- 1 Best Electric Smokers – Comparison Table!
- 2 Unbiased Reviews of Best Electric Smokers!
- 2.1 #1 Masterbuilt 20078715 – Top Rated Smoker
- 2.2 #2 Smokin-It Model #2: Professional Electric Smoker
- 2.3 #3 Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker: Budget Pick
- 2.4 #4 Masterbuilt 20077515 Electric Smoker: Best Home Smoker
- 2.5 #5 Masterbuilt 20073716: New Portable Electric Smoker
- 2.6 #6 Bradley Original: Electric Smoker with Automatic Feeder
- 3 Top Electric Smoker Brands in 2018
- 4 Who really needs an Electric Smoker?
- 5 Why should you choose an Electric Smoker over Charcoal Grill?
- 6 What are the disadvantages of Electric Smoker?
- 7 What are the factors one should consider before buying an electric smoker?
- 8 Things to keep in mind before using your Electric Smoker for a grilling session!
- 9 Wrapping Up
An electric smoker makes the task of smoking meat look like a walk in the park sans the harmful effects of gas or charcoal smokers. Top rated electric smokers pretty much automate the entire process as they let you set a timer and certain temperature.
Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.
There are many ways to barbeque your meat, subsequently, there are both advantages and disadvantages of electric smokers over charcoal ones. Let’s start with the disadvantage, the smoky flavor that comes in meat, pork ribs and turkey smoked on charcoal is difficult to achieve in electric ones, because it’s the gases and charcoal that give it the unique smoky taste although high-end smokers replicate this flavor pretty closely.
But fish, bacon, and steaks are excellent when smoked on electric smokers. So if you are ready to buy your smoker but are baffled by the choices almost 50 odd brands provide (yep you read that right!), you have come to the right place. Our list of best electric smokers and their detailed reviews are below.
Add some smoke to your cooking with the best electric smokers reviewed by our BestHomeGears Experts.
Best Electric Smokers – Comparison Table!
While reviewing the best electric smokers in the market, our team enjoyed a lot of grilled salmon, chicken, and steaks for weeks. We hope you have as much fun reading this review, as much as we had while creating it, without much ado, here it is the comparison table of electric smokers reviewed by our BestHomeGears team.
Smokin-It Model #2
The advantages of an electric smoker over charcoal one outweigh the disadvantages hands down. Firstly, they are more cost-effective, secondly they are more convenient as you can set a particular time and temperature, thirdly they do not require too much space unlike large gas smokers and lastly, they are extremely safe to use.
Unbiased Reviews of Best Electric Smokers!
There are a lot of factors that you should consider before buying your smoker. For example, make sure the size is right for your use if you have a bigger family or love to throw frequent barbeque parties you would want to go for a bigger machine with at least 4-6 racks.
#1 Masterbuilt 20078715 – Top Rated Smoker
It has 4 chrome plated racks that are removable; the chrome coating protects the racks from corrosion. One of our favorite features of this machine is that you can make smoke rings; this feature is not there in most electric smokers. Most of the parts are removable; hence it can be cleaned up pretty easily. It is 30 inches long and has a 721 square inches cooking area with an 800 watt heating element, which makes it large enough to smoke 100 lbs. of food in one go.
It has a solid front door, which makes sure the heat doesn’t escape from it, but you can’t see the cooking process as you could in models like Masterbuilt 20075315.
It comes with an RF remote control. Now, this is an addition you only see on products priced over 500 dollars. The remote control allows you to switch on and off, control timer, set temperature, control internal light and lastly check the temperature of the meat. One of the drawbacks is that the front controller is not waterproof and once the machine is in use it can get a bit smoky.
This smoker does not burn the wood chips too fast. The chips have to be loaded from the side without opening the door of the smoker, using Masterbuilt’s patented side wood loading system. This prevents loss of heat inside the smoker. It has a built-in meat probe thermometer, so you have perfectly cooked meat without worrying about overcooking. Additionally, the integrated thermostat temperature control ensures even cooking. The temperature can be adjusted between 100 degrees to 275 degrees for the perfect smoke. To conclude, this smoker is easy to operate and can be used by both beginners and pros.
