Smokers are diverse; partly due to their varied functions and partly because they use different fuels or sources of energy. After you decide to buy an electric smoker, the only daunting part is choosing the best electric smoker; one that will give you value for your money.
Electric smokers allow you to cook your food from a controlled heat source. This lets your food gain a unique taste, which most people including yours truly find irresistible. You can smoke almost any food with them including traditional barbecue which needs about 230 degrees Fahrenheit and foods that require less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit such as fish and cheese.
Most electric smokers, unlike other types of smokers, can smoke anything you throw their way thanks to their temperature controls and other components. While this may be their strong point, manufacturers are forced to come up with smokers that are entirely automated. This means that a good smoker will let you set the temperature and the time making the cooking process a cinch.
If you can use a microwave, then you can use an electric smoker; they are that simple. Even better, they require little to no attention during the cooking process and maintaining them is easy too. There are many smoker brands in the market today, with prices ranging from meager 100 dollars to a couple of thousand dollars; this should not worry you however as we have done the research for you, just choose a smoker that meets your budget from the ones listed below.
Electric Smoker Reviews
The Masterbuilt 20078715 Digital Electric Smoker was created for novices. With its digital controls with a LED display, all a user needs is to set the internal temperatures, and everything else will be done. Its size is akin a mini refrigerator making it easy to move. Even at this size, the smoker comes with four racks enabling you to cook a good amount of food.
The unit features a wood chip loader. This lets you add wood chips without opening the smoker’s door thereby keeping the internal temperature stable and saving on power usage. It comes well insulated to reduce heat loss during cooking and to maintain the internal temperature, even during winter, for even cooking. If you want expediency, you ought to consider this model.
The heating element of this smoker is rated 800-watts. Users can adjust temperatures from 100 to 275 degree Fahrenheit. The front access drip can has been redesigned for ease of use.
Customers, however, have complained that this smoker lacks a viewing window and you cannot see your food cook. For some, this is an advantage as the lack of a window maintains the internal temperature. For its price, the Masterbuilt 20078715 is a great product.
Bradley Digital is a compact electric smoker designed for ease of use and excellent smoking quality. The smoker aims to feed special briquettes automatically into the internal chamber. On dropping into the chamber, each briquette burns for about 20 minutes thus eliminating harmful gasses that may spoil the flavor of your food.
There is a manual control generator that allows you to set the time and the temperature required to completely cook your food. This set-and-forget design makes this smoker popular among many users as there are no risks of having food undercooked or burnt.
The exterior of this smoker is steel with epoxy powder coating while its interior is aluminum. It features a cooking element rated 500W and a smoking element rated 125W. Controllable temperature can rise to 280 degrees Fahrenheit, and this is produced by 120V of power.
With four racks each 520 square inches, this smoker can cook a large amount of food at a go.
Even with all the great features, users have complained about the fact that three wood briquettes must be in the chamber for the unit to run automatically. Eventually, some of the wood will not be used which is wastage.
Most of the smokers on this list are ideal for home use as well as commercial use. The Smokin Tex 1500-c, however, was designed for commercial purposes as reflective on its size and its price. It is coffered with a stainless steel construction and easy to use; plug it in, load food and wood set the required temperature and wait.
It can produce temperatures between 100 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Its double-wall construction and insulation keep it cool to touch and ensures no heat is lost during the cooking process thereby ensuring a steady temperature for consistent smoking.
Controlled heat coupled with no-draft cooking gives this smoker the ability to produce moist, tender food. It is equipped with two 700 watts heating elements; you can use one or both depending on your heating load. With eight shelves positions, three 18×18 inches shelves and a seafood grill, this smoker takes a max capacity of 80 pounds per load.
The package comes with a stainless steel drip pan, four heavy-duty caster wheels for easy movement, a manual of instructions and a cookbook. It runs on 120V power. The unit is easy to use, high load and sells at a great price for its quality.
Designed as an improvement to its predecessor, Model #1, the Smokin-It Model #2 comes with 100 percent 18-gauge stainless steel. It is designed to make smoking easy. Each unit comes with three 18″ diameter casters that need to be attached before use, four stainless steel racks, an-easy-slide drip pan, a rheostat to control temperature between 100 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit and a smoke box.
This electric smoker is offered ready to use out-of-the-box. It has two latches on its door and hickory wood samples ensuring that you season your smoker and start smoking immediately. The unit can hold up to 35lbs of meat at a go and features a heating element rated 800-watt with LED indicator light. It runs on 120V.
