Best Electric Smokers Heading into 2020 – Something for Every Budget

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the best electric smokers on the market as we head into 2020.

Do you love smoked foods but shy away from the very idea of making your own? It can seem like a specialty cooking method, something that requires a lot of time and culinary expertise, not to mention fire management, wood types and quantities, and more.

But it really can be quite simple, especially if you use an electric smoker.

The idea may be frowned on by charcoal purists, but the best electric smokers are capable of delivering tender, smoky food with a lot less time and effort than a gas or charcoal model.

Below, we’re going to look at how electric smokers work and examine what features to look for when you decide to go shopping for one.

We also make recommendations and review some of the top models in several categories, from largest to most portable, from most advanced, to some of the more affordable ones for those on a budget.

And of course, we name our top pick, because everybody loves a winner!

At a Glance: Our Recommendations for Best Electric Smoker

PHOTO PRODUCT PROPERTIES
Our Top Pick
Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker, Top Controller
Our Top Pick
Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker, Top Controller
  • Large 730 square inches of cooking space
  • Top mounted digital controller for easy access
  • Thermostatically controlled tempature and timer
  • Push button ease of use
Check Price on Amazon
Great Value
Smoke Hollow 26142E  26-Inch Electric Smoker with Adjustable Temperature Control
Great Value
Smoke Hollow 26142E 26-Inch Electric Smoker with Adjustable Temperature Control
  • 36.5" x 19" x 16.5" and 1.3 cubic feet of cooking space
  • Two variable height, chrome plated cooking grates
  • Porcelain coated chip and water pans for durability
  • Great mix of performance and price!
Check Price on Amazon
Premium Pick
Masterbuilt 20077515 Front Controller Electric Smoker with Window and RF Controller, 30-Inch
Premium Pick
Masterbuilt 20077515 Front Controller Electric Smoker with Window and RF Controller
  • 730 square inches of cooking surface
  • Easy access drip pan and wood chip loader
  • Internal light and included meat temperature probe
  • Superior build quality
Check Price on Amazon
Best Portable
Masterbuilt MB20073716 Patio-2-Portable Electric Smoker, Black
Best Portable
Masterbuilt MB20073716 Patio-2-Portable Electric Smoker, Black
  • Small and light at 22 lbs
  • Compact, with foldaway legs for travel
  • Despit size, can still hold 4x chickens or 2x racks of ribs
  • Easy to set up, use and clean
Check Price on Amazon
Best Large
Bradley Smoker BTDS108P 990223 Bradley Digital 6 Rack Smoker, 11.50' L x 33' H x 15' W, Silver
Best Large
Bradley Smoker BTDS108P 990223 Bradley Digital 6 Rack Smoker
  • 6 racks for HUGE amount of cooking space
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Fully digitally controlled
  • Removable ash catcher for hassle free cleaning
Check Price on Amazon
Most Advanced
Masterbuilt MB20073519 MES 130P Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker, Black
Most Advanced
Masterbuilt MB20073519 MES 130P Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker
  • Bluetooth control and monitoring from smartphone
  • Built in meat thermometer probe
  • Top monuted digital controller
  • 4 levels of cooking racks
Check Price on Amazon
Also Recommended
Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker, 725 Square Inch
Also Recommended
Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker, 725 Square Inch
  • 725 sg in cooking surface with 4 adjustable grates
  • Built in meat thermometer probe
  • Integrated and remote monitoring and control
  • Impressive looks and build quality
Check Price on Amazon
Also Recommended
Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker
Also Recommended
Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker
  • 505 square inches of cooking space
  • 3 adjustable cast iron cooking grates
  • Double insulated for stable cooking temps
  • Easy clean ash pan and grease cup
Check Price on Amazon
Also Recommended
Smokin-It Model #2 Electric Smoker
Also Recommended
Smokin-It Model #2 Electric Smoker
  • Up to 35lbs of meat cooking capacity
  • NSF certified heating element for restaurant use
  • Truly built with durability and longevity in mind
  • 4 casters for ease of moving it around
Check Price on Amazon

Best Electric Smoker Reviews

After extensive research, we consider the following 10 smokers to be the best available on the market at various price points, to suit all uses and budgets.

We discuss the features and qualities of each individual model, as well as what we and previous owners like and dislike, so you’ll be able to make an informed decision on the smoker that best suits your needs.

Our Top Pick: Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Digital Smoker

Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker, Top Controller

Known for an extensive, varied and respected product range in this niche, you cannot discuss electric smokers without mentioning Masterbuilt. It’s the product on which they built their brand.

This Masterbuilt 20070910 is one of their older models, is available in three colors – black, silver, and stainless steel – a classic and still a best selling favorite of many. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

This is a 30″ tall, powder-coated steel vertical cabinet style electric smoker that won’t take up much space in your yard while providing delicious smoked treats with ease.

It has an 800-watt heating element that can power the cabinet shaped cooking chamber with its 730 sq. in. of cooking surfaces to temperatures between 100 and 275 F. The perfect range for all kinds of smoking from delicate fish and vegetables at the low end, to briskets and ribs at the higher end.

On the top of this smoker, you find a damper that helps you regulate airflow for increased or reduced smokiness of your food, and a control panel with an easy to read blue-lit, digital LED display.

This display shows temperatures and times that you set with the control panel push buttons, with both temperature and a timer programmable, making it incredibly simple to operate with almost no learning curve.

Wood chips can be conveniently added through a side loader, so you don’t have to open the door to add more smoke…avoiding all the issues of: ‘if you’re lookin’, you ain’t cookin!’

When you open the door, heat escapes and lengthens the cooking time.

There’s a dual purpose removable pan that slips inside, acting as both a water pan to add moisture to the cook, and as a drip to collect fats as they fall.

This drip pan makes it incredibly easy to clean. Just pull it out and soap it down. If you’ve ever used a smoker without a pan to collect drippings, you know how grim it can be as it accumulates over time, and how hard it can be to clean once it’s baked on!

What’s in the Box

  • Smoker Body
  • Digital Control Panel
  • Water Bowl
  • Wood Chip Holder
  • Drip Pan
  • Cooking Rack
  • Wood Chip Loader
  • Grease Tray
  • Adjustable Screw Leg (pre-assembled)
  • Leg Boot (pre-assembled)
  • Air Damper (pre-assembled)
  • 1 Door (pre-assembled)

All you need is a Phillips screwdriver and a spare 20 minutes to assemble this smoker.

Pictures accompany written instructions for assembly in the manual, and they are easy to follow as most of the assembly is done for you before you receive the unit, you’re merely adding finishing touches.

Specifications and Important Features

  • Color: Black
  • Dimensions: 20 x 17 x 33.5 inches
  • Capacity: 730 Sq. In of cooking space
  • Cooking racks: 4 chrome plated
  • Temperature Range: 100 – 275 deg F
  • Weight: 45.86 lbs
  • Build materials: Steel
  • Controller: 24-hour digital timer and controller

Warranty Details

90 day warranty for defects in materials and workmanship, starting from the day of purchase not including paint and rust.

