Grilling and smoking food can often lead to arguments when it comes to the method of fueling your cookout.
Some people insist on nothing but a traditional charcoal grill or BBQ for that authentic smoked taste and aroma.
For others, gas or electric grills and smokers are a much more user-friendly alternative, even if you’re not able to achieve quite the same results.
As with all aspects of grilling out at home, there is no right or wrong answer as to which method is best. The only thing that counts is which method works best for you.
For beginners looking for a seamless entry point to smoking food, the best electric smoker is unbeatable. These units are powered by heating elements. You’ll find these rated in terms of watts, and we draw your attention to the performance of these throughout our reviews.
With your food loaded inside and your smoker fired up, add some wood chips and water to create the optimum environment for smoking food slow and low, but without the volatile nature of charcoal.
If you’ve never explored electric smokers before, keep your eye out for the following pointers:
OK, with those simple pointers in mind, you should now be in place to explore our curated shortlist of the top 10 electric smokers on the market.
1. Our #1 Pick: Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker
- Total cooking area: 710 square inches
- Weight: 66.31 pounds
- Dimensions: 19.7 x 25.2 x 41.7 inches
First up and our favorite electric smoker in today’s showcase comes from specialist Masterbuilt. This manufacturer has a deep bench of smokers in a range of sizes. How does this model stand and fall, then?
Measuring 40 inches across, this unit is quite heavy and bulky. Choose from four different configurations to suit. This is the smoker only and comes in at the keenest price.
The spacious interior gives you over 700 square inches to load in all your favorite foods for smoking.
If you frequently host large cookouts in your back yard, you’ll appreciate the smart controls you get thanks to the Bluetooth connectivity baked in. Tweak timings and temperature using your smart device or a dedicated controller. Spend more time on your guests and less time fussing over food with the Masterbuilt.
If this 40-inch smoker seems slightly too large for your requirements, scope out some of the smaller models this brand offer up. You can’t go wrong with a Masterbuilt.
Load the wood chips into the door at the side so you won’t need to breach the cooking environment unnecessarily. The chrome-coated racks should inhibit food splatter.
You benefit from a thermometer onboard, but you may want to supplement this with a third-party meat probe or thermometer. As always, the accuracy of integrated thermometers is questionable.
While the vast bulk of user reviews for this smoker are positive, we can’t say the same for feedback concerning customer service.
2. Bradley Electric Smoker
- Total cooking area: 710 square inches
- Weight: 57.5 pounds
- Dimensions: 14 x 17 x 31 inches
Bradley has a hard-won reputation for producing electric smokers that deliver in fine style without costing the earth.
This spacious 4-rack smoker comes with a sprawling interior ideal for smoking large batches of meat or seafood. With multiple racks at your disposal, you can comfortably cook a variety of foods without things getting crowded or disorganized inside.
These racks are coated with a treatment to minimize food debris getting stuck on. The racks are also removable to simplify cleanup.
You’ll enjoy complete digital control of the temperature up to a maximum of 320F. As with all smokers, this unit comes into its own when you’re cooking slow and low.
Once you fire this smoker up, you’ll generate enough smoke for an 8-hour cookout. Choose from 12 different varieties of wood chips to generate that trademark smokiness.
We found some gripes from customers living in areas with colder climates claiming the smoker doesn’t work effectively when the mercury tumbles. Do your own due diligence and think about the weather conditions where you live before committing to purchase.
Made from a powder-coated epoxy steel, the smoker is ideal for use outdoors. If properly maintained, you should get years of faithful service from this Bradley.
3. Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker
- Total cooking area: 725 square inches
- Weight: 50.2 pounds
- Dimensions: 18.1 x 16.5 x 32.5 inches
Char-Broil make a wide range of smokers including this superb electric model. If you’re looking for ease of use and a beginner-friendly smoker, you’re in luck.
Choose from a variety of configurations to suit. This is the cheapest and most basic iteration featuring the smoker only.
The highly insulated construction features double walls to lock all the heat inside.
You’ll have no shortage of space inside this smoker with 725 square inches at your fingertips.
Take advantage of the array of cooking grates to smoke all your favorite dishes simultaneously, whether you have guests over or you’re cooking for the whole family. The racks are removable to streamline cleanup.
The smoke box is large enough to give you between 4 and 7 hours of smoking, depending on the temperature you’re cooking at.
While build quality looks OK at first glance, we found some complaints from users about issues developing over time.
