Electric smokers are a modern take on an age-old cooking tradition; they allow people to smoke meat without having to worry about tending to their cooking equipment. Smoking has been around for centuries, and people are fascinated with the flavor, tenderness and texture that it adds to their meat. If you’ve ever tried authentic barbecue, then you know just how good meat tastes after it has been smoked all day.
The problem with smoking meat is that modern-day living isn’t always compatible with the cooking process; the attention that charcoal and wood smokers require just isn’t practical for most home chefs. Fortunately, electric smokers solve this problem, and they give people the chance to get authentic flavor without having to tend to their equipment all day.
With an electric smoker, you plug the device in, set a temperature and let it quietly smoke your meat to perfection. Electric smokers are a perfect solution for people who like to forget about their food until it’s done. They effectively remove all fire-tending duties that make other types of smokers difficult to deal with; with the best electric smoker, there’s no chance that your flame will go out in the middle of the cooking process.
When you choose an electric smoker, you have complete control over the temperature inside of your cooking chamber, so you can easily control the density of the smoke inside of it. Smoke and temperature are the most crucial parts of smoking, and when you have good control over them, your meat always comes out juicy, tender and bursting with flavor.
If you want to create a genuine smoked flavor without the hassle of wood or charcoal smokers, then electric smokers are the answer that you’ve been looking for. You simply season your meat, place it on the rack and forget about it until it’s done. Now let’s check out the best electric smokers available in the market today.
Top 6 Best Electric Smoker Comparison Chart
|Smoker Model||Our Review||Dimensions (inches)||Color|
|Masterbuilt Electric Smoker #1||24.6 x 18.3 x 41.3||Blue|
|Old Smokey Electric Smoker||15.5 x 15.5 x 29||Grey|
|Smoke Hollow 30162E Electric Smoker||31 x 15 x 17||Black|
|Smokin-It Model #1 Electric Smoker||12.5 x 17.2 x 13.5||Stainless Steel|
|Bradley 4 Rack Digital Smoker||14 x 14 x 31||Silver|
|Masterbuilt Electric Smoker #2||20 x 17 x 33.5||Black|
Top 6 Best Electric Smoker Reviews
When you get a Smokin-It unit, it comes fully assembled in the box, so you don’t have to worry about putting together any electronic parts. There is no remote heat sensor or digital board; all you need to maintain is the heating element knob. The 350 watt heating element comes with an LED indicator to let you know that the unit is working.
When you buy a Smokin-It, you don’t have to worry about expensive electronic replacements. The heating element is the only electronic item that can fail, and you can buy another one for 20 dollars off of the manufacturer’s website.
Smoking-It Model #1 Pros:
- Easily replaceable inexpensive heating element
- Total weight of 57 pounds
- Stainless steel construction
- Juice catcher tray for easy cleanup
- 12-1/2″ x 13-1/2″ x 17-1/4″ cooking area
The MasterBuilt smoker gives you a massive 1.7 cubic feet of smoking space on four racks, but it’s easy to use for people of all skill levels. When you want to fire this smoker up, you simply plug it in, heat it up, and set the timer. The temperature of the smoker ranges from 100 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit, and it maintains its heat throughout the cooking process because of its insulated walls. The unit comes with a 24-hour timer that shuts off as soon as your meat is done.
The MasterBuilt has an easy access side wood chip loader, so you don’t have to open the unit and lose smoke when you want to add more wood chips. You can add liquids to its water pan; this helps you moisten and flavor your meat even more. There’s an air damper that allows you to control the amount of smoke inside the unit; it’s easy to adjust depending on how much smoke flavor you like.
- 24-hour shutoff switch
- Four smoking racks
- Thermostatically controlled for perfect temperatures
- Air damper and side load wood tray
- More than two cubic feet of cooking space
The only problem that people have had with this unit is the cost of replacing the heating element. According to the manufacturer, the element can be replaced, but it costs about 60 dollars.
The Smoke Hollow 30162E was created as a replacement for your old outdoor smoker; the unit produces a wonderful flavor with minimal heat loss. It comes with an easy to adjust dial that lets you set the temperature between three temperature settings. It comes stocked with two cooking grids, a wood-chip box, porcelain-coated water pan and a magnetic door latching system.