To avoid heat loss, the smoker is insulated with fiberglass. The power cord is 12 feet and with the side handles, this unit is easy to move or adjust the position. It features three-inch diameter casters and four removable racks. It is NSF certified and comes handy in hotels and homes.
The door clasps of this smoker, however, are a bit challenging to close and need energy. Another downside, adding wood requires you to open the door which may affect the stability of the smoking chamber.
The Camp Chef PG24 was created for outdoor smoking but with the home griller in mind. It will thus give great flavored meat while offering ease of use. With a digital temperature LED display, enabling you to regulate temperature as needed without guesses. Even better, it comes with an advanced digital temperature chip that produces steady temperatures and smoke to enhance a more consistent cooking.
Camp Chef has patented Ash Can Clean-out that enhances cleaning. With its digital controls and temperature sensors, this electric smoker makes the smoking process easier. The recommended Camp Chef pellets burn very hot and last longer than ordinary smoker wood. Better yet, they are purer than other woods and thereby give off great flavors.
The cooking area measures 429-square-inches with the second rack measuring 144 square inches. Cooking temperatures range from 160 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. In it, you can smoke up to 18 pounds of meat. The unit is equipped with an internal temperature probe to take guessing out of the way. The smoker also has a pellet purge system, a grease management system and offers electronic auto-ignition.
This set-and-forget system is great for the money. However, some buyers feel that the warranty of the product could have been more than a year.
Masterbuilt has designed a couple of great electric smokers, and the 20077615 is one of the best. It is equipped with 721 square inches of cooking space; this is spread on four chrome-coated racks. It enables you to smoke a large amount of meat at a go.
To ensure great temperature control, the unit features an inbuilt meat probe thermometer allowing you to maintain a stable temperature during cooking. The unit’s heating element is rated 800-watt and can produce temperatures of up to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. It is built easy to use with RF remote for temperature, food light, time and on/off control.
The unit is accompanied by a smoker cover and smoking recipes on CD. It has a front window that allows you to watch your food as it burns. This smoker is reported to produce excellent smoky flavors. However, this unit requires you to add wood chips manually unlike the set-and-forget models that have gained popularity with many home and hotel owners.
Char-Broil employs the award winning TRU infrared cooking technology to produce good food flavors by ensuring there are no flare-ups. Besides smoking, this unit grills and roasts. Seeing that it’s created for newbies, the unit lights easily with the turn of a knob and users can remove grease trays making cleaning easy.
You can smoke up to 16 pounds of meat in one cooking. The heating element is rated 1500 watts and runs on 120v power. It features an easy digital control system enabling you to regulate the temperature while cooking; temperature can be as high as 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
The unit comes with a unique cylindrical design, four stands; it weighs 62 pounds, offered with a long power cord and side handles for easy movement. Unlike other smokers, this unit has a small cooking chamber.
The Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared has been reported to have fast heat-up rates. However, most users feel that the four stands on the smoker could have been wheels for easier movement. Given its price, this smoker is great.
Traeger Pellet smoker and grill, just like other pellet smokers is offered with a simple set-and-forget design. It is a medium sized smoker with 292 square inches of the cooking area; once you have loaded your meat and gotten it on, you will have original wood smoked flavors.
The smoker runs on household electric current. A switch turns on the igniter, and the auger-fed pellets are heated to the exact temperature you have set on the dial. An induction fan and a heat shield keep the temperature distributed evenly in the smoking area and cooking areas.
A digital thermostat control automatically regulates the temperature of the cooking area. The thermostat is equipped with a temperature detector which easily regulates the number of pellets dropped into fire pot. Besides the automatic control, you can manually control the smoke, or set the temperature medium, low or high.
This unit heats up fast, it has everything automated, and all you do is relax and use pellets which are not only safe but produce great flavors. However, its cooking surface can only take a few chunks of meat at a time.
True to its name, the Smokin Tex Deluxe Package is offered with wood samples including alder, apricot, plum, grape and maple. Each sample weighs about 4.oz bringing the total sample weight to 1.25 pounds. Its smooth design makes it easy to use, and all that is needed is to plug it in, add the food to be smoked, add wood and rest; the design is set-and-forget.
This smoker is created to match the quality of old-fashioned wood smoked food thanks to the pure wood that gives natural food flavors. For durability, the unit is made of all-steel, double walls with insulation. Its cooking area can hold up to 38 pounds of food per load.
