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Masterbuilt 30 Electric Smoker Review – Recommended, or Not?

Is the Masterbuilt 30 worth buying? Do we recommend it? Find out in our helpful review that looks into this model in-depth, to see if it’s right for you.

Last Updated: April 17, 2021

a rack of ribs being removed from an electric smoker

Are you tired of coveting thy neighbor’s brisket? Do internet searches for smoked meat leave you dreaming of fall-off-the-bone ribs? Then you’re probably ready to enter the wonderful world of backyard smoking.

It won’t take long to realize the market is flooded with smokers, some good, and some not so good. Trying to find the right one for you can turn the dream into a nightmare in a hurry. Lucky for you, you found us before suffering through another restless night.

We’re taking a close look at some of the many smokers out there to help you choose the right one for your specific needs.

This time around, we’re looking at what you might call a “plug ‘n’ play” model in our Masterbuilt 30 Electric Smoker review.

We pretty much always think of charcoal, wood, and gas when we imagine BBQ, so you may think smoking and electricity are mutually exclusive?

But in this review, we just might change your mind. There are many good electric smokers out there, and the Masterbuilt 30 is one of the most popular.

Though we already covered this model in our search for the best electric smoker, we felt it deserved a closer look.

OK, let’s take a deep dive into the details…

What is the Masterbuilt 30” Digital Electric Smoker?

Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, 30 inch, Black

It is a vertical smoker powered by an electric heating element rather than charcoal or a gas-fueled flame.

Wood chips fed into the bottom of the unit slowly combust, releasing smoke and heat into the smoking chamber. Meat in the chamber cooks slowly at low temperature and acquires incredible smoky flavor along the way.

A Few Words About Masterbuilt

The Masterbuilt company is a family-built business formed in 1973. They are currently headquartered in Georgia.

Among their products are grills, smokers, fryers (in association with Butterball turkey), and a line of automotive accessories called HITCH-HAUL.

You can buy their grilling and smoking gear online or at retailers like The Home Depot, Cabella, and Bass Pro Shops.

Masterbuilt 30 Electric Smoker Review

Let’s take an in-depth, detailed look at this particular model of smoker, to see what’s good about it, what could be improved, what we like and if we’re happy to recommend it.

What Comes Inside the Box?

Open the box and you’ll find a full insulated smoking cabinet, four chrome-plated smoking racks, a wood chip tray, a water pan, and a drip pan.

First Impressions

Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, 30 inch, Black

The smoker comes well-packed in styrofoam, and all the racks are wrapped and tied into place. There should be minimal risk of damage from shipping. There are a few manufacturers who could learn a thing or two from the Masterbuilt shipping department!

Once out of the box, it looks a lot like a small bar fridge – short, black, and sturdy. It has good heft and feels solid. That probably has a lot to do with the insulated walls.

It sits very low to the ground, and it’s immediately apparent you’re going to be doing a lot of stooping and squatting as you load and unload food, and tend to the chips. A stand would be a good investment if you have bad knees. On the other hand, you might like the fact it’s low-profile.

Appearance-wise, there’s not a lot going on here. It looks very basic, without any unnecessary design elements, or bits sticking out. Which may lead to sudden panic: where’s the digital panel? Don’t worry – it’s safely packed inside the smoker, and it’s easy to install.

A final word on the aesthetics: if you want a smoker that looks ultra-modern, or looms over your yard, all huge and impressive, this is not for you. But really, shouldn’t it be about the meat that comes out of it?

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Why Do People Choose Masterbuilt Products?

There are many good reasons why people choose Masterbuilt. The price point is certainly a key reason.

While not the least expensive smokers on the market, they offer a range of smokers from inexpensive to moderately expensive, and all offer good performance for the price.

Buying an American-made product is important to some consumers, and others probably appreciate the fact it’s a family business.

