Comparing The Best Electric Smokers

best electric smoker

There’s one universal truth no red-blooded food-lover can deny:

Whoever discovered that smoking meat was a good idea deserves a friggin medal of honor!

Now, if you’re looking to start smoking your own, the first thing to think about is what type of smoker you want to get.

For those of you looking for convenience, easy of use, and would like to set-it-and-forget-it, you are definitely in the right place.

Whether you’re a seasoned smoker looking for a new toy, or an absolute beginner looking to wow the neighbours with your culinary skills, a top class electric meat smoker will deliver the results you want, with the minimum of fuss on your end and a beautifully cooked product time after time.

The only problem is this:

With the dizzying array of products on the market, how do you know what to buy?

That’s where this guide comes in. I’ll help you in your research for the best electric meat smoker for the money. Let’s start with my top picks:

  NameSizeCooking spaceRating 
Best Overall
Masterbuilt 40" Electric Smoker40"x25'x20"975 sq. in.4.9/5Check Price
Best Quality
Smokin' It Model #1 Electric Smoker20.5"x19"x15"505 sq. in.4.8/5Check Price
Best Value
Char-Broil The Big Easy Smoker, Roaster & Grill36" x 24" x 18"180 sq. in.4.7/5Check Price
Professional
Masterbuilt 30 Digital Electric Smoker32" x 20.5" x 20"721 sq. in4.5/5Check Price
Budget
Old Smokey Electric Smoker29" x 15.5" x 15.5"280 sq. in.4.5/5Check Price
I

n this extensive guide I will help you decide on the best electric smoker for your need. I’ll be reviewing 17 of the absolute best smokers on the market divided into 5 price ranges for your convenience.

You can use the menu below to jump right to your budget range and start your research from there. Also, there is a buyer’s guide at the bottom of the page that should answer any questions you might have about electric smokers, what to look for when buying one, and a whole lot more.

best electric smokers under $500

Best Electric Smokers under $500

In this price range you’ll find my favorite electric smokers, along with my top choice, the Masterbuilt 40 inch smoker. At this level, we’re right on the verge of professional quality machines, and anything you look at will give great performance.

All three models we’re looking at are very different, but each one is the best in its area, so let’s check them out.

Electric Smoker Comparison Chart

masterbuilt 40
Masterbuilt 40″ Electric Smoker
  • 4.9/5 Rating
  • 40″x25’x20″
  • 975 sq. in.
  • 100-275F (38-145C)
masterbuilt 40

Recommendation

Out of all the electric smokers I’ve seen, this is the best. It really is Master Built! Every single aspect of it is fantastic, from the huge front viewing window, to the solid construction, immense internal space, even the little wheels built in that make moving it a cinch.

Out of everything we’re looking at today, this is my number one choice and overall best.

TECH SPECS

Size
40″x25’x20″
Cooking space
975 sq. in.
Temperature range
100-275F (38-145C)
No. of cooking racks
4
Weight
73lbs (33kg)
Accessories
Water pan, drip pan, built in meat probe

Masterbuilt 40″ Electric Smoker

The list of things this smoker comes with is immense, and every part of it is well thought out.

For a start, the heating element is strong, putting out a maximum of 275F, which is especially impressive considering the huge internal space of this thing. At almost 1000 square inches of cooking space across 4 cooking racks, this has almost double the room of some of its competitors, apparently enough for about 100lbs of food. I haven’t cooked anywhere near this amount, but I believe the claim. It’s massive.

Even more impressive is the fact that it’s so well insulated that even at maximum temperatures, so little heat escapes the internals that you can lay a hand on the metal frame of this and not burn yourself.

It’s got a full length viewing window, which paired with the included remote control means that, should the mood take you, you can adjust the machine from the comfort of your chair, maybe with a cold brew in the other hand. Even if this isn’t you, the image is too good to miss.

There’s a built in drip capture system for simple clean up, and it’s made especially easy with the front access removable drip pan. This is a nice option, because the only real flaw I ever found with the Masterbuilt is you had to wipe the front window off every time it was used. All the internals are dishwasher safe, though, so cleaning the racks is as simple as whipping them out and forgetting about them in the dishwasher.

A side mounted wood dispenser, built in meat probe and air damper round out the features. For those who don’t know, the wood dispenser means you don’t have to replenish wood chips in the middle of use, the meat probe links to the remote to give you the exact internal temperature of your meat, and air dampers affect how much smoke is being produced and the flavor of your finished product.

Finally, to move the thing it’s got a pair of built in wheels on the back. Whilst they won’t get it over grass or gravel without struggle, it’s more than enough to get it from your garage to the decking at the back of your house.

Honestly, about from the fact that this is more expensive than the basic smokers, it’s straight up the best option for both beginners and seasoned professionals. A lot of other smokers have similar options, but none that I’ve seen can do everything that this does, or do it with such style.

Pros
  • Massive viewing window makes checking your food as simple as a glance
  • Remote control puts everything at your fingertips
  • Everything built in, temperature sensors, even a meat probe!
  • Side mounted wood chip dispenser
Cons
  • It’s quite heavy
masterbuilt 40 food
masterbuilt 40 open
masterbuilt 40 racks
masterbuilt 40 remote
smokin it 1
Smokin’ It Model #1 Electric Smoker
  • 4.8/5 Rating
  • 20.5″x19″x15″
  • 505 sq. in.
  • 100-250F (38-121C)
smokin it 1

Recommendation

The Smokin’ It model #1 might not have the biggest capacity of the smokers in this range, or the level of technology you might get with the Masterbuilt, but what it does have is quality. It’s exceptional, all the way through, with the quality of a top of the line professional smoker in a compact package that’s suitable for home use and won’t break the bank.

TECH SPECS

Size
20.5″x19″x15″
Cooking space
505 sq. in.
Temperature range
100-250F (38-121C)
No. of cooking racks
3
Weight
60lbs (27kg)
Accessories
Drip pan, wood chip pan.

Smokin’ It Model #1 Electric Smoker

Made from 201 18-gauge stainless steel and certified for restaurant use, Smokin It’s model number 1 is pristine, reliable and clean. It looks like the kind of kit you’d see in a high end restaurant, and that same quality runs through everything about it.

