People fear smoking meat. They love eating a delicious piece of smoked meat, but they just don’t think that they can achieve the same results themselves.

When you look at smokers reviews, you see people are overwhelmed by the types of wood that are available, the rubs used on the meat, and how to keep everything at a low and constant temperature.

Smoking meat is easier than people think. For the best results, you need the best smoker.

I have compiled these comprehensive BBQ smoker reviews to provide you with enough information to make a conscientious decision on what’s the best smoker to buy.

I want you to purchase the best meat smoker on the market, the best smoker for the money, and not some low-quality mediocre brand.

Best Smokers on the Market

In this detailed review, I’m going to talk about a lot of different smokers. But if you’re short on time and want the gist of it, here is a snapshot of the top rated smokers in each category.

The Cuisinart COS-244 is the best natural gas smoker because there are four shelves measuring 14 by 14 inches. This provides sufficient space for cooking.

The smoker’s vent is on the back of the unit so that you are not sacrificing any tabletop space. The temperature is easy to adjust and control. You determine how much gas the smoker receives so that you get the right amount of heat for what you are cooking.

This smoker has enough space for large meat cuts or whole birds. However, its overall size is compact so that you can fit it into small outdoor spaces.

Best Propane Smoker
Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36
  • Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36" Propane Smoker
  • Four 14"x14" stainless steel shelves.
  • Vent located on back of smoker.
  • Price: See Here!
Best Pellet Smoker
 Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill
  • Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill
  • Automatic pellet auger dispenses when needed and shuts down when done
  • Large capacity pellet hopper means less filling, more smoking
  • Price: See Here!
Best Electric Smoker
Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker, Top Controller
  • Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker 18" Smoker
  • Porcelain-enameled lid, bowl, and center section retain heat and won’t rust or peel
  • Two cooking grates provide ample room for smoking two large items at once
  • Price: See Here!

Best Propane Smoker

 

Features
  • Build & Construction Quality
  • Porcelain enameled wood/water tray
  • Two doors
  • The vent is on the back
  • Four shelves
  • 40-inch regulator/hose

 

What Customers Are Saying

This smoker was easy to put together. Customers say that it was also easy to modify when they wanted to make some quick changes unique to their needs.

It is easy to cook multiple food types at the same time. The smoke is sufficient to provide juicy meats and crisp vegetables. The foods also adopt a smoky flavor.

Pros / Cons
  • It has 5.45 square feet of space for cooking
  • You can cook vegetables and meats simultaneously
  • Clean up is easy
  • Some smoke may escape through the door

Summary

This smoker has all of the features needed for experienced and beginner smoker users. There is plenty of space to cook a variety of foods evenly at the same time.

Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36" Propane Smoker, Black

Tips on Choosing the Best Propane Smoker

To make sure that you are getting the best propane smoker for the money, the first consideration is the size.

Look at multiple propane smokers and compare those of the same size.

To ensure you pick the right size, you have to think about how often you will use it and how much you need to cook.

If you only do light cooking for a small family, a smaller one is ideal.

However, if you host cookouts regularly, the best vertical propane smoker will have a large surface space so that you can prepare multiple foods at one time.

You should also consider cleaning. If the surface is smooth, you can just wipe it down after use. If your smoker has racks, they should be easily removable. Make sure that you can also easily replace the propane tanks as necessary so that you do not run out of fuel.

Best Pellet Smoker

 

Features
  • Automatic pellet auger
  • 18-pound pellet hopper capacity
  • 19.5 by 22 inches grilling area
  • Six by 24 inches warming rack/smoking dimensions
  • 573 square inches total rack surface area

Is the best budget pellet smoker because it offers a temperature range of 160 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The BTUs per hour are 25,000.

The hopper can hold a large quantity of pellets so that you do not have to refill frequently when you are smoking. The internal meat temperature probe makes it simple to ensure that you can cook to exact temperatures.

This smoker also has an ash cleanout system for easy maintenance. The grease management system prevents grease from prematurely extinguishing a fire.

What Customers Are Saying

This smoker eliminates cold and hot zones so that your food cooks evenly. This smoker also allows for a true slow cooking of meats and vegetables.

