Have you ever stepped outside, took a deep breath, and smelled your neighbor’s smoker? It is the smell of summer. It is the smell of the promise of a great meal.
There is nothing as delicious, or as mouthwatering, as the smell of meat smoking. There is no reason why you can’t have that smell for yourself.
Smoking meat is simple when you know what to do. Let’s take a look at the best electric smokers so that you can gain confidence and start smoking your own meats.
With that said, the flavor of meat smoked low and slow is unique. The way that it falls off your fork and just melts in your mouth is a lifestyle. There is a sense of pride in a great cooked piece of meat.
That is why the top smoker brands compete for the number one spot.
The Best Electric Smokers of 2018
|Smokin-It Model #1|
|Cookshack SM009-2 Smokette|
|Smokin Tex 1400 Pro|
|Old Smokey Electric Smoker|
|Char-Broil Vertical Electric|
|Big Chief Front Load Smoker|
|Smoke Hollow D4015RS|
1. Smokin-It Model #1 Electric Smoker – Best Overall & Easiest to CleanThis Smokin-It Model #1 offers just about everything you need in an electric smoker. With this product, you don’t have to use as much wood as other electric smokers. You can even use it as a cold smoker.
This versatile smoker has extra large capacity smoker and is certified for use in restaurants. It holds enough food to feed an entire party, but good enough to use in a commercial setting. This smoker will even allow you to host the next family event right in your backyard.
The drip tray is wide and slips under it so that you have no mess on your floor. The outside gets warm but it isn’t warm enough to burn you.
You can also remove the racks and readjust them. This electric smoker comes with four trays. It has the ability to hold as many as five trays, which is definitely more than other smokers.
The outside also doesn’t get hot. If you brush up against the smoker, you won’t get burned. This is an adde benefit when you have children around. Thanks to the wide casters, you can move the smoker around as needed. It even has fully attached, wide handles.
2. Cookshack SM009-2 Smokette Electric Smoker Oven – Best Home Electric SmokerThis is a smoker that really moves. The casters on it allow you to put it wherever you like. A good place for the Cookshack would probably be your patio. If you want to move it around, the built-in handles make it easy to move, especially if the weather doesn’t permit backyard cooking.
Locking casters keep it from moving when you don’t want it to. With a 63″ cord, you have the flexibility of using it almost anywhere in or near your yard.
The 20 lbs capacity means that you can cook for the family all at once. You don’t have to use too much wood because it produces plenty of smoke with just two to four pieces. If you don’t want to use logs, you can get a one-half pound of wood chips to fit instead.
Cleaning is made easy. The wide drip tray and water tray both come out. You can easily put them both in the dishwasher. The stainless steel makes it easy to wipe down and clean out.
If you would like to try smoking your own cheese, this smoker allows you to cold smoke.
3. Smokin Tex 1400 Pro – Best in MobilityBy far the best thing about this smoker is its size. When you first look at, it doesn’t look like it will hold all the meat that it does. It is a lot larger on the inside when you start adjusting the racks for your meat choices to fit.
The next thing that you will notice is that the racks that come with it are very versatile. You will see that you can just as easily do small foods like shrimp just as easy as you can do a whole pork shoulder. Additionally, you can put them in the dish washer when they need to be cleaned.
You can use this smoker anywhere because it’s mobile, but also because the smoke stays inside, where it belongs. It is a nice addition to any outside kitchen. This smoker uses special sized wood chips. You won’t have to keep stack of wood laying around.
It is on wheels so that you can move it around. This smoker takes a 110 outlet. With this outlet, you have more options of where it will fit.
4. Masterbuilt 20070411 30-Inch – Best Electric Smoker Under $300This electric smoker will easily make you look like a professional, even if it is your first time. Sure, you can set the temp with any smoker, but this smoker lets you control the temp with a remote. It allows you to adjust the heat with a touch of a button.
The window on the front down keeps all the cooking visual if you can see through the smoke. Capacity is huge. You can literally cook two dozen burger in this smoker at one time.
If you want smoked turkey for the holidays, it fits two at a time. You can also adjust the racks, as they are completely removable. The stainless steel walls are easy to wipe down.
Loading the wood is done from the side. That means you get to keep the smoke you already have while adding more wood. This is perfect for meats that take a longer smoke time. There is an outside light that allows you to see the smoke. This way you know when you need to add more wood.
For under $300, the Masterbuilt is an excellent home choice.
5. Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker – Highly Compact Family SmokerThis electric smoker is deal for any size family. It has enough capacity to easily smoke a full rack of ribs. It is perfectly sized so that you can fit it in small areas. This is the perfect smoker for apartments or condos. Double insulation ensures that the side doesn’t get too hot.
