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  1. Reviews
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Best Smoker

Best Smokers of 2021

Need the best pellet, charcoal, electric, propane, grill, or barrel smoker? We’ve reviewed 18 of the best smokers in 6 categories for you below.

All 18 Smokers We Recommend

1

Best Pellet Smokers

Fueled by hardwood pellets, these smokers are very easy to use and highly versatile. Once selected the temperature, they maintain it for hours, produce less smoke than charcoal grills and tastier and healthier food due to the indirect cooking method they use. You can use a pellet smoker to smoke, barbecue, braise, and even bake. Their only downside is that they need more maintenance.

Best smoker for: Grill chefs, versatile cooking

2

Best Electric Smokers

Electric smokers may not produce that intense smoky flavor charcoal and wood smokers are famous for, but they are a perfect choice for beginners. Indeed, they are as easy to use as an electric oven. You can pick from analog or digital models, and all you have to do is set the temperature and smoking time and then turn it on. And despite lacking that “true smoker” vibe, the results are hugely satisfying.

Best smoker for: Beginners, cold smoking

3

Best Smoker Grills

A hybrid between a smoker and a grill, a smoker grill brings the best of both worlds. It is perfect for low and slow cooking, but smoker grills usually have higher temperature ranges that also allow you to sear steaks and burgers. Some models have separate grilling and smaller smoking areas, so that’s something to keep in mind if your primary purpose is smoking.

Best smoker for: Occasional BBQ and smoker users

4

Best Propane Smokers

An alternative to electric smokers and suitable to use in areas where charcoal or wood pellet smokers are banned, propane smokers are very easy to use and as versatile as the pellet kind. They work with 20-lb propane tanks – some models can be converted to natural gas – and the temperature is easy to set and control by turning a knob. The food is tastier compared to the electric smokers, and since you don’t have to plug in any cord, they are very portable.

Best smoker for: Novices, van life

5

Best Charcoal Smokers

As avid smoker masters would say, no smoker can produce better tasting food than a charcoal smoker. Similar to charcoal grills, they have simple construction, need little maintenance, and food cooked in them tastes heavenly. But this doesn’t mean they’re easy to use. Maintaining the temperature is hard, and they need constant supervision. Not quite ideal for busy people.

Best smoker for: Experienced grill masters

6

Best Barrel Smokers

Initially handmade from steel drum barrels, ugly drum or barrel smokers are a charcoal smoker variant. They have an original look compared to the other smoker types and are one of your best choices for low and slow cooking. Indeed, the vertical barrel maintains the temperature very well, sometimes even better than standard charcoal smokers.

Best smoker for: Slow cooking, budget users

All Smoker Reviews

1

Best Wood Pellet Smoker

key considerations
Pellet Smokers Reviews

Very easy to use and control the temperature, pellet smokers produce flavorful food with little to no supervision. Maintenance could be a pain, though, and they are also expensive to repair if needed.

  • Hopper size: The most important feature to consider when buying a pellet smoker is the hopper size. Calculate the max cooking time you need and get a smoker with a big enough hopper, considering that one pound of pellet provides around one hour of runtime.
  • Maintenance: While all pellet smokers have to be cleaned regularly, some come with removable ashtrays and easily accessible fire boxes that make the job easier.
  • Connectivity: Some of the best pellet smokers come with built-in meat probes and use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology to communicate with an app on your mobile device so that you can control the cooking process from a distance.
  • Max temperature: If you want to use your pellet smoker to grill foods, too, make sure the temperature range is at least 185°F-400°F.

Best Wood Pellet Smoker Reviews of 2021

Best-in-class
Traeger Grills TFB89BLFC

Traeger Grills TFB89BLFC Ironwood 885 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker

Best smart pellet smoker

Connectivity features make it easy to control the temperature and cooking progress from a distance.

Check price on Amazon

1 Traeger Grills TFB89BLFC Review

Designed to make food smoking easy for chefs and avid amateurs alike, the Traeger Grills TFB89BLFC is the best wood pellet smoker you can get if you want to simplify cooking as much as possible. Besides a generous cooking surface and ease of use, this smoker’s main highlight is the WiFIRE technology.

Basically Wi-Fi connectivity, the WiFIRE gives you the possibility to connect the smoker to your smart home or mobile devices so that you can control it from anywhere.

