Smoking has been popular for years because it allows you to cook food (most commonly cuts of meat) using the smoke from a controlled source of heat. This gives food an entirely unique flavor, which many people find deliciously irresistible.
Now that you’ve decided to get an Electric Smoker, it’s time to decide exactly which model you want. This can be overwhelming. There are several different companies out there who want you to believe that their brand is the best, but who is right? Let’s take a look at the top sellers and compare them based on customer feedback.
Best Electric Smokers Reviews 2016
- Easy to use. If you are new to smoking, you can jump right into it with this model. The 20078715 Electric Digital Smoker allows you to set the internal temperature to the exact degree, and the smoker will do the work of maintaining it.
- Size. This particular model is about the size of a mini refrigerator, which makes mobility easier. Even though it’s small, there are four racks inside the smoker, so you can cook a good amount of food.
- Wood Chip Loader. The Masterbuilt Electric Digital Smoker has a wood chip loader that, as the name implies, lets you add wood chips to the smoker without opening the door. Leaving the door closed keeps the temperature stable and uses less power.
- Effectiveness. Customers who have purchased this product rave about how well it’s insulated. Heat does not leak out during cooking, and the internal temperature can be maintained even in cold weather. Overall, the Masterbuilt 20078715 Electric Digital Smoker is an excellent model for newbies and those who want convenience.
- Temperature Limitations. The biggest issue customers have with this particular model is that it only heats to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re aiming to get some crispy skin on the poultry you’re smoking, then this model is not for you.
- No Window. This smoker does not have a viewing window. You won’t be able to watch your food cook without opening the door. However, the lack of a window allows the smoker to retain heat better than a model with a window, so for some, this feature may be positive.
- Low Power. Customers have reported that the heat seems to be much less powerful when cooking large quantities of meat all at once. It seems this model does not have adequate power to cook lots of food evenly and promptly.
- Limited Warranty. While Masterbuild is known for its excellent customer service, their warranties leave something to be desired. This Smoker comes with a 90-day warranty, but you have to pay additional fees if you want an extended warranty.
Bradley Digital 4-Rack Smoker
- Set and Forget. This smoker feeds wood chips to the internal chamber automatically, so you can set your desired temperature and time, and relax until it’s ready.
- Overall composition. The Bradley Digital 4-Rack is primarily stainless steel, which has an aesthetic appeal. The stainless steel is also incredibly easy to clean, and resistant to smudges.
- Smoke control. You can program your Bradley smoker to cook with a certain level of smoke. It will modify the rate in which the wood chips burn to accommodate to your setting.
- Cold smoke option. If you want to smoke cheeses or various other delicate foods, it must be done at a relatively low temperature. This particular Bradley model can achieve and maintain just that.
- Finicky with temperatures. The meat you use must be warmed a bit before smoking. Do not put frozen meat in this smoker, or it will plunge the internal temperature. Also, is you open the door to this smoker during cooking, it may take a while to get back up to the set temperature.
- Low power. With the heating element only using 125 watts of power, this smoker may take some time to heat up before it is ready for use. This also means that you will need to keep an eye on temperature fluctuations when cooking large amounts of food.
- Wastes wood chips. The Bradley Digital 4-Rack requires 3 wood bisquettes to be in the chamber at all times, or else it stops “feeding” itself. This is simply its design and cannot be modified, which means that some of your wood chips will inevitably not get used.
- Difficult to use in cold environments. Customers have complained about the digital elements of this smoker (controls for temperature, time, and smoke) ceasing to function if the external temperature gets too cold.
Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker
- Price. The Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker is one of the less expensive models in this list. If you are looking for the most economical option, then you may want to look into this smoker.
- Size. This particular smoker is about ten inches larger than the previous two models we have listed. The advantage here is obviously smoking more food at once! This will be convenient for hosting parties, etc.
- Assembly. Customers love the easy assembly of the Char-Broil. It takes roughly twenty minutes to set up, so you can get right to seasoning your smoker shortly after unpacking it.
- Not enough smoke. The heating element in this smoker does not keep chips hot enough to produce smoke constantly. It will take some work on your part to keep the internal temperature hot enough to generate smoke from the chips. Some trial and error will be involved to figure out the ideal set-up.
- Preheating. This smoker requires an overcompensation, if you will, to acquire the desired temperature. You must set the smoker to a higher degree than what you need, then back it down until you reach the right temperature. This can use up more time than other models.