Available Accessories

You can purchase the following accessories separately:

  • Cover
  • Chicken stand + rib rack + sausage holder

Available Support

Support is good with Masterbuilt. Checking around the internet for feedback from previous customers suggests they are highly responsive and do take customer care seriously.

In the support section on the Masterbuilt website, there is a contact page with phone number and form, instruction manual download portal, product registration section, and replacement parts section.

There’s also an official facebook page with over 110,000 people, they can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and have a YouTube channel with lots of useful content on use, recipes, how-tos and more.

What We Like

Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker, Top Controller

I like that it’s well built, from durable materials, and hence will be able to stand up to the rigors of being permanently outdoors (though I always recommend a cover when not in use, being an electrical item!)

The build quality also means it’s well insulated for efficient heat retention.

I like the adjustable top vent that allows control of the smoke levels in the cooking chamber, and also the very easy to use 24-hour timer and digital programmable temperatures, which makes use a breeze.

The adjustable rack system makes for flexible cooking options, as well as making it easy to clean.

What We Don’t Like

The lack of a meat thermometer probe to monitor the internal temperature of meat, and which many models do have these days, can be seen as the loss of a point.

But there are many wireless meat thermometers available for a reasonable price these days, and not including one as standard helps keep the cost down for those who don’t want or need one.

I must say the heating element, at only 800W is not the most powerful on the market, so this unit can take a while to heat up. However, it’s more than sufficient to generate the heat and smoke required for a successful cook, and also helps to keep ongoing energy costs down!

Finally, I feel the warranty should be longer?! At just 90 days, it doesn’t scream ‘we back our products!’ But many people are owners, and the vast majority seem very happy, so it shouldn’t matter.

This Smoker is for You if

You want a simple looking but functionally effective smoker that will provide an easy introduction into the world of smoking.

It’s also good if you’re the type who wants to open the box and get cooking right away, with almost nothing to learn, nothing to manage during a cook, almost like a set-it-and-forget-it outdoor oven that adds a delicious smoky flavor.

Being a good medium size smoker, this also suits small families who want the ability to sometimes cook for large crowds. It’s small enough to be efficient for occasional use feeding 2 to 4, but can also be loaded up to feed a crowd of 20+ at a BBQ.

Another Model May Be Better for You if

If you only cook yourself or as a couple, you might be better off with a smaller model that is more energy-efficient.

Also, if you’re a technology buff, there are more feature-packed options later in this guide. This is a simple unit, no bells and whistles, but effective.

Finally, if you like to see your food as it cooks, many models come with a glass door which may be more preferable options for you.

Summing Up

This is a great, few frills, effective, ‘does what it says on the tin’ smoker, and it does it well. A great smoker for beginners and seasoned pros alike.

This Masterbuilt electric smoker has a great mix of build quality, effectiveness, ease of use, and all at a great price point makes this our top pick for the best electric smoker.

Yes, there are better models out there if you are willing to pay the premium price, there’s even some in this guide, but for a balance of greatness and price, you really cannot go wrong with this product.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Note:For a more in-depth study at this model, please see our our full review of the Masterbuilt 30 digital smoker here.

Best Value Electric Smoker: Smoke Hollow 26142E 26-Inch

Smoke Hollow 26142E  26-Inch Electric Smoker with Adjustable Temperature Control

Compact but functional best describes this steel smoker.

It stands 35.5 x 19 x 16.5 and weighs just under 40 pounds. The 26-inch refers to the height of the cooking space, not the width; this limited interior space may not appeal to some as it may require halving large pieces of meat.

Powered by a very capable 1500 watt heating element, the 26142E generates heat and smoke with ease and has a working temperature range of 150 to 250°F.

It comes with two chrome-plated grids, 4 sturdy-looking legs and a single-latch, cool-touch door handle.

It has an adjustable analog temperature control, and a porcelain-coated water pan and chip tray. An extension cord is also provided.

What’s in the Box

  • Smoker cabinet, door, and handle
  • Damper / smoke vent
  • Carry handle
  • Door latch kit
  • Controller
  • Heat element
  • 4x smoker legs
  • Grease pan
  • Stainless steel wood chip box and Lid
  • Water pan and support
  • Reflector tray
  • 2x cooking grids and supports
  • Thermometer
  • Blister pack of nuts, bolts, and fixings

Specifications and Important Features

  • Cooking capacity: 3 cu.Ft.
  • Dimensions: 5″ x 19″ x 16.5″
  • Temperature range: 175 to 325 F
  • 1500-watt heating element with fully adjustable temperature control
  • 2x adjustable height chrome-plated cooking grids
  • Integrated thermometer
  • Side handles and cool-touch spring wire door handle
  • Porcelain-coated water pan and chip tray

Warranty Details

This unit comes with a 1 year limited warranty against manufacturer defects, starting from the time of purchase.

There is a 90 day only warranty for the paint, guaranteeing no defect during this time except for rust spots that may appear with repeated use.

Available Accessories

Only heavy-duty covers and spare parts for this smoker are available from the manufacturer.

Available Support

Like all respectable manufacturers these days, the smoke hollow support pages contain FAQs, numerous ways to make contact by phone or e-mail or social media, as well as an area for product registration and warranty details.

There’s helpfully a search box where you can enter your model number to filter support for only information that applies to the particular unit you own.

What We Like

Smoke Hollow 26142E  26-Inch Electric Smoker with Adjustable Temperature Control

Great directions for assembly in the manual so you can be up and running in short time.

We also like the powerful heating element for what is essentially a smaller unit, so it gets up to temperature very quickly and stays there.

Finally, ease of use is up there with the simplest (hmmm, I think we might become repetitive with this as ALL electric smokers are simple to use!)

What We Don’t Like

The lack of a catch pan, which can lead to grease leaking out. Something to keep in mind if you don’t want to stain your patio!

Because of the narrowness of the cooking space, you would have to slice very large cuts in half, such as a whole packer brisket

This Smoker is for You if

You want to smoke on a budget, happy to accept that it’s an entry-level model, not a premium best of the best product.

However, it works well!

Another Model May Be Better for You if

You want a smoker capable of accommodating whole packer briskets without having to halve them, or if you’re looking for something a little more ‘premium’ or advanced.

Summing up

Affordability seems to be the strongest strongest suit of this BBQ. Concerns over the power can be remedied by following the guidance set out in the user manual.

If the Smoke Hollow sounds like it could be your new smoker, you can read more in our Smoke Hollow Electric Smoker review, or take a closer look and see prices at Amazon:

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Best High End Electric Smoker: Masterbuilt 20077515 with Window and RF Controller

Masterbuilt 20077515 Front Controller Electric Smoker with Window and RF Controller, 30-Inch

Another entry from Masterbuilt in this list, the 20077515 is arguably the most ‘premium’ smoker we feature, with the highest build quality, an extensive feature list…and a price to match.

You must have recognized by now that electric smokers pretty much all do the same thing? Well, this one stands out with the addition of an RF remote monitoring and control system.

The RF controller allows you to monitor and control the smoker temp, meat temp, internal light, and turn the unit on and off, from a short distance away, so you are no longer tied to the smoker.

Unlike many smokers on the market, it also comes with a meat probe so you can monitor the temperature of your cooking meat from afar too.

