If you stand for results that are only achieved by hard work and ingenuity combined with family and faith, then Masterbuilt is the brand for you.
The first “built by a Master” smoker dates back to 1973, and was built by Dawson McLemore.
At the time, he had a lucrative job at Goodyear Tire and Rubber but he gave it up and turned his full attention to a backyard welding hobby, turning it into a full-time, thriving business.
Today Masterbuilt makes some of the best (if not the best) smokers available.
They provide you with utmost smoking convenience and a variety of cooking options. But since they come in a number of models and styles to fit all needs and budgets, selecting the ideal smoker may not be as simple as one would wish.
For this reason, we put together an intensive guide on Masterbuilt, which looks at ten of their best smokers, as well as compare them.
We even threw in a couple of FAQ's and need-to-knows to keep in mind when you buy your Masterbuilt smoker.
Table of Contents
Top Pick: MASTERBUILT 30" 20077615 DIGITAL ELECTRIC SMOKER
When you choose the Masterbuilt 20077615, you get 721 sq. Inches of cooking space, distributed among four chrome racks.
This cooking space is more than enough to smoke food for 10 people, making it ideal for crowds like graduation ceremonies and family reunions among others.
Additionally, since it has the option of using wood chips, your food will have that delicious, genuine smoked taste.
With a power usage of about 800W and a maximum temperature of 275 degrees Fahrenheit, you don't have to worry about it getting too hot and burning anything. The unit also includes a front-dip pan to simplify and reduce the need for cleaning by catching all the food crumbs and juices.
The Masterbuilt 20077615 also gives you total control over the results, by allowing you to dictate everything from time to temperature.
It does this via its accompanying remote which, in addition to the mentioned, lets you; control the lights in the smoker, turn the smoker on and off, and check the temperature of the meat. With this, you don't have to worry about under, or over cooking anything.
This smoker is made to last and has a quality build. Also included in it is the full-foam insulation that maintains even temperature for consistent cooking. Unlike stainless steel, the chrome racks used in the unit loose heat faster, staying at a temperature lower than that of the meat as required.
#2 - MASTERBUILT 40" 20070215 BLUETOOTH SMART DIGITAL ELECTRIC SMOKER
With the Masterbuilt 20070115, the company managed to incorporate functionality and durability with style.
It is by far one of the sleekest and most classy Masterbuilt smokers available. Despite its design, the smoker was kept simple enough for amateur smokers looking to dip their toes into the smoking world.
The go-to feature of this unit is its integrated Bluetooth technology, which allows you to keep a close eye on things without having to leave your sofa. You can do this within a range of 10-15 feet using a smartphone or tablet with Bluetooth capability.
Since temperature plays a very important role in determining the taste and texture of the meat, the unit comes with a built-in probe thermometer.
With this, you can accurately monitor the temperature of your smoker, and have better control over the smoke. The Masterbuilt 20070115 gives you 975 sq. inches of cooking space, distributed among four racks.
The featured adjustable door latch ensures that no smoke or heat leaks out during cooking. Thanks to the removable water pan, you can rest assured that your food will end up juicy and moist when you are done cooking.
To further its convenience, its wood chip loading system is mounted on the side. This allows you to refill your wood chips without having to open the door, so, once again, you won't lose heat or smoke as you cook. Lastly, it comes with a handle and back wheels making it very easy to move from one place to another.
#3 - MASTERBUILT 30" 20076716 4-RACK DIGITAL ELECTRIC SMOKER
With the 20077116 Digital Electric Smoker, the company decided to go for utmost convenience.
For starters, included in its package, is a booklet containing 25 recipes that you can try out and a cover to protect your smoker when not in use.
Its distinguishing feature is its bright green finish that would brighten up any surrounding. It has a sturdy leg design that lets you adjust the height of the smoker up to 10 inches.
These also have a cover to tuck them out of sight.
Aside from the cover, you also get a pair of gloves that you can use to remove your meat from it without risking injury and burns.
With a temperature ceiling of 275 degrees Fahrenheit, you can cook larger and thicker cuts without them drying out.
This temperature can be evened out and controlled easily using its digital controls. They allow you to set the temperature and literally walk away, only to be back when your food is cooked.
The 20077116 allows you to cook up to 80 pounds of food at once and comes with a remote control. Weighing a mere 60 pounds, you can easily move it around without needing assistance.
#4 - MASTERBUILT 44" 20050614 PROPANE SMOKER
The Masterbuilt 20050614 Propane Smoker comes with a capacity of 2000 sq. inches distributed among four racks, allowing you to prepare meals for an entire gathering.
