Are you looking to get an electric smoker but you are lost in the vastness of choices available out there on the market? You arrived on the right page to help you go through this difficult choice that is choosing the best electric smoker for you.
First of all, what is an electric smoker? It’s simply a type of BBQ smoking device that relies on electricity rather than gas or charcoal. You could say it’s the cousin of the offset smoker. It has many advantages (and a few cons) that we will go through in this article. We decided to check out six different electric smokers to give you an important enough range of options, but we still divided them into different categories to help you guide your choice towards your profile.
Best electric smoker for the money
Our Pick: Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
This should be and probably will be your go-to electric smoker if you are looking at one of the best value-for-money devices on the market. Masterbuilt is a brand that has a strong, solid reputation and doesn’t need to prove its worth anymore. This particular electric smoker comes in two sizes (30 inches or 40) and boasts 721 sq inches of cooking space. This space is evenly spread between four chrome-coated racks, that you can remove in order to accommodate bigger pieces of food.
Here are a few of its features:
Digital control panel: clear, efficient and easy to use. You set the desired temperature and time, and you’re good to go.
Fully insulated: the build of this smoker is really good and the door is secured by a door latch. The fact that it is properly insulated means that you are not going to lose any of the smoke and that you will be able to use it even during colder times as it’s not going to be hardly affected by the low temperatures.
Patented wood tube: on the lower side of the cooking cabin, you will find a small opening to insert the wood tube. This allows you to add your favourite flavouring wood chips or pellets without the need to open the door.
Liquid bowl: a convenient recipient to add some water, fruit juice or even vinegar.
Bottom drip pan: to help you keep your smoker as clean as possible during the smoking in order to ease up the cleaning after. It’s shaped like a funnel so that the excess dripping flows directly into the bottom grease tray to which you have easy, quick access from the bottom of the cooking chamber.
Stainless steel air damper: located at the top of the device, it’s easy to manipulate and helps you control the smoke for smoke and moisture.
The 30 inches model:
Dimensions: 19.7 x 16.9 x 32.1 inches
Weight: 50 pounds
721 sq inches cooking space
Four chrome plated racks
Digital control panel
From 100F to 275F
Best electric smoker under 200
Our Pick: Smoke Hollow Electric Smoker
We are getting here into the budget aspect of getting an electric smoker. Investing as little as 200 quids is possible, however, it’s good to have the right expectations and be clear about the reasons why you set up such a budget. Every reason is a good reason, as, at the end, it’s down to your own personal situation. Some savings are always welcome though!
And there are many reasons to go for a device under 200 such as :
Budget restriction: the maximum amount you decided -or you can- invest in an electric smoker.
Space: they tend to be smaller in size, so if you have a small area where you plan to put it’s safer to go for a small size one.
You’re a beginner: you want to test you abilities and improve your skills on an entry-level appliance before to upgrade.
You’re unsure: you like to eat smoked food but you’re unsure if owning a grill will suit your lifestyle. Opting for an entry-level smoker is a cheap way to determine if you should invest more later on or not.
In any case, we have found the best electric smoker under 200 and it’s the Smoke Hollow Model 26142E – 26″ Electric Smoker. Let’s go through its characteristics and features:
Design: classic rectangular shape and full black colour. It has a front door that hosts a heat indicator in order for you to know what’s the temperature inside.It’s a fully welded smoking chamber. It has handles on the side to ease up the potential transport as it does not have wheels.
It comes with two chrome plated grids that are removable and that can be set up at different heights for better flexibility on the usage of the cooking area. The cooking space is 1.3 cubic feet.
There are two pans that also come included: water/liquid pan and chips pan. They are located at the bottom just under the heating element.
The heating element, it’s quite a unique feature on this smoker as it’s located in the cooking chamber right above the water/wood chips pan. The control for it is located on the external right side of the device and you can adjust and customise the heat as you need. The wattage is of 1500 watts.
Quick facts about the Smoke Hollow 26142E-26:
Dimensions: 19W x 16.5D x 35.5H
Weight: 34.7 pounds
1.3 cubic feet of cooking space
Two chrome plated grids
1500 watts heating element
From 175F to 325F
Best electric smoker under 500
Our Pick: Bradley Digital 4 Rack Smoker
Here we are, you got a little extra budget and feel like you want to upgrade to a nicer model, or maybe it’s simply time to change after a few years of good and loyal services by your old smoker. With a budget up to 500$, you will certainly find many options on the market. Some are simply better than others, and for this money, you want to make sure to have a solid, functional, long lasting and effective electric smoker. For this category, we selected the 4-RACK BRADLEY DIGITAL SMOKER.
