“Smoking meat is now more easy and less messy with electric smokers”
Electric smokers are an efficient way to smoke your meat without the hassle of monitoring constantly.
Some of them can handle cold smoking while others are capable of handling hot smoking. Apart from this, there are several other differences as well.
It can be quite overwhelming to choose an electric smoker, especially if you are not aware of these differences. To help you out choose the right one, we have provided 3 main factors to consider.
You have to choose an electric smoker that can easily accommodate the food or meat you will want to smoke regularly. For example, a 30-inch smoker with 3 – 4 cooking racks suits for smoking small-medium items at once, whereas a 40-inch model fits perfect for large items.
An ideal electric smoker should have digital controls or dials, remote controls, Wi-Fi connectivity, etc. for easy operation.
As you may have to move the electric smoker for plugging or storing, make sure it has wheels and easy manoeuvrability.
Along with these three factors, you should consider like temperature settings, wattage and others. We have provided detail information in the Buying Guide.
Based on the same information, we have reviewed and shortlisted the Best Electric Smokers for your convenience.
7 Best Electric Smokers Of 2020
7 Best Electric Smokers Of 2020 Reviews
First on our list is the Masterbuilt MB20071117, a black colored digital electric smoker of the size 30 inches. This electric smoker comes in a refrigerator model but without a transparent door but is heavy-duty nonetheless.
- Comes with a digital control panel that lets you control the power functions (on and off) and also set the cooking temperature for smoking
- The panel also has a timer function to be set up as well.
- There are a total of four smoking rack shelves that are all chrome coated
- The thermostat allows for temperature changes to happen between 100 °F – 275 °F whereas the temperature control allows you to have a consistent cooking temperature.
- Has a wood chip loading system to the side that is of a patented design. It allows for you to load the smoking wood chips to the side of the machine eliminating the need for opening the door
- The whole body of the electric smoker is perfectly and fully insulated to help retain all the heat.
- Can cook about 16 lbs to 22 lbs of turkey bird or equivalent weight.
- Has a grease tray at the backside to collect extra grease for disposal or another usage
Warranty: Comes with a 90 days return window and a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchase
- Could improve their customer support
- Needs to work a little on the internal wiring
Next up on our list is yet another 30 inches electric smoker from Cuisinart. The Cuisinart COS-330 electric smoker has a robust design look and a heat-insulated handle for easier operation. Also, it is one of the most fervently bought items thanks to its favorable reviews and ratings.
- Convenient and easy to use of a design that is built for beginners to learn to smoke while seasoned chefs to work on it as well.
- Plug and play design come with 548 square inches of cooking space with a comfortable 3 racks stacked one upon another.
- It has a 1,500-watt heating element inside it to produce a temperature ranging from 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The Light in weight frame of the device makes it easier to carry around from one place to another.
- It has 2 separate handles on either side for easier and better mobility
- The centrally located easy to read thermometer on the front door of the machine aids in monitoring the temperature of the food being smoked inside.
- Chrome-based door handle with spring action for easier handling
- Has a water pan and a wood chip rack at the bottom for water and wood required for smoking
Warranty: The smoker comes with a 3 years limited manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchase.
- Purely electric control and no digital controls available
Char-Boli 19202101 Deluxe, a digital electric smoker that comes with a transparent door. The transparent door enables you to look at the food while it is being smoked. Also, there is the fact that the large storage and smoking space compared to other electric smokers.
- A 725 square inches large smoking station with double insulated wall construction.
- It has 4 total racks to accommodate meat and vegetables and below these grilled racks is a water storage and a wood chip storage box each for enabling the smoke.
- There is an advanced digital control panel on top of the device which lets you toggle temperature and timing settings as well. The digits are large and clear to read up.
- It has a removable and replaceable food thermometer to be kept inside by the racks.
- It comes with a very large steel locking mechanism that enables latching on to have a smoke tight seal on it.
- The system is corded without any tangle propositions thus safe to use.
- Compatible with remote control (free with only the deluxe stainless steel model)
- The grease tray is removable and aids in collecting of disposable or reusable food grease up to 8.5 cups.
- There is also warming up feature which, when enabled, will continue to keep the food warm enough after it is done cooking it
- Optional accessories include a 4 piece comfortable grip smoking toolset.
