There are two main types of electric smokers on the market. There is no best electric smoker type, and each one has advantages and disadvantages that you should carefully weight before deciding what the best electric smoker is for you.
Types of Electric Smokers
There are a few types of smokers available and below I will go through each one in depth. Also, if you want to know the types of grills available, follow that link for another in-depth guide.
Cylindrical Electrical Smokers
These smokers are usually shaped like a cylinder, and have a dome shaped lid. The most recognizable brand that makes these types of smokers are the Brinkmann electric smoker series. This type of smoker is usually very light, portable, and relatively small when compared with other electric smokers. And they also cost a lot less. For example, a Brinkmann electric smoker costs on average less than a 100 dollars. Other electric smokers such as Masterbuilt electric smokers can cost well over 300 dollars.
See our top picks for the best gas grills under $200 here.
So if you looking for a cheap electric smoker, these types of smokers are the best option. There are negatives though. Because they are smaller and cheaper than the other type of electric smoker they lack a temperature control and significant amounts of insulation. This means the smoker’s temperature will be massively impacted by the weather outside the smoker. This can be bad when you are trying to cooking red meat, which needs to be at a consistent temperature to avoid undercooking/overcooking.
Also because of the smaller size, these types of smokers are best used on smaller items like fish, thin red meat, and chicken/other thin poultry. The small size can make cooking larger pieces of meat like brisket or pork shoulder difficult. This is important to note, because many electric smoker reviews will not mention this and it can cause issues for people new to using smokers.
Cabinet style Electrical Smokers.
These type of electric smokers are bulkier, shaped like a medium sized cabinet, and are generally higher end smokers; and a far more common than the Electrical Vertical Smokers. Several brands make these types of smokers; namely: Masterbuilt, Bradley Smokers, Char-Broil, Smoke Hollow.”
This type of smoker has many advantages. Cooking space is the biggest. Because they are bigger these types of electrical smokers allow for more cooking space and more cooking racks. For example, the Masterbuilt 40 inch electrical smoker with window, can hold over 25 pounds of meat and has 4 cooking racks. They also make better use of technology.
Most cabinet style smokers will have digital displays, temperature control, and high quality insulation. This makes it far easier to maintain a consistent temperature in the smoker and this leads to higher quality food. If you are looking for the absolute best electric smoker, you need to get a cabinet style smoker, as all the top quality smokers tend to be of this variety.
The disadvantages are mainly cost related. Most of these smokers will run you upwards of 150 dollars and extra costs from having to buy extra woodchips. They are also very heavy which can make movement a hassle; thankfully many do come with a handle and wheels to make moving the smoker easier.
Overall each electric smoker type has its pros and cons. While I do think the cabinet style is the best type of electric smoker; the best electric smoker is the one that best suits your needs. We have plenty of reviews to help you make your decision.