Masterbuilt 30” Digital Electric Smoker Specs

  • Exterior Dimensions: 30”H x 20”W x 20”D
  • Weight: 45.9 lbs.
  • Material: Steel
  • Fuel Source: Electric
  • Cooking capacity: Up to 4 racks of ribs, 4 pork butts, 6 chickens or 2 turkeys.
  • Heating Element: 1 x 800 watts

If you’d like more details, current prices and customer reviews of the Masterbuilt 30 Digital Electric smoker, you can follow this link to Amazon:

Key Features of the Masterbuilt 30” Digital Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, 30 inch, Black

Electric Heating Element

If gas is out of the question, and you don’t want to mess around with charcoal, electric smokers let you smoke to your heart’s content.

It’s easy to start and control, it gets up to temperature in a hurry, and you can still use real wood smoking chips.

Insulated Body

The body is fully insulated, which means minimal heat loss, more consistent temps and more consistent cooking times. This is especially useful for those of us who live in places where it cools off in the fall and winter that can play havoc with internal smoker temps.

Integrated Thermostat

Knowing what temperature your smoker is running at is one of the keys to good smoking. It is imperative to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the process, and having a built-in thermostat helps to hold your desired degrees.

Top-Mounted Digital Control Panel

All the information you need is displayed in the most convenient location – right on the top of the smoker. Your fingers will be well clear of any hot spots as you set your time and temperature, and it’s easy to check on.

Side Wood Chip Loading System

Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, 30 inch, Black

Opening the door causes heat and smoke loss, and adds time to your smoking. To minimize the need for accessing the smoking chamber, the convenient chip loading system allows you to access the wood chip pan from the side of the smoker, without having to open the door.

Door Latch

The latch mechanism pulls the door tightly shut and locks it in place. There is no chance you’re going to accidentally open it and lose your heat, and it makes a tight seal to keep all the smoke inside where it belongs.

Important Details

There’s more to a piece of equipment than just what’s written on the spec sheet. Here are some truly useful, “real world” factors to consider as they relate to this model of smoker.

Ease of Use

Let’s see – there’s no gas hook up to fiddle with, no messing around lighting charcoal, and no flame to extinguish. It’s tough to imagine how it could be any easier to operate this smoker!

If you can work an electric range, you’ll have no problem using this unit. Where it differs from an oven, of course, are the wood chips. (PRO TIP: Don’t use wood chips in your electric oven! Haha.)

Even loading wood chips is simple, however – just load the tray with your favorite chips, and use the convenient side-loader to refill.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Masterbuilt recommends seasoning your smoker before use (always a good idea) by running the unit at 275 F for 3 hours, adding ½ cup of chips during the last 45 minutes. Do not try to smoke any meat during the seasoning session.

Clean up is made easy with removable racks – just take them out and scrub them down, though you should avoid using any chemicals.

For the interior, make a 50/50 mix of hot water and apple cider vinegar. Apply the mixture with a spray bottle and wipe clean with a soft sponge.

Available Support

There is a very large and active community on Facebook of around 38,000 people. The last time I checked, they’d added more than 2,600 members in the past month, and members combined for more than 1000 posts per day. Now that is an active community!

You can find the Masterbuilt facebook group at this link.

At the Masterbuilt website, there is an FAQ section, downloadable manuals, a place to register your product, news (including recall notifications), and contact information. There’s a toll-free number to call, and an electronic form you can fill out with your questions or concerns.

The company has social feeds on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, for your infotainment. There are also some good-looking recipes on the website you can try.

A browse around the net indicates that Masterbuilt takes customer complaints seriously, and they seem willing to work with consumers to set things right. I even came across a very rare occurrence: someone who increased their rating after Masterbuilt addressed the issue they’d been having.