Warranty: Comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchase
- None too specific to mention
Next up on our list, we have a tiny and highly portable electric smoker. The Landmann MCO 32954 Smoky Mountain is a tiny 26 inches long electric smoker that comes in a pith black color and a nifty glass door of a certain proportionate view.
- Comes with a unique 3 in one tray combination for smoking wood chips, water pan, and smoking tray as well.
- The cooking chambers are non-insulated and have a separate heating element with a temperature controller that is removable
- Has a damper port to the rear end of the machine but all the sides are double-walled
- All the cooking grates are made out of chrome-plated steel and the machine itself consumes about 1,500 watts of energy.
- Easy carry side handles made out of high quality wrought iron that enable easier transport
- The feet of the smoker are adjustable for accurate leveling when being used on uneven surfaces
- The transparent door also includes a temperature gauge which not only gives you an idea of the temperature but also toggles it
- A bit too short in height.
- Could have had better heat insulation for longer heating of the food
Finally, on our list, we have the Bradley Smoker BTDS76P 990216. This digital smoker comes with 4 racks and an aesthetically pleasing steel silver color. Also, the overall design of the smoker has a robust look to it and has an innovative wood chip insertion mechanism that gives it a must-have vibe.
- 31 inches large digital smoker with height adjustment settings.
- Made out of high-quality premium epoxy steel material with a stainless steel and polished interior setting. The entire set up is very easy to clean and maintain as well.
- Has a total of 4 food storage racks for smoking meat and vegetables etc.,
- Can smoke up and have controlled cool smoke up to a duration of 8 hours.
- Controllable temperature settings up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Has two heating burners in it; one is for smoking up the machine whereas the other is to heat up the interiors vis a vis the food
- Has a generator that goes by to the side of the machine for better digital control and toggling capacity
- The wood chipper tray is designed uniquely and innovatively
Warranty: Comes with a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchasing
- None too specific to mention
Buying Guide: Choosing The Best Electric Smoker
Have a look at various essential factors, which you have to take into consideration when you are going to purchase an electric smoker.
1. Size and Capacities:
Unlike traditional smokers (large wood-burning smokers), the capacity of these electric smokers is small, which makes it suits for an average-size family, to cook for 3 – 5 members. But their size is not suitable to use for a large family.
Also, it is essential to check the cooking space of your smoker before its purchase, to know whether it provides an adequate space to cook your favorite food or not. For instance, if you like to cook chicken or turkey then choose a smaller electric smoker. If planning for beef, you have to opt for a smoker with spacious enough.
The size of an average electric smoker will be 19 inches deep, 3 feet tall and 19 inches wide along with having 3 – 4 racks for cooking food. Choosing a small size smoker won’t suit larger meats like full racks of ribs, whereas a charcoal smoker with a broad width will suit for cooking large meats. A 40-inch model will perfectly suit your cooking needs, especially cooking large items.
We observe a standard electric smoker comes with an adequate cooking capacity that can easily cook 6 chickens, or six ½-racks of ribs or 2 good-size turkeys. So, it’s always essential to consider the width of a smoker before you making a purchase. For instance, a full-size turkey requires an overall rack whereas a small salmon fillet need a little space to cook.
2. Temperature Range:
The smoke level inside the smoker should have a temperature that ranges from 100° – 400° F (or even 500°F). Also, you have to check for a powerful heating element in your smoker apart from the one which is easy to control. So, one should choose an electric smoker that comes with a good heating element and proper smoke levels for perfect cooking.
The temperature of around 225° – 250° is ideal for smoking meat. Within this range, it has all the right temperatures required to smoke meat and grill all kinds of food. This temperature range option is useful for cooking food for a large group of people.
This smoker should provide you with the ability to set the temperature range and forget about its operation. Most of the modern models offer digital cooking temperature settings, which are easy to use. A few models come with a temperature probe to set the right temperature for your cooking.
Rather than having a broad temperature range in your smoker, it is crucial to its ability to maintain an optimal temperature throughout its cooking process. Wattage will let you know how effective your electric smoker in accomplishing the task.
For instance, a smoker model with a 1500-watt heating element is effective in maintaining the internal temperature than a smoker with a low-wattage. This problem arises especially during cold climates, where the smoker has to battle with outdoor temperatures while operating.
