In this comprehensive guide, we share our reviews of the 10 best electric smoker top options we find are really worth considering based on their quality, performance and overall value.
Electric smokers have made smoking delicious food hassle-free and very effective. You can heat and smoke meat with the flavor and tenderness that’s as authentic as that of charcoal smokers.
Moreover, you can set the precise temperature you want and never have to constantly worry about running out of gas, pellets or charcoal. That’s what the best electric smoker can give you including much more great features.
These are our top pick and we’ve included a buying guide to give you some tips and a few FAQs too, so if you are thinking of getting an electric smoker, then this is a great place to start.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Electric Smoker – Comparison Table
- 2 Electric Smoker Reviews
- 2.1 Masterbuilt 20078715 Electric Smoker – TOP Choice
- 2.2 Bradley Smoker BTDS108P – Best Large Electric Smoker
- 2.3 Smokehouse Products Little Chief Smoker
- 2.4 Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
- 2.5 Cookshack SM009-2 Electric Smoker
- 2.6 Masterbuilt 20071117 Electric Smoker
- 2.7 Smoke Hollow 26142E Electric Smoker
- 2.8 Dyna-Glo DGU732BDE-D Electric Smoker
- 2.9 Old Smokey Electric Smoker
- 2.10 Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker
- 3 Buyer’s Guide
- 4 FAQ
- 4.1 What makes an electric smoker different form a grill?
- 4.2 Are electric smokers better than charcoal smokers?
- 4.3 Do you need to soak the wood chips before using them in an electric smoker?
- 4.4 Can electric smokers be used indoors?
- 4.5 Are electric smokers safe?
- 4.6 Do electric smokers lead to high electricity consumption?
- 5 Conclusion
Best Electric Smoker – Comparison Table
|Smoker Name||Heating Element
|Total Cooking Area
|Bradley Smoker BTDS108P||500||858|
|Smokehouse Products Little Chief||250||576|
|Char-Broil Deluxe Electric Smoker||1500||725|
|Smoke Hollow 26142E||1500||250|
|Old Smokey Electric Smoker||1250||280|
|Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker||1200||544|
Electric Smoker Reviews
Masterbuilt 20078715 Electric Smoker – TOP Choice
The Masterbuilt 20078715 ranks as our top choice when it comes to the best electric smokers and one of the key reasons for that is its spacious cooking area.
It has 721 sq. inches of cooking space which is spread four different adjustable cooking racks.
The whole area gives you plenty of space to smoke pounds of meat for a large group of people, around 10 people at most.
You can even bbq different types of food on each rack at the same time. Plus the racks are adjustable hence you can remove a few to accommodate even large items like turkey or a chicken.
Another noteworthy feature of this smoker is its cooking performance. It utilizes an 800 watts heating element which is a decent power to deliver sufficient heat for smoking.
The best part though is that the whole unit is made of stainless steel with added insulation both on the door and to the sides.
Therefore, the temperature inside the cooking chamber remains consistent and the food gets to cook in a perfect amount of smoke.
The four racks have an open design that allows smoke from the bottom to slowly rise and surround the entire cooking chamber.
This means that all the food becomes properly smoked with a similar amount of smoky flavor that very close to that of a charcoal smoker.
The nice part about this electric smoker is that you get a digital control panel that allows you to set the precise temperature you want.
It works extremely well and you need not to constantly check your food every minute.
It maintains the set temperature throughout and you can adjust it if you want to ensure your meat comes out perfect.
The entire construction of the smoker is strong and durable heat-resistant steel and it’s highly insulated to keep the heat inside.
It will perform well even in rough weather conditions and works with almost any standard outdoor outlet.
Not to mention these racks are made of chrome coated steel, so they are strong enough to withstand great heat repeatedly and much easier to clean. They can’t catch rust or wear off quickly.
Ease of Use
The included LED display is a convenient addition as it makes using the smoker an easy task.
Furthermore, a specially designed side wood chip loader makes it quite easier to add the wood chips into the smoker. No need of opening the main chamber.
You just access and open the wood chip panel from the side. It’s smooth and simple plus no smoke or heat is let out when putting the wood chips.
The design of the Masterbuilt 20078715 is as well focused on easy cleaning. It has a front access drip pan with a small hole in it.
It directs the remaining grease and oil that drip from the smoked meat into a storage pot below. The pot can easily be accessed and cleaned in a flash.
Why We Like It
- Strong and sturdy construction
- Large cooking space with four adjustable racks
- Cooks meat evenly and adds that natural bbq flavor
- You can set precise temperature and get the desired results
- Easy to set up, use, clean and maintain
Overall, this Masterbuilt 20078715 is an electric smoker that’s designed to give value for money. Few areas could have been better though like including a meat probe, but nonetheless, it delivers you excellently smoked meat with the natural and tasty bbq flavor.
