A regular charcoal grill can be used to cook some pretty good cuts of meat, but if you want to make delicious turkey, unforgettable ribs, and mouth-watering pulled pork, you are going to need a good smoker. Investing in a smoker to get amazing flavors in your food is a must if you are fond of cooking outdoors. A smoker will make it easier for you to cook outdoors and if you purchase a high-quality one, it’ll last for years.
The amazing flavor in the food doesn’t come fast and it gets everything from its delicious taste and texture through a slow, long smoke. However, if you want to ensure that you get a good flavor after doing everything right, you need to get yourself a high-quality smoker. Since there are a lot of smokers out there, finding the best one can be hard. So, to help you out, we have reviewed some of the best smokers available in the market today. We will discuss some of the best electric smokers, pellet smokers, propane smokers, and charcoal smokers so that you can get the type of smoker you are most comfortable with.
What Makes a Great Smoker?
Size and Cooking Area
You must take the area of the smoker grill into consideration when purchasing a smoker. First up, how much food do you plan to cook? Secondly, will the grill be able to fit where you want it to? Social events and parties need a bigger cooking area. Another important thing to note is that the amount of fuel that will be used depends on the grill’s size. This means that if you are cooking small amounts of food on a big grill, you are just wasting fuel.
Generally, it is believed that expensive smoker grills are more reliable and last longer. However, this isn’t the case. Some really expensive smokers have been reported to fall apart much earlier than their less expensive counterparts. So, price isn’t something that can help you determine whether a smoker is reliable or not. You should check for reviews of customers to determine whether a smoker you intend to buy is reliable.
Some grills are designed to be portable – you can easily put them in the back of your truck and take them to the park – while others aren’t portable at all. You should know whether you want a portable smoker or not. If you plan to cook outdoor meals in different locations, you should get a portable smoker so that you can easily take it with you.
Easy to Clean
Some smoker grills are easier to clean than others. If you intend to do a lot of cooking on your smoker grill, look for an easy to clean smoker. Look out for a complicated design and hard to reach places. The simpler the design of the smoker is, the easier it is to clean.
What the smoker is made from makes a huge difference to both how long it’ll last and how well it will work. Look for stainless steel, quality paint, and enameling as this prevents rust. If the smoker mostly comprises of plastic parts, it probably won’t last long.
The 3 Best Electric Smokers
1. Masterbuilt 20077515 Front Controller Electric Smoker
Masterbuilt is a reputable brand and is popular in the electric smoker market. The 20077515 model from the company is arguably one of their best electric smokers. It boasts 800-watts of cooking power, 730 sq. inches of cooking space and four chrome-coated racks. Some features on this model surprised us since we don’t usually see them in lower-priced electric smokers. For instance, there’s an RF remote control along with a meat temperature probe that allows you to better control your cooking process. The highest temperature that the Masterbuilt 20077515 can reach is 275°F. This won’t give you a perfect crush or smoke ring, but it’ll do a good job of producing nicely-smoked meats.
You can easily load wood chips from the side. You will be able to monitor your cooking progress with its full-sized front window. You can also add moisture and flavoring elements via its water pan for better results. The power of this smoker grills means that the grills heat up quickly while the remote lets you maintain cooking temperatures.
You are given a range of customization options which means that you can reduce the price by eliminating the front window of the smoker or save a few bucks by moving the smoker’s control panel to the side. In this price range, there aren’t many electric smokers that can compete with the Masterbuilt 20077515.
2. Smokin Tex 1400 Pro Deluxe Package
If you aren’t short on budget and can afford a more expensive model, then consider going with the Smokin Tex 1400. This model has more impressive features and greater capacity than the Masterbuilt 20077515. The 1400 is one of the smaller units of Smokin Tex but this high-quality electric smoker will meet the needs of most users.
Smokers of Smokin Tex are made from double-walled stainless steel which makes them sturdy and long-lasting. The 1400 Pro Deluxe Package from Smokin Tex isn’t as big as the Masterbuilt’s 2077515 but it has three racks and a fish rack. Moreover, it can accommodate 35 pounds of meat. It isn’t the biggest electric smoker, but it’s sufficient for regular home use. The construction of the grill keeps the smoke inside and meat moist, particularly with vents and insulation that can handle up to 1000 degrees. This means that there is a great chance of a nice bark and smoke ring on your meat.
One thing we don’t like about the Smokin Tex 1400 Pro is that it only has a single standard internal temperature gauge. This gauge isn’t 100 percent accurate which means that you have to use your own meat probe to keep track of the cooking temperature of the meat. However, we shouldn’t really object since it is an expensive smoker. The temperature range of this electric smoker is from 100 to 250 degrees.
3. Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Smoker
Most products manufactured by Cuisinart are higher-end models that are designed for professional cooks. However, the COS-330 is different as it is made for occasional or beginner users and is available at an attractive price. It looks like a small floor safe with legs and a small temperature gauge right in the middle of the door. Its appearance hides a great electric smoker that is very easy to operate.
The COS-330 has 548 sq. inches of interior space capable of holding over 30 pounds of meat. There are three adjustable, easy-to-clean chrome racks to help you make the most of your smoking space. Trays for wood chips and water can be easily accessed from the bottom and temperature control is found on the AC cord. The 1500-watt heating element of the COS-330 lets it reach an internal temperature of up to 400°F. Although this model isn’t very heavy or large, it is pretty well-built and should last through several seasons.
The 3 Best Pellet Smokers
1. Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill
The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crocket Pellet Grill is one of the best pellet smokers you will find in the market. It features several interesting design choices that aren’t seen in many of the higher-end smokers. For instance, the Davy Crockett Pellet Grill is completely portable; its well-designed legs can be folded up and used as handles, making transporting the grill easier for you. It’s also tailgate-ready as the design of the smoker’s legs makes it a good fit of the majority of trucks.
The Davy Crockett has some features that you will only find in high-end pellet smoker grills. For example, it boasts a WiFi system that enables you to easily monitor the grill from your smartphone or tablet. The ability to check on what is cooking from anywhere at any time is great. In addition, this pellet smoker has a temperature increment of 5 degrees which allows precise cooking.
Other features that have impressed us include an advanced touchpad controller with a meat thermometer that makes it easier to check the internal temperature of the meat and included adaptors that allow you to run the smoker from a 12V battery, cigarette lighter or a standard outlet.
The Davy Crockett Pellet Grill would be a great choice for you if you are looking for a smoker for tailgating or camping. The only complaint that we have with this pellet grill is that it isn’t big enough for all families. However, if you are happy with 219 sq-inch cooking area, then you should definitely consider getting the Davy Crockett Pellet Grill.
2. Camp Chef DLX PG24
The Camp Chef DLX PG24 is another one of the best pellet smokers out there. It boasts several features that make the cooking easier and has a big cooking surface. It is a pellet smoker that’ll give great smoked flavor to your food.
The DLX PG24 is a mid-range pellet smoker, but its features and capabilities make it look like a high-end smoker. The cooking surface of this smoker is big considering its price. 429 sq. inches of main cooking surface and 141 sq. inches of the rack gives you plenty of space for cooking your food. It is definitely more than enough for big parties and family events. It also features an extra heated rack that can be removed at any time.
We love the digital control panel of the DLX PG24 as it allows for easy temperature control. You can set the desired temperature and the smoker will supply pellet to the grill to maintain the temperature you entered. The range is from 160°F to 500°F. The digital display of the DLX PG24 will also let you check the internal temperature of the meat using the meat probe. It is great since you won’t have to open the grill lid to check the temperature of the meat. When you open the lid, heat can escape and this can affect the cooking process. With the probe, you can easily check and maintain the temperature of the meat without losing heat within the grill.
Ash removal system is another impressive feature of this pellet grill. Under the grill, there is a cup where all the ash from the pellets accumulates. All you have to do is twist this cup off, throw out all the ash and put it back.
The design of the DLX PG24 makes all the grease and fat drip into the bucket located on the side. This way you can easily and quickly replace the bucket or clean it.
Overall, the DLX PG24 is a great pellet smoker with features that are usually only found in high-end smokers. If you want a mid-range pellet smoker with impressive features, then this one should definitely be on your shortlist.
3. Z Grills Wood Pellet Smoker
The Z Grills Wood Pellet Smoker is a worthy competitor to the DLX PG24 from Camp Chef. One important thing that differentiates Z Grills Wood Pellet Smoker from the PG24 is that it doesn’t have an ash removal system. This means that you will have to clean the ash manually. Another difference is the cooking area. Z Grills gives you a total of 700 sq-inch cooking area – 513 sq. inches of the main area and 187 sq. inches of the rack.
This pellet smoker is covered by a 3-year warranty which means that it is designed to last for a long time. The construction of the Z Grills Wood Pellet Smoker resembles that of gas grills as it has a dome in the front where you can keep grilling accessories. The digital controller of this pellet smoker allows to change the temperature and set it anywhere within the range of 180°F to 450°F. The maximum temperature is low, but this should not be a problem for people who love long, slow cooking at lower temperatures.