On top of this unit is a blue-lit LED digital display with a control panel you use to set up temperatures and timers.

On the inside are 4 adjustable chrome-plated cooking plates that offer flexibility for height and configuration of different smoking foods, and providing 730 sq. in. cooking area.

This unit has foam insulation to ensure it holds heat well, with a lockable door and viewing window so you can see your meat smoking.

There is a removable, front access drip pan making grease removal and clean up a cinch once you’ve finished cooking.

Wood chips can be added with ease through a convenient side-loading system, meaning no need to open the door just to refill with chips and add more smoke.

Finally, there are side and top vents provided, so you have complete control over airflow and smoke generation, plus a rear handle and wheels making it easily portable for you to move it just where you want to cook in your yard, and easy to move into storage.

What’s in the Box

  • Smoker body and 2x side panels
  • Door with window, handle, hinge and latch
  • 1 heating element
  • Control panel and housing
  • Meat probe
  • LED Light
  • Remote control
  • 4x Smoking racks and grate supports
  • Water bowl
  • Drip pan and drip deflector
  • Grease tray and bucket
  • Wood chip tray, housing and loader
  • 2x adjustable screw legs, 2x front feet and 2x wheels
  • Rear handle
  • Vent / damper

Specifications and Important Features

  • Dimensions: 20.3” x 19.7” x 32.1”
  • Weight (lbs.): 53.35 lbs
  • Capacity: 730 square inches of cooking space
  • No. of cooking grates: 4x Chrome coated
  • Temperature Range: 275 degrees Fahrenheit MAx
  • 800-watt electric heating element
  • RF remote controller to control and monitor the smoker from a distance.
  • Blue lit LED display for easy reading, even in direct sunlight.
  • Fully foam insulated to prevent heat loss

Warranty Details

90-day warranty for defects in material and workmanship, starting from the day of purchase…but this does not include paint and rust.

Available Accessories

There are very few accessories available, with only a cover and a smoking accessory kit consisting of a ‘vertical chicken stand, a rib rack, and a sausage holder.’

But really, there’s not much else you could ever need.

Available Support

Masterbuilt support is very comprehensive and they have a good reputation for being customer-focused.

In their support section is a contact page with phone number and form, instruction manual downloads, product registration, and replacement part sections.

They also have an official Facebook page and a presence on Twitter and Instagram, with a dedicated YouTube channel to boot.

It’s safe to say: They’re everywhere, easily contactable, and are highly responsive.

What We Like

Masterbuilt 20077515 Front Controller Electric Smoker with Window and RF Controller, 30-Inch

There’s A LOT to like about this unit:

  • A good looking, premium bit of kit.
  • It’s very spacious and can cook for a large crowd.
  • Easy t move around with the addition of a rear handle and wheels.
  • Adjustable racks so you can configure it to cook different height foods.
  • Easy to read, blue-lit LED screen.
  • Easy temperature adjustment on the digital control panel.
  • Remote RF monitor and control system means you can watch and manage your cook away from the smoker.
  • Front access drip pan for easy cleaning.
  • Side loading wood chips to add smoke without having to open the door.

What We Don’t Like

  • Assembly has many steps and could possibly be easier if it arrived in fewer parts and was more ‘partially assembled’ in the factory.
  • 800W heating element means a good 45 minutes or so waiting to reach cooking temperature.

This Smoker is for You if

You want a high-quality feature-packed electric smoker with a premium feel and features to boot.

There is ample room to cook for large crowds, the unit looks classy, and I’m sure anybody would enjoy owning and producing great smoked food on this unit…if the price tag isn’t off-putting.

Another Model May Be Better for You if

You are budget conscious or have little need for such a large cooking space.

I can think of no other reasons not to own this smoker, though, if an electric model is your thing.

Summing up

If ‘only the best will do’ and money is no object; if you want to monitor your smokes while not actually being at the smoker; if you want a spacious, efficient, well built and quality electric smoker, then this masterbuilt electric digital smoker just may be the premium model for you.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Best Portable Electric Smoker: Masterbuilt MB20073716

Masterbuilt MB20073716 Patio-2-Portable Electric Smoker, Black

This mini-marvel from Masterbuilt is our favorite portable electric smoker.

Although relatively small, with it’s 2x cooking racks you can easily smoke 4x medium-sized chickens, a couple of racks of ribs, or 2x pork butts which is easily enough to feed a medium gathering.

However, the main appeal of this little cooker is its portability.

At just under 2 feet tall and with folding metal legs, this is a compact unit that folds away into a square shape that is easy to pack inside your trunk, making it the perfect model to take tailgating, camping, or perhaps to store in your RV for road trips.

Basically, you can take and use it anywhere that there’s an electricity supply.

The compact size also makes it an excellent option for small apartment dwellers or those who do not have a lot of space for an outdoor smoker.

Surprisingly, this model comes with a 1,400-Watt heating element, more powerful than many much larger models from the same brand! It enables this smoker to get up to cooking temperature quickly.

On the door, you will find a built-in temperature gauge, and to control the temperature is an analog dial, simply labeled: low, medium and high.

As is usually the case with all built-in thermometers on smokers, it’s not the most accurate.

And somewhat unfortunately, the vague analog temperature controller does mean control isn’t as simple and intuitive as on digital models where you simply key in an exact temp. You will instead have to ‘guesstimate’ the temp with the dial, use a digital thermometer and make fine adjustments after the temp settles to get it to the temperature you want.

The water and wood chip trays sit at the bottom of this smoker, just above the heating element.

They are easy to access, top-up or remove and clean, but you do have to open the door to gain access. This does mean heat will escape if you need to top it up, but this is to be expected in such a small, portable model.

What’s in the Box

  • Smoker body and door
  • 2 Smoking Racks and 6 supports
  • Grease Tray and support
  • Water bowl with support
  • Heating element
  • Wood Chip Tray
  • Water Bowl
  • Temperature controller
  • Thermometer with bezel
  • Air Damper
  • 2 Handles

There’s not many parts, and they fit together easily and intuitively, so assembly will not be taxing. But you do need an adjustable wrench, a phillips screwdriver and 25 minutes set aside for the task.

Specifications and Important Features

  • Color: Black
  • Dimensions: 15.9 x 23.6 x 23.3 inches
  • Cooking space: 280 Sq. In.
  • Cooking racks: 2 chrome plated
  • Temperature Range: 100 to 275 deg F MAX
  • Heating Element: 1,400 watt
  • Weight: 21.81 lbs
  • Controller: Analog dial, with settings of low, medium and high.
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Folding legs for transport or storage

Warranty Details

90 day warranty for defects in materials and workmanship, starting from the day of purchase and not including paint and rust.

Available Support

As discussed already in this guide, Masterbuilt has fantastic customer support.

In the support section on the Masterbuilt website, you will find a contact page with a phone number and a contact form, an area to download manuals from, and a section in which to register your product, plus a ‘spare parts’ portal.

They also have an official presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a Youtube channel with lots of tips, tricks, and recipes for use.

