Whether you are a pitmaster or new to smoking food, choosing the best smoker to fit your needs may seem a bit daunting.
Barbequing is extremely is not only a fun pastime activity but also a very valuable trade to posses. To ensure your end product is more than satisfactory and your guests are pleased with the meal, then you will need to have the proper smoker meet your standards.
While every company claims to have the best products available which crushes the competition, we often find out that that is not the case and are left with a completely different experience than what we were promised.
On the other hand, some other products prove to be exactly what they say they are, and sometimes even better than the campaign actually said.
So to help you clear the air and to help you identify what the actual best smokers are, we are sharing a list of 10 types of smokers. Each review is based on the fueling type, pricing, durability, warranty, yield of food and additional special features. There are many different types of smokers ranging from cheap smokers all the way up to high-end smokers.
To unveil what these truths are, read further and identify your best choice based on your needs.
Review of the best smoker
We have cataloged our top 10 products under the various types of which they belong to help the reader understand what each represents. Take an intentional read through and by the end, you will have more than enough information to make a beneficial purchase.
Charcoal smokers are a classic choice of many people for their outdoor cooking needs.
Charcoal smokers offer a very distinct flavor which is hard to mimic using any other type of fuel. A key to remember is to not use too much charcoal fluid otherwise the end product will taste more like the fluid than the charcoal.
Charcoal smokers come in different shapes and sizes which are used to create larger amounts of food. Make sure and choose the correct size of smoker before making a purchase.
They are only used as outdoor smokers and best used for BBQ parties but can also be used as a grill as well as a smoker.
Fuel for a charcoal smoker can be somewhat pricing due to the fact you have to purchase a new bag everytime you want to smoke something. There is also a bit of time to allow the charcoal to get to a point where it is ready to start cooking. But guess what, the results are fantastic.
Here we share two of our favorite smokers from our review on the best charcoal smokers.
The best: Pit Barrel 18” Cooker Package
This best jerky smoker is widely loved for the simplicity it brings, its exceptional flavoring method, cooking surface area, slightly under $300 price, and stress-free use.
It consists of a simple barrel style smoker with an unusual design from the other smokers. Instead of having numerous grill grates, it sits on 1 grill grate, but comes with 8 hooks to hang your food over the fire for an even cook be it sausages or larger portions of meat.
In addition to the flavors from the hot coals and wood chips in the smoker, juices and oils from the food drip onto the hot coals and are returned to the food as flavored smoke for more indulging flavors.
Currently, this is the only smoker that offers this specialty. So, if you are heavily driven by flavors, this smoker may be the best one for you.
This smoker also traps heat inside very well allowing the user to set it to the desired temperature while they leave it to attend to other activities. Temperature control on it is seamless because it able to hold a steady level of heat without worries of a burn.
It is also well priced and should be able to fit into any kind of a budget.
- Strong build
- Amazing flavoring
- Entry level smoker
- Great for versatile cooking
- Only one cooking grate
Follow up: Dyna-Glo DGN576DNC-D Premium Charcoal Grill
This Dyna Glo smoker is featured as the most durable product on our list built with stainless steel and heavy duty cast iron grates. This smoker is sure to withstand anything for a longer lasting life.
Also, we love it for its wide cooking space giving the user the opportunity to make as much food desired for larger numbers of people.
There are smokers with wider cooking spaces, but the durability of this smoker aides for heavy duty cooking without damages.
One of the best features this smoker contains is the front loading feature. The process will be much easier when placing or removing your food from the smoker. This feature has been confirmed by many customers to be the best recent invention to hit the market.
The smoker is well sealed and also has an additional thermometer to aid in controlling heat.
Aside from its 800 square inch cooking area, you are provided with 2 extra side shelves and a basket beneath the smoker to keep utensils and extra food in the process of cooking. The sides shelves are better used for cooling the food.
It is easy to move around with its 2 attached wheels equipped with two caster lockers for stability.
- Great pricing for its quality
- Adjustable cooking grates
- Front door loading feature
- Not tightly secured lid
- Needs a little modification
Like the name goes, propane or natural gas smokers basically use propane or natural gas to power them up.
They are simple to use as outdoor smokers and requires nothing more than connecting your smoker to a gas tank, turning it on and powering up the smoker.
Some propane smoker may be co-powered by electricity to help light up the burners, but the major part of fueling is done by gas.
