The Best Electric Smokers Reviewed and Rated
Electric smokers allow you to smoke meat without the usual tending that’s required when using charcoal smokers. If you love authentic barbeque, then you know what a great addition an electric smoker is to your cookware. Electric smokers give the meat a rich flavour that is deliciously irresistible, not to mention a rich flavor, texture and tenderness.
So, now that you are out looking for an electric smoker, which model should you buy? This is where things get a little tricky. There are numerous manufacturers of electric smokers out there, and while this is a good thing, all of them claim to be the best, but who is right? In this article, we will list the top 10 best electric smokers based on customer feedback, ease of use, and so on.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Char-Broil The Big Easy
- doesn’t require oil
- Smokin-It Model #1
- for large-scale meat
- Masterbuilt 20070910
- pushbutton control panel
With so many electric smokers in the market today, it is not an easy task to come up with a guide to what is best. Every manufacturer is trying to build a strong brand with the best features for their products and the bar for benchmarking goes higher each day. However, we come up with criteria that informed our choice of the top 10 electric smokers.
Our decision was informed by the following metrics:
- Material Used and Construction
- Size of Cooking Area
- High Client Ratings and Good Reviews
- Temperature Control
- Ease of Use and Maintenance
Every customer wants an appliance that they can use for more than one purpose. Most of the smokers that we evaluated can be used for smoking and grilling. In addition to this, most can also be used for chicken, beef, pork, sausages and for dehydrating fruits and vegetables. Cooking different types of food at once is one major way of saving time.
Smokers that can also be used for grilling are most preferred by customers because they save on space in the kitchen too.
Material Used and Construction
The material used in constructing an electric smoker is important as it determines its appeal and durability. Most of the electric smokers we reviewed are made of stainless steel or aluminized steel with chrome plated cooking rids and racks. Stainless and aluminized zinc are preferred because they protect the smoker from rusting. Chrome also ensures that the smoker is safe from corrosion. Some have double walls to enhance the retention of heat inside the smoker for better cooking.
Size of Cooking Area
Many smokers are meant to be used outside the house. This goes hand in hand with the need to have a large cooking area that can accommodate food for the whole family or host parties and dinners in the garden.
Most of the products that we have reviewed have 2-4 cooking grids which can hold up to 16 servings. A big cooking area ensures that you can smoke all the food you want at a go no matter the number of people to be served.
Nobody wants an appliance that can only be used at a fixed location. Most customers who buy smokers use it either over the weekends for entertaining or whenever they are travelling, going for picnics or camping. Portability is determined by the weight of the appliance. Most of the smokers we reviewed weigh between 25- 60 pounds. This shows that one can carry them around the compound or to whichever location they want. Size is also important in determining portability. Always go for a unit that occupies less space and one that you can comfortably put at your car trunk.
High Client Ratings and Good Reviews
One of the best ways to rate the performance of an appliance is to check how high it is rated and reviewed by the customers. Clients are a good source of honest feedback since they talk about their real experience with the product. The products we have reviewed have customer ratings above average and have been reviewed by many customers as good and effective. With this, we are sure that the testimonials are a good source of feedback to the manufacturers and prospective buyers.
This was very key when coming up with our criteria. All the products that we reviewed have registered amazing performance with no cases of unexplained failure. They have excellent temperature and smoke control features that ensure that all is well during cooking. Some of the features that the smokers in this reviews have for enhanced performance include vents, doors, thermostats, rheostats, water pans, drip pans and extra insulation. The wood ship loader is also in all the reviewed products to ensure that you get that lovely smoked food.
For one to get quality smoking results, there needs to be a way of controlling the temperature. The smokers we reviewed have doors to ensure that very little smoke escapes while cooking. A good number has thermostats and few have rheostats to ensure that you use the right temperature for the food being cooked.
Ease of Maintenance
This solely depends on the customer preferences. We focused on the ease of assembly, cleaning and availability of replacements for spare parts. A good number of the smokers we reviewed have removable cooking grids and racks for easy cleaning. These grids and racks are also dishwasher safe. There is very little assembly needed and the spare parts are easily available from the manufacturers. In addition, the electric smokers have handles while some also have wheels for easy transportation and safety while lifting.