The smoke remains contained in the smoker. You can easily control the temperature during the cooking process for consistency.

This smoker is very efficient on pellets. If the power goes out, you can still cook thanks to the power outage bypass.

Pros / Cons
  • This smoker has an electric auto ignition
  • The side table provides additional prep space
  • Shutdown mode makes it easier to stop the smoker after cooking
  • It can accommodate a whole chicken
  • You have to monitor the temperature often

Summary

This pellet smoker has a large hopper and it is easy to use. The large smoking area and easy cleanup make it simple to use and maintain this smoker often.

 Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill

Tips on Choosing the Best Pellet Smoker

Choosing the best pellet smoker for the money starts with looking at the construction.

A heavier lid means that is can trap the smoke in better and that it will last longer.

The lid should not feel flimsy. You should also look at the welding and joints.

These should be strong and smooth.

When you are looking for the best affordable pellet smoker, you have to consider the temperature range.

For example, if you want to sear meats, it needs to get to at least 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Consider the cooking you do to find the best maximum temperature.

To maintain a constant temperature, a pellet grill needs a constant supply of pellets. Make sure that the controller on the grill can feed the pellets into the system at a constant and even pace.

You can also pick one that has a meat probe built into it. This allows you to easily assess the temperature of your meats while you cook for optimal safety.

Best Electric Smoker

 

Features
  • Cost-Effective
  • Durable Build
  • 100% Insulation
  • Digital Control Panel
  • Side Fuel Feeding System
  • Ample Space
  • Temperature Control
  • Easy to Clean and Maintain

This is the best smoker for beginners who want a savory piece of meat. Masterbuilt has a reputation for producing the best smoker grill on the market.

This model is roomy and has four smoking racks.

Beginners will like the fact that the smoker is thermostatically controlled for a perfect temperature every time.

Digital control panels, a digital timer, and an automatic shut off are some of the features that make this device intuitive to use.

With 100 percent insulation and an easy side loading wood tray, this device will have you smoking in no time.

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

Tips on Choosing the Best Electric Smoker

The best electric smokers from consumer reports lets you see what real customers have to say about their smoker.

The information that you derive from these reports can also simplify the process of finding the best electric smoker for the money.

Consider the fuel type you will use. Most electric smokers use a little wood to create smoke when you are operating them.

Ideally, you want one that uses as little wood as possible.

Make sure that the smoker has a thermostat instead of a Rheostat. The thermostat provides a more accurate reading of the temperature so that you can ensure cooking consistency.

Look at the racks to see how much space is between each bar. The more space, the more foil you need to use to prevent the meat fat from extinguishing your smoke when you are cooking.

Best Charcoal Smoker

Features
  • 481 In.² of Cooking of Cooking Space
  • Two Plated Steel Cooking Grates
  • Bowl, Lid, and Water Pan Are All Porcelain Enamel
  • Vents/Field Door Are Rust Resistant Aluminum
  • Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon Handle
  • Accurate Lid Thermometer
  • Dimensions, 21 x 19 x 41″

I’m going to be talking about a lot of smokers in the subsequent meat smoker reviews. However, this is for me the hands-down best BBQ smoker.

The Smokey Mountain cooker 18 inch charcoal smoker produces some of the juiciest cuts of meat you will ever try. This smoker is the epitome of low and slow.

It has two nickel plated 18 ½ inch wide cooking grates, giving you 481 in.² of cooking space.

Pros / Cons
  • Compact Portable Design
  • High-Quality Construction
  • Ample Cooking Space
  • Completely Insulated Interior
  • Side Handles Should Be Added to Make It Easier to Move the Device from One Place to Another

The unit is made from porcelain enamel steel. Its unique features include a built in thermometer, individual vents, and the heat resistant nylon handle that makes smoking your meat to perfection a joy.

The smokers produced by Weber are the best meat smokers you can buy because of the company’s commitment to excellence.

Couple this with the company’s excellent customer service, and you got a product that can’t be beat.

 Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker 18 Inch Smoker

Tips on Choosing the Best Charcoal Smoker

Finding the best-rated charcoal smoker grill helps to ensure that you get enough surface area and the flavor that you are looking for.

This type of grill is ideal for times when you need high cooking temperatures.

Compared to electric and gas grills, electric ones get hotter.

The best charcoal grill for beginners has plenty of space and at least one rack.

However, two racks can be better if you cook meat and vegetables at the same time.

Make sure that you can remove the racks so that the grill is easier to keep clean.

Look at the space where you put the charcoal. Can it accommodate the amount of charcoal you wish to use?

It is important to have enough space between the charcoal and the lowest rack when you are cooking to reduce the risk of burned spots on your food.

Other Good Smokers

 

Features
  • Porcelain Wood Chip Holder and Water Pan
  • 1500 W Heating Element
  • Three Temperature Settings
  • Temperature Ranges from 160 to 225°
  • Winter and Summer Use

 

The Char-Broil model is the most affordable smoker not because it’s the cheapest model out there, but instead because it’s the best cheap smoker that will leave you with savory tasting meat.

Pros / Cons
  • Sturdy Steel Design
  • Uses Electricity as a Fuel
  • Portable
  • Not a Combination Grill and Smoker

With 504 in.² of space and insulated double wall construction, this is a durable model that can smoke some big chunks of meat.

Because it is constructed with steel, it is sturdy and promises to provide your family with delicious meats and vegetables for years to come.

Features
  • Porcelain Coated Cast-Iron Cooking Grids
  • Three Independently Controlled Gas Burners
  • Electronic Ignition
  • Porcelain Warming Rack
  • Offset Site Smoker Firebox
  • Condiment Racks
  • Adjustable Charcoal Tray for Temperature Control
  • 860 in.² of cooking area
  • 66 x 22.5 x 45″ dimensions

 

The Smoke Hollow 4-in-1 LP gas charcoal smoker searing BBQ grill is my pick for the best smoker and grill combination. There are so many good things to say about this product, but I’ll limit my comments to a few.

First, it’s versatile. You can choose to grill, smoke, or prepare your meat however you want to. The beautiful ceramic style side burner will sear your steaks, seafood, or vegetables, trapping in delicious flavor.

Cook more than 20 hamburgers at a time using the three-burner gas grill. If you prefer charcoal flavor, the charcoal grill with adjustable charcoal pan allows you to cook your meat to perfection controlling the temperature every step of the way.

Pros / Cons
  • Convenient Size
  • Versatility
  • 10,000 BTU Burners on the Gas Grills
  • Casters Make Moving the Unit Easier
  • Various Safety Features Included
  • Allows for Complete Temperature Control
  • Weighing more than 110 pounds, the unit is large and can be a challenge to move on softer surfaces

The side smoker firebox allows you to inject your meat with flavor using wood chunks or charcoal, creating that one-of-a-kind authentic barbecue flavor. If you like to entertain friends and neighbors, this is best type of smoker for you.

Types of Smokers Available

By Fuel Source

Electric Smokers Overview

Best Electric Smokers
Courtesy of Wicker Paradise Follow

Electric smokers are modern gadgets that allow you to cook following age-old tradition. Electric smokers come in two styles:

    • Vertical electric smokers are less expensive but can only be used during warm months.
  • Electric cabinets have better core temperature control and a unique refrigerator-like shape.

Electric smokers allow you to control the temperature and smoke inside the chamber. Any BBQ smoker review will confirm this is key in how your meat will turn out.

They take some of the art out of smoking. You don’t need to check the fire or tend it. Just throw your meat on the rack, put the wood into the chip box, set the temperature, turn it on, and walk away.

A disadvantage of some of the best electric smokers is they don’t generate the same amount of smoke wood smokers do. This is offset by the level of control you have over the temperature.

An electric smoker is the best backyard smoker. You can’t take it with you to the beach or to the park unless there is an electrical source.

Gas Smokers Overview

best gas smokers
Courtesy of T Grier

Cabinet style gas smokers are shaped like a gym locker or a safe. On the bottom, there is a propane fuel gas burner.