The wood chip pan and drip cup are both removable. That means that you can can clean the pans for your next use. The ash pan is made of porcelain, so you know it can hold up to the heat for long periods.
This smoker is also ideal for cold smoke on cheeses. The chrome cooking plates are adjustable and are super easy to just wipe down. The thermostat is attached to the door, allowing you to view the temperature with a quick glance.
The only disappointing thing is that it doesn’t have a meat thermometer. The way the door seals makes it hard to find one to work with it. To check the meat, you lose some of your smoke.
However, this smoker is still highly capable and ideal for long smoking periods.
6. Masterbuilt 20071117 30″ Digital Electric Smoker – Best Electric Smoker for the MoneyYou will love how easy this smoker makes smoking meat. All you have to do is add the meat, add the wood, and fill the water dish. Then, you set the temperature and the time.
You can walk away and come back when the timer goes off. It is so easy to add the wood with the door, so if you need to crank up the smoke, you don’t have to lose the smoke you already have. It really does make life so simple.
This is a smoker that is perfect for beginners. The thermostat is built into the walls so that you get even cooking in half the time. The mounted controls are completely digital so you don’t have struggle with getting it just right.
Even with the integrated thermostat, the outside stays warm to the touch. It is sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about it falling. The legs are low to the ground to keep the smoker balanced. You might not want to use it on a wood deck. However, it will look great poolside.
7. Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker – Best Electric Smoker Under $200The Char-Broil Deluxe is great for your backyard. It is small enough to position anywhere, yet still holds enough to feed everyone at your party. It has a removable thermometer outside the unit, which let you know when your meat reached the right internal temperature.
The water and drip trays are just the right size. For that reason, you can smoke for hours without having to change the tray. The wood tray holds enough wood to allow for a full eight hours of cooking, before you have to refill it.
The chrome trays are completely removable. The trays can even go into the dishwasher. Stainless steel doors and walls are easy to wipe down. The wheels and handle make it easy to set in place.
The glass door allows you to see your smoke density with ease. You can literally see your meat cooking. The LED light works great, even through the smoke. This smoker has a feature that keeps the meat warm until you are ready to eat.
8. Smokehouse Products Big Chief Front Load Smoker – Best Small-Sized Electric SmokerThis is a small sized smoker that is perfect for your outdoor patio, especially if you are in a small space. It will hold right what you need it to. It is really easy to use. The front door comes off, allowing you to load the meat. You load the wood and the water, then put the door on and turn the smoker on.
Keep an eye on it. If you don’t see smoke coming out, add more wood. It cooks for about four hours on one load of wood. You usually need to reload it once in order for it to full smoke your meat. The wood tray is fairly small.
The racks slide forward so that it is easy to get your meat where you want. If you want to make jerky, this front loader smoker is just right for that. You can get it up to temperature in a short amount of time. This is a great smoker for beginners because it only has one temperature. You don’t have to fuss with setting the temperature.
The Smokehouse Big Chief is really easy to move due to its small size. You can just pick it up and relocate it to anywhere you want.
9. Old Smokey Electric Smoker – Best in SimplicityIf you are looking for a smoker that is simple, yet adjustable, then this is the smoker for you. The barrel shape holds just the right amount of meat. There are multiple removable levels. Ideally, you’d want to food that takes longer to cook on the bottom, and things that cook fast on the top.
You can cook multiple meat types at the same time with this smoker. All you need to do is load the meat that takes longer to smoke on the bottom. It doesn’t let much smoke escape so you can use it anywhere. This smoker is perfect for apartment use.
The flat lid means that moisture is going to drip right back on the meat, allowing it to stay moist and marinated. This smoker does not have a liquids tray, so the flat lid is a good feature.
You can choose your temperature and even use it for cold smoking for cheeses. All the trays can fit into the dishwasher. Even the wood tray is dishwasher safe.
You will love that this barrel smoker is durable. It will last you for many years.
10. Smoke Hollow D4015RS 40-Inch Digital Electric Smoker – Best Smoker Under $500This is a great smoker for those who want something that they don’t have to stand over and watch all day long. It uses Bluetooth technology to tell your device the temperature of the smoker, the meat and allows you to control what you want to do next.
There is a large tray at the bottom to catch the grease. The water goes in from the side so less spills. The large removable trays make clean up and arranging the meat easily. They won’t fit in the dishwasher but they are easy to wipe down.
The glass door allows you to see your smoke density. LED lights lets in light with no reflection. If that wasn’t enough, you even have a meat probe thermometer that is easily removed. You can put the probe into the meat. There is enough wire that the readout will set on top of the smoker so that you can see the temperature of the meat.
This smoker stands up off the ground so that you can easily get in and out of it without straining your back.
What You Need To Know Before Buying An Electric Smoker
Getting a smoker is making an investment. It is a process of researching and understanding what it is that you are getting yourself into. Reading reviews is a great way to learn about each individual smoker. However, you also need to know the basics of smoking meat.
