Best Electric Smokers
Set It & Forget It BBQ At Your Convenience
Electric smokers may not compare to some of the bigger BBQ pits when it comes to the wow factor, and there’s always going to be the discussion among enthusiasts about which is better: wood vs. propane vs. electric. But when it comes to the best smokers, ultimately, it’s what’s best for you that counts. And while we may lean toward a more traditional style of smoker as a preference on this site, electric smokers still have their uses, and in some cases are more suitable depending on the situation.
So, why would anyone want an electric smoker anyway?
For starters, size. Not everyone has the luxury of a wide open space to get down with a collection of smokers. With barbecue becoming more popular, it’s obvious that more hobbyists are going to want to try their hand at a little smoking, problem is, they can’t accommodate a traditional setup. Whether it’s a small backyard or an apartment building (most have “no propane on the elevator” rules, and you definitely can’t fit a stick burner on a balcony) so other options may need to be explored.
There’s also convenience. For some, half the fun is in the process. We love tending fires with huge cuts of meat and an all day smoke. For others, they might just be interested in some good food, while entertaining a few guests on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Electric smokers are “set it, and forget it” with little room for error. That works for them.
What about fuel? It can be a pain to get ready for barbecue only to find out you’re low on charcoal. No running to the store for a refill with electric, just plug in and go.
Finally, for those that are new to barbecue, electric smokers make for a good trial run. While we do list a couple of high-end units, most of the rest would qualify for best smokers under $500. Some even sit closer to the $100-$200 range. That’s a great way to get introduced to smoking without too much of an investment. Once you’ve figured out whether this hobby is for you, you can start looking at other styles as your passion for barbecue grows. Here are the best electric smokers to get you started.
Electric Smokers Under $500
Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
Masterbuilt can be found on just about any best electric smoker list you come across, which not only speaks to its popularity but is also a sign of trust. There are other digital smokers with fancy fed systems that we chose not to list here because unnecessary gadgets can easily fail, and that’s not so trustworthy.
The Masterbuilt however only goes digital where it needs it, it’s still at its core a standard cabinet smoker. The nice additions though are the remote controlled temperature controls, with a built-in digital meat probe (which great) that doesn’t leave your probe wires hanging out of the door to get damaged.
The window on the front with internal lights let you see what you’re smoking at night. The drip pan is front access, and it has removable internal components that are dishwasher safe. It’s also a very decent size for an electric smoker.
- Bluetooth controls that sync with your smart device
- 975 square-inches of cooking space with four chrome-coated smoking racks
- Side loading for wood chips, no losing heat or smoke when opening
- Built-in meat probes and digital thermometer to monitor temperatures
- Foam insulation for keeping heat in
Smoke Hollow Electric Smoker
If you’re not interested in digital controls or all the bells and whistles, there’s another Smoke Hollow electric smoker that’s basic but effective. The multi-level unit is easy to assemble and easy to run. It has a thermometer on the front door to monitor your temperatures, which is in turn controlled by the dial on the side.
The chrome-plated cooking grates are adjustable, and the tough welded-steel frame has a sure-lock hatch to minimize smoke from escaping the chamber. The Smoke Hollow is a good budget smoker when you just want to plug in and go.
- Easy assembly will have you smoking in no time
- Capacity: 1.7 cubic-feet with adjustable cooking grates
- 1500W electric element
Masterbuilt Portable Electric Smoker
These are a little unit on the go. This portable electric smoker is basically a scaled down version of the standard Masterbuilt cabinet smoker, only this one you can take with you camping or for tailgating (there’s also a propane version).
They don’t just have to be used as a portable smoker, though. They also come in handy as an extra smoker when your main cooker is already too full and you need extra room. Just plug this in on the side, and add to the feast.
- Easy to assemble, fold away legs for easy storage
- Two chrome-plated cooking racks
- Removable wood chip tray and water pan
- 1400 watt heating element
What is the best electric smoker under $500?
Smoke Hollow Smoke-Tronix
Smoke-Tronix! Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Well, it is. This electric smoker from Smoke Hollow is definitely a little more “futuristic” than the previous model from the brand, but that doesn’t mean the technology is all “smoke” and mirrors.
The design for functionality is what stands out on this smoker. Sure, it’s got the Bluetooth hook up for smartphone control, it’s also got the LED light and the built-in meat probes. But what’s truly great is how everything is laid out.
The grease tray is accessible through a slide out drawer on the side, as is the wood chip drawer which holds six cups of chips. But, this unit also has a very large water pan with an easy-fill port, to add water at any time during the cook without opening the door. With some smokers, it can be a real pain to keep refilling tiny water pans that evaporate easy, so this is a really nice feature. If this isn’t the best electric smoker on the list, it’s one of the coolest.
Speaking of cool, it has a “cold smoke” preset that goes as low as 50°F (great for cheeses). The other presets are “fast smoke” (for igniting chips) and “hot smoke” (125°-290°F) although you can set the temp to whatever you like on the panel.
- 40″ cabinet with 4.5 cubic feet of cooking space (over 1000 square inches)
- Smart Device remote capability and mobile app controls
- Dual elements for faster, more even cooking
- Four chrome-plated cooking grids with adjustable height settings
High-Grade Electric Smokers
Smokin-It Electric Smokers
Moving up on the playing field, the first brand is Smokin-It electric smokers. There are four different base models, all completely constructed with restaurant grade, heavy duty stainless steel. The smoker pictured is “Smokin-It model #1″ which is well under the $500 mark, but is far superior to other compact models.
If you’re looking for something a little more spacious, we’d recommend model #3. It’s got a deeper chamber with 22” racks for cooking full slabs of ribs and can fit up to 5 cooking grates and is still quite inexpensive for such build quality.
- 18-gauge, 201-grade non-magnetic stainless steel construction
- fiberglass insulation to reduce heat loss
- Comes with rubber castors or can be mounted to option cart
- NSF certified for restaurant use
Smokin Tex Electric Smokers
The Smokin Tex is another stainless steel electric smoker that comes in at a decent price, the 1400 model is one their residential units and it can smoke up to 38 lbs of meat at any one time. The shelves are not as long as the Smokin-It, but it does have the option of hanging racks, so if your ribs are too large, hang them up. The Smokin Tex can hold six slabs at once.
- Can easily smoke 3 x 12 lbs briskets
- Stainless steel, double walled and insulated construction
- Holds temp in cold or hot weather
- Dishwasher safe cooking grates
- 700-watt element smokes between 100-250°F
We’re going to jump up a little in price here, but we’re also going to step up on features and functionality. The obvious advantage from the previous high-grade models are the digital controls and added internal meat probes. However, unlike digital meat probes from the other brands on our list, once your meat hits the desired temp, the Cookshack will automatically go into a hold cycle.
It’s also larger with a 50 lbs capacity. That’s 18 racks of baby backs or 12 racks of St. Louis-cut ribs! With all that space, there are even more options. Add more cooking grates, a seafood rack, or pick up some jerky rods, even an optional baffle if you want to cold smoke. It’s all made in the USA, and if you have problems they have great support as well as a community forum for their users.
- All stainless steel construction
- 1000-watt heating element for temps of 140°-300°F
- Two-year warranty