Bradley Smoker BTDS108P – Best Large Electric Smoker
Bradley has produced a lot of great smokers and the BTDS108P model is another of their top models out there. It has all the best features you would want in an electric smoker along with one of the largest cooking spaces on the market.
This smoker offers plenty of cooking area to prepare sufficient food to feed a large gathering.
It has 6 racks each measuring 11 x 13 inches giving you a total cooking volume of around 3,432 cubic inches.
That’s a whole lot of space and you can adjust the racks should you need to smoker larger amounts of food.
Like the spacious cooking chamber, the BTDS108P is also purely designed for function.
The unit is equipped with two separate heating elements, a powerful 500-watt oven heat element, and another 125-watt smoking element.
That means you have a smoker and an oven burner in one unit plus there is also another secondary heat element for controlling the cooking temperature. There’s a lot you could cook with this electric smoker with its multiple cooking options.
It can cook at temperatures of up to 320°F. That’s a sufficient range for nearly all types of meat and vegetables.
The smoking heat element works alongside the wood bisquettes which facilitates that familiar smoked taste on your food.
The body of this electric smoker is a strong, durable powder epoxy steel while the inside is stainless steel.
These are very tough materials that can withstand the harshest elements and they are pretty effective at keeping the heat locked in.
The whole unit is well insulated with the main chamber’s door lock mechanism ensuring the chamber is tightly sealed, so heat and smoke do not escape and get wasted. The result is an evenly and consistently cooked food with a tasty smoky flavor.
Temperature Control and Ease of Use
The BTDS108P also allows you to select the exact temperature you want the smoker to maintain through the digital control panel.
It’s highly intuitive and shows everything you need to see from time to temperature to smoke. If you a big tech lover, you will like the fact that you can tweak these metrics.
Unfortunately, the temperature gauge is not that accurate just like we saw in the Masterbuilt 20078715 review above. It sits close to the heating element, so it tends to read slightly high.
This is a common problem in most electric smokers that don’t come with a meat probe or more preferably, a proper meat thermometer.
The overall build quality is very robust though due to the exterior and interior steel construction. It’s build to last and withstand harsh outdoor conditions.
Bradley has even made cleaning the smoker completely a breeze because the drip tray and the racks are removable for quick and hassle-free cleanup.
Why We Like It
- Sufficient cooking space for large-scale smoking
- Has a versatile design can be a smoker or oven
- Intuitive digital control panel and display
- Solid and well-insulated stainless steel construction
- A dependable 1-year warranty
The Bradley BTDS108P is a top-notch smoker ideal for those looking for plenty of cooking space and versatility in terms of cooking options. You can use to cook all types and different sizes of meat. It’s an investment well worth the money.
Smokehouse Products Little Chief Smoker
The unit might look a little small compared to the other models but it’s a medium-sized unit with 576 square inches of cooking space split across four grills.
That’s plenty of space to let you comfortably smoke around 25 to 50 pounds of meat or other food like vegetables or fish respectively. It’s perfect for a family of three to four.
The Little Chief, however, features a 250-watt heating element which is generally lower compared to the other electric smokers.
It can hold a steady maximum heat of around 165°F which is not really ideal for cooking large cuts of meat that need higher heat, but it’s just perfect for smoking and getting that wonderful slow-cooked flavor. It’s appropriate for food like jerky and fish.
The heating element is mounted on the bottom part of the smoker and heats the wood tray containing the wood to produce the smoke.
Smokerhouse Products has also done a great job in terms of building an efficient electric smoker. The unit is constructed using aluminum.
It’s a slight deviation from the usual steel design we see in most electric smoker models but it’s pretty efficient at retaining heat.
It’s properly sealed, so no smoke gets to escape. Therefore, the food gets properly imbued with the delicious smoky bbq flavor.
The grills, on the other hand, are all chrome-plated. They provide excellent conductivity which ensures that the meat gets cooked well and evenly. They also slide-out easily giving you the convenience of quick clean up afterward.
Unfortunately, the unit doesn’t come with a meat thermometer which would have made life much easier. It’s a purely basic electric smoker.
Even so, the built quality is solid and durable. It can withstand the outdoor conditions all year round without wearing down.
Ease of Use
As I mentioned earlier in this review, the Little Chief has a very simple design, so it’s one of the easiest electric smokers to use.
Even much better, it comes fully assembled. You only need to add the wood chips into the tray and turn it on.
Weighing only 12 pounds, this Little Chief smoker will break no sweat when it comes to moving it around or transporting it.
