Could an Electric Smoker Change Your Grilling Game?
Smoking meat is a favorite pastime for anyone who likes to have that BBQ flavor. It’s a thing that most grill masters (smoke masters in this case) love to do when the weather outside is nice. But some people really want the convenience because they may be busy doing other things around the house, so that’s when electric smokers come in. Obviously, you know that it’s set it and forget it, then you can go on with your day doing other important things.
In our opinion, the best recommendation we can give to mostly anyone who’s either just starting out or just want one in general, we strongly recommend the Masterbuilt Digital Smoker as it’s super easy to use, affordable and it helps that it’s well insulated which matters because you want all the heat to stay inside to get that perfect meat or other food you’re smoking. Read on to see why it’s our top pick and why other electric smokers made our list.
Top 3 Picks
Masterbuilt 30” Digital Electric Smoker – This is the smoker that is perfect for beginners or casual users because it’s easy to use and it’s made of high-quality material.
Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker– This electric smoker has all the bells and whistles that you want that has a remote control and you can look at your food smoking through a glass door for an affordable price.
Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker– This smoker has Bluetooth and a meat probe included making this a smoker worth considering.
Benefits of electric smokers
- It’s a set it and forget it smoker. Super convenient for someone who doesn’t want to tend to the smoker all day
- Can smoke a variety of food which electric smokers are good for
- Ideal for apartment/condos, where the smell of charcoal is not allowed
- More environmentally friendly as you’re not burning charcoal
Disadvantages of Electric Smokers
- You’ll need to be near an electrical outlet, which means plugging it in and use your electricity
- Electric smokers contains more parts than traditional ones, so if you have a defect, you’ll end up paying a lot more for repairs or replacements.
- Electric smokers doesn’t give that envious smoke ring that you’re looking to achieve
- It can’t do super high temperature
Top Electric Smoker Brands
You probably know Char-Broil from their amazing gas grills that they sell. They are super affordable which is why they are one of the leading companies in the grill/smoker industry today. They’ve started in 1948, but they’re owned by W.C. Bradley and do manufacture in China, which is why they are affordable.
Masterbuilt can be considered one of the leading electric smoker brands for a reason. They’ve been around for over 45 years, and they also sell a variety of grills from charcoal to propane to pellet.
In 2017, Masterbuilt bought the Smoke Hollow brand from Outdoor Leisure Products, but you will see that they still sell under their own name.
Most of their products are made in China, which is why Masterbuilt is typically affordable which appeals to beginners or people who don’t use grills/smokers a lot. In the last few years, they have focused more on quality which appeals to more people.
Pit Boss was founded in 1999 and is a subsidiary of Dansons, Inc. They are best known for the quality and craftsmanship of grills and smokers, which people enjoy today.
You get the best value for space (as they’re usually on the larger side) and always improving which is why they’re one of the best smoker brands out there today.
CookShack was founded over 50 years ago by Gene Ellis. They are more known for their metal box smokers because they believe that the metal boxes were the best way of low and slow cooking of meats.
They teamed up with Fast Eddy in 2003. Together they have built a top-quality competition smoker known as FEC70 which helps restaurants and caterers cook/smoke a massive amount of food.
What to look for in an electric smoker
Most electric smokers have enough space if you look at them, but size really does matter. There’s no point buying one that has 4 racks, if you can’t fit all the food that you’ve intended on fitting on it. There is a huge difference between 30” and 40” smokers, the 30” ones you can’t fit on a large scale, while 40” you can.
Some electric smokers come with cool features such as setting times on digital control panels, setting a temperature. Some even include a meat probe so you can monitor your meat temp and Bluetooth.
Electric smokers are not meant to be portable as they need to be near an electric outlet. This is something you’ll need to consider before buying one.
There are some smokers you can get for $100 or less, but we recommend spending a bit more ($200-$500) to get the best electric smoker that suits your needs.
Top 7 Electric Smokers
Cookshack Smokette Original SM009-2 Electric Smoker
For this one, of course, we will talk about their Smokette SM009-2 Electric Smoker. One of the best things about this smoker that you won’t get the bitterness or weird taint that you get from some smokers, you’ll get actual BBQ taste which is the goal in the first place.