#2 Smokin-It Model #2: Professional Electric Smoker
Smokin-It Model #2 Electric Smoker is a great buy for professionals because it’s fully assembled and has easy controls. Its 18 gauge stainless steel body is made to last for a long long time. With its side handles and 4 rolling wheels, the machine is very easy to move around as well. Additionally, it comes with a sample hickory wood for you to use in your smoker immediately.
The grill weighs approximately 86 pounds and has a 12-foot long power cord. This machine uses way less wood than most of its contemporaries. The smoker is well insulated with fiberglass in order to prevent heat loss. Not only this, it also has an 800-watt heating element that is NSF certified for restaurant use. It can heat up to 35 pounds of meat in one go.
One of the biggest drawbacks of this machine is that it cannot be controlled remotely like Masterbuilt models. It has 4 removable racks and caster of 3 inches in diameter that need to be attached. Its drip pan easily drips slides under the smoker. The rheostat lets you take control of the temperature from 100 degrees F to 250 degrees F. Overall, the machine has a very modern design and classy look. It is worth every penny if you absolutely love barbequed food.
#3 Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker: Budget Pick
Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker is one of the[ most popular models in the less than 200 dollars category. Most of the low-end models either have issues producing adequate heat or cannot hold it up for too long. One of the issues of this machine is that it has a magnetic door because of which when it heats up it has a tendency to pop up.
The machine has 505 square inches of cooking area and 3 adjustable grates which are chrome plated. This makes it easy to clean the grill after use. The temperature gauge on the door lets you monitor your heat settings. Its wood chip tray and water pan are made of porcelain making it durable.
Unlike most grills in this range, it has a strong 1500 watt heating element. Its wood tray though is really small and placed awkwardly. Likewise, the grease catcher is small because of which it needs to be frequently emptied. Its double-walled steel outside is not very durable, but honestly, you can’t even expect anything much in this budget. Overall the grill requires frequent tweaking here and there, it is not very suitable for beginners.
#4 Masterbuilt 20077515 Electric Smoker: Best Home Smoker
Masterbuilt 20077515 Electric Smoker comes with a blue LED display which makes it easier for you to monitor cooking time and temperature even in direct sunlight. It comes with a 5 in 1 RF remote control. The remote control allows you to switch on and off, control timer, set temperature, control internal light and lastly check the temperature of the meat.
Its 800-watt heating element comes with full foam insulation for protection. With its handle and rear wheels, the machine is very easy to move around as well. It has 4 chrome plated racks that are removable; the chrome coating protects the racks from corrosion. It comes with a built-in meat probe that lets you check the temperature of your food while the grilling process is on.
The grill has a redesigned front access drip pan and has a new feature called the drip deflector. This essentially does the job of entrapping the moisture and aroma inside the smoke chamber itself. This moisture along with the smoke adds a natural smoky fragrance to the food.
This smoker does not burn the wood chips too fast. The chips have to load from the side, so you will not have to open the door to add it. This prevents loss of heat inside the smoker. Its internal light allows you to monitor the food while you are grilling and thus avoid over-cooking. To conclude, its heating space stretches over 730 square inches so you have enough space to cook for all your friends and family over a weekend barbeque party.
#5 Masterbuilt 20073716: New Portable Electric Smoker
Masterbuilt 20073716 is the perfect smoker for your outdoor camping and hiking trips as long as you can manage a power source for it. Even though it has just 2 chrome-coated racks, there is enough space for you to comfortably smoke a turkey or a slab of ribs.
It has a 1400 watt heating element, this produces enough heat to smoke your food in a couple of hours comfortably. The only thing you need to keep in mind is to refill the wood chips at regular intervals, due to its small size. The temperature gauge on the door that allows you to monitor your food. There is 3 temperature setting available: high, medium and low. You can change the temperature using the dial on the front door.
The smoker’s legs can be folded easily for the purpose of transportation and storage. Adding further to the convenience, its water pan and wood tray are easily removable for cleaning. The One drawback of this product is that it has a 90-day guarantee.