What We Like

Masterbuilt MB20073716 Patio-2-Portable Electric Smoker, Black

Most of the desirable, standout features relate to portability:

  • Compact and square, great for packing and travel.
  • Small but with a capacity to cook for a crowd
  • Very simple to use with minimal features
  • Quick and easy to clean

What We Don’t Like

  • Analog control will need learning as no actual temperatures stated, just low, medium and high.
  • 90 day warranty period can be considered somewhat short.

This Smoker is for You if

You want a compact unit to take with you if camping or tailgating, or if you have minimal room in which to place an outdoor cooker.

This really is one of the best portable electric smokers you can find.

Another Model May Be Better for You if

You do not intend to take a smoker traveling, and instead want a large unit that will stay at home with you.

Summing up

A fantastically compact and straightforward smoker, if it’s something small and simple you desire, you’ll be hard pushed to find better.

This is a great little travel smoker, and if you can get past the lack of features when compared to larger and more advanced units, then you won’t be disappointed with this little beauty.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Best Large Capacity Electric Smoker: Bradley BTDS108P Digital 6 Rack Smoker

Bradley Smoker BTDS108P 990223 Bradley Digital 6 Rack Smoker, 11.50' L x 33' H x 15' W, Silver

Bradley is a famous name in the smoker and barbecue industry; and this digital electric smoker is one of the pricier ones in this review.

This 11.50″ L x 33″ H x 15″ W 60-pound smoker has a powdered epoxy steel exterior and a polished stainless steel interior. Six removable racks are in the 780-square inch cooking space.

This Bradley features separate burners for smoking and oven; 125 and 500 watts, respectively, and it’s capable of temperatures up to 280°F.

It features a digital control panel which manages temperature and the amount of smoke. A pellet feeder attaches to the side of the smoker for feeding just the right amount of fuel, and an alarm sounds if the feeder is ever to jam. Once the jam is cleared, power then has to be reset.

Generally, it’s easy to use and easy to put together. You need only insert the racks and connect the smoke generator.

Wood pellets burn for about 20 minutes, but with the automatic feeder, the smoker is capable of holding generated smoke for up to 8 hours. The manufacturer recommends a 20-minute preheat time.

What’s in the Box

  • Digital smoke generator and supports
  • Smoke tower
  • Feeder tube
  • Digital display panel
  • Damper
  • Door and door seal
  • Rubber feet
  • Sensor cable, short jumper chord & long power chord
  • Drip tray
  • 6 Cooking racks
  • Drip bowl
  • Bottom rectangular tray
  • Bisquette burner
  • Heating element
  • Top and lower door hinges
  • Brass pin
  • Porcelain insulator
  • Drive guide

Assembly does not look complicated and you should have it completed in under half hour.

Specifications and Important Features

  • Color: Polished stainless steel
  • Dimensions – With Generator on Side: 24 ½” W x 14” D x 39 ¾” H
  • Cooking space: 780 Sq. In.
  • Cooking racks: 6 chrome plated
  • Temperature Range: 280 deg F MAX
  • Heating Element: 500 watt Cooking Element – 125 watt bisquette burner
  • Weight: 60.5 lbs
  • Controller: Fully digital with LED display.
  • 8 hours of controlled cool smoke

Warranty Details

12 months warranty against defects and workmanship, starting from date of purchase.

Products must be registered on the Bradley website to qualify.

Available Accessories

Bradley have a small range of accessories on their website, from sausage hooks and ‘cold smoke adapters’, to tables and clothing merchandise.

But as with all electric smokers, accessories aren’t really necessary and therefore there aren’t many available.

Available Support

On the Bradley smokers website homepage, you can find FAQs and a link to community pages where you can ask the advice of fellow owners, as well as links to Bradley smokers official social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Youtube.

at the bottom of the page there’s links to ‘find a dealer’, a telephone number and an e-mail address.

What We Like

Bradley Smoker BTDS108P 990223 Bradley Digital 6 Rack Smoker, 11.50' L x 33' H x 15' W, Silver

The sheer size of this unit means it can cook for a very large crowd.

6 cooking racks provide incredibly flexible cooking options. There isn’t a cut of meat you cannot fit inside this smoker – except maybe whole animals!

It’s easy to operate, with push-button start, stop, timer and temperature settings. It really couldn’t be simpler.

Bradley provides 9 different flavor woods for their bisquettes, so there are many options for adding different flavor.

Dishwasher safe racks, drip pan, and bowl.

What We Don’t Like

The heating elements aren’t exactly powerful, particularly for a smoker of this size. Some owners report the low wattage proved to be insufficient for smoking when outside temps are in the 30s or below.

As far as workmanship, some owners who use the smoker often have had to replace the heater element after 2 to 3 years, longer for infrequent use. But this is perfectly reasonable and to be expected.

The door seal tends to crumple and even separate from the frame after a time, but these are a ‘perishable item’ and to be expected from most smokers. They are cheap and easy to replace and should be considered ‘normal maintenance.’

Because this unit is so tall, there is a temperature gradient inside the smoker, with the bottom of the unit nearer the heating elements being hotter. Therefore, rotating the racks is necessary for a more even cooking experience.

The timer has a max of 9 hrs 40 min, so has to be reset for long smokes, e.g., 10+ hour pork butt or brisket.

This Smoker is for You if

You want HUGE cooking capacity above all else in an electric smoker.

Another Model May Be Better for You if

You will rarely, if ever, be cooking large quantities of food.

Unless you know you will smoke large amounts, some of the other smokers in this list have better heating elements, comparably simple controls and would be better options for you.

Summing Up

The many cons have easy remedies. The popularity of this Bradley is probably because it’s so easy to set up and use. If you’re interested in more details you can check out our more in depth bradley electric smoker review, or check it out along with current pricing by clicking the link below:

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Best Technologically Advanced: Masterbuilt MES 130P Bluetooth Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt MB20073519 MES 130P Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker, Black

If, like me, technology is your thing, then you’re going to love this next smoker from Masterbuilt: It has Bluetooth technology, enabling you to monitor and control this smoker from an app on your smartphone!

This means you can smoke your foods while you can chill out elsewhere, as long as you are within Bluetooth range, enabling you to socialize with guests, or perhaps put your feet up in front of some sport while smoking food from your phone. What’s not to love about that?

The app allows you to both monitor and adjust the temperature of the smoker, to check on the internal temperature of your meat, and to turn the smoke on and off.

The Masterbuilt MB20073519 MES 130P has 4x adjustable height, chrome-plated cooking racks, which provides enough cooking capacity for, in Masterbuilts own words: “…up to 6 chickens, 2 turkeys, 4 racks of ribs, or 4 pork butts.

If that’s not enough, then there is a 40” model, large enough to smoke “…up to 16 chickens, 2 turkeys, 8 racks of ribs, or 8 pork butts.” That is BIG.

This smoker also has Masterbuilts signature, side-loading wood chip feature, so you do not need to open the smoker to add more chips when you want to generate more smoke.

There is an 800 watt heating element that can bring the cooking chamber up to a respectable 275 degrees fahrenheit, and there are two vents / dampers on the top that allow you to control the flow of smoke around your food.