It is small and portable, so if you have a small deck or cooking area, this will work out. It is 16 x 17.5 x 30.6 inches and weighs about 76 pounds. It is on the heavier side, but it’s on wheels so you can wheel it anywhere outside that has an electrical outlet (since we are talking about electric smokers here). This smoker also boasts 558 square inches for cooking, so you can put up to 20-25 pounds of meat in it and not worry about overcrowding.
We should mention that it’s extremely durable as the exterior is made out of heavy-duty stainless steel and nickel-plated racks, so that means it will never rust (assuming you won’t leave it out in the rain) and will last a long time. The cook box is also made out of stainless steel, so you know that you’ll be smoking with super high-quality materials that will last a long time. Most importantly, it has a 63-inch power cord so it should be long enough to safely plug in and use the smoker at the same time.
The heating elements is about 500 watts and what’s amazing about this smoker is all the moisture stays in, giving your meat that delicious juicy look and taste that you look forward to when it’s done. While a cover is not included with this smoker, we strongly recommend that you also get a cover so you can protect this smoker from the rain.
Finally, this smoker comes with a 2-year warranty if anything is defective on the smoker, which we consider a huge plus.
- 63-inch cord
- Easy to clean/maintain
- No extra accessories
Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker
This smoker by Masterbuilt is perfect for someone who’s literally just learning how to smoke meat, because it takes skill to master the perfect smoked meat. Also, when it comes to convenience, this is perfect because there’s no need to constantly check on it like you would with a charcoal one.
For quality, it’s made with steel with plastic trim and the entire inside is made with aluminum. So, you know that it is very durable and reliable and won’t break down on you while smoking meat. It also has a built-in control panel where you can set the temperature inside from 100-275 °F. You can also turn it on and off with the same control, which makes it easy instead of trying to find a button to turn it on.
For the specs, you get 730 square inches of cooking space, you also get 800 watts for heating elements and it weighs in at 45.9 pounds. The dimensions are 30 x 20 x 20 inches so it’s the perfect size without being too big. One of the main features we like about this smoker is that has a super convenient wood chip tray system which means you can add more chips through the tube without ever opening the door, keeping in the smoke & temperature.
If you do end up having issues with this smoker, there is a 90-day warranty (really short in our opinion) to get things replaced.
- Perfect for most people
- Convenient wood tray system
- Built in control panel
- Narrow width
- Wood chip tray is tiny-ish
Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoke
Just like the Masterbuilt we just talked about, it’s nearly similar in size and quality build, with the dimensions being 16.5 x 18.1 x 32.5 in and it has 4 cooling racks. With these racks, you can remove or adjust depending on what you’re cooking. This smoker comes with remote control and it’ll even let you view the temperature and cooking time on top of the smoker, so that makes this smoker a worthwhile investment. Also, you can turn off the smoker with the remote too making it very convenient.
Another cool thing about this smoker is that it has a glass door so you can see how your meats or other food are doing while its smoking if looking at food is a thing for you. However, some heat do radiate through the doors, so you’ll want to be careful touching that and don’t let children touch it while it’s smoking food. The build on this smoker is of course made out of stainless steel and has good heat retention. It is very easy to use and clean, so you won’t be spending hours cleaning it.
So if you’re looking for a smoker that comes with some features and very easy for you, this Char Broil one is for you.
- 4 adjustable racks
- Easy to use/clean up
- Temperature easy to read as its large
- Remote control is limited in range
- Have to set up a set temperature/time
Cuisinart Electric Smoker
This electric smoker by Cuisinart made it on our list because it’s lightweight at 51.5 pounds. The dimension of the entire smoker is 37.5” H x 19” W x 22” D and has 548 square inches of cooking space, giving you tons of room to smoke meats, cheese and vegetables. There are three removable 14×14 chrome-plated racks so it’s good if you need to adjust or remove one for your smoking needs. It has 1500-watt heating elements with temperatures ranging 100 F to 400 F. With this smoker, you can easily read the temperature on the front door. This smoker is extremely easy to install taking 45 minutes with a Philip head screwdriver.
The build on the outside is made with stainless steel with chrome plated racks inside, so you can be rest assured that its durable.