Most models do not work with natural gas. A tray sits above the burner for smoke chips, wood chunks, or sawdust.

On top of the unit, there is either chimneys or dampers that vent smoke.

Gas smokers can be the best smoker for beginners. They are simple to use, yet provide delicious flavor and moist meat.

Gas smokers make great meat. They run off propane similar to a gas grill. Like an electric smoker, you set the temperature and walk away.

You can run out of fuel midway through your smoke. If you are not attentive to this fact, you could end up ruining a good piece of meat. Parts can break easily, but just about every hardware store has replacement parts.

A propane smoker can be used wherever you can take your propane tank. And in a crunch, they can be used as a flexible oven.

Pros / Cons
  • Price. Most of the best BBQ smokers are going to be in the $250-$500 price range. The more you pay, the stronger the construction and the larger the capacity.
  • They are portable.
  • When compared to the size of offset barrel smokers, these things are relatively small.
  • Propane burns clean and efficiently, leaving your food without soot deposits.
  • It’s easier to keep an even temperature, and these require less work than a wood or charcoal smokers.

  • Less expensive models leak smoke and don’t do well in cold or windy conditions because they lack insulation.
  • Horizontal models are too narrow to accommodate large cuts of meat
  • During a longer cook, you may need to switch out propane tanks.

Our Recommended Gas Smokers:

Char-Broil Vertical Gas SmokerChar-Broil Vertical Gas Smoker

It offers 595 in.² of cooking space and three chrome plated cooking grates. It has a warming rack on the top of the smoker chamber and a porcelain woodchip and water pan.

This great gas smoker weighs 25 pounds and has dimensions of 45.5 x 21.5 x 19.5 inches.

Smoke Hollow 30164G LPG Smoker, 30-InchSmoke Hollow 30164G LPG Smoker, 30-Inch

With more than 10,000 BTUs and three removable chrome plated cooking grids make this the best smoker for novices and experienced smokers alike. It provides consistent heat and has a cold touch spring wire door and a sure lock latch. Its dimensions are 21 x 19 x 39″, and it weighs 43.8 pounds.

Wood Smokers Overview

Wood smokers
Courtesy of Pete Orelup Follow

Which is a great smoker type? A wood smoker. They have a steep learning curve, but the results are worth it. One of the biggest challenges about using a wood-burning smoker is building a fire that is too big.

Wood smokers have two compartments. There is the cooking chamber and the offset chamber. The offset chamber is where you will place the wood you will cook with. Some like to use charcoal to get the wood started, and from there, they will heat the rest of their food using the wood.

As the wood produces smoke, the smoke looks for a place to escape. Since the chimney is located over the cooking chamber, the smoke will pass over the food. As it escapes out of the chamber heating the food, it gives the meat a distinct wood flavor.

One of the biggest challenges you will find with a wood smoker is keeping the wood at a temperature so that it produces smoke but does not allow it to burst into flames. Wood smoker reviews will give you an idea of how well insulated the smoker is and how well it holds onto heat.

Our Recommended Wood Smokers:
Horizon 20 Inch RD Special Marshal

This smoker has a lot of history behind it. For almost three decades, world renowned pit smokers have been influential in the development of this product. This product deserves its spot among the top BBQ smokers. Some of the features include:

  • Large Steel Wagon Wheels for Easy Transport
  • ¼ Inch Solid Steel Construction
  • A Counterweight Making Lifting the Hood Easier
  • Sliding Confection Plates
  • The Ability to Support More Than 100 Pounds of Meat
Jambo Junior

Since the late 1980’s, Jambo has been making custom pits that resemble cars. The Jambo Junior is not designed to look like a car, but it has the same high quality construction that has helped this product to get its name. It has more than 1040 in.² of space, which is enough to cook over 50 burgers.

Pellet Smokers Overview

best Pellet smokers
Courtesy of Kim Foster

Pellet smokers have revolutionized the way meat is smoked. They offer the rich flavor of wood smoke without the fuss.
These smokers work by using condensed pellets made from sawdust. The pellets are stored in a hopper that is set off from the cooking chamber.