Specifications and Important Features

  • Color: Black
  • Dimensions: 19.9 x 20.7 x 33.5 inches
  • Cooking space: 720 Sq. In.
  • Cooking racks: 4 chrome plated
  • Temperature Range: 100 – 275 deg F
  • Weight: 61.8 lbs
  • Controller: Bluetooth smart controller
  • Built-in thermometer probe to measure the internal temperature of meat
  • Wood Chip Tray – Easy clean up and ash removal
  • Removable drip tray
  • Water bowl for increased moistness
  • Patented side wood chip loading system
  • Handle and wheels make moving smoker easy
  • 2 air dampers for smoke control

Warranty Details

90 day warranty for defects in materials and workmanship, starting from the day of purchase and not including paint and rust.

Available Support

The support section of the Masterbuilt website has a phone number and e-mail address if you need to get in touch. They also have an instruction manual download area, and a section where you can purchase spare parts.

They can also be found on all major social media channels, with official pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube 

Looking around the web, it’s evident their customer support is good, with most people having a good experience with the level of support and happy with the brands willingness to resolve any issues.

What we Like

Masterbuilt MB20073519 MES 130P Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker, Black
  • Smartphone app for monitoring and control
  • Digital, top mounted, push-button controller with lit LED display
  • Large cooking volume, can easily cook for a large crowd
  • Simple side loading of wood chips without having to open the door
  • Easy access, removable water pan, drip tray and grease collector for easy cleaning.
  • Highly insulated cooking chamber for good heat retention
  • Rear handle and wheels make it easy to move around.

What we Don’t Like

  • Although a fantastic feature, the Bluetooth range is quite limited. We’d have preferred to see WiFi, as then you could even monitor and control away from home.
  • 90 day warranty period is somewhat short.

This Smoker is for You if

You want a good-sized, feature-packed, effective smoker with the latest Bluetooth technology. 

And that really is it’s standout feature, the Bluetooth and smartphone app. If this isn’t something you desire, you’d probably be better off with our number one pick above.

This smoker is packed with features that make it easy and fun to use and can cook up a meal for a large crowd.

Another Model May Be Better for You if

You’re a technophobe or would just prefer not to have so much tech integrated into your outdoor smoker.

There’s some truth to the fact that the less moving parts or tech there are in a product, the less can break or go wrong. If you’re of that mind, this isn’t the smoker for you.

Summing it up

This is a great little electric smoker, with many features making it easy to use, with a very generous cooking capacity making ti very versatile.

Electric smokers are all about being plug n play, and that’s what you get here. It’s good at doing what it’s supposed to do. However, it’s the addition of Bluetooth is what makes this smoker stand out from the crowd. It’s not just for show, it is a great feature, with real-world benefits.

Just be aware that you are going to be restricted to the normal range of Bluetooth, somewhere in the region of 15 to 20 feet.

But this should be ample, because with the wheels this unit has, you can move it the window closest to where you intend to be sitting indoors, and have your phone nearby to monitor and control from within your home.

For more information and current prices on this bluetooth digital electric smoker, please click here:

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker, 725 Square Inch

Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker, 725 Square Inch

This ‘Deluxe’ model from Char-Broil is a desirable looking, well-built stainless steel electric smoker with many features that make the smoking process as easy and almost hands-free as possible.

At just a shade over 50 lbs in weight and standing just shy of 3 feet, it’s a medium-sized unit offering a respectable 725 square inches of grate area and cooking space.

If that’s not enough, there is a larger model with all the same specs and features, but with a whopping 1000 sq in of cooking surface area.

Onto some of the features and tech:

This smoker has an integrated digital controller on top that provides push-button control of temperature and time, as well as an easy to read LED display.

It also has an integrated meat thermometer probe to monitor the internal temperature of meat, so you know when your cook is finished scientifically, not just by look and feel. But that’s not all…

This smoker comes with a remote control that allows you to see the pit and meat temperatures remotely, as well as providing a means to change temperature, set a timer, and turn the unit on and off. This means you can monitor and control your cook while sitting enjoying time with guests instead of having to keep tending to the smoker.

To round of the feature set, it has a glass door, so you can see what’s going on with your cook, wheels for portability and being able to move it easily around your yard, a large wood chip box that provides up to 8 hours of smoker, and removable water and drip pans for easy cleaning.

All in all, this is an excellent bit of kit.

What’s in the Box

  • Smoker assembly
  • Drip pan
  • Water pan
  • Smoker box
  • 4 cooking grates
  • Meat probe

This grill comes completely pre-assembled, so getting it up and running couldn’t be any easier with no tools or skills required.

Specifications and Important Features

  • Color: Dual ton black and stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 18.1 x 16.5 x 32.5 inches
  • Cooking space: 725 Sq. In.
  • Cooking racks: 4 chrome plated
  • Weight: 50.2 lbs
  • Controller: Digital, push-button control with LED display
  • Built-in meat thermometer probe
  • Large wood chip box providing up to 8 hours smoke
  • Insulated for good heat retention.
  • Glass door
  • Wheels for portability
  • Easy to remove and clean drip pan and water pan

Warranty Details

All parts, limited 1-year warranty starting at date of purchase, covering ‘perforation’, manufacturing and materials defects.

Proof of purchase and receipt will be required if making a claim, and the warranty only extends to the original purchaser.

Available Support

Char-Broil provides a good selection of help and information on their website aimed at helping and supporting their customers.

They have a good help section, FAQs, a telephone number to call, an e-mail address, and even a live chat.

They also have official pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube offering lots of tips and advice on using their products, from assembly, to recipes, and more.

I’ve not found many instances of people being unhappy with their support, instead finding many who sing their praises, so the level of support and willingness they have to help their customers seems top notch.

What we Like

Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker, 725 Square Inch
  • Large and flexible cooking space can accommodate any traditional cut of meat for smoking.
  • Easy to use, intuitive digital controller makes setting cooks up a breeze.
  • Integrated meat thermometer probe (saves on buying one 3rd party!)
  • Larger wood chip box than most, providing up to 8 hours of smoke without top-up.
  • Remote monitoring and control mean you get to spend more time with guests instead of at the smoker.
  • Comes pre-assembled – a blessing for many!
  • Desirable, dual-tone black and stainless steel look with a glass door. Not many electric smokers look this pleasing.

What we Don’t Like

  • Not wholly waterproof, so would need to place it undercover in the rain.
  • Some users have complained about a limited range for the remote control, particularly if you head inside, and the signal must go through walls.
  • Personally, I think it should be OK. The unit has wheels, so you can move it to the closest window to where you’re sitting inside, and it should be good.

This Smoker is for You if

You want a straightforward, incredibly easy to use electric smoker, that has many thoughtful features to make smoking a breeze.

From set up (it’s preassembled), through use (it’s plug n play), and at the end of it all, cleaning (removable grates, water, and drip pans), this smoker really is simplicity at it’s finest.

It’s also a good choice if you want to cook for large parties, while actually spending time with your guests as you can control it from the remote control.

Another Model May Be Better for You if

You want to be more ‘hands-on’ with your cooks.

If you like to be involved, monitoring tweaking, and nursing meat through a smoking session, this really isn’t for you. It’s almost completely hands-off.

Also, if you want to cook enormous quantities of meat, there are bigger options on this list.

Summing Up

I’m happy to recommend the Char-Broil Deluxe 725 electric smoker.

