Even though my website is dedicated primarily to helping you find the best electric smoker, I do have a lot of experience with gas smokers (hey, we all started with one) and have extensively tested out most of the propane smokers available in the market.
So when one reader wrote in saying he was having a hard time finding the best propane smoker under 200 dollars, I decided to create this post in order to help other people as well. All 3 propane smokers listed below have been used by me personally and come recommended from other meat smoking experts as well.
Despite the price point being low at $200, I’ve made sure none of these gas smokers compromise on quality. If you’re short of time and don’t have the patience of reading all three detailed reviews, simply go with my #1 choice for the best propane smoker under 200 dollars in 2014.
1. Masterbuilt 2-Door 20051311 GS30D Propane Smoker
Masterbuilt has rigorous quality standards, and that is the reason why most products manufactured by the brand are good. Personally, I have not once had a bad experience with Masterbuilt smokers, even though I own a number of smokers from the brand. All of the Masterbuilt smokers I have lasted for several years, and the GS30D seems very durable too and that’s why it’s my most recommended choice when it comes to choosing the top propane smokers under $200.
It has an attractive exterior and its can endure abuse pretty well. In terms of external appearance, this product deserves a lot of attention. Moreover, as far as versatility and usability of its different features go, it is quite likeable in that aspect too.
As far as my experience with different 2-door meat smokers go, I have found one issue quite common about almost every product, and that is smoke leaking through some part. However, with this Masterbuilt propane smoker, that problem does not exist. Somehow, the company has managed to make a 2-door smoker that does not leak smoke, and that is an admirable win. It is perhaps because its doors get locked very tightly. Smoke leaking can cause trouble when it comes to controlling temperature rightly, and therefore, this product is superior to most other similar products in this aspect. This product is proof that quality does not always have to demand sky-high price.
The main features of the product are:
- This propane smoker features a water pan as well as a tray for wood chips having porcelain coating
- Almost 717 square inches of area is present, and the racks play an important part in enhancing space appeal
- The temperature gauge is very accurate, and the doors of the smoker shut tightly
- As far as construction quality goes, it is very reliable as well as durable
I have not regretted choosing this smoker after reading many reviews and going through ratings. It has enough space to smoke 16 chickens if you are willing to use all the 4 racks, so this Masterbuilt steals the show in the $150 – $200 smoker market.
To be very honest, most cheap smokers tend to have flimsy finish and unreliable cooking capability. However, this gas smoker has not compromised in quality, even though it does not cost a lot. In fact, its meat cooking capacity is comparable to many high end products. All things considered, there is nothing wrong if I say that this is most probably the finest food smoking product you can buy under $200.
2. Camp Chef Propane Smoke Vault Smoker
Camp Chef has the reputation of making quality appliances for the house, and the Smoke Vault is definitely a sign of quality. This model has a lot to offer for smoked food lovers. Since the heat control range is wide, you can make bacon, jerky, roast chicken or anything else in an economical and calm way. Whether you want food for backyard party, or just want a family meal, this 20,000 BTU smoker will take care of you. Caterers as well as outfitters are going to like its bread and pie backing ability. With water pan made of stainless steel, propane burner as well as cast iron chip box, this product is great.
It can be assembled easily within 30 minutes. Because most things come pre-assembled, only smoke box, legs, and dressing plate need to be dealt with nicely. Additionally, handles and burner need to be assembled, but that is not too big of a deal.
The thermometer has superb accuracy, and has an appearance of combination lock. The unit overall looks like those safes seen in old movies. It can be said that this particular smoker has a very standard look that is going to appeal to most customers.
The width of the smoker allows it to fit full rack pork ribs, and fitting large brisket without cutting is not a problem. A rack can accommodate two briskets quite easily. So as far as its ability to accommodate food goes, it is almost unmatched in its category.
The racks have the ability to slide out to ensure easy turning. Cleaning is easy with BBQ brass brush or damped greenie sponge due to the nickel plating. The Comp Chef Smoke Vault has 4 racks that are removable as well as adjustable. There is a 5th rack position which you can use by purchasing an additional rack. Each of the racks can accommodate large meat pieces or food trays, but can still be cleaned by self-cleaning oven easily.
The burner has adjustable temperature from 100 – 500 degree Fahrenheit. You can bake bread, smoke meat, make pie, pizza or roll, and do a variety of other things that can be done by grill or oven.
The wood pan measures 10 by 11, and can hold sufficient chunks to endure a complete smoking session without the need for many additions. The pan allows slow smoldering, which is better than flame or fire. Moreover, the pan can hold a good amount of charcoal to carry out low temperature cooking when dealing with lox, cheese or bacon.
The water pan has stainless steel build and can hold adequate water for almost 8 hours. The great thing about this product is that you do not need to do any modification to operate it properly. It has everything you need, including optimum temperature control, easy dial, auto sparkle and much more.
3. Weston Prago Outdoor Vertical Propane Smoker
I have not used the Prago Smoker too many times, but the few times I have used it, I have achieved very good results and as one of the best propane smokers under 200 dollars, this one comes highly recommended. It seems that the smoker is able to impart flavor to meats with great expertise, as a result of which most dishes made by it turn out great in smell. This one time when I dealt with back ribs for dinner party, my friends as well as family members appreciated my cooking ability a lot.
The assembly process is not very tough in my opinion, because I was able to do the complete assembly myself without any additional help. Granted it took about one hour for me to do so, but the point is that it can be done, and that is a very good thing. The instructions associated with assembly could have been clearer though.
One of the finest aspects of this Weston Vertical Smoker is its use of rotary igniter. Starting up is very easy, and the adjustable type of fuel delivery system makes the process seamless. The smoke box of the model as well as the wood chip pan has cast iron construction. The temperature gauge that has been added has the ability to provide accurate internal temperature reading. The body of the smoker is totally welded using heavy-duty type gauge. By external looks, it exhibits an appearance resembling black steel cabinets.
The main features of the product are:
- The propane delivery system is highly adjustable
- In order to assure quick start, the model features rotary igniter
- The temperature gauge has the ability to display internal temperature with fantastic accuracy
- There are two hangers for sausage
- The cabinet for cooking features black coating, and is fully welded
So if you’re looking for the best propane smoker under 200 dollars, simply go with any of the 3 meat smokers listed above and you’ll truly be satisfied.