Available Upgrades, Accessories and Attachments

If you want to add on to your smoker, there are numerous accessories you can purchase from Masterbuilt including:

  • Fish and vegetable smoking rack
  • Stand (not a bad idea, if you aren’t one for bending over)
  • Chicken stand
  • Rib rack
  • Sausage hanger
  • Cover

Warranty Details

  • 90 day warranty on defects, exclusive of paint
  • Repair and replacement costs covered during warranty period
  • Customer must pay for shipping
  • Does not cover misuse, abuse, accident, transportation damage, or damage from commercial use

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Quick Tips To Get the Most Out of Your Masterbuilt 30” Digital Electric Smoker

  • Season the smoker empty before first use
  • Don’t use wood chunks or pellets
  • Line the trays with foil for easy cleanup
  • Store it indoors during bad weather to protect the electronics (yes, it needs a bit more “babying” than a propane smoker, or a charcoal smoker)

What We Like

  • Temperature and time are easy to set
  • Latched door
  • No glass to get dirty
  • Simple to load more chips
  • You won’t run out of electricity like you can charcoal or pellets

What We Don’t Like

  • Can’t be used during a power outage (rare!)
  • Probably shouldn’t be used in the rain
  • Only comes with basic racks (though they are usually all you need, and you can order specialty racks)
  • Warranty is somewhat limited, but customer service seems to be very good

Should You Buy the Masterbuilt 30” Digital Electric Smoker?

Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, 30 inch, Black

While there are bound to be plenty of people who feel charcoal is the only proper fuel for smoking and grilling, the fact is, this is a great unit. Not everyone wants to mess around with charcoal – or gas, for that matter – or has the time to tend to a fire and maintain a temperature.

I’m not saying this is the lazy person’s smoker; I see it more as the “busy person’s” smoker. You can turn this little beauty on and then go play with the kids or walk the dog, pausing only occasionally to check on the chips. Yes, you can do this with charcoal smoker temperature controllers, but it’s an added expense.

There’s a lot of appeal to that, and if the simplicity of electric smokers gets more people smoking, that’s fantastic.

Bottom line, if you want to smoke delicious food, but you don’t wish to use gas or charcoal (or you can’t), this unit may be just what you need. Definitely recommended.

Other Models Might Suit You If:

  • You don’t have a convenient power outlet
  • You need to smoke for very large crowds
  • You prefer open flame
  • You prefer the taste charcoal imparts on food

Masterbuilt 30” Digital Electric Smoker Not For You? Here Are Some Great Alternatives:

If this wasn’t the right unit for you, perhaps one of these alternatives is more like what you’re after:

Masterbuilt Portable Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt 20073716 Portable Electric Smoker

Take your smoke show on the road with this nifty little number! It looks like the large units, but it’s only about 2’ x 2’ and weighs just over 20 pounds.

You can’t hike with it, but it’s great for camping or tailgating. It’s big enough to do a chicken, small turkey, some wings, or a couple of racks of ribs.

For a look at this cute little guy, check it out on Amazon by clicking here.

Masterbuilt 40” Electric Smoker with Bluetooth

Masterbuilt 20075315 Front Controller Smoker with Viewing Window and RF Remote Control, 40-Inch

Perhaps you’d like a bit more space? Then step up to the 40” unit and load ‘er up! There is 975 square inches of cooking space to work with.

As a bonus, it comes with a remote control, and interior LED lighting makes it easy to see how things are coming along, even if it’s dark outside.

Get further details on this great little unit on Amazon at this link.

Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker

Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker, Deluxe, Silver

You get a lot for your money with this smoker. It has a modern look, comes with four racks, digital controls, a remote control, and a meat probe for checking the temperature of your meal.

A stainless steel latch keeps the door shut tight, so the smoke stays inside where it belongs.

Sound interesting? Take a look by clicking this link to Amazon.

Wrapping Up the Review

There is a lot to like about this nice little smoker. It’s great that folks who might not otherwise have the ability (or desire) to use a more traditional smoker can still get in on the fun and flavor.

And, unlike “grilling” with an electric barbecue, this is still “real” smoking, with wood smoke flavor. So this really could be a perfect solution for a would-be smoker with limited options.