For me, it’s on the better-looking models on the market, and it has a feature set and thoughtful design to rival any other at this price point.

The build quality seems decent, so the unit should last. And the combination of an integrated meat thermometer and remote control set it apart from many of its competitors when it comes to user-friendliness.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Char-Broil Vertical Electric Digital Smoker

Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker

There’s a lot to be said for the simple approach. Sometimes we can get so caught up with specialized bells and whistles we fail to focus on basic functionality.

Char-Broil is a commonly found brand in home improvement and department stores. Its Vertical Electric Smoker is purely bare bones.

Made of porcelain-coated wood, this 14 x 14 x 31, 58-pound unit provides 520 square inches of cooking space, ample room to cook for a large party.

It has a variable digital timer with auto shut-off, configured by way of 6 buttons found near the LED display. But the temperature is controlled with a dial simply labelled: OFF-LOW-MED-HIGH

The interior is stainless steel and has separate burners for smoking and oven cooks.

The nearly identical water and chip trays can be used interchangeably, and its double walls are insulated, which enables it to do an 8-hour cool smoke.

It comes with a built-in temperature gauge, but you may want to purchase a separate digital thermometer as almost all smokers built-in analog thermometers are known to be somewhat inaccurate.

What’s in the Box

  • Smoke chamber assembly
  • Door, hinge and handle
  • Temperature gauge
  • Grease cup assembly
  • Water pan
  • Wood chip box with lid
  • Wire rack, smoker & water pan
  • Wire support, cooking grate
  • 3x Cooking grates
  • Side handle
  • Controller
  • Heating element
  • Air tube
  • Hardware pack
  • Assembly manual

Specifications and Important Features

  • Dimensions: 20″W x 17.5″D x 37.8″H
  • Weight (lbs.):47
  • Cooking Area: 504 Sq. In.
  • No. of cooking grates: 3, adjustable
  • Grate material: Chrome Plated Wire
  • 1,500-watt electric heating element
  • Double-walled interior insulation
  • Integrated temperature gauge on door

Warranty Details

1 year limited warranty from the date of purchase, applicable to only the purchasing consumer, and must register the product online here: https://support.charbroil.com/product-registration

Available Accessories

None that I can find. It’s all about doing one job: Smoking!

Available Support

There is a dedicated support portal on the Char-Broil website, where you can find FAQs, a help section for new orders, manuals and guides, warranty info, live chat, a phone number to call and an e-mail address.

They also have a presence on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube.

What We Like

Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker
  • Highly affordable
  • Large enough to cook for a good crowd
  • Very easy to use – pretty much plug ‘n’ play (after assembly.)
  • Helpful customer service department

What We Don’t Like

Some people have complained of minimal ventilation, as well as too great a sensitivity to ambient air temperatures. However, the number of times this has been said is very few.

We would have liked to have seen a meat probe included, and perhaps a way to add wood chips without having to open the door and letting the heat escape.

The OFF-LOW-MED-HIGH temperature dial instead of clearly labelled measurements can mean some tweaking before you hit the temp you want.

This Smoker is for you if

You want a simple, medium-sized, no-frills electric digital smoker that does the job, without any fancy features.

It’s large enough to cater for medium-sized parties, while not being too oversized – or energy-hungry – to make it suitable for couples or a small family.

Another Model May Be Better for You if

You want to feed very large crowds, or it’s only ever you and one or two others because at this size and with a 1500w heating element, there will be more economical models to run if cooks are ALWAYS small.

Summing it Up

The company seems accommodating, the smoker is priced right for small budgets, and delicious food can be produced. Those are among the best reasons to purchase this model.

You can see my more in depth review of the char-broil electric smoker, or get current prices and more info at the following link:

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Smokin-It Model #2 Analog Electric Smoker

Smokin-It Model #2 Electric Smoker

I’ll readily admit that I’m a stainless-steel snob. There is a clean, surgical look about it and in my experience, it’s durable, and stainless steel cookware is known for its ability to quickly turn out flavorful food without the need for a lot of water or oil. So naturally, this 100-percent 18-gauge stainless steel Model 2 smoker immediately had my attention. I’ll try to be objective here.

This 114-pound 17 x 22 x 24 behemoth glides along on four 3-inch rubber casters and comes fully assembled. A hanger on the back of the unit provides a neat way to store the 12-foot power cord when not in use. A handle on either side provides convenient grip when moving the unit.

It is one of the few, perhaps the only, smoker in this review with a double-latch closure on the door. While some intrepid owners report adding extra latches or replacing the existing one outright on some other smokers, the Model 2 has solid latches that ensure the door closes tightly, leading to an enhanced smoking experience.

The four stainless steel racks hold around 35 pounds of food. The 800-watt heating element manages a temperature range of 100 to 250°F. Fiberglass insulation holds in heat and keeps the exterior from heating up.

If this sounds like more than a casual smoker would need, the Model 2 is certified for professional restaurant use. It is one of the few models in this review to have a drip pan underneath the unit too. The weight, material, design, and cost all signal that this is a model for those who are serious about smoking.

What’s in the Box

  • Smoker cabinet and ‘compression fit’ door
  • Heat control knob
  • 4x casters and handles on both sides for moving
  • Door latches
  • Drip pan with drain hole
  • Smoking wood box
  • X smoking racks
  • Shelves to hold smoking racks

This unit arrives fully assembled, you simply remove it from the box, take off all packaging, insert the drip pans, give it a quick burn off / seasoning to get rid of manufacturing oils and dirt, and then you’re ready to smoke.

Specifications and Important Features

The Smokin it Model #2 is made from 100% 18-gauge, 201 stainless steel designed for ease of use and portability

  • Dimensions: 17 x 20-1/2 D x 24-1/4 Inches (plus 4″ for casters and 1″ for control knob)
  • Weight (lbs.): 114 lbs
  • Cooking Area: 841 Sq. In.
  • No. of cooking grates: 4x stainless steel, room for 5.
  • Grate material: Stainless steel
  • Temperature range: 100 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 800-watt electric heating element, with LED indicator light
  • Fiberglass insulated, double-walled construction
  • Smokebox and drip pan that slides under smoker
  • 2x strong door latches for compression sealing
  • 2x Side handles for portability
  • 4x heavy-duty locking casters for portability
  • 12-foot power cord
  • Integrated electric power cord hangers on the rear
  • NSF certified for restaurant use!

Warranty Details

First of all, Smokin-it have a 30-day full refund guarantee for products that are returned in “new, unaltered and unused condition.”

So if you do buy, then have regrets – but haven’t used it – then you can get a full refund. This is a guarantee I’ve not seen from the other major electric smoker manufacturers.

After this, Smokin-it offers a 3-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship of the smoker body, door, grates, and so on.

For the rheostat, heating element, and any electronics, there is a 1-year limited warranty, with a ‘one replacement per smoker purchased’ maximum replacement policy.

All warranties apply to the original purchaser only and start from the day of purchase.

This is a very generous warranty and class-leading in comparison to competing brands.

Available Accessories

Smokin-it have done a great job manufacturing high-quality accessories to go with their smokers, to make the job of producing a wide variety of different smoked foods and BBQ a breeze.