- Leaks. Customers have collectively complained about the door on the Char-Broil. It does not latch perfectly, which leads to some smoke being lost through the door.
Bradley Smokers Original Smoker
- Versatile. The Bradley Smokers Original Smoker offers the flexibility of either hot-smoking or cold-smoking, with no separate attachment required.
- Flavor. Users of this model rave about the delicious smoky flavor that saturates whatever food you cook inside of it. It is comparable to that of a traditional charcoal smoker.
- Automatic Chip Feeder. There is no need to continuously feed wood chips into the Bradley Original Smoker. It is automated to give itself the required amount of fuel to maintain whatever temperature you have specified.
- Information. The Bradley Smokers Original Smoker comes with a recipe book with all kinds of ideas for your new smoker. Customers have given positive feedback about the recipes, having used them to try new things.
- Temperature. This Bradley model has a maximum temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that if you decide to cook poultry or fish in this smoker, you may end up finishing some of those meats in your oven to cook them thoroughly.
- Chrome racks. The interior walls of this unit are made of stainless steel, but the actual racks are made of chrome. Chrome has a greater potential to rust than other metals, so you must maintain the racks perfectly.
- Power. This smoker has a lower wattage than other models, which translates into more time to heat up for you. This could also be problematic in cold environments, as the heating element may not be powerful enough to maintain its heat.
- Maintenance. This Bradley Smoker is not truly “set and forget” way to cook your food. Even though an automatic wood chip feeder is included, you still must check the water dish periodically, making sure the water is clean, and the dish is full.
Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load Smoker
- Price. The Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load Smoker is very inexpensive for what you get. This is one of the most affordable smokers on this list.
- Warranty. This smoker comes with a two-year warranty. Many other companies only offer a 90-day warranty or even require additional money to get a warranty. You have more protection from defects with the Little Chief.
- Simplicity. This is a very basic, beginner’s smoker. It has standard options without the “fancier” options that are available on electric smokers today. This is an excellent option for casual or first- time smokers.
- Longevity. The Smokehouse Little Chief has the potential to last fifteen to twenty years with proper care. Many customers have boasted about the long lifespan of this particular smoker.
- Temperature. The Little Chief only has one temperature setting-165 degrees Fahrenheit. You will not be able to raise or lower this, so the type of food you cook in this smoker will need to be planned around the temperature restrictions.
- Size. As the name implies, the Little Chief is one of the smaller models on our list. While this may prove very convenient for some, many people would not be able to cook for the whole family using the smoker alone.
- Power. This smoker is not robust enough to maintain a high temperature in cold weather. This could be problematic depending on your geographical location.
- Complete Cooking. This unit is designed to add a smoky flavor to food, but it cannot always cook the food to completion. Many people finish cooking whatever they were smoking in their oven, so anticipate an extra step in your preparation if you purchase this smoker.
Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
- Window. The Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker has a window on its front panel, so you can view your food while it’s cooking.
- Mobility. Unlike some other models on this list, the Char-Broil Deluxe Includes wheels and a handle. This makes it much easier to move because you do not necessarily have to wait for it to cool completely before you relocate it.
- Temperature Gauge. The Char-Broil Deluxe model includes a removable temperature gauge. The advantage of having a removable temperature gauge means that you can place it in different areas of the smoker, and it would also be easy to replace if you needed to.
- Remote Control. This smoker comes with a remote control that allows you to change some settings without actually being right next to the unit. You can increase or decrease the smoker’s temperature from inside your house, which is quite useful in colder seasons.
- Maximum Temperature. The Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker has can only heat to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. This is fine for most beef and pork but could be potentially problematic when cooking poultry.
- Smoke Flavor. Customers have complained that this smoker does not make the food you cook in it very smoky tasting. You may have to experiment with different “flavors” of wood chips, or even the amount of chips to increase the smoke.
- Problematic Heating Element. Some customers have complained that the heating element of this unit are failing after only a few uses, and needing to be fully replaced.
- Clean up. Another issue customers had with this model is that it ‘s hard to clean. While the racks do come out, it takes a lot of effort to get the smoke residue off of the internal chamber.
- Temperature Maintenance. The Masterbuilt 20070213 is reportedly very good at maintaining whatever temperature you set it to, even in extremely cold weather.
- Material. This smoker is made of powdered steel. Powdered steel is very durable and long lasting. This means your smoker will be able to withstand long-term use.
