When you’re exploring the best BBQ smokers, you’ll find more than just the classic offset smoker in the Texan style.
With newer technologies continuing to gain currency, you can also find BBQ smokers fueled by propane gas, natural gas, and wood pellets. You can also find plenty of electric BBQ smokers.
The advantage of these alternative methods is that they are much more beginner-friendly than cooking with charcoal, and you may also find adjusting temperature and air flow easier.
As with all grill purchasing decisions, the only thing that counts is finding a style of BBQ smoker that works for you and your family. To achieve that, you should spend plenty of time on research rather than whipping out your credit card and going in blind.
If you have no idea what to look for in a BBQ smoker, take the following pointers into consideration to make your life easier.
With that basic framework in place, you should now be perfectly placed to choose the best BBQ grill the easy way.
It’s now time to dive in and explore our reviews of all the best BBQ smokers out there. See if any make a smooth fit for your yard this summer.
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The 16 Best BBQ Smokers
1. Our Pick Weber 18-Inch Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker
Weber has a deep bench of highly effective grills, so how does this charcoal smoker shape up?
Firstly, this is a reasonably compact bullet smoker measuring up at 21 x 19 x 41 inches and weighing in at under 40 pounds.
Despite these space-saving dimensions, the smoker gives you a total cooking surface area of 245 square inches. To put this into perspective, you could smoke a whole turkey and ham at the same time in this thing.
Build quality is commendable throughout. Made from porcelain-enameled steel, you get the ideal combination of heat retaining properties and durability.
Plated steel cooking grates mean you shouldn’t end up with food debris splattered all over the place. As long as you clean the grates after each cookout, you should never need to worry about maintenance. The legs of the unit are designed to withstand rust, completing a comprehensive smoking package from an industry specialist.
While there is a thermometer baked in, as with most smokers, you may find this is not entirely accurate.
With an 18-inch diameter and an expansive cooking surface area, this Weber BBQ smoker is one of the finest charcoal-fueled options at your disposal and our personal favorite of all the grills on our list today.
As long as you’re prepared to put in a little effort mastering how to use this smoker proficiently, you’ll be barbecuing like a pro in no time. As with all charcoal grills, you’ll get the authentic BBQ taste, even if you need to put in some TLC.
2. Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker
Masterbuilt’s digital electric smoker gives you a spacious and highly convenient approach to smoking meat, fish, and other dishes at home.
This is the larger of the models in this line, measuring 40 inches across and boasting a total cooking surface area of over 700 square inches. This gives you more than enough latitude to cook for a large family or guests.
As an indication of capacity, here’s what you could cook in this smoker:
- 16 chickens
- 4 turkeys
- 8 pork butts
- 8 racks of ribs
Bluetooth connectivity allows you to control this unit remotely, ideal if you want to circulate with guests in the yard rather than constantly fussing over the grill.
The side-loading system for wood chips lets you load in more chips without opening the door of the smoker. When you do open the door to serve your food, there’s a soft interior light illuminating proceedings.
There are 4 smoke racks that are all coated with chrome for durability and performance.
Integrated temperature control should ensure consistent cooking results every time. There is also a meat probe thermometer included, taking all the guesswork out of timing meats.
Most user reviews of the Masterbuilt are positive, but we found a handful of complaints from consumers receiving damaged grills. Check the contents of your delivery closely to avoid any nasty surprises.
Masterbuilt has a rock-solid reputation in this vertical, so if you’re looking for one of the best BBQ smokers that comes in at a reasonable price point, check out this nifty digital electric model.
3. Traeger Pro Series 575 Grill Smoker
Traeger is a highly reputable brand in the grilling vertical, and the Pro Series 575 grill/smoker combo is one of the finest examples they produce.
This is a smart grill that comes with WiFi connectivity. Using the free Traeger app, you can take charge of this unit at a distance. If you have an Amazon Echo device, you can use your favorite digital assistant Alexa for voice control.
The wood pellet grill affords you the following cooking applications:
This is another model that proves many smokers can be highly versatile appliances, allowing you to do much more than simply smoke some meat or fish.
The uprated drivetrain on this iteration of the classic 575 leads to a swifter startup time. The overhauled grill also heats up quicker and kicks out a higher quality of smoke.
The spacious cooking grates give you the room to cook up 5 racks of ribs, 24 burgers, or 4 chickens. Thanks to the integrated meat probe, you won’t need to guess when your food is ready either.
We found almost universally positive feedback from customers reviewing their experience of this smoker, but the same cannot be said for this brand’s customer service. Pack plenty of patience if anything goes amiss. Overall, though, this modern classic is one of the best BBQ smokers out there and it comes from an industry heavyweight, so why not add it to your shortlist when you’re grill shopping this summer?