First, the good. It’s built incredibly well, with 3 racks that give over 500 square inches of space. Its got a powerful heating element that goes up to 250F, people who expect to see a whole lot of use out of their smoker. When you know that you can replace the heating element so simply and at a cost of just $20 from the manufacturers, it takes a weight off of your mind.

It’s really easy to clean. Possibly the easiest I’ve seen. If you foil the bottom of the smoker like it says in the instruction manual, then there’s literally almost no mess once you’re done. It’s also incredibly easy to move, either with the caster wheels that come with it or the handles built into the side.

The downsides are it only holds 22lbs of meat per load, and even though there’s quite a bit of internal space on the racks, it’s quite cramped, so for example ribs will have to be split, and cooking larger birds like turkey will take up almost the whole space.

It’s a great smoker, don’t get me wrong. It just doesn’t seem positioned for the general home user. However, like I said earlier, if you’re expecting your smoker to see serious use and this is the size and price you’re looking for, the model #1 is the model you want. Used day in day out, the robust design and relentless efficiency of this little beauty will shine through.

Pros
  • Excellent cooking quality throughout
  • Completely built out of restaurant grade certified stainless steel
  • Really easy to move
Cons
  • Only holds 22lbs of meat per load
  • If you’re cooking larger joints or racks of ribs, you might have to split them
smokin it 1 in
smokin it 1 knob
smokin it 1 wire
smokin it 1 closed
bradley digital
Bradley Digital 4 Rack Smoker
  • 3.5/5 Rating
  • 31″x 14″ x14″
  • 225 sq. in.
  • to 280F (138C)
bradley digital

Recommendation

The Bradley Digital is essentially very similar in operation to the Bradley Original, one of our favourite electric smokers for under $300, but with the benefit of digital technology to make using it even simpler. With the advent of digital technology, you don’t even have to adjust anything. Just set it before you start and get cooking.

TECH SPECS

Size
31″x 14″ x14″
Cooking space
225 sq. in.
Temperature range
to 280F (138C)
No. of cooking racks
4
Weight
43lbs (19.5kg)
Accessories
Drip tray, Briquette dispenser

Bradley Digital 4 Rack Smoker

Similar to the Bradley Original, the Bradley Digital 4-Rack is an excellent little smoker with the option to also function as a roaster and a cold smoker because of its separate smoking and cooking elements.

Unlike the Bradley Original, this model has digital controls for damn near everything. Temperature, time, smoke levels, all can be set before you start, and then you just let it do its thing, with every setting monitored and regulated automatically.

The wood chip dispenser mounted to the side of the system also automatically feeds wood briquettes into the smoker, with up to 8 hours supply, so that’s another thing you can just set and forget.

As you’d expect from a Bradley, your food comes out succulent and tasting great, even if you leave it to fully automatic digital mode. I’m a little bit of a control freak. At barbeques I’m always the one standing over the grill poking at food that doesn’t need anything done to it, and just setting up a smoker and walking away was anathema to me, but I was happily surprised to find that this cooked my meat as good as, or dare I even say better than I would have.

The major problem, and the elephant in the room here, is the size of this model. For some reason, Bradley decided to reduce the size of this smoker down from their Original. Whilst it still has 4 internal racks, the total cooking area is only 225 square inches. Now, this is easily enough for a family and a couple of friends, but anything bigger and you might struggle. You’re also going to struggle to get larger cuts into this thing, and a big turkey for Thanksgiving is a no-no.

Unfortunately, it’s the size that kills it. Other than that, this is a beautiful piece of kit. If Bradley had just taken the Original model and glued the digital cooking tech to it, we might have had a winner on our hands. Instead, the Bradley Digital only gets a silver. It’s very good, but not perfect.

Pros
  • So easy to use. Completely automatic once it’s set up
  • Wood chip dispenser automates something else you normally have to do
  • High cooking temperature and good
  • Separate burners for smoke and oven. Cold smoke, roast, it does it all
Cons
  • Small internal area
  • Briquette dispenser sometimes has problems
bradley digital
bradley digital side
bradley digital racks
bradley digital pellets
smokin it 2
Smokin-It Model #2
  • 3.5/5 Rating
  • 24” x 21.5” x 17.25”
  • 900 sq. in.
  • 100-250F (37-121C)
smokin it 2

Recommendation

Another powerful, expertly built smoker from Smokin-it, their model 2 is the bigger, restaurant quality variant of the model 1. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any of the digital specifications you should see in a lot of other smokers at this price, and I can’t really recommend it for home use.

TECH SPECS

Size
24” x 21.5” x 17.25”
Cooking space
900 sq. in.
Temperature range
100-250F (37-121C)
No. of cooking racks
4
Weight
86lbs (39kg)
Accessories
Drip pan, smoke box

Smokin-It Model #2

For serious use, this smoker is the business. It’s made of restaurant grade materials all the way through and it’s solid as a wrecking ball. The heating element is a really powerful 800W, and even better, they’re incredibly cheap to replace and just clip in and out if it ever needs replacing.

There’s a massive amount of internal space across 4 racks. The manufacturers say this should hold around 35lbs of meat with ease, and it’s not hard to see why.

Considering the build quality and fact that this beast will keep on cooking all day every day, it’s an excellent pick for anyone who sees serious use out of their smoker. If you’ve got an operation going that needs a smoker this size, this is a great pickup, and if you’ve got a major event coming and need to make sure your smoker will handle it, this definitely will.

Unfortunately, for the home market it’s hard to recommend. Unlike everything else at this range, this smoker has no digital controls and no automation. If I was dropping this much on a smoker for casual use, I’d want it to do as much of the work as possible.

In short, if you’re semi-pro at smoking meat or above, this smoker performs great. If you’re looking for something to stick on the deck and cook great tasting meat for family and friends, this is too much. Grab the Masterbuilt or even the Smokin-it model 1 instead.