From stainless steel carts and covers to cold smoke plates, seafood racks, and rib hooks, there are a ton of accessories that you can find here: Smokin-it available accessories PDF

Available Support

If you go to the smokin-It website and scroll to the footer, you will find links to a contact page with a phone number and e-mail address, a page to register your product, warranty info, an instruction manual download area, an ‘FAQs and help’ section, plus links to their official Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram accounts.

They seem to cover all the usual bases for providing customer support and have a presence on all the top social media channels, so contacting them should be a breeze.

Combined with their generous warranty policy, their support game is strong.

What we Like

  • A relatively large capacity for such a small footprint
  • Easy start-up and operation
  • 100% stainless steel construction
  • Configurable shelf positions so you can cook food of varying heights.
  • No gaskets to wear out and need replacing
  • Removable water and drip pans that are dishwasher safe making cleaning simple.
  • Extra-long power cord – which many competing products really fail at!
  • Certified for professional restaurant use
  • 3-year warranty

Many of the comments you find online about the Smokin-It range of smokers use descriptions such as ‘reliable,’ ‘very steady,’ ‘predictable results every time’ and ‘truly set and forget.’

Owners find once you get it temp, it just stays there. This is what you want for consistent, predictable results with your smoking.

I read one owner had taken measurements of the temperature gradient from top to bottom of this smoker, and it was 7 F. This is negligible and far better than most other smokers, including my Webers and ceramic kamados.

What we Don’t Like

  • It could be argued that the thermostat is placed too close to the heating element, instead of up near where the food is.
  • I prefer digital controls instead of analog, but this does keep the cost down.
  • It’s very low to the ground without purchasing a cart as an accessory. All the bending down can be a pain. Literally.

This Smoker is for You if

You like a combination of user-friendly features and excellent construction, in fact, restaurant-grade and certified build materials.

It’s also for you if you want to cook large amounts of food because, despite its appearance, this smoker has a large capacity.

This unit will also appeal to people who like a more industrious looking, ‘this means business’ type of appearance, rather than a product that’s been beautified and dressed up to look nice.

Another Model May Be Better for You if

You want something that looks a little more modern and sleek.

Another model might also suit you better if you only ever cook for small numbers, or indeed want to smoke for huge numbers. This model sits right in the middle, being able to smoke just north of 30 pounds of meat in one go.

Finally, if you are shopping on a budget, there are many cheaper models you may want to consider as this is priced ‘toward the top of the lower end,’ and is one of the pricier models on my list.

Summing Up

Many people say, “bigger is better.” But, the Smokin-It Model #2 proves the alternative saying that: “good things come in small packages.

You can pack a whole of meat to smoke in this tidy little unit. It’s intuitive and straightforward to use, and with build materials and construction that’s made to last. What’s not to like?

The Model 2 isn’t the cheapest option in this list, but anyone interested in investing in something that will consistently perform for more than a few years should consider this a good option.

You can learn more about this compact unit in our smokin-it model 2 review, or click here for further details and prices at Amazon:

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Buying Guide – Features that Matter

The best electric smokers are widely known as the perfect entry point for beginner smokers. They are very easy to use, with simplicity and ability to produce quality smoked meat without any steep learning curve being a huge selling point for beginners.

But being easy to use, doesn’t necessarily mean they should be featureless. There are still features and qualities that some models have that make them stand out against the crowd and worthy of recommendation.

But before I talk about that, I thought it might help if you first understand the different types of electric smokers and how they work.

This should help better make sense of which model you prefer, and after that we’ll focus on the importance of various features you can find. Let’s take a look.

Top-Loading Smokers

A vertical water smoker suspends food over a pan of water that sits over a heating element. The design enables water to hold a steady temperature for a long period. As you may know, water captures smoke. The more moisture food has, the more deeply ingrained the smoke flavor can become.

Vertical water smokers are considered to work well in warmer weather, but can struggle to hold a steady temperature in colder seasons. So it can pay to consider your local climate, or what time of year you shall be cooking.

Top-loading is the original design of smokers. A barrel or can-shape with a fire on the bottom, a pan to keep drippings from meeting the fire (and possibly creating a larger, unwanted fire), and a rack or two to hold the food: simplicity at its finest.

Advantages

Because the heat works its way up from the bottom with no window or door seams to leak air, the temperature tends to hold steady for longer.

A water pan is unnecessary since the heat hitting the lid creates condensation which has nowhere to go but down. This creates a lovely moist environment.

Disadvantages

It may be necessary to remove the top rack to get to the bottom rack, while both racks may need to be removed to replenish the wood chips. This can make maintaining long cooks a bit of a chore. Additionally, the tall height can make removing hot food a challenge.

They also aren’t much to look at; on the other hand, the sight of a tin can on short legs may touch a chord of homey simplicity in some.

Because of the pain of having to remove higher racks to gain access to lower racks and to replenish wood chips and water, you will not find me recommending this type of smoker. Front-loading models are far easier to use.

Front-Loading Smokers

These newer, more popular style of electric smokers offer access as simple as opening a refrigerator. Many have a viewing window, or the entire door can be made of glass. A thermostat is often included, along with water and wood chip pans.

Not every door has a sensible handle. Some models have to be pulled from the top or side after throwing back one or two latches that hold the door to the body. How tightly these two are held together can impact temperature regulation and cooking speed.

Temperature Stability

Many electric smokers come with temperature probes, and some even have wireless thermostats enabling you to monitor the temp on your smartphone. These are great features, so you know the temp of your cooker, and can monitor the temperature of your food, ensuring everything goes smoothly until your desired cooks ‘doneness’ is achieved.

Depending on the construction, be aware that the following can impact the stability of the temperature:

  • Power capacity of the smoker – ability to reach and sustain a temperature; how long it takes to recover from a temperature drop caused by opening the door.
  • External temperatures – especially dependent on the density of metal the smoker is made from.
  • Type of insulation – governs how well internal temps are held and protection from outside weather conditions (wind, rain, ambient temperature changes, etc.)
  • Seal integrity of doors – and window, if one is present.

With many cheaper models in the electric smoker, users complain of the inability to hold a good smoking temperature of 225 to 250 F once the weather outside hits freezing or below. So pay attention to design features aimed at temperature stability.

Build Materials

The materials used in the construction of a smoker can dictate how well it can hold an optimal temperature and overall durability. Commonly, the materials used are:

  • Powdered steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminum

The racks can be made of:

  • Chrome
  • Aluminum
  • Stainless steel

When it comes to the body, stainless steel and Aluminum have better rust-resistance and should last a lot longer.

When it comes to the cooking grates, stainless steel will have the best longevity, but it comes at a pretty price. Chrome plated are more common as they are easy to clean and long lasting enough to be a good balance of cost and longevity.

Electric Cord Length

These can be 3 to 12 feet in length. Proximity to an electrical outlet has to be considered. This can be remedied with the use of an outdoor extension cord of sufficient amperage.

Be sure the outlet has a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), an electrical device that protects against severe electrical shocks.

If an extension cord has to be used, it should state that it’s for outdoor use, be a 12/3 or 14/3 grounded cord of at least 15 amps.

