Best Electric Smoker Reviews of 2021
Masterbuilt MB20074719 40-Inch Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker
Best digital electric smoker
Easy to control your food from a distance thanks to the built-in Bluetooth technology.
1 Masterbuilt MB20074719 Review
Aren’t you tired of getting off the couch to check the cooking progress each time you smoke food? If you are, the Masterbuilt MB20074719 could be the best electric smoker for you. Large enough to accommodate enough food for a larger party, this smoker impresses with its Bluetooth.
You can control the temperature and cooking progress either from your smart device or the digital control panel – it even comes with a meat probe.
The smoker also features a lateral wood chips loading system for easier loading of wood chips while you’re cooking without opening the door. And we also like the interior light and glass door.
Capable of smoking up to 16 whole chickens or eight racks of ribs at a time, this smart electric smoker is an excellent choice for all tech-savvy BBQ enthusiasts.
Masterbuilt 20071117 30″ Digital Electric Smoker
Ideal for home and commercial use
Developed to smoke food to perfection thanks to the adjustable air damper system.
2 Masterbuilt 20071117 Review
Ideal for the pro and the novice alike, the Masterbuilt 20071117 shares similarities with our best-in-class pick but comes at a more attractive price point.
Perhaps the best feature is the large capacity, ideal for numerous families. The unit can hold up to six whole chickens or eight racks of ribs and is ready to cook any meat to perfection thanks to the integrated thermostat control.
Like our best-in-class pick, this smoker comes with the patented side wood chip loading system, and you can purchase the unit with or without the wood chips.
Furthermore, a digital control panel makes it easy to set the temperature and cooking time, while a convenient drip tray minimizes mess. Intuitive and performing, the Masterbuilt 20071117 is the best electric smoker for the money.
Char-Broil 19202101 Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
Digital, but no connectivity
A large window on the door allows you to check the food without losing temperature.
3 Char-Broil 19202101 Review
If you liked our best-in-class’ glass door but don’t care about app control, the Char-Broil 19202101 comes as a great alternative to our best in class and best value. It has a slightly smaller size, but it can still fit around eight chickens at a time.
Like our best in class, it has a glass door and comes with a removable meat probe. Furthermore, a lock-tight seal and large capacity wood chips tray make cooking even easier – when loaded at full capacity, the appliance can smoke foods for up to 7 hours continuously.
The advanced, digital control panel also allows you to control your food status or adjust the temperature. The manufacturer could improve smoke control, and the unit could come with remote control. Apart from that, it is an excellent choice if you want best-in-class features at a more affordable price tag.
Masterbuilt MB20070210 Analog Electric Smoker
A budget electric smoker
An analog dial makes this smoker very easy to use, even for the elderly and beginners.
4 Masterbuilt MB20070210 Review
Digital controls are nice and all, but if you’re not quite tech-savvy – or if you want a cheap electric smoker – the Masterbuilt MB20070210 could be the best one.
What makes it stand out is the simple analog control. Operating this smoker is as easy as it gets; just load it with meat and wood chips, close the door, and turn the knob to set the cooking temperature. A performing heating element ensures consistent smoking, and a temperature gauge makes it easy to monitor the cooking process.
It’s not nearly as big as our best in class or best value, but it can hold three whole chickens at a time and has three removable smoking racks. All in all, a good choice for unpretentious chefs, small homes, or small budgets.
1. Propane vs. electric smokers
Smokers come in many styles, but perhaps the most popular two are the propane smokers, a type we’ve covered in a previous guide, and the electric smokers. The former run on liquid propane, although some models adapt to the use with natural gas. The latter run on electricity and all they need for power is a standard wall outlet.
- Propane smokers: Blend the benefits of the electric smoker with those of a charcoal smoker. They have larger capacities than the electric, are very easy to use, and produce flavorful food. However, they tend to be more expensive than electric and are not always suitable to use.
- Electric smokers: Are perhaps the easiest to use and save you the hassle of checking fuel levels. The food cooked with an electric smoker is delicious, although it tends to taste slightly less barbecued. Nevertheless, in many instances, an electric smoker is your best bet.
When to buy an electric smoker?
An electric smoker could be a better option – or your only option – in the following situations:
- If you want a very easy to use smoker for enjoying no-frills outdoor cooking, just as easy to handle as an air fryer;
- If you don’t want to worry about refueling your smoker;
- If you live in a condo where charcoal and propane smokers are forbidden;
- If you have a lower budget; electric smokers are the cheapest models and provide flavorful food;
- Electric smokers are the safest models.
