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Take The Outdoor Cooking To A Whole New Level With A BBQ Smokers

If you’re looking for the best BBQ smoker to make authentic barbecue, you’ve come to the right place. Smoking meat is an incredibly popular cooking method as the low cooking temperatures and slow cooking times gives the food that tender texture that’s bursting with flavor. With so many different types of BBQ smokers available on the market from electric smokers to gas smokers, we’ve rounded up some of the best BBQ smokers below to get you started.

most popular 
Cookshack Amerique SM066 Electric Smoker
Cookshack Amerique SM066 Electric Smoker

Superior insulation maintains a consistent internal temperature and the outside cool to the touch

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best for backyard
Cookshack Smokette Elite SM025 Electric Smoker
Cookshack Smokette Elite SM025 Electric Smoker

504 square inches of cooking area allows up to 25 pounds of food to be smoked at once

View Deal
Easiest to use 
Pit Boss 77232 Silver Star 3 Series 21-Inch Vertical Digital Electric Smoker
Pit Boss 77232 Silver Star 3 Series 21-Inch Vertical Digital Electric Smoker

Large window with external heat indicator to monitor food without opening the door

View Deal
most highly rated 
Camp Chef 24-Inch Smoke Vault Propane Gas Smoker
Camp Chef 24-Inch Smoke Vault Propane Gas Smoker

Adjustable heat control dial and three damper valves for maintaining precise smoking temperatures

View Deal
adjustable cooking grates 
Broil King Smoke 28-Inch Vertical Propane Gas Smoker
Broil King Smoke 28-Inch Vertical Propane Gas Smoker

The Sure-Lite electronic ignition offers quick and easy ignition

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most versatile 
Camp Chef 18-Inch Smoke Vault Propane Gas Smoker
Camp Chef 18-Inch Smoke Vault Propane Gas Smoker

Two adjustable smoking racks and one jerky rack accommodate a variety of food

View Deal
high-end option  
Fast Eddys By Cookshack FEC100 Pellet Smoker Oven
Fast Eddys By Cookshack FEC100 Pellet Smoker Oven

Electronically controlled thermostat allows you to preset cook time and temperature, as well as maintain temperature when cooking is finished

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budget-friendly option   
Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Smoker
Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Smoker

Plenty of room to smoke for a crowd with 4 standard smoking racks

View Deal
Easiest to use 
Pit Boss 77700 Copperhead 7 Series 29-inch Vertical Pellet Smoker
Pit Boss 77700 Copperhead 7 Series 29-inch Vertical Pellet Smoker

Ten temperature presets, start-up and cool-down cycles, electric ignitor

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Different Types of BBQ Smokers

Knowing about the different types of BBQ smokers will put you on the right path for more than just a good investment, but also push you towards becoming a better chef. A great deal of the cooking process is using the right tools, whether we’re talking about knives, frying pans, or BBQ smokers. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the four main types of smokers and see what each of them can do.

#1: Electric smoker

Using the power of electricity, an electric smoker is a plug-in device that was designed to replace the traditional charcoal smoker. Operating this type of smoker should be as easy as plugging it in and selecting the desired temperature.

Some of the most common reasons why people choose to buy electrical smokers over other types include:

  • Lower costs in the long-run: It’s true that electric smokers require a larger upfront investment compared to other options but the product pays off for itself in the long haul. They don’t require fuel of any kind (except for electricity, of course).
  • Easy to use: One of the best things about electric BBQ smokers is that they are easy to figure out. If you compare them to charcoal smokers, they are a massive improvement. Because they come with features like temperature adjustment, you don’t need to constantly supervise them and even smoking rookies can get the best results right from the start.
  • Safe design: An electric BBQ smoker will rarely be a hazard for the user. They are made with solid materials and are way safer compared to traditional smokers that can be a real thread for families with children or pets.

If you are considering the possibility of buying an electric smoker, you must first look at its capacity. The size and the capacity of the smoker will determine whether or not you have enough room for it, but also how much meat you can smoke in a single turn. If you only want this product for yourself and your family, a small-capacity smoker should do the trick. However, for large groups of people and even for commercial/industrial use, you are going to have to opt for a smoker that has a larger capacity.

Part of buying a good electrical smoker is knowing what are the additional features it comes with and deciding if they are worth paying extra for this particular type of product. For example, some BBQ smokers will allow you to choose the cooking mode, while others are equipped with timers and sensors. That being said, every extra feature will generally add to the end price of the product, so it’s important to determine if you actually need any of those goodies.