To conclude, Masterbuilt 20073716 is an ideal buy for users who take frequent outdoor or road trips. You can simply plug it in your RV and enjoy the perfectly smoked food.
#6 Bradley Original: Electric Smoker with Automatic Feeder
Bradley original smoker can provide both hot and cold smoke, this makes it truly one of the most versatile smokers in the market. It has an easy temperature control system and comes with 4 removable racks. It has to two separate burners for the heating unit and for heating the wood biscuits. The biscuits are added in the smoker after every 20 minutes, allowing the heat to be evenly distributed at all times. It runs easily for 8 hours without any human intervention. The overall cooking space is 2288 cubic inches, which is big enough for most domestic uses.
Overall, its automatic wood feeder system along with thermostatic temperature control takes the guess working out of the picture. It has an insulated stainless steel interior along with a generator that has a removable side panel that makes it easy to clean up and maintain the smoker.
Its new rack support system prevents the racks from tipping over while they are being pulled out. Even though Bradley keeps updating this model with better quality parts, its still pretty old school. You don’t have any fancy buttons and screens that you have to navigate your way through, just move the knob to your desired temperature, sit back and relax and of course, have some beer!
Other than using it for barbeque, you can use it as a food dryer for dried fruits and cold smoke fishes like salmon. Since it uses pressed wood pellets, you will have to consider that in the cost of smoking. It uses 24 bisquettes for a standard 8-hour smoke, a pack of 48 bisquettes costs around sixteen dollars.
Top Electric Smoker Brands in 2018
As buyers, we are spoilt for choices when it comes to different brands and models of electric smokers. Even though Masterbuilt is the most famous brand, there are unique features that each brand has to offer. Here is the list of top brands that you should know.
As the tale goes, Bradley smokers started in the 1970’s when the founder taught a master smoker how to catch a fish in return of knowledge on how to smoke a salmon. Bradley smokers are known for their ease of operations and temperature control. In fact, it was one of the first brands to give complete temperature control to its users. Their smokers are built on the principle that you must always be in control of the smoke.
In 2018, Bradley has introduced automatic electric smoker featuring it’s patented iSmoke Technology that allows users to control the smoker in real time by connecting it to their smartphones.
Masterbuilt offers the widest range of smokers in the market. They also have other products like fryers, grills, cookers, and cookbooks available. Even though they manufacture in China, there is absolutely no compromise on safety and quality of the products. They have developed a wide range of products for different purposes, for example:
- Masterbuilt Adventure Series is made keeping in mind outdoor enthusiasts. These smokers have a large cooking area for fishes, quail, etc.
- Masterbuilt Pro Series has a heavy duty construction ensuring full insulation. The smokers in this range have RF remote control available, legs (to increase the height of the smoker) and wheels that allow you to move the smoker around effortlessly.
- Masterbuilt John McLemore Signature Series is designed by the CEO and President of Masterbuilt himself for anyone who wants to jumpstart their barbequing journey. It comes with an exclusive quick start guide.
Char-Broil is a private company headquartered in Georgia, United States. It produces a wide range of barbeque products like electric smokers, outdoor, charcoal and gas grills, and other related items. Char-Broil was one of the first companies to bring the charcoal grills in the market for backyard grillers.
Its patented TRU-Infrared Cooking System ensures that your backyard grills and smokers have their heat distributed evenly while the food is kept juicier and has zero flare-ups. Char-Broil first entered the digital smokers market in 2015, in the following year they launched their signature SmartChef series. This series in partnership with DADO featured wifi connected smokers.
Smokin-It manufactures NSF certified electric smokers. What sets them apart from other brands is how they focus energy on insulating the entire body of the smokers. Their smokers are way expensive than what other brands offer but are worth every extra penny you shed. All their smokers are made of 100% stainless steel and aesthetically they beat all other brands. Its top model cost over thousand dollars, it has PID digital temperature controller and holds almost 75 pounds of food comfortably. If you are in this for the long haul then you should invest in a Smokin-It model.