Types of wood, using liquids, and understanding the tools that go along with your smoker is something that you have to know before you put your first slab of meat on to cook.
This is why we have added this part so that you know how to use your smoker.
Basics of Every Electric Smoker
Every electric smoker is going to come with the same basics. They will have trays that you cook on. Most come with a minimum of three. Some of them will have removable trays. Some will be grated while others will be solid. The ones that are removable are easier to clean. It is easy to get meat caught in tiny spaces between the walls and the trays.
The Wood Tray
Some wood trays have a slot on the outside that allows you to feed your smoker wood as needed throughout the process. Most smokers require you to put the wood in the bottom of the smoker right on top of the heating element so that the wood smolders but doesn’t light.
There should never be actual flames on the inside of your smoker. You will need to clean this out after every use. It should be simple. Just dump out the ashes and wipe it down with a damp towel. Make sure it is completely cooled before you try this.
The Water Reservoir
Some smokers allow you to put it on the side of the smoker and it acts as steam. Other smokers have a water tray that you will up. If you have a reservoir, you should not put juice, wine, or anything else other than water in it. Water trays will need to be washed because they will catch drippings, whether you want them to or not.
The drip tray can be in one of two places. They are either at the bottom of the inside of the smoker or under the smoker completely. They will catch the juice that comes from the meat. You can save this meat to make gravy if you would like. You should know that drip trays that are in the bottom of the outside of the smoker, you may have a mess on the ground under your smoker.
The Stand or Legs
Most smokers will come with either the stand or adjustable legs. Some smokers have wheels. There are some smokers that are inches off the ground. It can be dangerous if these are sat on flammable surfaces such as wood decks. While most smokers do not get hot enough to burn you, they can damage a wood deck after a few hours of heat.
There are a few optional items that may come with your electrical smoker. These include gauges, thermostats, and even thermometers. You should make sure that you know what you are getting when you order your smoker so that you aren’t expecting items that don’t come with it. Not all smokers have adjustable heating elements or gauges.
Types of Wood
The wood that you use has as much of an impact on your meat as your smoker does. You may have the most expensive smoker with the best possible features.
It can even be the best electric smoker on the market. And, you may also have the finest cut of meat. Yet, if you don’t have the right wood, your meat isn’t going to be nearly as delicious.
There are fifteen different types of wood that you can use for your smoker. Depending on your smoker, you may need chips or planks. Most electric smokers that are for the home do not use logs.
You need to load them into your smoker a good 20 minutes before you add your meat. You want them to begin smoldering, but you don’t want the smoker to be full of smoke before you add your meat.
There are few styles of smokers that allow you to add wood while you are cooking. However, with most smokers it is a difficult process so make sure that you have plenty of wood at the beginning.
Wood for All Types of Meat
Hickory wood is a good overall wood. You can use it with just about any meat. Hickory wood has a bacon-like a flavor that has a hint of sweetness. This is perfect for ribs or pork butt.
Cherry wood is beautiful. Cherry wood is mild with a touch of fruit. It goes well with all meat types. The flavor profile is just right for those who love the smoke flavor but don’t want to be overwhelmed by it.
Oakwood is a great starter wood. It is a strong smoky flavor that is right down the middle. Oakwood is stronger than your lighter woods, think apple, but not as strong as your mesquite. You could pair Oakwood with a fruit wood for any meat, but it is especially good on pork.
Wood for Birds or Quick Smoking Meats
Alder wood is perfect for fish, chicken, and maybe some pork. Alder Wood does not go well with beef or game. It is slightly sweet with a delicate hint of flavor.
Olive wood is good for those who aren’t big red meat eaters. It is perfect for chicken, turkey, or game birds. It is like mesquite just not as strong.
Pearwood is light and fruity, like a fine wine. Use it with birds and pork.
Peach Wood is very similar to Pearwood. Try Peach wood with Quail. The pairing is a classic flavor.
Maple wood is a lot milder than most other woods. If you are smoking veggies or cheese, then this is the wood for you. It is ok on birds, but not on turkey, or red meats.
Wood for Hearty Meats
Mesquite wood is one of the hottest burning woods that you can find. Mesquite wood does not go well with anything that is delicate. You will want to use Mesquite wood with your game meats or red meats. In the south, mesquite wood is popular to use with wild boar or pork because it helps to get the game taste out of it.
Pecan wood is strong and hearty. Pecan wood can hold up to long smokes with fewer refills. You can use Pecan wood on any cut of meat. Pecan wood is one of those amazing woods that will make sure the whole neighborhood knows you are smoking
Wood for Delicate Cuts or Fish
Applewood is sweet and fruity. You can use Applewood with smaller cuts of meat like game birds, chicken breasts, steaks, or ham. It works well with lamb or shrimp, but not so well with deer or salmon.