Both the racks, wood and drip trays are removable and washable. The drip tray, in particular, is completely dishwasher safe.
Finally, one bonus that comes with this Smokehouse Products electric smoker is that a 1.75 pounds bag of natural wood chips is included in the package.
It’s a useful addition that helps you to season the smoker and get it ready without incurring an extra cost.
Why We Like It
- Medium-sized cooking area
- Made purposely for slow smoking
- The chrome-plated grills provide even heating
- One of the simplest smoker to use
- Comes with a 2-year warranty
The Smokehouse Products Little Chief smoker is certainly a great deal for anyone looking for a basic electric smoker that can still guarantee great results in terms of smoking meat properly. If you are looking for a reliable electric smoker but want nothing fancy, then this is worth considering.
Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
Although it’s meant for restricted spaces, this broil deluxe digital electric smoker offers plenty of cooking surface. The first thing you notice is its large glass door with four smoking racks behind it.
The racks give you a total of 725 square inches of cooking space which is more room than what many other models out there offer. You can smoke a lot of food or meat simultaneously.
They also allow you to smoke different sizes and cuts of meat since you can adjust them as you want.
You can fit taller and a wide variety of other meat inside the smoker ranging from hams to racks of ribs to even a whole chicken or smaller turkey.
Featuring a 1500-watt heating element, the Char-Broil deluxe digital electric smoker 725 is capable of reaching temperatures of up to 275°F which is ideal for slow smoking.
The unit has a dual-wall design with both the exterior and interior walls made of stainless steel with insulation between them.
This makes the smoker much more efficient than other models. It can effectively keep temperatures and smoke inside the cooking chamber consistent throughout the cooking process.
The seal on the glass door is tight as well. When it’s latched into place no smoke or heat gets to escape.
The wires on each of the bbq racks are chrome plated and spaced far enough apart such that they allow for a more even smoking while still holding the meat securely.
Plus, the unit comes with a water tray too where you can add water to keep your meat moist and tender.
Controlling the temperature has also been made quite easy as the smoker features a digital control panel that offers two modes of operation.
You can either set it to smoke for a specific amount of time or smoke the meat at a particular temperature.
The temperature range is wide falling between 100 and 275°F, so you can set a suitable temperature to ensure a perfectly smoked meat.
The set time functionality is ideal for those who follow recipes as well as smoke chefs who like to experiment.
The unit features a built-in meat temperature probe that removes the guesswork out of determining the precise temperature of the food and it’s removable.
Ease of Use
The digital control panel is intuitively designed such that it makes operating the unit a breeze.
Furthermore, the large glass front door is a thoughtful feature as you can see what’s happening in the entire smoker without opening it which often leads to loss of heat and smoke.
The best part is that the insulation between the two walls also helps prevent the exterior surface plus the glass from becoming hot to touch.
Another commendable bonus feature is the remote control. It’s a rare feature in most electric smokers and it gives you even more convenient because you can control the smoker from a distance.
In terms of weight, the unit measures around 50 pounds, thereby, it’s not that light.
The good thing is that it’s equipped with built-in wheels and an ergonomic handle. They make easy to maneuver and move the smoker around.
Why We Like It
- Plenty of cooking space
- A very powerful heating element
- Well insulated to keep smoke and heat within the unit
- Compact enough to fit small spaces
- Has a 1-year warranty
The Char-Broil Deluxe digital electric smoker 725 is a great choice for those looking for a highly functional smoker with a small footprint. It’s solidly built, easy to use, has several convenient features and most importantly, it can deliver perfectly smoked food. If you are limited space but still want to enjoy bbq, then you might want to check out this unit.
Cookshack SM009-2 Electric Smoker
To start, the unit gives you an ample 588 square inches of cooking space which is enough room to cook up to 20 to 25 pounds of meat.
The space is spread over 3 racks where you can smoke different types of food and meat at once.
It’s certainly not meant for large gatherings but can work well for a small party or a family get-together.
A 500-watt heating element gives the SM009-2 modest power to reach temperatures of up to 275°F. But the most important part is its efficient double-walled design.
It has a double-wall construction featuring stainless steel interior and exterior with an 850°F Spin-Glas insulation in the middle.
It’s a rock-solid build that not only keeps the outside of the smoker cool to touch but also delivers consistent temperature throughout.
It’s very unlikely to give fluctuating temperatures like many other electric smokers.
With all the heat, moisture and smoke effectively locked in, your food or meat will come out cooked evenly all the way and the included hickory smoking wood imparts that authentic bbq taste.
There’s no digital display or meat probe which is rather disappointing but there’s a top-mounted dial control that allows you to set the temperature.
