The Ultimate Beginner’s Char-Broil Electric Smoker Review Guide

cooking ribs in char broil electric smoker

Making your first foray into the world of outdoor electric smokers can be a bit tricky for a beginner, but there really is no better place to start for brand name quality than the world-renowned Char-Broil electric smoker!

Simply put, their user-friendly design, durability and modest prices give Char Broil electric smokers a competitive edge over other leading brands like Weber and Traeger. 

Our Char Broil electric smoker reviews include digital and analog models for your consideration, with a detailed overview of their construction, performance, durability and other comparable features. 

Whether it’s spicy jerk sausages flavored and smoked over burning hickory or a tender cut of sirloin sizzling with fat over an open flame, Char Broil electric smokers will whet your appetite for an elevated outdoor cooking experience.

Read our Char Broil electric smokers reviews to help you decide which one is best for you! 

Best Char Broil Electric Smoker Reviews

Product Features:

- Dimensions: 17.5 x 20 x 37.8 in
- Weight: 49.6 lbs
- 505 square inches of cooking surface
- Solid steel construction
- 1500 watt infrared heating element
- 3 adjustable cast iron cooking grates
- Insulated, double-walled cooking chamber construction
- Removable Wood chip tray and water tray
- Chrome-plated wooden handle (heat resistant)
- Lid-mounted temperature gauge with bezel

WARNING: Please note this product may expose you to lead chemicals and lead compounds known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm [1]. 

Product Overview

If you’re looking for a place to begin your foray into the world of outdoor grilling and smoked cuisine, there’s no better place to start than with our top pick. The Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker holds the number one  spot in our electric smokers review for two key reasons: (1) simplicity and (2) efficiency.

Right out of the box, the Char-Broil Vertical Smoker includes an easy to read user manual that makes assembly hassle-free. There are troubleshooting tips, customer support information, warranty details, and diagram instructions to help you safely assemble the smoker. Beginners will especially like that all the parts are high quality metal, clearly labelled, and everything you need to start smoking in minutes is included. 

Be sure to read the Char-Broil Vertical Smoker user manual thoroughly, as there is an important warning regarding the presence of lead compounds [2].

Once assembled, the Char-Broil stands just over 3 ft high and is compact enough to fit unobtrusively on a patio deck or in a small, intimate backyard. It’s no frills appearance may not impress, but this smoker is solid construction through and through. 

Handles on either side make the Char Broil Vertical Smoker easy to lift or move, despite weighing 49 lbs of steel. The cooking chamber is double-walled and insulated along the door with magnetic strips to seal in moisture and that smoky flavor. Finally, the chrome-plated wooden door handle is heat resistant, and adds a nice finishing touch to its otherwise basic appearance.

With no gas burner or propane to worry about, you only need to plug in the Char Broil Vertical Smoker to get started. A removable wood tray and water tray are included, both of which hang directly over the 1500 watt heating element. Inside, the cooking chamber holds 3 adjustable chrome plated racks, and can accommodate a 20 lb turkey or a 12 lb cut of brisket with room to spare! 

product image of char broil electric smoker from two angles closed and openroduct image of char broil electric smoker from two angles closed and open

Built to seal in smoke, moisture and heat, the Char Broil Vertical Smoker can reach temperatures in excess of 300F, which is adequate for most smoked recipes. You can just easily smoke a salmon fillet or grill a juicy burger over an open flame fueled by flavorful hickory wood chips. The choice is yours!

Adjusting the temperature setting between either high or low is done using a simple controller fitted on the exterior that is directly attached to the power cord. There’s also a front-mounted digital temperature gauge on the lid to display the internal temperature, which is handy since the door has no viewing glass.

Cleaning the Char Broil Vertical Smoker is fairly simple since there are so few components. The water and wood chip tray are easily removed and dishwasher friendly.  A metal grease catcher connects to the bottom of the chamber and can be easily removed for dumping and cleaning. There’ s no grease tray to prevent flare-ups while the smoker is at capacity but you can easily purchase and insert one of your own ( a standard baking tray works fine). 

