Offset Smoker Vs. Pellet Smoker – Everything You Need to Know Before Your Purchase!


Offset smokers and pellet smokers just don’t seem similar from afar, but really do share quite a few qualities and functions.

Offset smokers are just more conventional versions of pellet smokers. So although there are many differences between the two smokers, pellet smokers are just like newer, updated versions of offset smokers.

Therefore, if you are having a hard time trying to distinguish between the two and making an ultimate choice between them, we’re here to remove all of your confusions!

Offset Smokers Vs. Pellet Smokers: What Makes Them Different?

Pellet smokers could be referred to as an updated version of the traditional offset smoker.

However, it’s still important to know what makes the two smokers different, in order for you to decide which smoker suits you better.

There is no set rule that can determine if pellet smokers are superior to offset smokers in smoking your meat professionally!

Therefore, we’re here to help you understand all the benefits and drawbacks of purchasing either of the two smokers being discussed.

FeatureOffset SmokersPellet Smokers
ElectricityNot requiredRequired
Power connectionsNo power connectionsAn electric powered motor
Fuel typePure wood and charcoal100% pure hardwood pellets
PortabilityNot as portablePortable
Ease of useNeeds practice to be used correctlyCan be easily used by anyone
Burn preventionAlways poses the risk of burning meatAlmost always prevents meat from being burned
Temperature controlVery hard to control in extreme weathersConvenient, and automated
Fuel efficiencyFuel usage is to be monitored manuallyHighly efficient fuel usage
SmokeAlways thickly smokedSometimes a little less smoky
MaintenanceLow maintenance (can last up to many years)Low maintenance
Cooking capacitySmall to very largeSmall to large
Price range$200 – $2000$300 – $2000
Running costLow moderate running costModerate running cost

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What is an Offset Smoker?

Offset smokers are the most traditional versions of barbecues that we have today. Despite being designed ages back, they’re just as good as any newer barbecues.

These smokers have a large barrel for cooking the meat. The barrel is connected to a firebox that provides fuel to the smoker. 

This fuel can come from different sources such as charcoal and pure wood etc. However, wood pellets or chips are almost always used to give the meat a thick smoky flavor!

Offset smokers are conventionally horizontally shaped, but there are vertical shaped offset smokers available too.

They are also more commonly referred to as horizontal smoker, side firebox smoker, barrel smoker, pipe smoker and even stick smoker. 

These smokers are best for cooking your meat low and slow, to reach its best flavor and tenderness.

However, these smokers can be a little too much to handle for some people because they need to be continuously monitored and closely observed while the cooking goes on. 

If you do not do so, there’s always a big risk of messing up your meat!

Our Pick

Char-Griller E1224 Smokin Pro 830

This 113 pounds offset smoker from Char-Griller Store has been designed to give you great durability.

Its grill barrel and firebox both have heavy-gauge powder-coated steel construction. Even the storage racks, wheels, etc., are all constructed of heavy duty steel.

The product features removable charcoal racks, which both ease filling it up with charcoal, and cleaning up the ashes later.

However, it doesn’t come assembled.

What is a Pellet Smoker?

Pellet smokers look very similar to offset smokers. This is because they were designed to remove all the inconvenient aspects of offset smokers and make barbecue more user friendly.

So while on the outside they’re also just horizontal smokers, they don’t need to be closely monitored at all points during your cooking process.

This is because of the design of the firebox of the pellet smokers. 

The pellets that are added to the smoker are not automatically all burned at the same time. These pellets are drip fed into the firebox automatically according to the need of the temperature you set. 

The pellets in the firebox at all times are just enough to maintain the temperature you set for your meat to come out perfect!

Also, these smokers only use one type of fuel for their cooking process: 100% pure hardwood pellets.

Of course, you can further decide what type of hardwood you want to use according to the flavor you would prefer in your smoky meat. 

These smokers produce sufficient smoke. In fact, they can produce just enough to match the temperature you set.

Our Pick

Z Grills Powerhouse 10002B2E Pellet Smoker

The Powerhouse pellet smoker is made to offer you a large cooking capacity.

This is an 8-in-1 pellet smoker that will allow you to pick any temperature between 180 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

As long as you fuel it up with 100% pure hardwood, you will get the smokiest meat that you’ve feasted on

Wrapping it Up

We can conclude that both the offset smokers and the pellet smokers come with their own list of pros and cons.

It’s unfair to prefer one smoker over another. Your choice of purchase depends on your personal need and preference.

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Tyler Lachance is a cookout professional. His expertise on cooking grilled food, creating marinades, formulating sauces and matching his food with the perfect drink is unrivaled.

Born and raised in a family that has a long history of cookout, he has treated this activity as a part of his culture and who he is.