Not only does it look absolutely stylish but it also offers great features:
Design: It is a cabinet style smoker, with a control unit on the side. It is actually amazing that the digital generator/control unit can be separated from the cooking chamber itself; and so, if you wish to protect it from any harsh weather conditions but you do not have the sufficient space for the whole smoker, you could just store away the control unit. It is very simple and intuitive to assemble.
Dimensions: You consider this a mid size smoker, but if you’re planning to cook/smoke for your family and the occasional events where you’ll have more people around, you’ll sure be able to place enough food in this 17” W x 14” D x 31” H smoker (width of 24” with the generator). The cooking chamber itself measures 15” W x 11” D x 25 ” H. Weighs 45 lbs.
There are 4 cooking racks provided with this model (a version with 6 racks exists also); each grate measures 10” X 13”, which gives you roughly 520” of cooking area. All the grates are dishwasher safe, which is a nice plus.
The digital control panel is very clear, self explanatory and easy to use. There are buttons to turn on/off the oven and smoking functions, to adjust the temperature and to set up a timer. The temperature can be read in Fahrenheit or in Celsius.
One of the most singular aspects of this smoker is the bisquettes that it uses. They are very practical and unique. On the bright side, they’ll make you manage and control the amount of bisquettes used and there are several flavours to choose from; on the down side, as they are not so standard, you might need to order them online or find a particular shop next to your place that sells them. In the chimney/hopper you can load up to 9h worth of bisquettes . One single bisquette would burn in about 20-25 mins.
Ease of use: as we saw, the digital panel is very simple to use and to set up; once you decide the cooking/smoking time and temperature; you can just set it up and no need to babysit your food. On how the device itself works: there is a “bisquette advance” button on the control panel that you can push until the first bisquette arrives to the heating element then the bosquette conveyor does the job for the rest
There is smoke diffuser right next to the heating element that gathers and dispenses renderings while making sure the smoke is evenly diffused throughout the cooking chamber.
At the bottom of the unit, in a classic fashion, there is a pan that goes at the bottom and a bowl, where you can put some water. Eventually, the burnt bisquettes and grease will go into the bowl.
The manufacturer also allowed for the possibility to buy their cold smoke adaptor and it is compatible with this unit.
Quick facts about the Bradley digital smoker:
500 watt Cooking Element
125 watt bisquette burner
17” W x 14” D x 31” H
Weighs 45 lbs
4 cooking racks
Detachable control unit
Max temp: between 280F and 320F
Uses specific wooden bisquettes
Best electric smoker for beginners
Our Pick: Dyna-Glo 30″ Analog Electric Smoker
Are you still wrapping your head around smoking? If it’s something you want to get into maybe, or not yet? It could be overwhelming and even a little bit scary if you’ve never tried it before. But at the end of the day, if you don’t start and don’t try, you’ll never know if it’s something that’s right for you and if you’ll love it. If you do not start, you might be missing something. But do not worry, there are some very good, but very simple smokers on the market, just like this Dyno-Glo 30 inch analog smoker. Not only is it very affordable, but it is very beginner friendly.
Design: pretty standard rectangular shape. The dimensions are 23.5 × 18.4 × 35.9 inches and it weighs 46.3 pounds. It has a main cooking chamber, standing on four legs, two side handles and a dripping pan that’s pending at the bottom.
It comes with three adjustable chrome-plated Steel cooking grate and you will avail of 505 square inches in cooking space.
At the bottom, you’ll have a pan where you can put some water and a smaller pan for the woodchips.
The front temperature gauge is simple to read and features a smoke zone; which is the temperature to target when you’re looking to smoke your food and infuse it with flavours.
At the back of the device, you’ll find the temperature control dial and you’ll be able to fine-tune the cooking temperature.
On the side, there is a quick and easy access to the wood chip loader. Simply tilt it towards you, fill it with and close. Because of its small size, the smoke and heat loss is minimal during this process.
The burner boasts a 1500 watt power and you’ll be able to reach nice hot temperatures and keep them thanks to the double walled firebox.