Flavors may not be super amazing with propane smokers compared to other types of smokers, but with the wood chip feature, you should be able to get a good end product.
These types of smokers may not produce larger amounts of food due to the size of their smaller cooking areas.
They are vastly cheaper versions of smokers in general and are the best choice for small families or college students.
Learn more about them in our best propane smoker article.
This is a 40-inch sized smoker with 4 interior chromed smoking racks that will allow you to cook up to 100 pounds (lb). It is well sized for a camping or a tailgating party.
This Masterbuilt version sits 4 stainless steel burners for a quick power up and cook, a push button ignition, gas control valve powered by a Type 1 regulator and a hose.
It takes care of the need of having smoky flavors while you cook with its built-in porcelain made wood chip tray that burns wood chips efficiently while you grill. Choose a good selection of flavored wood chips and you will be on your way to locking some good flavors in.
There is also an added stainless steel water pan placed at the bottom of the smoker to create moisture while the food cooks which is very essential to prevent dry foods during the cooking process. The idea of smoking is to have juicy and tender food, so this feature helps create that for you.
Finally, it has an inherent temperature gauge for temperature controls which gives accurate temperature information on the state of the smoker and the food while it cooks.
- Plenty of cooking space
- Easily heated
- Great steel construction
- Slightly pricey
Follow up: Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP Vertical Smoker
This fair priced 36-inch smoker not only has a good size for saving space but also a good weight for easy mobility. It is built sturdily to ensure a long-lasting use and can be used year round without any hitches.
Lighting it up is aided with an electronic push-button ignition system for a very quick and easy start.
It is has a wide cooking surface area to make food for at least 14 people in one turn. This smoker will be good for a big family or even for a restaurant’s use.
The cooking area and fueling area are in two different compartments preventing the food from being interrupted if there is a need to add wood chips in the process of cooking.
It sits on a smoke level detector to advise on the level of smoke needed in the smoker per each cook, just so you are not over smoking your food.
- Rust resistant
- Smoke level detector
- Dual door
- Doors not completely sealable
- Slow heating
Electric smokers are one of the cheapest power sourced kinds to find on the market. They are sourced by electricity making them very convenient to use and can be used as indoor smokers.
Electricity is widely available in homes and business places which makes the use of these smokers very easy. Use it indoors or outdoors and be ready to make good food. Just connect your smoker to a power source and you are ready to smoke.
It is not very special on flavoring though, but for its convenience, this inexpensive smoker tops all the rest. Also, if there is a power outage at a time when you are trying to make some food, this may be a challenge as you will not be able to your smoker.
Electric smokers are mostly designed for feeding small numbers so if you are considering having a big party, you may need to be plan way ahead to enable you to make food in turns.
Read about our best electric smoker article here to feed you with some more knowledge on these kinds
This smoker is best loved for its affordability yet great effective results. If you are in search of the best budget smoker, this is the one to check out.
For its price, it has one of the best considerations for added features offering a wood chip compartment to aid in boosting flavoring as most electric smokers are not designed to have this feature.
It offers a water pan to help the user create moisture while cooking and also a drip pan to collect greases and juices that drip from the food while it cooks. This was created to enable the user with easy cleaning after cooking and we thank the Masterbuild company for this amazing feature.
Due to its build, it tends to retain heat within the smoker for a very even cook. This is one of the features that you should look out for when buying a smoker because anything less than this will defeat the entire purpose for which you are smoking food.
To top it all off, it comes with an added remote control to regulate temperatures even while away from the smoker. The remote control works in correlation with the temperature and timer control situated at the top of the smoker.
In the off chance you forget to check on your smoker during the cooking process, you can set the timer to the ideal doneness time, and once the timer is up, it will automatically shut down to prevent any forms of havoc.
- Holds heat well
- Easy to clean
- Advanced temperature control
- Not rainproof
Follow up: Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
This insulated smoker under $500 features a double walled build which checks out the worry for durability. It is built with stainless steel and finished with a dual tone. This is the best outdoor smoker that we have on this list.
It has a front view glass door to help check the food as it cooks especially if you are itchy to open the smoker in the process of cooking. It also features a large cooking surface area backed by 4 adjustable cooking racks making it ideal for large parties of 10 or more.
It comes equipped with a removable thermometer so you will not have to buy another thermometer for another cooking purpose. You can also read the temperature at nighttime with its blue LED display.
