Smoking our food has been a long standing tradition here in the US, but it can take a lot of time and skill to get it just right. This experience comes after years of tending to your BBQ pit to get the temperature and smoke just right.
However there are a whole load of the best electric smokers now available which make the task pretty simple.
That is why we have put together this guide. We aim to guide you through all of the above so you can make the best choice.
40'' MASTERBUILT 20075315
Why is it better?
Last Updated: January 3, 2019
By William Clay: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding electric smokers available for those who are interested in making a perfectly smoked meat. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best smokers currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
40'' Masterbuilt 20075315
bradley digital 6-rack
char-broil deluxe digital
30'' masterbuilt 20070910
cookshack sm009-2 smokette
In order to compile this list, and be able to put our money where our mouth is, we've spent over 20 hours reading articles and comparing reviews, we asked those in the know and we asked around on forums.
Then, once we had drawn up our shortlist, we hosted and attend loads of barbecues where we tried out a few makes and models.
It was a tough job, socializing and taste-testing day in and day out, but someone had to do it!
After much deliberation, and taking into account ease of use, space (how much space it takes up and how much space you’ve got to cook with), price, ease of cleaning, and most importantly, whether it’s able to maintain its temperature and produce consistent smoke we finally settled on our top pick: the 40-Inch Masterbuilt 20075315.
Masterbuilt has become synonymous with affordable smokers, but, and we have to stress this, it doesn't mean they’ve cut corners in order to keep their costs down.
After reading our review we know you'll understand why this 'beast' of a smoker ticks all 5 of our boxes:
Price-wise it’s one of the more affordable smokers on the market, not entry level and not top of the range, just perfectly placed somewhere in between.
But it is excellent value for money, offering a range of features that you’d find on the more expensive units.
Next up is how well a unit maintains its heat and if it produces consistent smoke. And once again we have to give this little number a big thumbs up.
It seals shut tightly, and it’s insulated, meaning it maintains its temperature throughout.
Not only does it constantly produce smoke, the double insulation ensures none escapes, resulting in an extra smoky taste.
This smoker was one of the easiest to clean, thanks to the redesigned drip pan and the non-stick racks.
We know, from first-hand experience, that the easier it is to clean and maintain an appliance, the higher the chances of it being used more.
This, for some folk, is a huge deciding factor. Not everyone wants to be weighed down by doodads and thingamajigs on a smoker. It often means actually having to read the manual and the more knobs and buttons means more chances of something breaking.
The Masterbuilt smoker is very easy to use, and it includes a handy remote control. This simple but oh so clever accessory allows you to control the smoker from a distance of up t0 100 feet, which means you can turn it on and off from the comfort of your living room, and change the temperature.
It also scores points for its compact size and the fact it has wheels, making it easy to move and store once the barbecue is over.
We’ve mentioned that it’s compact and easy to store but what we haven’t mentioned is the 975-square inches of actual cooking space plus the four removable racks.
Considering the size and the cost we think that that’s a whole lot of space, which once again makes this model a great buy.
Okay, so we’ve given you all the reasons to consider adding this particular smoker to your arsenal of appliances, but let’s be honest, among all the pros, there has to be a con or two.
And the Masterbuilt is no different.
We have no idea how the ‘master builders’ got it right, but this beauty delivers like a high-end smoker, from ease of use and cleaning, space, maintaining its temperature and smoke, to the taste it delivers and the price.
From our own testing and checking out other opinions and reviews, the Masterbuilt 40 is an excellent smoker and it definitely deserves its No.1 spot.
The Bradley Digital 6-rack Smoker (or BDS as those in the know like to call it) is a great addition to any BBQ lover’s home.
Price wise, it comes in at what we would consider affordable, so that’s a positive. And like the Masterbuilt 40-inch, it’s well insulated, maintaining the temperature with a steady supply of smoke.
As far as ease of use goes, this 6-rack smoker rates well.
According to various reviews, as well as feedback from one of the members on our test panel, whether you’re a beginner or an ol’ pro you’ve got complete control of the temperature, the cooking time and the smoke.
It really is a case of ‘ready, set, smoke’.
