Our Guide For Selecting Your Electric Smoker
This is a loaded question. In short, the best electric smoker is the one best suits your needs, this can differ dramatically from person to person.
Electric smokers come in all shapes and size and the quality of what is available varies almost as much, with this in mind I will walk you through some of the things you should consider before buying an electric smoker.
Hopefully by the time you have read through a few of the reviews on this site you will be armed with a better understanding of the range available and a solid idea of what features you’re looking for in your next electric smoker and are able to go on and buy the best electric smoker for you.
6 Reasons an Electric Smoker is right for you
While many traditionalists will never cross over from charcoal smokers to electric smokers and will continue to argue against them there are many significant benefits of buying and owning an electric smoker. Here are 6 key benefits of an electric smoker
- Convenience, A good electric smoker is “set and forget”. No need to babysit, just set time and temp and let the smoker do the rest
- Fantastic smoked food with the minimal of fuss
- Affordable, you can buy high quality smokers without breaking the bank
- Easy to use, Electric smokers take the guess work out of smoking foods. You will produce food sure to impress regardless of experience.
- You can use your electric smoker more often, so easy to use that you have no excuse not to.
- Your time is too precious to watch coals all day
Some are quick to tear down electric smokers with their primary argument surrounding authenticity and the benefits of traditional methods and I must say some of their argument is well founded but we live busy lives, times have changed and it is hard to find hours and hours and hours and….(well you get the point) to smoke all of your favorite foods.
What have all of the smokers available today got in common? Their makers will all tell you they are great, sadly some of them probably shouldn’t be near heat.
How we do our Electric Smoker Reviews
The price and quality of electric smokers varies considerably. Choosing a smoker that doesn’t fit what you need can be an expensive choice.
To clear up how we separate great from the good and the good from the rest I will quickly cover what we look for when doing our in-depth product reviews.
Our primary focus when reviewing any product falls into 6 general categories
Quality – The quality of materials used in construction and the quality of craftsmanship. How these two elements combine is critical to the end product. The very best materials coupled with poor craftsmanship still result in a very large expensive doorstop
Value – Much of the determination of value goes back to quality. Price also factors heavily into the calculation here but from a value for money standpoint. In most cases you don’t need to spend a fortune to get great quality at a reasonable price.
Results – Is the end result, in this case the smoked foods, reflective of what you would expect from a smoker of this quality at this price. If you were using a cheap poor quality smoker you couldn’t expect premium results, nor should you settle for substandard results from premium prices smoker.
Features – What makes this smoker competitive and great value? Value for money, great construction, Brilliant results or is it adaptable, upgradable or all of these things. Often a feature can be the deciding factor when deciding between two products
Star feature – The manufacturer has really gone the extra mile to make their product stand apart from the rest and added a feature that will make you the winner just for owning this product
Misses – I bet you have never found a truly perfect product. Sadly neither have I, every manufacturer of every product tends to miss the mark somewhere and usually it is a small thing and not the end of the world by any means. But, its good to have a heads up before buying.
Top 5 Electric Smokers for home use.
You can find many reviews across a wide range of smokers on this site but for convenience sake we will take a quick look at our top 5 in this category. This list has been compiled with the average household in mind and not necessarily for someone who plans on buying an electric smoker to launch their soon to be famous, generations old recipe to corner the jerky market.
With this in mind some premium smokers which may have been deserving of a place in the top 5 have been omitted purely because for many they may be seen as price prohibitive. These and others can be seem on our premium smokers page if you feel they might be better suited to your needs.
This top 5 has been incredibly hard to place in order and believe it or not #3 may be better suited in first place but it is what it is I guess.
But for now at least lets jump right in.
#1 – Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
At the time of writing it has 3999 reviews. The overwhelming majority are from customers who couldn’t be happier with their purchase and with good reason. It aces much of the criteria we use to review these products.
The Key benefits of this product are:
- Exterior made using powder coated steel
- Super easy to use with exceptional results
- Combines great quality with competitive price
- Adjustable from 100-275F
- Convenient side loading wood tray
- Large cooking space
- 700sq. inch with 30” smoker
- 900sq. inch with 40” smoker
- Models with viewing window and internal light are available
- Most of the digital models (with window) come RF remote and built in meat probe for
- Smoker temperature
- interior light
- Meat temperatures (with probe)
- The 40” models the wood tray tends to be a little small
- 90 day warranty, so be sure to put it through its paces early on
Probably the best value Electric Smoker available for beginners and seasoned smokers alike.
It produces brilliant quality at a price that is near impossible to beat. We Highly Recommend this Electric Smoker.
Find more hreat Masterbuilt products here
#2 – Bradley Digital 4-Rack Smoker
The digital control panel gives you complete control over temperature, time and smoke. You will be in complete control while you join the fun with your guests.
The Bradley smoker is designed specifically to use the Bradley flavor bisquettes making it super easy to maintain and eliminating factors that can distort appearance and flavor of smoked foods so you and your guests can experience the full natural flavors of the food.