Pros
  • Powerful, easily replaceable 800W heating element
  • Solidly constructed and well insulated
  • Included wheels and side handles make it really simple to move
Cons
  • Really heavy and dense
  • No digital toys
smokin it 2
smokin it 2 out
smokin it 2 back
smokin it 2 closed
best electric smokers under $300

Best Electric Smokers Under $300

Around $300 is the sweet spot for electric smokers. It really is the perfect balance between quality and affordability.

For the extra dollars, you’re going to be getting a lot of added technology that makes the job of smoking meat so much easier. Internal thermometers, automatic wood chip dispensers and more automate a lot of the grunt work, and mean you can focus more on the things that matter, whether that’s preparing everything else that’s going to be served with what you’re smoking, or spending time with family and friends.

Electric Smoker Comparison Chart

bradley original
Bradley Original Smoker
  • 4.4/5 Rating
  • 33.5″ x 20.2″ x 17.5″
  • 520 sq. in.
  • to 250F(-121C)
bradley original

Recommendation

With a smart wood briquette feeder that keeps your smoker fueled and running, the Bradley Original really is just set and forget. A generous cooking space and powerful cooking element make this a good choice for anyone non-commercial, and it’ll handle whatever you need it to do.

TECH SPECS

Size
33.5″ x 20.2″ x 17.5″
Cooking space
520 sq. in.
Temperature range
to 250F(-121C)
No. of cooking racks
4
Weight
55lbs (25kg)
Accessories
Water pan, built in wood chip feed

Bradley Original Smoker

Not only can the Bradley Original be used as a smoker, it’s also a roaster and a slow cooker. It’s got this option because the smoke burner and oven heating element are completely separate, meaning it’s entirely possible to switch on one and not the other.

This means that, yes, you can also use this to cold smoke things, too, like cheese and nuts. I can’t say I did this, but I wish I had as smoke cured cheddar on crackers is a particular weakness of mine.

One huge advantage of this system over its contemporaries is the automated wood feeder. Unlike a lot of other options at this price range, you don’t have to open this smoker every few hours to refill the wood chips and keep the smoke going. Instead the hopper on the side of the smoker drops a new wooden bisquette into it every 20 minutes or so, giving you up to 8 hours of smoke without needing to refill it.

Apparently, a few people have had issues with this system. I didn’t, but I looked into it just in case and it turns out it’s a sizing issue with the bisquettes themselves. If yours don’t feed in, just try another batch and it should fix itself.

Its fully insulated, so it’s usable in even the coldest temperatures, and goes up to a solid 250F. There’s also a nice touch with the rack supports. This stops the racks from dropping out of the smoker even when they’re loaded with food, which I’m sure has saved more than one person from embarrassing accidents.

Overall, I was really impressed with this. It’s an excellent smoker with fantastic options that mean you can just set it up and come back a few hours later to grab your perfectly smoked food. That level of convenience means a lot to me, and given the option I’d definitely spring for a smoker with an automated feed.

Pros
  • Lots of internal space on 4 racks
  • Automated wood feed means you don’t have to crack this open to refill smoke chips
  • Also works as a slow cooker and roasting oven
  • Option to cold smoke
Cons
  • Automatic wood feed occasionally jams.
bradley original
bradley original closed
char broil digital
Char-Broil Digital Electric 725
  • 4/5 Rating
  • 4/5 rating
  • 32.5″x18.1″x16.5″
  • 725 sq. in.
char broil digital

Recommendation

Another excellent smoker from Char-Broil, the makers of the Big Easy, our best value smoker. Compared to that, the Digital Electric 725 is more expensive, but comes with a lot to love, including several pieces of tech that automates of lot of the grunt work of cooking.

TECH SPECS

Rating
4/5
Size
32.5″x18.1″x16.5″
Cooking space
725 sq. in.
Temperature range
ambient to 250F (121C)
No. of cooking racks
4
Weight
46lbs (21kg)
Accessories
Drip tray, Meat thermometer

Char-Broil Digital Electric 725

Excellently built all the way through, the Char-Broil digital is a quality little unit. Double insulated walls and a really generous internal cooking area over 4 racks make sure that this can handle whatever home use you might have for it, and the powerful heating element easily brings the inside to up to 250F, more than enough.

The standout features on this smoker though, are definitely the digital elements. With fully programmable controls that can be easily linked to the provided remote, it’s absolutely simple to monitor the progress of your meat as long as you’re anywhere near it.

Not only that, but the provided meat probe can be used to get an accurate internal temperature of whatever you’re cooking, and the smoker is smart enough to stop cooking as soon as it hits this temperature and switch to warming mode to keep it hot until served.

If you do fancy giving it a go yourself, the unit is really easy to control from the top mounted panel, and there’s a large LED display that keeps you updated on how your cook is going at a glance.

The only downsides I saw with this smoker are getting used to some of the controls, which can be a touch weird without reading the manual first, and the remote occasionally cut out on me, which meant I had to get up out of my comfy chair.

There’s a deluxe version available as well. Which is identical except for a glass fronted window, if that’s something you’d prefer. Overall, this is a beautiful little smoker that’s ideal for home use, and comes with enough to easily justify the increased cost.

Pros
  • Digitally controlled
  • Excellent internal cooking room
  • Really solid heat thermometer
Cons
  • Slightly steeper learning curve than other smokers
  • Remote can have signal problems
char broil digital out
char broil digital food
char broil digital rack
char broil digital closed
cheap electric smokers (under $200)

Cheap Electric Smokers (Under $200)

At this level, you’re getting something a bit heavier duty.

In terms of capacity, you’re still only looking at 30-50lbs of meat maximum, but that’s easily more than enough for any normal day to day usage, and with a bit of preparation it’s great for larger events too.

What you will notice is that at this level, it starts to get a bit higher tech. In the range below we’ve got a combined smoker, roaster and grill (my number one choice!) Smokers with built in windows and electronic temperature controls. As well as smokers that let you adjust the flow and buildup of smoke inside the cooking chamber so you can get the exact flavor and finish you want, whether that be a delicate hint with every bite or a full on smokey taste explosion in your mouth.

