The 8 Best Propane Smokers for Fuss-Free Grilling

Smoker-for-Fuss-Free-GrillingPropane

Although summer is edging to a close, there’s still plenty of grilling season ahead of you.

Indeed, now is a great time to buy a grill or smoker, as you’ll be able to snatch a bargain as manufacturers look to offload stock.

Perhaps the most important factor when you’re comparing smokers is the fuel source, and we’ve kept things simple today by focusing purely on liquid propane smokers.

This is by no means your only option, though.

Many people insist that charcoal smokers are the only way you can get that authentic smokiness. While this is certainly true when you’re grilling, the difference becomes much less noticeable when you’re smoking food. After all, those flavored wood chips you’re loading in will impart an unbeatable smokiness to your slow cooked food anyway.

For pure convenience, little rivals an electric smoker, but these don’t make the best travel solution as you’ll need access to a power outlet.

This is where the best propane smoker steps in. You’ll find propane smokers are affordable and super-simple to use. The vertical layout and space-saving dimensions of some propane smokers makes them ideal for small yard, patios, and decks.

When you’re considering which fuel type to use, bear this in mind: while many pitmasters enjoy cooking with gas, you’ll struggle to find many championing grilling or smoking with electric appliances.

Due to the form factor, vertical smokers in a cabinet layout are perhaps the most popular.

Fortunately, choosing the best propane smoker couldn’t be easier. The hard part of your buying decision is complete once you’ve decided upon the fuel source: in this case, liquid propane.

To make your life even easier, though, focus on these pointers before whipping out your credit card:

  • Dimensions and weight: The first thing you’ll need to consider when comparing smokers is the size of each unit relative to the space you have available in your yard. To help you, we curate all this information in the features tab of each smoker on our shortlist, allowing you to compare them quickly. You should consider the width of the smoker in two ways. Firstly, ensure you have enough space to accommodate the smoker. Next, think about whether you cook whole racks of ribs or much larger cuts of meat. You’ll need a smoker measuring at least 40 inches across if you want to load in a rack of ribs without folding it or cutting it down to size
  • Cooking area: The total cooking area at your disposal is expressed in terms of square inches. Many manufacturers break this down into plain English when describing how many chickens or turkeys you can pile inside. You need to make sure you have enough space for your needs, but don’t get a smoker that’s too large for your requirements
  • Cleanup: Always look for removable and easy-care racks and grease trays. If the smoking racks are chrome-plated, this will inhibit food splatter. In some cases, removable parts are dishwasher-friendly
  • Door layout: Look for smokers that allow you to access the water pan and the smoke without needing to open the main door of the smoker
  • Shelving: Adjustable shelving allows you to create a more flexible environment for smoking food
  • Stability: If you’re considering a vertical smoker, you’ll find these are lighter and slightly less rigid. Look for intelligently-designed legs and a stable foundation for your smoker

If you keep these pointers uppermost in mind, choosing the right propane smoker should be quick and easy.

Shortcut the process further by exploring our liquid propane smoker reviews right now!

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The Best 8 Propane Smokers

1. Our #1 Pick: Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker

Char-Broil-The-Big-Easy-TRU-Infrared-Smoker-Roaster-&-Grill

Features

  • Smoker diameter: 23 inches
  • Rack size: 1200 square inches + 180 square inches
  • Dimensions: 23.1 x 23.4 x 36.2 inches

Char-Broil has a hard-won reputation for producing some pioneering TRU-infrared grills and smokers that ensure you experience fewer flareups than when using other cooking methods.

This is by no means the only selling point of this highly effective smoker, though.

The Big Easy is a compact smoker that makes a neat choice for cramped patios or decks, or for anyone with a small back yard, despite the impressive interior capacity.

Smoke up to 25 pounds of food inside this thing with 1200 square inches at your fingertips in the smoking basket. This is more than enough for larger cuts of meat.

There is also a 180-square inch grilling space, widening your options when you’re grilling out.

Adjust the heat output on this smoker from 9,000 BTU through to 18,00 BTU depending on what’s cooking.

A pair of handles make it easy enough to shunt this smoker around if required.

Overall build is rugged and you can expect plenty of faithful service from this smoker, and it’s also priced pretty keenly.