While gas and especially charcoal smokers do have a bit more cachet and authenticity in the hobby, we do recommend this smoker for those consumers whose needs are best served by the convenience of electric smoking.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in our Masterbuilt 30” digital smoker review, but if you want more details and to check it out for yourself, you can follow this link for more info, current price and customer reviews on Amazon.

Since we believe that sharing is caring, show a friend or relation you care about the quality of their smoked meat and send them a link to this article. In fact, invite them to get to know the entire site! Admission is free, and there’s a ton of great content to explore. It’s like the Smithsonian of BBQ sites, only cooler.

We appreciate you taking the time to check with us on your quest for better barbecue.

Happy smoking!

I'm a self-proclaimed BBQ nut, and the founder and chief editor here at Food Fire Friends.

I love cooking outdoors over live fire and smoke whatever the weather, using various grills, smokers, and wood-fired ovens to produce epic food. My goal with this site is to help as many people as possible enjoy and be good at doing the same.

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  1. Matthew Gonzalez says:

    Broke on second use and was out of warranty.

    1. Mark Jenner says:

      Ouch! Sorry to hear that, Matthew. Did they not try to help at all?

  2. richard schumann says:

    Just bought the 30″ digital and (used 2 times so far) I’ve found 1 plus and 2 sort of minuses. The plus is easy clean up. the other 2 issues are 1) the digital screen is VERY DIFFICULT to read when the bright sun is to your back. Have to get creative to come up with enough shade to view the screen. 2) This is a bigger issue. First time I couldn’t get the chips (dry,not soaked) to ignite and stay smoking @225 degrees. Tried the charcoal trick that I saw on line and it worked. Second time, preheated to 275 and put chips in while preheating and they kinda got started. Turned temp down to 225 and they quit smoking. If I have to use a piece of charcoal every time to keep chips (dry) smoking, there may be a smoker for sale in the neighborhood

    1. Keith A Breedlove says:

      I’ve done the charcoal trick, too, but found that increased the temp too much. What a pain.

  3. What’s the Warranty of these Electric Smokers?

  4. This electric smoker works fine. If you are a novice smoker this is a great and simple product to start with. Really, don’t obsess over scouring through all the product reviews. Your not buying a car. It’s a couple hundred bucks that’s well worth the buy.
    My only complaint: Masterbuilt forgot the side handles to move it around. Duh!

    Tip. You can also cold smoke in this with a small pellet or wood dust holder. Perfect for smoking cured salmon and cheeses.

  5. JIM GRANVILLE says:

    I will never buy another Masterbuilt electric smoker. I have grown weary of buying new heating elements. I should probably keep a few on hand. I’ve never had any other electric smoker. Therefore, I do not know if it is usual for the heating element to got bad every 12 to 18 months.

  6. Robert Stacy says:

    I’ve owned my Masterbilt electric smoker for about 6 years. The cabinet is fine, a perfect size for me. My issues have all been components. Mostly the analog heat controller. I go thru one or two a year. It is not a well made component. I have also replaced the element. The thermostat in the door is ,politely put, pure carp. I lost a couple of briskets because of it. I don’t smoke a lot so whenever I want to, I would like a dependable smoker. As long as you have time to work on it before you use it, not a bad smoker

    1. Mark Jenner says:

      Been hearing more and more complaints about Masterbuilt kit over the last couple of years. Not a good thing at all, and I wonder why their quality seems to be dropping so much?

  7. bruce meyer says:

    I would NOT recommend Masterbuilt smokers to anyone. I have personally had 3 of them and When they work the are good. 2 of mine the Electric Controls went out in a VERY short time leaving them useless, With out the main control unit you can NOT set the time and temp so they WON”T work. When I called master built they just wanted me to buy the replacement part at my expense. Please look around, There are much better smokers on the market today, STAY away from Masterbuilt.