The unit doesn’t ship assembled, but it only takes a minute or two to get it up and running. It’s meant to be run outdoors, so make sure that you have a heavy-duty extension cord and a GFCI protected circuit that allows you to move the unit away from any overhangs and eaves near your home. The unit is insulated, so it stays cool to the touch throughout the cooking process.
Smoke Hollow 30162E Pros:
- Great temperature control
- Two cooking racks
- Three temperature settings
- Convenient handles for easy transport
- Quick assembly
Some people have said that the unit doesn’t produce enough smoke; this happens when they don’t fill the wood chip container high enough. If you choose this unit, make sure to fill it completely, and let it smoke at 300 degrees for an hour. Once it warms up, you can adjust it to whatever temperature you need. This warm up period is essential for good smoke production with this unit.
The Old Smokey is definitely the best electric smoker for people who don’t want to shell out a couple hundred dollars for a mid-ranged smoker. The unit comes with heating coils where you place wood chips to give your meat extra flavor, and it has two levels where you can fit large items like turkey, ham and pork shoulders.
The top of the unit seals on during cooking, and cooking juices drip right back on the meat. The top is airtight, so smoke never escapes; this reduces cooking times. The smoker’s heat is controlled by a thermostat, so you can set it up and leave until it’s done.
Old Smokey Pros:
- Airtight lid for quick smoking
- Adjustable thermostat lets you choose a cooking temperature
- Great for beginners
This unit is great for people who are just getting started with smoking. Some people have complained that the unit is more of a steamer than a smoker; there’s no airflow inside of the chamber, so your meat may come out looking steamed. Crafty users have poked holes in the lid to create airflow, and if you do this, it gives your meat a crisper and smokier flavor.
The Bradley 4 Rack is coated with a powder epoxy, so it can withstand harsh winter and summer weather. It has a 500 watt cooking element, and the internal temperature can reach up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit. The timer can be set for up to eight hours, and the unit measures 17″ x 14″ x 31″.
Bradley 4 Rack Pros:
- Full control of time, temperature and smoke
- Adjustable temperature up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit
- Attachable backup generator in case of power loss
- Four cooking racks
- Smooth metal edges; you won’t cut yourself handling the unit
When you buy a Bradley 4 Rack smoker, make sure to buy extra wood pellets with it; no pellets come included in the box. The unit only uses Bradley Briquettes, so you need to buy them from the manufacturer. Every pellet lasts about 20 minutes, and you need to figure out how much you’re going to put in before you start cooking. The pellets cost about as much as charcoal; you will need to spend a little money to keep this unit running.
The MasterBuilt 40-inch electric smoker lets you smoke all of your meat with ease; it comes with a handy LED display that lets you adjust your cooking time and temperature. This large unit has four chrome racks and over 900 square inches of cooking space. If you don’t feel like getting up, you can use the unit’s remote control to adjust the temperature inside of the cooking chamber.
There’s a see through window and light that lets you keep an eye on your meat; an internal probe lets you check your meat’s temperature without opening the unit’s doors. The unit’s wood chip loading system makes it easy to add or remove smoke chips, so you can adjust the flavor based on personal taste.
MasterBuilt Electric Smoker Pros:
- Remote control for easy adjustments
- Easy viewing window
- Built-in temperature thermometer
- Drip pan for easy cleanup
- LED display allows you to control temperature, time and internal light
- Large capacity
- Good insulation
The unit only reaches 275 degrees Fahrenheit; it might take you a while to smoke a large amount of meat, but most people don’t mind waiting an extra hour or two when smoking all day. The unit is consistent, and it’s perfect for most people’s needs.
Factors To Consider When Buying An Electric Smoker
- Ease Of Use — There are tons of choices when it comes to electric smoker accessories. If you don’t want to manually mess around with temperature settings and smoke production, then you need to buy a smoker that lets you program these things. Modern day electric smokers come with things like timers and temperature sensors to help you cook up the perfect piece of meat. If you’re experienced with the smoking process, you might not need a bunch of bells and whistles; you can probably get by with fewer accessories. Smokers that are listed in the table above all have this ability.