Ideal for larger crowds, this pellet smoker provides 885 square inches of cooking area – ideal for holding ten whole chickens or nine pork butts.

We also like the double-wall construction that improves fuel efficiency and temperature consistency when used in colder weather. Smoking aside, you can also use this pellet smoker to grill, braise, roast, BBQ, and even bake. All that you need to fulfill all your outdoor cooking dreams.

Best value
Traeger Grills TFB88PZBO

Traeger Grills TFB88PZBO Pro Series 34 Pellet Grill and Smoker

Best pellet smoker for the money

Professional digital controllers ensure precise temperature control in all kinds of weather.

Check price on Amazon

2 Traeger Grills TFB88PZBO Review

From the same brand as our best in class, the Traeger Grills TFB88PZBO may not have Wi-Fi capabilities, but it’s a more than capable pellet smoker to get your hands on if you want best-in-class features at an affordable price point.

Like our best in class, this pellet smoker impresses with excellent temperature consistency and pellet efficiency in warm and cold weather alike. Precision cooking is also guaranteed by its sturdy steel construction, while the porcelain-coated grates are a breeze to clean.

A generous cooking surface and the same 6-in-1 functionality seen on our best in class are other highlights. Providing 884 square inches of cooking capacity, it can accommodate up to eight chickens or seven rib racks.

Ideal for backyards and restaurants alike, this smoker comes with sturdy mobility wheels and is easy to move. Affordable and versatile, it’s the best pellet smoker for the money.

Best budget
Z GRILLS ZPG-450A

Z GRILLS ZPG-450A Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker

Best small pellet smoker

Eight-in-one versatility and large pellet hopper make it one of the best wood pellet smokers for small yards.

Check price on Amazon

3 Z GRILLS ZPG-450A Review

The Z GRILLS ZPG-450A is undeniably the best pellet smoker for smaller backyards and small families. It has a cooking capacity of 450 square inches, almost half the size of our best in class and best value. Nevertheless, it brings true value for money.

Its greatest highlight is the 8-in-1 functionality. Like our other two pellet smokers, it can smoke, grill, BBQ, braise, roast, and bake, but in addition to these, it can also char-broil and sear meats – two features that make it an excellent smoker grill.

Another feature we like is the huge hopper that can hold 20 pounds of pellets, giving you an approximate cooking time of 20 hours. In other words, you won’t have to worry about running out of fuel when slow cooking brisket.

With a cooking temperature range between 180°F and 450°F and highly versatile, this is one of the best cheap pellet smokers.

2

Best Digital Electric Smoker

key considerations
Electric Smokers Reviews

Ideal for beginners and small families, electric smokers are very easy to use and maintain. They use more or less the same principles and technology as electric ovens, but the food might not taste as good as food cooked in a pellet, propane, or charcoal smoker.

  • Capacity: Electric smokers rank among the smaller capacity smokers on the market, so if you want to cook for larger parties, don’t forget to check this spec before buying.
  • Min temperature: Most electric smokers have a minimum temperature under 100°F and are ideal for cold smoking. If you want to smoke vegetables or other foods that require cold smoking, make sure you can set the temp as low as you need.
  • Preset functions: The best electric smokers come with digital control panels and preset smoking options for various foods. These features make these smokers even more suitable for beginners.
  • Heat and smoke distribution: Not all electric smokers distribute the heat and smoke evenly, and some of the cheaper models create hot and cold spots. Make sure the model you want distributes heat and smoke evenly to prevent disappointment.

Best Digital Electric Smoker Reviews of 2021

Best-in-class
Bradley Smoker BTDS76P

Bradley BTDS76P 990216 Digital Electric 4 Rack Smoker

Best digital smoker

A customizable internal configuration allows you to switch from jerky racks to meat hooks as needed.

Check price on Amazon

1 Bradley Smoker BTDS76P Review

Homeowners looking for a no-frills smoker will surely like the Bradley Smoker BTDS76P. Like all electric smokers, it’s very easy to use while the digital controls make it a breeze to set the temperature and cooking time.

Large enough to feed larger crowds but relatively compact in size, it fits well in most backyards. The smoker comes with four dishwasher-friendly racks and boasts a customizable layout that allows you to replace the racks with meat hooks if needed.