The glass door lets you monitor proceedings without compromising the smoking environment inside.
With digital controls, you can take command of the temperature with ease, even if you’re a beginner to the art of smoking.If you like the idea of smoky BBQ tasting food without the hassle of breaking out a charcoal grill, using an electric smoker might surprise you with the results on your plate tasting lip-smackingly good.
4. Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker
- Diameter: 30 inches
- Rack area: 730 square inches
- Dimensions: 19.88 x 20.47 inches
Next up comes another entry from the inimitable Masterbuilt, this time a smaller 30-inch model ideal if you have limited space on the patio or deck.
Despite measuring just 30 inches across and occupying a small footprint, you get plenty of room inside this smoker. To give you an idea of capacity, it will accommodate 4 racks of ribs or 6 chickens, giving you ample leeway, even if you’re catering for a larger gathering.
You benefit from thermostat temperature control so your food will be perfectly smoked, seared on the outside and deliciously tender inside.
The body of this smoker is double-walled, leading to outstanding insulation and heat retention.
As with all the best electric smokers, you’ll need wood chips to impart that trademark smokiness. You can load the chips without needing to open the door of the smoker for your convenience.
Seamless and simple digital controls allow you to manipulate the time and temperature. Then, all that remains is to sit back and wait for those tender and succulent results hours later.
5. Cuisinart Electric Smoker
- Total cooking area: 548 square inches
- Weight: 22.6 pounds
- Dimensions: 22 x 19 x 37.5 inches
Cuisinart make some first-class appliances that don’t cost the earth, and this pocket-friendly electric smoker is well worth popping on your shortlist.
The first thing that strikes you about this smoker is how good it looks, but we know you’re not buying one of these things based on appearance.
Fortunately, the COS-330 doesn’t disappoint in terms of performance.
Packing a 1500-watt heating element, you have all the power you need on-demand. You can smoke your favorite foods from 100F through 400F, giving you plenty of versatility.
Inside, the spacious cooking area spans almost 550 square inches. You can create the cooking environment that suits using the three chrome-plated racks. These are removable and easy to keep clean. You can even pop the racks in the dishwasher if you fancy hands-free clean-up.
Although you get plenty of cooking real estate inside this smoker, it’s reasonably lightweight and easy enough to maneuver around the yard if required.
Despite the budget pricing, you’ll benefit from a 3-year limited warranty, removing any niggling concerns at the point of purchase. This is perhaps the best budget electric smoker out there.
Most user testimony concerning this smoker is positive, although we found a handful of gripes flagging issues with this unit at lower temperatures.
6. Bradley Electric Smoker
- Total cooking area: 572 square inches
- Weight: 55 pounds
- Dimensions: 34 x 20 x 18 inches
Next up in our quest for the best electric smoker is another model from the Bradley stable, so how does this unit stand and fall?
You can’t help but be impressed by the appearance of this smoker, finished in matte black with swirls of smoke and the Bradley branding setting it apart from cheaper imitators.
Beyond the design, though, you’ll get a sprawling interior with almost 600 square inches of space for all your favorite dishes.
The inside of the smoker is made from a robust and rust-proof stainless steel. You’ll find the inside of the smoker super-simple to clean when you’re done, too.
The wood hopper allows you to load in enough fuel for a 9-hour cookout, and you can choose from a dozen different varieties of briquettes to complement your favorite smoked foods.
The heating element is a common weak point on smokers, and Bradley allow you to replace this if anything goes amiss. This is a small but valuable bonus.
Most user feedback on this model is positive, but we found a number of complaints about problems with customer service. Setting this aside, you’re getting one of the best electric smokers out there, and it will make a striking statement on the kitchen counter as well.
7. Smokin’ It Electric Smoker
- Total cooking area: 35 pounds of meat or seafood
- Weight: 114 pounds
- Dimensions: 24 x 30 x 22 inches
Smokin’ It serves up this classic electric smoker that delivers everything you need and nothing you don’t.
The build quality of this smoker is evident throughout the stainless steel build. Unlike some of the more lightweight smokers we review today, this model is rated as suitable for use in a commercial kitchen, so you should get years of faithful service in your back yard.
Although this smoker is quite heavy and bulky, it also comes with 4-inch rubber casters, allowing you to shift it around without straining yourself. These lock into place for a safe and stable cooking environment. Handles on either side are another nice extra when it comes to maneuverability.
The 800-watt heating element is highly efficient, and it’s also replaceable.
