Propane smokers are one of the best yet affordable smokers that you can get yourself. They’ll both make your job easier, and also give you the best results.
Burning charcoal in traditional charcoal smokers is hard, but using propane makes the same job much easier.
We prefer vertical propane smokers because they have a lot of room inside them for smoking quite a lot of meat at once. Still, their vertical shape also allows them to be stored easily and not take up much space.
Since we love using propane smokers, we can help you pick the best one for yourself.
So without further ado, let’s jump into it!
Top Picks – Best Propane Smokers
Taking into consideration all the outstanding features of vertical propane smokers listed in the above section, we picked the best 7 products for you!
Masterbuilt store delivers some of the best propane smokers.
The MB20051316 is a smoker with a huge cooking capacity. It can easily fit all your large briskets and pork shoulders without any struggle.
This smoker also includes temperature sensor control burners, making temperature and heat control much easier for us. We didn’t have to observe the meat continuously while it was smoking.
What made it even more reliable for us to leave it alone was the inclusion of its safety valve. This valve shuts off burners automatically whenever the flame is extinguished – even if it’s by accident.
It also has a tank fuel level which is accurate. So with that we could always tell how much propane we were left with at any time. Of course, this saves us from running out of fuel during smoking, and no one wants that!
Although we think that the smoker is a bit on the heavier side, its weight and size have never really caused a problem for us. That’s because it has wheels on its bottom, making it very easy to carry and move around.
The COS-244 by Cuisinart store works on the double-door design to ensure minimal to zero disruption of heat and smoke when the smoking takes place.
All of the doors are also tightly sealed. It also has a rear vent. Therefore, this smoker offered us great smoke, heat, and temperature control.
It features a built-in thermometer on its front door. This made it very convenient for us to check the smoker’s internal temperature at any time without really making an effort.
We also love how easy it is to clean this smoker. All of its trays, racks, and pans are removable and dishwasher safe.
The Smoke Vault by Camp Chef store is one of our top-rated propane smokers because of the great temperature, heat, and smoke control that it offers its users.
It specially includes a protected burner drum and features snap-ignition for this purpose.
It includes a door thermometer as well, which we find very easy to read, and offers a wide range of temperatures between 50 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The convenience of having an idea of a smoker’s internal temperature saved us a lot of time.
This smoker comes in 2 different sizes, an 18-inch or a 24-inch one; purchase on whichever suits you better.
We find cleaning this smoker relatively easy since its water pan and chip tray are both removable and save us a lot of trouble.
Our favorite accessory that comes with purchasing this smoker is a booklet with so many recipes and other cooking tips!
Also see: How Do Propane Smokers Work
This vertical gas smoker by Dyna-Glo store is CSA certified and offers a limited warranty of 1 year.
The CSA certification proves that this smoker has been tested to recognise the standards of health, safety, and quality performance.
We like this smoker because of its double-door design. These doors allow us to have better heat and temperature control while smoking.
You can find this one smoker in 3 different sizes; the standard one, and also a large and extra-large.
To make the smoker more product friendly, Dyna-Glo also added an electronic push-button on it for easy ignition, along with a large control dial as well. For us, this added a great deal of relief.
We keep this smoker safe from all external factors using a Dyna-Glo premium cover. Since its custom-fit, it’s one of the best investments we have made on this smoker to give it a longer life span and maintain it the right way.
This is one of the most technologically advanced options in vertical propane smokers that we recommend.
It features the TRU-infrared technology which allows you to cook food with ease since it prevents any flare-ups. This cooking technology helps distribute the heat evenly across the smoker so that you can get a consistent temperature inside the cooking space.
Because of this technology, we don’t use any water pan in it to save us any hassle.
The Deepa by Char-Broil store is a 3-in-1; it’s not only a smoker but also a propane smoker grill and roaster – and we have made sure we use it for every purpose it can serve!
It has a capacity of 180 square inches for smoking and grilling meat and can roast about 25 pounds of meat at a time.
Although it’s a small smoker, it’s still a great deal since it allows you to grill and roast as well, and the small size and lightweight also make it much more mobile.
Although if you need to buy a grill separately as well, this article can help you out.
The PS40B is yet another great propane smoker for sale designed by the Masterbuilt store.
This is a large propane smoker since it offers a cooking space of 860 square inches.
We find this smoker quite easy and convenient to use since it has long legs for easy access. Even for the smoking process, it features a push-button for igniting the burner.
The smoker has a sturdy build and it also has adjustable air dampers. Together this construction always gives us good control of the heat, smoke, and temperature.