We also like the ash-free concept that discards the burnt bisquettes and the grease in a water basin. Not only this smoker is very easy to use and clean, but it’s also compatible with 12 types of wood bisquettes and has a large enough wood hopper for up to 9 hours of uninterrupted smoking. No doubt, your best bet for effortless meat smoking.

Best value
Masterbuilt MB20073519

Masterbuilt MB20073519 Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker with Broiler

Best for most homes

Connects with your smart device via Bluetooth for easier cooking temperature and time control.

Check price on Amazon

2 Masterbuilt MB20073519 Review

If you’re not quite the set-it-and-forget-it kind of guy but would still avoid getting up from the couch just to check out the cooking process, the Masterbuilt MB20073519 is the best electric smoker for you.

Similar in size and capacity to our best in class, it comes with four food racks and digital controls for no-frills operation. What we particularly like about this model, though, is that you can connect it to your mobile device via Bluetooth.

You won’t be able to access it from the other side of the world – or even from across the town, that is – but a generous range will allow you to check or set the temperature and cooking time without getting out of your home – just perfect for cooking on very hot or very cold days.

Best budget
Masterbuilt MB20071117

Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker

Best small electric smoker

A patented wood chip loading system prevents temperature loss while cooking.

Check price on Amazon

3 Masterbuilt MB20071117 Review

Smaller than our best value but incorporating similar technology, the Masterbuilt MB20071117 is the best small electric smoker you can get your hands on. It won’t connect with your mobile device, but just like our best value, it features the patented wood chip loading system that allows you to load new wood chips without opening the smoker door.

In other words, you won’t lose temperature, and the smoker will deliver excellent results time and time again.

Despite the tinier size, it also comes with four racks for cooking several meat cuts at a time. Its fully insulated body retains heat wonderfully even in colder weather, while an air damper allows for easy smoke control. With a capacity of up to six chickens or four racks of ribs, it is an excellent choice for small families.

3

Best Smoker Grill Combo

key considerations
Smoker Grills Reviews

Smoker grills usually consist of a main grill area and a smaller offset smoker. A hybrid between a grill and a smoker, they are perfect for those looking for utmost versatility.

  • Smoker surface: Many smoker grills have a larger cooking surface on the grill side and a smaller one for smoking. If you’d rather use it to smoke foods as a primary purpose and only occasionally for grilling, make sure the smoker area is big enough.
  • Accessories: While most smokers come with sufficient racks and hooks, this isn’t always the case for smoker grills. If you don’t want to spend a fortune, check the accessories your smoker grill comes with.
  • Fuel: Smoker grills can run on gas, charcoal, or electricity. Gas and electric models are the easiest to use and perfect for beginners. Charcoal smoker grills produce tastier food.
  • Cleaning ease: The best smoker grills come with removable grates, drip pan, and wood chip pans for easier cleaning.

Best Smoker Grill Combo Reviews of 2021

Best value
Oklahoma Joe's 15202031

Oklahoma Joe’s 15202031 Highland Offset Smoker

Best offset smoker grill

A simple yet dependable smoker grill that brings fantastic value for money.

Check price on Amazon

2 Oklahoma Joe's 15202031 Review

The Oklahoma Joe’s 15202031 doesn’t have all the bells and whistles seen on our best in class, but it’s undeniably the best offset smoker grill for most yards. Its greatest advantage is the simple design that makes it a breeze to use even by novices.

Indeed, this traditional horizontal grill and smoker runs on charcoal. Learning how to control the temperature may take some time, but once you get the grip of it, you’ll easily cook the best smoked meat and vegetables.

Suiting small to mid-sized families, it has a main cooking surface of 614 square inches and a secondary smoking area of 281 square inches, so you can high-temperature grill and cold smoke foods at the same time. No doubt, one of the most versatile choices around.

Best budget
Royal Gourmet CC1830S

Royal Gourmet CC1830S 30″ BBQ Charcoal Grill and Offset Smoker

Perfect for smaller yards

A compact construction and built-in storage options make it perfect for small yards or balconies.

Check price on Amazon

3 Royal Gourmet CC1830S Review

Design-wise, the Royal Gourmet CC1830S is similar to our best value, but its smaller size makes it ideal for tinier yards, patios, balconies, or small families.