Highly insulated throughout to maximize heat retention, you can expect first-class results from all your smoked dishes.
While the manufacturer doesn’t disclose the total cooking area in terms of square inches, they claim that you have enough room inside for up to 35 pounds of smoked food. So, load in meat, seafood, and veggies for a large cookout, then all you need to do is crack open a cold beer or two and wait for the sensational results.
While this electric smoker certainly isn’t cheap, you’re getting great overall value if you can afford the stiff sticker price.
8. Char-Broil Electric Smoker
- Total cooking area: 544 square inches
- Weight: 50 pounds
- Dimensions: 15 x 20.7 x 33.5 inches
Another electric smoker from Char-Broil is up next. This brand specializes in this segment of the market, with this analog model making a great choice for anyone who doesn’t want a smoker overloaded with tech.
This corded electric device also uses wood chips to impart that unmistakable smoky flavor to your favorite meats, fish, and seafood.
Arrange the three chrome-plated cooking racks to create the environment you need. Whether you’re cooking for yourself, the whole family, or guests, the Char-Broil lets you take care of smoking duties with confidence.
Not only is this smoker easy to use, but it’s equally easy to clean and maintain. Racks are removable and dishwasher-safe, while the exterior simply needs wiping down with a cloth – wait for it to cool completely first, of course.
With a temperature gauge baked into the door, you can easily check the internal temperature without opening the door or compromising the smoking environment.
You get almost 550 square inches of space inside this smoker, making it a great choice for larger families or gathering of friends.
The only niggles we unearthed in a sea of positive user reviews concerns the poor quality instructions.Backed by a 1-year limited warranty, you’re getting a superb electric smoker from an industry heavyweight for far less than you might imagine.
9. Dyna-Glo Digital Electric Smoker
- Total cooking area: 732 square inches
- Weight: 66.2 pounds
- Dimensions: 19.4 x 19 x 32.5 inches
Dyna-Glo has a limited line of smokers, with this electric model arguably the best of the bunch.
The rugged housing is finished in a muted matte black, ensuring the smoker enhances the patio or deck rather than cluttering it up.
If you’re looking for a high-capacity electric smoker, you’ll appreciate the 732 square inches of cooking space at your fingertips here. Despite this, the smoker isn’t too bulky. It does weigh over 60 pounds, though. Wheels or casters would be a nice extra. Instead, this smoker sits on a height-adjustable stand.
The temperature control system means using this smoker is a case of push-button simplicity. All you need is the patience to wait for the succulent results. As with all smoking recipes, this could take the better part of the day.
Load in your wood chips through the door at the side rather than needing to open the main door of the smoker.
A few disgruntled consumers complain about the relatively low levels of smoke this unit produces, so we would suggest you do your own due diligence here.
Overall, you’ll find the Dyna-Glo delivers a flexible and user-friendly outdoor smoking experience, and you won’t need to take out a bank loan to afford it either.
10. Smokehouse Products Big Chief Smoker
- Total cooking area: 50 pounds of meat or seafood
- Weight: 17.57 pounds
- Dimensions: 12.38 x 18.25 x 27.12 inches
Smokehouse Products, as the brand name makes clear, are a specialist in this field, so what do you get for your money with the legendary Big Chief smoker?
The cooking space inside this smoker lets you pile in up to 50 pounds of meat or seafood, perfect for even larger cookouts and parties.
As with all the best electric smokers, the Big Chief provides you with a set-and-forget experience. What could be better than relaxing with friends and family in the back yard with dinner cooking low and slow in the background.
The precision engineering delivers a cooking environment perfectly ventilated for the purposes of smoking food.
You’ll enjoy a continuous low temperature of around 165F, meaning you won’t need to worry about manipulating settings, and you won’t need to worry about anything other than timing and waiting patiently until your food is ready to roll off the grates.
The cooking grates are removable and safe to slide into the dishwasher, so you won’t have any hassle when it comes to keeping this smoker in tip-top condition. For a beginner-friendly introduction to the art of smoking food, the Big Chief is hard to beat.
11. Old Smokey Electric Smoker
- Total cooking area: 365 square inches
- Weight: 24 pounds
- Dimensions: 15.5 x 15.5 x 29 inches
The Old Smokey is a traditional smoker offering you a no-frills entry-point to this rewarding but challenging cooking method without costing a fortune.
The flat top of this unit ensures that the juices drip right back into your meat as it cooks low and slow inside this unit.