Dimensions 23.5 × 18.4 × 35.9
Weight: 46.3 lbs
Temp gauge with smoke zone
Easy temperature control
3 chrome-plated grates
Temp from 35 degrees F to about 275/300 F
Best electric smoker with Bluetooth
If you are tech savvy and looking to become the next smoking king, you’ll be glad to hear you can combine both! Yes, you could be loading your ribs, turkeys and sausages seasoned with love and expertise into your smoker, go back into your house and… get on the phone. This is really a fun, extra feature. It’s not going to change your smoking/cooking experience, but if you’re looking for something different, it’s nice to know that some devices out there offer this feature.
Masterbuilt has offered to the market a lot of cooking, smoking, grilling devices and they have been adored by many. This model, the Masterbuilt MB20073519 Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker with Broiler, 30 inch, is no exception.
The design is classic, it’s rectangular and is composed solely of the smoking chamber. It does not have legs, but just four little feet to secure the unit on the floor.
This 19.88 x 20.66 x 33.46 inches smoker also boasts a quite nice design feature: there’s a window in its front door and you can see your food cooking.
It comes with four chrome-coated smoking racks. Three classic ones and one notched rack to secure the broiler if you have one (sold separately).
As for the cooking capacity, the manufacturer decided to remain very tangible and real: you could fit there six chickens, two turkeys, four pork butts or four racks of ribs.
To load wood chips without opening the door and risking heat loss, you can find on the side a smart chip loader. It looks like a tube that you twist out, fill with wood chips, push it back in and twist it back to secure it.
The chips will be dropped into the wood chip tray, that is just above the main heating element.
You will find a built in meat probe, and in a classic fashion at the bottom there will be a water bowl and a pan.
A nice bonus that is present in this smoker by Masterbuilt is the “grill and finish” element. As its name indicates, it will enable you to grill and cook at higher temperature some food to get them crispy finish after the smoking process.
It’s not so common, but in this unit you will find two air dampers at the top for smoke control.
The control panel is digital, user friendly and pretty simple to operate. Definitely intuitive; you’ll have the turn on/off button; two buttons for the temperature and time and two buttons with arrows up and down to adjust the time/temperature.
The final button on the control panel is to enable the bluetooth function; the cherry on the cake. If you are willing to use it, you can download the application on Android or iOS, pair it with your smoker and get going. You can manage the temperature, time from your smart device and power on/off the smoker. Some drawdowns though have been reported by some users on the range that is available once you get away from the smoker and also some occasional glitches. So make sure to keep an eye on the software updates.
Temperature range 100- 275 °
Bluetooth function available
Dimension: 19.88 x 20.66 x 33.46
Grill and finish element
Built-in meat probe
Best electric smoker based on consumer reviews
Our Pick: Masterbuilt 30 Digital Electric Smoker
Yes, here you go. This model is the people’s favourite electric smoker; their sweetheart we shall say. Another piece delivered by Masterbuilt. This family business is bringing some of the most popular smoking and cooking devices on the market and the MB20071117 is probably their most iconic mode. It is a vertical type of smoker that will arrive at your front door carefully packed. Most of the smoker will be preassembled and the rest is relatively straightforward to assemble. You can, of course, leave it to your talent, but you can also follow the clear instructions that come in the package.
Let’s move on and review this electric smoker in depth:
The design: quite simple and sober; this smoker has a standard shape. Vertical and rectangular; black coloured. You could compare somewhat to a small hotel fridge. The dimensions are 19.88 x 20.47 x 33.26 inches and it weighs almost 46 pounds. You’ll also have a water pan, drip and wood chip tray.
It comes with four chrome-coated smoking racks and this will give you quite enough space to cook delicious meals to feed family and friends. As Masterbuilt advises, you could fit up there up to six chickens, two turkeys, four pork butts and four rack of ribs.
Digital control panel: mounted on top of the unit, it is super easy to operate and will help you obtain the best results for some perfectly smoked meals. The panel is simple to read and use, just a couple of buttons to turn on/off the unit and to adjust the temperature and time. For better precision, there is a built-in thermostat. Keeping the temperature even throughout the smoking process is key.
Patented wood chip loading system: the same system that we described above. A signature of Masterbuilt. In order to avoid opening the door, which can cause heat and smoke loss, there’s a smart wood chip loading system on the side. A convenient tube shaped loader where you simply put your wood chips, push it inside and twist to lock it and secure it.
Insulation/door latch: the smoking body is fully insulated, to avoid any heat or smoke loss, and to help with even smoking during several hours. The door latch is solid and you won’t risk to leave the door open by mistake.
