If you’re looking to start smoking meat, fish, and other dishes, you’ll be faced with an immediate choice: do you want the more traditional type of BBQ smoker, or would you prefer cooking with the convenience of electric?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Indeed, the solution will always be intensely personal.
As a rough guideline, if you’re a complete beginner looking to master the art of smoking food the easy way, there’s no more seamless introduction than the best electric smoker.
With an electric smoker, the unit is powered by a heating element. You then add water and wood chips to create the optimum environment for smoking food without the volatility of cooking with charcoal.
Now, while a smoker may not be the most complicated appliance, there are nevertheless a handful of elements you should consider on the buying trail.
- Size and overall capacity: The total rack area is expressed in terms of square inches, and we highlight this figure for each of the electric smokers we review. This will allow you to compare them quickly at a glance. You should also pay close attention to the diameter and overall dimensions of the smoker. Ensure that it makes a good fit for your patio, deck, or any location in the yard. You’ll also benefit from thinking about what you plan to cook inside your smoker. If you want to place a whole rack of ribs inside without cutting or folding it, look for a 40-inch smoker
- Power and performance: Power is one of the key factors underpinning smoker performance. Wattage ranges from 500 through 1500 watts. Look for a model that gives you sufficient power for your needs without using too much electricity. Remember, you’ll be leaving the smoker on all day in most cases. The lower the wattage, the longer it will take for your smoker to hit the desired temperature. Smokers with weaker heating elements can take 45 minutes to reach the temperature you need, so pack plenty of patience or look for a more powerful model
- Temperature stability: Many of the best electric smokers come with onboard temperature probes. Some also have wireless thermostats allowing you to monitor and control the temperature in-app on your smartphone. Some cheaper smokers struggle to hold temperature when it’s colder outside, so bear this in mind if you live somewhere with a cooler climate
- Materials and build: Most great electric smokers are made from stainless steel, powdered steel, or aluminum. Grates are typically made from stainless steel or aluminum, and they are often chrome-coated to promote ease of cleaning
- Ease of cleaning: If you invest in a smoker that’s a nightmare to keep clean, chances are you won’t use it very often. Look for chrome-plated and removable racks and hooks, ideally dishwasher-friendly
OK, with those simple pointers in mind, you should now be in place to explore our curated shortlist of the top 11 electric smokers on the market.
Dive in and see if any of these make the grade for your food smoking projects this summer.
I. The 11 Best Electric Smokers
1. Our #1 Pick: Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker
- Diameter: 40 inches
- Rack area: 710 square inches
- Dimensions: 19.7 x 25.2 x 41.7 inches
Our overall favorite electric smoker comes from grill specialist Masterbuilt, so you know off the bat you’ll be getting great build quality and performance.
With Bluetooth connectivity, you’ll get even more convenience than you get from a regular smoker. Not only is this a set-and-forget smoking appliance, but you’ll also be able to take control remotely. You can either do this in-app or using the digital control bundled.
The total rack area is generous at 710 square inches, making this a great smoker for a larger family. It also works well if you often cook for guests. To put this area into perspective, you can smoke 16 chickens, 4 turkeys,. 8 pork butts, or 8 racks of ribs.
This 40-inch model comes with 4 smoking racks coated with chrome. These won’t rust out, food won’t get smeared all over them, and they are also super-simple to keep clean.
There is a meat thermometer baked in saving you from fiddling around with third-party gear.
Load the wood chips in through the door situated on the side and benefit from a variety of flavors to suit your mood. You can add more chips without opening the door and without breaching the cooking environment.
User reviews of this smoker are almost universally positive. The same consistency applies to feedback concerning the low quality of customer service offered by Masterbuilt. This gripe set aside, you’re getting one of the best electric smokers out there with the capacity to cook for large gatherings fuss-free, with build quality to ensure plenty of faithful service.
2. Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Smoker
- Diameter: 30 inches
- Rack area: 548 square inches
- Dimensions: 22 x 19 x 37.5 inches
Cuisinart’s 30-inch electric smoker gives you a great deal of convenience in a reasonably compact form factor. Despite the space-saving dimensions, though, you’ll get almost 550 square inches of total rack area. If you’re looking to grill for a small family or a handful of guests, read on.
Not only is the smoker quite small and compact, but the vertical configuration means it makes a great fit on small patios or decks. You’ll get ample space for smoking food without eating up too much space.
This smoker has one of the most powerful heating elements in its class, rated at 1500 watts. This gives you enough oomph to heat the smoker from 100F through 400F, giving you enormous flexibility and the ability to rustle up a range of recipes.
A trio of removable shelves are made from stainless steel, so they are built to last, corrosion-resistant, and incredibly easy to keep clean. All you’ll need to do is wash them with some warm soapy water after each use and that’s about the limit of the upkeep required with this smoker.
You also get a stainless steel tray for holding the wood chips and the water required for smoking duties. Build quality is commendable throughout.
Although you benefit from an integrated meat thermometer, you may find accuracy is questionable. This is an unfortunate weak point on many electric smokers.
Backed by a limited 3-year warranty, you can buy with complete confidence from an industry heavyweight without needing to dig too deep. What’s not to love?
3. Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
- Diameter: 30 inches
- Rack area: 730 square inches
- Dimensions: 20 x 17 x 33.5 inches
Next up in our quest for the best electric smoker comes another model from the inimitable Masterbuilt. This company make some first-rate grills and smokers that don’t force you to take out a bank loan.
This is a 30-inch smoker with a spacious interior boasting 730 square inches of cooking space.
4 chrome-plated racks give you ample room for smoking all your favorite dishes. It’s not just meat and fish you can smoke in the Masterbuilt, but fruits and veggies, too.
Digital temperature control give you a temperature range from 100F up to 275F. This doesn’t give you as much heat at the upper end as some of the opposition, but you’re in safe hands for smoking duties. Since the temperature is thermostatically controlled, it will always be optimized.
Loading the wood chips into the side of this smoker means you won’t need to disturb the heating environment unnecessarily.
Set the timer through a full 24 hours for set-and-forget smoking at its very best.
The drip pan is removable to promote quick and easy clean-up. As with all smokers, you should clean the Masterbuilt after every use and then you’ll never need to spend too long scouring. Neglect this and you’ll not only impair performance, but you’ll also need to roll your sleeves up and really scrub away at that food debris. Avoid this with regular cleaning.
This model has now been discontinued, so consider the uprated version, or snatch yourself a real bargain with this superb digital electric smoker. This model is perfect for beginners and seasoned smokers alike.
4. Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker
- Diameter: 30 inches
- Rack area: 725 square inches
- Dimensions: 16.5 x 18.1 x 32.5 inches
Char-Broil has a deep bench of grills and smokers, with this electric smoker making a great choice for large families or anyone who entertains for lots of guests. How does this appliance stand and fall, then?
Firstly, you’ll appreciate the spacious cooking area totaling 725 square inches. This should be more than enough for a large cookout, without requiring a huge smoker that dominates the yard to achieve it.
There are 4 adjustable cooking racks and digital electrical controls that ensure the temperature is matched to the application.
The smoke box on this unit is generously sized. Once you load this up with wood chips, you’ll get between 4 and 7 hours of smoke, depending on what’s cooking.
To keep your eye on the temperature of your meat and to check it’s cooked all the way through, take advantage of the integrated meat probe. This is easily removable and washable. Once your food is cooked, this smoker comes with a neat warming feature to keep it ready to serve.
Double-walled insulation locks all the heat inside the smoker. The seal is airtight and won’t let any heat escape. There is an oversized steel latch to lock the door neatly into place.
Thanks to the glass door, you can monitor proceedings without needing to compromise the cooking environment.
