Ultimate Guide to the Best Smokers (Beginner and Pro Options)

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Want tender meat full of flavor and practically falls off the bone? As any pitmaster will tell you, the secret is all in the smoke. A good smoker allows you to go “low and slow,” so you get delicious results without much effort.

The problem is that many different types of smokers are available, ranging from portable smokers for camping to massive machines with high-tech features.

This guide will go over the various types of smokers, help you figure out which is right for you, and list the best smokers for beginners and pros alike.

While it might seem overwhelming, don’t let this put you off from trying smoking. A good smoker makes it easy to smoke meat at home (or even smoke things like veggies, cheese, and entire pizzas or casseroles!).

If you want to learn more about smoking, read this guide on how to smoke food.

Otherwise, keep reading to check out our picks for the best smokers.

Best Charcoal Smoker

Best Electric Option

Contents

How to Choose a Smoker

Smokers can be as simple as a pit dug into the ground. They can also be advanced pieces of machinery with automated pellet feeds, digital thermometers, glass viewing doors, and WiFi connectivity (yes, really!).

Choosing doesn’t have to be complicated, though. We’ll break it down into these steps to help you decide.

Step 1: Vertical or Horizontal Smoker?

vertical vs horizontal smoker

There are two main types of smokers: vertical and horizontal. Each has its pros/cons to consider.

Most beginners should choose a vertical smoker. They are more affordable, and even quality models can be purchased cheaply. By contrast, a good horizontal smoker is a hefty investment and has a bigger learning curve.

However, if you don’t already have a grill (and want one), consider a horizontal smoker. Most horizontal smokers can also be used as grills.

Read more about vertical vs. horizontal smokers.

Step 2: Heat Source

The choice of heat source for your smoker matters for a few reasons.

  1. Ease of Use: With some heat sources (like electric and propane), you don’t have to do anything but turn on the smoker. With other heat sources, you’ll have to check and load fuel.
  2. Availability: Consider whether the fuel type is sold near you or whether it will be a pain to obtain.
  3. Taste: Regardless of your smoker, you can still get a wood flavor in your food. This is done by adding a tray of wood inside the smoker (such as putting a tray of applewood chips in an electric smoker). However, you’ll get a fuller taste when using wood chips or charcoal as your heat source.

Heat Source Options:

  • Pellets: Pellets burn slowly and hot, making it easy to control the smoker’s temperature. They also don’t produce much ash and are easier to clean up after.
  • Charcoal: It’s more difficult to control heat with charcoal, but some people love the flavor it imparts. Bear in mind that charcoal is the priciest fuel. Charcoal smokers can often use wood chips or pellets too.
  • Electric: Electric smokers are as easy as pushing a button. You won’t get as much of a woody taste in your food, though. Also, you’ll need to plug it in somewhere.
  • Propane: There’s no need to feed fuel into a propane smoker, making them nearly as convenient as electric smokers. But you also won’t get as much flavor in your food. Propane is also a lot more affordable than wood pellets or chips.
  • Wood: Wood chips burn faster and at a lower temperature than pellets. Thus, it’s harder to get good smoke from them. However, some enthusiasts swear by the taste that using natural wood imparts to the food.

Step 3: How Much Meat Can Be Smoked?

For this, you’ll need to look at the internal size of the smoker. In general, offset (horizontal) smokers hold much more food. However, they don’t have as much space for hanging food from hooks.

A good-sized smoker for beginners is around 400 to 500 square inches, like the Weber Smokey Mountain 18-inch smoker. (Amazon Link) If you entertain large groups of people, you’ll want a larger smoker in the 800+ square inches size.

Bear in mind that larger smokers use more fuel. So, resist the temptation to get a larger smoker than you need – you’ll waste a lot of money on fuel.

Step 4: Size and Portability

In addition to looking at how much food the smoker can hold, consider its overall size. Where will you put it in your yard? And where will you store it during bad weather? Do you want to bring it on camping trips?