4. Remote Controls:
With a remote-control feature, you can easily operate the smoker and set the options like barbecue or grill without staying near the smoker. It is used to adjust the temperature internal light (or) check the internal meat temperature at a distance.
Press the temperature readout button on the remote control to keep an eye on the progress of the meat thermometer while smoking. So, the remote control will make your cooking process easy, as you can monitor the temperature probe while preparing your meals.
An electric smoker offers a wide variety of control options like from digital controls to simple dials and buttons. A few modern models have wi-fi connectivity to work effortlessly. So, think before its selection and choose it wisely.
5. Ease of Use:
It is always best to use a user-friendly design with features like a digital thermometer, time-temperature control panel, and other options, which are easy to operate. These ease-of-use options will allow you to set the device and forget about its operation.
Choose a model having remote control or Bluetooth digital panel, and easy to move (portable that not bang around) will be an added benefit. Also, to monitor the inside situation of the smoker, choose a cooker with a glass window, removable grill racks, and a removable wood chip tray or drip pan.
In general, most people (or experts) prefer to use smokers with thermostats rather than smokers with rheostats. Why because, the thermostats will monitor the internal temperature of a smoker and thereby let you make exact temperature controls, as per the dish.
While rheostats will let you adjust the temperature levels like high, medium and low. Thus, makes it somewhat difficult to set the precise temperature inside of your smoker.
So, prefer to choose smokers with a thermostat for accurate temperature setting and thereby to enjoy a perfect smoked dish.
7. Adding Wood Chips or Charcoal:
Do you know that an electric smoker will allow you to add wood chips or charcoal to the smoker? Yes, it is, to infuse real smoke flavor into the meat. Though, an electric smoker is perfect at smoking meat but won’t be able to produce the real smoke flavor in the meat, which is smoking inside. So, if you want to enjoy the meat with a real smoke flavor, then go for an electric smoker that let you add charcoal or wood chips in it.
You can fill with wood chunks like apple, hickory, cherry, oak, etc. in the tray of a smoker to enhance the flavor of the smoking meat. A few models come with a tray that you can refill/reload the chips from the exterior, without even opening the smoker and thus not causing any loss of heat.
Maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the process will determine its performance and an essential aspect for properly smoking meat. In case, if its temperature changes during the smoking process, then it won’t be possible to have the right tenderness and flavor in the meat.
So, before its purchase, check the smoker for its great insulation and the ability to maintain temperature level for a longer time till it smokes food.
It’s best to place an electric smoker near an outlet while using. The portability issue arises when you won’t have any permanent space to keep the smoker (while using/storing). In that case, like moving the smoker from storage to cooking spot, then it’s better to choose a portable device with a sturdy handle and wheels. Whereas, if the smoker has its permanent place then this portability won’t matter most.
10. Weather Proof:
Even though these electric smokers are made up of durable materials, but some electric appliances are not meant to undergo open exposure to the elements/environment. So, it is worth investing in a good cover to protect the unit, especially when planning to keep the smoker outdoors year-round.
11. Ease of Cleaning:
The ease of cleaning is another essential factor to consider before buying an electric smoker. It mostly depends on the style and model of the smoker. For instance, if you choose a can-style smoker that won’t disassemble all of its parts, then simply clean the bottom of the bucket and wipe it off the unit carefully.
A few large smokers that come with large doors will let you clean easily by reaching all the internal corners. The only thing you have to check is how to clean those parts and how many tiny nooks and crannies found round the door seals to clean them.
Make sure that smoker’s rack should be durable and stand up for regular cleaning. Regular scrubbing in case of any fat or meat pieces sticks to the racks. Also, clean and dry the smoker after every usage will prevent the lingering smells and flavors and also avoid any mildew growth in a moist, closed environment.
12. Ease of Maintenance:
Always choose a smoker with removable cooking grids, panels, racks, grease pan, wood chip trays, and a water pan easily. These conveniences quick and easy maintenance features will make smoker easy to use for every meal you prepare in it.
Check with the manufacturer whether the replaceable parts are easily available or not. Also, you should reach the customer service helpline easily for any queries regarding its operation or warranty.