10 Best Electric Smokers
1. Char-Broil The Big Easy
The internal smoker box consumes pellets or wood chip.
The infrared heat is used for roasting.
The double stacked rotating basket can fit up to a 25-pound.
Has primary cooking surface are of 180 square inches
Has a meat thermometer, grease collection tray, and stay-cool handles
Has a Rotary ignition and variable temperature control.
The Big Easy also measures 18 by 24 by 36 inches.
This electric smoker is pricey but worth the money. The smoker can be shipped absolutely free.
This is an all in one product as it allows you to smoke, roast and grill. It can also be used to prepare a great deal of delicacies in family gatherings and different occasion. I would greatly recommend the product to smoking and grilling enthusiasts for a sizeable gathering and great flavors.
- Allows you to smoke, roast and grill
- TRU-Infrared cooking technology cooks food evenly with no flare-ups
- Evenly cooks roast, ribs, turkey or other meat cuts in the roasting basket
- Holds up to 25 lbs for smoking and roasting
- Has 180 square inches of cooking surface
- No thermometer on the lid
- Assembling this product can be a bit tasking
2. Smokin-It Model #1
It weighs 58.8pounds
A power cable that is 12ft long
Cook’s up to 21 pounds of seafood and meat.
It has an insulation of fiberglass.
Its NSF certified hence can be used in restaurants.
The heating element holds up to 400 watts and has an LED indicator.
It has side handles for easy lifting.
It has a smoke box, 3 grilling stacks and 4 heavy duty casters with a 3inch diameter each.
It has a rheostart that regulates temperature from 100F- 250F.
The product is pricey but it has the highest ratings of excellence. It never disappoints.
Its ease of use and ability to smoke up to 21 pounds of food at a huge plus. It is suitable for restaurant use, camping, entertaining guests and family cooking.
- It is insulated with fibre glass to reduce heat loss
- It has wheels and handles for easy transportation
- The power cable is long enough to allow for a perfect outdoor smoking experience
- Apart from just meat, one can adjust the temperature and use it to dehydrate fruits and vegetables
- It does not get too hot on the outside
- The wheels are removable
- No thermometer on the lid
- Assembling this product can be a bit tasking
3. Masterbuilt 20070910
730 square inches of cooking surface with 4 chrome-coated racks.
Has an 800watt heating element.
Digital timer and temperature controls.
Thermostatic temperature control for even cooking (100 - 275 degrees Fahrenheit).
Removable drip pan, top air damper, and convenient side loading wood chips.
An ideal smoker for all levels of experience.
This electric smoker is quite pricey but absolutely worth the money. Acquiring this smoker is a great upgrade from the ordinary smoking experience and a long-term investment.
We would greatly recommend it for ardent barbeque smoker who deal with large numbers of people. It can also be used to prepare a large variety of delicacies. The pleasant aroma that pervades from this electric smoker makes family and friends flock to it in the spirit of good food and good times.
- Ample cooking surface area
- Digital temperature and timer controls
- Detachable drip pan and side loading
- Easy to use and clean
- Produces less smoke
- Delicate component requiring extra care
4. Masterbuilt 20075315
Front access drip pan.
975 square inches of cooking space.
Smooth operating wood chip loading system.
Drip catching system for easier clean-up.
Internal light and 4 cooking racks.
1,200Watt Heating Element.
It's a pricey possession but worthy in terms of the benefits derived from it. The product is also shipped free of charge.
This Masterbuilt Electric smoker allows you to prepare and enjoy the delicious taste of slow-smoked dishes all the year-round. Its remote controls allow you to monitor the internal meat temperature, cook time, and smoker temperature.