With this, you can hold parties in your backyard comfortably. It is perfect for people who love hosting parties as it can fit around 20 chickens, 6 turkeys, 8 racks of ribs, and 16 pork butts.
It includes a dual door design and a viewing window to monitor the process. It is quite heavy, weighing about 40kgs but thanks to the incorporated wheels, you can push it around easily.
Turning on a smoker could not get simpler as with the 20050614. With a single push of the ignition, you will have your unit up and running. Aside from this, it has simplified controls and functions that can be easily grasped by a beginner.
Like in all Masterbuilt smokers, this one allows you to conveniently add wood chips without losing heat and smoke. It does this via a removable wood chip tray. Its water tray is also removable so you can easily refill the much needed water during smoking.
For its size, it is exceptionally easy to maintain and clean inside and outside, thanks to its black steel exterior. Cleaning it is as simple as wiping it down with a damp cloth.
#5 - MASTERBUILT 20051316 THERMOTEMP X-LARGE PROPANE SMOKER
The Masterbuilt 20051316 XL is a true “set it and forget it” smoker; it is hardly as if you are smoking at all.
Thanks to its patent-pending thermostat controlled temperature control system, your smoker maintains consistent heat and smoke for the whole duration of your cooking session.
The smoker also comes with a safety valve for busy people and those who forget easily. This safety valve works by shutting down the burner to avert risks once the smoker gets exceedingly hot.
Another very useful feature of the Masterbuilt 20051316 XL is its fuel level gauge. It is displayed on the smoker cabinet, eliminating the need to shake the canister to check the level of propane in your tank.
Thanks to its dual door design, you can add wood chips to the unit without losing a lot of smoke or heat.
Although not a lot, with a cooking space of 965 sq. inches, you will never run out of room. The Masterbuilt 20051316 XL is perfect for medium size crowds of about 5-10 people.
#6 - MASTERBUILT 40" 20075315 FRONT CONTROLLER SMOKER
The Masterbuilt 20075315 comes with four chrome-coated racks inside 975 sq. inches of cooking space.
This cooking space is enough for any regular user, and can easily fit ribs, seafood, poultry, and pork all at once.
What set it apart from other Masterbuilt products is its simple-to-use control panel and a blue LED. Both of these give you total control over the cooking process as well as the results.
To simplify the cooking process, it features a remote control system.
From up to 100 feet out, you can control the internal light and monitor smoke and meat temperature and time.
Unlike most other Masterbuilt products, the 20075315 produces enough heat to cook poultry. It uses 1200W of power and maxes out at 350 degrees so you don't have to worry about undercooked poultry.
To maintain consistency at these high temperatures is the built-in temperature probe to provide accurate data.
Aside from the discussed features, the unit comes with a simple-to-operate wood chip tray, a front access drip pan and is fully insulated for minimal smoke loss. The front glass allows you to look inside while the wheels at the back simplify movement.
#7 - MASTERBUILT 20070210 30-INCH BLACK ELECTRIC ANALOG SMOKER
This 30-inch electric analog smoker comes with three chrome-coated racks in 547 sq. inches of cooking space.
It has a simple structure that includes a wood chip tray, a removable grease pan, and a water pan.
The Masterbuilt 20070210 has a very high temperature ceiling of 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
To check on and maintain these high temperatures, at its door is a temperature gauge to help you know how the inside of the smoker is doing. It also has a dual wall insulation to minimize the loss of smoke and heat.
On top of these, it has the following striking features.
First, its most impressive move is the thermostat control. With this, your only job will be to set the appropriate temperature. Unlike other smokers, you are not required to constantly check back on the progress. The Masterbuilt 20070210 heats up very fast to reach the set temperatures and maintains them for as long as required.
Second, it comes with trays that allow you to conveniently manage the cooking space. You can maximize it, and smoke different kinds of foods at the same time. With a 1500 watt heating element, the desired temperatures are achieved without having to wait.
#8 - MASTERBUILT 20071117 30" DIGITAL ELECTRIC SMOKER
The Masterbuilt 20071117 is designed with both external and internal integrated features to fulfil all your smoking and cooking needs.
What you will really love about this smoker is its ease of use.
It is very convenient, giving you the much needed peace of mind at all times inside your kitchen. Its digital panel can be understood even by people with no previous smoking experience.
It provides you with enough cooking space for small crowds. Inside its cooking space is four racks coated with chrome to improve the general appearance and simplify cleaning.
With the Masterbuilt 20071117, you can add chips and water without needing to open the door and losing smoke and heat.
This smoker has a temperature ceiling of 275 degrees Fahrenheit. For you to be able to reach and maintain desired temperatures, it comes with an integrated thermostat temperature control. This ensures consistent and even smoking for the best cooking results.