4. Green Mountain Davey Crockett Sense Mate
Next up comes another WiFi-enabled smart grill, this time from Green Mountain in the guise of the Davey Crockett Sense Mate.
Already reasonably priced considering the impressive performance, this grill is currently available at a discount, so act quickly and snatch yourself a bargain for summer.
Weighing less than 60 pounds and occupying a pretty small footprint, this grill makes a neat choice if you need a portable smoking companion for tailgating, fishing, or camping trips. The folding legs make transporting this grill a cinch and it should slot neatly into the trunks of pretty much all cars.
User reviews are fairly positive throughout. We found some scattered blowback about the grease tray and its tendency to warp over time, but this is a relatively minor gripe considering the pricing and performance of this smoker overall.
The thermal sensor onboard is a great way to keep the temperature monitored throughout. As with all smokers, you may find the accuracy of this is questionable.
You have 3 power options with this electric smoker, and you get the adapters you need included.
As crowning glory, you’ll benefit from a 2-year limited warranty, completing an excellent package from a grill specialist. What’s not to love?
5. Kamado Joe Classic I Charcoal Grill
If you’re looking for a cheap BBQ smoker, Kamado Joe grills are not for you. This company charges sky-high prices, but when you invest in one of their iconic grills or smokers, you won’t regret spending that extra money. If you have a more fluid budget, then, what do you get for your money here?
Firstly, you need to navigate the range and choose the right configuration for you. This is the base model, the Classic I. You might not get any frills and there is no cover included, but the pricing is keen compared to the more expensive models in the line.
Finished in an arresting free hydrant red, this grill make a statement on the patio or decking. Guests will be able to see your commitment to the art of smoking before you fire the thing up.
The half-moon design and split-tier cooking environment give you a flexible means of smoking and grilling your food, whether for the family or for guests at your next cookout.
Cleaning this smoker up is just as easy as using it. The ash catcher slides out so all you need to do is ditch the contents, wipe down the grates, and you’re all set.
As appears to be the case with many of the manufacturers on our shortlist today, customer service is reportedly weak. This is surprising given the stature of Kamado Joe. On the plus side, though, these grills are so good that you shouldn’t need to call for assistance in the first place.
This is one of the strongest contenders for the best BBQ smoker out there. If you can afford the Kamado Joe Classic I, you won’t be disappointed.
6. PK Grills Grill and Smoker
PK Grills offers up this cast aluminum gem that gets our vote as one of the best BBQ smokers out there. How does it fare, then?
Well, firstly you’ll need to be prepared to master the art of cooking with charcoal if you take on this grill and smoker. Temperature regulation is a little tougher than using an electric or gas grill, but you’ll benefit from that unmistakable smoky taste in return.
Weighing just 45 pounds, this is one of the more lightweight grills on our shortlist. Thanks to the aluminum build, you’ll benefit from first-class heat retention and ensure your smoked food has all the heat locked inside with it.
You can easily detach this grill from the stand when you need to take it on the road. Whether you’re heading tailgating, camping, or fishing, this grill and smoker makes the ideal companion.
With 300 square inches of total cooking surface area, you’ll be bringing home an award-winning grill from a highly reputable brand to add a new dimension to cookouts this coming summer.
The distinctive capsule shape and the robust venting combine to deliver the optimum cooking environment for smoked food.
This grill is so easy to use that it makes a great choice for complete beginners without leaving more experienced grillers wanting. You’ll get flexibility and control as well as that trademark BBQ taste when you’re smoking, as long as you master the art of temperature regulation.
As crowning glory, this grill and smoker is covered by a class-leading 10-year limited warranty, allowing you to buy with total confidence.
7. Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Smoker
Cuisinart has a hard-won reputation for producing kitchenware and kitchen appliances that are always on-point without costing the earth. This electric smoker continues that tradition in fine style.
Weighing just 50 pounds, this is a hardwearing smoker that’s also quite compact and manageable. That said, it still merits permanent installation on the patio or decking to really set your yard off this summer.
The roomy interior of this unit gives you almost 550 square inches of cooking real estate, so you’ll be free to cater for larger gatherings of guests without needing a gargantuan grill.
There are 3 removable stainless steel shelves inside this thing, giving you plenty of space to smoke up a storm. These are dishwasher-friendly for hands-free cleanup.
If you’re looking to smoke much larger hunks of meat, remove the racks as required to customize your cooking environment.
