Nothing beats a juicy stack of ribs along with some tasty side dishes on a hot day. Whether you’re enjoying the holidays or simply kicking back for the weekend with family or friends, a barbeque isn’t complete without a smoker.
While it’s true that it takes skill to smoke a good ham, you don’t need to be a pitmaster to get great food. An appetizing feast also comes down to the tools you have.
With the help of one of the best electric smokers, you’ll get your guests looking forward to the delicious food.
What Are the Best Electric Smokers in the Market?
I’ve round-up some of the best electric smoker reviews available, so now all you need to do is pick the ideal choice for your home
If you’ve looked into electric smokers before, you must have heard of the Masterbuilt Digital Smoker. This device has a digital panel that allows you to control its temperature, time, and power.
With a weight of 46 pounds and its dimensions being 19.88 x 20.47 x 33.26 inches (LxWxH), this electric smoker is one of the top choices you’ll find.
However, the small size doesn’t compromise the capacity of this electric smoker. Surprisingly, the MB 30 inch can fit two turkeys, four pork butts, four rib racks, or six chickens on its four removable racks.
This smoker, besides the available space, can achieve temperatures of up to 275°F.
However, the patented wood chip loader is what sets this product apart from the rest. This easy-to-use side loader allows you to experiment with the meat flavor without opening your smoker.
Apart from these features, the MB Digital Smoker also offers excellent durability. This smoker is one of the top favorites as an outdoor barbeque product, and its body is well insulated to retain heat.
The issue with the paint is a bit of a let-down, but fortunately, you can patch it up with some heat-resistant paint of your own.
This smoker will easily last for up to 8 years with proper care, making it a worthwhile investment. You can also choose to get additional accessories such as a smoker cover and leg extensions to protect it from the outdoors.
Do you prefer to keep an eye on your food while cooking? A key barbeque hack is to open your smoker as little as possible so that the heat stays inside.
However, it’s also important to supervise the cooking process.
It might not seem like much, but Char-Broil’s electric smoker has a glass window that lets you check on your food without having to open the smoker door.
Similar to the MB 30 inch, this is a considerably small electric smoker. Its dimensions are 16.5 x 18.1 x 32.5 inches, and it only weighs 50 pounds.
The size makes it easier to handle as compared to large smokers. Moreover, this smoker is more convenient to keep in your home.
The inside of the smoker has a double insulated wall, along with a latch on the outside. Thanks to these features, you can capture plenty of smoke and heat for proper BBQ smoking.
While the digital displays and controls offer a modern look, it’s hard to beat a thermometer’s accuracy. So rather than fighting it, the Char-Broil smoker equips itself with a removable thermometer.
Who even reads the detailed instruction manuals nowadays? Most of us prefer to have the controls be more intuitive.
On the bright side, the controls are pretty useful once you get the hang of them!
Moreover, I recommend getting a smoker cover and stand to protect the equipment from harsh weather conditions.
If easy-to-use is the way you like it, then Smoke Hollow might just be what you’re looking for. The brand, also named Smoke Hollow, made a simple design that is portable and effective.
Not only does it take little space and is relatively lightweight, but it also comes with handles on the side that make it easier to carry around.
The door handle has a design that helps keep it from overheating, so you don’t have to worry about burning your hand! It also has a latch system to ensure that the smoker stays closed, keeping the heat inside.
Now that’s nice and all, but what about the actual numbers? Believe it or not, the Smoke Hollow’s dimensions are 16.5 x 19 x 35.5 inches, with a weight of 35 pounds.
Along with that, you’ll find a full range indicator on the front, which will help you control the temperature. Speaking of temperature, the Smoky Hollow can handle a range from 175ºF up to 325ºF.
The inside has two chrome-coated cooking grids that you can adjust in height. You’ll also find the heat source sitting at the bottom, along with a water tray and a wood chip tray.
Both of these trays are porcelain-coated for increased durability and protection from heat. In addition, the wide temperature range and concise form give us one way to describe this smoker: versatile!
These features alone make Smoke Hollow one of the best deals you’ll find in electric smokers.
It’s not unusual to hear about the heat source being exposed to drippings on electric smokers. However, this problem is particularly inconvenient with the Smoke Hollow.
I’ve had episodes with the drippings falling on areas the tray doesn’t cover, which makes it quite a mess to clean up afterward.