#5 Smoke Hollow
Smoke Hollow produces a wide range of outdoor leisure products since 2005. This list includes pellet grills, portable grills, charcoal and gas grills, electric smokers and related accessories. Although headquartered in the United States they manufacture their products in China. The products are available both online and offline.
Its gas smokers feature two-sided blend cooking, Weiner holders, and jerky racks. The electric smokers have 3 temperature controller setting that keeps the cooking area temperature stable even in open air.
Who really needs an Electric Smoker?
Electric smokers are for people who love juicy, well-tendered meat. If you are looking to buy a new electric smoker, it might be because of the following reasons:
#1 Limited Storage: Electric smokers are ideal for people do not have too much space for large grills and bags of charcoal. If you are living in an apartment, it is difficult to manage a gas or a charcoal grill, hence electric smokers are better. All you need for an electric smoker is a dependable power source.
#2 Upgrade: If you are constantly smoking dry, black, charred meat its time you upgrade your smoker. With such wide variety of smokers available at low prices with multiple racks, digital control, side drip facilities, you are in for a treat.
#3 Regular User: I’ll be honest, smoking your meat requires a lot of effort. You need to maintain your device, keep it clean and keep upgrading your accessories, so it only makes sense to invest in one if you are going to use it regularly. Although one of the major drawbacks of electric smokers is that you cant make traditional smoked rings on the meat with it even after using charcoal or pellets, you will feel absolutely no difference in taste while smoking salmon, fish and bacon.
#4 Limited Budget: Although electric smokers are more expensive than your basic charcoal grills, they are way cheaper than high-end pellet grills and smokers. Even though they are cheaper, they don’t compromise on the flavor. In all honesty, you feel a difference in the taste of porked ribs, turkey, pork when made in an electric smoker as compared to gas or wood-fueled smoker but you will be absolutely satisfied with smoked cheese, bacon, fish, and salmon.
Why should you choose an Electric Smoker over Charcoal Grill?
#1 Harmful Emission: Traditional smokers using charcoal as the heating element produce harmful carbon monoxide. Electric smokers do not release such harmful emissions and are therefore substantially safer to use. This is especially an important factor if you have kids or pets in your household. A traditional smoker has a risk of catching a fire and proving fatal.
#2 Saves time: While traditional smokers need constant monitoring and longer hours of cooking, electric smokers work on a set it and forget it, model. In a lot of higher end models, you can control the entire process with an RF remote control. The remote control allows you to switch on and off, control timer, set temperature, control internal light and lastly check the temperature of the meat.
#3 Suitable for Cold and Windy Areas: Unlike charcoal based smokers, electric ones can be used in windy and colder areas. As these smokers are well insulated, they do not let the heat produced in the chamber pass away. You have to follow some very simple hacks to make sure you can enjoy a good barbeque even in winter. For starters, since these smokers are made of metal, they tend to lose heat in the winter, so you will have to learn to be patient and let the unit heat up for longer than it would in summer. Don’t open your unit multiple times to check your food, because everytime you open it, you are adding at least another 25-30 minutes of cooking time.
#4 Low Cost: In the longer run, electric smokers cost less than charcoal ones because they don’t need a constant refill of wood. They consume less electricity and the wood chips run for long periods.
#5 Can be Used Indoor: Unlike charcoal based smokers, these can be used indoor easily. This is because they don’t release emissions. So you can easily place it in your kitchen.
What are the disadvantages of Electric Smoker?
#1 Complicated Components: While charcoal based traditional smokers are a simple piece of metal, the electric ones have a lot of working parts in them. It takes a while for most users to get a hang of the controls completely. Also, you will have to replace some parts frequently.
#2 The Vintage Feel: Electric smokers can obviously not match up to the vintage flavor and feel of charcoal-based smokers. For a lot of home chefs, smoking meat is a fun activity. They really are not looking for an option where they set it and forget it. They like to spend their time actually monitoring the whole cooking process and do not want to leave their meat unattended.
What are the factors one should consider before buying an electric smoker?
