best electric smoker

Best Electric Smoker

The Best Electric Smoker Reviews!

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.

Electric Smoker Comparison Guide

Our In-Depth Smoker Reviews

Jim Beam Bradley Smoker 4-Rack Digital Outdoor Smoker Review

The Jim Beam BTDS76JB Bradley Smoker 4-Rack Digital Outdoor Smoker is an electric smoker made by Bradley Smokers in combination with Jim Beam Bourbon. It measures 14 by 24 by 31 inches. It weighs about 43 pounds. Here are some features of the Bradley electric smoker:

  • 500 Watt, stainless steel heating element
  • An extra 125 watt burner
  • 4 stainless steel cooking racks
  • Smoke generator automatically feeds in wood briquettes and discards them when they are used

PROS

This Bradley electric smoker features user friendly digital controls that allow you to easily adjust temperature settings, smoke settings, and even has a handy timer so you can decide exactly how long you want your food to be smoked for.

Like every other Bradley electric smoker, this model uses flavored wood briquettes to give the smoke flavor. The briquettes are delivered via an automatic feeding system and are discarded into a pan of water after about 20 minutes to prevent the wood from smouldering. Briquettes also come in a wide variety of flavors which gives you plenty of options when using your smoker.

It has an insulated, stainless steel interior. This make temperature control easy; so your smoker’s temperature will not be affected by the temperature outside the smoker. This a massive advantage when trying to smoke red meats, which are best when smoked at an exact temperature. Stainless steel interior as well as removable racks also makes cleanup a breeze.

CONS

The wooden briquettes can be hard to find outside specialty stores, they are sold online but having to wait for them to be delivered can be a bit of hassle if you get a sudden urge to start using your smoker.

The maximum temperature is only about 285 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s great for red meats and thinner pieces of food, but can make smoking a pork shoulder, or poultry difficult and slow going.

The model is also rather pricey at 350 dollars. It’s not the most expensive Bradley electric smoker, but it is certainly up there in price. So if money is a concern, you might want to consider a cheaper model.

Overall

A good smoker, with a very easy to use digital display; but between the initial costs and buying wooden briquettes, this becomes a very pricey smoker; but the food it makes can make you forget all about the price.

See what I think is the best propane gas grill under $300 here.

Masterbuilt 30-Inch Black Electric Analog Smoker Review

The Masterbuilt 20070210 30-Inch Electric Analog Smoker is the most simplistic and cheapest of all Masterbuilt electric smokers. It only comes in a 30 inch model much like masterbuilt’s other windowless electric smoker. The smoker is 30 inches long, with 548 sq. Inches of cooking space and three chrome coated cooking racks. Besides that the model is fairly standard when compared with other Masterbuilt electric smokers.

This model’s features:

  • 1500 watt heating element
  • Dual layered insulation
  • Thermostat temperature control with a max temperature of 400f
  • Temperature gauge imbedded in door
  • Removable drip pan, removable water pan, and a woodchip loaded in the front

PROS

Price is the biggest selling point for this electric smoker. It’s just under a 150 dollars which is a full 50 dollars cheaper than the next cheapest model.

Like other Masterbuilt models cleanup is really easy. The drip pan and water pan are both removable and the inside can be easily wiped down.

This model does have a 1500 watt heating element as opposed to the 800 watt one used by the other 30 inch models. This means the analog model is actually quite good at handling large amounts of meat; where as other models have trouble keeping their temperature consistent.

CONS

The cooking space in this model is drastically lower than any other model from Masterbuilt. For example the Masterbuilt 30 inch electric smoker (non-window version) has 730 sq. Inches of cooking space and 4 cooking racks compared with this model’s 548 sq. Inches and 3 cooking racks.

There is no wheels or handle for easy movement. The smoker only ways about 50 pounds, so you can carry it, but it seems like an unnecessary hassle.

The electric cord is ridiculously small; so you will need to use an extension cord or keep your smoker very close to an outlet.

The analog controls for temperature can be difficult to manage, especially for those who are not used to using a smoker. The digital display on more advanced masterbuilt models are far better than the display on the Masterbuilt analog smoker. Furthermore, the smoker does not come with its own meat probe so you need to get that yourself.

Overall

The Masterbuilt 20070210 30-Inch Electric Analog Smoker is a decent smoker with a good heating element; but that is its only real advantage over other models from Masterbuilt. You’re better off spending the extra 50 dollars and picking up a Masterbuilt 30 inch electric smoker.

Masterbuilt 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker Review

The Masterbuilt 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker is one of the main Masterbuilt electric smokers out on the market. Standing at thirty inches and weighing close to 46 pounds, it boasts…

  • Cooking space of 730 sq.Inches
  • 4 chrome cooking racks
  • An 800 watt heating element.
  • Digitial controls for both time and tempter
  • Side loading wood chips and removable drip pan at the bottom

So how does it hold up?