Fortunately, you can solve this problem by applying a layer of foil and then removing it once you’ve finished smoking.
You won’t need to invest in a stand for this smoker, seeing it already has legs. However, a probe thermostat is always a good accessory to get since it tends to be more accurate than the thermostat on smokers
Have you noticed a trend by now? Out of all other brands, Masterbuilt certainly has a collection of the best electric smokers on sale.
The Mes Electric Smoker is equipped with some of the finest qualities I’ve seen in MB products so far. As it says in the name, this smoker has Bluetooth features that allow you to control it from any smart device.
While it remains portable, the Mes Bluetooth electric smoker is quite large, with dimensions of 19.68 x 25.2 x 41.73 inches. It may be bigger than the previous electric smoker options, but it weighs only 66 pounds.
Since it comes with a glass panel, you won’t even have to open the door to check up on your food. This electric smoker is also equipped with a probe thermometer so that you can keep the smoke and heat inside.
Speaking of the thermostat, you can monitor it through Bluetooth with your smart device, as well. Isn’t that convenient?
I mentioned that this smoker is on the larger side, but how does that affect its capacity? Well, let’s just say there’s enough space for 16 chickens, four turkeys, eight stacks of ribs, or eight pork butts.
The Bluetooth connection is somewhat annoying since it keeps disconnecting out of nowhere. On many occasions, I’ve had to reset the smoker to get it working again.
Fortunately, Bluetooth is more of an extra rather than the main feature. So this shouldn’t be much of an issue for the most part.
When it comes to accessories, the usual ones are the smoker cover and stand. After all, these are the easiest ways to protect your smoker from outdoor elements such as harsh weather.
So far, we’ve got ourselves a party of two! Coming back to Char-Broil, we have an efficient yet small electric smoker.
Aside from the available space, size doesn’t matter much when it comes to electric smokers. An essential benefit of the ones with vertical alignment is that they’re compact while still providing enough space for plenty of food.
The dimensions of this electric smoker are 17.5 x 20 x 37.8 inches, though it weighs barely 50 pounds. Its slim body comes with small handles on the sides that make it easier to move around
Coupled with that, the door has a chrome-plated handle that is as convenient as it’s elegant. The door also has magnetic strips to ensure that it remains closed while smoking.
In addition, you’ll find a temperature gauge on the door to help you keep an optimum temperature. The inside has insulated double walls that maintain the temperature both inside and outside.
A manual comes along with each unit that provides further information about proper maintenance. You’ll also find an easy-to-follow guide for the assembly of this unit.
A constant and reliable temperature is needed to ensure that your food smokes properly. Still, I’m content with using this device as a small electric smoker for light-duty tasks.
Seeing that the smoker already has a set of legs, a stand isn’t an essential accessory. However, a probe thermometer could be helpful if you want to keep an eye on the temperature.
Besides, you can never quite go wrong with a smoker cover either since it helps extend the lifespan of your appliance.
Do you want to smoke more dishes at the same time? Then, the Bradley Digital 6 rack smoker might be just what you need!
This electric smoker is a pretty easy-to-use appliance since it lets you do most of the work with the push of a button (how does an electric smoker work).
As the name implies, the smoker is equipped with six removable racks, allowing you to adjust the space as needed. This is particularly useful if you’re smoking several small dishes, such as vegetables or fish.
You can easily stack several chickens on these racks as well!
Season your meats, set up the smoker, and that’s all there is to it; even the clean-up is easy after you finish using it.
Although tall, the Bradley 6 rack smoker remains as compact as possible, with its dimensions being 11.5 x 15 x 33 inches and weighing roughly 61 pounds.
The interior has an insulated polished stainless steel surface to trap the heat. It is also equipped with an internal thermostat that helps you keep an eye on the heat.
Speaking of heat, the Bradley Smoker can reach a temperature up to 350ºF. The burners for the smoke and oven are separate, so you could even use it as an oven instead if you need to.
At this point, you may have been wondering what outside insulation is. Simply put, it prevents the sides of the smoker from heating up too much. It also keeps the outside temperature from affecting the inside heat.
This is particularly important when smoking in cold weather. After all, if you can’t maintain the appropriate temperature, the cooking time will extend, and the food may not taste great.