Electric Smoker Comparison Chart

big easy
Char-Broil The Big Easy Smoker, Roaster & Grill
  • 4.7/5 Rating
  • 36″ x 24″ x 18″
  • 180 sq. in.
  • 250- 450F (121-232C)
big easy

Recommendation

A combination smoker, roaster and grill from industry leaders Char-Broil, the Big Easy TRU infrared is our best value choice. Once you’ve gotten used to its particular quirks, it functions as a good smoker, a roaster that could easily replace your indoor oven, and a grill.

With an innovative design that deals with everything, this could easily be the centrepiece for your barbeques for years to come. That’s why out of all of the outdoor meat smokers we’re looking at today, this is our best value choice.

TECH SPECS

Size
36″ x 24″ x 18″
Cooking space
180 sq. in.
Temperature range
250- 450F (121-232C)
No. of cooking racks
2
Weight
58lbs (26kg)
Accessories
Meat thermometer, grease collection tray, double stacked roasting basket

Char-Broil The Big Easy Smoker, Roaster & Grill

First, a disclaimer. This smoker and grill has a higher minimum temperature than a lot of other products we’re looking at today, to the point that I considered not including it in our list because unless you’re used to working with it, you can’t just set it low and leave it for hours like you would with other smokers. It’s not a ‘true’ smoker in that regard.

But it’s such a great piece of kit that I couldn’t not include it.

Most obviously, this is a true multifunction system, working as a smoker (sort of,) a roaster and a grill, with every single aspect coming out working well. It’s powerful, being propane driven and running up to a scorching 450F. In fact, that heat can be an issue until you get used to it as it can leave your meat running a little dry.

Because it’s a bullet design with a top mounted grill, it’s entirely possible to cook multiple batches of meat at once. For example, you could easily have a joint in the lower basket, ribs hanging on the handy upper basket rim and burgers on the grill.

It’s got front mounted temperature controls that make setting it a cinch, as easy as twisting a dial, and it comes with a meat thermometer, which a lot of cheaper models don’t.

It’s also deceptively small, just over waist height and light enough that one person can easily move it, even though it doesn’t have wheels.

I know, it isn’t a true smoker, but as a hybrid unit, especially one that’s as cheap as this one, this is a great choice, especially if you’re unsure how much you’ll use it. Even if you don’t, you’ve got everything else it does to carry you along, and if you do use the smoking function, you have absolutely everything you need to impress the neighbours at the local cookout this year.

Pros
  • So simple to use. Easy front control dial. No water pan.
  • Multifunctional. It’s a smoker, roaster, and a grill
  • 25lb food weight capacity
  • Easy to assemble, break down and maintain
Cons
  • Not a true smoker. Higher minimum temperature than some other options
big easy dia
big easy out
big easy food
big easy closed
masterbuilt 30
Masterbuilt 30 Electric Smoker
  • 4.5/5 Rating
  • 43.5″x21.4″x21.1″
  • 717 sq. in.
  • Not specified
masterbuilt 30

Recommendation

Masterbuilt have a huge range of smokers and other outdoor cookers covering every situation. Looking at this, it’s obvious that it’s designed with the beginner and home user in mind, and it fulfils that aim perfectly. But the simple design, ease of use and huge cooking area makes this ideal for anyone, whether they’re a complete newbie or seasoned chef.

TECH SPECS

Size
43.5″x21.4″x21.1″
Cooking space
717 sq. in.
Temperature range
Not specified
No. of cooking racks
4
Weight
58.5lbs (26kg)
Accessories
Ceramic chip tray and water tray

Masterbuilt 30 Electric Smoker

The first thing you notice when you open this baby up is the huge amount of cooking space. Four huge chrome smoking racks that give you over 700 square inches of smoking room, which is easily enough for two small turkeys, or maybe one huge one, come Thanksgiving.

It’s another free-standing locker design, single walled and non-insulated. It’s not as solidly built as some I’ve seen, but still strong enough to move about without worrying about anything breaking.

Propane powered, there’s a push to start electric ignition feature, which makes starting it as simple as one press of a button. It’s got a front mounted temperature dial that makes adjustments easy, but there are actually three ways to control the temperature. The dial on the door. The rear vent can be adjusted, and there’s a valve controlling propane flow from the bottle. With a little bit of fiddling, it’s easy to get the temperature exactly where you want it.

One thing I loved was the air damper. This lets you adjust how smoky it gets inside the cooker, massively affecting the flavor of whatever you’re cooking, giving you complete control and allowing you to set it just how you want it.

The little touches are nice, too. The handles are curled wire, and specially made to vent heat so you can open it up without worrying about burning yourself, even without gloves. Not only that, but the wood chip tray and water tray that come with it are porcelain and pretty solid construction. Not something you see often on a smoker this cheap.

With complete control over the temperature and smoke levels, as well as the generous room for cooking, if you’re looking for a solid, dedicated smoker as opposed to a hybrid like the Char-Broil Big Easy, this is the one I’d recommend.

Pros
  • Huge internal cooking space
  • Air damper allows adjustable smoke levels for perfect flavor
  • Innovative 2 door design means you can access food without exposing the rest
  • Efficient gas usage, cheap to run
Cons
  • Thin metal and tack welded legs. Potential to break through overuse
  • Real heavy and hard to move. No wheels
masterbuilt 30
masterbuilt 30 open
landmann usa
Landmann USA Smoky Mountain
  • 3.5/5 Rating
  • 28.5′ x 19″ x 15.5″
  • 443 sq. in.
  • 100-260F (38-126C)
landmann usa

Recommendation

Small and innovative, the Landmann USA 26 only suffers because of its limited cooking area and low maximum temperature. If that’s not a problem for you, or you know that you’re not going to need more than this offers, it’s a great little smoker.

TECH SPECS

Size
28.5′ x 19″ x 15.5″
Cooking space
443 sq. in.
Temperature range
100-260F (38-126C)
No. of cooking racks
2
Weight
33lbs (15kg)
Accessories
Combined water and wood chip tray, temperature control

Landmann USA Smoky Mountain

If you’re only cooking for family and a couple of friends, this really is a great little outdoor electric smoker. For a start it’s really well made, with double walls for extra insulation, and the advent of a window. Windows are really rare in smokers this cheap, and the ability to see exactly how your meat is cooking without opening the door, letting out all the smoke and flooding it with cold air is fantastic, especially for newbies.