Aside from a handful of complaints about the size of the smoking box, almost all user reviews of the Char-Broil Big Easy are overwhelmingly positive.

Things We Like

  • Fewer flareups with infrared
  • Wide temperature band
  • Roast 25 pounds of food

Things We Dislike

  • Smoker box is small

2. Cuisinart Vertical Smoker

Cuisinart-COS-244-Vertical-36"-Propane-Smoker

Features

  • Smoker diameter: 36 inches
  • Rack size: 785 square inches
  • Dimensions: 19.3 x 18.1 x 38.6 inches

Cuisinart is a household name in the kitchenware space, and they also make some first-rate grills and smokers.

The vertical layout of this propane smoker means you need less room to house it without sacrificing interior real estate.

Inside this thing you get 4 stainless steel racks. These are removable for ease of cleaning, and also to let you create the cooking environment of your choice, making room for larger cuts of meat.

Flick the valve on your liquid propane tank and turn the knob and you’ll have this smoker up and running first time, every time.

The total cooking area of 784 square inches means you’ll have the space inside for large cookouts.

The wood chip tray is made from porcelain enamel, a material renowned for its heat retention and heat distribution properties.                             

There’s a thermometer baked into this smoker, so you can monitor the internal temperature of your food with precision, even if you don’t have a third-party thermometer in your grill supplies.

If you’re new to smoking food, you’ll appreciate the recipe book bundled with plenty to get your creative juices flowing.

Build quality is robust and this smoker is capable of sustaining some serious punishment. You’ll get a hose and regulator included with your smoker, but you don’t get a propane tank, and you don’t get a cover either.

 Aside from some isolated gripes about issues above 225F, almost all user testimony sings the praises of this Cuisinart vertical smoker.

Things We Like

  • Space-saving configuration
  • Removable stainless steel racks
  • Integrated thermometer

Things We Dislike

  • Doesn’t work well over 225F

3. Pit Boss Vertical Smoker

PIT-BOSS-77435-Vertical-Lp-Gas-Smoker,-Red

Features

  • Smoker diameter: 23 inches
  • Rack size: 800 square inches
  • Dimensions: 21.5 x 23 x 47 inches

Pit Boss make some outstanding smokers, including this liquid propane model that’s ideal for small patios and decks.

As with all vertical smoker, you get a space-saving layout that doesn’t force you to compromise on cooking area. Despite its slim footprint and reasonably lightweight nature, you get a generous 800 square inches of cooking area, perfect for big gatherings.

This model comes with a twin burner, giving you great control when you’re smoking. You can manipulate the temperature from a super-low 100F up to 350F at the upper end, making this one of the more versatile smokers in this class.

These burners are finished in stainless steel and they’re cut out for plenty of cooking without letting you down.

The cooking grates are coated in porcelain enamel. This improves grilling results while also ensuring as little food as possible sticks to the grates.

We found some scattered complaints about quality control issues, but these were the minority among predominantly positive reviews. You can buy this Pit Boss with confidence knowing you’re getting one of the best liquid propane smokers out there.

Things We Like

  • Ideal for patios or decks
  • Tweak temperature from 100F to 350F
  • Dual stainless steel burners

Things We Dislike

  • Quality control issues reported

4. Dyna-Glo Vertical Smoker

Dyna-Glo-DGY784BDP-36"-Vertical-LP-Gas-Smoker

Features

  • Smoker diameter: 36 inches
  • Rack size: 784 square inches
  • Dimensions: 27 x 19.2 x 46.46 inches

Dyna-Glo make some pocket-friendly grills and smokers that punch above their weight in terms of performance. What do you get for your money here, then?

Firstly, this smoker is sleekly designed and finished in an understated matte black, and it will visually enhance your patio or deck.

The cast iron burner is rated at 15,000 BTU. While this gives you more than enough firepower in reserve, you might want more flexibility, and in this case we would suggest exploring some of the models we review today featuring multiple burners.

Push-button electronic ignition takes all the sting out of startup, and you’ll eliminate the tedium associated with starting a charcoal grill.

You’ll still have plenty of waiting on your hands when you’re smoking foods low and slow, but using this smoker means it’s a hands-off experience that allows you to kick back with a cocktail instead of fussing over a grill.