Mulberry is pretty close to Applewood. You can use it anywhere that you would use the Applewood. It adds just the right amount of sweet and fruity flavor to your meat. You should try it on chicken.
Cedarwood can be very tricky. Easter Red Cedar will make you sick. Western Red Cedars Are great for both fish and veggies if you can find it untreated. Here is how to tell: Light it up. If the smoke is thick and black, do not use it. If it is light, go for it. It does have a nice flavor and is popular in top end restaurants. Cedar Plank Salmon is a delicacy.
Woods You Can Mix with Other Woods
Grapevine wood is a wood type that you want to either mix with something else or use on quick smoking meats. Grapevine wood is an overwhelmingly tart flavor that works with sausage but can be a let down on ribs. Try it with small game birds.
Walnut wood can be bitter. Walnut wood is best not to use it by itself. It can hold up to long smoking times and can be used with red meat and your game meats. Try mixing it with cherry wood for a unique combination.
Now that you know your wood choices, let’s move on to your liquids.
You are going to need about three liters of liquid to smoke. The reason that you add liquid so that your meat remains moist and infused with flavor. You can use different types of liquids to get different flavors in your meat.
Wine is often used to flavor lamb, pork, and ribs. It leaves a nice flavor of meats that cook fast in the smoker. You will notice that the wine leaves a good crust on the meat as well. The thing to remember that when you use wine it will get the flavor of the wine in a condensed manner.
So, if you get a bitter wine, the meat will have a slightly bitter aftertaste. You could try wine when smoking your cheese for an all-new flavor.
Juice is another way to impart some flavor into the meat. The thing to remember here is that you need to use pure juice. Do not use juice from concentrate or juice with a lot of syrup. When the heat evaporates the juice, it will leave the heavy syrup behind. That is going to be very hard to wash out of the pan. You will not get the flavor you are looking for.
Beer is great for sausage and brats. You can cook it with a beer in the smoker so that you get the flavor that you are looking for. If you want a new experience, you should try the beer on a brisket.
No matter what kind of liquid you choose to use, remember that it is going to condense and get stronger. That may mean that the taste that you might not like will get stronger. It may also mean that the residue in your smoker may become like glue and be impossible to clean up and could make your future smoked meats have the same hits of flavor.
Benefits of an Electric Smoker
Electric smokers are ideal for the home smoker because they add just the right amount of smoke. It gives you a degree of control that you don’t always have with other smokers. A lot of them need very little wood. That means that you don’t need a wood stack sitting around.
You don’t have a fire going, just wood being smoldered, so it isn’t as dangerous. They don’t tend to get hot on the outside so if you have little ones running around, you don’t have to worry about them getting burned by accidentally touching it.
Condos and apartments often won’t allow gas or coal grills and smokers, so an electric one would be ideal. Additionally, you don’t need a lot of space. Some of the smokers on our list will fit right on your balcony.
It is as simple as this. With an electric smoker, you can set your meat to smoke and do what you have to do. That means if you are having a party, you can prepare without worry your meat won’t get done. You have little to no mess to clean up. Simply wait for your unit to cool to the touch and wipe it down. If most units, the trays can be thrown in the dishwasher.
Do I Need Tools For My Electric Smoker?
Your smoker will not need any tools to work. The tools are just for your own ease of use. You will want to invest in a good meat thermometer. You want that has a probe that you can leave in the meat.
Some have a long wire that can be placed outside the door. While others show on a display attached to the smoker. Of course, you could get a Bluetooth thermometer that will text you when your meat is done. The possibilities are endless.
Of course, you have to get the meat out. So, you will need heat gloves. These do not have to be anything fancy. You will want to make sure that they are well insulated. You do not want any strings hanging from them.
Your smoker is likely to come with two trays. A drip tray and a water tray. Depending on your smoker, you may want to invest in a sturdier tray. Most drip trays will need to be dumped halfway through smoking. To avoid this, you may want to get a bigger tray.
You will also want to think about a set of cleaning tools that you will use just on your smoker. You may want some grill brushes to clean grated trays. A series of brushes and clothes would be perfect for the inside of the smoker.
Our Final Review
Here is one final tip for you. When you pull your meat out of the smoker, do not cut it right away. Allow your meat to rest so that the juices can redistribute.
This way, your meat will be juicy and moist when you sit down to eat. Not waiting or allowing it to rest will cause your meat to be dry and tough.
So, there you have the top ten best electric smokers of 2018. We reviewed what we love about each smoker and why it made the list. By breaking down the top features, we hope you can now make a smart buying decision.
So now that you have seen the choices all laid out, what’s your favorite electric smoker?