Keeping the smoker tightly closed with its large locking latch makes it easy to change locations as it comes with wheels and handles to pull it around.
Finally, cleaning is made easy with the added grease tray to trap dripping juices. Remove and clean the smoker with ease afterwards, and you are good to go and enjoy your food.
- Easy mobility
- Great for outdoor cooking
- Hard to remove the frontal sticker
Why pellet smokers when there are charcoal smokers?
Well, pellet smokers are calmer versions to charcoal smokers, and by this we mean they are equally great for flavoring food with very traditional aromas, but they offer a more subtle approach to flavoring.
Unlike charcoal smokers that cook with very intense smoking, pellets smokers are mild on flavors.
So, if you hate strong aromas, then having a pellet smoker will be the one for you.
Pellets may burn faster if not managed well which may cost extra for fueling which is why we give the advice to have good management when using them.
Read some more about the best pellet smokers for a good idea of options for your decision making.
The Green Mountain brand may not be the most popular name that you have heard of, but this invention of theirs is great!
We will talk of the wifi temperature control enablement that it has first. It is the only smoker in our collection of reviews thus far that offers this. This is really amazing.
It’s a tech world and it is very thoughtful that this smoker allows you to control temperatures while you cook from anywhere because of its wifi feature.
Its low cost makes it an ultimate choice to have for a tech upgraded version of a smoker.
It is lightweight like any of the best bullet smokers out there and comes with two foldable legs for flexible positioning. You can carry it over for a tailgating party or to a friend’s house for a party. Its handles are also foldable to create space for storage.
Use its meat probe connected to the temperature controller for checking the doneness of the food just by fixing the probe through an access hole to the meat and the connector will tell you exactly what’s happening down there.
Finally, it has a solar power enablement function with a 12 Volt jumper cable for a 110 Volt converter. This gives you dual options for firing up your smoker. This makes it the only smoker on this list to be well advanced for modern society.
If you are a busy parent and still love the option of smoked foods for dinners, this smoker will serve you well in the area of flexibility.
It is designed to allow the user to be away from the smoker with a smart smoke technology feature which feeds the firebox with pellets as it cooks with the correct quantities for the right temperature. This process is managed by an automatic auger and digital temperature control.
If you need to cook for a big number of people, this smoker will easily serve 12 people or more from one food turnout.
It also comes equipped with an added 900 oF sear box to give your food a good look after it has been grilled. This sear box may also be used for other cooking purposes.
It is built with porcelain enamel coated cast iron grill grates to ensure long-lasting use. Light it up easily with its 16,000 BTU stainless steel easy ignition burner and work through a temperature range of 160 oF to 500 oF.
Clean with ease afterward with its ash cleanout system that requires you to only pull out a lever and there you have the trash out.
- Even cook
- Set it and go smoker
- Amazing flavors released
- Noisy when cooking
- Not under $400
Offset smokers, which are the best wood smokers, are wonderful for infusing your food with amazing smoky flavors which fall in as one of the 2 options purposely designed for this result. The other being charcoal smokers.
Offset smokers are designed to cook many different types of foods such as brisket, pork shoulder, turkey, sausage or even fish using indirect heat and are solely used as outdoor smokers because of the amount of smoke they produce.
They are designed to feed larger numbers of people as they have a grill chamber for food and side firebox for the fire both connected by a chamber where heat and smoke derived from the firebox finds its way through the chamber and cooks the food in the grilling area.
Offset smokers always equipped with a chimney which allows you to control and regulate the amount of smoke and or heat with your smoker. These smokers are great for anyone looking to invest in a new backyard smoker or even a commercial smoker.
The chimney also serves as a determinant of the kind of fire in the firebox that’s cooking. Thick heavy smoke usually means there is little oxygen not entering the firebox, hence the vent will need to be opened to let in air.
As a result, these kinds of smokers are great for flavoring food and you can expect to amaze your guests with the food turnout. You may want to consider this if smoke flavors are a big thing to you.
These amazing smokers are the top-rated smokers used in BBQ competitions worldwide. If you plan on competing, an offset drum smoker would be the best smoker to buy. Read some more about them in our best offset smoker article to be well vested.
Cost may be higher for offset smokers, but the obvious features contribute to its pricing. So, it is safe to say that they are good smokers to have despite the higher prices.
