Do you love barbequed meat? If so, then you likely also love smoked meat as well. There is nothing better on a hot Summer’s day then some freshly smoked brisket or prime rib. However, in order to do high-quality smoking, you need to invest in an equally high-quality smoker.
But which smoker is right for you? In this article, you will see reviews and discussion about the top electric smokers, as well as which one is the best electric smoker. We are also including a lengthy buying guide to explain exactly what you should look for when shopping for a smoker.
If you are in a hurry, our pick for the best smoker is the Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker.
A Spotlight On Some of The Best Electric Smoker 2018
Electric Smoker Reviews:
Masterbuilt 20075315 Front Controller Smoker
So, this is the first of five electric smokers that we plan on reviewing in this article. Before we get into a review of its features, we should note that the Masterbuilt 20075315 Front Controller Smoker has a variety of different options.
For example, you can get it without a window or with a window. You can also choose whether you just want the smoker, or whether you want the smoker and a thermometer combo. Finally, you can also pick what size you want, there are only two options sadly, a 30-inch and a 40-inch. For this review, we will be looking specifically at the 40-inch smoker with a window, we will not be reviewing the thermometer.
This smoker is great and really easy to use in all aspects. Let’s start by looking at what happens when you take it out of the box. With a lot of smokers, there is a lengthy and hassle-filled assembly period, but that isn’t the case with the Masterbuilt.
You just have to assemble a few of the outside components like the handles, but the vast majority of the smoker is assembled and ready to go out right out of the box. It even comes with some wheels, so transporting it around is a lot easier.
There are a lot of other great features on the Masterbuilt that make it worthy of consideration for the title of best electric smoker. For example, it gives you the ability to manually tighten the door handle. This way, when the seal starts to get a bit looser, you can manually tighten the door and you won’t have to worry heat leaking.
The mechanisms for loading in wood chips and collecting drippings is also great. The Masterbuilt makes it very easy for you to load in as many wood chips in as you want, and it is also very easy to change out the drippings pan.
When it comes time to clean the racks, you can do it quite easily using a bit of water and vinegar to wipe down the interior.
- Very easy to assemble.
- Very easy to assemble.
- Wheels make moving it easy.
- Great mechanism for loading wood chips and collecting drippings.
- Simple to clean.
- Can manually tighten door latch.E
- Window fogs up very easy
Smokehouse Products Little Chief Smoker
The next smoker that we want to look at on our best electric smoker list is the Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load Smoker. This is a very affordable smoker that serves as a great entry point for those who may be interested in getting a smoker, but who have never used one before.
First off, what do we mean by affordable? Well, most smokers will generally run you a couple of hundred dollars at least. But you should be able to snag this one for roughly a hundred dollars if not less.
Obviously, prices fluctuate heavily so it is hard to say how affordable it may be in the future, but it is clear that this is definitely one of the more affordable electric smokers on the market. But, because it is on our best electric smoker list, you know that it is also very high-quality, so don’t make the mistake of assuming that this is some cheap smoker that isn’t worth your time.
The exterior of the smoker is made using very high-quality aluminum, so it is extremely durable. The interior grills are of a similar quality and are coated in very tough chrome. We should also mention at this point that this is meant strictly for use outside, so you can’t bring this one indoors.
One of the best things about the Little Chief is that there is no assembly required whatsoever. You just take it out of the box, plug it in, load in your wood chips, and it is ready to use within 10-minutes. Definitely a good option if you want to get to smoking sooner rather than later.
- Comes with wood chips and recipe booklet.
- Extremely affordable.
- No assembly required.
- Chrome plated grills.
- Solid aluminum exterior.
- No window.
Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
The next entry on our list is our choice for the overall best electric smoker on this entire list, the Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker. What does this smoker do so well? First off, it is extremely well-constructed.
The outside is coated in solid stainless-steel. It is also made using “doubled-walled” construction, which is a fancy way of saying that it has great insulation. So, not only is the smoker extremely tough, but it also does a good job of keeping heat in, which reduces cook time dramatically.
The other components on this smoker are equally well-made. For example, the control panel on the front of the smoker is very easy to read, responsive, and it is just designed well overall. It also comes with its own thermometer, which works very well. It manages to always give you a very accurate temperature, which is somewhat rare when dealing with these built-in thermometers.
