Find Out the Best Electric Smoker: Personal Review and Detailed Guide!
I’ve been a lover of smoked meat for as long as I can remember and used to spend hours with my dad in front of our old gas smoker. The biggest reason why I switched over to an electric meat smoker is because of the convenience factor (yeah, the purists can hate me for this) but I’ve come to the realization that both traditional and electric smokers produce the same unforgettable quality flavor and texture.
If you’re one of the purists who find great pleasure in the bond between man, wood, and fire, then I salute you but for me, the lure of finding the best electric smoker has grown over the years.
It really amazes me that such a cool piece of cooking technology is now available so easily and fits virtually every budget. You have the expensive smokehouses that cost a fortune but you also have some great electric smokers that you can get for under 300 dollars (and some for even less than 200 dollars). To make your search easier, I thought of creating this ultimate resource of helping people out through detailed reviews and objective analysis of all the top electric smokers in the market.
Review of the Top 5 Electric Smokers
Although all the smokers included below have been tested by me personally, I think it’s only fair that I give you a detailed review about each one of them. So, pull up your barbecue chair and let’s dig into a detailed review to narrow down on the best electric smoker on the market.
1. Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Electric Smokehouse Smoker
If there was one smoker that I had to recommend to people as if my life depended on it, then it would have to be the Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Electric Smokehouse Smoker. It is hands down the best electric smoker in the market right now and over the past 1 year; I’ve used it extensively without any issues.
This digital, electric smoker has made my life so much easier and delivers smokehouse flavor as easy as grilling. It comes in 4 options namely the:
- Analog/No Window
- Digital/No Window
- Front Controller/Window
- Top Controller/Window
I own the Front controller/window version and after having researched and tried all the 4 variants, you can be assured that the 3rd variant is the most highly recommended. It comes equipped with a blue LED display which makes it very easy to read and set in sunlight and has over 700 square inches of cooking space spread over 4 chrome cooking racks.
I personally loved the drip reflector and front access drip pan and you’ll also really appreciate this feature because it makes post cleaning a breeze. The RF remote enables you to control the smokehouse temperature easily and there’s also a built in meat probe for measuring the temperature of the food while it cooks.
The unit is well insulated and comes up to temp well within a reasonable time. Thanks to the built in thermometer, you don’t need to worry about constantly keeping the smoker at the right temperature and instead you can concentrate on keeping the woodtray filled. Like I said earlier, you also shouldn’t worry about the capacity because I’ve personally stuffed up my smoker with over 30 lbs of chicken, big roast, ribs and shoulders.
However, the best part about the Masterbuilt 20070910 Smoker is that it runs very economically. You don’t need to go through a large amount of wood and charcoal and you can get a really affordable smoke especially when smoking small batches.
Another great pro is the Masterbuilt customer support. I had read numerous positive reviews online before I purchased my smoker but believe me, their customer support really is exceptional. One of my close pals had a small defective part and it was replaced within 8 hours – no questions asked!
Also from my experience and interactions with other smoking aficionados, I’ve realized that the one part that’s most likely to fail is heating element but it’s easily replaceable and doesn’t cost much to replace either.
All in all, it’s the perfect answer to your smoking woes and at the highly discounted price that Amazon is offering this at, it really is a no brainer!
2. Bradley 4 Rack Digital Smoker
2nd up on my list of the best electric smokers is the Bradley 4 Rack Digital Smoker – an ideal smoker for the truly lazy who want it all easy while roasting, smoking and barbecuing without getting their hands dirty.
I remember the Bradley of old when my dad was a pro at it. This one combines the aura of the old with the digital benefits of the new and you can manipulate temperature, time, and smoke down to the smallest degree. All you need to do is burn Bradley flavor bisquettes for 20 minutes or so and then they are automatically advanced in the burner. This helps maintain a consistent temperature in the smoker and eliminates the presence of gases and acids that would otherwise distort the smoky flavor of the meat.
The Bradley 4 Rack Digital Smoker allows you to smoke either cold or hot. I normally prefer this while hot smoking and just don’t have the patience for cold smoking as it takes a much longer time but to each his own, I suppose.
There’s absolutely no need to worry about the space thanks to the 4 adjustable racks and the 2288 cubic inch volume of space available. It weighs pretty less at 42 pounds which means that you can easily carry this to the patio without breaking a sweat. It’s very quiet and easy to put together and I liked the fact that every piece of sheet metal is sanded on the edges which protects you from the cuts from sharp edges.
Please remember that you do need extra wood pellets so do order some along with the smoker. Personally I put at least 4 pellets in the stacker and that always seems to work in getting the right amount of smoke.
All said and done, it’s an excellent smoker that is easy to setup, control and cook with. Some people might find it a little expensive at its list price of $549 but remember, it saves you so much time and energy. Plus Amazon runs some great deals on it and the last time I checked, it was available at a huge 30% discount!
Check out my detailed Bradley Digital Smoker review.
3. Masterbuilt Model 20070512 40-Inch Front Controller Smoker
If my #1 choice of smoker didn’t impress you enough, then perhaps the Masterbuilt Model 20070512 40-Inch will help you end your quest for the best electric smoker. I’ve used the Front Controller window variant but this also comes in a Top Controller/Window variant.