13. Installed Caveats:
The combustion chamber of a smoker has small ventilation systems called caveats, which is used for the proper release of heat and smoke. As we already know how essential is to maintain a stable internal temperature of a smoker while cooking. This ensures your meat, not char or burn. So, with the installed caveats, you can enjoy a juicer, more tender food.
14. Heat Structure:
You should know that how heat flows inside the smoker while cooking your meat before its purchase. The more the heat sources, the shorter the cooking time will be. For instance, a heat source like convection at the smoker will provide heat from the bottom and sides. But in some cases, it may also result in the overcooked meat. So, it is essential to check the cooking process and take it out before its overcooked or burnt.
15. Layer Structure:
The layer structure of your smoker will essential to consider. It relates to the shape and the setup of racks in a smoker. While considering the shape of a smoker, we mostly observe some are horizontal, while others are more vertical in shape.
Coming to racks, we will notice the smokers having either stainless steel racks or chrome-plated racks. Yet the direction of racks placement, either horizontal or vertical won’t make much difference in its cooking process.
16. Other Features:
Though, an electric smoker has various features but here are a few add-on features that let you use the smokers easily. Have a look at them.
- Most electric smokers use analogue dials to set the temperature, while other models use digital controls that let you have precise temperature settings for perfect cooking.
- Many electric smokers come with a thermometer mounted in the door. This thermometer will let you monitor the temperature till the end of the cooking process, especially the internal temperature of the meat/smoker. Thus, it makes it easy to know whenever the smoked meat is ready.
Almost everyone considers this essential factor while buying an electric smoker, as they have to choose the model based on their budget. The most basic models will come around $100 and modern ones will cost more than $500. The commercial smokers with amazing features like Bluetooth capability, digital thermometers, remote control operation, etc. are a bit expensive. For a decent quality digital controlled electric smoker, you have to spend around $200 – $300.
In general, the manufacturers of an electric smoker will offer a warranty from 1 – 5 years. We suggest you grab the one that comes with the longest period. The reason is that it is an electric appliance and its circuit may damage if anything has done wrongly.
How does an Electric Smoker Work?
It is a device that cooks/smoke food by using hot electric rods. The ease of using/cooking and its features like temperature control options, cooking area and apparatus will make it different and effective over traditional smokers.
It works like an oven but has smoke, as it simply uses electricity to heat-up the element at the bottom of the smoker. Place the wood chip tray above the heating element for smoldering food to produce smoke and thus give aromatic smoked flavors.
The inside food gets heated with a convection process, where air and smoke circulate to cook food. In case, if you’re using a smoker with a rheostat, which controls temperature by controlling the electricity flow in the device.
Tips to use a New Electric Smoker:
Before you start using the new electric smoker, here are some simple tips that help you prepare a barbecue and grills on it.
- It is essential to season the new smoker before you start cooking any food in that smoker.
- While you’re using a smoker having a dial-in thermostat, then its best to invest in a dual probe thermometer setup. The reason is that, the temperature varies at different places in the smoker. So, to measure the air temperature on the place where the meat is cooking.
- Before placing any food, it’s essential to give the smoker enough time to reach the optimal temperature and heat.
- It’s better to start with 1 – 2 pork butts while you smoke food the first time, as you can learn the technique of using your new smoker. It tastes good, yet if you make some mistakes while cooking.
- Always keep the smoker clean and for this, you have to take out the removable parts (water pan, racks, etc.). Take it out to give them a perfect spray with a good oven cleaner.
- Practice makes everything perfect. So, you can experiment with different cuts of rubs, meats and other stuff to get perfect control over temperature settings and other operating options.
We always recommend you to go through the user manual and follow those instructions while operating or cleaning the electric smoker. Here are some general safety guidelines that help you to have a safe and efficient operation.
- It is good to place the smoker at a minimum of 10 feet away from any structure.
- Check whether the smoker is on a level surface or not before cooking food in it.
- Operating a smoker under overhead constructions (like tree overhangs, roof coverings or awnings) is not recommended.
- Always use a heat resistant mat underneath the wooden deck while operating a smoker.
- Avoid using plastic, ceramic or glass cookware in these electric smokers.
- Cover your smoker while not using/storing but avoid using it in outside wet weather.