The Masterbuilt 20071117 is ideal for beginners, restaurant owners, and home-based users.
#9 - MASTERBUILT 20073716 PORTABLE ELECTRIC SMOKER
Being a mobile smoker, the Masterbuilt 20073716 will appeal people who love getting out into nature and heading off to long road trips.
Compared to other units, it is one of the smallest electric smokers available in the market. According to manufactures, this model was specifically designed for road trips, camping, and travelling.
To further simplify transport, it comes with a removable water pan and chip tray and has foldable legs. It is also very simple to set up.
It has a 1400-watt heating element that provides heat fast, smoking and cooking your food in a matter of hours. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that due to its compact size, you will need to constantly refill it with wood chips.
Masterbuilt 20073716 comes with three temperature settings for accuracy: high, medium, and low. You can keep an eye on the changes as you adjust the temperature thanks to the dial conveniently placed on the front door.
The removable shelves on this model provide a lot of flexibility allowing you to place a number of foods in it at once. These trays can be removed to simplify cleaning. Nonetheless, it is advisable to put some non-stick spray on the racks and the interior to minimize the smoking mess.
Needless to say, it is very affordable, especially if you have a fixed budget.
#10 - MASTERBUILT 20060516 VERTICAL CHARCOAL SMOKER
This digital smoker is an amazing entry to those who are new in the smoking realm.
With its simple design, it is very user friendly and perfect for parties, camping, or just an evening of kick-back smoking.
Although not much, the Masterbuilt 20060516 has a cooking space that can comfortably serve a small or a medium sized family, by allowing you to cook up to 50lbs of food at a time. Thanks to its dual doors design, you can check on the progress while replenishing charcoal without losing heat. Consequently, your food will be ready in less time.
The Masterbuilt 20060516 is well designed and insulated to excel in both warm and cold kinds of weather.
To set and maintain the desired temperature, it has its temperature gauge conveniently located on the door. Additionally, it comes with a built-in digital thermometer to simplify overall operation.
The unit also features a side air damper that is easy to adjust for complete control over the smoke.
The Complete Masterbuilt Smoker Buyers Guide
We have spent countless hours putting together one of the most comprehensive buyers guide.
We go into detail on how to use your smoker, how to clean it, the bluetooth app, temperature probe, mods, comparisons to Bradley, Traeger, and Weber. We also answer a few FAQ's toward to bottom.
Using Masterbuilt smokers
Although included in the package is a manual that explains everything, for first time users, the instructions may be somewhat scanty.
The setup for a Masterbuilt smoker is relatively easy and is well detailed in the manuals (for the models that do not come preassembled) so we won't look into that.
Basic use for Masterbuilt smokers is similar across all their models. As such, this step-by-step guide will work for you regardless of what Masterbuilt product you are using.
How to use
Step 1: First use and Seasoning
After set up, you don't just wipe it down and assume it is ready to smoke – you have to season it first. This process burns off oil, dust, or any other residue from manufacturing.
- Place an empty water pan and the chip smoker box in place.
- Plug your smoker in and press the ignition button.
- Set the temperature to 275 degrees and the timer to 180 minutes.
- During the last 45 minutes, add half-a-cup of chips to complete the process.
- After the three hours are over, turn it off and allow it to cool.
- You are now ready to make your soon-to-be-famous brisket.
Step 2: Prepare your meat
Depending on what recipe you are following, prepare your meat accordingly.
Step 3: Preheating
Before loading your meat, you should heat your smoker at maximum temperature for about 45 minutes. The wood chips should be added before turning the smoker on and should be replenished in half-cup quantities only when the preceding batch has stopped producing smoke.
One thing to keep in mind though is that even though adding a foil to the racks to reduce cleaning time seems like a wonderful idea, it prevents heat from circulating properly. This may result in inconsistent results.
Step 4: Desired temperature
Set the ideal temperature for what you are smoking. 225 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect for most fish and meat dishes.
Step 5: Add water to the pan and more wood chips
Remember that your wood chips are to be added in half-cup quantities when the smoke has ceased so if you need to, now is the best time.
The manual contains the instructions on how to add water to the water pan. The water is turned into steam to keep your meat moist throughout the process.
Step 6: Load your meat
After you have got some good smoke going, add your meat and wait. Other than the cleaning, every process that follows is simple and requires almost no hassle.
Your meat will be ready after a couple of hours of checking it from time to time. After the “long wait”, your efforts are rewarded with one of the tastiest smoked meat you have tasted yet.