#1 Cooking space: Depending on the number of people you would usually grill for, you can choose between a 4 rack and a 6 rack smoker. It is also better if you go with a smoker that has removable racks, to give you more cooking space to comfortable grill even a turkey. Most of the lower end smokers have just 2-3 racks. Most smokers have 700 square inches of cooking space, but you can go for a bigger one according to your usage.
#2 Experience and Usage: I, usually suggest beginners use a higher model where a lot of features are automated and can be monitored easily. For those who have experience in grilling and are comfortable with tweaking the griller for their custom settings can go for a relatively cheaper model. Although if you are a frequent griller, I suggest you can for a high-end model. They last longer and give you flavors at par with a charcoal based griller.
#3 Ease of adding wood chips: It’s important to see that you can easily add wood chips in the smoker and at what rate does it burn. If you have a smoker that uses up the wood chips too quickly, you will have to open the smoker and refill it time and again. Make sure the box for adding it is of adequate size and can be removed easily. Alternatively, you can go for a smoker that has a wood chip box or rack on the side of the unit.
#4 Mobility: If you are going to frequently move your smoker around make sure you buy one with handles and wheels. You don’t want to keep cursing yourself, every time when you will have to pick it and move it. Also, do not go for a very heavy model if you will frequently grill outdoor and then store the smoker inside later.
#5 Temperature Control: I suggest you should buy a model that comes with a rheostat as it lets you have complete control of the temperature inside the chamber. It usually comes with a digital display or a simple knob. This is a must-have feature for any decent smoker.
#6 Ventilation System and heat flow: A smoker with installed caveats allows the smoke chamber to release heat and smoke. This helps to maintain a steady temperature inside the chamber. This ensures the meat is cooked consistently and steadily, making it juicier. The heat flow is how the heating is moving into the chamber. The higher-end models have the heat moving downwards and sideways. This flow of the heat helps your meat cook significantly faster.
#8 Rack structure and Type: There are both vertical and horizontal smokers available in the market. Although vertical ones are more popular, you can go for a horizontal one depending on the kind of meat you will likely cook. For example, if you will be grilling longer slabs, a horizontal one is a better option. The racks are either stainless steel or chrome plated. Even though it doesn’t make a significant difference in your buying decision, the chrome plated ones protect the racks from corrosion and give it a longer life.
Things to keep in mind before using your Electric Smoker for a grilling session!
#1 Instruction Manual: Before you start using the smoker, make sure you have read the complete user manual in detail. Different brands differ in their workings here and there so you want to be sure that you are following all the instructions given by the brand.
# 2 Season the racks: Make sure the racks are seasoned well with oil before use. Make sure you have added the adequate amount of water in the pan and added wood chips of your flavor. You can choose from various options like cherry, plum, cedar or apple wood. Always keep extra wood chips handy, in case your cooking time exceeds your expectation.
#3 Maintaining Moisture: There is nothing worse than dry meat for anybody who loves smoked food. Make sure you have added enough water to the pan. This water turns into moisture due to the heat inside the chamber, which keeps the heat from drying. You can also add flavors to your water pan like beer, citrus peels or spices.
#4 Monitoring the Meat: Electric smokers try to maintain a steady heat inside the chamber. In fact, some higher-end models even have auto turn off the system to stop the heating process once the required temperature is achieved. Nevertheless, it’s important you monitor your meat using a meat probe thermometer. Some models like Masterbuilt 20075315 have a built-in meat probe thermometer, so you have perfectly cooked meat without worrying about overcooking.
I hope by our meat smoker reviews have helped you decide the best model for your grilling. Buying the right electric smoker would be absolutely fantastic for those who swear by a juicy piece of smoked meat, but it can also be a nightmare and something that’s put away in the corner of your garage if bought without putting in thoughts while buying.
Our favorite model hands down is Masterbuilt 20077515. The smoker comes with a blue LED display which makes it easier for you to monitor cooking time and temperature even in direct sunlight. Its 5 in 1 RF remote control allows you to switch on and off, control timer, set temperature, control internal light and lastly check the temperature of the meat.
To conclude, its heating space stretches over 730 square inches so you have enough space to cook for all your friends and family over a weekend barbeque party.