You’re tired of the regular old grilled meat. Those dry burgers, a steak that tastes like leather. We’re eating, not making shoes!
You’re done with that. It’s time to smoke, and it’s time to smoke well. You’re busy though, who has the time to stand around and babysit a pile of burning wood? Yeah, flavor takes time, but can’t we multitask here? Obviously, if you are looking to make great tasting, oh-so-smokey meat without the hassel of checking up on a charcoal smoker every 20 minutes, you’re in the market for an electric smoker. You don’t just want any electric smoker though, you want something you can trust, you want the best electric smoker you can find.
So check out our awesome summary table here. We’ve got some more information below that table too!
The Ultimate Electric Smoker Guide
Cooking Space (sq. in.)
|Picture||Smoker||Cooking Space (sq. in.)||Temp. Control||Price||Rating|
|Masterbuilt 40-Inch Electric Digital Smokehouse Smoker with Remote Control||754+||Digital with remote controll||$$$$||4.8|
|Masterbuilt 40-Inch Electric Digital Smokehouse Smoker with window||754+||Digital||$$$||4.4|
|Brinkmann Gourmet Electric Smoker"||453||Analog||$$||4.0|
|Brinkmann 810-5290-4 Smoke'N Grill Electric Smoker and Grill, Black"||225||Analog||$||3.8|
|Bradley Digital 4-Rack Smoker"||572||Digital||$$$$$||3.8|
|Masterbuilt 30-Inch Electric Digital Smokehouse Smoker, Black||754||Digital||$$||4.1|
|Masterbuilt 30-Inch Electric Analog Smokehouse Smoker, Black||754||Analog||$||4.0|
|Char-Broil Electric Vertical Smoker, 30"||504||Analog||$$||3.9|
|Smoke Hollow 30162E Electric Smoker"||448||Analog||$$$||4.4|
How an Electric Smoker Works
At their very basic level, electric smokers function by heating up wood chips in order to make wood smoke. On most units, this same heat source is also used to heat the cooking cavity. This heat typically comes from one or more electric heating coils, not too different from what you might have seen on our electric stove top. It you’ve ever lived in an apartment, you’ve probably seen a coil like this.
Electric smokers are known for being easy, they’re “set and forget.” Most will have a knob attached to a rheostat that is used to set the amount of heat desired. The fancier (and more expensive) models have an actual thermostat and will allow you to set an exact temperature using a digital or analog input. Most of these expensive model will even be able to turn the heating element on and off automatically in order to hold the temperature steady for you.
Advantages of an Electric Smoker
We’re not interested in fighting about what type of smoker is best. We’re just here to help you make the best decision you can so that you can buy the best electric smoker for your needs. That said, the main advantages of an electric smoker are:
- Less hassle – There is no lighting a fire, keeping a fire lit, refueling, or danger of getting ash/hot coals all over your driveway/patio/deck/football stadium parking lot.
- Less monitoring – This is especially true with the more expensive models but is also applicable to the basic electric smoker models. Since you set the temperature with a dial or touchpad, you don’t need to constantly hover over the smoker to ensure you are staying on temperature. Of course this isn’t a huge deal to an experienced smoker that has really honed in his smoker, but this can be a real god-send for the new smokers among us.
- Less fuel – Electric smokers are efficient. For a typical smoke you’ll only need 2 to 4 ounces of wood chips to give that meat an awesome smokey flavor.
- Greater flexibility – Not everyone has access to a backyard or a driveway to smoke in. We understand that. Electric smokers are great for people living in apartments or other small spaces without tons of outside personal space, especially in urban areas.
How Much to Spend
Electric smokers range in price from $100 to $10,000 but all the smokers discussed and shown on this page are between $100 and $400. Price is highly dependent on the size and quality of the smoker. We recommend that you carefully consider what your goals are and what you really need in your smoker. It is quite easy to get carried away and end up with an awesome, giant smoker that does all sorts of fancy stuff that you might not ever need.
Remember, you can always start small, practice, and ensure that you enjoy the process and art of smoking meat. There’s always room to upgrade.
SMaT Recommended Best Electric Smokers
We’re not dummies, smokers can be expensive. Here are our quick reviews of our top recommended electric smokers.
We’re not sure if you can really call this the best electric smoker, but it’s darn close. It’s loaded up with plenty of goodies that’ll help you get the delicious job done and get it done right.