On top of that, there’s a front mounted temperature dial, as well as an independent plug-in temperature controller, giving you the power to adjust how your food is cooking right at your fingertips.
It’s got a few other nice touches too, like the fact that the legs are adjustable to keep it absolutely stable, no matter where you’re putting it. Or the three in one tray that functions as a wood chip tray, water tray and grease runoff tray, all in one.

The only real problems are the size and power. It’s really small, with only about half the cooking area of the biggest in this range, and it only goes up to a maximum of 250F. Now, this is still enough for slow cooking succulent smoked meat, but it does mean that it will take an hour or two longer.

If this doesn’t bother you, and you aren’t put off by the other downsides, then you won’t regret buying this.

Pros
  • Windowed, so you can see how your food is doing without opening the door and letting out the heat
  • Solid, excellent construction
  • Temperature dial and controller makes using this really easy
  • Small and easy to maneuver
Cons
  • Door magnet is terrible. You might have to replace it to stop it swinging open
  • Relatively low temperature means cooking takes a while
smoke hollow
Smoke Hollow 30162E
  • 3/5 Rating
  • 31″ x 17″ x 15″
  • 504 sq. in.
  • Not specified
smoke hollow

Recommendation

A solid, if basic design. Smoke Hollow’s 30162E model is a great little smoker that does nothing special. However, it cooks well, with a powerful 1500W heating element and a nice amount of adjustable internal space.

TECH SPECS

Size
31″ x 17″ x 15″
Cooking space
504 sq. in.
Temperature range
Not specified
No. of cooking racks
3
Weight
47lbs (21.5kg)
Accessories
Wood chip box, water pan

Smoke Hollow 30162E

Similar in look to the Masterbuilt, Smoke Hollows offering separates itself with its double walled design that insulates your meat and keeps the heat in, making it more efficient. It’s got a nice amount of internal space, but nothing exceptional, and two of the food racks are fully adjustable, making it much easier to fit all of your food inside.

Unfortunately, there are a few downsides.

Although there is a temperature control dial, there are only three temperature settings available. I did find though that these provided everything that you might need, with a low setting for smoking, up to high for straight cooking of large joints.

It’s pretty robustly built, which is nice, but heavy and hard to move.

The biggest problem however is that a good number of these have a sealing problem and leak smoke. Unfortunately, if you end up with one of the faulty units, there’s not much you can do besides send it back.

If I could guarantee it worked, it would be much easier to recommend this. As it is, buy it if you want to. If you get a fully working one you’ll get a good smoker that will perform well enough, but I’d still probably go for one of the above.

Pros
  • Good amount of internal space
  • 1500W cooking element
  • Two adjustable cooking racks, one fixed
Cons
  • Only 3 temperature settings
  • Some units have unfixable smoke leakage problems
smoke hollow
smoke hollow food
smoke hollow size
smoke hollow closed
cajun injector
Cajun Injector Electric Smoker
  • 2.5/5 Rating
  • 33.75″ x 18.75″ x 17.75″
  • Not specified
  • 100-275F (38-135C)
cajun injector

Recommendation

If this machine had reliability on its side, it would be the full package. It’s packed with technology you’d normally only see on more expensive models, as well as fantastic design choices that makes using it as easy as setting and forgetting. Unfortunately, it’s plagued by low build quality, so if you get a duff model, this thing won’t be smoking anything except its own motherboard.

TECH SPECS

Size
33.75″ x 18.75″ x 17.75″
Cooking space
Not specified
Temperature range
100-275F (38-135C)
No. of cooking racks
5
Weight
53lbs (24kg)
Accessories
Two oven mitts, meat thermometer, meat probe

Cajun Injector Electric Smoker

When it works, the Cajun Injector electric smoker is fantastic. It’s got a generous amount of internal cooking space on its five (!) racks, and the electronic set and forget system means all you have to do is pick a temperature, throw in your meat and let it go.

It takes wood pellets rather than having a wood chip tray, and there’s a feed chute on the side of the smoker you have to drop them in. As opposed to setting up the wood chips before you begin cooking, with this you have to drop pellets into the machine every hour or so, but it’s easy enough.

There’s a temperature display button so you can check what’s going on inside without opening it up, and the whole kit actually comes with a half decent meat thermometer, as well as a meat probe and two over gloves, so you really are ready to go out of the box.

It’s got automatic shut off, so if you do happen to forget about it, it’s not going to keep cooking and leave your meat a shrivelled crispy husk, or, you know, burn the house down. There’s also an air damper, so you can set your smoke levels, further adjusting for flavor on top of setting temperature.

Unfortunately, you pay for all of this. Multiple buyers have had major problems with electronics, with their smokers dying after as little as two or three uses. Now, I personally think you’re getting a lot for your money here, but going backwards and forwards with the manufacturers to get an actual working unit probably isn’t worth the hassle. If you aren’t put off, or just like to argue with customer service reps, and you can get one that works, you’ll be getting an electric smoker far above what you’re paying for it.

Pros
  • Loads of tech. Air damper, auto shut off, LCD temperature display
  • Easy to move on its built in rollers
  • Comes with a lot of good quality accessories
Cons
  • Have to add wood pellets every hour or so
  • Pretty frequent design faults
cajun injector
cajun injector closed
cheap electric smokers (under $150)

Cheap Electric Smokers (Under $150)

Everyone loves that delicate, succulent flavor of well smoked meat, and recently the price for home smokers has dropped. Especially when it comes to electric smokers.

Now, you can pick up a budget home smoker for a really reasonable price that will easily cover the needs of your family, and probably a bunch of friends too. Even better, these smaller electric smoking grills are all really simple and easy to use, making them ideal for first time users.

Not only that, they’re tiny, making storage and cleaning effortless, yet deceptively powerful for the size.

Remember, budget doesn’t have to mean low quality. So here’s our best budget electric smoker picks.

