial or thermostat will suffice. Knowing the internal temperature is crucial in preventing over- or under-cooking.
- Heat Distribution: Look for models that offer even heat distribution. If one area of the smoker gets hotter than other areas, the food will cook at different rates. Uneven heating may also interfere with temperature regulation.
- Temperature Range: What’s the maximum temperature offered? If it’s a cold smoker, you’ll be limited in the foods you can cook. Generally, only fish, vegetables, and cheeses can be smoked at such low temperatures. Higher temperatures will allow you to smoke thicker cuts of meat and turkeys. You may even be able to sear a steak or caramelize sauces if you can crank the temperature up high enough.
- Safety: Another important thing to consider is safety. Are electrical components protected from the elements? Are the handles cool? Do the wheels lock to prevent the smoker from rolling away?
- Capacity: The smoker’s capacity is another essential thing to consider. If you’re only cooking for a small number of people, a small smoker will get the job done. But if you host the occasional backyard party, you may want to invest in a smoker with a higher capacity.
- Size: How much space do you have? If you have a small yard or live in an apartment, you’ll need to choose a smoker with a smaller footprint.
These are the most important considerations when choosing a smoker. Other factors, like accessories, wheels and movable shelves, may be important to you as well. Understand your needs first, and then search for a smoker that can meet your standards.
Our Top Electric Smoker Picks
Still not sure which smoker to choose? We’ve done all the hard work for you. Our top 5 electric smoker reviews will help you find the right model for your needs and budget. These are models you won’t find at your local BBQ Galore.
1. Smokin-It Model #1
Smokin-It Model #1 may have a simple name, but it’s far from simple when it comes to features and flavor quality. Rated one of the best electric smokers on the market, this model is priced just right and features a generous capacity.
With enough room to smoke up to 22 pounds of meat, this smoker can easily handle the demands of your next barbeque or backyard party.
- 400-watt heating element
- 18 ga., 201 stainless steel
- NSF certified for use in restaurants
- Rubber casters with 3” diameters
- 3 Movable shelves with space for 4 shelves total
- Side handles for easy lifting and movement
- Hickory wood sample included seasoning the smoker
- Temperature control with range of 100F to 250F
- Weight: 60 pounds
- Interior Dimensions: 17-1/4” tall x 12-1/2” wide x 13-1/2” deep
The Model #1 is ready to go right out of the box. Fully assembled, the only thing you have to do is a season the smoker with the included free sample of hickory wood.
Equipped with three stainless steel grilling racks and three movable shelves, you’ll have plenty of space to smoke your favorite meats. There’s enough space to add the fourth shelf, too, if you’re cooking for a large crowd. A drip pan is included, too, which slides right under the smoker.
Smoking meats doesn’t get any easier than this. The Model #1 is a smart choice for anyone who is just getting started with smoking or experienced veterans.
If you’re hosting a really big gathering, this may not be the right smoker for the job. But for most parties and for medium to large families, the Model #1 is a smart choice.
Oh, did we mention that you can cold smoke (just like the big chief smoker) in this model with a cold smoking plate? This means that you can easily smoke cheese, vegetables and fish.
2. Smokin-It Model #2
Another favorite from the Smokin-It brand, the Model #2 is a big step up from the Model #1. A high-end vertical smoker, the Model #3 offers more power, fiberglass insulation, and a larger interior.
Simply put, the Model #2 is the best choice for people who are serious about smoking meat. With this model, you can smoke up to 45 pounds of a meat at one time.
- 1200 watt heating element
- 210, 18ga. stainless steel
- 4” rubber casters
- 4 removable stainless steel shelves
- Temperature range of 100F to 250F
- Side handles for easy lifting and moving
- LED indicator light
- Fiberglass insulation to reduce heat loss
- 12’ power cord
- Can cook up to 45 pounds of meat at a time
- Restaurant quality – NSF Certified
- Interior dimensions: 22” tall x 15” wide x 20” deep
- Weight: 135 pounds
The Model #3 is already fully assembled and ready to go right out of the box. Like other Smokin-It models, this one comes with a sample of hickory wood, so you can season your smoker and start using it right away.
Sure, the Model #2 is one of the more expensive models on our list, but it’s worth the extra cost. With fiberglass insulation and a powerful heating element, this smoker produces delicious food with maximum flavor.
3. SmokinTex 1100
The SmokinTex 1100 is a Pro Series Electric Smoker that’s durable, efficient and so easy to use. A great option for beginners, 1100 gives you plenty of space to smoke meats, vegetables and just about everything in between.