Like the Oklahoma Joe’s 15202031, it’s a charcoal smoker grill with the cooking surface divided between the main grilling area and a smaller offset smoker, for a total of 800 square inches.

We particularly like that it comes with a built-in temperature gauge and storage shelves. The side shelf not only is perfect for keeping utensils, but it can also be used as a working surface. Furthermore, it boasts two sturdy wheels for easier transport and features adjustable dumpers for easy temperature control – all in all, a great choice for small homes and grillers on a budget.

4

Best Propane Smoker

key considerations
Propane Smokers Reviews

Burning cleaner than charcoal smokers and delivering tastier food compared to electric smokers, propane smokers are easy to use and highly portable. They are perfect for most backyards as well as van life enthusiasts.

  • BTU output: Like gas grills or space heaters, propane smokers’ efficiency is determined by the BTU rating. You should get a smoker with high BTU to make sure it can address all your cooking needs.
  • Number of burners: An average propane smoker should have at least two burners to provide effective, constant heat, and more than that if it’s bigger.
  • Portability: Propane smokers are relatively compact and portable, but not all models were created equal. If you want to transport it easily, go for a smoker with mobility wheels and carrying handles.
  • Special features: Some of the best propane smokers have rotisserie accessories, allowing you to use a variety of cooking methods.

Best Propane Smoker Reviews of 2021

Best-in-class
Char-Broil The Big Easy

Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker Roaster & Grill

Best infrared propane smoker

Three-in-one cooking capability makes it perfect for parties, festivities, and celebrations.

Check price on Amazon

1 Char-Broil The Big Easy Review

If you want to smoke but also roast and grill foods, the Char-Broil The Big Easy could be the best smoker for you. It runs on propane, so it’s easy to use and control even by beginners and has a generous interior that can hold up to 25 pounds of food.

Cooking several foods at various temperatures at the same time is easy thanks to its vertical construction. Above the roasting basket, you will find 184 square inches of convenient grilling area.

Analog controls – similar to those used on kitchen hobs – ensure no-frills operation, allowing you to set and control both the temperature and amount of smoke. But that’s not all. The smoker’s main highlight is the TRU-infrared burner that prevents flare-ups and cooks your foods to perfection. Compact, performing, and easy to transport, this is the best propane smoker for home or camping.

Best value
Cuisinart COS-244

Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36″ Propane Smoker

Best vertical smoker

Two doors and a rear vent allow seamless control over the amount of heat and smoke.

Check price on Amazon

2 Cuisinart COS-244 Review

The Cuisinart COS-244 is a simple gas smoker designed to do just that. It doesn’t have additional grilling or roasting functions, but that’s exactly what makes it perfect.

Built to do one thing alone, it does its job brilliantly. It’s very easy to control thanks to the analog burner knob and two-door design that, together with a rear vent, allows you full control over both temperature and the amount of smoke exiting the oven.

Needless to say, these features make it perfect for anything from cold smoking fish and vegetables to cooking pulled pork or brisket.

We also like its spacious interior fitted with four removable and dishwasher-safe shelves. Perfect for everything from smoking large chunks of meat and sausages to grilling veggies, is undeniably the best vertical smoker for the money.

Best budget
Masterbuilt MPS 230S

Masterbuilt 30″ MPS 230S Propane Smoker

Best small gas smoker

A removable water bowl and an air damper help you control both the smoke and moisture.

Check price on Amazon

3 Masterbuilt MPS 230S Review

Very similar to our best value in terms of design, the Masterbuilt MPS 230S is an excellent choice if you want a dependable grill but are on a budget.

Like our best value, this vertical gas smoker has a two-door design and features analog burner control. Electrical ignition makes it easy to light the burner quickly, while an air dampener and removable water bowl help you control the quantity of smoke while keeping your meat tender and juicy.

Slightly smaller than the Cuisinart, this smoker also comes with four removable shelves, albeit they are chrome-plated steel instead of stainless steel. That said, they are still resistant and easy to clean, and overall, this smoker is a good choice if you don’t want to break the bank.

5

Best Charcoal Smoker

key considerations
Charcoal Smokers Reviews

The simplest model, charcoal smokers are the ones you need if you want the most flavorful food. Learning to use them properly could take a while, but the results are well worth the effort.