It essentially has the same benefits as the 30 inch explained above but obviously has more cooking space (roughly 900 square inches). This smokehouse is extremely easy to operate and basically all you have to do is load it up with beef, pork or ribs (and even the occasional deer sausage), set the temperature and that’s it. The top digital unit automatically alternates between the time left on the smoker and the current temperature of the smoker and if you want to see the meat probe temperature, all you need to do is press the temperature button once more. Like I said, extremely simple to operate!
The unit is well built with strong construction and if you order it via Amazon like I did, it’ll come shipped via FedEx so you needn’t worry about any sort of damage because they package it really well. The assembly will take you hardly 15-20 minutes and if you’re worried about cleaning, then you can rest without fear. The racks, water pan and grease pan are all easy to remove and even easier to clean. The nice feature of the bottom grease pan is it is tilted to the back grease trap and comes out for easy cleaning.
All in all, I am extremely pleased with this electric smokehouse and it just makes smoking and roasting a real breeze.
4. Char-Broil The Big Easy Electric TRU Infrared Smoker and Roaster
Well, it’s not technically a “true” electric smoker but nonetheless, I just couldn’t’t keep out the Char Boil Infrared Smoker and Roaster from this list because it fits all the criteria in terms of ease of use, convenience and an amazing smoking experience.
This smokehouse essentially uses a patented TRU infrared cooking system that evenly spreads heat all across the cooking surface. I’ve used this to smoke some amazing turkey and chicken and it’s basically a plug and use operation. All one needs to do is program the internal temperature system using the auto-shut off feature and the electric fryer and cooker will turn off when the digital probe thermometer detects that the desired temperature has been reached.
It uses natural, radiant heat to cook food (unlike the traditional gas grills which use convective heat) without drying it and locks in all those natural juices and flavors. The 16 lb cooking basket comes with adjustable half racks and a warming basket and you can use the easy-loading front access smoker box with wood chips or pellets to create smokehouse flavors with absolutely no problem.
It also comes equipped with a drip pan to ensure that the dripping do not overflow and lead to a mess and although the company claims that it comes with a self cleaning feature, I’ve found that you do need to manually clean up just a little bit afterwards.
Personally, I would advise you to use wood pellets rather than chips because I’ve found from personal experience that they last twice as long and you need to wait for at least 15 minutes after putting in the wood chips.
All in all, it’s an excellent smoker so for all those who love pork butts and turkey breasts, you’re going to love the Char Boil Infrared Smoker and Roaster.
5. Smoke Hollow 30162E Electric Smoker
One of the best box type electric smokers I’ve ever used is the Smoke Hollow 30162E (read my detailed review) that cooks moist, tender meat every single time I use it. I normally use it at my in-laws place in Indiana and even in winters when the outside temperature is in the 20’s, this smokehouse gets to temperature easily and makes it a breeze to cook ribs, shoulders and briskets.
The assembly is very easy and the space is also not a problem thanks to the smoker’s two cooking grinds that leave plenty of elbow space between pieces. I’ve noticed that it takes about 45 minutes to smoke whole turkeys (per pound) and there’s plenty of space left for spare ribs, baby backs and even prime ribs.
There are 3 temperature adjustment levels along with a detachable controller. I like the porcelain-coated steel water pan and found that it’s pretty corrosion resistant while the door has a magnetic latching system to prevent any sort of leaks.
One thing you need to remember is that this unit works on electricity outdoors so you should have a GFCI protected circuit powering the device with a heavy duty extension cord. One of the weak spots of electric smokers is the heating element which burns down but the good part about this model is that you can easily replace the controller and the element.
All said and done, this is a really good smoker and thoroughly deserves it place in best electric smoker list.
Ultimate Electric Smoker Comparison Guide and Key
The interactive chart of smokers below and the analysis that follows will help you decide what the best electric smoker is for you.
Included in the matrix are 10 rows:
- Pictures of Smokers
- Smoker brand and name/model – (click to view more details or to purchase)
- Cooking Capacity (in cubic feet/pounds/square inches)
- Total number of racks
- Weight – smoker weight in pounds
- Length of the smoker in inches
- Height of the smoker in inches
- Width of the smoker in inches
- Price – These are approximate prices on Amazon.com. These change frequently based on availability, special promotions, and more. But generally speaking: $ = under $50, $$ = $50 to $100, $$$ = $100 to $200, $$$$ = $200+
- Rating – The average user rating on Amazon.com. This can be very helpful in deciding if people are satisfied with their purchase.