We also don’t observe its temperature frequently since this is a reliable smoker that we completely trust after all our successful smoking sessions.
Weston store supplies this vertical smoker, model number 41-0701-W, with an external thermometer. This external temperature gauge allows us to always be aware of the internal temperature of the smoker.
It’s also a user-friendly gas meat smoker because it has a fully adjustable fuel delivery system.
We find ignition in this smoker quite easy since they have rotatory ignitor for burners.
The smoker has a rather strong build – all of its steel cabinets, as well as the cooking space, are fully welded. They’re all also made of steel coated with black powder.
What is the Difference Between Propane Smokers and Other Types of Smokers?
Vertical propane smokers gained a lot of popularity as soon as they were introduced because of the ease in their use, as well as the great gas smoker BBQ that they make for you.
They’re much more portable as compared to other types of smokers, especially electric smokers. This is because they don’t have any wires and don’t need to be placed near electric outlets.
They’re also not too heavy, and in case they are, they usually have handles and wheels attached to them for easy mobility.
They are also much less complicated as compared to other popularly used types of meat smokers. So, if they break down, finding the fault and fixing them is not much of a hassle and won’t always require a professional.
They have a simple design and igniting them is normally made even easier with push-button ignitions.
They have easy-to-read thermometers present on their doors.
All these features essentially make these smokers very user-friendly.
You don’t need to be a professional smoker to be able to use a vertical gas smoker the right way. It has been designed in a manner to provide ease to its users.
Despite being so easy to use, their results are just as good as using traditional smokers. That is why even expert pitmasters like Aaron Franklin love using vertical propane smokers.
One of the beautiful things about outdoor cooking is that barbecue chefs have a wide array of options for preparing meats and vegetables. While grilling and roasting are tried and true methods, many top BBQ pitmasters swear by smoking meat, which is a relatively low-heat form of convection cooking.
The most traditional form of outdoor smoking is done with a charcoal smoker, where burning coals provide the heat, and wood chips or wood pellets are added to the cooking chamber. For a simpler method that still incorporates wood smoking, many BBQ chefs now embrace gas smoking, which generates heat by burning propane.
How Does a Vertical Propane Smoker Work?
Like we have already mentioned, vertical propane smokers have a very user-friendly design, which means that it also has a rather simple working process.
Almost all vertical propane smokers are built on the same design.
They have gas burners that are present at the bottom of their body. A hose is attached to the one or two burners present, which is then connected to the propane tank on the other end.
Above these burners, there are two boxes present. One of them is a water pan, and the other is a wood chip and pellet tray. There is no right or one order for these two, they can be placed interchangeably in each other’s spots, depending on the design of the specific smoker.
Then above these are the racks of the cooking chamber. This is where you stack your meat and where it is turned into a juicy, flavorful treat for you.
The last, yet the most important part of a propane smoker is the presence of dampers and chimneys. These are the vents that allow for proper airflow in the smoker.
These are also kept open throughout the cooking or smoking process because that’s what prevents all the soot build-up on your food.
Since these are gas smokers, the burners are lighted by igniting the propane attached to them with a hose.
This propane is the main source of heat for these smokers. They then heat the wood chips, pellets, or chunks present on top of them, helping create the smoke needed for the meat to be cooked.
And that’s about it! No supervision, nothing else required. Just ignition of the propane and the burning of wood for smoke.
The smoke automatically flows upwards and penetrates through the meat, adding flavor to it while cooking it.
The opened chimneys or dampers make sure the smoke is clean and no soot is accumulated on the meat.
The job of the water in the water pan is to keep the smoker from getting too hot or too cold too suddenly. It also keeps the meat moist and juicy.
One thing to notice is that all vertical propane smokers don’t have the same design for producing smoke.
Some smokers have two burners present in their design, one of these burners helps produce smoke with the wood chips, while the other is simply for heating the rest of the unit.
Features to Look for When Buying a Propane Smoker
If you get yourself the right propane smoker, you will be enjoying both smoking and feasting on meat to the fullest.
Lucky for you, there isn’t much that you need to remember and recall when you buy a good vertical propane smoker.
The following are the main features that you need to look out for when making your purchase.
Propane smokers are popular for being spacious enough to cook big amounts of meat at the same time.
However, it’s still necessary to make sure that’s true for the specific smoker that you are looking into.
There can be smokers that claim to have large surface areas but will still not fit a huge brisket or pork shoulder.
So, if you won’t be smoking anything too big, you’re good to go with anything. But if you’re going to be cooking in large amounts, or have a lot of briskets, then it’s important to see if the space inside is enough for the meat to not be smashing into itself and the smoker walls!