Stripped down to the smoking essentials, the Char Broil Vertical Smoker delivers amazingly well for its modest price point. Smart technology, automated features, and side-loading wood chips aren’t an option, but it’s durable and well insulated for outdoor smoking. If you prefer a no frills approach to your smoked dishes but don’t want to sacrifice performance or taste, this model is right on the money. 

Pros:

- Seals in smoke for great smoky flavor on all - your meat
- Provides ample 500+ square inches of cooking surface for smoking large cuts of meat
- Highly durable steel construction

Cons:

- Must add wood chips manually by opening the smoker door
- Temperature variance can be as much as 40 degrees
- Contains harmful lead chemicals and compounds


Product Features:

- Dimensions: 20.7” x 33.5” x 15” inches
- Weight: 49.5 lbs
- 544 Sq inches of cooking surface area
- 1000 watt heating element
- 3 chrome-plated cooking grates
- Double-wall insulated construction with dual exhaust ports
- Door-mounted temperature gauge,
- Dual-latch door
- Wood chip tray and Front-access water tray
- Detachable metal grease cup
- 1 yr warranty

Product Overview

Coming in at a slightly lower price point, the Char Broil Analog Electric Smoker shares many of the same features with its cousin, the Char Broil Vertical Electric Smoker we reviewed earlier. A few added inches gives the Char Broil Analog smoker almost 40 square inches of additional cooking surface area, with a few additional touches the Vertical Smoker doesn’t include.

Screws, bolts, washers, panels, cooking grates - each part of the Analog Smoker is quality construction designed for durability over many years. The 1000 watt heating element installs easily along with a no-fuss, controller that allows for direct temperature adjustment. The door includes a mounted temperature gauge for reading the internal temperature, as well as dual latches for ensuring that moisture and heat are sealed in the cooking chamber.

The 544 square inches of cooking area are spread out over 3 chrome plated cooking grates that can be adjusted for height or removed to accommodate extra large dishes such as a 20 lb thanksgiving turkey or a 14lb rack of lamb. There’s enough capacity to comfortably serve a gathering of 4 - 10 guests their choice of either grilled or smoked. A removable grease tray is also another nice addition, and is extremely useful for reducing flare ups.

product image of open char broil analog electric smoker with its parts

In addition to the double wall insulation, there are 2 exhaust ports on either side of the Analog Smoker, side handles for moving, and 4 short legs. The side exhaust ports provide improved temperature consistency compared to the Vertical Electric Smoker, but we really miss the chrome-plated door handle! The lack of a door handle means you’ll need to exercise some caution when opening and closing the Char-Broil Analog Smoker..

Another drawback is the lack of a viewing window, but the front-mounted temperature gauge is easy to read and monitors the internal temperature fairly accurately. The presettings are user-friendly and the Analog Electric Smoker user manual includes helpful troubleshooting tips should you encounter an issue. 

Overall, the Analog Smoker is a slightly larger, more affordable alternative to the Vertical Electric Smoker, with less heating power. If you are only planning to use it for smoked dishes, you’ll find the Char Broil Analog Smoker stands up to any other brand at the same price admirably well. 

You might also be interested in tips on how to season your smoked meat if you’re new to cooking smoked dishes.

Pros:

- Larger cooking surface area than the Vertical Electric Smoker
- Economically priced
- Dual exhaust ports provide Improved heat consistency 

Cons:

- No viewing window
- Door does not have a handle
- No automated features for reloading wood chips or water


Product Features:

- Dimensions: 32.5 x 18.1 x 16.5 in
- Weight: 58.8 lbs
- 1000 watt heating element
- 4 Adjustable cooking racks
- 725 Sq inch cooking surface area
- Insulated, double-wall construction
- LED Display and advanced, user-friendly temperature control panel
- 4 cup wood chip tray capacity
- Insertable meat thermometer probe
- Sliding porcelain coated water tray
- Large viewing glass door
- Smoke-tight locking steel latch

Product Overview

Back in 2015, Char Broil partnered with DADO Labs to create a new line of digital electric smokers that have been steadily gaining in popularity [3]. Not surprisingly, the Char Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker has been reviewed favorably many times since its arrival on the market. 

Priced at $100 more than the analog series, the Deluxe Digital Smoker isn’t just for beginners, and it offers convenient features that make it less labor intensive than the Vertical Electric Smoker, for instance.