#2: Charcoal smokers

When talking about the electric BBQ smoker, we compared it a lot to the charcoal one, making the latter seem almost like the worst seed in the lot. However, charcoal BBQ smokers are still used worldwide because they offer that original and authentic taste that electric smokers can never fully replicate. It’s like comparing a steak made above an outdoor charcoal grill to one made in the frying pan.

We can’t deny the fact that charcoal smokers have temperatures that are more difficult to control, but that doesn’t make them the worst possible choice. In fact, there are quite some perks to buying an using this particular type of smoker:

  • Authentic flavor: This is one of the factors that heavily weighs in the favor of buying this type of BBQ smoker. The charcoal smoke infusion gives foods a unique taste that’s associated with an authentic experience.
  • Ease of maintenance: Some of the “fancier” BBQ smokers have tiny parts that make the product more difficult to maintain. The charcoal smokers are not part of that category. In fact, the most difficult thing that you’ll have to do is clean it and make sure that you change the grills with new ones once they start to rust.
  • Ease of cleaning: One of the most common myths revolving around BBQ smokers fueled by charcoal is that they are very difficult to clean. However, this obstacle can easily be overcome by simply choosing a model that has a recipient designed for catching ash.

Before you buy a charcoal BBQ smoker, there are few things to consider other than the capacity (the rules for choosing capacity are pretty much the same as the ones we listed when talking about electric smokers). One of the best purchasing tips that we can give you when it comes to this type of smoker is to not be cheap. Investing in a high-quality smoker will ensure that you get good results without having to supervise the process every step of the way.

If you’re short on storage space, you should consider buying a smoker that doubles as a grill. This way, you will benefit from a 2-in-1 product that expands the variety of foods you can make and doesn’t take up the space that two separate products normally would.

#3: Gas smokers

A gas smoker is somewhere between an electrical and a charcoal one. It can make really tasty meals with rich flavors without requiring the supervision that a charcoal smoker would normally require.
Gas smokers are typically chosen for their:

  • Portability: Most gas smokers have a rather compact design that makes it easy to take the product with you when you’re travelling. For instance, if you’re planning a summer camping trip that’s going to last longer, having a gas smoker with you can make sure that you eat something more than just canned foods every day.
  • Ease of use: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to master the art of making delicious foods using a gas smoker. You can easily set up the desired temperature and have the gas smoker do the rest.
  • Temperature adjustment: Much like an electric smoker, the gas smoker grants you a lot of control over the cooking temperature. That means that you won’t have to keep your eyes on the smoker the entire time and you can get foods filled with flavor by controlling the temperature as much as the smoker model will allow you to.

You will have to pay attention to the materials that are used in the construction of the smoker. Those made from steel provide better durability but you also need to make sure they are properly insulated. Whatever you do, don’t choose smokers made from thin metal.

#4: Pellet smokers

Plenty of BBQ enthusiasts would tell you that we saved the best for last. While it’s all a matter of personal preference in the end, one mustn’t rule out pellet smokers in their attempt to give you tasty meats and vegetables. Pellet smokers have a flammable rod that fuels the wood pellets to proceed with the smoking process. Almost every other step of the process is automatic, making these types of smokers just as good as the others we’ve listed so far.

If you’re not sure what are the perks of using a pellet smoker, here is some need-to-know information:
Efficiency: Pellet smokers are considered to be 90 percent efficient, making them some of the best products “in town”.

  • Fueling method: One of the reasons why some people steer clear of pellet smokers is because they have to buy the pellets that are not easily found at every corner store. However, they are available for online purchase and are quite cheap.
  • Ease of use: Pellet smokers are extremely easy to use because they are designed with automatic ignition. They are also some of the most eco-friendly smokers out there, as the pellets used to fuel them are CO2-neutral.

If you’re not sure whether or not a pellet smoker is for you, we’re going to tell you about a couple of things that you should verify before buying a product. First off, take a look at the quality of the materials used to build the smoker. A high-quality smoker will reduce any potential repair costs and ensure that the product is long-lasting.

The availability of the pellets is also something to keep in mind, as you might have to make some bulk pellet purchases to make sure you’re all stocked up and never run out.