It has a good range too from 100 to 275°F and the fact that it’s built to effectively maintain a consistent temperature makes it an ideal choice for beginners.
It simplifies operation considerably. You simply fill the wood chip tray and set the temperature.
Build Quality and Ease of Use
Overall, the unit is robust due to the heavy-gauge stainless steel interior and exterior and the 850°F Spin-Glas insulation that keeps the out walls cool to the touch.
The quality of construction also extends to the racks. They are nickel-plated to make them more durable while the drip tray is aluminum. Therefore, it’s a unit that’s built to last for a long time.
The catch though is that it comes with a heavyweight. The Cookshack SM009-2 weighs 76 pounds which makes it one of the heaviest electric smokers in our review.
Even so, moving it around the backyard won’t be much of a challenge. Cookshack has incorporated 4 super strong casters into the unit.
They can move easily on both concrete and grass surfaces, and you can lock them into place to maintain complete stability when using the smoker.
The 63-inch power cord is another small but equally important bonus. It gives you more freedom to position the smoker in a place you want without having to worry about not being close to an outlet.
Setting up this Cookshack smoker is also quite straightforward because the instructions are clear and simple.
Even if you’ve never assembled a smoker, you will have very little difficulty putting it together. Clean up is easy too. All removable parts including the drip tray are machine washable.
Why We Like It
- Fairly large cooking space
- Solid construction with reliable insulation
- Retains heat and smoke exceptionally well
- Easy to use and move with its durable lockable wheels
- The package includes hickory smoking wood
If you are just new to this world of meat smoking, then the Cookshack SM009-2 is certainly a good option for you. It’s a reliable, high-quality smoker that can help you sharpen your skills and deliver tasty smoked meals for many years. It’s a great entry-level model but there’s really a lot to love about it.
Masterbuilt 20071117 Electric Smoker
Its first major highlight is the large cooking capacity. It is equipped with 4 chrome-plated grills that provide a combined 730 square inches of cooking space.
That’s a large capacity that can accommodate a variety of food. You can easily fit 4 pork butts, a whole chicken, several racks of ribs and even a couple of burgers all at one time.
The inside of the cabinet features adjustment holes one the sides that allow you to set the grills at perfect heights to hold big cuts of meat or even turkey.
The cooking performance of this electric smoker masterbuilt is as well very commendable.
The unit utilizes a heating element with an 800-watt power rating which is sufficient to deliver enough heat for smoking or barbecuing meat. The temperatures can go as high as 275°F.
The design of this Masterbuilt 2007117 smoker is equally geared towards minimal heat loss and facilitating much more consistent temperatures when smoking.
It has a double-walled steel construction with a foam insulator mounted in between.
It’s a fully insulated unit from top to bottom plus the door has an air-tight seal too that completely locks it in place.
Therefore, there’s very little heat loss. All the smoke is effectively kept inside and the temperature remains stable throughout the smoking process.
The wires of the four chrome-coated cooking racks are also reasonably spaced and as such, they allow the food to receive ample heat and smoke and get cooked evenly in set temperature.
A large water pan sits above the wood bisquttes tray where you can add water or other liquid to add flavor to your smoked meat and make it moist and tender.
We also appreciated the fact that Masterbuilt incorporated a top damper vent on this unit.
It’s an essential little feature that allows you to control the airflow inside the unit and ultimately the smoke generated.
You can adjust the damper according to your cooking recipes so that your food can acquire incredible smoky flavor.
Having a built-in thermostat and digital control panel right, it’s easy to maintain a consistent temperature with this smoker.
It also features a timer control and all the information including the set temperature and time are clearly shown on the LED display.
Built Quality and Ease of Use
Considering that the whole unit is made of heavy-duty double-walled steel completely insulated, it can definitely serve you for many years.
The outer surface is as well cooler to the touch due to the insulation which also means the internal smoker temperatures are less likely to get affected should you use it in cold conditions like during winter or fall.
To minimize the chances of heat and smoke loss when adding the wood chips, the unit comes with a slide wood chip loading system.
It gives you access to the wood chip tray from the side, thereby, you never get to open the door to the smoking chamber.
The racks, drip tray, water pan including the bisquettes tray are all removable which makes clean up super easy.
Why We Like It
- Has sufficient capacity to fit several foods at once
- Fully-insulated to ensure consistency of temperatures
- Has air damper to help control the smoke level
- Simple to use thanks to an intuitive control panel
- Features a slide wood chip loading system
The Masterbuilt 20071117 is an ideal choice for specialists as well as beginners that love bbq and seek a smoker that can deliver great results daily. It’s a superb electric smoker for both simple home smoking projects and as well for complex recipes in restaurants.