- Digital panel and RF remote control
- Four chrome-coated smoking racks
- Has a patented side wood chip loading-system
- Integrated thermostat temperature control for even and consistent smoking
- Has a full viewing window for easy monitoring of the food as it gets smoked
- Parts are made of delicate material thus prone to denting
- May produce little smoke if poorly operated
5. Masterbuilt Digital
Digital control panel for powering on and off, time and temperature.
Its body is fully insulated.
Side wood chip loading system
Four cooking racks that are chrome plated.
Large food capacity of up to 64 sausages, 8 rib racks, 6 whole chicken, 24 burgers, 2 whole turkeys and 4 pork butts.
Thermostat temperature control.
It weighs 39 pounds which makes it portable to desired locations.
The product comes with a 90-day warranty.
This product is pricey but it is a guaranteed start to a lifetime of smoking excellence. It is a worthwhile investment.
What makes this product worth buying is the ease of cooking that it gives, and the its large cooking area that can serve a big party. Having high customer ratings and reviews, this product is highly recommendable for purchase. It is suitable for big dinner parties, family cooking and picnics. The product can also be used for meal prepping ahead of a busy schedule as well as individual regular cooking.
- The wood chip system can be operated without opening the door
- It has a large cooking area that can allow for entertaining
- The chrome plating on the racks protects the smoker against corrosion
- It has a water pan that minimises the smoke emanating
- Even cooking of the food
- It does not need further assembly upon purchase
- It is not recommended for indoor use
6. Old Smokey Electric Smoke
It is grey in color.
Made of aluminized steel.
Flat top that allows juices to drip back.
It has a chip tray where wood chips are put.
It has a thermostat for automatic temperature control
It has two cooking racks.
Has a drip pan and 2 carrying handles which make it safe to use.
It has a lid for closed cooking.
It power rating are 120 volts and 1250 watts.
This product is affordable and since it’s durable, you can be sure you will get value for money.
Though this smoker doesn’t look modern, it’s a worth investment. The one thing that makes it a darling to many BBQ lovers is its portability. Whether you are going for parties, picnics, or camps, it will always come in handy. It always makes the event more fun especially with slow smoked chicken and meat.
- It is easily portable
- It can be used as a grill
- It’s made of aluminized steel
- You can adjust temperature according to what you’re cooking
- The sealed lid captures juices from the meat for great taste
- The flat top base provides an even and constant basting to give great results
- The smoker gets very hot while cooking
7. Smoke Hollow 30162E
2 cooking grids that with adjustable heights.
3 temperature settings that range from 175F-325F.
2 carrying handles for safety.
It measurements are 17x19x36 inches
Has a heater wattage of 1500 W.
It has a painted steel box where wood chips are placed.
Porcelain coated water pan.
Its black in color and made of steel.
It weighs 38.7 pounds
It has a power cord that is 5ft long.
The product is pricey but worth the money. The quality of cooking it renders is worth spending on.
We love everything about this product. From durability to ease of maintenance, they are things that should make you buy it. Its suitable for picnics, outdoor parties and caravanning.
- One can adjust its temperature to suit the food being cooked
- It is easy to assemble with the help of the user guide
- It can cook food for a large number of people
- The door ensures that all juices are trapped inside for rich flavor
- It can be transported with the use of the 2 carrying handles
- It can be very smokey if used indoors
8. Smoke Hollow 26142E
The temperature is controllable and can be adjusted.
Steel cabinets with side handles and a cool-touch spring wire handle.
It weighs about 33 lbs. Hence it is fairly-easy and light to use.
Includes 1500-watt heating element and a fully adjustable temperature control
Porcelain Coated Water Pan and chip tray.
Measures 36.5" x 19" x 16.5" inches which is plenty of cooking surface area
Easily affordable for smoking enthusiasts.
If you want a straightforward type of an electric smoker that can work well without any difficulties, this is a perfect choice. We highly recommend it for ardent smokers working on a budget but something that doesn’t compromise on smoking quality. This electric smoker is definitely one of the best for that kind of budget.
- Easily available and affordable
- Cooks much faster and performs well
- Can be easily cleaned
- It does not use any gas
- It gives a wonderful smoky taste to all your meats
- It is recommended by many users
- Limited warranties
9. Bradley Digital 4-Rack
Has a Digital Interface.