If you get a larger smoker, it’s helpful to get one with wheels and handles. Otherwise, you’ll have a hell of a time moving it around. The good smokers are made of thick steel and are heavy! You’ll probably need to buy or build a dolly if the smoker doesn’t have wheels.

Step 5: Ease of Use

putting woods chips into a smoker

Some people prefer a more hands-on approach to smoking meat. They don’t mind occasionally checking the smoker’s water pan, fuel, and internal temperature.

Even if this sounds like you, remember that smoking can last 20+ hours. Do you want to get up from sleeping to check your smoker?

Advanced features like digital thermometers, glass doors for easy viewing, and automated fuel loading make using a smoker much easier.

Step 6: Budget

A good smoker isn’t cheap, though plenty of affordable models are available (good vertical smokers are more inexpensive than good horizontal smokers).

Whatever your budget, ensure the warranty is in line with the price. You don’t want to pay $1,000+ for a smoker and only get a 6-month warranty.

Step 7: Quality

Unfortunately, you can’t tell how well a smoker is made until you try it. By then, it’s too late to return it. But you can get an idea of the smoker’s quality by the type of metal used.

Look for:

  • High-gauge steel: The smoker needs to have thick steel so it can retain heat. Avoid aluminum smokers! They will get banged up quickly and don’t heat evenly.
  • Welding: The welding is critical, so smoke and heat don’t leak out of the smoker.
  • Large hinges and latches on doors: This is a sign that the door is made well and smoke won’t leak out.
  • Dampers and air vents: allow you to adjust the fire’s size and control the heat. The best smokers will have multiple vents for good airflow.

Types of Smokers

When talking about the types of smokers, we usually refer to their heat source (the exception is offset smokers; they use various fuel types). This is confusing because some types of smokers can use multiple fuel types.

For example, you can usually burn wood chips or pellets in a charcoal smoker (though this is often inefficient). However, pellet smokers will only take pellets.

Overview:

Here’s an overview of the types of smokers. We’ll get more in detail about them in the sections below.

  • Offset Smokers: These often can be used as grills too. Just be prepared to invest in a good one. It’s hard to find a cheap offset smoker that is well-made.
  • Charcoal Smokers: Choose this if you love the charcoal flavor.
  • Pellet Smokers: Great for people who want convenience and lots of flavor. Look for automatic pellet loading if you don’t want to check pellet level constantly.
  • Electric Smokers: This is the best smoker for people who want to set-it-and-forget-it and high-tech features.
  • Propane Smokers: Choose this if you already use propane and want something convenient. If you don’t already use propane, it’s not worth getting a tank just for your smoker.

Offset Smokers

offset smoker

Offset smokers are a type of horizontal smoker. They usually look like regular grills with a smokestack on top and a smoke box attached to the side.

The great thing about offset smokers is that they can also be used as regular grills, even if you aren’t smoking. So, if you plan to buy a grill, this will save you the expense and space of getting two patio appliances.

Another benefit of offset smokers is that they are convenient to use. Everything can be loaded/unloaded at a standing position. You won’t have to crouch down to reload fuel or remove food.

However, offset smokers do take some skill to use. The temperature is typically hotter on the side closer to the smokebox. The uneven cooking temperature can mean inconsistent results. Pitmasters will use this temperature to their advantage – but it will take time to learn.

Get an offset smoker if:

You don’t already have a grill and want one. However, be prepared to pay for a good one.

The cheap offset smokers have leaky doors and produce terrible results. If you aren’t ready to pay this much, get a vertical smoker. Quality ones can be purchased for much less than a good offset smoker.

What to Look for in an Offset Smoker:

  • Strong, durable materials: Thin metal and bad welding will cause smoke to leak and uneven heat distribution.
  • Reverse flow: These have a metal sheet on the bottom of the cooking chamber. This helps protect the food from direct heat and directs the smoke under and back around the food so it gets evenly bathed in smoke. You’ll know it’s reserve-flow because the firebox and smokestack will be on the same end of the smoker.
  • Insulated handles: This will prevent you from burning your hands when opening the smoker.
  • Wheeled base: For moving the smoker indoors during bad weather.
  • Warranty: The more expensive the smoker is, the longer the warranty should be.