The grill of the Z Grills Wood Pellet Smoker can maintain the temperature within +/- 20°F. This pellet smoker is definitely worth considering if you are looking for a mid-range pellet smoker that offers good temperature control and a large cooking area.
The 3 Best Propane Smokers
1. Smoke Hollow 38202G
One of the top-rated propane smokers on Amazon is the Smoke Hollow 32202G. It offers an unparalleled combination of top-notch performance, an affordable price, durable cast brass burner, and a versatile design. Its compact size will suit almost any deck or patio and its smoking space is big enough for a family and larger groups. Smoking space of the Smoke Hollow 38202G is enough for several racks of ribs and all the meat is accessible at the same time.
This propane smoker can accommodate meals for larger groups quite easily and it has separate doors for tending the water pan and chip pan. This means that you don’t have to open the smoker’s cooking chamber and let the smoke and heat out. The lower and upper vent controls on this smoker make it easier for you to control the inside temperature. Once you get the grill to the right temperature, it will stay there for long.
The Smoke Hollow 38202G comes with four chrome-plated, adjustable cooking grates which allow you to smoke different foods at various temperatures. The makers of the 38202G thought about everything when it comes to smoking; in fact, they even included a sausage rack within the cooking chamber. Push-button electronic igniter is another useful feature that will help you light the burner quickly.
We love the fact that the Smoke Hollow 38202G is well-built and features a cast brass burner (20,000 BTU). Cast brass burners are extremely durable and solid. It isn’t extensively used and can only be seen on expensive prone smokers. This material lasts longer than stainless steel and burners made of cast brass carry longer warranties. Another great thing about cast brass burners is that they give ultimate control to the user and increase the temperature range.
We believe that the Smoke Hollow 38202G is one of the best propane smokers out there. It offers several amazing design elements that you will love. So if you are looking for a good propane smoker, add Smoke Hollow 38202G to your shortlist.
2. Cuisinart COS-244
The Cuisinart COS-244 Propane Smoker has received positive reviews from the majority of customers as it offers good performance, versatility, and quality. Since smoke goes up, the chimney-like tall design of this smoker is ideal for efficient natural smoking through maximum smoke capture. The small footprint of the Cuisinart COS-244 makes it perfect for barbeque kitchens and patios. It is easy to set up and comes with a 40-inch hose and regulator that quickly attaches to a propane tank.
The Cuisinart COS-244 features four 14×14” height-adjustable grates that offer a cooking area of 748 sq-inches. It’s a great characteristic for this compact propane smoker. Although the COS-244 has a relatively small footprint, it has a 5.45 sq-ft of interior cooking paces which gives you enough room to smoke different meats with trays of vegetables. It also features a porcelain enamel steel tray that holds water and wood chips.
The Cuisinart COS-244 is an economical propane smoker and a good choice for those who want to buy a smoker that is easy to use, takes up less space, and won’t put a dent in your wallet.
3. Dyna-Glo DGW1235BDP-D 36″
The Dyna-Glo DGW1235BDP-D is a great choice for people who want a high-quality smoker that features less maintenance time. This propane smoker comes with a 1235 sq. inches of cooking space along with 20,000 BTUs coming from dual cast irons burners that offer long-lasting durability and heavy-duty performance.
The special feature of the Dyna-Glo DGW1235BDP smoker is a push-button electronic ignition that facilities swift and reliable lighting. Heavy gauged enamel steel wood chip box and high-capacity water bowl are added bonuses that capacitate retaining heat and enhance burning efficiency. A removable chrome-plated rib rack lets you smoke a variety of foods.
This smoker features adjustable cooking grates whose maximum holding capacity is 25 pounds per grade. The stainless temperature gauge has an impressive smoke zone indicator that helps you achieve the desired temperatures and assists in the infusion of the smoky flavor across all foods in the cooking chamber of the smoker.
To ensure that no flavors escape through the doors of the smoker, the Dyna-Glo DGW1235 offers pre-installed lower and upper door seals which minimize smoke and heat loss. The unique condensation and grease management of this propane smoker make it easy for you to organize a well-maintained and stress-free BBQ party.
The 3 Best Charcoal Smokers
1. Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker 18 is one of the best charcoal smokers available on the market. This unit has received positive reviews from the majority of customers. One of the things we like about this charcoal smoker is that it is compact – it should easily fit most patios or decks –, yet comes with a large cooking surface as well as two nickel plated racks. The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is made of enameled steel and it should last for several years if you take care of it properly. This model is available in three sizes – 22”, 18”, and 14”. The 18” inch model is ideal of the majority of users.
