Electric smokers are very easy to use, especially to beginners – it’s a set & forget style smoker.
If you’re thinking about smoking, but don’t feel like controlling the temperature or even fuel, then it will be a great choice for you. Just plug the smoker to a source of power, refill the container with wood chips/water, then start it, pick the temperature and you’re done – nothing more to worry about.
On top of that, electric smokers have one valuable advantage over all the other types of smokers. They make it possible to maintain a much lower temperature which combined with a cold smoking kit gives plenty of new smoking possibilities ( cheese, fish, sausage etc ).
In this guide you are going to learn everything you need to pick the right electric smoker. To make it easier, I have prepared a list of the best electric smokers based on my experience.
The Best Electric Smokers Reviewed
A great choice for someone just starting on their journey with meat smoking. First and foremost, it is small-sized , easy to use, comes with many accessories available and doesn’t cost much.
A huge advantage of this model is the popularity of the Masterbuilt brand which means there’s a very huge group of people sharing knowledge and tips for cooking on this smoker. It’s mostly an argument for those just learning how to smoke, as with multiple free guides available on the Internet it will be much easier for you.
It comes with a digital panel that allows you to pick a temperature within a range of 100 to 275 degrees F.
Once you start it and select the temperature you don’t have to worry about anything else, the built-in thermostat will take over from you and ensure a fixed temperature.
I picked the 30-inch size as it is cheaper, smaller and I find it better for beginners. If at any moment you decide that smoking is something for you, you can replace this model with the much bigger 40-inch.
In practice I have to admit that the smoker’s insulation is very good which makes the temperature stable.
On top of that, I like the ability to buy a cold smoking kit which will make it easy to produce smoke at lower temperatures.
Electric smokers are not among the most durable ones but when it comes to Masterbuilt models, the quality for this kind of money is completely satisfying.
You don’t need many gadgets and a weird structure for smoking, as these only inflate the price, if you have a limited budget or you simply want to buy a great electric smoker for as low as possible, then this is a perfect choice.
Another equally popular brand of electric smokers. If you didn’t like my previous suggestion, possibly due to simplicity, then this model will make a great alternative for Masterbuilt 30 inch ( the same size and cooking area ).
Char-Broil Digital electric smoker comes with a much more advanced structure with several features.
First and foremost, one significant difference is the structure’s built, two double walls are meant to improve insulation. The front glass, on the other hand, in theory is there to allow to monitor smoking without opening the front door.
In practice, thick smoke limits visibility completely, and on top of that the glass gets dirty pretty fast which only makes it harder for you to see anything.
An interesting feature is a remote that allows to remotely control and monitor the entire smoking process. Also included is a probe that you can use to monitor temperature inside meat.
Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker is an alternative to competitive smokers at the same size and similar price, but without as many features.
It certainly looks better than ¾ of competitive models, in terms of quality it also represents a good level. When it comes to durability and risk of malfunctions, I believe that in this case there isn’t much difference for that price range.
My next suggestion might get you seriously surprised, as it only takes the third place on my list due to its high price. In terms of quality, durability, insulation and mobility, however, it undoubtedly takes the first place.
It doesn’t come with unnecessary electronics, a digital controller, remote control and many other gadgets. The manufacturer focused on very high quality which makes it a solidly built and durable electric smoker.
In terms of durability there’s no point comparing it to my other suggestions, it’s a whole different level but remember that to a large degree it is also impacted by the price, which is also much higher.
A simple yet solid controller plus only the essential elements are the key to significantly lower risk of malfunctions. In practice, based on multiple reviews, it is not only a very solidly built smoker, but also one very unlikely to malfunction.
Smokin-It Model 1 was made entirely of high quality steel, even elements as minor as the wheels were solidly made which makes it one of the few mobile electric smokers at this size.
I also need to mention the great insulation in this smoker, the structure and the glass fiber gaskets work great. It is one of the few smokers that can boast such stable temperature and the ability to smoke at poorer weather conditions.