Best Offset Smokers

1. Camp Chef SmokePro Slide Smoker and Pellet Grill

It’s hard to say anything bad about the SmokePro by Camp Chef. Even though it’s a compact, simple-looking machine, it is incredibly powerful. It gets up to 500F in just 15-20 minutes and cooks meat perfectly.

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To use the smoker-grill, you’ll need to connect it to an electrical outlet and fill the hopper with pellets. Set the temperature, and the machine will automatically feed pellets into the firebox.

The temperature setting is very accurate. There is only a 5-degree F temperature fluctuation (compared to 40-50F in other grills). You can change the temperature with a click of a button. The offset smoker comes with two temperature probes, so you can even accurately cook two types of food simultaneously.

A standout feature of the SmokePro is the “slide and grill technology.” This means that there is a metal component that you can slide back/forth to food to direct flame or indirect smoking.

The offset smoker is also designed to be easy to clean. There is an ash collection system; just pull a lever to dump ashes into the cleanout cup. There’s no need to bother with vacuuming the inside of the grill.

The grill-smoker also has a tremendous amount of cooking space. This is because it has a bottom rack and an adjustable upper rack. The combined area of the racks gives you 811 square inches of cooking space.

The only bad thing one can say about this smoker-grill is that it doesn’t come with a cover. Unless you want to roll it indoors after each use, ensure you get a cover to fit it.

Cons

  • Cover not included

2. Z Grills Pellet Grill and Smoker with Digital Controls

This combo grill and smoker by Z Grills are made to be incredibly easy to use. You’ll need to plug it into an electrical outlet and fill the hopper with wood pellets. The electric components ignite the pellets.

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Just set the temperature, and the smoker grill does all the work. It will automatically feed the pellets to maintain the set temperature. There’s a digital control board that shows you the temperature. It can be set from 180F to 450F.

However (as with many offset smokers), there is a good amount of temperature variation. This will be annoying if you are precise about the temperature you want.

The hopper can hold around 20lbs of wood pellets. How frequently do you need to refill the wood pellets? It depends on the cooking temperature.   The company says a 20lb bag of pellets will last for about 15 hours on the smoke setting. However, users say you can expect 20lbs of pellets to last around 10 hours at 225 degrees.

Compared to other offset smokers, this one is straightforward to clean. It has a spigot, so grease drains into a collection cup instead of going to the bottom of the grill. It’s easy to access the firepot so you can vacuum out the ashes. You’ll need to do this after about every 4 bags of pellets.

As for the downsides of the Z Grills smoker, it could be made of more durable metal. The grill chamber is only 0.8mm and 1mm thick steel. The lid is made of aluminum.


3. Traeger Texas Elite 34 Pellet Grill and Smoker

Traeger is one of the leading names in smoker-grills, and this is one of their most popular models. It has electric controls which feed wood pellets into the firebox automatically. You can use it for smoking, grilling, baking, roasting, braising, or BBQ.

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The digital controls make it easy to use the offset smoker. The temperature settings aren’t as accurate as the Camp Chef smoker above, but the Traeger Texas Elite does stay close to the set temperature.

The temperature can be set from 160F to 450F in increments of 25F. There are two temperature probes for cooking multiple types of food at once. However, many reviewers complain that the grill has difficulty reaching above 400F.

The main reason you’d want to choose the Traeger Texas Elite is that it is built to last. However, note that the warranty on this is terrible. Any returns must be done in their original packaging (who saves smoker packaging?), and installs will have to be done yourself.

*If you want something smaller, Traeger also makes a version of this smoker-grill called the Lil Texas Elite 22. It has 418 sq. inches of cooking space versus 646 sq. in. with the Texas Elite.


4. Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill

This is far from the best smoker grill on the market. However, it does have one standout feature that other smokers don’t: It’s portable.

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The grill-smoker is only 68lbs (which is lightweight compared to the 120+ lbs of other smokers). It also has legs that can easily collapse to fit into most cars for camping or tailgating trips. It even runs on 12V or 120AC so that you can plug it into various power sources.

But, as you’d expect with such a lightweight grill, there are some issues. The thinner metal means that the smoker doesn’t hold its temperature well. Tip: If you put a water pan under the grate, it will help stabilize the temperature.

As for WiFi connectivity, you can monitor and control the smoker from about 15 feet away. Just don’t go too far away – the temperature variation means you’ll still have to keep an eye on your food.

The grill is also a bit small. You’ll barely be able to fit a brisket or turkey into it. The hopper holds 9lbs, so expect to refill the hopper more frequently than you would with larger smoker grills. Note that the grill legs are short. You’ll have to hunch over a bit to use it if you are very tall.

Despite the flaws, the offset smoker is well-built and does the job. It’s also surprisingly affordable. The closest competitor is the Traeger Tailgater, and while larger, it doesn’t perform much better and costs considerably more.


Charcoal Smokers

charcoal smokers

Charcoal smokers are a favorite of pitmasters. The combination of charcoal and wood can create unique flavors in the food. However, charcoal is difficult to use.

It has to be constantly fed and maintained using the Minion Method. You won’t find charcoal smokers with many advanced features.

The good thing about charcoal smokers, though, is that you can usually use pellets or wood chips in them instead of (or in addition to) charcoal. This makes them the most flexible type of smoker in terms of fuel.

Get a charcoal smoker if:

You really like the taste of charcoal in your food. Also, great if you are on a budget and want the flexibility to use multiple fuel types.

What to Look for in Charcoal Smokers

  • Good insulation: This will make it easier to control the smoker’s temperature.
  • Dampers: With charcoal smokers, you need dampers on the firebox and smokestack to regulate airflow and temperature.
  • Digital Thermometer: Because it’s harder to control the temperature with charcoal, it’s helpful to have a digital thermometer. The extra cost is well worth it!
  • Easy Loading: Charcoal must be loaded frequently, so it should be convenient.

Best Charcoal Smokers

1. Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker

When it comes to smokers, the Weber Smokey Mountain is almost always listed as the best. We couldn’t agree more and think this should be everyone’s first smoker. It is easy enough for beginners yet is even used by masters in competitions (and wins!).

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It comes in three sizes: 14, 18, and 22 inches. The 18-inch size is suitable for most people. The 22-inch is probably too big for beginners, and you’ll waste a lot of charcoal (and thus money). The 18″ can fit around 4 pork butts easily. If you only entertain small groups, then the 14″ will be more efficient and save you money on charcoal in the long run.

Though seemingly simple, the design of the Smokey Mountain smoker is damn near flawless. There are all the necessary vents for good airflow and producing smoke. The large water pan helps regulate temperature, so temperatures remain consistent while cooking, even for long periods. The water pan also catches grease, making cleaning the smoker easier.

As for the materials, Weber uses durable materials which are well-constructed (built in the USA!). There won’t be any issues with breakdowns!

You will need charcoal to keep the temperature high (it won’t work well with pellets). However, it is pretty easy to convert into a grill, so you get a portable grill and smoker in one.


2. Dyna-Glow Vertical Charcoal Smoker

This charcoal smoker doesn’t come close to being as good as the Weber Smokey Mountain. However, it is much more affordable for a first smoker and still does a good job.

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The upsides are that it is easy to clean and use. The ash pan can be removed even while the smoker is in use. There are vents and air inlets to adjust the temperature (though this does require some practice).

The downsides are that it’s hard to get it to maintain a low temperature. It isn’t insulated and has some leakage issues around the door, so you won’t be able to get it to its ideal temperature in the cold winter months.