PROS

The Masterbuilt 30 inch Black Electric Smoker is very user friendly. So if you are new to using a smoker, this is easily the best electric smoker for novices. It includes a comprehensive manual with instructions and tips. The easy to use digital controls include a pushbutton to start the smoker, an easy temperature control that ranges from 100 degrees to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. It also includes a 24 hour timer that shuts off automatically, meaning you can set the timer and not have to touch the smoker again until your food is ready.

The inside of the smoker is completely insulated equally on all sides, allowing meat to be evenly cooked on all sides. Also, because of the ability to load in more woodchips from the side, you never have to open the door once the meat is inside the smoker; making it much easier to maintain a consistent temperature and heat.

A nifty little feature is the presence of a removable water pan, by filling it with a liquid like Beer, or vinegar, you can infuse the smoke with a bit of extra flavour.

Finally, arguably the best advantage of the Masterbuilt 30 inch electric smoker series, and this model in particular, is the cost. It lacks certain features of the more advanced models like this one (link other review of better smoker), notably the window for easy viewing and the remote for the digital controls, but it more than makes up for this by being a full hundred dollars cheaper than other models.

Cons

The first major flaw is the lack of a viewing window, not a major flaw, but it can be annoying, especially when trying to keep track of what it’s in the smoker. Likewise the smoker does not come with a meat probe, like other models do. So if you want to accurately measure the temperature of the cooking meat, you need to buy your own thermometer. The model also lacks a remote control for its timer and temperature control. It’s a minor annoyance, but being able to change the timer or increase the temperature without getting up is extremely convenient and sorely missed.

The model is also quite heavy, not as heavy as other models, but it still weighs just under 46 pounds. However, despite being so heavy, this model does not feature wheels or a handle. So if you want to move the smoker around, you need to physically pick it up.

If lack of space is an issue, there is no 40 inch model equivalent, if you want a 40 inch smoker you must upgrade to a model with a window which can cost an extra 150$.

Overall

The Masterbuilt 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker is overall a well-made, cost effective, electric smoker. It has some flaws, but they aren’t deal breakers. So regardless of whether you’re new to using a smoker, or familiar with it, this smoker is a good option that won’t break the bank. It does not rank up with the best electric smokers, but given its price, it’s certainly not a bad option.

Char-Broil Electric Vertical Smoker Review

The Char-Broil Electric Vertical Smoker is an electrical smoker standing at 30 inches and weighs just under 50 pounds. It is fairly spacious interior with 508 sq. Inches of cooking space. Some more specs:

  • 3 coated, removable cooking racks
  • 1,500 Watt heating element.
  • Porcelain pans for woodchips, water, and ashes
  • Temperature gauge on front
  • Chrome plated handle
  • Completely insulated interior

PROS

This Char-Broil electric smoker has a very powerful heating element, meaning you can smoke any sort of food and ensure that it will be cooked thoroughly. Especially helpful with things like turkey or pork shoulder.

The model is very sturdy and durable, so it can take some scrapes and bumps and still keep running. Likewise it will not be completely ruined if it is accidently left out in the rain; but a cover is still recommended.

It is very cost effective. The Char-Broil Electric Vertical Smoker only costs around 170 dollars; which for an electric smoker of this quality. The amount of cooking space and the powerful heating element make this smoker worth the price.

CONS

Because it’s not a digital smoker it lacks temperature control. So it can be difficult to keep a consistent temperature when the outside temperature is not being cooperative.

If the smoker temperature gets really high, I’ve noticed that it begins to warp the door, to the point where it will not close properly. It is easily fixable by just installing an extra locking mechanism, which can be done fairly quickly and easily.

There is no way to check the temperature of the meat without opening the door and releasing smoke and making the internal temperature go down. Many electric smokers have ways of checking the temperature of the food being smoked without compromising the actual temperature of the smoker. It is a shame the Char-Broil electric smoker does not have one. But that is only a minor annoyance.

Overall

Not a bad smoker for the relatively cheap price; but still better to spend the money and go for an upscale digital smoker if possible.

Bradley Digital 4-Rack Smoker Review

The Bradley Digital 4-Rack Smoker is of the premier Bradley electric smokers out there. It is 17 by 14 by 31 inches. It expands to around 24 wide when the smoke generator is attached. It features a stainless steel exterior and insulated stainless steel interior. Some features of this Bradley electric smoker are:

  • 500 Watt heating element
  • 4 removable cooking racks
  • Full digital control for temperature, time, and smoke
  • Separate burners for smoke generation and oven heat
  • 8 hours of smoke with a maximum temperature of 320 degrees Fahrenheit
  • There is a six rack model that is more expensive but also provides more cooking space and a larger heating element.

PROS

Because of the digital timer, you cans set this smoker and forget it. No need to constantly monitor the temperature like with a charcoal smoker. So you can spend more time entertaining guests or just lazing around.

The Bradley electric smoker is very easy to put together, much like a refrigerator.