Other Types of BBQ Smokers

The four aforementioned types of smokers are generally recognized by experts and enthusiasts alike. However, another way to divide BBQ smokers into categories is by analyzing their design. This particular type of labeling has rendered new smoker categories, such as:

  • Vertical water smokers: These smokers have a taller design and are divided into three main compartments. In the bottom side, one can place the heat source (such as charcoal), the middle compartment includes a water recipient, and the top compartment is the actual smoking chamber. Vertical water smokers are often chosen due to their compact size which allows for easier storage. They are less expensive compared to other types of smokers.
  • Box smokers: also known as cabinet smokers or vault smokers, the box smokers are designed to look like a large box. They have a heat source on the bottom side, while the upper side is dedicated to the cooking chamber. The “problem” with this type of smoker is that it’s very easy to make a bad investment. A bad box smoker is made from thin metal, has no insulation (which means it loses a lot of heat), and will easily get damaged in no time. Good box smokers tend to cost more but they grant you more control over the cooking medium and are some of the easiest types of smokers to use.
  • Offset smokers: These smokers are divided into two main parts: a cooking chamber and the heat chamber. The cooking chamber is mostly designed with a lift door and a smokestack, whilst the firebox is found at one of the chamber’s ends. The problem with this particular type of smoker is that it’s very difficult to tell the good products apart from the bad ones unless you can actually fire it up before you buy it. A bad product will leak smoke and prevent even heating of the cooking chamber. A good product has tight seals and will trap heat better.
  • Smoker ovens: Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, the smoker oven is an electric smoker of maximum efficiency. They mostly look like large insulated ovens, with the cooking racks on top and the heating element on the lower side. In between these two chambers there is usually a piece of metal in a funnel-like shape that collects drippings to keep the lower part of the smoker clean.
  • Drum smokers: The drum smoker is very easy to tell apart from the others because of its drum-like shape. It is one of the easiest smokers to use and can also be purchased as a DIY kit. Down to its very core, this product is nothing more than a steel drum with a cooking rack on top of it. The fuel goes in the bottom compartment where you can put the charcoal. There is also a lid for the top rack which prevents smoke leaks.

Top 9 Best BBQ Smokers 

Here, we’ll be taking a look at various BBQ smokers that fall into each of these three categories. We’ll provide you with some details of each one along with some pros and cons so you can pick the BBQ smoker that best suits your needs.

Electric

Cookshack Amerique SM066 Electric Smoker

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This electric BBQ smoker provides superior insulation to keep the internal temperatures consistent. Digital technology means that you’re able to easily set the time and temperature, and the electric smoker also comes with a meat probe. This electric smoker comes with everything you need to get smoking from nickel-plated shelves to a stainless steel drip pan.

most popular 
Cookshack Amerique SM066 Electric Smoker
Cookshack Amerique SM066 Electric Smoker

Superior insulation maintains a consistent internal temperature and the outside cool to the touch

View Deal

Pros:

  • Superior insulation maintains a consistent internal temperature
  • Comes with a digital controller and meat probe
  • 50 pounds of food can be smoked at once

Cons:

  • Is pricier than other electric smokers

Cookshack Smokette Elite SM025 Electric Smoker

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This electric smoker is great for backyard barbecues and comes with stainless steel construction and uniquely constructed insulation. There’s also digital technology incorporated within the electric smoker so you can easily set the temperature and time according to what you require. There’s also an Elite Smokette electronic controller along with an LED panel that displays the cooking temperature along with the internal meat temperature.

best for backyard
Cookshack Smokette Elite SM025 Electric Smoker
Cookshack Smokette Elite SM025 Electric Smoker

504 square inches of cooking area allows up to 25 pounds of food to be smoked at once

View Deal

Pros:

  • Superior insulation
  • 25 pounds of food can be smoked at once
  • Digital controller with meat probe

Cons:

  • Some have mentioned that the electronic controller is unreliable

Pit Boss 77232 Silver Star 3 Series 21-Inch Vertical Digital Electric Smoker w/ Window

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This digital electric smoker comes with easy to use controls and a temperature range for a variety of smoking styles. There’s a large window with an external heat indicator along with a digital control panel to set precise cooking temperature and time. The digital controller also features a smoke button so you can manually turn on the heating element when adding fresh wood chips.

Easiest to use 
Pit Boss 77232 Silver Star 3 Series 21-Inch Vertical Digital Electric Smoker
Pit Boss 77232 Silver Star 3 Series 21-Inch Vertical Digital Electric Smoker

Large window with external heat indicator to monitor food without opening the door

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Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Large window with external heat indicator
  • Digital control panel
  • Oversized, front-load wood chip tray

Cons:

  • Some have mentioned that very little smoke is produced

Gas – Propane

Camp Chef 24-Inch Smoke Vault Propane Gas Smoker

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This versatile smoker locks in delicious smoked flavor and is capable of reaching both high and low temperatures. It comes with a heavy-gauge, steel wood chip tray, and a removable water pan that will help in keeping your food moist. The door also has an easy-to-read thermometer so that you can monitor the smoking progress. Best of all? The BBQ smoker comes with an adjustable heat control dial along with three damper valves for maintaining precise temperatures

most highly rated 
Camp Chef 24-Inch Smoke Vault Propane Gas Smoker
Camp Chef 24-Inch Smoke Vault Propane Gas Smoker

