If you eat three meals a day, 365 days a year, you’ll have over a thousand opportunities to choose your food. By the time you reach adulthood, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to be sick of baked chicken (for example). One less common method of preparing your food that you may want to venture towards is smoking it. It has the potential to be quite a bit more time consuming and, depending on the method of smoking, it can be quite difficult, too. For a lot of people, however, the taste and end result easily makes up for it. And there are ways to minimize your hands-on active involvement. One such way is purchasing an electric smoker that will control the temperature (and the smoke consistency) for you.
We reviewed dozens of electric smokers to identify the best of the best. When researching the best electric smokers, we looked carefully at temperature control and technological advances that are added to make the process even easier. We also scoured reviews to make sure the taste of each smoker on our list will be up to your standards.
Pretty early on in our research we identified the Masterbuilt Front Controller Electric Smoker as the clear winner of our top pick spot. With over 730 square inches of cooking space and four removable racks to place your food on, there’s plenty of space to make what you want for your family and company while still not taking up a lot of space.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Electric Smokers
|Best Overall||Masterbuilt Front Controller Electric Smoker||4.2|
|Runner Up||Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Wood Pellet Outdoor BBQ Grill and Smoker||4.5|
|Best Budget Buy||Oster Smoker Roaster Oven||4.4|
|Best Small Electric Smoker||Smokintex 1100 Pro Series Electric Smoker||4.8|
|Best Digital Electric Smoker||Smoke Hollow Digital Electric Smoker with Window||4.0|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Masterbuilt Front Controller Electric Smoker
The Masterbuilt Front Controller Electric Smoker is made to move, and if you’re planning on bringing your smoker in and out of your garage every time you cook, that will be a much appreciated fact. It has rear wheels and a handle to make it easier on you to bring the party with you wherever you go. The LED digital display will allow you to fine tune your smoke as you go and will leave nothing to chance while you do so.
You can choose between 3 colors and 2 sizes so not only will the smoker prepare your meat just as you like it, but you even get to pick how it looks while you do it. It also comes with a remote that will allow you to control the temperature and time while you’re inside preparing all the fixings. (Or while you sit on the couch and watch the game.)
With over 4,300 customer reviews earning this smoker an overall rating of 4.2 stars on Amazon, you can be confident this smoker will satisfy all your smoke needs.
Masterbuilt Front Controller Electric Smoker Key Features:
- 4 chrome plated wire racks
- 730 sq in of cook space
- 3 color choices
Our Runner-Up Pick: Camp Chef Woodwind SG Wood Pellet Smoker and Over-Fire Grill
The Camp Chef Woodwind SG Wood Pellet Smoker and Over-Fire Grill will be your one stop for all summer event food preparation. You can use it to smoke or grill with a heating capacity between 160 and 500 degrees and finish (or start) your meats off, using the sear box on the side will allow you to get that gorgeous, crisp, caramelized sear with a temperature up to 900 degrees.
This grill/smoker combo is on wheels, so you won’t stress bringing it out or putting it back in for the winter. (Or even bringing it from the drive to the backyard if that’s where the party is!) Cleaning the ash out between cooks is as easy as pulling the ash clean-out lever and dumping the ash.
With an Amazon rating of 4.3, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be just as satisfied with this combo smoker as the other customers that have purchased it. So if you’re in the market for a combination smoker, take a good look at this one.
Camp Chef Woodwind SG Wood Pellet Smoker and Over-Fire Grill Key Features:
- Automatic auger will feed wood chips into smoker to maintain smoke
- Sear box along side will create sear lines to perfection
- 811 sq in cooking area
Best Budget Pick: Oster Smoker Roaster Oven
The Oster Smoker Roaster Oven is a little combination cooker that will take care of smoking your foods for your immediate family with no problem. Use this small smoker and take care of your Thanksgiving turkey by smoking, slow cooking or roasting – your call! Mix it up and alternate years for a bit of variety. You wont just use this little guy for the holidays, though, because you can pop just about any meal in this combination cooker and get a succulent result each time.
It has a 16-quart capacity allowing you to make plenty of food to feed your family and company. It also features removable pockets along the side to hold wood chips of your choice but keep in mind you’ll want to pop this little guy outside for the smoking process. You will also want to avoid checking the meat frequently because the top lid access will make maintaining the heat and smoke a bit tricky otherwise.
If you want to invest in a smoker but still aren’t sure if you’ll like it or if you just want it for occasional use, there’s no sense in spending hundreds of dollars. You can get this smoker roaster for under $70, saving you loads of cash. Due to its compact size, it’s also a great selection for you if you only intend to use it for your immediate family. With an Amazon rating of 4.4 and over 350 customer reviews, you can be reasonably certain of the quality of this product.