Another nifty and somewhat unique feature is the ability to control the smoker remotely by using a remote control that comes with the Char-Broil. Although the remote control does have a few issues, such as missing some crucial features (most noticeably an inability to turn off the remote, meaning it is always losing battery life), it is still incredibly convenient to be able to control the smoker without having to get up.
- Great construction quality.
- Double-wall construction prevents heat from escaping.
- Equipped with a window.
- Can be controlled remotely.
- Very easy to use controls.
- Design of the remote control could be better.
Smoke Hollow 3016DEW 30-Inch Digital Electric Smoker with Window
Despite having already picked out our choice for best electric smoker, we have a few other smokers that we still want to highlight, and one of those smokers is the Smoke Hollow 3016DEW 30-Inch Digital Electric Smoker with Window.
This is another great, simple smoker that is ideal for those just getting into the craft. This is because it is extremely easy to use. It has digital controls conveniently located on top of the unit. It doesn’t take long to figure out the controls and once you have them figured out, smoking like a pro is simple.
The design and construction of the smoker are solid. The exterior is made of durable steel that should last for a long time. Similarly, the internal cooking grates are chrome plated and thus both durable and very easy to clean.
- Good for beginners.
- Solid, durable construction.
- Great digital controls.
- Large and easy to access wood chip tray.
- Not large enough for larger pieces of meat.
- Difficult to move around due to weight and stand.
Bradley Smoker BS611
For the last entry on our best electric smoker list, we have a smoker from the very well-known manufacturer, Bradley Smokers. The BS611 is diffidently as good as their other offerings and definitely belongs on this list.
If you have never used a Bradley smoker before, then you are in for a real treat. Those of you have used one before, will know exactly what to expect. The BS611 is very solidly constructed. The outside is made from very solid steel and the interior is made with similarly high-quality materials. Bradley smokers are definitely a good option if you want a smoker that will last for a very long time.
It also has a very simple and intuitive control system. You just twist the dial to your preferred temperature and the smoker does the rest. It does a great job of heating up quickly and staying at the set temperature. It is just an overall joy to use.
- Very solidly built.
- Consistently gives a great, smoky flavor.
- Simple control panel.
- Not all that bulky, easy to move.
- DUPLICATE THIS TO ADD MORE
- DUPLICATE THIS TO ADD MORE
- No window.
- Uses Bradley exclusive wood pucks, can’t use own wood chips.
Electric Smoker Buying Guide
We hope that you found at least one electric smoker on our best electric smoker list to be to your liking. With the second part of this article, we want to change gears and shift towards explaining more about electric smokers. To do this, we have decided to assemble a professional buying guide.
In this buying guide, you will get a lot of really great information about electric smokers that should answer any questions that you have.
This best electric smoker buying guide is going to be structured a bit differently from other buying guides that you may be used to.
Firstly, we are going to start off by explaining the benefits of an electric smoker over more conventional kinds of smokers (specifically propane, which is the other most common smoker type).
After that, we will cover what sorts of features and other things you need to be aware of when you go shopping for an electric smoker of your own (this is assuming that you don’t want to buy one of the electric smokers that we reviewed on our list).
Why To Use An Electric Smoker
So, those of you familiar with smokers will know that there are two main types of smokers out there. The first kind, as evidenced by this article, are electric smokers. As you can probably guess, these are powered by electric batteries and thus you need to plug these smokers in.
The second main kind is gas smokers, which are obviously powered via propane gas. There are also charcoal smokers out there, but for the purpose of this buying guide, we are going to skip over those because they are a bit rarer. While each smoker aficionado has their own opinion as to which one is the “best.” We firmly believe that electric smokers are the way to go for a few reasons.
Electric Smokers Are Safer
One of the major things that really puts electric smokers ahead of gas smokers in our opinion is just how much safer electric smokers are when compared to gas smokers. Electric smokers only need to be plugged into an outlet and the battery and the heating element are contained within the smoker, so there is minimal chance for an accident to occur.
The issue with propane smokers is that they require an active propane line to be installed to keep the smoker going. Now look, we aren’t saying that having an open propane line in your home is a guarantee that an accident will occur or even that it is likely to occur. But the risks associated with an open propane line are significantly more than those associated with a simple plug.
Electric Smokers Are Easier To Use
If you are new to smoking food, then you are definitely going to want to start off with an electric smoker because they are much easier to use. With gas smokers, you have to get used to learning how much gas to use, how to properly regulate the temperature, how to use vents, etc.
Electric smokers, on the other hand, really aren’t all that different from something like an oven. You set the desired temperature, use some wood or charcoal to create the smoke, and that’s really all there is to it.