- Budget VS Quality — It’s important to find a smoker that cooks your meat well, but you don’t want to spend a fortune getting the quality you need. If budget plays a role in your decision, then you need to find the best quality smoker for a price that you can afford. Fortunately, there are tons of decently priced units on the market; you just need to figure out which one will give you the cooking experience you desire.
- Size — Electric smokers come in different shapes and sizes, and when you choose a unit, you need to make sure that it’s big enough for the amount of food that you’re going to be preparing.
Always check a smoker’s capacity before buying it. You don’t want to buy a huge smoker if you only plan on preparing personal meals regularly, and you don’t want to buy a compact smoker if you’re preparing meals for lots of people at once. Generally speaking, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so if you have extra space, it can’t hurt to buy a unit with a larger capacity than you think you’ll need.
Advantages Of Electric Smokers
When you use an electric smoker, you don’t depend on a flames to produce smoke. Electric smokers use coils to produce heat, and this comes with many advantages that traditional smokers don’t have:
Easy To Use
Conventional smokers take a long time to get going; you need to get the flame going, regulate air flow and make sure that the unit stays at the right temperature.
With an electric smoker, you simply plug it in, set the temperature and cook your meat. An electric unit levels the playing field between novices and experts. Any novice can use an electric unit to produce a quality piece of meat without any knowledge or skill, and they can do this while leaving the meat completely unattended.
Electric smokers are much safer than traditional smokers. Traditional smokers rely on fire to produce smoke, and this fire needs to be left on for hours at a time. If something knocks over your traditional unit, the fire can spread. If you have kids or pets, you’re probably better off using an electric unit; it’s just a lot safer. Electric smokers are perfect for areas where open flames present a danger.
It doesn’t cost a lot of money to run your electric smoker. If you get a traditional unit, you constantly need to buy charcoal or wood to keep the flame going, and after a couple of hours, the cost of fuel really starts to add up. Electric smokers don’t have this problem; you simply plug them in and let them run. They don’t draw much power, so they end up costing you less to run.
Conventional smokers need a lot of babysitting; you need to keep up air flow, temperature and the flame. With an electric unit, you plug it in and let it run; there’s nothing else that needs to be done. If you don’t have the time to watch your unit all day, then you need to get the best electric smoker available on the market.
Disadvantages Of Electric Smokers
Many home chefs believe that tending to their smoker is part of the fun when they are smoking meat. For these purists, a set it and forget it system just doesn’t work; they feel like they are cheating when electronic equipment takes care of the smoker’s temperature and smoke production.
If you really want to tend to your unit to make sure that it’s running, then an electric unit probably isn’t for you, but if you don’t mind leaving it unattended, then you should be fine with an electric model.
Electric smokers are a little more complicated than traditional ones when it comes to their components; there are more electronic elements inside of them, so you have a bigger chance of malfunction.
When you use a traditional smoker, it’s just a piece of metal, so there is nothing inside of it that can break. Electric smokers have programmable timers, thermostats and heating elements that can malfunction. The manufacturers make the electronic elements easy to replace, but it takes some time to figure out how to do it.
It takes a little longer for foods to cook in an inexpensive electric smoker; this happens because cheaper units can’t always reach the high temperatures that traditional smokers can. Cheaper electric smokers teach people the value of patience when it comes to smoking meats; if you use an inexpensive electric smoker, you might need to wait a little longer for your meat to finish.
Electric Smoker Video Demo
Here’s a great electric smoker demo video so you can really get to know how easy it is to use an electric smoker.
When buying an electric smoker, you have tons of different models to choose from. The main features you need to watch out for are the unit’s capacity, price and how easy it is to use. Most smokers on the market produce enough heat and smoke, so you just need to figure out what accessories you want with your unit. If you buy a smoker that can keep up its temperature, then you are well on your way to cooking juicy and tasty cuts of meat.
Find a smoker that’s in your price range, and make sure that it has the capacity that you need. When you find the perfect model, you’ll be shocked by how easy it is to get the authentic taste of smoked meat. With electric smokers, you simply let them do their thing; there’s no need to babysit your food while it is cooking.