It doesn’t have too much space, but it stands out with high quality of workmanship and mobility.
One of the more popular models from Masterbuilt, this time in a bigger size and with multiple features. A version that is still good for beginners, but considering the price and size, it is more often picked by decided and experienced individuals.
Besides very large cooking area, Masterbuilt Bluetooth Electric Smoker 40" has also prepared an array of other benefits.
First and foremost, this model, just like any other from Masterbuilt, is adapted for a cold smoking kit sold separately, it is great news for those who dream of cold-smoked fish or cheese.
It’s a convenient solution that you can refill the wood chips without opening the door and losing temperature, use the side loading system for that.
The digital controller comes with Bluetooth which you can use to connect to a cell phone in order to monitor the smoking process. You can change the temperature or turn the smoker on/off remotely when needed.
It might be a little complicated to some, but for most of people familiar with cell phones it is certainly an interesting feature.
Sadly, as is usually the case with gadgets of this type, they are not perfect in the lower price range. The range isn’t very long and on top of that, there might be problems with the app itself.
Due to higher capacity, the heating element has a bigger power but the temperature range remains around 100-275 degrees F.
At this kind of price, though, it’s a good idea to buy this smoker if you want large cooking space, good quality of workmanship and stable temperature in the right conditions.
Tips for buying a new electric smoker
Budget – While the selection of electric smokers isn’t that big, defining your budget will still make it easier for you to look for a new smoker. If a lower price is important to you, look for simple, small-sized models.
Size – Most models, including the ones suggested by me, can be bought at different sizes. Usually around 25-30 inch is the smallest size ( the exception are small mobile models ), then you can expect 35-40 inch and more. The bigger the size the higher the price so take that into account.
How much you cook and what – Analyze how much you are going to smoke and what type of food as well. Certain bigger pieces of meat will require being cut in half in smaller smokers.
Mobility – Although it’s hard to talk about mobility when it comes to a smoker that requires always being plugged into a source of electricity, there are electric smoker models that can be called that. It won’t be a smoker that you can bring along away from home as this type of smoker isn’t suitable for that at all. If you don’t have much space at home and want a convenient size, though, check out the mobile models that you can quickly and easily hide away once you’re done smoking, thus getting more space around.
Features and Controller – Make sure that your smoker has a modern temperature adjusting system. For example it should be a digital controller that is very often equipped with other features such as a timer or the ability to plug in probes.
Cold smoking – Are you interested in this type of smoking? Would you like to try smoked cheese, fish or anything else? In that case, make sure before the purchase if the model you’re interested in makes it possible to set a low temperature and to buy a cold smoking kit separately. Cold smoking isn’t very effective without this accessory as at such low temperature there is practically zero smoke produced. Cold smoking kit ensures that the food is provided with enough smoke so that the results of smoking are much better.
The pros and cons of buying an electric smoker
Convenience and speed – It’s a Set & Forget style smoker which means you turn it on, set the temperature and come back in a few hours. You don’t need to worry about controlling the temperature or fuel, or even about cleaning up when you’re done smoking. The smoker is ready to work after about a dozen minutes after being started.
Cold Smoking - Are you interested in something more than regular smoking? Most popular models have a separately sold cold smoking kit that creates perfect conditions, providing great results.
An alternative to smokers forbidden in your neighborhood – The place where you live doesn’t allow to use smokers that generate flames ? ( like charcoal, gas or pellet smoker ) No problem, in that case an electric smoker will work great, as it achieves heat from a warmed-up heating element.
Prone to malfunctions – An electric smoker, as the name suggests, contains many elements in its structure that rely on electricity. They include the temperature controlling system or the heating element as well as other features. Their unquestionable advantage is usefulness, but the greatest downside is sadly being prone to malfunctions and pretty expensive repairs in many situations.
Flavor – Sadly, out of all types of smokers, it is the electric smoker that offers the poorest flavor. Of course it isn’t bad, but it won’t impress experienced people who have had a chance to try food from a charcoal smoker for example.