Overall, this is one of the best electric smokers out there, taking ease of use to a new level. Whether you’re a total beginner or a backyard grill pro, this smoker is well worth popping on yor shortlist for the coming summer.
5. Masterbuilt Analog Electric Smoker
- Diameter: 30 inches
- Rack area: 536 square inches
- Dimensions: 20 x 21.7 x 40.2 inches
Masterbuilt has an impressive stable of smokers in all styles, and the brand specializes in electric smokers like this 30-inch gem.
The vertical layout means you can house this smoker in small yards or cramped decks without too much trouble.
Despite the compact form factor, you get ample cooking surface area inside this unit for all your favorite smoked snacks. You get 3 spacious racks offering you a total of over 500 square inches of real estate inside this thing. The racks are all coated with chrome to promote food release and minimize splatter.
Under the hood, a potent 1500-watt heating element ensures you have sufficient firepower to smoke meat, fish, or veggies low and slow.
Controlling the temperature on this couldn’t be easier thanks to an ergonomic analog dial. The learning curve involved is shallow, and you won’t need any tech skills to start using this smoker like a pro.
Once you’re finished cooking, seamless ash removal helps you keep cleanup to a minimum.
The only meaningful gripes we unearthed related to this smoker concern the paint bubbling and peeling off. In terms of functionality and overall performance, almost all users praise the Masterbuilt 30-inch smoker, so does it make the right fit for you?
6. Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker
- Diameter: 20 inches
- Rack area: Accommodates 50 pounds of food
- Dimensions: 12.4 x 18.25 x 27.12 inches
Smokehouse serves up the Big Chief electric smoker. How does this model stand out in a crowded field, then?
Well, the first thing you’ll appreciate is the winning combination of a fairly compact build delivering an impressive interior capacity. You can pile in up to 50 pounds of food to cook slow and low all day long.
Maintaining a low and consistent temperature is key when you’re smoking food and this model makes it super-simple. While the heating element is rated at just 450 watts, you’ll find this is more than enough to keep the smoker at a steady 165F.
Ventilation is first-rate, allowing all the smoke to efficiently circulate, imparting that trademark smokiness to your food.
With over 50 years in the game producing superb smokers, the manufacturer also produces a great range of wood chips made from all-natural hardwood. Use these to bring out the very best in your brand new electric smoker.
7. Char-Broil Digital Smoker
- Diameter: 30 inches
- Rack area: 725 square inches
- Dimensions: 16.5 x 18.1 x 32.5 inches
Char-Broil is one of the most reputable brands in this vertical, so how does this digital smoker stand and fall?
Off the bat, you’ll get a spacious interior allowing you to cook large volumes of smoked food for a bigger gathering. You get 725 square inches of space, making this one of the most generous smokers in its class when it comes to capacity.
This is the base model, but you can also pick up bundles including extras like a cookbook, a cover, a stand, and some wood chips.
Using this model is straightforward even if you’re a beginner to the art of smoking. The control panel is easy to operate, and you can see everything you need at a glance on the blue LED panel.
You’ll need to keep a close on the temperature of your food as it’s cooking inside this smoker, and there is a thermometer baked in to make this easier for you.
The smoker looks great as well as performing strongly. The glass door contrasts wonderfully with the stainless steel chassis. This door also features a stainless steel latch. This locks the door securely and ensures that the smoking environment is tight with no chance of any air leaking out. The double-wall insulation is a nice addition, too.
This model is relatively basic, so if you want more bang for your buck, we would recommend the more upscale Deluxe iteration. If you’re content with a substantial smoker that gets all the basics done well, this version gives you decent value and is well worth a place on your shortlist. Let us know what you think if you invest in the Char-Broil.
8. Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker
- Diameter: 20 inches
- Rack area: 544 square inches
- Dimensions: 15 x 20.7 x 33.5 inches
Char-Broil is a heavy hitter in this vertical with a deep bench of highly impressive grills and smokers. This dinky 20-inch model is ideal for anyone with a smaller yard or patio requiring a small but highly effective smoker.