Brace yourself for the quadruple fueling function of this smoker. Allowing you to cook with either a charcoal grill, gas grill, offset smoker or infrared smoker – all in one. Its unique drum smoker shape makes it a viable budget smoker for the money.
The liberty to cook any kind of way can now be determined by the way you feel and not by your limitations.
It is also the best meat smoker to have despite the weather changes; use it in hot weathers with the charcoal side or in cold weathers with the gas side.
The infrared side allows you to create a perfect sear on your food which is that essential.
Temperatures are checked for great results; use the adjustable charcoal pan to aid in controlling heat to produce excellent food for large crowds from its massive cooking space.
This smoker is best for its 4 in 1 versatility and we give it two thumbs up also for being an under $1000 smoker.
- 4 in 1 function
- Strong build
- Wide cooking space
- Year-round use
While it is under $100 and 3 in 1 functional smoker – an offset smoker, a BBQ, and a charcoal grill. This is said to give you the liberty to impress your guests with varying tastes. This may be the best affordable smoker when it comes to budget smokers and perfect for any professional smoker or entry level smoker out there.
As the best home smoker, this inexpensive smoker offers a good cooking surface area to make a turkey or as much food to feed 14 or more people in one turn. You can make a variety of food types as your needs require.
It is great on fueling, using charcoal and wood chips for optimum flavors and comes with adjustable fuel trays to get you cruising at the best heat levels.
So, if you are hell bent with focusing on flavors while you cook, this smoker will come in handy to produce excellent results.
There is an extra storage rack for storing your utensils while you cook and a charcoal case to have some extra fuel on hand. So do look out for this if you purchase it.
Also, control the heat while you cook with its multiple adjustable dampers and then handle the smoker at ease while still hot with its cool to touch handles.
- Good pricing
- Great food quantity
- Inner paint peels quickly
- Burns more wood
Which are the overall best smokers?
Having gone through the different kinds of smokers and their fueling types, certain features are clear to have when considering the best type of smoker or the top-rated smokers that are available.
First, they should be very well constructed, made with materials that are long-lasting and will withstand the test of time and weather conditions. A great smoker should be able to last you for at least 5 years on average without any major repair issues.
Next, it should have a good cooking surface area, something that is above 300 square inches. You want to be able to make food for at least 3 people in one turn, so aim for something that will offer more.
Also ensure that its weight is not so much that you are unable to move your smoker from one place to another. You may need to carry it over for a party at a friend’s house or simply just change the location of where it is positioned at home.
It should have a built-in and well readable thermometer. Insist on this feature as temperatures are imperative when it comes to knowing how hot your smoker is during the cooking process.
Finally, look out for warranty options. A manufacturer that offers no warranty options is suspicious. They are likely to have faults with products being made and may have escaped the notification of the manufacturer. A smoker that comes with a warranty will always be a better option than one without.
Why it is essential to always buy the best available?
First of all, there’s a need to ask yourself a few questions about what your real desires are when it comes to smoking.
If you are a newcomer to smoking, we will urge you to read our article on how to use a smoker to give you a better understanding of smokers which will answer these questions.
Does the type of fuel really matter?
Maybe you are all about the type of food you want to produce and not necessarily worried about how the machine is fueled to produce it.
The fact of the matter is that the fuel type does not necessarily affect the outcome or temperatures of the end product. The doneness of the food is not affected by the type of fuel used to cook, so this gives you much more room to explore the type of smoker that will suit you best.
Look through the various options for what is most convenient for you and have your purchase driven by it.
Creating specific flavors will play a role on the type of smoker
The type of fuel will play a major role in the overall flavor and taste of the end product. While propane or charcoal will develop those classic grilled flavors everyone has come to love, different types of wood and pellets will act as a flavor profile for your end product.
Some woods like mesquite, hickory and oak will smolder very easily and create a very even and heavy smoke flavor. While nut and fruit woods tend to have a heavier smoke with a lighter flavor.
Keep in mind the type of end product you are wanting and how easy or difficult you want the cooking process to be when choosing a smoker to fit your basic needs.
Ensure that it is what you really want
At the end of the day, the choice is going to be yours which is why we advise you to put your desires first before anything else.
Buy a smoker that you will get you excited to cook every time. Create a personal list of what you will want in a smoker, and match the features as you research.
When you find the one most ideal, go with your gut instinct and do not hesitate to make a purchase!