Smoke Hollow 26142E Electric Smoker
Inside the unit, you will find two chrome-plated grills measuring 14” x 12”. Together they give you 1.3 cubic foot smoking area.
It may not seem much but the fact that it’s spread across two grills creates ample space to smoke a large ham shoulder and a whole turkey at the same time.
It’s purposely designed for large, thick cuts of meat as well as poultry or fish, plus you can even adjust the height of the grills to make room based on what you are smoking.
Cooking Performance and Temperature Control
Now the thing that makes this Smoke hollow 26142E model even more appealing for cooking big cuts of meat is its powerful heating element.
At 1500 watts, the heater of this smoker has plenty of power to reach the temperature levels you want whether it’s slow or high-temperature cooking.
It heats up very fast than other smokers of similar size but the best part is that you can actually adjust the temperature yourself as it’s needed.
The minimum temperature is 175°F while the maximum temperature is 325°F.
It gives you total control over the heat as you can set and maintain your desired smoking temperature. Plus the whole unit consists of thick, fully-welded steel and although it’s not sufficiently insulated, it does well to keep the heat inside the cabinet stable.
The latch system is equally secured, so there’s very minimum heat loss. It’s an ideal choice for trying out various kinds of recipes including those that need special settings.
The water and wood chip trays sit just below the grills they provide the smoke and moist to create that naturally delicious bbq flavor and tenderness.
Smoke Hollow has included a full range heat indicator that allows you to easily check and maintain the smoking temperature you desire. It takes the guesswork out of your smoking process.
Build Quality and Ease of Use
Aside from its great coking performance, this electric smoker is sturdily built from thick welded steel. It’s really solid and durable.
Moreover, the side handles plus the spring door handle are cool to touch which makes it easier and safer to check or adjust the smoker without getting some unpleasant burn.
Clean up is easy as the water pan, wood chip tray is porcelain coated while the grills are chrome coated.
These are non-stick coatings that make cleaning up the trays and grills easier and they don’t add any chemicals to the smoking process.
Assembling the Smoke Hollow 26142E doesn’t take much time and effort. You can do it under an hour.
Being electric, once you plug it in and add your smoker chips plus the water for humidity, you can “set and forget” and the smoker will do the rest.
Why We Like It
- You can easily smoke large cuts of meat
- Cooks thoroughly and evenly than most similar smokers
- You can adjust the temperature as needed
- Sturdily built and easy to move around
- It’s easy to assemble, use and clean
Overall, Smoke Hollow 26142E is a very well built smoker and an excellent buy for homeowners that love to experiment with different smoking recipes especially with large cuts of meat.
Dyna-Glo DGU732BDE-D Electric Smoker
Kicking things off, the unit offers a total of 732 sq. inches of cooking space which is distributed across four spacious grills.
It’s an enormous space, sufficient enough for smoking any combination of meals.
The grills are adjustable too so you won’t have to slice the meat into smaller pieces just to fit it inside. You can adjust the height to accommodate any type of food or meat you want.
Cooking Performance and Temperature Control
Besides the cooking space, the Dyna-Glo DGU732BDE-D comes with a powerful burner.
It’s an 800-watt burner that delivers abundant cooking power to generate sufficient heat even in colder climates.
Like the Smoke Hollow 26142E above, this Dyna-Glo model allows you to set the temperature depending on what recipes you want to cook.
It features a control panel with a digital push button that you press to set the timer and the temperature for the smoking process. Therefore, you can prepare all kinds of food with this smoker.
What makes it even amazing is that it can really hold the heat and smoke locked in very well which helps keep the temperatures consistent when smoking. It has a double-wall cabinet and a standard insulation liner with a complete door seal.
Therefore, it’s well insulated which prevents any leakages making it retain heat and smoke incredibly well.
Positioned beneath the grills is the water and the wood chips trays which deliver that classic smokehouse flavor while keeping the meat moist and tender.
Build Quality and Ease of Use
The overall construction of the unit is of high quality. It’s very sturdy due to the double-wall construction and the insulation liner.
It’s also tailored towards a convenient and very simplified cooking process.
It comes with an integrated meat thermometer which allows you to monitor the temperature of the meat without having to open the door.
The control panel also has an easy-to-read digital screen that displays the current settings including the temperature and the timer.
The side wood chip loader design facilitates easy access and simplified process of adding more wood chips into the firebox without resulting in smoke and heat loss.
Why We Like It
- Up to 732 square inches of cooking space
- Properly insulated to effectively retain heat and smoke
- You can set the ideal smoking temperature you want
- Has an integrated meat thermometer that’s pretty accurate
- Side access wood chip loading panel makes it easy to add wood chips
The Dyna-Glo DGU732BDE-D is very easy to use and a convenient smoker. It’s an option we would recommend for anyone who loves to experiment with different recipes.