The design is attractive and elegant, with a large viewing window and black metal finish, but it’s also available in stainless steel. Like all Char Broil electric smokers, assembly is required and all the parts are of durable, high quality metal construction to ensure it will last for many years. Due to the corrosive nature of metal, however, it’s a good idea to invest in the Char Broil 30” inch heavy duty polyester cover that is available as an accessory.

With 725 square inches of cooking area and 4 adjustable racks, the Deluxe is still quite compact and stands just under 3 ft high, like its analog counterparts. Fit it onto your small backyard patio or use it to serve a gathering of 8 or more guests, the Deluxe has ample room in its smoke chamber for smoking or grilling a variety of dishes at once. 

open char broil digital electric smoker smoking ribs inside

Setting the temperature is very straightforward thanks to the  Char Broil Deluxe’s user-friendly control panel with an LED display to monitor the internal temperature. The patented Char Broil Tru infrared 1000 watt heating element is powerful enough to  smoke a 15 lb turkey in 4 hours, but it can take a while to reach temperatures above 200F. If you are using it in a cold climate or after a long period of cold storage, expect it to take longer before heating to the desired temperature.

The large smoke tight steel latch locks in the smoke as well as moisture inside the double walled smoke box to ensure an even temperature and rich, flavorful smoke every time. 

With its large viewing window, you can easily keep an eye on your smoked creations but the removable, large capacity wood tray and water tray also means you only have to refill them once every 4 - 7 hrs, giving you added freedom to entertain guests or prep side dishes.

A nice addition not included with either the Analog or the Vertical Electric Smoker models is the insertable meat thermometer. Once inserted, the probe will alert you when the meat has reached the desired internal temperature, and a warming feature keeps your dish warm and ready to serve until you open the door to remove it. Very cool!

Pros:

-User friendly digital control panel
-Internal meat probe included
-Large capacity wood tray and water tray

Cons:

- Prone to rust
- Heating element can be slow to reach optimum temperature


Product Features:

- Dimensions: 16.5 x 23.4 x 40 in
- Weight: 65.4 lbs
- Stainless steel construction
- 1000 watt heating element
- 4 Adjustable cooking racks
- 1000 Sq inch cooking surface area
- Insulated, double-wall construction
- LED Display and advanced, user-friendly temperature control panel
- 4 cup wood chip tray capacity
- Insertable meat thermometer probe
- Removable Temperature Gauge
- Sliding porcelain coated water tray
- Large viewing glass door
- Smoke-tight locking steel latch
- Wheels for ease of transport

Product Overview

Looking for a great Father’s Day gift? The Char Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker is a great way to say I love you, but it’s an even better way to smoke meat to perfection!

More expensive than its counterpart, the Char Broil 19202101 Deluxe, this stainless steel version includes all of the same features with a few extra bells and whistles for added convenience.

With an additional 75 sq inches of cooking surface area, the Char Broil Deluxe 1000 sq in

can comfortably serve 10 or more guests at a time. Four adjustable chrome racks give you room to smoke a pork shoulder, some baby back ribs, a large cut of tender brisket, and some roasted corn on the cob with room to spare!

Utilizing the same double walled, insulated design as the Deluxe, the Char Broil Deluxe 1000 sq in maintains an even temperature more consistently. It also has a large viewing window and locking steel latch on its door for sealing in smoke as well as heat. You’ll find the 1000 watt infrared heating element is even more efficient than the Deluxe, but may dip in performance with increased use.

Product image of Open Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker, 1000 Square Inch

A large capacity wood tray and water tray means you only need to refill once every 4 - 7 hrs. There is an internal meat probe as well as a removable temperature gauge, so you can be a bit more mobile while your food is in the smoker. A battery-operated remote control is also included for added convenience, allowing you to adjust temperature or turn off the smoker as needed while you watch the game or catch up with guests in conversation.

Wheels on the bottom of the Char Broil Deluxe 1000 sq inch make it easier to transport outdoors and the stainless steel design makes it less prone to rust than the 19202101 Deluxe. Some users have experienced some issues with the door and hinges over time. Repeated use can cause expansion in the metal, which in turn can make the locking mechanism difficult to use. 