There are also some issues with the smoker maintaining a steady temperature. This has to do with the fact that there is no water pan. I’d recommend putting a pan of water next to the charcoal or using the lowest rack for a water pan.

Even with this rack used for the water pan, you’ll still be able to smoke a lot of food. Each shelf holds 25lbs of food.

The wood pan is pretty small. You’ll only be able to use chips and not chunks. If you want chunks and a richer taste, you’ll need to put the chunks directly on the charcoal.

Despite the flaws, the smoker still does a good job and is fun to use – especially considering its low price.


3. Realcook Vertical Charcoal Smoker

At first glance, this looks a lot like the Weber Smokey Mountain because of its bullet design. However, it has some features which make it very different.

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First off, there are three layers to this product. The bottom layer is for the coals and water pan. You can remove the upper layers while you light the charcoal.

The upper two layers are for your food. You don’t even have to use both layers – the smoker can be used with just one layer. That makes it possible to cook less food at once, meaning you use less fuel.

The bottom layer has a door to easily add more charcoal or water during the smoking process. The next layer also has a door to check the food without lifting the entire upper layer.

Another good thing about the Realcook smoker is that it’s so portable. It weighs less than 20lbs and can quickly be taken apart to bring on camping or tailgating trips.

Part of the reason it is so lightweight is that it’s made from thinner steel. It still holds up well, but expect some dents if you aren’t careful. The door and lid also leak smoke, so it isn’t as efficient as a heavier, tougher model.

I also wouldn’t rely too much on the built-in thermometer. There will be a temperature difference between the lower and upper racks, so you’ll need to check the temperature yourself with an external thermometer.


Pellet Smokers

pellets for smoker

Charcoal smokers can usually take pellets too. However, when talking about “pellet smokers,” we are referring to smokers that will only take pellets.

Pellet smokers tend to be more costly than other types of smokers. The reason for this is that they often have augers. The auger takes pellets from the fuel bin (called the hopper) and feeds them into the fuel box.

Some pellet smokers have automated controls. Pellets will automatically be added according to a digital thermometer reading.   In high-end models, computers regulate the auger speed to get precise smoking temperatures.

This makes pellet smokers the easiest to use while still getting excellent quality of smoke (which isn’t the case with electric smokers).

Of course, all of these high-end features come at a price. Also, because there are many moving parts, pellet smokers are more prone to breaking. You want to choose a pellet smoker with a good warranty.

Get a pellet smoker if:

You want the full flavor of burning pellets but the convenience of a long-burning fuel. Get a pellet smoker with automatic loading if you don’t want to check pellet levels throughout the smoking process.

What to Look for in Pellet Smokers

  • Good Warranty: All those moving parts are prone to breaking, so you want a good warranty as a backup.
  • Do you want to grill too? Pellet smokers generally don’t work as well as grills. If you’re going to grill on one, you’ll need one which is larger and can reach higher heat.
  • Portability: The extra parts on pellet smokers can make them heavier and harder to move.
  • Features vs. Price: Features like automatic pellet loading make using the smoker very easy. The easier your smoker is to use, the more likely you are to use it. So decide how much convenience is worth to you.

Best Pellet Smokers (Vertical)

*Note that these pellet smokers are vertical. If you want a pellet smoker, which can also be used as a grill, look at our picks for the best offset smoker. All of those smoker-grills also use pellets.

1. Louisiana Grills 7 Series Vertical Pellet Smoker

This is a hardcore pellet smoker for serious connoisseurs who want to do long smokes at low temperatures.

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For starters, the smoker is massive. It has over 2,000 sq. inches of cooking space spread over 6 racks. The hopper holds up to 60lbs of pellets, so you can smoke for up to 35 hours without worrying about loading more pellets.

You’ll be glad for the glass viewing window when you are smoking this much food at once. The smoker is well-built, so it is still efficient despite the glass window.