- Replaceable parts. This Masterbuilt smoker has replaceable parts, so if something breaks down, you can replace the individual component instead of buying a whole new unit.
- Timer controlled temperature. The heat in the smoker automatically shuts off when the timer reaches zero. Also, it will not begin to warm up until the timer is set. This means you have to set a certain amount of time for the unit even to preheat.
- No cold smoking. This Masterbuilt does not produce any smoke under 185 degrees Fahrenheit which means cold smoking is not an option. You have to purchase a separate attachment if you want lower heat smoke.
- Mobility. This model does not include any wheels or handles, which makes it tough to move. You will need to choose its location with that in mind.
- Built-in meat probe thermometer. This Masterbuilt has a built-in meat probe thermometer, which is very convenient for monitoring your food.
- Flavor. This digital electric smoker reportedly has some of the best smoky flavors that you can get without using a traditional charcoal smoker.
- Easy to use. This particular model is very simple, so even beginning smokers can use it with ease. Most aspects of it are self-explanatory.
- Front window. There is a window in the front panel of the smoker so you can watch your food while it is cooking. This is another way you can monitor your meats, along with the built in meat-probe thermometer, without opening the smoker’s door.
- Price. This is one of the most expensive smokers on this list be prepared to spend a good amount of money on it.
- Remote. There are several reports of the remote for this unit working poorly. Customers say that the battery loses contact with the conductors easily, and the remote past to be modified for it to work.
- Supervision. This Masterbuilt smoker requires you to continuously add wood chips to it, so it’s not quite something where you can set it and forget it. You will need to monitor the cooking process.
- Vague directions. Even though this model is relatively easy to use, it is still recommended that you research smoking before you use it for the first time, as the directions included do not give you all the background information you need to know.
- Size. At 40 inches, this is one of the largest models on our list. This is convenient for times when you want to cook multiple meals at once or cook for multiple people at one time.
- Clean up. Most parts in the smoker are removable and fit in your dishwasher. People have praised Masterbuilt for how easy this smoker is to clean because of that.
- Smoke ring. A smoke ring is achievable using the 20075315 model, which, in many cases, cannot happen in electric smokers.
- Warranty. There is no extended warranty available, even by purchase. This could be concerning to some consumers who are very hard on their products.
- Internal light. This smoker does have a window, but there is no light inside the chamber. Once the smoke gets going, you won’t be able to see your food.
- Maximum temperature. The smoker only heats to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. While that is a bit higher than other models in this list, you may still find yourself having to finish certain foods in your oven.
Old Smokey Electric Smoker
- Temperature. At 300 degrees, this unit has the capability to cook poultry and fish thoroughly. You can achieve crispy skin on chicken and turkey in the smoker.
- Extreme simplicity. This is a very basic model with no unnecessary bells or whistles. Because it is so basic, it is incredibly simple to use.
- Longevity. Customers love how long this model lasts. It has the potential for several years of working perfectly.
- Quick smoke. This smoker is ideal for a quick smoked meal. It can smoke several different types of meat in only a few hours.
- Top Loader. With only two racks, gauging the internal temperature of your meat is somewhat difficult. Since you cannot open up the sides of this model at all, you may have to remove the top rack to check something on the bottom, which is not suitable for maintaining temperature.
- Potential Hazard. The outside of the smoker gets extremely hot, so you will need to be careful that children are not around this unit while it’s on, and no one makes skin contact with it while it’s hot. Severe burns are possible, so use caution.
- Internal design. Some screws are inside the main chamber which are used to hang the racks. When you do anything with the racks, or even clean the inside, many people have complained of getting scratched by the screws. The screws may also get in the way during cooking.
- Chip maintenance. The wood chips burn at the bottom of the unit underneath the two racks. The smoker does not have an automatic chip feeder, so when you manually add chips to the unit you will have to remove both racks to get to the chip chamber. This model is not ideal for a slow smoke because of that.
Smoke Hollow 30162E
- Assembly. From the time you get the Smoke Hollow Electric Smoker out of its box to the time when it’s ready to be used is only 15 to 20 minutes, making it one of the easiest models on this list to assemble.
- Novice appeal. The Smoke Hollow is very easy to use, making it ideal for someone who is just beginning to learn how to smoke.
- Flavor. Customers have reported that this unit delivers a great smoky flavor.