A trio of chrome-plated cooking grates allow you to spread out and smoke a fine spread of delicacies. As with all the best electric smokers, keeping these clean is a cinch. Remove them after each use – wait for the whole smoker to completely cool first – and then wash them with some hot soapy water. As long as you keep on top of this regular maintenance, you should always keep your smoker looking spotless and performing at its best.
The temperature gauge mounted front and center in the door gives you a read on what’s going on without needing to open the door or use a third-party thermometer.
At 1200 watts, the heating element is surprisingly powerful for such a small smoker.
You access the combined water tray, grease cup, and wood chip tray using the door in the front of the smoker. The construction is double-walled to maximize insulation, and there is a pair of exhaust ports for your comfort and convenience.
While most user reviews of this electric smoker are pretty positive, we found a number of complaints about the poor quality of the instructions. If you’re a first-time to smoking food, you may want to consider a model bundled with clearer instructions. If, on the other hands, you’re an experienced griller, you should be up and running right out the box.
9. Smokin-It Electric Smoker
- Capacity: 31 pounds of meat or seafood
- Rack area: 225 square inches
- Dimensions: 24 x 30 x 22 inches
Smokin-It produces an efficient and brisk electric smoker capable of accommodating 31 pounds of meat or seafood for smoking.
Made from premium stainless steel throughout, you should get plenty of service from this smoker, as long as you keep it clean and well-maintained.
While this model comes certified for restaurant use, it’s most at home in a residential setting. Slip this smoker onto your decking or patio area and wow your guests this summer without needing to spend your afternoons slaving over a grill.
As with all electric smokers, you should find manipulating the temperature and airflow easier than if you were using a charcoal smoker. You can tweak the temperature between 100F and 250F, perfect for smoking all your favorite dishes.
The replaceable heating element is rated at 800 watts, widely considered the sweet spot combining performance and energy-efficiency.
4 removable shelves ensure that cleaning is just as easy as cooking.
Attention to detail extends throughout this smoker with onboard storage for the power cord streamlining storage and removing any trip hazard.
There are side handles that simplify shifting this smoker around when required. There are also lockable wheels so you won’t need to strain your back shunting the Smokin-It around the yard.
If you want an electric smoker that’s ideal for use in a commercial or residential setting and comes from a highly reputable brand, this model deserves your further attention.
10. Bradley Smoker Electric Smoker
- Diameter: 19 inches
- Rack area: 572 square inches
- Dimensions: 34 x 20 x 18 inches
If you’re hunting for a space-saving and compact smoker that won’t take over a smaller yard, patio, or decking area, the ever-reliable Bradley hits another homer here.
This slender smoker measures just 19 inches across, but you’ll still benefit from an acceptable total rack area of 572 square inches. While this will leave you shortchanged if you want to cater for a huge gathering, this unit works wonderfully for small families or a handful of guests.
Stainless steel extends inside this smoker so you’ll get a corrosion-free smoker that should return years of faithful service. This appliance is quite cost-effective, too.
You can load in enough wood chips to smoke food all day long without needing to constantly top it up. You need to use Bradley’s proprietary briquettes, and while these are not especially cheap, they produce smoke only with no ash. Choose from a dozen different varieties to impart that trademark smoked taste to your food.
An analog smoker generator with a over-heating control lets you stay in charge the easy way. You can remove this to store it safely in cold weather.
With multiple racks to accommodate a range of smoked food and hooks for hanging fish, meat, fruits, or veggies, this electric smoker gives you everything you need and nothing you don’t. These racks and hooks are all removable for ease of cleaning.
For a set-and-forget solution to smoking your favorite dishes, this electric smoker redefines convenience without forcing you to sacrifice that classic smoky taste. What are you waiting for?