Old Smokey Electric Smoker
The unit has two grills which are about 14.5 inches in diameter. They give you a total of 280 square inches of cooking space which is relatively large enough to hold a good amount of food.
Both grills are adjustable and easy to slot in and to remove. Each has carrying handles which make inserting or removing them a simple task.
When it comes to actually smoking the meat, the Old Smokey electric smoker delivers great-tasting food that not only comes out perfect the first time but every other time.
The unit has an effective heating system consisting of a 1250 watts electric cooking element which is amongst the highest power ratings on our list.
It can reach temperatures of up to 250°F and it’s also equipped with a thermostat to help you regulate or set the temperature you want from low to high.
The construction of the Old Smokey is also of high quality using heat resistant aluminized steel. Therefore, no heat gets to escape hence maintaining a stable temperature for your cook.
What stands out, even more, is its flat-roofed design. The lid seals tightly hence no losing precious heat or smoke. The best part is that it creates condensation as well.
The juices fall right back into the meat enhancing its flavor even much better and retaining moisture which keeps the meat moist and tender considering that the unit does not come with a water pan.
To sum it all, whether it’s chicken, cuts of meat or hotdogs, they will come out moist, evenly cooked and tasting great. Plus it got a warming setting which can save you the hassle of having to heat the food again.
Build Quality and Ease of Use
The Old Smokey does not only cook well but it’s built to last too. It’s a solid tin can built using durable, heat-resistant aluminum steel. It’s not going to rust nor wear down quickly even with regular use.
Now the greatest feature of this smoker is none other than the simplicity of its design.
If you like to work with simple yet functional products, then you will like this unit because it’s pretty straightforward with few parts to worry about.
The total weight is about 25 pounds and it’s a fairly compact unit hence easy to move and a nice option for camping and tailgating.
It features two strong handles made from heat-resistant materials. Therefore, you get to carry the smoker or lift the lid safely without ending up getting burned.
Why We Like It
- Can hold a good amount of food
- Effective electric heating system
- Retains heat and smoke very well
- Solidly built to last for many years
- It has the simplest design. It’s easy to use and move
The simplicity and compact design of this Old Smokey electric smoker make it an amazing choice for homes and outdoor activities like camping and tailgating.
It’s a small, very solid unit that’s very capable of delivering great tasting food and perfect set and forget smoker for those who are limited on space.
Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker
While it’s not the largest smoker electric in this review, it has a total cooking space of 544 square inches spread across three cooking grates.
That’s more than enough space to stack and smoke sufficient food for a small family or a fairly large gathering.
The three adjustable grates allow you to comfortably categorize and cook several different-sized foods at the same time including a whole chicken or even a 20-pound turkey alongside other foods.
This is one of the most powerful electric smokers out there.
It utilizes a 1200 watt heating element which is capable of reaching temperatures as high as 400°F giving you a wider heating range that’s ideal for experimenting with different bbq recipes.
Despite being an analog electric smoker, the unit allows you to set and maintain your desired temperature within the range of the element, unlike a charcoal smoker.
The design of the unit is as well-tailored to effectively keep the temperature inside the cooking chamber consistent once set.
It’s has a double-wall construction that’s fully insulated to prevent smoke and heat from escaping.
The door is heavy and also sealed nicely with two latches. So, you get a stable temperature throughout the cooking session.
It’s very effective such that you can have a whole chicken cooked evenly with no cold or hot spots. The water pan sitting below the grates, on the other hand, helps keep your meat tender and perfectly juicy.
Furthermore, the unit is equipped with two exhaust ports which are a thoughtful addition that improves airflow and allows consistent smoke production to ensure that delicious smoky flavor gets well infused into your food.
The door of the unit has a built-in temperature gauge on the center that is fog resistant and easy to read hence you can monitor the temperature without much straining.
However, the analog dial for temperature control might take a bit to get used to if you are used to a digital control panel but once you get hang of it you will have no problems.
Build Quality and Ease of Use
In terms of build quality, this Char-Broil model is a robust smoker made to last.
The very sturdy stainless steel construction with double insulated walls and heavy-duty door guarantees optimum durability and allows you to use the smoker in extreme conditions.
That water pan, grease tray as well as the wood chip tray are accessible from the front which makes cleaning easy. The cooking grates are chrome-plated also for easy cleanup.
We liked the fact too that the wood chip box is pretty large compared to electric smokers of similar size. You can cook for hours without having to refill the smoke chips regularly.