Number of Doors in the Smoker
It’s very important to ensure that the smoker of your choice has two doors present in its design.
This is because the two doors make sure that you can check up on the wood chips and refill them whenever needed without opening the door for the cooking chamber.
Although most propane smokers do have a two-door design, some of them still only have a single one. But usually in that case the wood chip tray can be inserted separately so that no smoke or heat is lost or disrupted in the cooking chamber during the smoking process.
Smoker Construction – Checking for Door Leaks
One of the most important things to look for in a good propane smoker is a strong and sturdy construction.
Most smokers are built from really thin metal, especially when it comes to their doors. This makes the doors prone to leakage which of course disrupts the heat and temperature of the cooking chamber.
Therefore, it’s good to find smokers with minimum door leakage – since a little leakage is fine.
However, in case you find yourself with a smoker that leaks a lot, you can fix it by installing a high temp gasket seal on the doors. It doesn’t cost much, so it won’t be a huge investment to make.
Most people will not think too much into this, but it’s best for you if you get a smoker that is easy to clean and maintain so that it has a long life.
Most of them will have features like removable grease pans, grills, and other racks, etc., that will make the cleaning process easier for you.
It’s even better if these racks are all dishwasher safe, non-stick, etc.
Of course, anything that is too heavy on your pocket is not the right choice for you.
Most vertical propane smokers are very budget-friendly, but it’s still better to look for one that falls right under your budget.
We can help you find the right vertical propane smoker with the best combination of features yet a low price.
Who are Gas Smokers Best For?
If you already have another type of smoker at home, you must be asking yourself whether you need a new smoker or not. The answer is yes! If it’s a gas smoker you should be purchasing it to make your life easier, and here’s why.
Vertical propane smokers are extremely convenient to use. They don’t need constant supervision, and can easily be set to a particular temperature and timer with the buttons on the smoker.
You also don’t need to be a fire expert to be able to use these smokers. The same cannot be said for charcoal grills.
They are so easy for anyone to use that most cooking competitions don’t even allow the use of gas smokers!
No Need for Constant Supervision
The best feature that gas smokers offer is that they need less observation and involvement on your part.
All you have to do is insert your wood chips or pellets, in case they are needed, and set the desired cooking temperature and timer. Then once your meat is inside the cooking chamber, you just need to let it cook on its own.
It’s best on your part to not check on the meat inside the cooking chamber again and again as that will only disrupt the smoking process by messing with the smoke and heat inside it.
Gas smokers are also highly cheap. Most of them are usually priced between $150 to $300, that low!
If you compare this price to other types of smokers as well, you realize how budget-friendly it is for you.
Tips & Tricks – How to Effectively Use Your Propane Smoker
To help you make the most out of your smoking experience with a propane smoker, we also compiled our favorite tips and tricks.
Replace Your Wood Chip Tray
If your smoker’s wood chip tray or pan seems a little loosely constructed, you should replace it.
Don’t worry, it won’t cost you a lot! But it will surely help you become a better smoker for your meat.
The reason why we’re insisting that you replace your wood box is that most gas smoker manufacturers tend to deliver lightly constructed wood boxes to their smokers.
And we don’t blame them for it – for the low price that propane smokers come in, they are still a great deal.
However, they can make it harder for you to produce the right amount of smoke at the right time for your meat. Therefore, it’s best to replace it with a sturdier wood chip pan.
You can also make an even cheaper update yourself by simply picking up any cast iron skillet, measuring somewhere between 8 and 12 inches (the bigger the better, as long as it fits fine into your propane smoker), and inserting it in place of the wood box.
With the right amount of wood on this skillet present on top of the tray, this upgrade will help you produce a much better smoke.
You can also simply improve the quantity and quality of your smoke by replacing wood chips with bigger wood chunks.
What a poor wood box can do is that it will need you to continuously monitor the smoke, and also refill it over and over again – which is the last thing you want when you invest in a gas smoker.
Wood chunks can make that job somewhat easier as they only need to be refilled once in every 5 hours or so
Adding Charcoal to a Propane Smoker
Do you want to experience an even better taste and flavor for smoked meat? Then adding charcoal even to your gas smokers is what you might need.
If you have eaten meat smoked on charcoal, you must have noticed that it has its specific flavor as well. To add this flavor even to your gas-smoked meat, you can simply do both!
What you do is that you add another firebox to your propane smoker, and place a few pieces of charcoal in it. This allows the smoker to cook your meal with the ease of a propane smoker, but with the result of a charcoal smoker.
