Meat smoking is probably one of the most sacred traditions among male culture since the invention of the smoker in 1939 — well, it wasn’t even called a smoker back then, but a Torry Kiln. Regardless of the history involved, there are a few smokers on the market today that really should command your attention.
These four are worthwhile based upon their sales, customer feedback and overall specifications. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages which we will detail to you here. Upon analyzing these various models, you should be prepared to decide on a smoker for your own backyard cooking ambitions.
Best Electric Smoker Under $200
The Masterbuilt 30″ Black, Top Controller is probably the best smoker you can get for your dollar, all things considered. It has a massive 730 sq. inches of cooking space with four chrome-coated racks.
Boasting a powerful 800-watt heating element, this smoker can be had for a reasonable price and is up to date with modern features. Very popular and well-reviewed, this Masterbuilt model is a very common go-to for those seeking their first smoker.
User reviews are bragging about the digital thermostat, stating that it makes keeping a consistent temperature much easier than when manually heating. Another great aspect of the
Masterbuilt is its insulation properties, well-above par. Because this one runs on electricity and only takes a bit of the chip for the flavor of the smoke, the energy and cost of use are way lower compared to other makes.
Top Rated Electric Smoker
The Bradley Smokers Original is much like the Masterbuilt, but a bit more classic in its design and somewhat less sophisticated that the Masterbuilt 30″. This model is nice due to its classic look and traditional controls.
No fancy digital readouts and gauges here, but the quality of the cook you’ll get definitely above-par. As an added perk, this smoker can also be used as either a slow cooker or as a slow-roasting oven.
Current customers of the Bradley Original exclaim about the quality of the product’s build and the lack of issues over long periods of use. One main drawback of this model is the fact that it isn’t as intuitive to get used to using for those with little or no experience using a smoker.
Whereas other models will likely have more instructional support and tutorials, this model is known for being a “dive in head-first” option for the shopper ready for a challenge but a quality smoke after they get the knack.
Ultimate Digital Electric Smoker
Take the Bradley Original and bring it up to modern specs and you have the Bradley Digital. In the four-rack design, the size and power are still manageable for the newcomer but the digital interfacing could be more appropriate for the novice than the manual controls of the original.
It will cost you a tad bit more as well, but for the long-haul, many will find the digital controls to be worth the extra cost. In addition to the convenience of the controls, you also get to go a bit hotter in the Digital than the Classic model.
The Bradley model is commonly becoming known as the “lazy man’s smoker” or the smoking equivalent of a refrigerator.
The stainless steel design, combined with smooth edges and easy set-up make this model very attractive for the wannabe smoker with a moderate budget, less available time to play around and a slight lack of patience for getting to the meal. This is the executive class smoker for the modern man with a comfortable budget.
Best Compact Electric Smoker for Beginners
Make no bones about it, the Smokehouse Products, Little Chief beginner’s smoker. For some, it will be the perfect model while, for others, it will be severely underpowered.
It has only one temperature setting, it’s front loading and it has a much smaller footprint than many of the larger models on our list. It comes with everything you need to get started including a 1.75 lb bag of Chips and Chunks Hickory Flavor wood chips for burning.
There are people who have been using this smoker, without repair, for ten years and they aren’t shy to brag about this fact. Sure, it’s a little smoker, but its fast setup and ease of use make it wildly popular among regular backyard grillers interested in an affordable upfront cost, easy maintenance and long-lasting quality.
The cooking consistency on the Little Chief is just about as good as the rest on this list, but with a smaller interior size than your average smoker.
An important tip for new smokers to consider, as well, is to not let any thermostat on the smoker itself be the final authority on what the real temperature is of the smoking chamber or the meat itself.
To achieve the real desired taste and cooking heat, you want to always use an electronic meat thermometer as well to check the temperature of the meat itself at all times.