Luckily, you can use some accessories to solve this problem. For example, using a cover and cutting holes to allow the smoke to escape can help maintain the temperature.
Alternatively, you can also purchase temperature control devices and heaters for the smoker.
Are you looking to get a straightforward smoker? If yes, then the Old Smokey might as well be your next favorite.
Unfortunately, this smoker isn’t the best at handling low temperatures. On the flip side, it’s a beast when it comes to beef and chicken since it deals pretty well with the heat.
The Old Smokey is relatively compact, 15.5 x 15.5 x 29 inches big, and only 24 pounds. I love how much of a portable electric smoker this is, especially compared to some of the larger variants
The wood chips tray sits directly on top of the heat source, controlled by a thermostat. Moreover, you can easily reach temperatures up to 300ºF with this electric smoker.
The Old Smokey Electric Smoker is designed to prevent as much moisture and smoke from escaping as possible.
Another thing I absolutely love about this small electric smoker is how simple it is to use. You simply have to load the meat, turn on the smoker, and forget about it till it’s time to take the food out.
Lo and behold! Just like that, you have a feast ready to be served.
The insulation on the outside can make it troublesome to handle the smoker when it gets hot. Fortunately, you only have to get near the smoker to check on the food.
Regardless, the hot surface can be a safety hazard if you have curious kids, so make sure not to let them near it!
Are you looking for a restaurant-quality electric smoker? Fortunately, the Smokin-It Model #2 happens to be NSF certified and is both compact and easy to use.
Despite its size, this smoker can handle itself quite well with simple meats such as fish or poultry, as well as other types like brisket.
The whole thing uses 201 stainless steel, which helps keep the unit well-insulated. On top of that, it also has a double latch system, which keeps the inside heat from escaping.
I mentioned that this is a compact smoker, but how does that translate to numbers? Well, you’re in for a surprise.
While Model #2’s dimensions are 24 x 30 x 22 inches, it weighs about 114 pounds. Now, you might be wondering how you could carry this unit, seeing how heavy it is.
Fortunately, this electric smoker comes with handles on the sides. Most importantly, though, it has wheels at the bottom to help you move it around.
The inside of this electric smoker has four removable shelves. So, if you need more space, it’s only a matter of removing some of them to make way for something bigger.
In case you’re wondering, you can lock the wheels to ensure your smoker doesn’t move away while you’re preoccupied with something else.
While I believe that this is an incredible piece of outdoor equipment, it’s nowhere near ideal if you’re looking to buy an electric smoker on a budget.
Cross that out, however, and you’ll end up with a great buy!
When it comes to accessories, you won’t need a smoker stand since the Smokin-It Model already has a wheel. However, a protective cover is certainly a worthwhile investment.
The Big Chief electric smoker is different from most of the other products on this list. For starters, it doesn’t come with a control panel and follows a ‘Plug-in and wait’ sort of mechanism instead.
The smoker comes with an easy-to-install handle kit, five grills, and a cast iron pan. You’ll also find a pack of wood chips and a comprehensive recipe guide.
On top of that, the grills and grease pan slide right in without a problem, and the cast iron simply goes at the button on top of the heat source.
When it comes to handling, Big Chief is the most compact smoker on this list, being 12.38 x 18.25 x 27.12 inches big and weighing only 18 pounds.
You can get a consistent low temperature of 165ºF with this small electric smoker, making it ideal for smoking cheese or fish. In fact, the Smokehouse Big Chief is probably the best electric smoker for fish.
When I say it has trouble handling meats like chicken, I don’t mean that you can’t cook it at all. You can even smoke meat for the first 3 hours and then finish it off in your oven.
This issue isn’t too concerning since most meat gets the best benefits from smoking in the first 3 to 4 hours. Nonetheless, you can also take measures to solve this small problem.
One way is to get yourself an insulation blanket that can help trap the heat inside the smoker. This small trick will ensure that your meat cooks appropriately in this portable electric smoker.
Other accessories you can use to increase its lifespan are, you guessed it, a smoker cover and stand!
What Should I Look For When Buying An Electric Smoker?
Different types of smokers have various benefits and features. For example, electric smokers are preferred by those who don’t want to babysit their food for hours.
Of course, some smokers are easier to use than others, primarily due to their features. Regardless, when you have a wide variety of options, finding the best electric smoker comes down to your needs and requirements.