Oster Smoker Roaster Oven Key Features:
- 150-450 degree F temperature range
- Removable enamel coated roasting pan and wire rack
- 16-quart capacity will fit up to a 20 pound turkey
Best Small Electric Smoker: Smokin Tex 1100 Series Electric Smoker
The Smokin Tex 1100 Series Electric Smoker uses any standard 110V plug making it the picture of electric versatility. You will load wood chips into the bottom wood chip box and slide back into place along side the water tray before cooking. Removing each (and the racks) is so easy that clean up won’t ever be a cause for worry.
Included with this smoker are three wire racks that you can adjust however you see fit, so add layer after layer of food or pull them out to pop in a full turkey or large pork shoulder. The front loading door is on a hinge that will allow you to open with ease and closes with a latch that will keep your heat and smoke securely locked into the fire box. If you want a small smoker for your smaller projects, this is the little guy for you.
Smokin Tex 1100 Series Electric Smoker Key Features:
- Stainless steel construction
- Fully insulated fire box
- Unversally accepts all types of wood chips.
Best Digital Electric Smoker: Smoke Hollow Digital Electric Smoker with Window
Smoke Hollow Digital Electric Smoker with Window allows you to watch as you cook so you can avoid frequently opening the door and releasing heat and smoke every time you do so. The door locks into place with a secure latch so you won’t need to worry about accidental openings, either.
The digital read out even has a “Fast Smoke” setting that will help speed things along should you find yourself in a bit of a hurry – say if you woke up late or forgot to put the rub on the meat before bed. The LED display allows you to control the power, temperature, and time with an easy push of a few buttons. This is the epitome of easy smoking, with a lot of extra features that will make the flavor all the richer.
With an Amazon rating of 4.0 stars, it’s likely this smoker will fit your needs, too. It has very little assembly required upon arrival, you’ll need to put the legs onto the fire box and that’s pretty much all you’ll need to do before getting started. This is the perfect low-maintenance smoker for you and your family.
Smoke Hollow Digital Electric Smoker with Window Key Features:
- 4 chrome plated racks with various levels of adjustment
- 30 cubic feet max capacity
- Tempered glass window
Who Should Buy an Electric Smoker
If you love to cook, and you enjoy meat that is tender and juicy, a smoker is a sensational way to spice up your cooking. Smoking your meat, veggies or even cheeses can add a variety to your table that your family and guests will appreciate. And if you enjoy a smokey flavor then there are all kinds of ways you can fine tune that flavor; different woods or liquid smokes or example. Different types of wood chips soaked in different liquids can bring different flavors and that’s a kind of delicate control that you may genuinely enjoy with this cooking process.
Whether you have experience with smoking food or not, an electric smoker is a wonderful purchase to lighten the work load and still get that delicious smokey taste. You may have had the rich taste enough to know you appreciate it but using an electric smoker can be the perfect introduction to doing it yourself. For all the opportunities to tweak the taste, with an electric smoker, you can start out relatively simply and ease your way into those more complicated methods. For the most part, electric smokers are just plug and go.
Also worth considering is that an electric smoker is generally smaller and less expensive than most grills. So if you’re on a tight budget but want a way to cook that isn’t your standard oven or stove top, this will award you that privilege. Likewise, this can be an excellent alternative if you only have a small patio in an apartment but still want options for cooking.
Important Features to Consider
An electric smoker should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting an electric smoker:
- Temperature control. If you want an evenly cooked dinner, then you’re going to want to try to keep the smoke (and therefore the heat and temperature) consistent. Often electric smokers come with a rheostat that you will set and will control your heat source in order to maintain a consistent temperature for your smoker. If your smoker doesn’t come with one, you will need to make absolutely certain that you have purchased high quality thermometers that will give you accurate and detailed read outs for smoked items. You can pick up a good wireless BBQ thermometer for around $60 on Amazon.
- Layers. If you plan on preparing a lot of food at once, then you’ll want to make sure your smoker has several layers of racks. And not only will you need layers, you’ll need to learn how to use them; maybe even before purchase so you can find a smoker that will accommodate your plans for it. Different racks will cook at different speeds, so you may need to adjust your food accordingly based on how fast they’re cooking. You may find yourself filling the racks up with more just to keep from wasting space but keep in mind that the more in the smoker the less smoke for each individual item. But hey, this may also get you to eat your vegetables!
- Wood chips and charcoal. There are definitely ways to add charcoal to your smoker and if you love the taste of charcoal grilled food, you may be tempted. In fact, the addition of the charcoal will get your temperature up without getting too smokey the way wood chips alone can (especially if you have too much wood in at the beginning). Charcoal will also lead to a deeper and more consistent smoke ring on the meat; but that’s more for the aesthetic than the taste. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of taste difference when you add charcoal to the mix. So use the charcoal mixed with the wood chips, by all means, but understand what will and won’t result from its use.