An auger will deliver the pellets into the burn pot. There, they will be ignited to create heat and smoke. A fan will distribute the heat and smoke evenly throughout the cooking department.

A thermostat determines how fast the pellets are driven from the hopper to the burn pot and the amount of oxygen the fan blows over the pellets. This allows the smoker to maintain an even temperature.
The lower the temperature, the more smoke is generated.

Because the heat and smoke created by the smoker is controlled by the thermostat, you can set your meat, walk away, and come back to a perfectly cooked piece of meat.

One of the drawbacks to using one of the best pellet smokers is that they do not produce the blue smoke that professional smokers look for when flavoring their meat. Some argue that the smoke flavor you get from pellets is not as strong as what you get from a wood or a charcoal smoker.

Charcoal Smokers Overview

 the best charcoal smokers
Courtesy of Anson Kennedy

Experienced smokers use charcoal or wood fulled smokers. They provide a flavor you won’t get with an electric or gas smoker. They are a challenge to use and require constant monitoring.
Popular styles of some of the best charcoal smokers are the vertical water and the offset dry smoker.

The vertical water smoker has a charcoal heat source at the bottom and a water pan above the heat source. The water heats the meat and prevents it from drying out.

The dry offset smoker sits vertically. It has a firebox on one side and a cooking chamber on the other side. The charcoal or wood is burned in the firebox. The vent or chimney sucks the heat and smoke from the firebox, sending it across the meat in the chamber.

How to use a Charcoal Smoker

Simply reading a smoker grill review will confirm that the main disadvantage of these types of smokers is the amount of time it takes to start the fire and the amount of work it takes to keep the fire going steady for a long period of time.

By Construction

Kamado (Egg-shaped and Oval) smokers

Kamado smokers are a modern take on a centuries old Chinese and Indian design. Their appearance mimics that of a burial urn or a giant egg. Most are made from ceramic, and they are great insulators that radiate heat very efficiently. They are among the best BBQ smokers in the world.
Their superb insulation allows them to radiate heat evenly and maintain an even temperature. They function well in cold climates and are perfect for outdoor winter cooking.

Our Recommended Kamado Smokers:

Primo 774 Ceramic Charcoal SmokerPrimo 774 Ce ramic Charcoal Smoker Grill, Oval Junior

This product features more than 210 in.² of cooking surface, high quality ceramic for efficiency and durability, and the trademark Kamado oval style design. Its measurements are 24 x 22 x 16″. All of it ceramic parts have a 20 year warranty.

Char-Griller 16620 AkornChar-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker

This product features more than 300 in.² of cooking space and a unique insulated design. It has a cast iron cooking surface, with a body made from 22gauge steel.

It weighs 98 pounds, and its dimensions are 21.6 x 28.7 by 24.8 inches.

Vertical smokers

Char-Broil Vertical Gas SmokerVertical smokers commonly have a bullet shape, stubby legs, and stand right on the ground. The heat source is on the bottom.

On top of the heat source, wood pellets or wood chunks sit to create the smoke. Above this, there is a water pan to create steam. While it is called the water pan, vertical smoker reviews show that users use other fluids like juice, wine, or beer to add flavor. Above the water pan, there are racks where the meat sits. Covering everything is a dome-shaped lid.

With vertical smokers, as with all other products, you get what you pay for. An example of a vertical smokers is the Char-Broil Vertical Gas Smoker. This model boasts more than 590 ft.² of cooking surface divided on three chrome plated cooking grates. Since gas is used, it allows for consistent heat and better smoke. Its wood chip pan and water pan are both made of porcelain. Weighing in at 76 pounds, the smoker has dimensions of 45.5″ x 21.5″ x 19.5″.

Barrel smokers

Pit Barrel Cooker Package reviewsThese ingenious devices are made from steel drums and have racks or hooks where meat is held for smoking. They’re made from a retrofitted steel drum.
This style of smoker has been around for decades, with most being handmade. No two handmade designs are exactly alike.

Over the past few years, these devices became available commercially. They have meat hooks, charcoal baskets, and cooking racks. They have an amazing ability to hold a steady temperature and are great for long cooking times.