The low-temperature setting is 150F, and it gets up to 450F. Unlike many other pellet smokers, this one holds the temperature – almost flawlessly. Even in cold or windy weather, you still get a consistent temperature.

Note that the top racks will be colder than the bottom racks (by around 20-30F). It might take some time before you learn to use this temperature variation to your advantage, such as when smoking different food types at once. There are two built-in meat probes for checking the internal temperature of food as it smokes.

The smoker is very easy to use and clean. The only issue is that you can’t exactly “set it and forget it” because the water pan dries out quickly. Set the alarm so you remember to add more water to the pan every 3-4 hours.

Even though the smoker is on wheels, it’s a bit bulky to move around. It is attractive-looking and comes with a cover, so you won’t mind keeping it on your patio.

Cons

  • Need to refill water pan frequently
  • Heavy, bulky, and difficult to move

Electric Smokers

electric smoker

While some traditionalists like denigrating electric smokers, a good electric smoker can still impart wonderful wood smoke into the food.

To make smoke in an electric smoker, you place a pan of wood chips or chunks above the heating plate. Electricity heats the wood, making a nice smoke.

Most come with built-in thermometers and digital screens. Just set the temperature, and the smoker does all the work.

Remember that even electric smokers must be used outdoors (because smoke still comes out). Make sure you’ve got an extension cord suitable for outdoor use. 

Get an electric smoker if:

You don’t want to bother checking your food, especially on long smokes (remember that some foods need to smoke for 22+ hours!).

What to Look for in an Electric Smoker

  • Two thermometers: Many good electric smokers will monitor the smoker’s internal temperature and your food. This saves you the trouble of opening the smoker to check the temperature of the meat.
  • Insulation: Just because you don’t need to add fuel to an electric smoker doesn’t mean insulation isn’t important. You want thick metal walls and good joints so heat is retained.
  • Do you want a glass viewing window? It’s nice to watch your food as it smokes, but glass windows also mean heat escapes.
  • Portability: With electric smokers, portability is even more critical because you can’t leave them outdoors when it rains. Choose a model on wheels or one that can be easily carried outside when you want to use it.
  • External wood chip loading: Some models, like the Masterbuilt 20075315 reviewed below, have exterior doors where you can dump wood chips. This means you don’t have to open the smoker door to add more chips.
  • Remote Controls: You can get a remote control with a display that lets you adjust the temperature from a distance for extra convenience.

Best Electric Smokers

1. Masterbuilt 20070421 Electric Digital Smoker

This is one of the most popular smokers by Masterbuilt and has thousands of positive reviews. This model set out to solve many problems you find in cheap electric smokers.

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You can set the temperature using a digital thermostat. This controls the heat level and ensures good consistent smoking.

Note this unit blows through chips quickly!

Since the unit goes through chips so fast, it’s good to get the glass viewing window model. You’ll be able to see when smoking is dying down. Loading chips is easy, thanks to the exterior loading door. No need to open the smoker door to add more chips!

There’s a drip pan in the front to make it easier to clean up grease. It’s still a chore to clean out (especially if you get the glass window option), but it’s easier with this model.


2. Pit Boss 7720

Pit Boss’s electric smoker isn’t as popular as its charcoal smoker, but it still has many fans. The smoker is built well out of thick metal and double-walled insulation. There are nice big hinges on the door, so I wouldn’t worry about this beast breaking on you.

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Weighing in at 58lbs, you’ll be glad that the smoker has wheels. This saves you the hassle of getting a dolly for your smoker.

The digital temperature setting ranges from 150 to 325F. This means you can, in theory, grill pizza in your smoker and smoke food. I doubt that would be an efficient use of your smoker (especially considering it uses upwards of 1650 watts), but it’s nice to have it as an option.

This smoker didn’t get the #1 spot because of complaints about temperature consistency. It tends to get hot, so your meat can dry out or get overdone. You’ll need to get the temperature high to get a good smoke going, too, so that can also lead to dried-out meat.