The wood chip box has handles to make it easier for you and it’s made of porcelain enamel so all the heat stays locked inside.

We would suggest investing in the optional cover if you’re planning to leave your smoker outdoors and you don’t already have a suitable cover in place.

With a double-door layout, you won’t need to breach the cooking chamber if you want to load on more wood chips. Remember: less is more when you’re smoking, though!

Things We Like

  • Cast iron burner rated at 15,000 BTU
  • Adjustable wire racks
  • Generous smoking area

Things We Dislike

  • Customer service issues flagged

5. Masterbuilt Propane Smoker

Masterbuilt-MB20051316-Propane-Smoker-with-Thermostat-Control

Features

  • Smoker diameter: 40 inches
  • Rack size: 961 square inches
  • Dimensions: 22.8 x 28.7 x 53 inches

As we pass the midway point in our search for the best propane smoker, we have the first of a trio of models from Masterbuilt. This brand is perhaps most famous for its deep bench of electric smokers, but you should also consider their line of liquid propane smokers, including this 40-inch gem.

The stainless steel burner onboard is rated at 15,750 BTU, meaning you have ample power on demand for all your favorite smoked delicacies.

You’ll also have plenty of space to accommodate them inside this roomy smoker. Total cooking area amounts to almost 1000 square inches, so nobody will go hungry at the next grill-out.

The smoking racks inside this unit are chrome-coated. This prevents food splatter will also acting as a fantastic surface for bringing out the best in your barbecued treats.

Never run out of propane mid-cookout thanks to the gauge and indicator baked in. As with all propane grills, you’ll need to make provision for a 20-pound tank of propane, although the hose and regulator you need come bundled.

Most users review this Masterbuilt propane smoker positively. The few complaints we unearthed center on the consistency of cooking.

Things We Like

  • 4 chrome-coated racks
  • Powerful stainless steel burner
  • Fuel level gauge

Things We Dislike

  • Some reports of uneven cooking

6. Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow Propane Smoker

Smoke-Hollow-PS40B-Propane-Smoker-by-Masterbuilt,-Black

Features

  • Smoker diameter: 20 inches
  • Rack size: 330 square inches
  • Dimensions: 21.26 x 29.13 x 43.5 inches

Next in line is another Masterbuilt in the guise of the Smoke Hollow. How does this unit shape up, then?

This is a reasonably compact smoker that makes a smooth fit for patios and decks. As you would expect from a smaller smoker, you’ll take a hit when it comes to capacity. Make sure the 330 square inches of interior space meets your requirements before committing to purchase.

Like all the best propane smokers, this is quick and easy to start up thanks to the electronic ignition. You’ll be up and running with far less effort than using charcoal.

You’ll need to get a 20-pound tank of liquid propane, and in return you’ll be able to smoke food all day and reap the rewards in the evening.

There is a single burner on this smoker rated at 15,400 BTU. Using the smoker couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is adjust the damper to manipulate smoke and moisture, and then sit back for the delectable results.

If you’re uncertain about investing in a smoker, Masterbuilt models offer you a seamless introduction to the benefits of cooking with liquid propane. The only question that remains is which model you’ll choose.

Things We Like

  • Compact footprint
  • Seamless ignition
  • Chrome-coated racks

Things We Dislike

  • Not good at high temperatures

7. Masterbuilt Propane Smoker

Masterbuilt-MPS-230S-Propane-Smoker,-30"

Features

  • Smoker diameter: 30 inches
  • Rack size: 800 square inches
  • Dimensions: 17.3 x 18.3 x 26.2 inches

To conclude our series of Masterbuilt smokers, an even dinkier model measuring just 30 inches across that still manages to deliver an impressive 800 square inches of cooking space. Sounds great, right?

As you would expect from Masterbuilt, build quality is uppermost, and you’ll be getting a smoker that should return years of faithful service.

The electronic ignition makes startup fuss-free, and you won’t need to mess around with matches, a lighter, or a chimney starter.

Controlling the smoker is super-simple. The single burner is rated at a highly capable 15,400 BTU, more than enough to fuel a lengthy cookout.

Dampers are easy to adjust, allowing you to tweak the moisture and smoke control, as well as the temperature of your smoker.