2. Other types of smokers
Besides the propane and electric smokers mentioned above, meat smokers also come in the following types:
- Charcoal smokers
- Wood smokers
- Pellet smokers
3. Electric smoker wattage
The heating power of an electric smoker is expressed in watts, and unlike the common belief, the best electric smokers don’t need a very high wattage. The purpose of a smoker is to slow-cook food, which means the most reliable units offer a restricted temperature range.
Most units have wattage output specifications between 500 and 1,500 watts, with most high-end and commercial electric smokers ranging between 800 and 1,200 watts.
4. Heating elements and temperature
Electric smokers have heating elements similar to electric grills. They can be made of either cast iron or steel, but the best are the infrared heating elements present on the high-end units, similar to those used on the best infrared grills.
The infrared technology uses radiant or indirect heat which is transferred to the food rather than the air, sealing the meat and locking its natural juices. Furthermore, this technology also reduces flare-ups and provides an even temperature inside the environment.
What cooking temperature do you need?
Electric smokers typically have variable temperatures between 100 and 275°F, which is sufficient for slow-cooking most foods. You’ll typically need:
Brisket, roast, meatloaf, ribs, pork butt
Whole chicken or turkey
Steaks, fish, seafood, burgers, sausages
5. Analog vs. digital controls
Electric smokers can have analog or digital controls.
- Analog controls: Are very easy to use and have standard knobs or dials. Most analog units come with two controls, one for the temperature and a timer. However, you will typically only be able to choose between a low and high or few preset temperature settings.
- Digital controls: Are also very easy to use and give you better control over both temperature and time. Most digital units allow for infinite temperature settings in the unit’s temperature range, and some even have preset cooking functions which automatically set the unit to the optimal temperature and cooking time for the food you want to prepare.
6. Electric smoker heat flow
The way heat circulates inside the smoker influences the cooking time but also the flavor of the food. Heat can flow either from upside to downwards or in the opposite direction, from the bottom of the smoker upwards.
The top to bottom heat flow cooks the food faster, and this type of smoker is typically used in industrial kitchens with high-volume demands. If you want to keep food flavors intact though, it is recommended to invest in a smoker with heat flow from the bottom towardsthe top, despite the longer cooking time.
7. Smoking method
Perhaps the most important feature of a smoker is the smoking method. Electric smokers can use either dry or wet smoking.
- Dry smoking: Uses a low wood fire to generate smoke and indirect heat to slow cook the food while the smoky flavor gets impregnated into it and the juices are sealed.
- Wet smoking: Also uses a low wood fire to smoke the food but the heating element produces direct heat; a water pan is used to keep moisture at constant levels and prevent the dry out of the food.
Dry smoking is ideal if you don’t want to constantly check the water level. Regardless of the method employed, the type of wood chips also influences the flavor of the food.
8. Best wood chips for food smoking
Some woods pair well with most foods while other types are more suitable for a specific type of meat.
- Hickory is ideal for most meats and even for vegetables due to its milder character.
- Mesquite has a stronger flavor and is ideal for beef, veal, and lamb.
- Apple wood goes wonderfully with pork and chicken, but also with rabbit and smaller game.
- Alder wood is a perfect choice for fish and seafood.
9. Other essential features
The best electric smokers must also have the following features:
- Exterior wood chip loading tray: Prevents heat dissipation when loading more wood chips.
- Easy-access drip tray: Makes cleaning the cooking drips easier. If the tray can be accessed from the exterior, that’s even better.
- Adjustable racks: Give you the possibility to customize the configuration of the cabinet and fit larger pieces of meat.
- Glass door: An important advantage as it allows you to check the status of your food without opening the door.
- Preset cooking functions: If you’re not a chef, setting the right temperature and cooking time could be tricky. Pre-programmed functions prevent you from spoiling your food.
- Mobility features: The best electric smokers have carrying handles for easier transport.
- Large water tray: If you like a wet smoking model, pick one with a large water tray to avoid checking the water level too frequently.
- Temperature gauge: Is essential on an analog smoker as it gives you a precise indication of the temperature level. Digital units typically show this information on an LCD display.
10. The Best Electric Smoker for the Money
Masterbuilt 20071117 30″ Digital Electric SmokerIdeal for home and commercial use
Developed to smoke food to perfection thanks to the adjustable air damper system.