That ease of use also applies to cooking. Because you can just manually set the temperature, smoking items that require low temperatures is a lot easier. To give you an example of what we mean, let’s look at something like jerky.
Any kind of jerky requires you to smoke the meat at extremely low temperatures for a very long time. With an electric smoker, this is as easy as setting the temperature and keeping an eye on it.
With a gas smoker, manually keeping the temperature low enough to smoke the jerky without burning it is going to be a full-time job. This same logic applies to any meat that requires precise and consistent temperatures.
They Cost Less In The Long Run
Calculating what costs more, an electric or a gas smoker is a bit difficult due to local fluctuations in price. However, we are pretty confident that generally speaking, the vast majority of people will find it cheaper to run an electric smoker than a gas smoker.
Despite being very large, electric smokers don’t use anywhere near the amount of electricity that you assume that they would. Propane smokers, while they tend to be fairly good at not using up a lot of propane, still do run out of propane somewhat quickly.
So, if you add up propane costs and compare them to the impact an electric smoker will have on your monthly energy bill, it is pretty clear that the electric smoker will win hands down.
They Deliver The Same Flavor
A lot of people will say that propane smokers deliver a more pure, smokier flavor. However, this isn’t really the case. By using high-quality wood chips or charcoal, you can achieve some really great tasting, smoky food with an electric smoker.
What To Look For When Buying An Electric Smoker
Now that we have covered why we think electric smokers are the better option, it is time to move onto the second part of this buying guide, which will be looking at what features and aspects you need to be informed of if you want to make an informed purchase when it comes to electric smokers.
The first thing to consider is size. Why is size important? Well, the size of the smoker you get not only determines what sorts of things that you can cook with your smoker, but it also determines how long it will take. Larger smokers are able to accommodate larger pieces of meat.
However, larger smokers also take a lot longer to heat up. The opposite is true with smaller smokers, which take less time to cook things but are more limited in what kinds of meat that they can cook.
Our recommendation is to take a serious look at how often you plan to use your smoker and what you plan to use it for. Do you often smoke meat for large gatherings or large family barbeques? If so, then you are going to want to go for a larger smoker as it will make feeding all of those people a lot easier.
On the other hand, if you live alone or with a small family, then you might as well save yourself time and money by investing in a smaller smoker.
Just in general, we would advise against getting a larger smoker unless you are absolutely certain that you are going to use the larger capacity.
Even with the sort of “set it and forget it” quality of an electric smoker, being able to accurately gauge the temperature of the smoker is still essential. To that end, you want to make sure that the thermometer that you use with your smoker is high-quality.
Unfortunately, thermometers that are included with smokers often aren’t good enough, which leads to many smoker aficionados using their own thermometers.
Sadly, there is no real way to tell if the thermometer on the smoker that you are interested in is good or not without actually testing it yourself. This is why you have to do research and read reviews before you buy. We heavily considered thermometer quality when picking products to feature on our best electric smoker list.
Top-Loaded Vs Front-Loaded
Another decision that you will have to make is whether you want to go for a top-loaded smoker or a front-loaded smoker. Typically, we recommend going with front-loaded smokers, especially if you are new to using smokers, as they are a lot easier to manage.
Not only do they make it easier to put food and take food out, but they also often come with clear glass so that you can always see what your food looks like.
Look For Low Wood Or Charcoal Smokers
Although electric smokers run on electricity, they still require charcoal or wood chips to give your food that smoky flavor. However, not all smokers require the same amount of wood chips or charcoal to work. If possible, try and look for a smoker that doesn’t require a lot of either. This will not only make your life easier, but it will also save you a lot of money down the road.
Another important aspect is temperature control, you want to make sure that the smoke that you buy has a wide range of temperatures to choose from. The main reason for this is that it allows you to smoke a wider array of foods. Things like vegetables, fish, and jerky require low smoking temperatures.
On the other hand, thicker meats like brisket can require higher temperatures. You also want to make sure that the temperature controls are easy to access and that they allow you to change the temperature on the fly.
It was a long journey, so we want to thank those of you who took the time to read both our best electric smoker list and our accompanying buying guide. We hope that you found the products that we reviewed and the information that we gave to be helpful.
If you want to keep the conversation going, we would encourage you to do just that by leaving a comment or two. We are sure that others reading this article would love to hear what other smoking experts and aficionados have to say.