As with all smokers that run on charcoal, you should be prepared for a slight learning curve when you get started, but that’s all part of the fun of smoking. In return for putting in a little time and effort, you’ll be rewarded by a taste unmatched by other cooking methods.
As with many BBQ smokers, you’ll find a variety of complaints from users concerning the inaccuracy of the temperature gauge. Aside from this common bugbear, most user testimony is overwhelmingly positive. This is one of the best BBQ smokers out there, and you won’t need to take out a bank loan to afford it either.
8. Masterbuilt Analog Electric Smoker
For anyone that dislikes the idea of a smart grill you control in-app remotely, Masterbuilt delivers this analog electric smoker delivering a low-key smoking experience with no bells or whistles. For many consumers, this simplicity is the key selling point rather than a drawback. If that sounds appealing, read on.
There are several configurations of this smoker at your disposal. This is the 30-inch grill equipped with 3 racks. These are chrome-coated so you shouldn’t find too much food sticking onto them. They’re super-simple to clean, too.
This is a corded electric appliance, so you’ll need to make sure you position it somewhere close to a power outlet.
Inside this unit, there’s a powerful 1500-watt heating element allowing you all the oomph you need to smoke your food slow and low all day long.
The wood chip tray is easy to slip in and out so emptying the ash is a stress-free experience. As long as you take care of this and cleaning the cooking grates after each use, that’s about the extent of the upkeep required. We would recommend deep cleaning your smoker perhaps twice a year, depending on how often you make use of it.
Cooking results are incredibly consistent with this electric smoker, allowing you to confidently cook for guests even if you’re an inexperienced griller.
As with a few of the smokers we review today, this model attracts a few complaints concerning the paint peeling off. If you consider this a deal-breaker, there are plenty of other smokers on our shortlist. If not, you’re getting one of the best BBQ smokers out there from a brand you can trust.
9. Dyna-Glo Vertical LP Gas Smoker
Next up in our quest for the best BBQ smokers comes this propane gas beauty from Dyna-Glo. We’ll break the benefits and drawbacks of this smoker so you can see if it makes the right fit for you.
Firstly, you’ll get 4 wire racks inside, allowing you to segregate your food and to smoke and grill multiple dishes at the same time.
The total cooking surface area is generous at just under 800 square inches. This smoker is ideal for larger families or for anyone that frequently entertains in the yard during the summer months.
The cast iron burner is rated at 15,000 BTU, so you’ll get ample firepower for a variety of smoking and grilling duties. Electronic ignition removes the tedium from firing this thing up, and there is an oversized control dial to make your life easier.
The wood chip box is there so you can impart that desirable smoky taste to your food, and this is made from porcelain-enameled steel for its heat retaining properties.
There is a decorative temperature gauge mounted in the front of this smoker, so you can see what you need at a glance.
Double doors streamline operation and complete a highly desirable package from an emerging brand with a promising future.
While the majority of user reviews of this smoker are pretty positive, we found a handful of consumers taking issue with temperature control. This is not the most seamless of the smokers on our shortlist, so if you’re a complete beginner, you may want to consider one of the more forgiving models we review.
10. Char-Broil Bullet Charcoal Smoker
For grilling and smoking purists, there is simply no substitute for a charcoal smoker. Char-Broil serves up one of the best examples up for grabs with this neat bullet smoker.
This is the smaller 16-inch model, delivering 370 square inches of total cooking surface area. If this isn’t quite up to your cooking requirements, opt for its bigger 20-inch brother.
The cooking grates are coated with porcelain to minimize the likelihood of your food smearing all over them. The grates are easy to remove and clean, something you should do after every use to keep your grill working at its very best.
The airflow system on this unit is impeccably designed and promotes totally consistent smoking, ideal for complete beginners. There are numbered damper settings so you can more easily dial in your temperature requirements for future cookouts.
There is a temperature gauge mounted in the lid of this unit. Despite most users finding the temperature control quite forgiving, we found a few concerns expressed about the volatility of temperature maintenance. You should do your own due diligence here.
The ash pan slides out easily, so all you need to do is dump the contents, clean the grates, and you’re good to go. Always wait until your smoker has cooled down completely before attempting this.
The smoke chamber is sealed by a fire access door and there are some squat and sturdy tubular legs supporting this classic charcoal grill.
While user reviews are reasonably mixed, we feel this is one of the best BBQ smokers out there, and it’s well worth a place on your shortlist if the price and sizing is right.
11. Traeger Pellet Grills Tailgater
Another entry from the inimitable Traeger is up next with this compact and portable grill.