Electric Smoker Comparison Chart

old smokey
Old Smokey Electric Smoker
  • 4.5/5 Rating
  • 29″ x 15.5″ x 15.5″
  • 280 sq. in.
  • Up to 250F (120C)
old smokey

Recommendation

A simple tower design and two roomy grills make the Old Smokey our choice for budget electric smokers. The powerful 1250 watt electric cooking element and easy to use design mean that when you buy this smoker, your food comes out perfect first time and every time.

TECH SPECS

Size
29″ x 15.5″ x 15.5″
Cooking space
280 sq. in.
Temperature range
Up to 250F (120C)
No. of cooking racks
2
Weight
24lbs (10.8kg)
Accessories
Drip pan, smoking chips, carrying handles

Old Smokey Electric Smoker

Made of aluminized steel in a simple tower design, the Old Smokey electric smoker is simplicity itself. Both grills slot in and out of the tower easily using the attached carrying handles, with each grill comfortably large enough to sit half a dozen large burger patties. You do have to remove the lower grill to access the wood chip pan, however, but with a bit of practice you’ll learn to judge how much you need so this doesn’t tend to be a problem.

It’s a flat roofed design, which has the bonus of the juices condensing directly above the cooking meat and dripping back onto it, retaining moisture and leaving your meat juicy instead of dry.

Unfortunately, there’s no specific numeric controls, just a dial setting from low to high, but it’s really easy to use. If you’re concerned you can always pick up a meat thermometer from anywhere quite cheaply and use that to get an exact reading. It’s also got a warming setting, in case your meat cooks faster than you want it to, saving you the hassle and pain of reheated, chewy food.

Most importantly, how does it cook? In one word, great. Burgers and hotdogs. Pork joints. Steak. Even a whole chicken thrown in there comes out moist and tasting great. If you need an electric smoker for home, personal use. One that’s uncomplicated, will last a damn long time and cooks great, this is my personal budget choice.

Pros
  • 1250 Watt heating element gives you good performance for the price
  • Well built and durable
  • Compact, really easy to set up and break down
  • Simple to clean
Cons
  • Food goes on top of the wood chips so you have to remove the cooking racks if you need to add more wood
charbroil vert
Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker
  • 4/5 Rating
  • 37.8″ x 20″ x 17.5″
  • 504 sq. in.
  • Not specified
charbroil vert

Recommendation

A large, minimalist electric meat smoker from industry regulars Char-Broil, their vertical electric smoker is a large and rugged design, based on the fact that it’s as basic as they come. This can be an advantage though, with less to focus on and a huge internal area for an electric smoker at this value, it’s a good, if uninspiring smoking grill.

TECH SPECS

Size
37.8″ x 20″ x 17.5″
Cooking space
504 sq. in.
Temperature range
Not specified
No. of cooking racks
3
Weight
49.6lbs (22.5kg)
Accessories
Wood chip pan, ash pan, grease cup

Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker

Char-Broil focus almost exclusively on cooking products, especially heavy duty pieces like this one and the ‘Big Easy’ model, reviewed later, so it’s fair to say they know what they’re doing.

As you’d expect, this vertical, free standing electric smoker is solidly built, with a no frills design and a focus on the essentials, giving you as much as possible for the cost.

Inside, it’s huge, with three separate grilling racks that give you over 500 square inches of combined cooking space. It’s got a powerful 1500W heating element, as well, great for a grill this size, and you need that power to keep the huge internal space hot.

Its got a dial thermostat instead of digital, which isn’t a bad thing as it’s easy to set and more reliable for cheaper smokers like this one, and has much less that can go wrong. It doesn’t matter either way, as there’s a temperature dial built into the front so you can see at a glance where your meat is at in the cooking process.

So why have I rated this lower than the Old Smokey? Simple. The increased internal area seems like a good deal, but bear in mind the cooking element on this is only 20% stronger than the Old Smokey, and this has twice the cooking space. So I found you get a much better result with the ‘Smokey.

It’s also got a terrible door design. It’s only held closed with magnets. Other buyers have reported it swinging open in the middle of cooking. It’s a relatively simple fix, but obviously modifying a new purchase is not something we want to be doing.

Honestly though, if you can get past the door thing this is an excellent little smoking grill. It’s solidly constructed and does exactly what you want it to do. If you do end up picking this up, whether it’s because you need more cooking space or you just trust the brand, you won’t regret it.

Pros
  • Powerful 1500 watt cooking element
  • Huge cooking space
  • Front mounted temperature gauge makes checking it simple
  • Double walled construction keeps all the heat in
Cons
  • Door is only held closed with magnetic strips. Can be weak
  • Doesn’t come with a drip pan
  • It’s pretty big
charbroil vert
charbroil vert out
charbroil vert food
big chief
Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker
  • 2.5/5 Rating
  • 24.5″ x 18″ x 12″
  • Not specified
  • 165F (73C) only
big chief

Recommendation

I really really wanted to like this. The company that make them have been in business for years, it looks sharp, and it promises so much. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t live up to those promises. It’s just incredibly low power, so it takes forever to cook anything, and considering what else you can get, that’s just not good enough.

TECH SPECS

Size
24.5″ x 18″ x 12″
Cooking space
Not specified
Temperature range
165F (73C) only
No. of cooking racks
5
Weight
22lbs (10kg)
Accessories
Drip pan and flavor pan

Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker

The biggest problem is the cooking element. It’s only 450W, and combined with the massive internal area, that’s downright puny. Especially considering that both of our other products in this range are almost three times as powerful.

It loads from the top, with five racks all attached together that hold up to 50lbs worth of meat. This sounds great, until you try and use it. Dropping a fully loaded stack of racks into the smoker is like playing tetris blindfolded, with the added bonus of spilling a bunch of meat all over the floor if you get it wrong. There is a front loading variant available, which does make this easier though.

The box it comes in doesn’t protect the unit in any way, so when you receive yours make sure that it’s not damaged and is functioning fine.

You also can’t adjust the temperature. It’s set at a flat 165F. According to the manufacturers, this is so that you get the optimum slow smoking temperature for your meat, but I’m not buying it. Coupled with the extremely low wattage cooking element and it looks to me like they were just trying to save money.