Air damper: smoke control, just like temperature control is essential. The air damper, placed at the top of the smoking cabinet, will allow you to check if the smoke inside is the right amount or if you need to release some.
Size:19.88 x 20.47 x 33.26
Weight: 46 pounds
Max temp of about 275F
Side wood chip loader
Digital control panel
*Read an in-depth review of the best Masterbuilt electric smoker
Overall, we saw that there were a lot of great electric smokers on the market. For all the needs, all the budget and all the levels of expertise. You can go for some entry-level smokers if you are on a budget or you are a beginner and you are unsure how well you’ll like this activity, or you can opt for some high end smokers. The units featured in this review lie mostly in the mid-range. The models are great and will satisfy most of the people. What is nice also, is that most of them come into different sizes and the manufacturers often offer view variations of these models.
Now, to see which would be the best pick for you, let’s have a look at our meticulous buyer’s guide.
How to pick the best electric smoker for you – buyer’s guide
What are you looking for in an electric smoker? Are you planning to use it very often or on a rare occasion? Will you feed quite a small audience (four, five people) or a whole bunch of guests? These are the types of questions you’ll need to ask yourself in order to make sure that the model you will buy will suit you.
You can have electric smokers from as little as about 150 USD. If you are on a budget or a beginner and want to have fun and smoke some food from time to time, it could be a good option. If you already know that you’ll be using your device quite often and looking for something more solid, it could be good to consider the price bracket from 200 USD to 500 USD.
Beginner or pro? Most of the models presented here above will satisfy both. If you are more experienced though, you will probably have already tried some smokers and you’ll know which you like and which you don’t. You may also have a favourite brand? It’s good then to invest in a sturdy, durable, proven model and manufacturer. If you are just starting your journey, don’t be afraid, get an electric smoker, grab your bbq tool set and get started!
Size and capacity
How much food can you cook/smoke at the same time? How many cooking racks fit there? This is really personal. If you only smoke when you have guests and a large group of people you might want to get a large size smoker. If it’s only for the occasional need, a smaller one will do.
Here, what you need to check are factors like the minimum and maximum temperature. The temperature gauge. If there’s an integrated thermostat or built-in meat probe. What is the wood chip loading system? Is there an air damper? What does the control panel look like? Are there wheels to carry it around?
This is really a particular feature; but if you like or consider taking your electric smoker on trips for example, you could look at the portability. Some electric smokers are very compact and transport friendly and you could take them away on a trip alongside to your favourite rocking folding chair.
How to use an electric smoker?
1. Season your meat/poultry/fish
2. Turn on your electric smoker to the desired temperature
3. When the temperature is reached, place in the water plan filled with water
4. Add in the wood chips
5. Once there’s a good, nice smoke, place your food inside the cooking chamber and set up the timer
How to clean an electric smoker?
An important thing to keep in mind is not to use any harsh chemical or abrasive materials. Gentle detergents usually work great. Alternatively, you can prepare a mixture of equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and then use it
Do you need to pre-season your electric smoker?
This process is also called curing. It will allow you to get rid of excess oils and undesired materials that might be left in your smoker during the manufacturing process. It’s basically doing a first round of smoking in an empty smoker. You only do it once (the first time you power on your unit)
How to season your electric smoker?
Assemble your smoker, put the cooking racks in, the water pan(empty), the drip pan and wood chip box (empty) inside and turn it on. Set the temperature up to its maximum and adjust the timer for 2 or 3 hours. It’s advised to add a little bit of wood chips halfway through or maybe 30 mins before it’s due to end
How to use wood chips in an electric smoker?
Most smokers have a side loading system that allows you to drop in chips in a lateral fashion to avoid opening the door. Usually, you do it as you go: when the first load of chips are burnt, you add the second load and so on. If there’s no smart loading system, you would usually place the wood chips in the designated box inside the cooking unit
Will it work in a cold climate?
Electric smokers will work anywhere. But if you are planning to use it in the winter or in a rough climate, make sure to opt for a model that is perfectly insulated and that has a powerful burning element
Do you need to pre-soak the wood chips?
It’s not necessary, you can do it if you wish to. Most likely dry wood chips will burn faster and give a more intense smoke, and damp one will last longer but will give a lesser intense smoke
Do you use wood chunks, wood chips or bisquettes?
Most models will be wood chips only, but make sure to check the manufacturer’s guide to be 100% sure