Step 7: Clean up
Getting up from your seat to clean your smoker when you are full of “fruits of your labor” is not among the easiest or the most pleasant things, but it is definitely the most necessary. It goes without saying that you should keep your smoker clean.
But how does one go about cleaning the unit?
The buildup of food particles, creosote, carbon, and grease on your glass windows and smoker racks not only look grim but also can reduce the performance of your Masterbuilt smoker over time.
Quite often than not, some cleaning steps are foregone because, let's face it, the long and slow smoking process is so exhausting that relaxing and eating your meat seems like a haven that you wouldn't want to escape from.
The following simple-to-follow instructions, if adhered to, will ensure that your Masterbuilt will look good, and perform exceptionally well for a number of years.
How to clean
The absolute requirement to clean your smoker is non-abrasive cleaners. Abrasive cleaners can lead to rust and grime, further complicating your cleaning process.
The cleaning process starts subtly, by emptying the smoke box. After that, you remove and clean your racks using warm soapy water. If the residue is stuck on it, soaking it or using a brush will solve the problem.
The meat probe is also cleaned with the racks by wiping it down using a damp cloth. You should also remember to clean the door seals and the glass observation panel using a damp cloth as they pick up a lot of residue during cooking.
After cleaning the racks, probe, and removed the ash box, you are left with an empty cooking chamber. Using a soft brush, sweep any residue and soot from the chamber then systematically scrub and wipe the entire interior. Once it is clean, wipe it dry using a paper towel or a newspaper.
The exterior is generally the simplest to clean. You only need to have a soft cloth and warm soapy water. After cleaning remember to wipe it dry and if you can leave it out for a while to encourage air flow, the better.
The most overlooked part when cleaning smokers is the thermostat. For accurate temperature readings, the thermostats need to be clean. You will only need a soft cloth and warm soapy water.
Although the Bluetooth feature that comes in some Masterbuilt models was added for convenience, judging from the number of dissatisfied users on forums, it adds very little, if anything, to the general convenience.
For those whom it worked for, it excelled, and they loved that they didn't have to walk all the way to the smoker to check on temperature and time.
Most users, however, complained about the short range, with some claiming that it disconnects when they move more than 15 ft. from the smoker. Similar to all digital smokers, it also has an issue with temperature accuracy.
There have also been complaints about its connectivity. On contacting Masterbuilt about the poor connectivity of the app, some users were told that their Bluetooth technology is somewhat outdated and they are working on an upgrade.
As we wait for a better version, the current one seems to work for a small percentage of Masterbuilt owners.
In order to get the most out of you Masterbuilt smoker, you will need to replace the temperature probes.
Most units, whether due to quality control issues or poor workmanship, have users complaining about the inaccuracies of the meat probes.
Contacting the company will only get you a similar meat probe, which is no good. If you are having problems with the accuracy of your meat probe, you can replace it with the Maveric ET-732 which has worked for most Masterbuilt owners.
If you don't want to buy another probe, some users found a workaround. If you leave your digital smoker on with no heat for about two hours, the temperature of the probe will finally drop and stabilize.
The meat probe and the temperature sensors for digital units are usually marred by problems, and it is not any different with Masterbuilt products.
Even when they are working, they are so inaccurate that they are almost completely worthless to use. To get the true temperature for the best results, it is recommended that you replace the factory thermometer with a more accurate one like the Maverick Et-732 Remote BBQ Smoker Thermometer.
It has worked for a number of users and has an overall rating of 4.2 out of 5.0 on Amazon. Its most impressive feature is that it can accurately read the temperature from a distance of up to 300 feet.
When the temperature goes above or below the set one by far, the ET-732 alerts you by flashing and beeping via an LCD. The LCD is backlit so you can use it even for night time cookouts or barbecues.
It measures temperatures of up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit, making it perfect for all Masterbuilt smokers. The ET-732 comes with a stand and a built-in clip for convenience and user friendliness. It can resist heat up to 216 degrees so it can be used not only in your smoker but also in your oven, making it a very versatile unit.
The unit features a meat probe that can be inserted up to 6 inches deep, and a transmitter that doubles up as its hanger.
Since Masterbuilt smokers are very practical and come with almost complete functionality, the number of modifications that they allow you to do on them is limited to the following actionable ones.
- Replacing the chip pan with a cast iron pan.
- Replacing the default thermometer. (you can use the above-discussed Maverick ET-732)
- Sealing the gaps in the door(s) and further insulating it.
- Mailbox mod
- Fish pump mod
- Adding wheels to the models that come without.
- Installing a bigger water pan
- Making a rolling stand.
- You can also add a chimney.