Where it loses a point or two, for us, is its lack of portability. The unit doesn’t have wheels, making it hard to move around. Also it’s marketed as an outdoor smoker but there are a few people who’ve commented on it not being able to withstand strong winds, which affects the temperature stability.
When we looked at the Bradley 6-rack smoker in terms of space, we liked the four adjustable racks and the 520 sqaure inches of cooking space. But the generator, which comes as an accessory, makes this unit look a little cumbersome.
Of course, this is just our opinion and because we’re comparing and reviewing smokers, we like the more streamlined models. Cleaning is super easy thanks to the removable wire racks, drip tray and stainless steel interior. We’d happily use this smoker again, which is our way of saying it’s a good choice.
If you'd like to read our in-depth review, click here.
Okay, we’re just going to put it out there. This is one good looking son of a BBQ smoker. And the price is right too.
If you’re starting out and want to test the waters first, then this is the model for you.
Let’s get down to the grease and gristle. We can tick all the boxes with this nifty backyard smoker. Char-Broil is one of the biggest BBQ manufacturers, allowing them to be competitive with their pricing.
It’s insulated, which means it retains heat well but, and it’s not a deal breaker, it only reaches 275°F, which is great for low and slow cooking.
If you’re wanting hot and fast, with temperatures up at 290-325°F, then this isn’t for you. It gives off a moderate amount of smoke, so once again if you like your chops well and truly smoked then you need to look at another model or be prepared to add extra smoke tubes and / or wood pellets.
We like that everything about the Char-Broil Electric Smoker is easy. It’s easy to assemble, to move around and to use. There’s no fidgeting or fussing. It’s got an integrated meat temperature probe which allows you to cook your meat to your preferred temperature, and if you’re not around when it’s done, it shuts down the cooker AND keeps the food warm.
Even though this unit is big on cooking space, all 725 square inches, with removable trays, it fits beautifully in areas where space might be limited, like patios, balconies or rooftop terraces.
When it comes to cleaning, there are a few more components like the glass front door, the water pan and smoker box as well as the bottom tray, however it’s really not a problem keeping it clean. Once again the pros definitely outweigh the cons, and we would recommend this as a serious contender.
We’ve heard and read rants and raves about the Smokin’ Tex Pro, which made us all the more determined to use it for a cook-out and review it based on our own experience.
Price wise this is the most expensive of all our featured smokers, which we find a bit odd. There have been no major design changes for 15 years and there are no bells and whistles included, let alone frills. It doesn’t even have a timer. But before we rant too much, let’s mention all the things we do like.
It’s made of stainless steel with a double wall, meaning it’ll last forever (which maybe justifies the higher price) and it has excellent heat retention. So much so that some people have said they’ve used the smoker at temperatures of 30 below zero!
Impressive indeed (but who in their right mind is outside barbecuing at 30 below zero?). With regards to the smoke consistency, this is one of heck of a unit, only needing about half a cup of wood chips for a fully packed smoker.
As with our other smokers it’s easy to use, with a very simple operating system. It’s pretty much a case of stack it, rack it and switch it on, leaving you to do whatever you need to, and letting it do its thing. Which, we might add, it does very well. Additional features include a warmer and an optional cold smoke plate which can be bought separately.
The Tex Pro has wheels, which makes it easy to move around (except on grass) and to store but the jury’s out on whether there’s enough cooking space.
We had about 25 people around and we were able to feed everyone but some reviews have mentioned that the 1400 doesn’t offer enough space for large groups.
We found this to be a little trickier than the other smokers when it came to cleaning.
There’s a drain hole at the bottom of the unit and the drip pan goes under, which means dogs can get in it and it can drip on your deck, leaving it looking a little grubby.
Where this smoker exceeds expectations is its 24-month warranty, which very few of the other models offer.
It goes without saying that this Masterbuilt 30-inch electric smoker is affordable and definitely value for money.
It’s a great smoker for those watching their budget or just starting out.
The unit maintains heat and smoke because of its insulation; it’s easy to use and doesn’t take up a lot of space. It also has four removable racks, with a large smoking area, 730 square inches to be exact and a side loading feature, which means you can add wood chips to create your own original smoky flavors.