- If you need any outdoor extension cord, then prefer to use a grounding type-3 wire cord, which is marked with a W and comes with a statement saying- suitable to use with outdoor appliances.
- In case, if using the extension cord, then its electrical rating should match with the electrical rating of a smoker.
- Never leave smokers unattended, especially while operating/cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions:
It all depends on your taste and preference. In case, flavor/taste is your priority and know-how to operate a charcoal smoker, then go with a charcoal one. But looking for a smoker with an easy to fire up and low maintenance, then it’s better to choose an electric one.
The quantity of wood you’re adding to the electric smoker will depend on certain factors like the model you’re using, the size of those chips and how hot you’re cooking. Some experts say that to add chips once an hour of cooking. But make sure to place the wood into the chip holder only after the smoker reached the temperature and the heating lights are turned off.
In most cases, the smoker can reach optimal temperature in the first 20 minutes, then you can add wood chips. This will last for about an hour. When the meat starts to cook, then these chips will seal the smoke flavor, and juices to get absorbed into the meat. Always add wood in less quantity initially and then increase it gradually.
Yes, you can purchase an electric smoker through Amazon, Walmart, eBay. Since some brands are updated and some are outdated. Thus, you have to check all the details & images before its purchase. Also, check with other online shopping sites to compare its price, warranty period and customer service while making a purchase.
The general rule of thumb is to open the vents completely while smoking the food. This will prevent the build-up of creosote on the food. When once it is finished, you have to close the vents to raise the inside temperature of the smoker. Thus, it helps to keep the food warm until removed.
It is better to use dry chips. Dry chips are thin and produce blue smoke to enhance the flavor of your food. Whereas wet chips create billowy steam and thus the humidity of smoke will interfere with its temperature control and make the smoker prone to rust.
There are various things like vegetables or cheese to smoke by using a smoker. Also, you can use an electric smoker without using any pellets or wood chips and use it for slow cooking / dehydrating to cook beef, meat or other alike items. This versatile equipment will let you make all type of dishes and can be able to cook large cooking items other than smoked meats, pork butt, baby back ribs, beef or internal meat.
You should not use this electric smoker inside your house, as it may leave a smoky smell on your valuable furnishings. They emit smoke and heat while operating, which are the main reasons that let you use them outside. Use the smoker either on the porch or patio to avoid the effect of the harsh weather whenever smoking meat. Also, use a smoker top/cover to protect it from external weather. In case, if you want to use the smoker indoors then you have to install a super powerful extraction system.
It all based on your taste preferences and different types of foods with some classic pairings. Most people prefer to use Mesquite while cooking hams, pork or bacon (or use oak for cooking brisket). Make sure to use either pellets or wood chips that are designed for smokers. They can be used either dry or wet (after soaking in water) based on your personal preference.
A smoker having a wood chip system will allow you to add extra chips during the cooking process, but it should have a water bowl. A few models will let you add chips without opening the door in the middle of cooking/smoking.
Using an insulated electric smoker won’t produce combustion as much as a charcoal grill. The reason is that wood chips/pellets burn at low temperatures and thus won’t produce compounds, which form bark on the smoked meats. Therefore, you won’t get smoke rings, but it won’t mean that there is no smoky flavor (or) no pink layer outside of the meat. With some professional quality and features, an electric smoker produces a nick smoke ring to enhance your taste.
The usage of a water pan (removable) will prevent food from getting dried out during smoking. For this, you can either add fruit juices or water in the water pan, yet rinse out the drip tray placed near the drain hole at the unit’s bottom by running these cooking grates in dishwasher-safe machines in between its uses.
Make sure to use fresh water every time to avoid the build-up of toxic bacteria. Also, the water pan should be easy to clean by removing all these juices in a water bowl and cooking grates are clean before you start cooking a new dish.
Of all the products mentioned in the list, the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker seems to be the best pick. This 30 inches black colored smoker machine has a refrigerator model and a digital control panel. Its ease of use and versatility makes it a great choice for not just beginners but also for seasoned chefs as well. Moreover, it comes with a heavy-duty functionality and a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty as well.
While that was our list, we are intrigued by what you think. Did we miss out on anything? Or do you have any questions for us? If so, feel free to write to us in the comments section below and our team will write back to you as soon as possible.