To aid your choice, here’s a rundown of the features that make up for an excellent electric smoker:
While smokers have chimneys to let the smoke out, even the best electric smokers may have leaks that could let too much heat escape. To minimize this problem, make sure to inspect your smoker for any potential openings.
The insulation on the inner walls helps keep the inside temperature stable and prevents the outside surface from getting hot.
Take note of that last part; the best electric smokers won’t be burning hot on the outside while working. Regardless, it’s ideal to always approach with caution to avoid accidents.
A slight misfortune with electric smokers is that the inner thermostat will kill the heat once it reaches the set temperature.
The problem with this is that the heating rod doesn’t cool down instantly once turned off, which causes the inside temperature to continue rising.
Besides, most electric smokers are upright since they have vertically stacked racks. This shape does more than just make it compact. It also helps the hot smoke spread evenly as it comes out at the top.
When the hot smoke rises, it infuses the meat while enveloping it on the way out.
You can ask any pitmaster in the south what they consider the most crucial factor in smoking. You’ll always get the same answer: Temperature.
In an offset smoker, it takes a lot of practice just to control the flames. For example, you need to adjust the controls to make the temperature higher or lower.
It’s like playing seesaw with the heat, but you want it to stay at a certain level. Going too high will burn the food, but too low, and it won’t cook properly.
To counter that, electric smokers often have digital temperature controls since they don’t rely on an actual flame as a heat source. Instead, they use electric hot rods, which you can adjust with the push of a button.
When we talk about how versatile a smoker is, there are a couple of things to consider: how compact it is and what you can cook in it.
Take, for example, Mac N Cheese. You don’t need exceedingly high temperatures such as beef and poultry for this dish.
However, Mac N Cheese is a staple of barbeque, so it makes sense that you should be able to smoke it!
Furthermore, your electric smoker should be easy to move around. Although it’s best to store the device indoors, remember to take it outdoors to dissipate the smoke.
You won’t need to constantly look after the smoker, but accessories such as a temperature probe allow you to better control your BBQ.
In addition to the move, electric smokers should be lightweight and take the least amount of space.
Most electric smokers you’ll find have 3 or 4 racks. Anything more than that is extra unless you need the additional space.
Why Should I Get An Electric Smoker?
I’ve already listed the benefits and reasons why people prefer electric smokers. However, if you’re still confused about whether electric smokers are any good, the following section could be your answer.
They’re simple to use, versatile, require little supervision, and are an affordable option.
The general price range of most smokers can vary between affordable and expensive. On the other hand, electric smokers tend to be closer to the mid-range, making them economically feasible.
With that said, seasoned grillers and pitmasters prefer traditional charcoal or gas smokers for a few reasons.
For example, it’s a well-known fact that you can only achieve the famous pink smoking ring with traditional smokers.
Many pitmasters consider this the proof of suitably smoked BBQ meat, which is why they’re stiff-necked when it comes to their dislike for electric smokers.
Electric smokers are not inferior to traditional smokers, but it all comes down to preference when deciding which is the best option.
Pros of Electric Smokers:
- Ideal for newbies since they’re easy-to-handle
- Often include tools that are helpful with supervision
- Easy to clean up after a barbeque
- Compact and lightweight
- Affordable compared to non-electric choices
- Smoking meat doesn’t require as many hours as the traditional ones
Cons of Electric smokers:
- Adjusting the heat source can be tricky
- They need a power cord to operate
- Relatively harder to operate during rainy weather
- May struggle to maintain heat in cold climates
- No pink smoking ring
It’s hard to say that any of these cons is a deal-breaker. In fact, you can take simple measures to address most of the listed issues!
Smokers lacking insulation can use insulating covers to help trap the heat, which is why accessories are a wonderful gift.
Smoker accessories can help improve your barbeque with tiny bits at the time and make up for what they lack. For example, a smoker stand can solve your problem of an uneven surface.
However, if you still aren’t convinced about electric smokers, you might be more interested in an offset smoker guide instead. I’ve said it plenty of times now, but it all comes down to your personal preference.
What Can I Make In An Electric Smoker?
The answer may not surprise you: nearly anything any other smoker types can make!
Smoking ring or not, you can still use an electric smoker to make a killer barbeque, from beef and pork butt to poultry and fish.