If you are wondering what wood chips to use, check out our full guide here.
The only negative we really think worth mentioning is that it does take quite a bit of time to heat up but that can be managed by starting the smoking earlier.
Once again, as with the other smokers we’ve reviewed, we’d happily recommend the Masterbuilt 30-inch.
If you'd like to read a full, in-depth review, click here.
The name alone should tell you this electric smoker is the real deal. At first glance it looks like a safe that can be used to store your most valuable possessions. But if you look a bit closer you will see this small machine is much more than that.
Made in America, this small but powerful smoker was constructed using welded, double-walled, heavy-gauge stainless steel. That’s about as tough as it gets. Even the hardware is heavy duty which means this smoker was built to last.
Take a look on the inside and you will be just as impressed as you are with the outside. Thanks to Spin Glass insulation the heat will always be in the right place at the right time which means your meat will be prepared perfect every time.
For maximum durability the shelves have been nickel plated. Together the two shelves can hold up to 25 pounds of meat. It can handle everything from a full slab of ribs to a whole brisket.
For easy access a stainless steel cook box has been placed at the bottom of the smoker to store wood chips. Just pull it out, pour in the wood chips and the smoker will be ready to start smoking.
The Cookshack Smokette Elite Electric Smoker Oven can smoke at temperatures up to 300 degrees. The LED control panel will show you the temperature inside the box as well as the temperature of the meat when the included commercial quality probe is inserted.
Being able to easily keep an eye on the temperature ensures you get superior results anytime you use the smoker.
With the Cookshack Smokette there is no need to be an expert smoker. Just place your meat in the box, set the temperature and the Cookshack will do all the hard work.
Once your meat is done place it on the optional storage cart and serve to all your guests.
Ready to take your smokin skills to a whole new level? With the Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker you will be able to do just that.
It doesn’t matter if you are a professional chef or you have never cooked a day in your life, when you use this smoker you will be smokin up a storm in no time. All of your friends and family will be amazed at the quality of food you are able to produce.
With 500 square inches of cooking space you will be able to prepare plenty of food for all of your guests. And in the event you need additional space just pull out the three removable racks and you will be able to easily accommodate larger meats.
Being that this smoker has no wheels mobility can prove to be a problem. However, the smoker only weighs 50 pounds so moving it shouldn’t be too big of a hassle. Just pick it up by the chrome plated handle and move it to the new location.
At only 50 pounds the Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker is one of the lightest smokers on the market. It is also one of the most powerful.
The double wall construction ensures the heat and smoke stay inside the unit. And with a 1,500 watt heating element you can be sure your meat will always be smoked to perfection.
To make it easy for you to monitor the temperature there is a temperature gauge on the door.
This is the best smoker for anyone on a tight budget. You can get the Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker for $152. You won’t find a better quality smoker at a price like that.
The Smokin-It Model #1 Electric Smoker is the perfect smoker for anyone who loves catering to large groups of people. Though small in size this smoker is able to handle up to 22 pounds of meat in one go.
When it comes to durability this smoker is built to last. It features an 18-gauge non-magnetic stainless steel frame which is the same material used on smokers used in restaurants.
If you will be wheeling this smoker in and out of storage having such a strong design will be extremely beneficial.
With three removable shelves you can easily move things around to get extra space when you need it.
If you know anything about smoking meat you know its the high temperatures that help you produce the best flavor. The Smokin-It Model #1 Electric Smoker is equipped with a 400-watt heating element that ensures you always have the perfect smoking temperature.
To streamline the cooking process there is an LED light and fiberglass insulation that keeps the smoker nice and insulated.
The Smokin-It Model #1 Electric Smoker is easy to use and easy to maintain. If you are looking for hassle free smoking that is exactly what you will get with this smoker. And since it’s not a traditional gas smoker you never have to worry about the flavor being ruined due to unwanted contaminants.
Even better is the fact that this smoker is super easy to clean. The drip pan will catch all the meat juices and all you have to do is wipe it clean.