The wooden bisquettes that are used to flavour the smoke come in many diverse flavours like Applewood, misquite, etc. This allows you to spice your food up every once in a while.

The digital controls and insulation make keeping a steady temperature while smoking easy. It has a very powerful heating element ensuring that you can smoke very thick pieces of meat like pork shoulder with ease.

Bradley customer service is great; they are willing to answer questions in emails and work through any issues that may come up.

CONS

It’s very heavy and cumbersome to move. There are no wheels or handles, so if you want to move the smoker it’s going to be a bit of a hassle.

The smoker’s heating element can struggle when handling large amounts of meat, especially thick meats like pork shoulders. So you should probably limit your smoking to 1 or 2 thick pieces of meat per session.

As with all every other Bradley electric smoker, this one relies on wooden bisquettes to flavour the smoke. These bisquettes can be difficult to find outside of specialty stores or online; and they can be somewhat expensive as well.

The 4 rack smoker is pricey at nearly 400 dollars, the 6 rack smoker variant is even more expensive. Add in having to buy wooden bisquettes and this can be a pricey purchase, but the quality of the electric smoker is definitely worth the purchase.

Overall

The Bradley Digital 4-Rack Smoker is a very good smoker, while it is pricey, if you are in the market for a high quality electric smoker you will not be going wrong with this Bradley electric smoker.

Bradley Smokers Original Smoker Review

The Bradley Smokers Original Smoker, is an electric meat smoker. It is 34 inches, with a 18 x 20 dimensions. It weighs around 50 pounds. It features:

  • Stainless Steel interior
  • 520 sq. Inches of cooking space
  • Easy to use temperature controls located on the side.
  • A maximum temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • 4 chrome coated racks that can be easily removed for cleaning.

PROS

It uses wood bisquettes to give the smoke flavour. How the system works is you load the bisquettes into the loaded on the side, and after about 20 minutes of use the bisquettes will be automatically dropped into water to stop the wood from smouldering. Bradley sells their own bags of bisquettes and there is a huge amount of flavours to choose from; including all the standards like apple wood, mesquite. Bradley smoker recipes can be found on the Bradley website.

You can turn the heat off and just “cold smoke”, so you can infuse things like cheese with smokey flavour without melting it.

Very easy to clean, on this model everything from the racks, to the drip pan, to the water bowl, can all be removed and thrown straight into the dishwasher.

It’s also not too pricey and can be found on Amazon for just over 250 dollars, which given all the features is not a bad deal for a Bradley electric smoker.

CONS

The wooden bisquettes can be hard to find. Certain speciality stores may carry them, but you most likely will need to buy them online. Since you go through bisquettes fast on this machine it can be a bit pricey and a bit of a hassle to keep buying them online. Thankfully you do not need the bisquettes to use the Bradley Smokers Original Smoker.

The maximum heat is only 250 degrees Fahrenheit and is not ideal for cooking any form of poultry.

The top of the smoker can become coated with grime and caked on grease and needs a good cleaning after every couple smoking sessions.

Maintaining the correct temperature can be difficult because the model lacks an automatic thermostat and relies on a dial with “high, medium and low” options.

Brinkmann 810-7080-K Electric Gourmet Smoker Review

The Brinkmann 810-7080-K Electric Gourmet Smoker is a cylindrical, electric smoker from the well know company Brinkmann. It measures 17 by 17 by 35 inches; making it a fairly small as far electrical smokers go. It has 2 chrome plated cooking racks and can hold 10-15 pounds of meat. It features a dome lid, with a very small door on front where you can access the water pan. So how does it hold up?

PROS

The Brinkmann Electrical Gourmet Smoker is very compact and portable; it only weighs about 25 pounds. It does not have wheels, but it has two wooden grip handles and it is light enough to be carried easily. Furthermore the wooden grip handles do not heat up and so the smoker does not need to be cooled before being moved.

It contains a 1500 Watt heating element, which is very powerful, especially considering the birkmann electrical smoker’s small size. It also has lava rocks as insulation. Meaning it can handle a good amount of food.

Finally, the price is a major selling point. At less than a hundred dollars the Brinkmann Electrical Gourmet Smoker is much cheaper than pretty much any other quality smoker.

CONS

The smoker does not have any form of temperature control. This is rather bad as outside weather can affect the internal temperature of the smoker and lead to the meat being inconsistently cooked. Also, there appears to be a minor gap between the lid and the smoker where some smoke gets out, lowering the temperature.

There is no dial for controlling the heat of the smoker, and it seems to default at just over 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not ideal for cooking poultry and types of red meat.

Overall

The Brinkmann 810-7080-K Electric Gourmet Smoker has some major flaws, namely the temperature control problems noted above. But it does still work. And for such a cheap price, it’s worth considering this smoker if you are in the market for a cheap, easy to use electric smoker.

So that’s our list of the very best electric smokers money can buy at the moment. If you think we should add some information to our reviews, or you still have questions about a certain brand of smoker, let us know in the comment below.

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