Why We Like It
- Offers a decent cooking capacity
- Features a powerful heating element
- Double insulated walls for effective heat and smoke retention
- You can easily set the temperature you want
- The wood chip box is quite large
In general, this Char-Broil Analog smoker is indeed a great all-around model and perhaps one of the best compact electric smokers that’s ideal for both amateur cooks and professional ones as well. If you are looking for a basic smoker that can give you ample space and complete control over the smoking process, then this a good option to consider.
Who are The Electric Smokers For?
Electric smokers are perfect for anyone seeking to smoke delicious food but don’t wish to use gas or mess around with charcoal.
It’s also perfect for anyone who wants a simplified way of smoking food as they can automatically maintain the temperature and requires no tending to the fire.
If you are looking for other types of smokers, we have a detailed guide on the best overall BBQ smokers you can check out
How to choose an Electric Smoker
There is a wide variety of electric smokers in the market and while our review covers some of the top models out there, there are certain things you need to keep an eye on to ensure you pick the best unit. Below are some of the tips that can help you in evaluating which smoker is ideal for you.
The Built Quality of the Smoker
The first thing you need to consider is the materials used in constructing the smoker. This is essential because the materials used will determine the durability of the smoker and can as well have an impact on its performance.
In general, good quality electric smokers should be stable and robust without any plastic parts. The best materials to look out for are stainless steel and aluminum.
Both can handle high heat extremely well and they are very durable as well as quite easy to keep clean. It’s imperative that you also ensure the unit properly insulated.
The best option, in this case, is a unit that has a fully insulated double-wall construction. This is an effective design that helps keep the temperature inside the cooking chamber steady and prevent any heat or smoke loss.
The Total Cooking Space
The amount of cooking space of a smoker is another key factor you need to consider when evaluating different units.
Smokers basically come in many sizes, but ideally, you want to pick a model that has enough capacity to accommodate the different bbq recipes you want to prepare.
If you planning to cook for a small group of people or only your family, then you might go for a small smoker with a total cooking area of around 200 to 500 square inches. That’s enough to prepare meals for 3 to 4 people which is about the size of a small family.
To bbq sufficient food for more than 8 people or family and friends, you can consider medium electric smokers with cooking space of about 500 to 700 square inches. That will give you plenty of space to cook a wide variety of items at one time.
If however, you plan on entertaining a large group of people often, then you will need a unit with a large cooking area probably 1000 square inches or higher.
You also want to make sure you check out the number of racks or cooking grates that come with the smoker you are considering.
If you are going to cook a lot of small-sized food like burgers, hotdogs, sausages, vegetables, chicken and smaller cuts of meat, then you may want to consider a unit with more than two grates and are adjustable.
For smoking large cuts of meat, a whole turkey and chicken, a unit with two or three adjustable grates would do fine provided the total cooking area inside the chamber is equally large.
Generally, the key here is to choose a smoker that has sufficient space to meet your individual needs.
The Heating Element
The heating element is the only power source of electric smokers. It’s what produces the heat and its strength will not only determines the performance of a smoker but also the amount of food or bbq recipes you can smoke simultaneously.
On average, electric smokers have heating elements ranging from 250 watts up to 1500 watts. For small smoking projects, a unit with around 250 to 800 watts is a good choice as it would be able to reach temperatures of up to 270°F.
The ideal temperature for smoking is about 225°F, so it will have no problems maintaining the right temperature you want for your recipes if your seeking to do small smoking projects.
On the other hand, if you going to mostly smoke large, thick cuts of meat, turkey or chicken, then you will need a unit with 1000 to 1500 watts heating element like the Smoke Hollow 26142E in our review above.
It will have plenty of power to reach temperatures of up to 375°F or 400°F which is ideal for experimenting with different recipes that require high-temperature cooking.
One of the most important things when it comes to smoking food, especially meat is maintaining the right temperature throughout the cooking process.
Choosing a unit with a built-in thermostat can help you easily keep a consistent smoking temperature which is imperative if you want your recipes to come out cooked evenly and very well as you would want it.
It should also have temperature control that is easy to use. Most electric smokers come with either a digital temperature control panel or an analog one which consists of a typical analog dial.
A digital control panel is a lot easier to use and operate when it comes to setting and monitoring the temperature.
It’s a great choice if you want a unit that’s more convenient and advanced as the digital control panel often feature additional functionalities like a timer.
Analog electric smokers like the Char-Broil Analog smoker can take a bit to get used to but they are a great option if you are looking for basic electric smoker without much bells and whistles.
You must ensure too the smoker you are considering comes with a reliable thermometer that will give you at least a fairly accurate temperature of the food you are smoking.
In this case, the ideal option would be one that has a meat probe thermometer. However, many electric smokers use a standard thermometer, so you might have to get a meat probe separately should you pick a unit that doesn’t feature one.