A good commercially available barrel smoker, according to barbecue smoker’s reviews, is the Pit Barrel Cooker Package. Perfect for the outdoor barbecue or tailgating, it is a fun, portable charcoal meat smoker. It is designed to provide a unique vertical cooking experience that leaves you with perfectly cooked meat all the time. Barrel smoker reviews about this product made from professionals or amateurs attest to the quality of the product.

Offset smokers

best smoker grill comboWhen you look at offset smoker reviews, you will notice that this classic design is the most popular out there. Food sits in a horizontal chamber, and the charcoal and smoke wood are burning in a firebox attached to the side.

Inside you’ll see multiple shelves to handle racks of ribs, briskets, and other cuts of meat. To maintain their heat, a good offset smoker is made from thick steel. They are heavy, so when reading offset smoker grills reviews, look for those with large wheels or casters to make moving them easier.

A good example of an offset smoker is the Smoke Hollow 4-in-1 LP Gas Charcoal Smoker Searing BBQ Grill Model PS9900. This grill smoker combo can use propane or charcoal. The firebox is used for smoking to inject an authentic barbecue flavor. This is best smoker grill of its type.

This is the top rated smoker grill if you want to enjoy multiple styles of barbecue cooking. It weighs 218 pounds and has dimensions of 54″ x 23″ x 82″.

It has porcelain coated cast-iron cooking grids, an adjustable charcoal grate, and dampers that allow you to control the heat. Its two lower shelves and condiment racks serve as extra storage for your cooking implements.

Kettle smokers

Nordic Ware 365 Indoor Outdoor Kettle SmokerIn a kettle smoker, the meat cooks directly over the heat source but at a distance. Its shape is reminiscent of a conventional charcoal grill. A water pan is used to separate the charcoal from the food. The water helps the meat to stay moist during the hours of smoking. It also helps the meat maintain its low constant temperature.

During the smoking process, chips of wood are added directly on the coals. Some people add tea leaves or other smoke sources to tweak the flavor. An example of a kettle smoker is the Nordic Ware 365 Indoor/Outdoor Kettle Smoker.

This indoor-outdoor kettle smoker is designed to be used 365 days a year. It has a high dome cover and a base pan. The water pan, smoking rack, and thermometer work hand-in-hand to create the unique smoking flavor. It is designed to work on gas or electric burners or on outdoor grills.

Handheld smokers

 PolyScience The Smoking Gun Handheld Food Smoker with Wood ChipsHandheld smokers are not smokers in the traditional sense. Smoking meat can take up to 13 hours. A handheld device is more of a smoke infuser or a smoke flavoring device. It allows the cook to add the smoky flavor to their meat without grilling outdoors.

A handheld smoker has a bowl-like hash pipe where you can put sawdust, hay, spices, and herbs. Light these on fire, and a little motor that is powered by AA batteries pulls air through the bowl and pushes smoke out of a flexible hole.
The PolyScience The Smoking Gun Handheld Food Smoker with Wood Chips is a great example of a handheld smoker. It works indoors or outdoors and can function with a variety of wood smoking chips, teas, and spices.

Competition & Commercial Smokers

As the name implies, these are the best BBQ smokers for competitive and restaurant use. They are large capacity commercial smokers that range from a big box for use at a restaurant to a mobile unit that can be custom-designed to reflect a person’s needs and taste. They use a range of fuel from gas to wood to charcoal. These large smokers are built using heavy grade steel, which allow them to maintain an even heat throughout.

Check-list for Choosing the Best Smoker

As you’ve seen in this review, there are a lot of smokers and smoker styles available. So how do you decide which one is right for you? Here are a few factors to consider:

Art drawing of a money bagPrice

You can buy a smoker for 50 bucks, or you can get for more than 10 grand. It all depends on how much you want to smoke and how much you’re willing to invest. If you are just testing the waters to see if smoking is right for you, then I recommend getting something that small, maybe a vertical water smoker. They’re not expensive, but they will give you a good enough feel for smoking to see if you want to invest more in the future.