- Bluetooth. Incorporating Bluetooth into your smoker is relatively new technology so you’ll want to take all that goes with new tech into consideration when you weigh if you should find a Bluetooth smoker. The connections may be laggy or you may have trouble with response time. But as long as i’s working, consider what this can do for your cook times. If your food will take 12 hours to smoke and you’re having people over for an early dinner, you’d normally be getting up pretty early to get it all done. But with a Bluetooth smoker, you can stay up a bit late and prepare it before you go to bed. Then set an alarm and turn it on without ever getting out of bed. If it’s raining for some of that 10 hours and you want to adjust the temperature, you don’t have to go out in the rain to do so. Talk about convenient!
- Ventilation. This is the key to tender and juicy meat that doesn’t char or burn. For proper ventilation you’ll want caveats installed in the combustion chamber of your smoker that will release both heat and smoke. A more thorough ventilation system can also result in enough clear air that some smokers can be used indoors. (Although, we have to repeat ourselves to make sure this is clear: do this with caution. Smokers use a lot of smoke.)
- Digital or analog. As anyone who’s ever spoken to a car mechanic can probably tell you, the more electronics on a machine, the more pieces and parts that can break. But oh, isn’t it nice to be able to enjoy your LED digital read-out without the squinting and uncertainty that an analog thermometer can sometimes give you? And a simple push of a few buttons to control the time and temperature? Oh,that’s unquestionably handy if you’re spending your day smoking a meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an electric smoker and how does it work?
The process of smoking your food is just as the name suggests: you’re “cooking” your food (most often meats and cheeses, but you can do vegetables, too) using the heat from smoke. You create a heat source that makes smoke and keep the smoke trapped in a container with your food. You will maintain the heat source at a consistent temperature over several hours to raise the temperature of the meat until it is safe for consumption. This method will cook your food (albeit much slower) and leave it tasting distinctly different than normal heat would.
An electric smoker simply uses electricity to create the heat source for you, making it much easier to adjust. Which means you have a lot less work to do to get your food smoked just right.
What are the different types of smokers?
There are so many ways to smoke your food, we could write an article for each. Instead, we’ll just list the ways to smoke, the smoker types and explain a bit of each. There is cold smoking (between 68°F and 86°F), warm smoking (77°F to 104°F), hot smoking (126°F to 176°F), liquid smoke (spray or mix with the food before cooking), and smoke roasting (both smoking and roasting at the same time).
You can DIY some types of smokers and that may be what you’ve seen the most. An upright drum style is essentially an upside down metal barrel with racks above the heat source. The offset type of smoker is often called a barbecue smoker, and looks a lot like a grill: a cylinder in its shape with an exhaust. The vertical water smoker is also called a “Bullet” smoker because of the shape. It uses wood or charcoal as a heat source. There’s also propane and electric smokers that can also use wood pellets or chunks (or even some charcoal) as a heat source but are maintained a bit easier. A smoke box uses 2 boxes; one to maintain the fire and the other to cook the food with the offshoot of smoke from the fire box. Trench smokers are similar to the to box system but use a trench instead of a fire box. Pellet smokers will feed pellets into the heat source via a gravity-controlled hopper to maintain a consistent heat. And finally, commercial smokehouses are just a big steel boxes (big enough to walk in and out of) with independent heat sources that vent into the building with racks and racks of meats, cheeses, and veggies throughout.
Is smoked meat bad for your health?
Well, the unfortunate fact is: we simply don’t know for sure. It’s true that the process of burning wood releases polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and that through the smoke they are absorbed into the food you’re smoking. It is also true that exposure to these chemicals in animal models has caused cancer. Rodents exposed have developed leukemia, as well as tumors of the lungs and gastrointestinal tract. However, these studies exposed the rodents to incredibly high doses; far more than what a human would consume in his or her diet. In fact, thousands of times higher than a normal diet would entail.
And in case you thought you’d use a completely safe and clear alternative and keep that taste, you should know the liquid smoke also has trace amounts of PAHs. So the answer to whether or not you should avoid it is probably this: Everything in moderation.
Can I use an electric smoker in the house?
Whether or not you can use an electric smoke inside your house depends on the type of smoker you have. Generally, though, you won’t. You want to remember that this is a method of cooking that relies on smoke – something your house has (or should have) detectors to alarm if present. You may find a few that will allow you to use inside based on a carefully designed system of ventilation, but most of the time you’ll want to use a smoker (even electric ones) outside or somewhere apart from your living abode; I.E. a garage or a covered deck, maybe, if the weather’s poor.
Other Electric Smokers We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other electric smokers. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best electric smokers list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for you. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing. We’ve broken them up into the following categories:
Analog Electric Smokers
Camp Chef Smoker Smoke Vault Large
With an easy to read thermometer on the door, you’ll be better able to control your temperature, from 50-550 degrees.