The Weber Cooker has three main sections. In the lower section of this smoker, there is a charcoal ring where smoke wood and charcoal is placed. The three adjustable vents in this section allow you to control airflow and smoker temperature. The middle section of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker features two cooking grates, a water pan, and front access door. On the top, there is a dome lid with a thermometer.
The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is affordable and is a good choice for both amateur and professional pit masters. It can also be used at barbecue competitions where professional competitors cook on smokers that cost over $2,000. The reason is that the Smokey Mountain charcoal smokers can cook at a steady temperature for hours. Moreover, changing the temperature in this smoker is quite easy. You only have to open the vents and close them to adjust the temperature.
One of the features we like is the door at the front that lets you easily load the charcoal. In addition, the door can be custom-fit to hold in the smoke and heat better. We also like the construction of this smoker. From the porcelain and chrome coating, you can conclude that the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is built to last.
Using a charcoal smoker grill tends to intimidate users since they think that it is harder to cook with these smokers. However, the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is extremely easy to use. You won’t have to worry about temperature fluctuations even if you leave it running for several hours.
Even though the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is compact, it still has a large cooking space. There are two cooking grates – each is 18 ½ inches wide – in the 18” model while the cooking surface of this charcoal grill is 481 sq-inches.
2. Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker
If you are looking for a high-quality, heavy-duty vertical offset smoker, then you should conceder the Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D. This smoker grill is multifunctional and provides versatility, durability, and performance. This model can be used as an offset smoker or a charcoal grill. The Dyna-Glo Charcoal Smoker boasts 1382 sq. inches of cooking space, features five chrome-plated cooking grates, and sausage hooks. Since this smoker is large, it comes with steel wheels to help you move the unit around. Heavy-gauge steel is used in the construction of this smoker which allows it to endure the toughest weather conditions.
We like the spring lid grip and handles of the Dyna-Glo Charcoal Smoker as it allows us to access the fuel and food safely. The unit is also equipped with a high-grade stainless steel temperature gauge. This charcoal smoker comes with an offset firebox that you can use a grill to lock in natural juices. The side tray of this grill slides out allowing you to access fuel without losing heat.
The Dyna-Glo Vertical Smoker is the perfect choice for people who want a charcoal smoker on a budget. This unit requires some modifications to make it more appealing and if you can make them, you will be an owner of a roomy and dependable smoker.
This charcoal smoker is also easy to assemble. It comes with easy-to-follow instructions and it will take you about 30 minutes to get the smoker up and running. Since it is a vertical smoker, you can cook plenty of food items at the same time. You can adjust the six cooking racks inside the cooking chamber to fit almost anything. The dual doors of the unit allow you to easily place food inside the chamber without any problem.
3. Masterbuilt 20060416 Charcoal Bullet Smoker
The Masterbuilt 20060416 is one of the best charcoal smokers currently available on the market. You can get this unit at an affordable price and it is quite handy to use. Thanks to its compact size, you can take this charcoal smoker with you anywhere you want – be it family gatherings or tailgating parties. The only thing we don’t like about the Masterbuilt Charcoal Bullet Smoker is that it requires constant tending to maintain a consistent temperature.
We love the compact size of this charcoal smoker. Its compact size makes the Masterbuilt Charcoal Bullet Smoker suitable for all users. Moving the smoker from one to another is a breeze and requires only one person. Despite its compact size, the cooking space available is large enough to prepare meats and foods of different sizes.
The Masterbuilt Charcoal Smoker is an inexpensive unit so you don’t have to spend a fortune to get one. This makes this charcoal smoker a great choice for people who are looking for a high-quality charcoal smoker on a budget. However, it is important to note that this particular charcoal smoker won’t last as long as you would want if you don’t handle it with care.
The Masterbuilt Charcoal Smoker features an external thermometer to help users get an accurate reading. The thermometer is easy to read and the maximum temperature that can be achieved inside the chamber is 400°F.
Decision Time: Which is the Best Smoker for You?
We have listed some of the best electric smokers, pellet smokers, propane smokers and charcoal smokers currently available in the market. Now it is up to you to decide which type of smoker you want and then buy the smoker that you feel is ideal for your needs. Each smoker we have discussed above is different from the other in one way or another. The one that is best for you will depend on your individual needs, how much you plan to use the smoker, and what type of cook you intend to cook with it. We hope our review helps you in finding the best smoker.