Maximum temperature of 280 degrees Fahrenheit.
Separate burners for oven and smoke.
Completely insulated stainless steel interior.
Four fully supported and removable racks.
Can retain up to 8 hours of smoke.
The smoker is pricy but the benefits are worth the dimes invested.
This electric smoker has all the features of the Original Bradley Electric Smoker, along with the benefits arising from using digital technology. It allows you to prepare a variety of dishes and delicacies. I would greatly recommend this product to barbeque smokers who want to smoke delicacies for large groups of people. It is also suitable for use in family gatherings and special occasions.
- It can be used in patio, lawn and garden
- One-year warranty available from date of purchase
- Better safety measures incorporated in the design
- Has a digital interface and internal thermostat
- It easy to set up, use and clean
- May take a great deal of time to heat up
10. Smoke Hollow 30162EW
It has a wood chip box that is fitted with a drip pan.
The smoker has a 1500watt heating element.
It has a glass latch-system window.
It is made of steel and is black in color.
It weighs 47 pounds.
It has 3 cooking grids and holes made for sausages.
It is a standalone smoker.
This product is affordable even to people of the low economic brackets. It gives great cooking results for every type of food it is used for.
For a smoker that doesn’t disappoint in terms of performance and quality results, this is the product to buy. Its double wall technology has really improved the quality of smoked foods that is cooked in it. From the client reviews, it’s clear that it is a great product. It is suitable for outdoor parties, family cooking and camping.
- The double walls ensure that the right smoking temperatures are retained
- Adjustable heating element
- Fitted with a temperature control that is easily removable
- The 3 cooking grids ensure that many and different servings of food can be smoked at the same time
- Porcelain coated water pan
- The glass door becomes discoloured with continued use
- This smoker cannot be used for cold smoking
Other Factors To Consider When Buying An Electric Smoker
Ease Of Use — There are tons of choices when it comes to electric smoker accessories. If you don’t want to manually mess around with temperature settings and smoke production, then you need to buy a smoker that lets you program these things. Modern day electric smokers come with things like timers and temperature sensors to help you cook up the perfect piece of meat. If you’re experienced with the smoking process, you might not need a bunch of bells and whistles; you can probably get by with fewer accessories. Smokers that are listed in the table above all have this ability.
Budget VS Quality — It’s important to find a smoker that cooks your meat well, but you don’t want to spend a fortune getting the quality you need. If budget plays a role in your decision, then you need to find the best quality smoker for a price that you can afford. Fortunately, there are tons of decently priced units on the market; you just need to figure out which one will give you the cooking experience you desire.
Size — Electric smokers come in different shapes and sizes, and when you choose a unit, you need to make sure that it’s big enough for the amount of food that you’re going to be preparing.
Always check a smoker’s capacity before buying it. You don’t want to buy a huge smoker if you only plan on preparing personal meals regularly, and you don’t want to buy a compact smoker if you’re preparing meals for lots of people at once. Generally speaking, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so if you have extra space, it can’t hurt to buy a unit with a larger capacity than you think you’ll need.
Advantages Of Electric Smokers
When you use an electric smoker, you don’t depend on a flames to produce smoke. Electric smokers use coils to produce heat, and this comes with many advantages that traditional smokers don’t have:
Easy To Use
Conventional smokers take a long time to get going; you need to get the flame going, regulate air flow and make sure that the unit stays at the right temperature.
With an electric smoker, you simply plug it in, set the temperature and cook your meat. An electric unit levels the playing field between novices and experts. Any novice can use an electric unit to produce a quality piece of meat without any knowledge or skill, and they can do this while leaving the meat completely unattended.
Electric smokers are much safer than traditional smokers. Traditional smokers rely on fire to produce smoke, and this fire needs to be left on for hours at a time. If something knocks over your traditional unit, the fire can spread. If you have kids or pets, you’re probably better off using an electric unit; it’s just a lot safer. Electric smokers are perfect for areas where open flames present a danger.