- Includes book of recipes, instructions, and tips
- 2 adjustable smoking racks
- 3 dampening valves
Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker
Opening the front door will grant you access to all the important trays: wood chip, water tray and grease cup for a one-stop easy clean up.
- Door mounted temperature gauge
- Double-walled insulation
- 544 sq in of cooking space
Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker
This smoker has side handles which make transporting it from your house to the party quite a bit easier.
- 3 chrome plated racks and chrome plated handle
- Insulated double-walled construction
- Integrated thermometer on front door
Landmann USA Smoky Mountain Electric Smoker
You can adjust each of the four feet on this smoker to accommodate for any uneven ground and surfaces on which you may place the smoker.
- Wrought iron handles for easy transport
- 3-in-1 tray holds water pan, wood chip box (with lid) and grease tray
- Independent plug-in temperature control
Masterbuilt Electric Analog Smoker
With three chrome-plated racks in this smoker, you’ll have plenty of room to cook the main course and a few others, as well.
- Double-walled insulation
- 548 sq in of cooking space
- temperature gauge in door
Masterbuilt Portable Electric Smoker
This small electric smoker travels so well that it’s ideal for camping, tailgating, and road trips.
- Fold-under legs and side handles for easy transport
- Simple controls: high, medium, and low
- Removable water pan and wood chip tray
Smoke Hollow Electric Smoker with Adjustable Temperature Control
This smoker has a magnetic door-latching system that will make accessing your food ultra-easy.
- 3 temperature settings
- 16″ x 14″ x 30″
- Painted-steel wood-chip box; porcelain-coated steel water pan
Smokehouse Products Big Chief Front Load Smoker
This smoker comes with everything you’ll need to get started smoking your food – you just supply the meat!
- Includes 1.75 lb of hickory wood chips
- Non-Adjustable heating at 165 degrees
- Embossed aluminum-plated fire box
Smokin-It Model #2 Electric Smoker
It’s very obvious that portability was a huge design concern for this smoker with its wheels and built-in handles; taking it with you is a breeze.
- All stainless steel construction
- 3″ rubber caster feet
- 4 removable shelves
With nearly a 40-pound weight capacity per load, you will have absolutely no problem feeding the masses with this smoker.
- All stainless steel construction
- Double-walled insulated fire box
- Slide out and latch on door
Digital Electric Smokers
Bradley Smoker Digital 4-Rack Smoker
You can smoke in this for up to 8-hours with a digital read and automatic hopper.
- Controllable up to 320 degrees
- 4 racks with polished stainless steel
- 1-year warranty
Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
Not only will you maintain control over your smoke, but you’ll get a clear look at it while you do so with the glass door.
- Removable food thermometer included
- Double-wall insulated construction
- Locking latch for smoke tight seal
Cookshack AmeriQue Electric Smoker Oven
Set a time and temperature and when the heating-cycle ends, it will automatically go into a hold-cycle to keep your food warm, tender and delicious.
- Stainless steel fire box
- Digital controller with meat probe
- 50 lb max capacity
Dyna-Glo Digital Electric Smoker
The insulated double-walled fire box of this smoker will allow you to maintain a consistent heat that will let you cook your meat to just the right temperature.
- 732 sq in cooking space
- Side access wood chip loader
- Digital thermostat and integrated meat thermometer
Masterbuilt Bluetooth Smart Digital Electric Smoker
You can control this smoker’s temperature from your smartphone with its integrated Bluetooth technology.
- Built-in meat probe thermometer
- Side wood chip loading system
- 975 sq in cooking space with four chrome-coated smoking racks
Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker
With this smoker’s patented side loader, you can replenish the wood chips without needing to open the smoker itself, keeping the temperature and smoke built-up.
- Integrated temperature control
- 4 chrome plated smoking racks
- Fully insulated body
With almost 2200 sq in of cooking space, you’ll have plenty of room to cook for anything you have planned.
- Auto start igniter and auto shut off
- 40lb hopper capacity
- 150-450 degree temperature range
Camp Chef SmokePro Pellet Grill
This combination smoker will cook your food a variety of ways and with its ash clean out system and hopper clean-out, cleaning it is a piece of cake.
- Full grill cover included
- Patented Ash Clean-out System, Pellet Purge, and Grease Management System
- High cooking temps of 500 degrees
Traeger Grills Renegade Elite Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
Grill, smoke, Bake, roast, braise, and BBQ your food to absolute perfection with this 6-in-1 grill-smoker.
- 380 sq in of cooking area
- Integrated digital controller
- Hopper with 18lb capacity
Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
This 8-in-1 will do it all: grill, smoke, bake, roast, sear, braise, barbeque or char-grill as you see fit.
- Automated electric feed
- 2 color choices
- 3-year warranty