Adjustable heat control dial and three damper valves for maintaining precise smoking temperatures

View Deal

Pros:

  • Two adjustable smoking racks
  • Includes a water pan
  • Adjustable heat control dial

Cons:

  • Some mentioned that the thermometer can be off by a couple of degrees

Broil King Smoke 28-Inch Vertical Propane Gas Smoker

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This propane gas smoker comes with not two but four adjustable cooking grates. It also comes with a sure-lite electronic ignition for quick and easy ignition. At the same time, there are two adjustable cast aluminium dampers that will help in regulating airflow throughout the gas smoker for precise temperature control. This gas smoker also comes with a chrome coated roast, rib rack, and stainless-steel meat hooks.

adjustable cooking grates 
Broil King Smoke 28-Inch Vertical Propane Gas Smoker
Broil King Smoke 28-Inch Vertical Propane Gas Smoker

The Sure-Lite electronic ignition offers quick and easy ignition

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Pros:

  • Sure-Lite electronic ignition
  • Two adjustable cast aluminium dampers
  • Four adjustable cooking grates

Cons:

  • Some have mentioned that it’s hard to keep the temperature low

Camp Chef 18-Inch Smoke Vault Propane Gas Smoker

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This versatile gas smoker has an adjustable heat control dial along with three damper valves to maintain precise smoking temperatures. It comes with snap-ignition and has a steel wood chip tray and a removable water pan. There’s also an easy-to-read door thermometer along with two adjustable smoker racks.

most versatile 
Camp Chef 18-Inch Smoke Vault Propane Gas Smoker
Camp Chef 18-Inch Smoke Vault Propane Gas Smoker

Two adjustable smoking racks and one jerky rack accommodate a variety of food

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Pros:

  • Adjustable heat control dial and three damper valves
  • Two adjustable smoking racks
  • Able to use your favorite wood chips to infuse your food

Cons:

  • Some have mentioned that construction is flimsy

Pellet Smokers

Fast Eddys By Cookshack FEC100 Pellet Smoker Oven

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This pellet smoker oven comes with a range of features from superior insulation to an electronically controlled thermostat. It also comes with unique IQ5 technology which allows you to have your meat cooked at a temperature as well as a time of your preference. There’s also an automatic wood pellet system that comes with the IQ5 technology along with a sufficient amount of cooking area that allows 100 pounds of food to be smoked at once.

high-end option  
Fast Eddys By Cookshack FEC100 Pellet Smoker Oven
Fast Eddys By Cookshack FEC100 Pellet Smoker Oven

Electronically controlled thermostat allows you to preset cook time and temperature, as well as maintain temperature when cooking is finished

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Pros:

  • Superior insulation
  • A cooking area which allows 100 pounds of food to be smoked at once
  • Electronically controlled thermostat

Cons:

  • It’s a relatively pricey pellet smoker oven

Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Smoker

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This vertical pellet smoker comes with all the features that you need for smoking, baking, and more. There’s plenty of cooking space as the pellet smoker comes with four meat racks, three jerky racks, and more. It also comes with a digital temperature control system with a display along with a Smart Smoke Technology to help in maintaining cooking temperatures. The pellet smokers also come with two meat probes so that you’re able to keep an eye on internal temperatures of meat easily.

budget-friendly option   
Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Smoker
Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Smoker

Plenty of room to smoke for a crowd with 4 standard smoking racks

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Pros:

  • Two temperature probes
  • Plenty of cooking space
  • Comes with Smart Smoke technology

Cons:

  • Some have mentioned that the temperature does not hold

Pit Boss 77700 Copperhead 7 Series 29-inch Vertical Pellet Smoker

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This pellet smoker comes with features that make it incredibly easy to use. Temperatures can be easily programmed and there’s also a side-window for you to easily check the fuel level. The pellet cooker also comes with a removable water pan so you’re able to add your favorite marinades along with a grease tray that will catch all the drippings.

Easiest to use 
Pit Boss 77700 Copperhead 7 Series 29-inch Vertical Pellet Smoker
Pit Boss 77700 Copperhead 7 Series 29-inch Vertical Pellet Smoker

Ten temperature presets, start-up and cool-down cycles, electric ignitor

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Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Ten temperature presets
  • Large window with external heat indicator

Cons:

  • Some have had issues with the pellet cooker in smoking food

Bottom Line

There you have it, 9 of the best BBQ smokers available in the market. From electric to propane and pellet grill smokers, you’re sure to find one that suits your needs.