11. Bradley Smoker 6-Rack Digital Electric Smoker
- Diameter: 30 inches
- Rack area: 858 square inches
- Dimensions: 11.5 x 15 x 33 inches
The Bradley Smoker digital 6-rack model gives you a sprawling interior cooking area ideal for ambitious cookouts. If you’re looking to ramp up your grill game this summer, why not go all-in with this monster?
The first thing that strikes you is the enormous total rack area. This gives you 858 square inches of space to load up with your favorite smoked delicacies.
You’ll enjoy precise control of the time, smoke, and temperature, so you’ll get accurate and consistent results whatever you’re smoking in this unit.
The heating element is rated at 500 watts. While this doesn’t give you as much power as some of the models on our shortlist, you won’t use too much electricity either, so running costs will be reduced.
With 6 chrome-coated cooking racks, you have ample space to segregate different foods and you’ll end up with a smoked feast for a large gathering without needing to spend all day chained to the cooker.
The one notable drawback of this smoker is the requirement to use proprietary briquettes. While these are highly effective, they are also ruthlessly expensive, so be sure to factor this into your budgeting to avoid any nasty surprises later down the track.
The removable ash catcher streamlines clean-up. You should clean the cooking racks after each use and empty all the ash, but this is about the extent of maintenance required with this smoker. Overall, you’re getting one of the best electric smokers in its class, and it’s also extremely energy-efficient.
1) How does an electric smoker work?
The principle used is similar to that of your oven. Many smokers will burn solid fuel like charcoal. With these models, you’ll control the airflow using the intake and exhaust vents. This manipulates the temperature. With an electric smoker, on the other hand, power comes from an electronically-controlled heating element. You use an external controller or smart functionality to adjust the temperature with no user input required. Although you’ll find vents on electric smokers, they are only to allow smoke to flow and are not used to control temperature. To generate the smoke required, you load wood chips into the tray onboard. These do not burn with a flame, but rather smolder after being heated by the element. The job of the chips is to add smoke not heat.
2) What is the benefit of buying an electric smoker over a BBQ smoker?
We won’t lie and claim that these smokers can rival the taste of cooking with charcoal. That said, you get enviable ease of use with electric smokers, ideal if you’re a newcomer to smoking food. All you need to do is load in your food and wait for the succulent and mouthwatering results. If you feel a slight loss of taste is worth it for the user-friendly experience offered by an electric smoker, you’ll be goof to go right out the box.
3) How many wood chips can I expect to burn in an electric smoker?
While it’s impossible to put an exact figure on this, you shouldn’t worry too much about the cost of wood chips. As outlined above, the core role of these chips is to provide smoke rather than heat. As such, you won’t be burning through too many of them. Instead, they will slowly smolder while producing the smoke you need for that trademark taste. Also, as soon as the temperature inside your smoker hits 145F, it will stop taking on smoke anyway. So, the wood chips you use as you get your smoking duties started shouldn’t add up to too much.
4) Can I use my electric smoker indoors?
No. These things are designed to run outside. If you insist on using one indoors, you’ll need to install a commercial-grade extractor. The alternative would be to use the smoker inside without adding wood chips, but this defeats the very purpose of using it in the first place. Set your smoker up outside instead for safety’s sake.
5) Can I get away without seasoning my electric smoker?
All smokers should be seasoned before use. Refer to the instructions for your specific model.
Well, if you arrived here today without any idea of how to choose the best electric smokers from a crowded pack, you should have no such problems now.
Electric grills, BBQs, and smokers are not to everyone’s liking, and we’re not here to persuade you how you should cook outside. While purists point to the unbeatable and traditional taste imparted when cooking with charcoal, many other consumers swear by the convenience and ease of use that electric smokers deliver.
We hope our electric smoker reviews have given you an objective look at all the finest models out there. Use our brief buying guide to help you quickly choose the most suitable smoker, and then buy with your eyes wide open and complete awareness of the product’s benefits and drawbacks.
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