In short, don’t bother. Buy the Old Smokey or Char-Broil smokers instead. They’re so much better for pretty much the same price.

Pros
  • Massive internal area, with five grilling racks
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Can be more difficult to load because of its top loading design
  • Weak cooking element, only 450W
big chief
big chief all
big chief back
big chief closed
professional electric smokers ($500+)

Professional Electric Smokers ($500+)

Once you start paying $500 or more for a meat smoker, you’re going to be getting something that could do double duty at a restaurant or professional barbeque joint.

Both of my top picks here are upgrades of other models we love, the Masterbuilt 20077615 and Bradley 6-rack. Both are digitally controlled, with a whole plethora of other options to make using them as painless and error free as possible.

It goes without saying that if you’re spending this much on a meat smoker, you’re most probably planning on using it a whole bunch, and if you’re going to be using it often, you want the best product you can possibly get.

Electric Smoker Comparison Chart

masterbuilt digital
Masterbuilt 30 Digital Electric Smoker
  • 4.5/5 Rating
  • 32″ x 20.5″ x 20″
  • 721 sq. in
  • 275F (135C)
masterbuilt digital

Recommendation

The professional grade digital variant to our favorite electric smoker, the Masterbuilt 20077615 is another fantastic product from masterbuilt, and our number one choice for professional level smoking grills.

TECH SPECS

Size
32″ x 20.5″ x 20″
Cooking space
721 sq. in
Temperature range
275F (135C)
No. of cooking racks
4
Weight
52lbs (23.5kg)
Accessories
Drip tray, built-in meat probe

Masterbuilt 30 Digital Electric Smoker

The main difference between this model and the Masterbuilt 20075135, our number one choice, is the digital controls. What this actually means is you set the programming for your outdoor electric smoker before you even turn the heat on or put anything in it, then just press start and let it do it’s thing. Masterbuilt themselves even boast that this smoker will give anyone competition level results!

It’s got the full suite of other options, as well.

Built in remote control that allows you to monitor and adjust internal temperature, cooking time, meat temperature, even the internal lighting from a distance. Just in case, there’s an LED front display if you don’t have the remote with you.

Its fully insulated, enough that you can touch the metal frame whilst she’s in full operation without burning yourself, which considering the 800W cooking element and 275F maximum temperature is really impressive.

It’s also got a built in internal meat probe, which as already mentioned links to the remote control and lets you monitor the exact temperature you’re cooking without even opening the door.

There’s a lot of internal space, but for some reason this model is actually smaller than the Masterbuilt 20075315. Both models are absolutely fantastic outdoor electric smokers, and both deliver excellent performance over and over again. It’s just down to you whether you want the slightly better cooking quality of this one, or the increased cooking space and simplicity of the other.

Pros
  • Digital controls mean you can just set and forget
  • 4 cooking racks and a huge amount of internal space, enough for 3 racks of ribs
  • Exceptional performance across the board
Cons
  • Short 5ft power cord. Need an extension cable to get this anywhere
masterbuilt digital food
masterbuilt digital temp
masterbuilt digital smoke
masterbuilt digital remote
bradley digital 6
Bradley Digital 6-Rack
  • 4/5 Rating
  • 33″ x 15″ x 11.5″
  • 780 sq. in.
  • to 280F (138C)
bradley digital 6

Recommendation

Everything the Bradley Digital 4 rack should have been, the 6 rack ties the same excellent performance with enough cooking space for large events like BBQs and cookoffs, or simply hosting full on parties at your home.

TECH SPECS

Size
33″ x 15″ x 11.5″
Cooking space
780 sq. in.
Temperature range
to 280F (138C)
No. of cooking racks
6
Weight
63lbs (28.5kg)
Accessories
Drip tray, automatic wood chip dispenser

Bradley Digital 6-Rack

Bradley’s 4 and 6 rack smokers automate almost everything, making the process of smoking food simpler and more fool-proof than ever. With the digital controls and automated wood chip feed, all you literally need to do is set this system to go, fill it with whatever you need to cook and let it go.

Everything is regulated, promising absolute consistency of temperature, smoke levels, and radiant heat so your meat comes out perfect time after time.

With 6 racks and a generous internal area of almost 800 square inches, you could easily invite the whole street to your next occasion and have room to spare. It’s easily big enough and has enough separate space for professional level smoking as well, so restaurants and the like would definitely appreciate the extra room.

Like the rest of the Bradley range, the 6 rack has two heating elements. One for smoke, one for cooking, both completely independent of the other. Not only does it work as a smoker, it comfortably performs as a roaster and a cold smoker as well.

Overall, this is an excellent outdoor meat smoker. It’s big enough to cope with the heaviest demand, and it’s easy enough that a five year old could use it. (Please don’t let them do that, though.)

Personally, I would still choose the Masterbuilt, but that’s personal preference. Both are strong choices, and I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with either.

Pros
  • Digital controls mean almost everything is automatic
  • Large cooking area
  • Automatic wood chip dispenser
Cons
  • Occasional problems with the wood chip feed mechanism
bradley digital 6
bradley digital 6 open
bradley digital 6 racks
bradley digital 6 pellets
smokintex 1400
Smokin Tex Pro 1400
  • 3/5 Rating
  • 29′ x 21″ x 18″
  • 630 sq. in
  • 100-250F (38-121C)
smokintex 1400

Recommendation

Whilst it performs well, the Smokin Tex Pro 1400 just doesn’t deliver anything else, and when you compare it with the options and available technology on the Bradley and Masterbuilt models, it seems a little lacklustre. It’s not a bad meat smoker, just very basic.

TECH SPECS

Size
29′ x 21″ x 18″
Cooking space
630 sq. in
Temperature range
100-250F (38-121C)
No. of cooking racks
3
Weight
93lbs (42kg)
Accessories
Wood chip tray, drip tray

Smokin Tex Pro 1400

With a good amount of internal space and room for up to 5 racks, the Smokin Tex Pro 1400 certainly won’t have any issues coping with your cooking and smoking needs. It performs well, with a large and powerful heating element to get everything roaring.

