Looking for the best electric smoker? With changes in design and functionality being added every year, knowing what these features can do is important when choosing the right electric smoker for you.
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- 0.1 Looking For a Discount?
- 1 Features to Consider When Shopping for the Best Electric Smoker
Using a smoker is one of the most flavorful cooking methods out there, but it can be intimidating to get started. Even if you’re experienced and just looking for an upgrade, there are so many new features, options, and other factors to consider when looking for the best electric smoker.
Not sure what to look for? Don’t worry, we’ve looked at some of the most popular models on the market and narrowed our list for the best electric smokers to the top 10 best sellers.
Check out our electric smoker reviews for more details, current discounts and if free shipping applies.
Electric smokers are like social magnets. Not only do they turn out delicious, slow cooked meals but once the word gets out everyone will be coming over great food and fun times. With your new electric smoker you’ll be able to smoke fish, chicken, beef, vegetables, and even make your own homemade jerky just like the pros.
Today’s electric smokers have improved tremendously over the last few years with beautiful, sleek designs and lots of really cool features. All of the smokers I’ve listed on this site are second generation smokers with excellent smoking performance, improved control panels and easier cleanup.
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Masterbuilt 30 Inch Smokehouse Electric Smoker
This smoker comes with a range of options. The 30-inch unit can be analog or digital, and can include a viewing window and a top or front digital controller. The windowed units are also available in a 40-inch size.
Even in the smaller size, it has a good 1.7 cubic feet of smoking space and comes with both water and drip pans. Of the electric smokers we reviewed, the Masterbuilt had one of the best ratings for insulation and one of the most stable temperatures.
The heat goes up to 275 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can smoke nearly anything if you give it enough time. The built-in timer goes up to 24 hours and triggers an automatic shut-off for extra safety. One of the best features is the side-load wood chip tray, which helps prevent excess smoke loss.
Brinkmann Gourmet Electric Smoker and Grill With Vinyl Cover
The Brinkmann 1500-watt electric smoker was our only top pick that was a bullet style. We found most other bullet style smokers made it hard to maintain stable temperatures due to poor insulation around the dome. This one was the exception.
There is also a front-hinged door to refuel the smoker without disturbing or reaching past the food. This was one of very few models that allowed you to choose a color: red, green or black. Brinkmann also included a nice vinyl cover, which is great if you are planning to store the smoker where it could be exposed to the elements. Not as good as the The Big Chief Top Loader, but decent.
With its 35-inch height, this unit can hold a staggering 50 pounds of food. Best of all, this unit can double as an electric grill. The versatility alone makes the Brinkmann electric smoker an excellent value.
Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load Smoker
When it came to picking our top electric smoker reviews, we knew we had to include a reasonable starter option. This 120-volt, 250-watt unit is great for beginner smokers or those interested in smoking jerky, fish, cheese and other low-temperature, long-smoke foods.
The non-adjustable temperature of the element is a steady 165 degrees F. The stable temperature and the included recipe book make using this smoker very simple.
Smokehouse also includes a dishwasher safe drip pan and stainless steel racks, as well as a nearly 2-pound bag of Hickory wood chips to get you started. Don’t let its size fool you. This is a quality, well-insulated smoker that’s made entirely in the USA. They even include a 2-year warranty.
Smoke Hollow 30162E Outdoor Electric Smoker
Like the Brinkmann and the Smokehouse Little Chief, this is a front-door loading smoker. It requires about 10 minutes of assembly, but after that, it’s ready to power up the 1500-watt element with three temperature settings that go up to 350 degrees.
This unit was one of the fastest to heat up. It is on the heavy side at 48 pounds, but it includes handles for easier portability. A water pan is included but no drip pan.
To prevent the fat from potentially dampening the smoke, we placed a piece of aluminum foil on the chips to keep the drippings running down the sides. Overall, this one was a powerhouse that was able to cook up to 30 pounds of meat at once.