3. Cuisinart 30” Electric Smoker

Cuisinart isn’t exactly a name you’d associate with outdoor cooking, but they have recently started making smokers. Their smokers are very popular, primarily because of their affordable price.

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The electric smoker (they also make charcoal and pellet smokers) is solidly built and has a lot of cooking space (548 square inches). As you’d expect with an electric smoker, it’s straightforward to use.

The main issue with this smoker is that its thermometer is a bit off. Many reviewers complain that wood chips didn’t even start making smoke until set at 275F. Considering that this smoker goes up to 1500 watts, you will use a lot of electricity to get a good smoke going.

When checked with a separate thermometer, the internal thermometer was off. There is no thermometer for checking the meat.

Still, if you aren’t ready to invest in a pricier smoker, this is an excellent entry-level smoker that will get the job done. Just buy your own thermometers to use.


Propane Smokers

propane smokers

Like electric smokers, propane smokers are very easy to use. You only need to turn a nob or push a button to adjust the temperature. They are clean-burning and easy to maintain.

You can add wood chips into a pan to add flavor, though the flavor won’t be as intense as with pellet or charcoal smokers.

Propane smokers aren’t as popular as other types, mainly because they require propane. Those propane tanks are heavy, which makes these smokers less portable. You also have to worry about running out of propane before your food is cooked.

Get a propane smoker if:

Propane smokers aren’t as popular, so you won’t have as many options. For this reason, I’d only recommend getting a propane smoker if you already use appliances that run on propane. It’s probably not worth getting a propane tank just for your smoker.

What to look for in Propane Smokers

  • BTUs: Pay attention to the BTUs, especially if you also use the smoker as a grill.
  • Stable Base: With propane, it’s even more important that the smoker isn’t rocking back and forth.
  • Size: With propane, you’ll need lots of space around the smoker so nothing is accidentally set on fire. So, pay attention to the smoker’s footprint size and not just the internal cooking size.

Best Propane Smokers

1. Pit Boss Vertical Propane Smoker

The Pit Boss propane smoker is built like a tank and does a great job holding heat. It’s one of the more efficient gas smokers you’ll find, and it even heats up and starts producing smoke very quickly.

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There are two burners on the smoker. The first burner gets to 3,500 BTUs and is for the wood chips. The second burner is 10,000 BTUs and maintains the chamber temperature.

Of course, there is some fluctuation in the chamber temperature. However, it’s not that much. Even on windy or cold days, the temperature will still stay within about 25F of the setting. The built-in thermometer is reliable. You can set the temperature from 100 to 350F, which means you can do cold smokes for foods like cheese and veggies.

The only downside of the Pit Boss propane smoker is the wood chip tray. It is minimal and relatively inefficient. You’ll have to load more chips into it every 1-2 hours. One user recommended a fix for this: get a smoke tube instead. The tube can be put in the bottom of the smoker and will burn for 5 hours.

Cons

  • Small wood chip tray
  • No wheels

2. Masterbuilt Vertical Propane Smoker

People who have this propane smoker either love it or hate it. As for the people who hate it, I think that they might have unrealistic expectations. All smokers will leak a bit – this one being no exception. Also, it does take a bit of time to master smoking on this smoker. If you aren’t willing to put in the effort, you won’t like your purchase.

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With a few simple modifications, you’ll love this propane smoker. The first modification is that you need to use lava rocks under the wood chips in the smoker. Otherwise, the wood chips won’t make enough smoke.

The second modification is that you’ll want to use a big water pan (get a disposable aluminum pan to use as one). The water will add moisture to the smoker, so your meat is juicier and helps keep the temperature consistent. Some people said they also put gaskets around the door to help minimize heat loss.

A third optional modification is to install wheels or a dolly under the smoker. It is big and heavy, and you’ll want those wheels to make it easier to move around.

Pros


Do you have a smoker? How do you like it? Let us know in the comments below!



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