- Stainless steel construction
- Fully insulated
- Easy to maintain and clean
- Uses the power of a 70-watt light bulb
- Compatible with any kind of wood chips or chunks
- Ideal for smaller families and gatherings, 1400 model is fully insulated to keep heat inside and is nearly foolproof to operate. Just plug into any 110-V outlet, and start smoking.
Affordably priced, this is one of the best meat smokers for beginners who are just getting started with smoking foods. While it may not be as cheap as the Brinkman electric smoker, it’s one of the best quality models under $500.
The only drawback with this smoker is that you can’t leave it out in the rain or snow uncovered. To extend the life of your smoker, consider moving 1100 into a garage or shed after each use once it’s cooled down.
Aside from this minor gripe, this is an excellent smoker for smaller families, beginners, and casual users.
4. SmokinTex 1400 Pro
The SmokinTex 1400 Pro is one of the brand’s most popular models because of its convenience, ease of use and high capacity. Double-walled and a completely stainless steel construction make this one of the best smokers for sale.
- Can smoke up to 38 pounds of meat at a time
- All stainless-steel construction
- Double-wall insulated to minimize heat loss
- Temperature range of 100-250F
- 800-watt heating element
- 3 stainless steel cooking racks with five slots
The 1400 Pro offers consistent results in a smoker that’s so easy to use. Whether you’ve been smoking food for years or this is your first smoker, you’ll have no issues using the 1400 Pro.
The double-walled design helps keep smoke and heat inside, so food cooks evenly and at the right temperature. With the ability to cook up to 38 pounds of food at a time, you can easily use this smoker for a backyard barbeque or a big family dinner.A few users had an issue with their heating element burning out quickly. While rare, this can happen with any electric smoker. However, SmokinTex responded quickly and send out replacements to any users who had their heating elements burn out prematurely.
If you’re looking for a consistent, well-made smoker that can handle large loads, the SmokinTex 1400 Pro is a great choice.
5. Masterbuilt 30 Electric Smoker
The Masterbuilt 30 is one of the more affordable smokers on the market, and it’s backed by thousands of positive reviews. With numerous options, plenty of cooking space and precise temperature controls, it’s no wonder this is one of the best-selling smokers around.
- 730 square inches of cooking space
- 800-watt heating element
- Removable water and drip pans
- Temperature range of 100-275F
- Four chrome-coated cooking racks
- Side-loading wood chips
- Analog, digital, window options available
This Masterbuilt electric smoker is a good unit to buy if you’re planning on getting started
smoking meat. It’s affordable, but it has features that make it easy to use.
The digital control panel on top allows you to easily set the exact temperature you want your food to be smoked at, and it lets you constantly monitor the temperature without having to open the door. The heat is controlled digitally, so it keeps the temperature inside at the exact level you want it. You can set the timer to shut the unit down up to 24 hours after you start cooking.
The interior of the smoker is insulated to keep the temperature inside even throughout. This prevents cool or hot spots from forming inside, causing your food to be over or undercooked. It has the added benefit of not radiating much heat so there’s less risk of burning yourself. Opening the door releases heat, but you won’t often need to when it’s time to change the wood chips.
There is a side-loading wood chip tray. You only need to remove the tray, fill it up and put it back into the side of the smoker. The door seals nicely and it has a latch to keep the smoke in. As with most smokers, there is some smoke leakage out the door, but you can compensate for this with the air damper. There are 1.7 cubic feet of space inside, but if that’s not enough, there is also a 40-inch model.
The unit is very easy to clean. The drip tray at the bottom catches most of the fat rendering, which you can use to make gravy later. Since this is an electric smoker, you don’t have to clean up a lot of residues as you would with a propane or charcoal smoker.
Overall, this is an excellent smoker for the money, and its quality build will assure you that it will last for years. While the unit provided for this review is a non-window model, Masterbuilt also makes digital electrical smokers with windows so you can watch your food as it cooks.
One of the great things about this Masterbuilt smoker is that you have quite a few options. You can choose an analog smoker with no window or a digital model with a front controller and window. While each comes at its own price point, you have more options and the luxury of choosing the right features for your needs.
Some users may find that the Masterbuilt 30 model is simply too small for their needs, and getting their hands on a 40” model from the brand isn’t always easy. That being said, this is an excellent smoker that’s well designed and offers numerous options to you, the user.
Bonus: Masterbuilt GS30D 2 Door Propane Smoker Review
Apart from the best electric smokers, we decided to say a few words about our top pick among propane smokers – Masterbuilt GS30D 2-Door Propane Smoker.