The disc bowl is made of porcelain enamel as it the water bowl. This is removable for your convenience.

As with all the best liquid propane smokers, you’ll enjoy a two-door layout that means you won’t need to unnecessarily open the cooking chamber if you want to add more wood chips.

We couldn’t find any meaningful complaints about this smoker, aside from a few gripes about how easily it picks up dents.

For unbeatable smoked food without needing to leave home or break the bank, give some serious thought to this liquid propane smoker from industry legend Masterbuilt.

Things We Like

  • Great brand heritage
  • Starts first time, every time
  • Integrated temperature gauge

Things We Dislike

  • Dents easily

8. Char-Broil Vertical Smoker

Char-Broil-Vertical-Liquid-Propane-Gas-Smoker

Features

  • Smoker diameter: 23 inches
  • Rack size: 595 square inches + 7566 cubic inches
  • Dimensions: 19.5 x 21.5 x 45.5 inches

Last but by no means least in our search for the best propane smokers comes this vertical smoker from the highly reputable Char-Broil.

Don’t let the slender form of this smoker fool you, though. When it comes to capacity, this is one of the most generous in its class, and you’ll have enough space inside for large parties this fall.

As with all the most effective smokers, you can access the smoke and water pan without opening the cooking chamber and losing all the heat locked inside.

A warming rack ensures you keep all your smoked delicacies ready to serve at their best.

Aside from a few complaints about the questionable design of the wood chip tray, this is a popular smoker that receives mainly positive reviews.

Build quality overall is impressive, and while this smoker won’t win any design prizes, its compact dimensions means it will blend into your back yard while delivering impeccable results on your plate.

Things We Like

  • Slender form factor
  • Very generous capacity
  • Warming rack

Things We Dislike

  • Wood chip tray could be improved

FAQs

1) Why you should I consider using a propane smoker?

If you’re uncertain about what benefits a propane smoker brings to the table, first consider the cost. While these smokers might not be the cheapest to buy, they are much less costly to run and maintain than a charcoal smoker, electric smoker, or pellet smoker. Propane smokers are also often highly portable. Although most of the models we review today are intended for permanent installation, you can find smaller propane smokers, too. Propane is not too bulky to store, and you won’t end up generating the same amount of ash as when you’re using a charcoal smoker or pellet smoker. It couldn’t be easier to start a propane smoker either, thanks to the electronic ignition which comes as standard on all the best models. Ease of use is the other key selling point of propane smokers.

2) Do propane smokers have any disadvantages?

The main drawback with propane smokers is the taste. No other method rivals charcoal when it comes to that authentic BBQ flavor and aroma. For most people, this difference will not be dramatic, though. Many vertical smokers are quite lightweight, and sometimes flimsy. These are prone to denting unless you look after them very carefully. If you’re looking at smaller smokers, they will not accommodate a whole rack of ribs. You’ll need a smoker with at least a 40-inch diameter for that.

3) What are vertical propane smokers?

Vertical smokers are probably the most popular type of smoker. Large steel cabinets, these smokers stand vertically. Some models have a single door, but all the best propane smokers feature two doors. This setup allows you to access the wood and water without opening the main cooking chamber. Racks and hooks allow you to smoke your favorite foods. These are typically chrome-coated to minimize food splatter. The vertical layout of these smokers means they take up fairly little space. As such, this type of smoker is ideal for patios and decks. Most propane smokers are similar from a design standpoint, with a gas burner below, a wood chip pan above and also a water pan. The water helps to keep the temperature stable while at the same time providing valuable moisture. Cooking racks sit above. All you need to do to control the flow of air and smoke on a vertical smoker is to adjust the dampers.

Conclusion

Today’s guide to the best propane smokers should have cleared up any confusion you had about these versatile and highly effective appliances.

Cleaner and easier to use than charcoal smokers, and delivering a more authentic experience than using an electric smoker, liquid propane smokers are the connoisseur’s choice, and we hope you’ve found one on our shortlist today that fits the bill.

We have a very busy content slate as summer gives way to fall. We’re not just here for the grilling season at Hempen Hill BBQ, but year-round. Make sure you pop back soon and bookmark our blog as you go.

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