When it comes to buying an electric smoker, there are a few simple principles to look out for.
The best electric smokers are simple, inexpensive, and work. That means that they are used by plugging them in and hitting a button or two. Always be completely aware of how to start, use, and then clean the smoker before buying. Ask to see it turned on if possible.
There once was a boy who grew up never learning to cook. By the time he left home, microwaved ramen and grease-soaked pizzas were a staple of his diet.
Over time, he learned to fry eggs and even tried his hand at baking bread (which didn’t turn out).
Eventually, a love interest drew him out to the countryside. There, a new friend taught this boy how to smoke meat. On that day, the boy became a man.
It all happened on an electric smoker – which is the easiest way to smoke meat. Especially for newbies like the boy, it’s basically plug and cook.
A lot of experienced cooks prefer an electric smoker for its convenience. There’s no need to keep an eye on the thermometer. You simply set it to the desired temperature and add wood chips periodically.
They’re also easy to clean since you aren’t burning charcoal briquettes. From start to finish, using an electric smoker is a breeze.
With such a simple setup, quality varies drastically across different brands. If you aren’t careful, it’s easy to end up with a low-grade version of something that doesn’t do the job quite right.
That’s why these reviews of the best electric smokers are here – to help you make a better decision. After all, you don’t want to end up wasting any fine cuts of meat. That would be a travesty.
Before we dig into electric smokers though, let’s take a quick look at why you’d choose one over other types of smokers.
Smoke Your Meat the Quick, Clean and Easy Way
Some barbeque enthusiasts insist there is no comparison between food cooked over charcoal versus food cooked over gas.
Typically, charcoal gives that charred barbeque taste that pegs it as authentic. While that might be true for grilling, smoking meat is a different story.
Basically, the flavor of smoking meat comes from the wood chips you use. Common wood chip varieties include:
Electric smokers typically have a pan where you place the wood chips. Then, you put the pan over an electric burner powered by electricity. The wood chips slowly burn and infuse your food with the flavor of the wood.
An electric smoker is also more efficient than charcoal or gas. Using charcoal as your fuel source can add up quickly. Even when you’re done cooking, the only way to put the briquettes out is to let them burn unless you want a soppy black pile of ash to clean up.
The other drawback to charcoal is the long startup time. Generally, you have to let briquettes soak for 10 minutes before lighting them and then wait for the unit to heat up.
With an electric smoker, it’s almost too easy. You simply plug it in, set the temp and timer, and walk away.
It’s kind of a no brainer why someone would choose an electric smoker over another type. Here’s a closer look at the best ones you can get.
Brutally Honest Reviews For the Best Electric Smokers
Plug and play. It’s ideal for smoking as far as convenience goes. But of course, there is still a lot of variability across different models.
Many features differ that affect overall cook time and heat control. On that note, here’s a look at the best smoker that is well insulated and equipped with many desirable features.
#1 Char-Broil 19202101 Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
This Char-Broil smoker was thoughtfully crafted to bring you a well oiled machine that gets the job done. And done well.
The walls are double constructed to maximize insulation so you don’t lose any heat unnecessarily. The makers also put in a glass door so you can track the progress of your food without having to open the main chamber.
For an airtight seal, the door includes a heavy-duty steel latch that keeps all the smoke in. In total, the large capacity wood chip box allows for 7 hours of continuous smoking without refilling.
- 725 square inch cooking area
- Removable food thermometer to set internal temperature
- Warming feature to keep food warm
- Advanced LED control panel
- 4-cup capacity wood chip box
- 8.5 cup removable grease tray
- Stainless steel model includes detachable remote
- You have to set a target meat temp or amount of cook time to start the smoker
All in all, the outstanding quality of this Char-Broil smoker is perfect for handling parties of up to 10 people or processing large amounts of meat.
#2 Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Smoker
Enjoy smoking meats, fish or vegetables with this Cuisinart smoker. It offers a generous 548 square inches across 3 removable cooking racks.
Simply set the temperature and monitor it on the built-in thermometer while you cook. The unit is lightweight so you can take it on the go whether you’re camping or smoking in your buddy’s backyard.
- 548 square inches total cooking area
- Includes wood chip and water trays
- 3 removable chrome racks
- Built-in thermometer on the front door
- Lightweight and easily transportable
- Loses heat when you open the door to check the progress of food
This Cuisinart electric smoker is perfect for any backyard barbeque and has all the features any seasoned cook needs.
#3 Smoke Hollow ES230B Digital Electric Smoker
Control the smoker’s internal temperature and cook time on this Smoke Hollow digital smoker. It also offers adjustable air dampers to maximize airflow and heat control.
The removable water tray and drip pan make for an easy cleanup.
- Digital control panel
- Insulated body construction
- Adjustable air dampers for heat control
- 3 chrome plated smoking racks
- 800 watt heating element
- Removable drip pan for easy clean up
- Must open the main door to add fuel and loses heat
The Smoke Hollow is a quality crafted electric smoker that’s perfect for anyone who wants a basic system without compromising on necessary features.
#4 Southern Country Electric Smoker
This bullet shaped Southern Country smoker offers 351 square inches of cooking space. The vented lid fits loosely for optimal airflow and maximum infusion of flavor. Don’t forget the included water tray to keep your food juicy and tender.
Not only is it easily transportable, you can convert this sucker into a grill by removing the interlocking hood from the base.
- Converts into a Lock N’ Go grill
- 351 square inches of cooking space
- 2 chrome-plated racks
- Heat-resistant handles
- Can’t check the bottom rack without removing the top rack
Overall, this chimney shaped smoker is perfect for newbies or someone looking for a cheap unit that will get the job done.
#5 Smokehouse Products Little Chief Electric Smoker
Perhaps the most popular basic smoker is the Smokehouse Products Little Chief. A lot of people new to smoking start off with this unit and it has earned its popularity.
The Smokehouse Products line produces quality smoked meats even for people who have never smoked anything before. Reason being – the heating element is set to a consistent 165 degrees so no monitoring is necessary.
The Little Chief handles up to 25 pounds of meat, fish or vegetables. For a few bucks more, upgrade to the Big Chief to double your cooking area.
- 250 watt element maintains a temp of 165 degrees
- 4 removable cooking grates
- UL and CUL certified for safety
- Easy to use
- No assembly required
- Non-adjustable heat
- No water tray
- Not well insulated so increases cooking time
Although there is no adjustable temperature gauge or thermometer, the unit has been preset to produce delicious smoked food.
Overall, the performance of this little electric smoker is impressive and perfect for those just getting into smoking or stuck on a budget.
Whatever It Is…You CAN Smoke It
Whatever you feel like eating, you can definitely smoke it. Beef. Chicken. Venison. Fish. Roadkill. Okay maybe not roadkill.
But don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You really can smoke anything. There’s a viral video floating around social media about a restaurant that smoked watermelon and vegetarians love it.
Whichever electric smoker you choose to go with, make sure you buy from a reputable source. Shoddy retailers online may send knock off products or ones that are slightly damaged, hoping you won’t notice.
The best place to buy is from a trusted retailer with a good return policy in place.
Whether you’re a seasoned smoking veteran or a total newbie to the game, there’s a smoker that will get anyone delicious, juicy and tender smoked meat. And that’s the double insulated Char-Broil smoker.