If you are looking for decent performance at an affordable price then you will love the Old Smokey Electric Smoker.
Not only is this smoker easy to operate, but it also comes with everything you need to get the party started as quickly as possible. With two cooking racks and smoking chips all you have to do is bring the meat.
While this smoker has a lot of really great features, one of the best ones is the sealed flat top. Because the top is sealed no juice can escape from the smoker. Instead it drips back down onto the meat giving it even more flavor.
The sealed top also shortens cooking time because it traps all the heat inside. The meat you prepare with this smoker will be so tender and juicy that it will literally melt in your mouth.
Adding wood chips to the Old Smokey Electric Smoker is a simple two step process. Just pull out the wood tray, add the chips and you are ready to go.
When it comes to design this smoker has a very compact and simple design. It is the perfect smoker for individuals with very little kitchen space to spare.
The cylinder shaped smoker includes two racks, a heating element and a wood tray. Each rack can hold up to 8 pounds of brisket which means you still have plenty of cooking space.
This smoker weighs 25 pounds and has two carrying handles to make moving it around quick and easy. For your safety the handles are fireproof and heat resistant.
As far as construction goes, the Old Smokey Electric Smoker was built using corrosion-resistant aluminized steel. That means the body of this smoker is tough and durable.
The Masterbuilt 20070411 is an upgraded version of the Masterbuilt 20070910. Not only does it have more features, but it also has a higher price tag.
Unlike the 20070910 this model has a transportation wheel. This is an extremely valuable feature for those times when you need to move the smoker to a different location.
This model also has a viewing window and internal light that allows you to keep an eye on your food without opening the smoker.
One of the best features is the RF remote control that allows you to control just about every aspect of the smoker from a remote location. You can monitor the temperature, time, meat temperature and much more.
The Masterbuilt 20070411 has an 800 watt heating element, 730 square inches of cooking space and 4 racks.
The unit is scratch free and very durable. Some have even called in nearly indestructible. I don’t know that we would go that far but it is built to endure just about anything.
For your convenience there is a side loading wood chip tray. And for easy cleaning the drip pan is removable.
If the 30 inch is to small, then Masterbuilt offer a whole range of 40 inch smokers. We have reviewed the top 3 here.
When it comes to buying an electric smoker you have plenty of options.
Each one is different in functionality, quality and the results they produce.
That’s why it’s so important you take the time to define your needs before you begin your research. Not only do you want to make sure the smoker meets your needs, but you also want to make sure it fits your budget.
Now before we dive in and discuss the 11 things you need to consider before purchasing an electric smoker, let’s first talk about 4 advantages electric smokers have over traditional smokers.
Traditional smokers require a lot to get going. First you have to ignite the flame, then you have to make sure the air flow is properly regulated, and last but not least you have to make sure the temperature is just right.
With an electric smoker all you have to do is plug it in and go. Once you set the temperature the smoker will do the rest.
An electric smoker gives you the ability to make quality meats regardless of your level of experience.
With a traditional smoker you need real fire to produce the smoke. And in most cases you will need to leave the fire on for hours at a time.
If you have children or pets this can be very dangerous as they may potentially knock the unit over which could cause the fire to quickly spread.
With an electric smoker there are no open flames which means they are a lot safer to have at your home.
With a traditional smoker you will need to invest in charcoal or wood to ensure the flame can keep going. If you are cooking for several hours having to constantly add more wood can start to get expensive.
Being that an electric smoker uses electricity having to buy more fuel is not something you will have to worry about.
And being that they don’t use much power you don’t have to worry about it making your electricity bill go up too high.
When using a traditional smoker you have to sit around and watch it. Most users call it babysitting.
Not only do you have to monitor the temperature, but you also have to make sure the flame doesn’t go out and that the air flow is where it needs to be.
Electric smokers on the other hand don’t require this much work. You can literally plug it in and let it run on its own. There is no need for you to sit there and watch it all day.
Now that we know a little bit more about electric smokers and why they are better than traditional smokers, here are the 11 things you need to consider before purchasing one.
Before you check the price or features of a smoker you should check to see what type of materials were used to build it. The materials used will determine how durable the unit is.