  • Temperature control: Controlling a charcoal smoker’s temperature can be challenging, but the best models have intuitive vent systems that simplify the process.
  • Temperature gauge: A built-in thermometer allows you to check the temperature constantly and adjust it accordingly for your purpose.
  • Removable charcoal tray: Makes it easier to remove the ash and clean the smoker after cooking.
  • Size: Most charcoal smokers are relatively small, usually ideal for smaller families or groups of up to six people. If you want to feed larger crowds, a pellet smoker could be a great alternative.

Best Charcoal Smoker Reviews of 2021

Best-in-class
Weber 731001

Weber 22-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker Charcoal Smoker

Best Weber charcoal smoker

Boasting a quality construction and relatively easy to use, this smoker is perfect for low and slow cooking.

Check price on Amazon

1 Weber 731001 Review

Weber is well-known for its reliable BBQ gear, and the Weber 731001 charcoal smoker isn’t an exception. With a cooking surface of 22 inches in diameter, it can hold large chunks of meat or around 2-3 chickens at a time – just perfect for a small to mid-sized family.

But despite the smaller cooking surface, this smoker impresses with its reliability and durability. It’s made from the same materials seen on all Weber grills; it comes with a built-in thermometer, an air vent, and a large door for easier charcoal loading and cleaning.

Compact, good-looking, and easy to transport, this charcoal smoker is perfect to use both at home or on the go.

Best value
Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker

Best vertical offset smoker

The indirect heat design allows for seamless slow cooking.

Check price on Amazon

2 Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Review

It might be more cumbersome than our best in class, but the Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D can easily be defined as the best charcoal smoker for the money. Its greatest advantage is the offset design that provides indirect heat.

Thanks to this feature, you can slow cook foods without worrying about overcooking or burning them. Controlling the smoke is also easier, and the very generous capacity makes it easy to cook large quantities at a time.

Like most vertical smokers, the Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D has a customizable interior layout with removable shelves that can be replaced by sausage hooks. Furthermore, we also like the built-in thermometer and the convenient “smoke zones” that help you achieve that perfect smoky flavor.

Best budget
Realcook Vertical

Realcook Vertical 17-Inch Steel Charcoal Smoker BBQ Grill

Best vertical charcoal smoker & grill

The modular, tiered design lets you transform this smoker into a barbecue grill or fire pit.

Check price on Amazon

3 Realcook Vertical Review

The Realcook Vertical is one of the best cheap smokers on the market. Its value is given by its modular design. It is made up of various tiers that can be assembled and used together as a smoker or separately, even as a barbecue grill or fire pit.

The best thing is that each of the two parts can be used as a barbecue grill, doubling the cooking surface whenever needed. As a smoker, it features removable cooking grids as well as a crossbar with four hangers built within the lid.

State-of-the-art features include a built-in thermometer, sturdy legs, as well as carrying handles. Easy to assemble or take apart, it’s also easy to store and transport. Perfect to use in your backyard or for camping.

6

Best Ugly Drum Smoker

key considerations
Barrel Smokers Reviews

A type of charcoal smoker, drum smokers, look very rudimentary but provide excellent heat retention and distribution. They are also cheap, so perfect for people on a budget.

  • Assembly ease: The first drum smokers were made from repurposed drum barrels, and even if they are manufactured commercially nowadays, most come in kits and require assembly. Thus, make sure the model you want is easy to put together.
  • Design: These smokers have gained the title of ugly drum smokers due to their unappealing aesthetic. However, some designs are more good-looking than others – something to keep in mind.
  • Airflow management: Similar to charcoal smokers, barrel smokers need good airflow management for easy temperature control.
  • Diameter: Before buying a barrel smoker, think about how many people you want to feed. A smoker with a diameter under 20 inches is ideal for up to four people. For larger crowds, get a 20- or 22-inch drum smoker.

Best Ugly Drum Smoker Reviews of 2021

Best-in-class
Oklahoma Joe's 19202099

Oklahoma Joe’s 19202099 Bronco Pro Drum Smoker

Best barrel smoker

Heavy-gauge steel construction ensures durability and enhances temperature retention.