If you prefer propane smokers but you don’t want to spend a lot of money, then this Masterbuilt smoker may be the right choice for your cooking needs.
Unlike most other smokers in this price range, this Masterbuilt smoker is a two-door model. This is a big advantage when smoking for long periods because it will allow you to cut an hour or more off your smoking time and ensure that your food is cooked evenly.
In the top, there are over 700 square inches of space with four cooking racks, giving you plenty of room to cook for a family of any size.
The doors of the unit are insulated, so you won’t lose much heat from the front. The doors also latch to reduce smoke loss. There is some smoke leakage from the doors, but you can regulate the amount of smoke that stays inside with the air damper.
The push-button ignition lights the propane flow on either the first or the second try. The porcelain covered wood chip tray will need to be covered with aluminum foil to keep the flames from reaching the wood chips, but afterward, you’ll have no worries about leaving the smoker unattended because the temperature stays at a consistent level throughout the cooking process.
The main selling point of this smoker is its dual door design. This gives you the ability to add or replace wood chips and add vinegar, juice, or other flavors to the water tray without opening the top door. Most of the heat is stored in the top cabinet, so when you open the door that heat is lost. The setup of this smoker means you’ll only need to open the top if you want to check on the meat. The ringed handles on the top and bottom door stay cool so you don’t need to worry about burning your hand if you don’t wear oven mitts. This unit is packed with great features. Considering its low price, choosing to buy it should be an easy decision for any smoking enthusiast.
Our Buying Guide To Choosing the Best Smoker
If you are looking for the best smoker, it is very necessary for you to consider the tips below before choosing. These will help you make a right decision and choose the most suitable one for you.
- Buy a smoker with a quality build. It’s no good to buy a cheap smoker if you have to buy another a year later. Make certain you are buying one that is both designed and built well. Always buy one that sits firmly on the ground without wobbling, and make sure it is weatherproofed. No matter how good the build, you’ll need to take care of it, so buy a cover for it and keep it clean.
- Buy a smoker that keeps the smoke inside. Almost every smoker you will buy will have some smoke leakage out the door, but you want to keep this to a minimum. The smoke is what adds flavor to the food, and if it is pouring out the door your food won’t taste as good as it could. For example, many of Masterbuilt’s better smokers have a latch on the door, and these are highly recommended.
- Buy a smoker that is easy to use. Smoking should be fun, so you don’t want to buy a smoker that is too complicated to use. If you plan on buying a digital smoker, get one with an easy to use control panel.
- Buy a smoker that looses as little heat as possible. Some smokers lose a lot of heat. This can cause cool spots inside where your meat will not be cooked well, and there’s a risk you will burn yourself on the door. Opening a door or lifting a lid causes heat loss, so buy a two-door smoker or one that allows you to add wood chips without opening the door if you plan for lengthy smoking sessions.
- Buy the smoker that’s right for you. Everyone has a different preference when it comes to smoking. Some prefer one method and some another. Some only want to smoke, and others may want to grill as well. Take some time to think about what you want your cooking experience to be. Decide if you want a portable smoker or one that will stay in one place. Think about how much food you want to cook at one time and how big your smoker should be. Making these decisions in advance will ensure that you don’t regret your choice later.
There are several electric smokers on the market nowadays, and each one has some great features and some potential downfalls. Overall, the industry is growing by leaps and bounds and for 2018 are poised to expand technologies with German manufacturer Storz & Bickel, a medical vaporizer company (see their award-winning Volcano here).
The good news is that there is a smoker for every price range and experience level. The best way to figure out which smoker best fits your needs is to read plenty of BBQ smoker reviews.
First things first, do you need an electric smoker or a charcoal smoker?
An electric smoker uses metal heating elements to heat the wood chips that then smoke the meat. You must have a source of electricity available to use this type of smoker.
A charcoal smoker uses charcoal to heat the wood chips. A charcoal smoker is more portable, so it might be a better choice if portability is important to you (i.e. to take it camping).
In both types of smokers, the wood chips are soaked in water before being placed in the smoker.
Based on our comprehensive survey of editorial and user electric smoker reviews, we have rated the following electric smokers the best overall values.
Before making a final decision on a smoker, read plenty of smoker reviews to figure out which one is the best smoker to buy for the money.
Do you want a smoker you can use inside? Do you want a small smoker that can prepare just the right amount of meat and is still easy to carry?
Are you an expert smoker looking to prepare restaurant quality smoked meat, regardless of the price? Consider all of these points as you read through our reviews, and find the smoker that most closely fits your needs. As you can see, there are plenty of great options to choose from when it comes to electric and charcoal smokers.