*Click on any of the columns to sort the data to help make your decision easier
|Parameters||Masterbuilt 30-Inch Electric Smoker||Bradley 4 Rack Digital Smoker||Char-Broil "The Big Easy" Infrared Smoker||Smoke Hollow Electric Smoker|
|Price||Check Discounted Price||Check Discounted Price||Check Discounted Price||Check Discounted Price|
|Cooking Capacity||730 square inches||2288 cubic inches||16 pound turkey capacity||504 square inches|
|Total No. of Racks||4||4||2||3|
|Material||Steel||Polished Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Painted Steel Wood Chip|
|Weight||51 pounds||44 pounds||51 pounds||52 pounds|
|Length||20 inches||14 inches||27.16 inches||17 inches|
|Height||33.5 inches||31 inches||26.75 inches||31 inches|
|Width||17 inches||14 inches||20.47 inches||15 inches|
|Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review|
The smokers included on this chart actually only begin to scratch the surface. So many manufacturers and models exist that there is no way that we could have listed everything. However, many exceptional smokers are included at every price range and from a wide variety of quality makers.
Although I’ve tried my best to include only “pure” electric smokers, you’ll notice that I snuck in a few infrared roasters as well only because I thought they were worth checking out.
Factors to consider when buying an Electric Smoker
The true strength of a good smoker is in its automation which gives you the ability to simply select a temperature, set the timer, turn it on, walk away and then come back to find delicious, smoky food.
These days it’s no longer a luxury to own one of these appliances, rather it’s a necessity! However, before you decide to go in for a new smoker, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Remember, I’ve already taken these factors into account while selecting the top 5 electric smokers above but I thought it would still be useful if I mention them here.
5 reasons why you should buy an electric smoker
Even though electric smokers are more expensive than traditional smokers, it’s worth remembering that there are certain additional benefits in buying one for your home. Here I list down my 5 reasons as to why you should buy an electric smokehouse.
- It gives you great tasting food with a lot of convenience
- It doesn’t take up too much of your time and attention
- Over a period of time, electric smokers tend to be more value for money as compared to traditional or regular grills
- There’s a lot of variety to choose from depending on your cooking needs
- You can cook and experiment with a lot of food when you have your own electric smoker
Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Recipes
Since Masterbuilt is the #1 electric smoker that I recommend to everyone, I thought it would be a great idea to share one of my favorite Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Recipes – the Applewood Smoked Boston Butt!
The secret to this recipe is mastering the 3 main things – preparing the rub, injection and the spritz
Ingredients for the Rub:
- 3/4 cup paprika
- 1/4 cup black pepper
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust for heat – 1 teaspoon=mild, 2 = medium, 3 = spicey)
First you need to mix all the above ingredients while remembering to add brown sugar last. After that you need to let it stand for a minimum of 4 hours and then remix again – this is to the allow brown sugar to blend properly.
Ingredients for Injection:
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili pepper
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Add all the wet ingredients first and the dry ingredients last and mix while stirring continuously. Make sure all the dry ingredients have dissolved.
Ingredients for Spritz:
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon prepared rub
Mix the 3 above ingredients and store it in a spray bottle because you will be using this to spritz the meat while smoking.
The recipe itself is quite simple to make if you follow the below procedure correctly:
- The first step is injecting the Boston butt (6-8.5 lbs) with the already prepared injection. The trick to do it properly is to inject from the fat side down every 1 inch or so and post that, cover and refrigerate until it reached a temperature of 40 degree because the cold meat will lead to a better smoke infusion.
- Once your pork as reached that temperature, you need to coat it generously with the rub and allow the meat to sit for a while. Once you see the rub turning dark, it’s a sign that the blending has been done.
- Of course you need wood chips! Soak them in water for at least 30 minutes and as you would have guessed from the name of the recipe, use apple wood.
- Try and used a remote smoker thermometer (you can find plenty of good, cheap ones at Amazon). It’ll make your life simpler.
- I always preheat my smoker to a range of around 280-330 degrees as this gives the optimum amount of smoke. After that, all you need to do is place the wood chips inside and wait for approximately 10 minutes. Then place the pork on the center rack and remove the top rack if you have a big piece of meat.
- Use the timer well and after every 90 minutes, add some more wood chips and spray the roast with the spritz that we prepared earlier. Once you see that your meat has reached 160 degrees, pull the roast inside in order to preserve the moisture.
- Now melt some butter in the microwave and sprinkle the prepared rub on a sheet of aluminum foil. After that, add a light coating of brown sugar and finally, some more melted butter on top of that. Absolutely yummy!
- Now take out your meat from the smoker and add the pork on top of the foil and repeat the same steps as above with the butter and brown sugar. Then cover the meat with another layer of foil on top and make sure it is well sealed.
- Place the pork back into your Masterbuilt smoker and cook until you see that the inside temperature is close to 195 degrees. Once it reaches that temperature, pull out the meat and leave for 30 minutes.
If you’ve followed the above instructions carefully, then you’ll be treated to some of the best pulled pork that you’ve ever tasted in your life! Additionally, you can use some barbecue sauces as well.
Want to see some more Electric Smokers on this List?
Now that you have seen the options and reviewed my top picks for the best electric smoker on the market, it’s up to you to finalize on the one that meets your needs, is in your budget and price range and one that will fully satisfy your smoking and roasting needs.
Also, as you know, there are new models coming out every year (and even every month) by both new and old manufacturers so I’ll continuously be updating the above comparison chart to include new smokers. If you feel I’ve missed a great smokehouse that should have been on this list, please do let me know via the comments below!