Be sure to read the Char Broil Deluxe 1000 sq inch user manual for troubleshooting tips, or contact Char Broil’s customer service if you have any issues [4].

Pros:

- Durable stainless steel construction
- Remote control and removable temperature gauge
- Large capacity 1000 sq inch cooking area

Cons:

-Door hinges may swell with repeated use


Product Features:

- Dimensions: 16.5 x 18.1 x 32.5 inches
- Weight: 50 lbs
- 725 sq inch cooking surface area
- 4 adjustable cooking racks
- Large capacity wood chip tray and water tray
- Warming Feature
- SmartChef Wifi App (Compatible with iPhone 4s, 5, 5s, 6, 6s, 6+, 6s+. iOS 8 and newer/Android 4.4 (KitKat) and newer/Optimized for Samsung Galaxy s5)

Product Overview

Want to get high tech with your outdoor cooking? The Char Broil Digital Electric Smoker with SmartChef technology combines digital and wifi features to give you added convenience, ensuring your smoked dishes are always served to perfection.

Packed with all the amazing features that make the Char Broil Deluxe such a bargain, the SmartChef technology works via an app that syncs to your phone. Monitor your food remotely for readiness, check the internal temperature, adjust settings, and receive alerts that notify you when your food is ready to serve. The warming feature will keep your food at just the right serving temperature until you’re ready to remove it from the smoker!

Watch the video to learn more: 

Pros:

- SmartChef Wifi App
- Large capacity smoke box
- Smoke tight seal

Cons:

-Some technical difficulties with Wifi performance

Here are 3 tips from users to keep in mind when using the SmartChef App with your Char Broil Digital Electric Smoker:

1. Place the smoker facing your wifi source.
2. If the app has been giving inconsistent online / offline status, uninstall and then reinstall..
3. At the end of the Chip burning cycle be sure to press the ‘Preset’ button - NOT the ‘Start/stop” button. Otherwise, you will have to start all over!

image of char-broil electric smoker outside on patio

About Char-Broil: An Electric Smoker For Every Occasion

If you are looking for an electric smoker, consider one from Char-Broil!

Is Char-Broil a good brand compared to other outdoor grilling brands like Weber, for example? Rest assured that your Char-Broil electric smoker is backed by a respected company with a 75 year history of creating world-class grilling products. 

Founded in 1948, Char-Broil is a leading outdoor grilling brand that lives the American BBQ tradition [5]. In addition to their charcoal grills, they also manufacture the following:

- Gas grills and covers
- Digital and electric smokers
- Portable grills
- Fryers
- Natural gas conversion kits
- Meat thermometers
- BBQ Utensils

Very early in its development, Char-Broil was acquired by W.C. Bradley Co., which has specialized in lifestyle leisure goods since 1885. In fact, their first outdoor cooker, the Char-Broil 19, may very well be one of the first cast iron charcoal grills ever sold. Since then, Char-Broil has been setting the standard for affordable, quality outdoor cooking products worldwide.Thanks to a 2007 partnership with Thermal Engineering Corporation (TEC), Char-Broil was able to develop a patented infrared heating system that has made their grilling products highly popular with consumers for their efficiency [6]. In 2015, Char-Broil also launched a series of digital and electric smokers with SMART features (branded as SmartChef).

smoking chicken on char broil electric smoker

How To Use A Char Broil Electric Smoker Tips

  1. Read through the product guide thoroughly. It contains vital information regarding the assembly, use and maintenance of your Char-Broil smoker, as well as warranty information.

  2. Report to customer support immediately for a prompt replacement of any defective Char Broil electric smoker parts.  

  3. Don’t overheat. Using the presettings will ensure your smoked dishes are cooked through with the least hassle.

  4. It’s always better to start low and increase the temperature as needed to avoid burning your food excessively.

  5. Before contacting customer service, read your product guide for troubleshooting tips.

  6. Always unplug your Char-Broil smoker from the electrical source when cleaning or servicing.

  7. Wait until the smoker has cooled down entirely before attempting to clean the interior or exterior.

Check out the Char-Broil digital electric smoker user manual for more details on how to use your digital smoker the right way [7].
image of char broil electric smoker temperature settings

Key Char-Broil Electric Smoker Features

Temperature Range 

A quality electric smoker should provide you with a temperature range high enough to smoke, sear, or char-broil your meat.  