Check price on Amazon

1 Oklahoma Joe's 19202099 Review

One of the best-looking drum smokers, the Oklahoma Joe’s 19202099 impresses with much more than its looks. At first glance, its durable construction stands out, while a look at its interior reveals grilling and smoking versatility.

With a charcoal capacity of 17 pounds, it features a 21.5-inch cooking grate as well as a removable element with three hangers and nine meat hooks.

This layout allows you to smoke but also grill foods if you want. Controlling the temperature and quantity of smoke is relatively easy once you get the grip of it, and additional features include a side shelf and sturdy wheels.

Dependable and versatile, this drum smoker comes in two colors and is ready to use straight out of the box.

Best value
Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package

Pit Barrel Cooker Co. Classic Pit Barrel Package

Eclectic and affordable

A coal basket makes it easy to add just the right amount of coals for perfect smoking.

Check price on Amazon

2 Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package Review

The Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package may not look as fancy as our best in class, but it’s an excellent choice for avid grillers and novices alike. Its greatest highlight is the included coal basket that is smartly sized to help you smoke foods to perfection.

Like the Oklahoma Joe’s, the smoker comes with an included grate and removable hooks and hangers. Its capacity is slightly smaller but still sufficient for up to six people.

This ugly drum grill features a standard design with legs and side handles. It doesn’t have mobility wheels, but it’s relatively easy to move around. No doubt, true value for money.

Best budget
Cuisinart COS-118

Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical 18″ Charcoal Smoker

A budget alternative

Two steel racks provide plenty of cooking space for a smaller crowd.

Check price on Amazon

3 Cuisinart COS-118 Review

The Cuisinart COS-118 is a fancy-looking vertical smoker with a design inspired by the original drum smokers. And while it isn’t a drum smoker in the true sense of the word, it’s an excellent alternative if you’re on a low budget.

Not only it looks great, but it won’t disappoint you either. A few of its greatest features include an easy-to-clean charcoal pan and two removable racks.

A top lid and side door not only provide easy access to both racks; they also help you control the temperature and amount of smoke in the oven. The smoke control is further enhanced by the dual air vent system that also allows you to transform the smoker into a barbecue grill if needed.

Cheap, aesthetically pleasing, and durable, this is a great drum grill for small yards and small budgets.

Smoker Buying Guide

all your smoker questions answered

Best types of smokers

Like barbecue grills, smokers come in a wide range of styles and use various kinds of fuel. To find the best smoker for you, think about any restrictions in your area, the amount of food you want to prepare, as well as your skill level.

  • Gas smokers: Also known as propane smokers, they are the best choice for most homeowners. They are intuitive to use – pretty much as easy as your kitchen stove – cheap to run, and suitable for all skill levels. They also produce flavorful food, though not as flavorful as a charcoal or wood pellet smoker.
  • Charcoal smokers: The top tier smokers, they suit avid barbecue enthusiasts, experienced users, and chefs. These smokers deliver the most flavorful food, are compact, and cheap to buy, but controlling the heat and keeping it even can be challenging. Once you get a grip on it, though, they are great smokers.
  • Pellet smokers: Delivering as flavorful food as charcoal smokers but making it easier to control the heat and smoke level, pellet smokers suit those who want perfectly cooked meat and don’t mind spending a buck. These smokers are more expensive than charcoal and need more maintenance. However, you will only have to set and forget about them until the process is over, and some of the best pellet smokers even have connectivity features and can be controlled from a distance.
  • Electric smokers: Are as easy to control and use as the pellet ones, and some of the best electric smokers have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capacity, too. The food made in them is not too flavorful, but these smokers are perfect for beginners and areas where charcoal smokers are banned.

Vertical vs horizontal smokers

Smokers can have either a vertical or horizontal layout and come in various designs. Check the table below to find the best smoker type for you.

Smoker type

Best for:

Cabinet smoker (vertical)

Smoking various meat cuts at the same time

Bullet smoker (vertical)

Smoking, barbecuing

Horizontal smoker

Smoking, grilling, BBQ, braise, roast, bake, char-broil, sear

Offset smoker (vertical or horizontal)

Cold smoking, low and slow cooking

Best smoker brands

Now that you know what the best smoker for you is, it’s time to find out which smoker brands should deserve your attention.