It’s digital! It’s got a thermometer and it’ll automatically keep that smoker at that temperature fairly well. All you really need to do is make sure that it has all the wood it needs to make that smoke!
Another great thing about this baby is that it is fairly large. It has four different racks that you can put smaller cuts or meat or stuff like sausages on. Bigger cuts of meat, like ribs, or whole birds don’t fit with all four shelves, but the shelves are removable so it isn’t a big problem. IF you’ve got something big to go in, the shelves come out. The smoker is pretty configurable like that, sounds like a plus in our book.
The only things we didn’t like about this is that it needs to be plugged directly into a wall (no extension cords) and the manual says that the entire unit should never get wet. That’s a frustrating tidbit for those of us that like to keep the smoker out back under its cover.
For our more in depth review of this smoker check out the full review were we go into more detail about the different models available.
Bottom Line: The Masterbuilt Electric smoker is a quality smoker that gets the job done. If your budget is large enough, the higher end models with the digitally controlled temperature can go a long way toward making smoke days less hassle and more good times. Further bonus pointed for the models with the windows. Having a window on the smoker significantly cuts down on new smokers’ tenancy to constantly open the smoker to check on the meat. It should be noted that this isn’t something that we would recommend you bring to a tailgate party, it’s pretty gosh darn heavy.
The Brinkmann Gourmet is a pretty good little electric smoker. It’s comparable to the base model Masterbuilt Electric Smoker in terms of price.
The Brinkmann is constructed of thinner metal than the more expensive smokers and therefore has a little trouble getting up to and maintaining temperature when it’s cold outside (it’s fine in warm or mild weather). There is no smokestack or smoke hole on top so the smoke exits the smoker from the space between the body and the fairly loose fitting lid. The thermometer that comes with the smoker, like most factory thermometers, isn’t very accurate and should probably be replaced as soon as possible.
The main disadvantage of this smoker is that the heating element is either on or off. There is no rheostat in this model allowing you to adjust the amount of heat, it’s either all or nothing.
Bottom Line: This little smoker might struggle a little bit in colder temps but manages to get the job done just fine. It’s top loading design makes doing things like mopping meat and adding sauce a bit easier than the front loading designs (like the Masterbuilt). The Brinkmann is also a bit lighter and easier to move around before/after your smokes. It’s simple, it’s cheap, and it gets the job done. Also, a huge bonus for this smoker is that it can be purchased online and shipped for free from Amazon.
Don’t be put off by the low price and small size of this little smoker. We really feel that this thing has a role to play, and it plays it well. The Brinkmann Smoke and Grill is one of the smallest smokers we’ve ever seen. It’s small size lends itself well to a few good things:
- It can be tossed in the car and brought almost anywhere. Camping, hunting, tailgating, block parties, etc.
- It’s quicker to come to temperature and easier to keep at temperature.
- It eats through less wood.
- It’ll fit on an urban balcony.
This smoker is clearly intended for use by the budding smokers out there that might not have the room or desire for a full blown rig. We really feel that it excels at being just enough smoker for those that want to dabble but aren’t ready or don’t want to blow through a ton of cash, a ton of garage space, and a ton of patio space for a full size with bells and whistles smoker.
Bottom Line: Are you still in college? Maybe you’re a renter in an urban area. Either way, this is the smoker for you. It’s small, it works well, and you can store it away in a closet when not in use. Also a great little guy to bring along to the tailgate to finish up those ribs, or do a quick smoke on some salmon for bagels and lox (doesn’t everyone start tailgating at 5:00 am?). Like the other Brinkmann above, it also ships for free from Amazon.
If you’re a new smoker don’t forget the extras! You’ll probably have one or two of these at home already, that’s great. If you don’t have them already, SMaT recommends these additional tools to make your first smoke successful:
- Wood for the smoke
- A good quality meat thermometer (for knowing when your meat is done)
- A good quality grill thermometer
- A sauce mop
Thanks For Stopping By
We hope that we were successful in helping you find the best electric smoker for your situation. Remember, it’s all about having fun, spending time with friends, and eating some great food. If there is anything you think we could improve on or you just want to tell us thanks and let us know how we helped you (and what smoker you ended up getting), let us know! You can leave a comment below or you can send us an email on the Contact Us page. And remember, eat a treat, smoke your meat!