    1. Mark Jenner says:

      I’ve been hearing and seeing this A LOT in recent months, all over the web. I wonder if somehow quality has slipped there over this year?

      I bought one myself a few weeks ago, will be getting it out of the box, firing it up and putting it use in coming weeks and will see how I get on.

  8. Keith A Breedlove says:

    I’m very disappointed. The first load of chips smoke just fine. Once the smoker gets up to temperature I don’t think that the heater coils stay on long enough to heat and ignite new chips. So, initial load of chips that smoke for maybe 30 minutes for the 2-3 hrs for bacon? They need a dedicated heating coil for the chips.

  9. Shannon Clark says:

    I have the 30″ electric smoker and am thoroughly satisfied. My question is, can I change the controller out and replace with the bluetooth controller to have more capability while smoking?

    1. Mark Jenner says:

      I’m not entirely sure, but have never heard of someone fitting a Bluetooth controller to replace a standard one. I recommend asking Masterbuilt themselves, get it straight from the horses mouth.

  10. Nick Postovoit says:

    My electronics went south in about two years, very dissatisfied with product, and when I wrote to company they basically offered no explanation other than I would need to but new parts. As I took this to the landfill, I pretty much said I will not buy Masterbuild as they were not interested in why their product would fail, and they would do nothing to make it right.

  11. The Masterbuilt electric smoker worked once. Now it’s dead. And Masterbuilt “support” does not exist. Good-bye Masterbuilt. Don’t buy one. Let them go broke they deserve it.

  12. Carnell Parker says:

    Just purchased a new 30” digital smoker. I’ve presasoned the smoker the first time great the second time of use had a 8lbs pork but in and it was in for around 10 /12 @ 250 hours and never could get up to 195 internal heat had to put on grill to finish. I guess what do I need to do?

    1. Mark Jenner says:

      Hi Carnell. What temp did it stall at? It’s probably just a question of patience, as no matter the source of heat (smoker or grill), the meat will get up to temp eventually but does stall part ay through cooking (unless wrapped) due to the stall where moisture evaporates from the surface, causing a cooling effect.

  13. David Peterson says:

    Can’t seem to figure out the temperature probe. Put it in to the middle of meat and after a hour at 225 it reads 209. In a 4 inch thick peace of meat. Any ideas. Thanks

    1. Mark Jenner says:

      Hi David. Sorry, but what’s the problem here? Do you think it’s reading wrong?

  14. David Selleck says:

    I would think twice about buying this smoker again. My chief issue is the variation in temperature. I am at this moment smoking salmon with the controller set at 165. Last I checked
    the ambient temp could vary by as much as 16 degrees (181-155 degree swing). Yesterday I smoked shorter ribs at 230 and the variance was 6 degrees. Masterbuilt has nothing to offer really other than clean your sensors, disconnect and reconnect your controller and circuit board. The result from doing this is zero. The conclusion: spend a little more money and probably don’t get a Masterbuilt.

  15. George R. Clark II says:

    Brisket, how big of a brisket can be smoked in the Master Built Smoker? I have the remote control/bluetooth glass door model.

    1. Mark Jenner says:

      Hi George.

      Hard to say. You can obviously cook one that is at least the same length (or a couple inches longer as you will trim it) than the internal width of your smoker. Find this out by either physically measuring your smoker, or from the owners manual / datasheet, or from the sales page on the Masterbuilt website.

      You can actually cook one that is a good 9 inches or more longer than this width though, by wrapping a brick in foil and putting it under the center of the brisket, raising the middle so the ends are pulled in (I see many doing this with smaller smokers.)

      But you can also buy a very big brisket, and separate the point and flat, cooking it in 2 halves on 2 shelves.

      I cannot tell you a maximum weight, because they vary so much in thickness, shape, marbling, water content and etc.

  16. My 30″ masterbuilt smoker will not work after approx. 15 uses. It keeps tripping the ground fault. It has been stored in a dry garage and has no apparent damage. I would not recommend this product.