The limits you have depend on the specific electric smoker you use. If you want to utilize it for several different purposes, you should look for a smoker that comes with a wide temperature range.
You could even get a smoker that handles low temperatures well and then use accessories to handle higher temperatures whenever you need them!
However, the dishes you can whip out of your smoker don’t just depend on temperature limitations. Preparation and seasoning can make a world of difference in your food.
Take it with a grain of salt, but a small pinch of seasoning can improve a dish considerably. Just because you’re smoking your meat doesn’t mean you can’t add seasoning to make it better!
Some electric smokers also come with a small recipe booklet to help you get started.
What is the point of different wood chips? It’s just smoke, right?
Well, it may seem like you’re just throwing smoke at your food, but the wood you use has a significant impact on the flavor!
You can even go as far as to say that certain types of wood mix well with some kinds of meat, while others are not ideal.
That’s not to say you should only ever use one kind of wood for beef, pork, and poultry. On the contrary, each category of meat and cut goes well with a different sort of wood.
For example, a set of meats might get a great aroma and taste from Cherrywood, while some go well with Mesquite wood chips. You can even find wood chips made from whiskey barrels!
Related: Hickory vs Mesquite
Understanding wood chips can be complicated, so if you need a hand, I’m happy to lend some assistance with a round-up of the best wood chips for smoking.
Before You Start Smoking
I just finished talking about seasoning your barbeque goods, and you might have heard the term “seasoning your smoker.”
Well, despite the term, it doesn’t mean adding spices to the smoker, at least not to season your food.
Curating or seasoning your smoker refers to running the machine at the maximum temperature for around an hour.
This is done in preparation for smoking meat, as well as for removing any manufacturing residue and improving the smoker’s lifespan.
When I mention manufacturing residue, I mean bits of metal or dirt, grease, adhesives, and other chemicals. These leftovers affect the taste of the food and can often be unhealthy for us.
Seasoning your smoker is vital, especially before you use it for the first time! You also have to protect the surfaces in the smoker, particularly those that are not rust-resistant.
Tips And Tricks For Using Electric Smokers Like An Expert
An essential benefit of electric smokers is technology, so don’t be shy in using that to your advantage.
Digital thermometers and probes, adjusting the temperature, and even turning it on or off proves to be easier with the best electric smokers.
Working The Smoke
Usually, you don’t open your smoker vent all the way; instead, you only open or close it to adjust the airflow.
However, electric smokers don’t deal with live flames, so make sure to keep the vent open all the way to make the smoke come out.
With that said, try not to overdo it with the smoke. Some people say, “there’s no such thing as too much smoke,” but that primarily depends on your taste.
To find how you like it best, try a trial and error process.
For example, each time you smoke some meat, add a low amount of wood chips, and the next time you get smoking, add a little more than the last.
This way, you’ll eventually figure out how much smoke suits you best!
The ‘Wet Wood Chips’ Myth
You’ve probably heard about dipping your wood chips in water before throwing them in the smoker. However, this step doesn’t accomplish anything; on the contrary, it burdens your smoker more than you should!
When you get your wood chips, the moisture will have to evaporate before the wood burns and starts smoking. As a result, you might end up overworking your smoker and have it take longer to prepare your food.
So it’s better to add sufficient water to the bowl and refill it as necessary to create steam, separate from the smoke. Then, if you need less smoke, you can just reduce the number of wood chips.
Anything Goes While Cleaning
To ensure that your electric smoker helps you, you have to help it as well.
Proper maintenance will ensure that your smoker continues to provide peak performance, so make sure you clean it regularly.
With that said, you don’t need to break your back cleaning your smoker as long as you can do it effectively.
Before you get smoking, wrap the grilling racks in aluminum foil. Then, once you’ve finished smoking your food, remove the foil wrapping and do it again the next time you use your smoker.
This method is reliable to the point you’ll think it’s cheating!
Conclusion: Who Says Smoking Has To Be Hard?
Some people may disagree with electric smokers, but at the end of the day, if the food on your plate is finger-licking good, who’s the real winner?
You don’t need to be a pitmaster to enjoy some great food. You don’t have to knock yourself out for it either, at least not as long as you have one of the best electric smokers!
So whether it’s for a family gathering or the 4th of July, a great barbeque is right at your fingertips, thanks to electric smokers.