Despite such a small form factor and its relatively lightweight nature, you’ll get a commendable 300 square inches of total cooking surface area. This should give you the freedom to whip up some smoked snacks for a small family or a couple of guests.
The bonus of these scaled-down dimensions is that this smoker makes a wonderful travel companion if you like grilling food on the go.
The maximum temperature on this unit is a respectable 450F, so you’ll have plenty of versatility to cook up more than just smoked food. If you want to smoke food, though, you can cook with confidence, slowly and at a low temperature until your food is succulent and imbued with that unforgettable smoky taste.
The hopper has the capacity to hold up to 8 pounds of wood pellets, enough to keep you going all day long.
There is a meat temperature probe onboard, so you can remove any concerns about whether those burgers are cooked all the way through.
The arc controller on this smoker boasts advanced grilling logic, so your own role is minimized and the end result coming out of the smoker is optimized.
You can fine-tune the temperature in 5-degree increments. We would like to see a little more precision here.
As well as smoking in this unit, you can also braise, roast, bake, and grill your food. So, you’re not just getting one of the best BBQ smokers out there, but you’re also getting a highly multipurpose grilling machine to add a new dimension to your summer.
12. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Offset Smoker
If you’re looking for an authentic smoking experience, you can’t go wrong with a classic offset smoker. Oklahoma Joe’s don’t make cheap grilling equipment, so be prepared to dig deep, but if you can afford the Highland grill, you’ll never look back.
You can access the fire box very easily on this model, something that’s glaringly overlooked on many of the weaker models in this crowded space.
Powered by natural gas, you’ll need to make sure you’re comfortable with this. If not, we have plenty of models in electric, propane, and charcoal form.
Heat and smoke control can be taken care of using the dampers onboard. This requires a little experimentation, but you’ll soon have this dialed in like a pro.
A spacious array of shelving lets you keep all the accessories you need close at hand and your cooking station complete with everything you need to smoke up a storm.
The cooking area is even more substantial. The primary cooking grate measures up at 619 square inches, while you’ll get an additional 281 square inches of space on the secondary rack. These grates are all made from porcelain-coated wire.
This is another model with a regrettable reputation for peeling paint. This niggle notwithstanding, it’s one of the best BBQ smokers out there, so why not pop it on your shortlist?
13. Pit Barrel Cooker Co Cooker Package
The classic package from the Pit Barrel Cooker Co gives you everything you need and nothing you don’t when you’re looking to smoke food at home.
You won’t need to fuss around with intricate assembly when this package arrives. It makes a great choice if the thought of tasky set-up fills you with dread and you don’t have a toolshed full of kit. How does it shape up, then?
The porcelain enamel coating is hardwearing and helps with heat retention.
There is a coal basket bundled that holds enough fuel to keep you smoking all day long. 8 stainless hooks thrown in allow you to hang the food you want to smoke inside this thing and leave it cooking low and slow for lip-smacking results with that classic BBQ taste.
This is not the most travel-friendly or portable setup. It’s a heavy and bulky unit that works best when set up permanently in the yard, or on the patio or decking. If you need a travel smoker, we have several options for you to explore on our shortlist.
If, on the other hand, you’re happy to invest in a set-and-forget smoker, adding this powerful beast to your arsenal will give you widened scope when you’re grilling in the yard this year.
As an added bonus, this is one of the cheapest BBQ smokers we review that doesn’t end up forcing you to compromise in terms of performance or build quality.
14. Realcook Vertical Steel Charcoal Smoker
Next up comes a rugged and long-lasting vertical smoker fueled by charcoal. How does the Realcook Vertical stand and fall?
As with many of the best BBQ smokers on our shortlist, this one permits you to cook using multiple methods, including these applications:
As you can see, there’s a lot more up the sleeve of this smoker than basic smoking duties.
Cooking grids deliver a total cooking surface area of 453 square inches, ideal when you’re cooking for the whole family or guests. You get a crossbar and 4 hangers so you can smoke multiple pieces of meat or fish at the same time inside this thing.
Setting this smoker up is straightforward and you won’t need any special DIY skills to get going more or less right out the box.
There is a double door making it easier for you to check up on the status of your smoked foods by opening the upper door. Opening the lower door allows you to add charcoal or wood without breaching the storage environment.
There is an adjustable air supply located on the lid of the smoker. By using this and by adjusting the amount of charcoal you use, you can manipulate the temperature to suit. There is also a porcelain-enameled water pot.
The handles are designed to be completely heat-resistant, so you won’t get any nasty surprises or burned fingers.
As with a handful of the smokers on our list today, we found a number of complaints about the paint peeling off from this steel smoker.