Most of the smokers we reviewed were made using stainless steel which is one of the best materials to construct a smoker with. Especially when it comes to the interior of the unit.
Stainless steel is able to handle high heat extremely well which ensures the temperature is always steady. It is also durable and very easy to keep clean.
When it comes to the outside of the unit you will find many use embossed aluminum or corrosion-resistant aluminized steel. This is because most smokers are kept outside and it is very important the exterior is just as durable as the interior.
The cooking area is the amount of space you have to prepare your amazing dishes. Generally speaking smokers are designed to be used outdoors.
Because of this many of them come with large cooking areas by default.
Ideally you want a unit that has a ton of rack space. Four racks will give you up to 700 square inches of cooking space. Large cookers can handle up to 50 pounds of meat at one time. This of course is perfect if you will be entertaining a lot of guests on a regular basis.
If however you aren’t one who plans on cooking for a large group of people there is no need to have a large cooking area. The key is to get a smoker that has a cooking area that meets your individual needs.
For most people using their electric smoker is not something they do on a regular basis. They usually only pull it out during the weekends or when they have guests over and they want to entertain them with delicious food.
Because of this portability is extremely important. The weight of the smoker is what will ultimately determine if it is portable. If its less than 50 pounds you should be able to pick it up and move it to a new location.
For all other situations you should opt for a unit that has wheels. This way you can easily roll it to where you want it to be.
If you are someone who wants to take your smoker with you on camping trips you will need to get a smaller smoker that weighs around 12 pounds. This makes it easy to move in and out of your vehicle.
This may sound a little too simple, but one of the easiest ways to determine what smoker to buy and which ones to stay away from is to read reviews.
Most consumers are very honest when they leave feedback. And while we did our best to review the top electric smokers, it wouldn’t hurt to do some of your own research to see what real life customers have to say about a particular unit.
The performance of a unit is extremely important. If the unit doesn’t perform well you will not get the end result you are after. Some features that enhance performance include water pans, vents, extra insulation, rheostats, doors, drip pans and thermostats.
For maximum performance a smoker must have excellent temperature control which is something we will talk about in the next section.
One of the biggest benefits to using an electric smoker is because of its ability to maintain even, steady temperatures.
For best results opt for a smoker that has an adjustable temperature control. This way you know you can set the right temperature for the foods you are cooking.
This is something most people don’t think about but it is extremely important. The electric smoker you invest in should be powerful enough to do what you need it to do.
Generally speaking power for electric smokers is measured in watts. Most electric smokers have an average wattage of between 500-800 watts. Though this is considered pretty low it’s more than enough for most users.
If you need something more powerful opt for a smoker that offers up to 1500 watts of pure power. If you think a particular electric smoker might not have enough power, consider getting one that utilizes infrared technology.
Infrared technology uses radiant heat to keep temperatures even without drying out your food. You basically get more power without the same amount of effort.
When it comes to maintaining your smoker you want it to be quick and easy. You want the racks, grids, panels and trays to be easily removable and if at all possible, dishwasher safe.
Properly maintaining your smoker is the key to keeping it running for many years to come. It will also reduce the amount of work you will need to do to get it ready for the winter.
If you are a serious cook you will want an electric smoker that can do much more than just smoke. You want it to be versatile enough to also roast and grill if that’s what you choose to do.
The good news is some electric smokers include separate areas for grilling and roasting. That means you can use the smoker to roast a whole turkey or to sear your chicken.
When your electric smoker is versatile you can prepare your favorite dishes in multiple ways without having to invest in additional equipment.
Remote controls give you the power to control your cooker without having to hover over it all day. You can adjust the temperature, turn on the internal light, check the temperature of the meat, and so much more.
A remote control will give you a great deal of freedom and flexibility as you will be able to keep tabs on everything with the click of a few buttons.
When it boils down to it the electric smoker you invest in will depend on how much you can afford to spend. Luckily there are a ton of really great smokers that are extremely affordable.
When it comes to price please know there is a huge difference between affordable and plain old cheap. An affordable unit is one that is constructed well but doesn’t include all the features of a top of the line smoker.