The Wood Chip Tray
Now the wood chip tray of an electric smoker is where actually the magic happens. It’s responsible for infusing that delicious smokey flavor into the meat just like in charcoal smokers.
To do so, you will need to add wood chips or pellets into the smoker at regular intervals during the cooking process to ensure a continuous supply of smoke and to get the best flavor.
However, to maintain consistent heat and temperature inside the cooking chamber, you need to be able to add the wood chips without opening the door to the chamber.
In other words, you need a smoker that allows you to access the wood chips tray from the outside. The best options here are electric smokers that feature side wood chip loading system.
Most of the units in our review above are equipped with a side wood chip loading system which is a very convenient chip loading system.
It allows you to access the tray from the side without opening the cooking chamber’s door. Therefore, no heat or smoke gets lost.
The Water Pan and Drip Tray
The water pan has often been dubbed as not that necessary to the smoking process, but it’s indeed essential. When the temperatures rise inside the cooking chamber, moisture can diminish rapidly and this is where the water pan comes in handy.
The outcome of using a smoker without a water pan is that you will end up with meat that’s dry, chewy, and rubbery. A water pan can counter this effect by keeping the chamber moist and as such, enhance both the taste and tenderness of your meat.
The most important thing when looking at the water pan is the size and the material. It shouldn’t be too small. It should at least be able to hold 1 or 2 cups of water.
You also want to ensure that is coated with a non-stick material like porcelain and it’s removable for easy cleanup.
The drip tray is equally considered not crucial like the water bowl, but again it does serve a great purpose.
The juices and grease which drip from the food in loads during the cooking can impact the temperature and performance of the smoker if left to fall directly on the wood chips and heating element.
However, it’s mostly a cleaning nightmare and a drip pan sitting below the grates can ensure that your smoker stays clean and functional.
Look for a unit with a drip tray that’s relatively large, it’s easily removable and dishwasher safe. The grates should also be removable and chrome coated for easy cleaning.
As you’ve seen from our review above, most medium to large electric smokers is a little bit bulky and heavy. Therefore, if you are planning to get a large unit, then you can get one with wheels to make it easy for you to transport it to your patio without having to carry it.
What makes an electric smoker different form a grill?
Electric smokers are quite different from a grill when it comes to operation. A grill is designed for fast and very hot cooking while a smoker is designed to cook food or meat slower for longer periods and at a much lower temperature.
It cooks meat in a manner that a grill can’t do which makes them quite efficient as certain meats taste much better when they are left to simmer for hours and hours. The slow cooking process brings out more flavor.
Are electric smokers better than charcoal smokers?
Well, it depends on what you are looking at and your preference but when it comes to infusing that smoky bbq flavor electric smokers are just as good as charcoal smokers.
The flavor might differ only slightly as charcoal smokers give you a more natural bbq flavor. However, electric smokers are much easier to maintain and fire up plus they are capable of maintaining a steady temperature more efficiently compared to charcoal smokers.
Do you need to soak the wood chips before using them in an electric smoker?
There’s basically no difference in the flavor or taste when you use dry or soaked wood chips. However, soaking the wood chips can help generate more smoke but there won’t be much difference in the taste.
Can electric smokers be used indoors?
Unlike regular charcoal models, electric smokers do not release any harmful combustible gasses which in essence, you can use it indoors, but it can still be a big fire hazard.
Furthermore, using a smoker inside the house can leave a permanent smell around which can be really unpleasant to others.
Are electric smokers safe?
You can’t find a 100% safe smoker. The fact that they can reach extreme heat means that they can be dangerous and a fire hazard in case they are not used in the right way.
Generally, though, electric smokers are quite safer than many other types of smokers. Most units feature an insulated double-wall construction which helps keep the exterior a bit cool. Furthermore, electric smokers don’t give off any harmful gases or chemicals.
Do electric smokers lead to high electricity consumption?
Electric smokers are very energy efficient and this is particularly due to the way they are designed. They are highly insulated and completely sealed hence when the heat is generated it effectively gets trapped inside.
In addition, once the desired temperature is attained, the thermostat of the smoker kicks in thereby the smoker doesn’t run until the temperature drops upon which the heating element is reignited.
Although the market is flooded with all kinds of smokers, there are many great models out there and the ten models we’ve listed above are part of them.
Trying to choose the right one for you will come down to your particular needs and the kinds of bbq recipes you are seeking to prepare.
To be on the safer side and make a more informed decision we would recommend considering the tips we’ve mentioned above when evaluating different models.
Once you know what you want and what to look out for, then you will have an easier time narrowing down your options to the right unit that will suit you best.