- Manual power. There is no digital temperature control on this smoker, so to change the amount of heat, you will have to read the temperature gauge and then manually adjust the power knob.
- No automatic wood feeder. To add chips while cooking, you will have to open the door to the smoker, which will cause some heat loss every time.
- Leaky Door. Customers have complained that this door leaks smoke. This will cause you to have a less smoky flavor overall, and may also result in longer cooking times if heat is being lost through the door.
- Small drip pan. Another complaint was the size of the Smoke Hollow drip pan. Several people have had to fashion their own larger drip pans to catch the grease that leaks out of this smoker.
Southern Country Smokers 2 in 1 Electric Water Smoker
- Side access door. While this smoker does not have an automatic chip feeder, it does have an access door on its side, so you can put wood chips into the internal chamber without losing very much heat.
- Steam and smoke. This smoker steams water while simultaneously smoking chips, which allows a deeper penetration of flavor into food.
- Wooden handles. The wooden handles are heat resistant, so this unit is relatively easy to move. The lid also has a wooden handle, which will make it simpler to manipulate during cooking.
- Flexibility. You are able, with this smoker, to convert your unit into a charcoal grill. However, a separate purchase is necessary to do so.
- Only two racks. This smoker will not hold a large amount of food. Also, food on the bottom rack can only be checked if you remove the top rack first, which can cause your top rack of food to you have inconsistent heat.
- Temperature. Consumers have reported problems with this model achieving a high enough temperature to cook things over a long period. It is not recommended to use this unit for long, full-day smokes.
- Material. There have also been several complaints of these smokers arriving damaged or dented right out of the package. The metal is very thin, which is potentially problematic.
- Duration. This smoker will only last about a year.
Masterbuilt 20076716 4-Rack
- Leg stand. This unit includes 10-inch leg stands which many people have found to be quite helpful. It also comes with heat-resistant gloves and a cover.
- Remote. The Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker with Leg Kit Cover and Gloves also comes with a temperature remote that gives you control from the inside of your house.
- Consistent Temperature. This smoker maintains its internal temp well, with minimal effort on your part.
- Appearance. This model is available in several different colors, so if you’re looking for a bright accent to your outdoor space, this could be for you.
- Damage. It seems a lot of these models are damaged in the shipping phase. This could indicate a less-resilient material, so be prepared for potentially having to deal with returns or exchanges.
- Instructions. The instructions included in the package are a bit lacking. New smokers will have to do their own research before attempting their first smoke.
- Useless Window. This smoker does have a window, but it will become opaque after the smoke fills up the unit, so it’s somewhat of a pointless addition.
Jim Beam BTDS76JB Bradley Smoker
- Automatic chip feeder. This unit gives itself some chips that it needs to fuel the Heat and smoke. You will not have to worry about opening the door to maintain the chips.
- Safety. This smoker does not get hot on the outside, so you won’t need to worry about extra caution when touching its surface.
- Simple initial set-up. The assembly for this model is relatively easy and will not consume much time or energy.
- To work or not to work? It is somewhat of a toss-up with whether or not you will receive a working unit. Many of these smokers seem to arrive damaged, or break after a couple of uses. Many customers have complained about having to exchange their smokers.
- Long preheating time. This smoker takes a long time initially to reach your desired temperature. Allow a couple of hours for it to warm up before you put food in to cook.
- Uneven cooking. The lower racks in the Jim Beam Bradley Smoker cook faster than upper racks so that some monitoring will be required. You may even have to rotate food on the racks so that they get an equal amount of heat.
However, smoking food is hard work that takes time and a lot of effort. You must continually monitor your smoker to make sure that its internal temperature stays consistent throughout the cooking process. Smoked meat tastes incredible, but there’s got to be an easier way to get that smoky flavor, right?
Yes, there is a way! Presenting: the Electric Smoker. Contrary to conventional smokers, an electric smoker plugs into a power source and controls its temperature by responding to the settings that you choose. This means that now when you want that tasty smoked brisket, instead of spending hours laboring over maintaining a specific temperature, you can simply set your electric smoker to your desired setting and walk away. Imagine having free time to do other things while your meat is smoking! Imagine not having to carve out fifteen hours of your day to get that smoky dinner. This is the future of smoking.
Now that you have a list of the good and bad of the best-selling smokers, it’s time to make a decision on what to get! Good luck in your smoking endeavors, and may your food always be flavorful.