It doesn’t cost a lot of money to run your electric smoker. If you get a traditional unit, you constantly need to buy charcoal or wood to keep the flame going, and after a couple of hours, the cost of fuel really starts to add up. Electric smokers don’t have this problem; you simply plug them in and let them run. They don’t draw much power, so they end up costing you less to run.
Conventional smokers need a lot of babysitting; you need to keep up air flow, temperature and the flame. With an electric unit, you plug it in and let it run; there’s nothing else that needs to be done. If you don’t have the time to watch your unit all day, then you need to get the best electric smoker available on the market.
Disadvantages Of Electric Smokers
Many home chefs believe that tending to their smoker is part of the fun when they are smoking meat. For these purists, a set it and forget it system just doesn’t work; they feel like they are cheating when electronic equipment takes care of the smoker’s temperature and smoke production.
If you really want to tend to your unit to make sure that it’s running, then an electric unit probably isn’t for you, but if you don’t mind leaving it unattended, then you should be fine with an electric model.
Electric smokers are a little more complicated than traditional ones when it comes to their components; there are more electronic elements inside of them, so you have a bigger chance of malfunction.
When you use a traditional smoker, it’s just a piece of metal, so there is nothing inside of it that can break. Electric smokers have programmable timers, thermostats and heating elements that can malfunction. The manufacturers make the electronic elements easy to replace, but it takes some time to figure out how to do it.
It takes a little longer for foods to cook in an inexpensive electric smoker; this happens because cheaper units can’t always reach the high temperatures that traditional smokers can. Cheaper electric smokers teach people the value of patience when it comes to smoking meats; if you use an inexpensive electric smoker, you might need to wait a little longer for your meat to finish.
Electric Smoker Video Demo
Here’s a great electric smoker demo video so you can really get to know how easy it is to use an electric smoker.
Gas VS Electric Smokers
Smoking is one of the popular methods of cooking foods such as meat, fish, seafood, sausages, and others. People are usually attracted to smoked foods due to some characteristic attributes they possess. Some of these attributes include browning, unique taste and aroma, soft interior and hard exterior, amongst others. There are different types of smokers in the market today but I will be comparing two in this post. The Gas and Electric smokers. They both do the job perfectly well but for some reasons, one may be preferred over the other. I will be discussing some of these reasons below.
Ease of Operation
In the ancient days, smoking simply involved getting the raw meat or fish and rotating it over burning woods until it is cooked. Quite easy right? These days, things have changed and there are various appliances you can use to smoke your food. The easiest to operate is an electric smoker and the reason is because most of them come with electronic controls and sensors. All you need to do is place the food in the oven and set your heat level just as you would with a microwave. In fact, recent models are equipped with wireless connectivity allowing you control the oven from your mobile device.
Gas smokers on the other hand are also easy to operate but not as much as electric smokers. If you have never used one before, you will need to have a basic idea on how it works. Unlike electric smokers that don’t need any special procedure to operate, you need to take some procedures as well as precautions into account when using gas smokers.
You have to decide on the type of smoker to buy depending on where you intend using it. Both can be used for outdoor events, probably for commercial purposes, but only the electric gas cooker should be used indoors.
Electric smokers are designed with heating elements that radiate high intensity waves across the interior of the oven. You can use the controls on the oven to increase or reduce the intensity of the heat as required. Most electric smokers use thermostats to ensure that the heat within the oven never goes beyond a set level. The possible downside of electric smokers however is the fact that they can begin to develop faults after few years of usage.
The main source of heat for gas smokers is propane or natural gas. Just as I pointed out above, using them requires that you learn the technique. Unlike electric smokers, thermostats are absent in gas smokers. You will therefore need to control the heat manually throughout the smoking session to achieve best results.
The good part is that gas smokers are flexible. They can provide you with extremely high temperatures which may be useful in smoking some foods or achieving certain results. You will hardly get such feature with electric smokers.