Masterbuilt Gen 2 Smokehouse Digital Electric Smoker
The aroma and outstanding flavor of smoked food has been a favorite of outdoor bar-b-ques. This Masterbuilt Electric Smoker has a large thirty inch rack for easy smoking and grilling. Fully equipped with an easy to read blue LED digital display can be read even outside in direct light and glare.
This unit has 4 chrome cooking shelves with more the seven hundred sq inches of total cooking space. The Masterbuilt Smokehouse Gen 2 has a sturdy locking door with a heat blocking interior liner for heat retention and a front access drippings pan with a built in drip deflector as well.
You’ll love the user friendly wood chip loading pan that makes it super easy to control the amount of smoke flavor used when slow-cooking. Well built and superbly engineered, this smoker will become the center point of family get togethers, cook outs and parties as the aroma of these slow cooked meats fill the air.
Features to Consider When Shopping for the Best Electric Smoker
There are a few factors of size that you’ll need to consider when looking at electric meat smokers. The first are the interior dimensions. If you plan on doing long racks of ribs, you’ll need a width and depth that accommodates up to 16 inches. Otherwise, you’ll have to cut the ribs into smaller sections.
Secondly, you want to look at the height. Most electric smokers give you enough room to start on the bottom rack with a taller piece of meat, like a large turkey breast, but it’s worth double checking this measurement. Most electric smoker reviews don’t provide much detail on the dimensions so you’ll want to look at the manufacturers specs to be sure.
Third, you’ll want to consider how much room the smoker takes up and where you can safely place it during use. The best electric smokers need generous ventilation on all four sides and should not be pressed up against anything. Try to have at least 2 feet on every side of the smoker.
You’ll also want to see how the space is advertised. Some units will tell you the square inches of cooking space based on the number of racks on which you can place food. Other units will tell you the simple cubic foot space. Bullet-shaped smokers will typically tell you the pounds (usually up to 50) that can fit.
Finally, don’t forget to look at the weight of the entire smoker, especially if it does not have wheels. This is especially important if you plan on moving the smoker back and forth, e.g., from storing it in the garage to using it on the driveway. If there are no wheels, make sure you are able to lift the weight on your own or with someone else if you plan on moving it around.
The two most popular kinds of electric smokers are front-load and bullet style. Front-loads have a door that swings open like a refrigerator. This makes loading and unloading the smoker pretty easy, although you do have to bend down to reach the racks. Bullet style smokers load up like a normal grill using a dome on top. The problem with the bullet smokers is not accessibility of the food but of the firebox. Make sure if you’re looking at a bullet smoker to check for easy-access doors for your water pan, wood chips, and other smoking materials.
With digital controls, an electric smoker can be as easy to operate as a microwave or a conventional oven. You just have to set the temperature and the time, and the unit will regulate itself and automatically shut off when the timer goes off.
Digital controls also make the smoker easier to start. With a charcoal smoker, for instance, you have to light the kindling yourself and carefully monitor the temperature. This can be a time-consuming process compared to an electric smoker that is more “set it and forget it.”
Most of the electric smoker reviews will tell you that the set and forget concept is what makes these cookers so easy to use. Not all electric smokers have digital controls. If you decide to go with an analog control, be sure to carefully monitor the temperature and time.
The wattage will give you an idea of the power of the electric smoker. A 250-watt heating element will be best suited for more delicate meats, jerky, vegetables, cheeses, and fish.
The Brinkmann electric smoker, on the other hand, has a 1500-watt heating element. You can do some serious smoking at high temperatures with that amount of power. This is the kind of wattage most people mean when they refer to a char broil electric smoker. Char broiling the meat requires a high and stable temperature.
Temperature and Thermometer
Speaking of setting temperature, you’ll need to know how high your electric smoker can go. Some only go to 165 degrees Fahrenheit while others go as high as 275 degrees. You’ll have to determine how you’re planning to use your smoker. Some foods, like fish and cheese, do not need a high temperature. If you’re considering smoking a 15lb Thanksgiving turkey, you’ll probably need the temperature as close to 300 degrees as you can get.