She’s also built like a tank. Stainless steel throughout, with kitchen quality construction. It just feels solid and well made, and that reassurance makes me feel like it would last a good long time, even with regular usage. Though it does weigh a ton, which makes moving it around an issue, even on the wheels.

Unfortunately, past that it becomes hard to recommend this product. It’s not bad, by any margin, it just seems like it’s lost in the past. Everything else at this level has digital controls and huge amounts of automated features, as well as monitoring technology that makes checking your food as simple as looking at a readout. I mean, you even have to manually place wood chips into this thing, which for something that costs as much as this, is both archaic and inexcusable.

Bottom line, this is a really good smoker, but that’s all it is. It’s a meat smoker. There’s no bells or whistles, no automated technology or digital assistance. Given the option, I’d go for one of the others on our list, every time.

Pros
  • Cooks up to 35lbs of meat per load
  • Water resistant. A rain shower isn’t going to kill it
Cons
  • Feels too expensive for what you get
  • No technology or automation. Very basic
smokintex 1400
smokintex 1400 out
smokintex 1400 food
smokintex 1400 closed

How To Choose The Best Electric Smoker

The Definitive Buyer’s Guide

electric smoker buyers guide

What is an electric smoker?

Put simply, it’s an electric oven which is designed to cook food for long periods of time at lower temperatures by exposing it to smoke from especially created wood chips, which are also inside the oven with the food.

As part of the process, the food absorbs some of the flavor of the wood, giving it a delicate quality that most people absolutely love.

Food has been smoke cooked and smoke preserved for centuries, first over open fires, then in dedicated smokehouses, which evolved into the propane and charcoal smoking boxes used today. Electric smokers are simply the next evolution in food smoking technology. Easier, cheaper, better.

Further reading at Wikipedia.

How does an electric smoker work?

Electric smokers are actually deceptively simple.

Inside the insulated frame is an electric heating element, similar to what you might find in an electric grill or oven.

Nearby, there will be a small pile of specially treated and dampened wood chips. As these heat up, they emit smoke.

The meat to be cured is placed on racks above the heating element and wood chips and slowly cooks under a combination of the heat from the heating element and the heated smoke slowly rising over and curing the meat.

Cooking meat by smoking takes a lot longer than other cooking methods, but the results are always worth it!

For information about how electric smokers work, see WikiHow.

Why would I choose an electric smoker over gas, propane or charcoal?

In one word, convenience. Using an electric smoker, especially a top end model, is generally as easy as switching it on, making sure it’s topped up with wood chips, setting the temperature and pressing start.

More expensive models automate absolutely everything for you as well, meaning that it’s literally possible to set up a batch of ribs, say, first thing in the morning, then come back six hours later to find them perfectly cooked through and ready to serve.

It’s much easier to get a consistent temperature as well, especially for beginners. No slaving over charcoal briquettes or adjusting gas flow valves halfway through the smoking process, trying to keep your meat cooking properly. Electric heating elements can be kept at a much more stable temperature than any other method, and the heat produced is also stable, rather than the asymmetric heat you can sometimes get from other methods that overcooks one side of your meat and not the other.

Not only that, but electric smokers are much easier in terms of logistics. Only do they produce less smoke, fueling them is as easy as plugging them into the mains. The only real consumables are wood chips, meaning no lugging sacks of charcoal into the pickup or worrying about recycling old propane tanks. They’re also damn easy to clean, with no charcoal residue, no ash, no real carbonising on the grill or internals.

Things to consider when choosing your electric smoker.

There are multiple things to consider when you’re looking for an electric smoker. I’ve broken these down into three easy headings. Cooking efficiency. Size and cooking space, and Automation.

Cooking efficiency

The more powerful the cooking element in your new electric smoker, the better the results you’re going to get. Whilst you don’t need a high maximum temperature to smoke most meats, having the option to crank it up is always preferable, and a lot of smokers these days can do double duty as BBQs and grills with enough power. If in doubt, look for something with around 6-800W as a good ballpark.

Size and cooking space

Internal space varies massively in electric smokers, with smaller bullet style smokers having as little as 300 square inches over a couple of racks and larger, heavier duty smokers having over three times that.

In general, you should be shooting for around 300 square inches of cooking space per ten people you’re planning on cooking for, or if it’s done by weight, 1-2 lbs of meat per person.

Automation

In newer, higher end models, damn near everything is automated. Now, I like to be in control, but I have to admit that there is something satisfying about pressing a couple of buttons and just knowing that what you’re cooking is going to come out perfect. Even better, a lot of the more expensive smokers even come with remote controls that not only allow you to control your smoker from a distance, but even tell you exactly what’s going on inside.

If in doubt, more automation is good. Smoking meat is an exact science, and can take a bit of getting used to, and until you’re at that level, any help is great. Hell, you don’t have to tell everyone that the smoker does all the work for you, right?

Can electric smokers be used indoors?

No. Electric smokers still need venting, and unless you can provide a dedicated exhaust vent for your electric smoker, using it indoors is a very bad idea.

A possible byproduct of the cooking process is a small amount of carbon monoxide. This can build up over time and could potentially prove lethal. Please don’t use your electric smoker indoors.

Can electric smokers be used in the rain?

Short answer. No.

As they are complicated pieces of electronic machinery and generally metal framed, leaving your electric smoker exposed to rainfall will cause irreparable damage, and most probably invalidate the warranty as well.

Are electric smokers healthy?

Of course.

First off, smoked meat doesn’t use any extra oil, making it far healthier than deep frying or even roasting.

Second, because of the smoking process, meat cooked by smoking is juicier than meat cooked by other methods, retaining more fluid and more of the nutritional value.

Lastly, it’s completely safe. After all, its simply cooking the meat with the same sort of electric heating element you’d find in an electric oven.

How to clean my new electric smoker?

In general, electric smokers are pretty easy to clean. Most manufacturers guides that come with your new smoker will have cleaning instructions, but for the vast majority of electric smokers it’s as simple as removing any internal racks and wiping the inside of your smoker out.

A lot of higher end models even have internal parts that are 100% dishwasher safe, making cleaning meat racks and dishes as simple as possible.

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