Smoking requires a low and slow approach, so 250F - 400F is plenty of temperature range. If you like to sear your meat after smoking it, seek out an electric smoker with a temperature range of 500F from direct heat is adequate.

Temperature Control

Some electric smokers use a simple dial that can be adjusted to presettings. Temperature presettings are typically high, medium and low. While this is sufficient for char-broiling a bison burger or some spicy frankfurters, precision temperature control allows you to adjust the temperature to a specific degree. 

For more advanced grilling chefs, you’ll want a Char-Broil digital electric smoker that allows you to set a specific temperature. When smoking meat in a Char-Broil electric smoker you are going to want to monitor it’s temperature to make sure it remains around 250F [8].

Heat Distribution

Quality construction, design, and materials play a critical role in heat distribution. A quality electric smoker seals in heat as well as smoke, and is designed for even heat distribution inside the cooking chamber.

A combination of dampeners and insulation make an electric smoker more efficient at using fuel, generating heat, and sealing in smoke for that char-broiled, smoky flavor. 

Look for Char-Broil electric smokers made of strong, thick metals (not steel) for the best heat distribution and to prevent health risks. Food cooked in makeshift containers or material not intended for cooking can result in chemical residue contamination [9]. 

Cooking Surface Area

Are you a casual bbq smoker or do you grill every weekend? How many people do you serve on average? And finally, what size dishes are you smoking in your electric smoker?

These are important questions to consider when shopping for the right size electric smoker. Whether it’s rack of lamb, a 12 lb brisket, or 20 lb salmon fillet, be sure your Char-Broil electric smoker has enough cooking surface to accommodate your largest dishes. 

The electric smoker door should be able to close completely so that neither smoke or heat escapes. Removable racks are also very helpful for loading your electric smoker adequately.  500 square inches of cooking surface area is standard size, while 1000 sq inches or more is considered large capacity.

Durability

Stainless steel, metal, cast iron, or a combination? Your Char-Broil electric smoker needs to be made of quality materials that won’t rust easily or crack under extreme heat. The construction material will also impact the level of maintenance required. Cast iron needs to be covered in humid climates and conditions to avoid rust. Stainless steel should be cleaned regularly to maintain its lustre. 

Digital Features

In addition to the cooking chamber, some electric smokers include digital components as well. LED temperature displays, timers, digital meat thermometers, and Wifi features can make your electric smoker a lot easier to use, but they can also be unreliable if poorly made. 

Some temperature readouts, for example, can be off by as much as 50F. It’s impossible to eliminate temperature variances but a quality Char-Broil electric smoker should provide accurate temperature readings within only a few degrees of variance.

Be sure to read as many char-broil electric smoker reviews to learn from other users of any potential issues that may occur with your electric smoker. These can often be replaced if they are defective or damaged, provided they are covered under warranty.

Maintenance

Cleaning your electric smoker will never be ‘fun, but it can be hassle-free if you learn how to clean and maintain your bbq electric smoker - and we have a guide that will help you do just that  Char-Broil electric smokers are designed for ease of maintenance, with features that make cleaning fast, simple, and safe.

Warranty/Customer Service

On first purchasing and assembling your Char-Broil electric smoker, read through the user manual to learn about th0  terms and conditions of your warranty [10]. If you have an issue, you can review their warranty information online using the model number for your smoker.

Resources


[1] Proposition 65 Warnings Homepage (Proposition 65)
[2] Char-Broil Product Guide (Char-Broil)
[3] DADO Partners With Char-Broil For Better Outdoor Cooking in 2015 (Dado)
[4] Char Broil Deluxe 1000 sq inch user manual (Char Broil)
[5] Char Broil Home Page (Char-Broil)
[6] Char-Broil names CEO, partners with TEC (Casual Living)
[7] Char-Broil Grilling Guide (Char-Broil)
[8] How to Use a Charbroil Electric Smoker (Hunker)
[9] Smoking Meat and Poultry (United States Department of Agriculture)
[10] View Warranty Information for Your Product [Char-Broil)

This post was last updated on August 2nd, 2019 at 09:17 pm