Keep in mind that some electric smokers do not have adjustable temperature. This kind of smoker is meant for slow-smoking at lower temperatures. If you need higher temperatures for larger cuts of meat, you’ll be looking more for a unit that’s sometimes classified as a char broil electric smoker.
The other thing to watch out for is the thermometer. Electric units will have this built-in, and they’ll typically self-regulate like an oven. However, a propane smoker will need to have a secondary thermometer near the food to help you maintain a stable temperature. Try to place the thermometer as close to the food as possible so you can get the most accurate reading.
Most models now come with removable, adjustable height racks or shelving. These are indispensable. They allow you to fit in variously sized food, and they also come out for easier cleaning. Don’t take this feature for granted. Check for it!
Water and Drip Pans
Some models come with both of these pans, which is the ideal situation. Water pans allow you to place water, juice, beer and other flavoring liquids into the smoker. The moisture helps keep the meat from drying out. It also helps add complex flavor to the food.
Drip pans are usually a secondary pan that collects the fat and excess moisture. Some people choose to use these drippings to make gravies and other sauces, but a drip pan is just as useful for easy clean up.
Viewing Windows and Lighting
The best electric smokers tend to have front viewing windows. These not only look impressive, but they also serve an important function. With a traditional smoker, opening and closing the door to check on the food can cause the cooking to take longer. Releasing the smoke also releases the flavor.
Lighting is another useful addition. This is a feature usually found in smokers with windows, but it occasionally shows up on other models. Being able to see the food clearly can help you determine the progress of the smoking process. This was an important feature in a lot of the electric smoker reviews online.
Check out whether the removable parts of the smoker are dishwasher safe. This applies to the racks, the water pan, the drip pan and any included tools. Also make sure to read the user manual for tips on how to clean (and how not to clean) the inside and outside of the smoker unit itself. Using the wrong chemicals or abrasive materials could damage the smoker and render the warranty invalid.
This is a hard one to tell until you get it home and try it yourself. The units we chose had the highest performance on insulation. We made this a primary factor for a couple of reasons. First, if your smoker is leaking heat, it will not be energy efficient. That isn’t necessarily a big deal if you’re using a charcoal smoker, but for the electric smokers we reviewed, this is going to cost you quite a bit in energy usage.
Secondly, the less smoke in the smoker, the less flavorful the food. A tightly sealed unit will keep all of the goodness and flavor inside where it belongs. Last but not least, escaping smoke is just plain annoying. It can bother allergies, set off smoke alarms, disturb the neighbors, and bring lots of hungry critters to your yard.
Every bonus product included with the smoker saves money on a separate purchase. Look to see if the smoker comes with a protective cover, a tool holder, a sample of wood chips, a recipe booklet, and other similar add-ons.
Units like the Masterbuilt electric smoker can require about 15 minutes of relatively simple assembly. If this is really something you want to avoid, look for a smoker that’s pre-assembled.
Easy To Move Around
Check to see if the unit has wheels for easy movement. For safety reasons, wheels are usually on one side and require you to tilt the entire smoker back to move it around. If there are no wheels, look for carrying handles on the side. Note: Do not attempt to move the smoker while it’s on! This feature is only for transportation before and after use so you can safely store the unit out of the way.
Before writing these electric smoker reviews we wanted to look for units that were built by reputable manufacturers, had good warranties and great customer support. That’s why we made sure to carefully research and test a variety of features. We especially looked for proper insulation, size, temperature range and control, included add-ons and portability.
Now that you have a better idea of what to look for, refer back to any of my electric smoker reviews and make your own decision as to which model fits your needs and your budget. Finding the best electric smoker isn’t that difficult when you know what to look for. Good Luck and I hope you enjoy your new smoker!