To produce smoke in this second firebox, you need to wrap a few wood chunks in a foil and place them over a small pile of charcoal above the heat disperses. This will produce ample smoke for the meat to have a hint of charcoal-specific taste to it.
Buying a Spare Fuel Tank
Most vertical propane smokers do not include a fuel tank in their purchase.
So since you have to buy one anyway, it’s best to purchase a spare one at the same time as well.
This spare fuel tank will allow you to store extra fuel at all times and ensure that you never run out of propane in the middle of a smoking process.
Set a Low Temperature on the Propane Smoker
Most gas temperatures usually run pretty hot, therefore we recommend that you set them to a lower temperature than intended.
For instance, if you need to set a temperature range from 225 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit, you should set it to the lower limit which is 225 degrees Fahrenheit – unless the smoker states otherwise itself!
You should also invest in a good temperature. Although most vertical propane smoker brands claim to have accurately working door thermometers and temperature gauges, it’s better if you always double-check the temperature using a known and good thermometer of your own.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Long Do Vertical Propane Smokers Last?
This depends on the amount of fuel you have.
For instance, if you have a fuel tank that contains 20 pounds of propane, then the tank will last you for about 18 to 20 hours in a medium-sized smoker put on high heat.
Do You Need Water in a Propane Smoker?
Putting a water pan in a vertical gas smoker is very necessary. This is because it helps your meat retain its juices and not become dry as it is gradually smoked.
The water pan also helps retain and regulate the temperature and heat inside the gas smoker. It doesn’t let the smoker get too hot or too cold too suddenly at any point.
Can Gas Grills be Used as Smokers?
Yes, but shouldn’t be.
Gas grills can be converted into smokers for your meat. However, it’s not recommended that you do so.
For instance, when you end up using your gas grills to smoke meat, the meat will not contain any of the traditional smoky flavors that comes from the wood chips and pellets added to the smoker.
It’s also very hard to regulate the temperature of a gas grill, which then causes the meat to be unevenly cooked or smoked. This is because there are gaps present between the lids and grates of a gas grill, which are otherwise carefully sealed in gas smokers.
If you want to learn about the best smokers for beginners, this article might help you out!
How Often Should You Add Wood Chips or Pellets to Your Propane Smoker?
Every 5 to 6 hours.
One reason why vertical propane smokers enjoy a great deal of popularity is that they don’t need to be monitored constantly.
Once the smoker is ignited, set to a particular temperature and timer, you just have to burn the wood chips once and put in your meat for cooking, and then leave the smoker alone.
Wood chips are only to be checked and added 5 to 6 hours.
In case your chips end up burning faster than usual, you can use wood chunks. This will allow you to sit and leave your smoker alone for a good time.
If you’re cooking something smaller that doesn’t need to be smoked that extensively, adding the wood chips or chunks once will be enough.
How Long Will a 20 Pound Propane Tank Last for a Vertical Pellet Smoker?
Between 18 to 20 hours.
If you are using a good quality vertical pellet smoker that results in much gas leakage and doesn’t take longer than usual to smoke meat, then a 20-pound propane tank should last you about 18 to 20 hours on a medium-sized smoker set on high heat.
However, we highly recommend that you purchase an extra propane tank when you purchase the actual one. This spare tank will ensure that you never run out of propane during a smoking session.
Should You Soak Wood Chips and Pellets Before Adding Them to a Propane Smoker?
Although it is fine if you soak your wood chips before adding them to the wood box of your gas smoker, it’s not necessary to do so.
This is because soaked wood chips and dry wood chips essentially produce the same type of smoke. The only difference is that wet wood chips will take much longer to do the same job.
This is because all wood chips and pellets have to get rid of all of their moisture to produce the right kind of smoker for a meat smoker. So, this will just elongate your smoking period.
How Do You Produce More Smoke in a Gas Smoker?
If you think that your smoker is not producing ample smoke, make sure that there are no leakages in the smoker you are using.
In case the vents and doors are looser than needed, you can always install high temp gasket seals on them, which won’t cost you much.
You can also purchase more smoker accessories to make smoking more convenient for you.
Pro Tip: Season your propane smoker first before using.
How Hot Can a Vertical Propane Smoker Get?
Around 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although this is the usual upper limit that most propane smokers can reach, a lot of smokers can’t reach a temperature that high.
Therefore, if you think that you will be needing a temperature as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit, then you should look into your gas smoker of choice to see if it can reach that high.
Wrapping it Up
Choosing between several vertical propane smokers can be a hard choice to make, especially when you have so many options available in the market.
Our favorite is the model number MB20051316 by Masterbuilt Store. We love the convenience this smoker has to offer, with results that make you choose it over and over again!