UsageUsage

A lot of the models I’ve talked about offer you the best of both worlds. The allow you to smoke and grill meat. If you are looking for a multi-usage or multipurpose smoker, make sure it’s well-designed. Some units offer the world, but when you really look on them, they don’t live up to the expectations in one department or the other.

question-type-drag-drop-iconIndoor/ Outdoor

While most smokers we reviewed are designed for use outdoors, indoor smokers allow you to get a fork tender brisket or sausage from the comfort of your kitchen. Some models allow you to work indoors with gas or outdoors with charcoal. Most are suitable for water smoking or dry smoking.

c-temperature-folded-iconTemperature Control

This feature is critical if you ever want to serve your meat on time. Don’t get a smoker that does not have a thermostat. Even if you must budget in for an add-on thermostat, do it. It is more than worth it.

thermometer-snowflake-iconThermometer

Many of the best BBQ smokers come with a built-in thermometer. The downside is they are not always reliable. You may want to budget for a high quality thermometer that you can put at grate level to give you a better reading. Since maintaining a constant temperature so important, take the time to learn how to calibrate your meat thermometer.

Temperature RangeTemperature Range

Look for a device that you can set as low as 160° for smoking but also gives you the option to crank it up, depending on the meat you are preparing.

ConstructionBuild & Construction Quality

Thick metal is going to absorb heat and distribute it evenly around the cooking chamber. The doors and dampers should close tightly to prevent leaks. If your heat and smoke escapes, it is going to be difficult to stabilize the temperature. Look at the seals, welds, and the thickness of the metal before you purchase a smoker.

system-iconHeat Distribution & Control

You may find that the temperature in your smoker varies depending on what area you are checking in. Look for a model that has thick metal. Thick metal absorbs heat and distributes it evenly throughout the chamber. Dampers play a vital role in heat distribution.

DampersDampers

You want to choose a model that has dampeners that you can easily reach and control. Check the seals and make sure they are tight to prevent smoke and heat leakages.

Size and capacitySize & Capacity

A small smoker is going to give you enough food to feed a large family. A commercial or competition smoker will allow you to make enough food to cater a barbecue.

So ask yourself, how much do you want to smoke before you buy? If it’s just for you and your family, get something small. However, if you’re thinking about smoking meat for a lot of people, then you want to look at a commercial size model.

ToolsTools, Accessories, and Other Features

Certain accessories are standard. These would include drip pans, water pans, and movable shelves. Look for models that include storage space, work surfaces, and tool hooks.

SafetySafety

The greatest smoker you can buy is a heavy cooking tool that reach hundreds of degrees Fahrenheit. You want them to be child and pet safe.
What is the best electric smoker? A safe one. If you’re using an electric smoker, keep it safe from the elements. Don’t let it get wet.

Handles should be cool to the touch. The wheels should lock in place to prevent it from moving accidentally. Look for a device that has coiled stainless steel handles. They are durable, and they disperse heat easily, so they stay cool.

cleaningEase of Cleaning

You want your smoker to be as convenient to use and clean as possible. Before you buy it, make sure that it’s easy to access all the parts, check on your meat, and clean the interior. Is it difficult to remove or replace the shelves? Can the wheels be used on any surface? Having a smoker that is convenient and easy to use will make smoking meat so much more fun.

Remember, cleaning the outside of your smoker is an option. Cleaning the inside is not. It can become a breeding ground for bacteria, and old grease can destroy the flavor of your food. Stainless steel is easy to clean, and chrome plated grates are harder to clean and will eventually rust.

warrantyWarranty and Support

When looking at the warranty, check to see if tech support, maintenance, and replacement parts are included. Look at online BBQ smokers reviews and research the company. Take the time to read the warranty or guarantee policy and make sure you understand it.

At the end of the day, if it looks cheap and if the parts look like they’re going to fall apart in a few weeks, don’t buy it. Be picky about what you purchase. Your palate will thank you later.

Must-Have BBQ Accessories

A pit master is only as good as his or her tools. The following are handful of must-have tools for any successful barbecue.