It’s still effective just not as versatile as a more expensive model. A cheap unit on the other hand is made using cheap materials that quickly erode and break down.
Cheap models usually don’t last very long. And while they may save you money upfront, in the long run you will find yourself spending hundreds of dollars on replacement parts and repairs.
So instead of looking for the cheapest possible price, focus on finding a model that offers the features you want and need at an affordable price. It makes a huge difference when you take this approach.
Now that you know the 11 things you should consider when purchasing an electric smoker, let’s quickly cover the top 5 brands. These are the brands that tend to deliver the best features at a great price.
W.C Bradley, the company that owns the Char-Broil brand, has been around since 1885. When the company first started it was a cotton business. It would later brand out into other industries such as farm equipment, textiles, fishing gear and yes, barbeque grills.
In 1949 the first Char-Broil grill hit the market and the brand has been a hit ever since. The company is most known for their Tru-Infrared Technology which can be found in all of their grills and smokers.
Smokehouse is a popular brand that focuses mainly on kitchenware. The electric smokers they build are usually great for outdoor use. Their smokers are usually front loaded and have a least 4 racks. Smokehouse smokers are great for individuals who cook a variety of different meats.
This brand is probably one of the most innovative brands there is on the market today. They are NSF certified and have customers all over the world. One thing that makes them stand out is there willingness to insulate the entire body of their smokers.
Not only does this ensure minimal heat loss, but it also improves the smoking rate for a better overall cooking experience.
Bradley smokers got their start back in the 1970’s. It is said that the founder of the brand offered to teach a master smoker how to fish if he agreed to teach him how to smoke salmon. And as they say, the rest is history.
After learning how to smoke salmon he went on to create Bradley electric smokers that have since become known for their superior temperature controls and ease of use.
Bradley smokers were some of the first to give users complete control over the time and temperature of the unit.
Masterbuilt is without a doubt one of the most popular brands when it comes to electric smokers.
They are considered a premium brand that deliver top of the line features. In 1998 the company expanded globally and has been a force in the industry every since.
Not only does Masterbuilt manufacture amazing smokers, but they also have a host of other cooking products including cookbooks.
When researching brands focus on the ones that specialize in the features you deem important. Brands that focus exclusively on kitchenware are more likely to produce high quality electric smokers.
You will also find that different brands will vary with it comes to price. For example, premium brands such as Masterbuilt will be more expensive than brands such as Char-Broil or Bradley.
To find the best brand for your needs it is best to compare them based on features, quality and price.
Having a high quality electric smoker on hand is a great way to ensure the quality of your food is always top notch.
This is especially true for restaurant owners and professional chefs. An electric smoker can save you a great deal of time by making your job easier.
An electric smoker is also great for home users as it can help you take your cooking to a whole new level of deliciousness.
And while we didn’t mention this in the top 11 things you should consider when purchasing an electric smoker, we thought it was important to mention it before we close out this guide.
When using an electric smoker keep in mind you will be using electricity. Because of this you may incur additional expenses. While most people don’t notice a huge difference in their electric bill, it is still something you should be aware of.
If you use your electric smoker on a regular basis you will notice your electric bill increase a small bit every month.
Electric smokers also require a high level of care. If you don’t properly take care of them they are more likely to become damaged and stop working altogether.
Additionally, some of the more advanced models require special training in order to use them the right way. If you aren’t a professional chef the additional training may be a waste of time and in some cases a waste of money.
Even with these minor drawbacks, the pros of using an electric smoker easily outweigh the cons. Yes there are some limitations but most people would still prefer an electric smoker over a traditional smoker.
Especially since we now live in a digital world and everyone is always connected. With electric smokers you will have the freedom to control everything from your mobile device. This of course is not a feature you will find on a traditional smoker.
While we can go on and on about how amazing electric smokers are, at the end of the day you have to try it for yourself to understand where we are coming from.
Every smoker we have reviewed is effective, efficient and affordable. Read over each one to determine which one has the features you need. And remember, there is a big difference between affordable and cheap.
This post was last updated on January 9th, 2019 at 03:31 pm