Door Construction

The doors can be either solid metal, may have a thermostat or window set in, or can be entirely made of glass.

Consider:

  • How well the seal keeps out cold air and prevents smoke and warm humid air from escaping.
  • Whether there is a door handle – some models have latches that are awkward to use.
  • Whether the small view afforded by a window is worth the potential for air leakage, or the loss of thermal insulation.

Drip and Water Pans

Water pans can seem a simple thing, but what are often provided with the smoker can be remarkably inadequate.

Some cooks will simply purchase a roasting pan or use disposable aluminum baking pans to capture drippings and be deep enough to reduce the number of times water has to be added.

However, the smokers featured in this guide have all done a great job with their water and drip pans. Made to fit, easy access and cleaning, you shouldn’t have to let this factor into your decisions too much.

Warranty

This may matter a lot or a little, depending on how many things can go wrong with your smoker.

Automated wood chip feeders, rheostats – the more and relatively complicated the parts, the more things there are to go wrong.

Some manufacturers will go beyond the mostly standard one-year warranty. Some may even offer extendable contracts which you may consider worthwhile based on how much you invested and how much use of your smoker you mean to be regular in your life.

Performance and Effectiveness

Performance is determined by so many factors, but the key one is power.

Power determines how long it takes to get up to temperature, how long the smoker can sustain it, and how much food can be handled at one time.

Wattage ranges between 500 and 1500 watts, with 800 watts being about the sweet spot and best compromise between sufficiently capable, yet not too power-hungry and costly to run.

Be aware that the lower the wattage, the longer a unit will take to come up to temp before you can cook. You should be willing to accept 30 to 45 minutes of the smoker coming up to temp, this is somewhat the norm and a standard that many aim for.

Durability and Longevity

How long an item will last is a sensible consideration when spending a few hundred dollars.

Product reviews are a good resource for getting an idea of how long you can expect to enjoy your smoker. You may also get an idea of what to expect based on the environment where you live plus the material used (e.g., light metal and high humidity probably equals a short life span).

Also, consider the number of parts which can breakdown. Sometimes, especially for more budget models, simpler can often be better.

Portability

This may not be a concern if you decide to dedicate a spot in the yard or patio for your smoker. If not, you’ll want to be able to easily move it from storage to cooking spot (which can vary depending on weather and yard logistics).

Look for sturdy handles for picking up the smoker or, even better, hefty wheels to provide manoeuvrability without heavy lifting.

Height

Height may not seem like a big deal, but a lot of stooping or crouching to see what’s going on or when removing food could be bothersome, possibly painful, depending on your overall health and range of movement.

This can be easily remedied by placing the smoker on a raised surface, while some models have legs or, for an additional cost, will provide a stand. These will raise the unit about a foot and a half off the ground.

Ease of Use and Provided Instructions

Clear instructions can impact the usefulness of any product. Especially if the smoker has to be assembled, then clear wording and pictures are a must.

Other important information can include use of automated wood chip feeders; the need to replenish water; electrical capacity; use of vents; and setting digital timer, temperature, and smoke level settings.

Luckily, comprehensive instructions isn’t a deal breaker with so many resources to be found online, but it is a consideration for some people.

People look toward electric smokers for their ease of use, they want plug n play, set-it-and-forget-it functionality, that produces wonderfully smoky flavored foods. Therefore, ease of use should be a determining factor in the buying journey.

For all the smokers in our list, we speak a lot on how easy they are to use, so you should be well informed on the input required from you in a smoking session.

We suggest looking for a smoker with design and features to make the whole process as easy as possible. If you want to be more hands on, you should probably look toward charcoal smokers.

Ease of Cleaning

How hard (or easy) to clean your equipment is important because it can affect the longevity of a product, and how much enjoyment you get from it. Especially dealing with water, components can rust if not properly seasoned and cleaned after use.

And realistically, if you know you’ll be a long time scrubbing, scraping and wiping afterward, your smoker isn’t going to get as much use as it otherwise might.

So look for easy to clean products…and keep in mind that some on this list have dishwasher friendly components. It doesn’t get easier than that.

I Look Good, and I’m Helpful too

Function is the main thing but, if offered, why not go for the pretty too? After all, we eat with all of our senses, eyes, and touch, and that can include what we use to prepare food.

Manufacturers recognize this and will offer things that, while not necessary to the mechanics of properly smoking food, can make it more pleasing.

A few examples of nice touches are:

  • Accessories – Some will come with a little box of goodies such as heat-resistant gloves, a water-resistant cover, meat forks, and other tools. Manufacturers may also provide these at extra cost.
  • Exterior – Not just a mechanical metallic look, a glowing stainless steel finish can impress more readily than a dull metal or industrial black. Smokers can be found in gray, glossy stainless steel; you may even find blue and other colors.
  • Windows – I’ll mention these here again because they can be considered a visual bonus. While the whole idea is set and forget, you may want to see the smoking process. The size and type of window can make viewing a pleasure or a chore, as noted above.
  • Recipe and tip book – Beyond the basic how-tos are the what-you-can-dos, suggestions for what to smoke and how.
  • Remote – A lazy man’s delight or simple pragmatism, having a remote to adjust temperatures can be a safety feature, keeping you from having to go outside in bad weather or during the night. It can also reduce the temperature drops that result from opening the smoker.
  • Wood chip loadera nice feature that contributes to the notion of set and forget, it eliminates the need to open the door to add chips, minimizing a temperature.
  • Tube smoke generator – resolves the complaints many have of insufficient smoke. This gadget holds wood chips or pellets and once fired and smoldering, it’s placed in the smoker where it will diffuse smoke for several hours.
  • Grill converter – if a smoker is the first thing you buy and you want to try your hand at grilling later, some models offer a separate attachment which will allow this style of cooking.

Summary and Conclusion

Alaska Granny gives a nice summary overview of the features and functionality of an electric smoker; although she demonstrates a Bradley smoker, the principles extend across most models.

 

There’s a lot to be said for electric smokers! They produce tender, smoky goodness without a lot of fuss. But I find it disturbing that so many owners find it necessary to make design improvements -replacing or adding hinges, drilling holes, and adding handles. Epoxy for the door seals and several remedies to keep smoke from escaping.

If I’m paying for something, the price had better acknowledge the need for these “after market” fix-ups.

Of these 9 products reviewed – and snobbery aside – the Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Digital Smoker is our top choice.

It’s sturdy, is simple to use, has a wealth of useful design features, is well-insulated, easy to clean, and is backed up with great customer support. And it also looks impressive.

Perhaps you’ll find another model more suited to your taste but for us, the Masterbuilt is an investment worth making. You can find more details and check current prices here: 

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

What’s your experience with electric smokers? Do you have anything to add to the above, or perhaps a question or two you’d like answered? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below and will answer every one!

Here’s to years of electrically powered, smoky flavor and goodness!

 

Product image credits: © Amazon.com

Mark Jenner

Hi. I'm Mark Jenner, owner and creator of FoodFireFriends.com. I grill and smoke food outdoors at least three days a week on a wide range of equipment, have done so for years, and love nothing more than cooking good food, over live fire, enjoying it with friends. The aim of this site is to educate and help others to do the same.

Leave a Comment