You load your wood chips into this smoker using the tray on top of the heating element. This is not such a seamless affair as some of the other models we review with side-loading chip trays. If you’re new to smoking food, this might not be the best bet for you.
For more experienced grillers, though, the easily controllable thermostat lets you cook a wide range of your favorite meats, seafoods, fish, and veggies inside this efficient smoker.
If you’re considering this smoker, we would suggest you invest in a decent meat thermometer so you can keep tabs on temperature without needing to continually open the smoker.A few users have complained about the fragile feel of this smoker, so if you’re buying an electric smoker based primarily on its expected lifespan, we would suggest exploring some of the other models on our shortlist.
12. Royal Gourmet Electric Smoker
- Total cooking area: 458 square inches
- Weight: 48.3 pounds
- Dimensions: 37.1 x 19 x 20.6 inches
Last but not least in our search for the best electric smoker comes the Royal Gourmet.
Finished in matte black and emblazoned with a silver eagle, this smoker will make the perfect addition to your deck or patio.
Inside, there’s a 1500-watt heating element, making this one of the most powerful smokers in its class.
You take charge of the smoker using a nifty digital control, and it couldn’t be easier to use, even if you’re new to smoking food.
The door handle is spring-loaded and also designed to stay cool to the touch, so kiss goodbye to scorched fingers and curses when you’re grilling out and say hello to one of the most user-friendly smokers on the market.
Arrange your food across the trio of chrome-coated racks and you won’t get any of your meat, fish, or seafood smeared over these thanks to the non-stick coating. The racks are removable and easy to clean, too.
You get a grease cup built in which helps streamline grease management and makes your smoker even easier to keep clean, while your food will taste even better.
For one of the most user-friendly electric smokers out there, the Royal Gourmet is worth your further investigation.
1) Is it advisable to use an electric smoker indoors?
No. These smokers are designed exclusively for outdoor use. Using a smoker inside needs you to install a pro-grade extractor. While you could use the smoker without adding any wood chips indoors, this defeats the object of smoking food.
2) Why should I consider buying an electric smoker rather than a BBQ smoker?
If you want the traditional taste and aroma of barbecued food, nothing rivals cooking with charcoal. BBQ smokers can be quite awkward to use until you get to grips with them, though. With electric smokers, by contrast, the hardest parts are loading in your food and then waiting for the tender and succulent results. Using one of these things couldn’t be easier. As an added kicker, the addition of wood chips goes at least some way to mitigating the lack of authentic flavor and aroma.
3) How do electric smokers work?
Smokers use the same principle as your kitchen oven to cook food slow and low. Some smokers call for solid fuels like charcoal. If you opt for one of these, you can manipulate the temperature by adjusting the airflow. To do this, you use the intake and exhaust vents onboard. Electric smokers, by contrast, are powered by heating elements. The smoke comes from the wood chips you load in, usually into a side-loading tray. When the wood chip tray is separated from the main smoker, you won’t keep compromising the cooking environment. Some electric smokers are equipped with smart functionality so you can control the timings and temperature remotely using your smart device. The wood chips will smolder rather than burning. These are purely to add flavor and they play no role in cooking your food.
4) How many wood chips will I burn using my electric smoker?
Since these wood chips are only being used to impart flavor, you won’t need to worry too much about the cost of these. As they slowly smolder away, they’ll give your food that authentic smokiness without leaving you with heavy ongoing running costs. Using an electric smoker is a cost-effective way to cook, but even better is the quality of the food on your plate.
5) Is it essential to season my smoker before use?
Yes. Check the instruction manual for specifics of your model.
For anyone arriving here at Hempen Hill BBQ today unsure if electric smokers were worth considering, hopefully that should have changed by now.
When it comes to grilling with electric appliances, many purists turn their noses up at the thought. We won’t pretend that an electric grill or smoker can yield the same results as a classic charcoal grill, but then they are also much easier to use and they make much less mess, too. As an inbuilt kicker, if you’re using wood chips to impart that smokiness to your food and you’re also cooking low and slow, you really shouldn’t notice the absence of charcoal.
We have reviewed smokers of various sizes and with different interior capacities today, so there should be something for everyone. If you come across a smoker that didn’t make our shortlist, we hope you find our brief buying guide makes your decision easier.
Take a moment to bookmark our blog today before you head off. We have a very busy content calendar with summer giving way to fall, so be sure to pop back soon and don’t miss out!