This electric smoker also features cold smoking capability as standard negating the need for a separate purchase if you are as big a fan of smoked cheeses and fish as I am, and also adds a new dimension to your foods when used to cold smoke foods such as ham and bacon as part of the curing process.
- Full digital control for Temperature, time and smoke
- 4 adjustable racks with huge 2,288 cubic inch interior
- High quality construction
- powder epoxy steel exterior
- Polished stainless steel interior
- convenience of bisquettes which come in variety of wood types
- cold smoking capability
- Uses only Bradley Smoking Bisquettes (although many love this)
- Once burnt Bisquettes drop into drip pan
- if you want to use drippings in a sauce they must be caught separately
Conclusion – The Bradley Electric Smoker really is a high quality product producing results that will leave your guests begging for more.
This Electric smoker has more than its share of glowing reviews across the internet and comes is a recommended purchase for anyone looking for a great quality, easy to use and affordable smoker
Click here to check out more great Bradley Poducts
#3 – Smokin-It Electric Smokers
Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars by amazon customers really says a lot about this smoker. Made entirely from 18 gauge stainless steel reassures you that quality is at the forefront of this smokers features. The thermostat temperature control has a 100-250 degree range for greater control. Four Heavy Duty rubber casters allow for greater mobility.
The key features of the Smokin-it Electric Smoker range include
- 4 models in varying sizes to suit individual needs
- Brilliant Value for money
- 100% 18 gauge non magnetic stainless steel construction
- Fibreglass insulation for excellent heat retention
- Double latch system for compression fit for closing door
- Dedicated customer service staff
- Heavy Duty caster to make moving your smoker easy
- Super easy to use with exceptional results
- I could keep going on and on about this smoker
- The 3” casters on the Model 1 and 2 can be a little small on rough surfaces
- Temperature knob could be bigger and more gradual for greater precision
Having this smoker in third place is almost gut wrenching and it would not be out of place in the top spot. The reason it is down here is for a couple of reasons:
I have placed these top 5 Electric smokers from an entertaining and sharing standpoint which probably comes back to my ideas of what a barbecue should be, surrounded by friends and family, sharing in the awesome flavors and each others company
From this standpoint I believe the Model 1 may be a bit small and I tend to sway more toward the model #3 for its size and utility but the price does jump significantly as you scale up in models.
I am a firm believer in “you get what you pay for” and the Smokin-It electric Smoker range is a pinnacle example of this.
If there is a better example of quality and value in electric smokers I am yet to find it
Click here for detailed reviews on the Smokin-It range
#4 – Smoke Hollow 30162E Electric Smoker
The sturdy steel construction and side handles allow for easy transportation. It comes with 3 removable chrome plated steel cooking grids.
The primary features of this smoker are
- Affordable with excellent results
- Well constructed
- Super easy to use and regulate temperature and smoke
- Convenient side handles make for easy transportation
- Porcelain coated steel water pan
- Magnetic latching doors for firm seal
- Handles tend to loosen easily and often
- 3 temperature settings make precision smoking difficult
- Although well built, it could be better
The Smoke Hollow 30162E electric smoker is overall a good smoker although there are aspects that would have benefited from some fine tuning in the building process. This smoker is capable of producing results that will rival those of more expensive smokers and is an excellent option for those looking to start smoking but are not looking to spend a lot of money
Although an excellent smoker I do think there are better options in the same price range
Click here for a detailed review of the smoke hollow range
#5 Old Smokey Electric Smoker
The smoker has a tight sealing flat lid which allows for the juice vapors to drip back onto the food during the cooking process essentially basting the food in the cooker.
It is built using aluminized steel which has anti corrosive properties similar to stainless steel but is lightweight, the unit weighs in at just 24 pounds which makes it easy to put away after use or more importantly to move out to smoke up a storm.
The key features of the Old Smokey Electric smoker are.
- Super affordable
- At time of writing it is just $129 on amazon
- Excellent build and lightweight
- Flat top so juices drip back onto food
- Temperature control for ease of use
- 280 sq inches of cooking space.
- Well insulated and reaches cooking temperature fast
- Removing the lid during cooking causes all smoke and heat to escape quickly
- No thermometer on the smoker
- installing one is relatively cheap and easy
- A Maverick RF thermometer is an excellent option
- No side door to add chips while smoking if needed
The Old Smokey Electric Smoker produces fantastic result at a modest price and unbeatable in the low $100 price range
It does miss in a couple of key areas,however, many of the “cons” of this unit can be easily overcome with minimum fuss, although tweaking a product to get functionality should not really be necessary when purchasing a new product and because of that the Old Smokey find itself in 5th place.
Click here for more details of Old Smokey products
While traditionalists will argue that electric smokers can’t cut the mustard when compared to charcoal and wood smokers the benefits of electric smokers are clear.
There are many models available that didn’t make our Top 5 list and many more that were possibly deserving of a place. Many detailed reviews of other electric smokers can be found on this site to help you find the product that best suits your specific needs and to make the most informed buying decisions
This list will be updated at the range of smokers changes and technology evolves. New products hit the market all the time and we here at Lonestar Reviews continue to provide our readers with the most up to date information available