- Easy to maintain
- Digital Temperature on door
- Inconsistent temperatures
Pit Boss Electric Smoker
This electric smoker by Pitboss is vertical, with dimensions of 41” H x 23” W x 21.5” D. It weighs in at 62 pounds so it’s slightly on the heavier side but it’s made out of high-quality material such as steel on the outside and porcelain-coated grids to cook on, water and wood pan. You can control the temperatures from 125 F to 350 F and you get a meat probe so you can accurately know what temperature the meat is before taking it out.
The Pitboss is running on analog controls, so that means there’s no plug that you worry about. It also boasts 593 square inches so plenty of room for 5 rack of ribs, 6 chickens or 6 pork shoulders.
- Comes with meat probe
- High quality build material
- Only goes up to 350 F
Cookshack SuperSmoker SM045 Electric Smoker
Here we have another Cookshack electric smoker that is worth considering for your BBQ needs. It has a stainless-steel construction with 850-degree spin glass insulation, which means it will keep the temperatures consistent inside and the outside cool so you don’t burn your hands. You also get an electronic controller that you can control the temperature and install the meat probe in the food as well so you can get an accurate temperature. This smoker also has a LED display so you can read the temperatures.
This Cookshack smoker is made from high quality stainless steel for exterior, features at least three 18 x 14-inch nickel plated shelves, 756 square inches to cook on and it has a 35lb capacity with a max smoking range of 140 to 300 degrees. It is one of the heaviest smokers on this roundup, weighing in at 103 pounds. The dimensions for this smoker is 20.5” W x 19.5” D x 35.75” H.
So, if you’re someone who wants a fairly decent and modern smoker, this smoker by Cookshack is for you. As per usual, there is a warranty should there be any defective parts on this particular smoker.
- High tech
- Big enough for large amount of food
Masterbuilt MB20074719 Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker
This Masterbuilt Electric Smoker has all the bells and whistles as its super high tech compared to the other ones. It has Bluetooth and an app that you can connect to, so that means you can sit back and relax while your food is smoking, which is pretty cool because you can control the time and temperature. You get 975 square inches of cooking space, which means you will have enough for a lot of meat, veggies, cheese or whatever you desire.
This smoker is at 40” and comes with four adjustable racks. It also has a heating element of 1200 watts but the absolute max temperature you can turn the temp up to is 275 degrees, which may be an issue if you want a smoker with higher temp. This smoker does have wheels for easy portability, and it has a wood chip tray, so you can put wood in the smoker, without actually opening the smoker which is a huge plus.
So, all in all, it’s a great smoker if you want the convenience of controlling the smoker from inside your house.
- Has 4 racks and 975 square inches to cook on, providing ample of room
- It’s on wheels so you can move it anywhere you want
- Bluetooth range isn’t the best, you literally have to be within 12-15 feet
- The app can have issues such as randomly screwing around with the temperature which can be problematic.
Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow SH19079518 Digital Electric Smoker
Finally, if you’re on a tighter budget for electric smokers, the SmokeHollow is for you. It is created by Masterbuilt of course, but this one only comes with 3 chrome plated racks where the other ones came with at least 4. There is a digital control panel so that you can control the temperature and set it.
It is 30” in size, so you should be able to fit a decent amount of meat in this smoker.
If you’re looking for a highly durable smoker that’s within the budget, you should consider the Smoke Hollow.
- Very good quality for the price
- Very easy to set up
- You’ll have to open the smoker to put wood chips in, as there’s no external wood chip trays
How do electric smokers work?
It works by using electricity from your home or an electrical outlet. It heats up the heating elements (with the wood chip tray with wood chips above the element of course) at the bottom of the smoker and the smoke rises which is why you can still get smoked food.
What about pellet grills?
Pellet grills need electricity as well, but they provide more natural wood flavor and can give smoke rings to some meats (brisket). Also, it can reach higher temperatures than electric smokers as well.
Is electric or propane better for smoking?
For a longer smoke term, it’s definitely better to use electricity because you don’t have to worry about running out of gas. But if you’re looking for the better flavors and actual smoke rings in your meat, you are better off using propane. So, the decision absolutely is dependent on your needs.
We hope that this guide helped you decide which electric smoker that you should consider for your needs.
We know that some people will view others as lazy because it’s really easy to use, but it’s super convenient because you never have to deal with charcoal or do any extra work besides putting more wood chips in, making it a cheaper option in the long run. If you have enjoyed reading this guide, please leave a comment below.