Its cooking element is rated 800 watts and can produce between 100 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The unit has only one rack, also made of stainless steel and a stainless steel Seafood drip pan. To make movement easier, the smoker has wheels. It is a medium range priced smoker that offers value for money. However, the inside width of the smoker is only 14.5 inches, and it may not fit enough for a group of people.
The Masterbuilt 20070910 is a budget electric smoker but still sports great features and enough cooking area to serve a small group of people. It has gained popularity with homeowners and small hotel owners. It boasts of 730 square inches cooking space with four chrome-coated racks.
The heating element is rated 800 watts and can produce between 100 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit. You can control the cooking temperature and set the cooking time. Wood can be fed to the fire pot conveniently from the sides eliminating the need to open the door and thus maintaining a stable temperature. Its easy temperature and time controls make this unit perfect for all levels of experience.
The stainless steel construction is durable while the in-built internal thermometer lets the user keep the internal temperature controlled. The trays and racks are adjustable, and you can remove that which you do not use. For its price, everything is perfect.
Best All-Round Product: Smokin-It Model #2 Electric Smoker
The Smokin-It Model #2 is a superb electric smoker. It is a mid-range priced smoker which can smoke up to 35 pounds of meat. This makes it ideal for home use as well as for commercial use. It runs on the normal home electric supply, and according to reviews online, the unit only uses a lot of electricity the first few minutes of switching it on after which power consumption goes down.
Better yet, it is created with double walls of stainless steel to minimize heat loss and make it cool from the outside for safety. Its digital temperature and time control make it easy to use for newbies. Loading wood is easy, and after the first load, you only need to relax and wait.
If you are looking for a convenient, mid-range price, sleek smoker with enough capacity to serve a family or for a medium sized hotel, this smoker might trip your trigger.
How to Choose the Best Electric Smokers
Choosing a smoker that meets your needs and gives you value for your money can be a challenging task at first; there are many brands in the market all promising unparalleled performance. Nevertheless, you will only need to ask yourself three questions to get the right electric smoker.
How do you plan to use the electric smoker?
If you frequently use the smoker, you will need a set-and-forget design that loads the wood automatically. Most electric smokers are offered with this design, but a few are not. You may also need a smoker that has more temperature settings to accommodate the different foods that you may need. If you plan to use the smoker infrequently, your options are wide as you do not need lots of special features.
How much food will you smoke at a go?
If you intend to smoke meat for parties or large gatherings, or you are operating a hotel, a small-sized electric smoker will not meet your needs. Again, you will need a smoker that is easy to maintain and still give you the best service. Electric smokers come in a variety of sizes; some can smoke up to 100 pounds while other smoke below ten pounds in one loading.
What is your Budget?
First off, you need to think of the features you are interested in; such as digital controls, size, power requirements and much more. This will help you set a price range. If you are a beginner looking for a simple home barbecue smoker, you can buy a small electric smoker for under $100.
An experienced barbecuer may need a smoker that is a little bit sophisticated, with more than the basic features but still at a low price. These usually cost about $300. Sophisticated smokers cost more than $600 while most commercial-size electric smokers cost more than $1000 with some costing up to $5000.
It is imperative to note that the quality of smoked food does not depend on the price of the smoker but rather on the whole cooking process. Ergo, choose a smoker that matches your skill level; this way, you will be able to set the temperatures and timers to produce sweet flavored food.
Electric Smokers versus Charcoal and Gas Smokers
Electric smokers have become very popular in the recent past. The main reason being, they are available in all sizes and thus a wide price range making them affordable. Better yet, their operation cost is low. While you may have to purchase charcoal or refill the gas, most electric smokers run on 800 watts in one hour – which is cheap.
Unlike other smokers, electric smokers do not need you to stay there monitoring them. They are equipped with thermostats and rheostats to regulate the internal temperature automatically. Besides limiting your involvement in the cooking process, electric smokers give you control over the temperature you cook your food at.
You do not need any experience to run an electric smoker; as long as you can load food, load wood, set temperature and time and switch it on, you are good to go. These smokers use clean energy and they are therefore environmentally friendly. Even better, they have fewer residues, which mean less cleaning.
Most electric smokers are created sturdy and with minimal chances of causing any harm to the user. Even better, they are more compact compared to other smokers making them easy to move and good for indoor use. The steel construction of electric smokers makes them energy efficient as no heat is lost. This is also beneficial in that the temperature of the cooking chamber remains constant.
Whichever smoker you choose, ensure that you are comfortable using the smoker you choose. The items on the list above are among the best, but this does not mean they are all good for you; choose wisely.