Masterbuilt vs Bradley smoker
If you have any financial constraints, then the Masterbuilt is ideal for you.
Aside from the initial cost, when you purchase a Bradley smoker, you will be stuck using specific wood pucks from the company.
With a Masterbuilt, you can use any wood chips. The price of one box of Bradley's wood pucks can be used to buy Masterbuilt chips for an entire season.
Both of them allow modifications, with Bradley allowing more than Masterbuilt.
Each has models that are fully digitalized for convenience and simple operations. The controls of the Masterbuilt are located at the top making it easier to protect in case of a sudden downpour. Those of the Bradley are located on the side.
Each brand supports attachments for cold-smoking for their digital models. As expected, the Bradley's is more expensive. According to user reviews, the cold-smoking attachment on the Masterbuilt doesn't work as well as that on Bradley smokers.
Masterbuilt smoker vs. Traeger
Traeger smokers, generally, come with an internal fan that makes it operate like a convectional cooker. This makes it prepare food around 20% faster than what you would get from a Masterbuilt.
The only problem with this feature is that maintaining desired temperatures is a hassle. Since it works at high temperatures, the smoky flavor got from a Masterbuilt smoker is heavier than that from a Traeger.
Considering the satisfaction derived from the temperature control on both models, it is safe to say that Masterbuilt smokers have better temperature control than Traeger models. The downside with Masterbuilt smokers is that you will need to hang around to add wood chips as they get used up quickly.
Traeger smokers allow you to make a number of modifications to customize them, significantly more than Masterbuilt smoker do. One of them includes adding firebricks to help stabilize the temperature. Just like Masterbuilt smokers, the Traegers have a wider temperature range, meaning they can be used to smoke as well as grill.
Traeger smokers have a better “set and forget” ability. With Masterbuilt smokers, you will have to check back at least once, unlike the Traegers that give you complete freedom, requiring you to only come back when your food is ready.
Masterbuilt smoker vs. Weber smoker
If you are planning on smoking for long durations, then Weber smokers will serve you well. It can hold temperatures for many hours without needing frequent monitoring. Masterbuilt smokers, on the other hand, is ideal for foods that require frequent tray in-tray out for example oysters and bacon.
For cold smoking, coupling your Masterbuilt smoker with an AMNPS will get you exceptional results.
Making a choice between the two models is hard because Masterbuilt gives you the utmost convenience and simplicity in operation, while Weber gives you a better taste. However, if you often use your smoker in places with no access to electricity, then Weber smokers will serve you well.
Weber smokers work better than Masterbuilt in cold temperatures and wind and allow you to fully customize it with modifications only limited by your imagination.
Here are some of the questions that are commonly asked on forums and review sites.
1. Can you use your Electric Smoker Indoors?
No, you can't. All smokers were designed for outdoor use as the smoke and smell will fill your house if used indoors. When not in use, you can keep it covered in a garage or shed.
2. Can you Smoke at Low Temperatures?
Unfortunately not. If you want to smoke products like lox or cheese, you can purchase the cold-smoking attachment that gives you more flexibility and options.
3. How does the Smoker perform in cold weather?
Since they are well insulated, they perform just as well in temperatures up to below zero. You won't lose heat or smoke when opening it up thanks to the remote control, control panel, and built-in meat probe that minimize the need to.
4. Is it easy to clean?
Thanks to their chrome-coated racks, Masterbuilt smokers are generally easy to clean, as they do not allow a lot of residues to stick. As above mentioned, lining the racks with aluminum foil is not advisable. However, you can line the drip and water trays to simplify the whole cleaning process.
5. How often do you need to add wood chips?
Masterbuilt products come with a side loading system to simplify loading the chips. For the first four hours, you will need to add the chips in 30-minute durations, after which you can add them when the need arises.
6. Can the smoker be left outside?
It goes without saying that it should only be stored/kept under a roof to minimize exposure to the elements. It is advisable to get a cover for it and removing the control unit before storage.
7. What meats am I able to smoke?
With a Masterbuilt, you can cook ribs, sausages, whole chicken, briskets, and pretty much any type of meat that comes to mind thanks to its versatility. When you remove the racks, you are left with a big enough space to cook up to 25lbs of turkey.
To Wrap It All Up...
If the value and functionality you get from owning a Masterbuilt smoker is not enough to make you go for one, then their convenience and versatility will surely galvanize you into action.
When held against competing brands, you can see that Masterbuilt smokers don't pale in comparison and if they do, they make up for it with an added feature.
Each of the options discussed above works seamlessly with additional attachments and allow you to make a couple of modifications.
That said, Masterbuilt smokers give you the best value for your money.