  • Masterbuilt smokers: One of the most popular brands of vertical cabinet smokers, Masterbuilt, proposes a variety of propane and electric smokers suitable for all skill levels.
  • Oklahoma Joe’s smokers: Oklahoma Joe’s offset smokers often feature a horizontal design and are also suitable for grilling.
  • Traeger smokers: The company manufactures some of the best pellet smoker grills for commercial and domestic consumers.
  • Dyna-Glo smokers: Similar to Oklahoma Joe’s, Dyna-Glo manufactures a range of high-quality offset smokers.
  • Cuisinart smokers: Cuisinart focuses majorly on bullet style vertical smokers, although some cabinet models are also available from the brand.
  • Weber smokers: If you want a high-quality charcoal smoker, you can’t go wrong with a smoker from Weber. Their design is inspired by the original kettle Weber grills and impresses with its quality.

Besides the brands above, Green Mountain, Char-Broil, Cameron, and Kamado are a few other companies that make promising smokers.

Wet vs. dry smoking. Which is best for me?

A quick look at the various smokers reveals that some models come with water bowls, while others don’t have this feature. This detail makes the difference between wet and dry smoking.

  • Wet smoking: Is achieved by placing a water bowl under the cooking racks. The water controls the way the smoke is spread inside the smoker while also maintaining the moisture in the air. This method is ideal for cooking roasts, burgers, sausages, etc., as the meat will remain tender and juicy.
  • Dry smoking: Is realized through the use of smoldering wood pellets and bricks that provide indirect heat. This method infuses more smoke into the food and also dries the air inside the oven. It is ideal if you want a stronger smoke taste or for cooking jerky.

How to choose the source of flavor for your smoker?

Wood is essential in the smoking process, but you can choose from three different smoke flavor sources:

  • Wood chips: Burn fast and produce a lot of smoke. Ideal if you like a strong smoky flavor.
  • Briquettes: Are made from a combination of charcoal and sawdust and burn slower than wood chips. They provide a milder or stronger smoky flavor depending on the quantity of sawdust included, but not as strong as wood chips.
  • Wood pellets: Made from compressed finely ground hardwood, they burn slower than wood chips but still provide a strong smoky flavor. They are a source of both flavor and fuel for pellet smokers.

What smoker flavor for which food?

Wood chips, briquettes, and pellets are made from various types of wood. Check out the table below to see which are the best for the food you want to cook.

Wood flavor

Best for:

Oak

Beef, veal, seafood

Hickory

Chicken, pork, beef, vegetables

Apple

Chicken, pork, vegetables

Maple

Lamb, pork, beef, vegetables

Mesquite

Chicken, seafood, beef

Pecan

Chicken, lamb, beef, pork, vegetables

What is the best smoker temperature range?

Pellet, electric, and even some propane smokers come with preset temperature ranges that allow you to cook different types of food. If you want the most versatile smoker on the market, get one with a temperature range between 100°F and 500°F. This range will allow you to cold smoke vegetables or jerky, but also to sear meat or grill burgers if you opt for a smoker grill.

Check out the ideal smoking temperature for some of the most popular foods below:

Food

Temperature

Jerky

150°F (65°C)

Burgers

250°F (120°C)

Brisket

275°F (135°C)

Sausages

225°F (110°C)

Turkey

300°F (150°C)

Whole chicken

250°F (120°C)

What else to look for in a smoker?

Besides the above, here are some of the most important features to check before buying:

  • Built-in thermometer: Allows you to check the temperature easily, without opening the door or lid while smoking.
  • Built-in meat probe: Together with the built-in thermometer, it allows you to check the status of your food and see when it’s cooked.
  • Glass door: Some smokers come with glass doors or have small windows on the door, allowing you to check the food without opening the door. In this way, you can make sure the cooking temperature remains constant.
  • Removable racks: Are easier to clean and also let you fit in larger chunks of meat or hooks and hangers.
  • Exterior wood chip loading tray: It is particularly important for foods with long cooking times, allowing you to add wood chips without opening the smoker.
  • Mobility kit: Wheels or carrying handles make it easier to move the smoker around your yard or take it with you on trips.
  • Connectivity: Some of the best smokers have built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and connect with your mobile devices via apps so that you can control the smoking process from a distance.

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