  • Long Handled Spatula

You want your spatula to have an offset handle, so you can sneak that spatula under your food easily. The best materials are silicone and metal. The longer the handle, the better in order to keep your hands away from the heat. Spatulas are going to work best if you’re dealing with fish or other delicate foods.

Must Have BBQ Accessories

  • Chimney Starter for Charcoal

This is the easiest way to light charcoal or a piece of hardwood. You can use lighter fluid or a crumpled-up newspaper to start the fire. Let it burn until it’s white hot before adding it to your smoker.

  • Meat Thermometer

You want your food to be delicious, but you want it be healthy. In this regard, a meat thermometer is your best friend. Jab that thermometer into the thickest part of the food to make sure that it is done but not overcooked.

  • Grill Brush

Keeping the grill rack clean is your first line of defense. After every smoke, take the time to clean off the grates with a grill brush. Clean it vigorously so that they are smooth and free from food. Brass bristles work better than steel bristles because steel can damage the enamel finish of your grates.

  • Long Handled Tongs

Must Have BBQ Accessories TongUse stainless steel tongs to grip your meat. They offer you power and sturdiness, and they allow you to move the meat around without using a knife or fork, which pierces the meat and causes some of the flavor and juices to be lost.

  • Grilling Gloves

Most experts agree that the best gloves for grilling are swayed or split leather welding gloves. These offer superior protection against contact with hot meat or accidental contact with the smoker.

  • Bear Paws

You can pull pork and transfer large cuts of meat with the best of them using heat resistant bear paws.

  • Burger Press

Juicy Lucy anyone? A stuffed burger press allows you to create mouthwatering stuffed burgers with ease.

Smokers FAQ

What effect does wind have on my smoker?

The weather will have a large impact on how even the top notch smoker heats. Wind can draw heat from your smoker and create problems with the airflow. It’s possible to successfully smoke meat during the winter, but you may have problems smoking meat during the summer because of the wind.

5 Tips for Smoking Meat

A good rule of thumb is to keep the path of airflow through the smoker in the same direction as the wind. This way, you can better control the airflow vents and dampers.

How can I accurately determine the temperature inside my smoker?

The heat in your smoker will never be uniform. It might be 20° on one side and 250° on the other. The best way to get an accurate reading is to put your thermometer near the meat you are smoking. Your built-in thermometer is only going to give you a general idea of the temperature in the smoker.

Does the Size of the Smoker Affect the Flavor of the Meat?

When looking for a smoker, size does matter. The smaller the rig, the harder it is going to be for you to smoke meat if you lose actual wood. You could get a decent taste if you want to use flavorings, like liquid smoke. But most people who take the time to read a guide like this want the real thing. You could smoke dainty foods, like a chicken breast, a fish fillet, or a pork loin.
That’s going to depend on how much time and effort you’re going to want to put into babysitting your smoker. A charcoal or wood powered smoker is going to require you to constantly be checking the temperature and stoking the fire. An electric or gas smoker can hold its temperature without being watched.

Is there a difference in the various types of smoking woods?

They are all going to give you a smoky taste. Oak will leave you with a clean, uncomplicated taste. Apple and other fruit woods are going to give you a sweeter taste and are good for chicken or pork. Hickory will give you that taste you find in barbecue sauces, especially in North Carolina. Other woods such as maple, cedar, and pecan all have a distinct taste.

Making The Decision

 best smoker for your moneyThroughout this guide, I have presented you with various models of smokers, as well as a few tips in their use. Smoking meat gives it a flavor and a texture that cannot be found in any other cooking style.

The best pit master is only as good as the tools they use. I want you to get the best smoker for your money. That’s why I have only reviewed high-quality models that will leave you with a good end product you will enjoy.

It’s better for you to buy a best cheap smoker available on the market than to waste your money on an expensive smoker and end up with a poor outcome.

Now, the choice is up to you. There are a lot of brick-and-mortar stores where you can purchase a cheap smoker, but you won’t find the same deals that you find purchasing the best smoker online on places like Amazon.com.

Take your time, do your research, and then make the purchase. When you, your family, and your friends are enjoying the delicious smoked meat you produced, you are going to be so happy that you did.

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