Size and Prize
There are various sizes of electric and gas smokers ranging from small countertop types to medium sizes and to smokehouses.
Electric smokers are usually more expensive than gas smokers for all sizes due to the electrical components in them. Various electric models of similar sizes could also have varying prizes depending on their level of sophistication. Branded electric smokers could cost as much as $300 and beyond while propane smokers of the same size could cost about half or less. When calculating average expenses that could incur from purchasing and using electric smokers over time, don’t forget to include cost of electricity bills. Take note of the smoker’s power consumption capacity before purchasing it.
Propane smokers are relatively easy to construct and as such are not too expensive to purchase. Various sizes are available for you to choose from depending on whether you want to use if for a commercial or private purpose. 1 gallon of propane is equivalent to 27kWh of electricity. It is a good idea to compare the cost of using gas smokers with that of electricity in your vicinity before deciding on the most economical to purchase.
A lot of people fret at the thought of using gas cookers probably because of the many gas explosions they have seen in movies. As long as you follow the right procedures when using gas burners, you have nothing to be scared of. One of the most important safety precautions that you must always be conscious of is the presence of fire on the burner at all times when in use. If you are using your gas smoker outdoors then wind can easily put off the fire without your knowledge. This could result into a dangerous buildup of gas within the cabinet.
For electric smokers, there is absolutely not much you can do in terms of safety. Some may argue that the heating element within the smoker could malfunction leading to shocks. But again, these hazards are well accounted for and properly taken care of. Modern electric smokers come with sophisticated features that promote safety and ease of operation. With such brands, you can basically place your food in the oven, go back to your movie or whatever you are doing, and check back at time intervals. The appliance will use its sensors, thermostats, and other technology installed in it to ensure that your food achieves your desired texture.
The right type of smoker to buy depends on a lot of considerations and we have discussed the most important ones above. If you intend using your smoker indoors, then it is advisable that you go for the electric models. Apart from the fact that electricity is readily available indoors, the smoke from gas smokers can easily mess up your home. On the other hand, you can use either of the two outdoors.
Just as I have already pointed out above, gas smokers are cheaper than electric smokers. If you care less about technology, sophistication, and above all, you are on a tight budget, then a gas smoker should be your preferred choice. If on the other hand, you want to be in less control of your cooking activity, you should consider purchasing an electric smoker.
Do I need to wet the wood chips?
No. This creates additional moisture inside the smoker.
Can electric smoker be left outside the house for long?
Yes, you can leave it but it’s safe to buy a cover from the manufacturer to protect it from rain.
Most recipes for electric smokers recommend non-iodized salt. Why is it so?
Iodized salt gives the food a bitter taste.
Does the food from an electric smoker have an authentic taste?
Yes, the taste is authentic and not notably different from that from other types of smokers.
What is the best thing to do whenever I need to replace a part?
It is always advisable to contact the manufacturer for legit spare parts.
What is the purpose of a water pan and in a smoker?
A water pan is meant to retain moisture in the food while its being cooked. It’s not a must for you to use it but most people do. It’s advisable to fill it with at least one cup of liquid before you start cooking. The liquid can be water or the juice of your choice. Most water pans are coated with porcelain. Do not leave any acidic liquids in the water pan for extended periods of time to prevent corrosion.
What is the drip pan for?
The drip pan is primarily meant to hold any moisture that drips past the water pan during cooking. It’s usually located at the bottom of the smoker. To ensure that all dripping moisture is trapped, endure that the smoker is tilted backwards when in use. Lining it with foil also helps when cleaning.
Is it possible to use the smoker without smoke?
Yes. Just do not put any wood chips on the loader, and you will be able to use it for home brews, as a slow cooker or for proving bread.
How do you I pre-season the electric smoker for the first time after assembling?
First, ensure that the water pan is in place but without water. Plug it in power and set at 275F. Run it for 3 hours and put in the wood chips during the last 45 minutes.
How do I control moisture in my smoker?
The vent is the one that controls moisture in the smoker. Leaving it more closed allows more moisture to be retained and vice versa.