15. Asmoke Electric Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
Next up we have something for anyone looking for a portable take on the BBQ smoker, with the AS300 from Asmoke.
Now, just because this grill is super-portable, that doesn’t mean you get stiffed in terms of total cooking surface area. The total cooking area is an impressive 256 square inches.
This is a corded electric device, so you’ll need access to a power outlet to get things started.
If you thought smokers were limited in scope, think again. The Asmoke comes with the following cooking applications:
The cast iron cooking grates are coated with porcelain to prevent food sticking on and arranged over two tiers for a split-level smoking experience.
There is a patented air duct system that helps to cook your food consistently and evenly throughout.
Despite the compact form factor and budget pricing, you get some generous accessories, including a meat probe, a carry bag, and a grill cover.
There’s also a programmable meat probe, so you can take the sting out of needing to routinely monitor the smoker. Relax with your guests instead and let the Asmoke do the hard work for you.
You can tweak the temperature using the digital controller from 180F to 500F. Whether you’re looking to smoke food low and slow, or to sear meat for that trademark finishing touch, you can do that and much, much more in this portable and highly effective BBQ smoker.
16. Smokehouse Products Big Chief Electric Smoker
The Big Chief is a powerful electric smoker from Smokehouse Products, so what do you get for your money here?
This is an electric smoker, so it makes a very smart choice if you’re a complete beginner to smoking and looking for an easy entry point into this rewarding art.
The generous capacity of this smoker lets you smoke up to 50 pound of meat or fish in a single sitting, so you can whip up a feast for a large gathering without needing to slave over a stove.
With a 450-watt, 120V heating element, this smoker will deliver a consistent temperature that permits you to smoke your food slow and low for succulent results with that trademark smokiness imparted.
All you need to do is plug this smoker into a standard outlet, add some wood chips to the pan, and you’re good to go.
Highly refined ventilation helps to return impressive smoking results, so smoke your food as low as 165F and enjoy breathtaking results while barely needing to lift a finger.
While most user feedback concerning this smoker is positive, we found many complaints about the overall build quality. In spite of those beefy and commanding looks, this unit is surprisingly fragile. Handle with care, or consider another smoker if you plan to use this thing heavily.
1) Which type of smoker is the easiest to use?
Electric smokers are by some distance the easiest to use of these BBQ smokers. Next down in terms of ease of use comes a propane gas or wood pellet smoker. All of these smokers will maintain their temperature automatically, assuming they are fully fueled. Charcoal and wood-burning smokers, on the others hand, need you to regulate the temperature by maintaining the amount of fuel.
2) What can I cook in a smoker?
Meat and fish are what you typically associate with smokers and these both work wonderfully. You can also smoke fruits and veggies, so get creative and remember that imagination is your only limitation.
3) How can I ensure the temperature is accurate as I am smoking my food?
Even though most BBQ smokers come with an integrated thermostat, this will typically not deliver accurate results. The most precise method at your disposal involves a BBQ temperature controller. This will help significantly with managing both heat and oxygen intake. Increasingly, you find WiFi and Bluetooth-enabled smokers allowing you to take control remotely in-app.
4) Which type of wood should I use in a smoker?
Using smoker-friendly wood chunks and wood chips is the best bet if you have a smoker that will accommodate them. Avoid softwoods as they contain terpenes in the saps that will impair the flavor of the foods you’re smoking.
5) Where should I position my smoker?
You need to ensure your smoker is protected from the elements. You must also ensure it gets adequate air flow, and it needs to be well clear of anything combustible.
6) How long does smoked food last?
If you chill smoked food within 2 hours of cooking and then store it in a vacuum-sealed or airtight container, you can expect it to last 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator and up to 3 months if you pop the leftovers in the freezer.
7) How do I clean my smoker?
Allow the smoker to completely cool down. Sweep out all of the ash to avoid humidity issues and rusting developing over time. Scrub the racks and drip pans of the smoker with some hot soapy water. Wipe down any spillages with a damp cloth. Use some steel wool for any stubborn spots.
8) How often should I clean my smoker?
All components that come into contact with food should be cleaned after every cookout. You should give your smoker a deep clean a couple times each year, more often if you use it frequently. The user manual should give you more model-specific advice concerning the frequency of cleaning.
Well, you may have arrived here today at Royal Tavern with no idea about how to find the best BBQ smokers in such a crowded marketplace. Now, though, you should be clear about the pros and cons of the many different type of smoker, as well as the differences between fuel.
You should think closely about your experience level and your specific wants and needs before blundering in. If you take a little time, there’s no reason not to choose a smoker that gives you years of faithful service with very few headaches.