BEST SMOKERS | AUGUST 2018

Smokers are necessary for home cooks who want meats prepared like the professionals. With so many smokers available on the market today, it can be overwhelming to find the unit that’s perfect for your situation. To help you make an informed decision, our team conducted research to find the best smokers across four common categories: electric smokers, wood smokers, propane smokers, and charcoal grills. We’ve also narrowed down our best value and best overall options for you to consider before finalizing your purchase. Read more about our methodology.

Best Overall

94

The Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker ranks high for its cooking performance, quality, and value. With two large racks, you can cook plenty of food for a large gathering. The water pan ensures that the smoked meat stays moist and tender while it’s cooking.

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Best Value

93

The Oster CKSTROSMK18 smoker is perfect for a small outdoor smoker at an affordable price. The cooking pan can be removed and used to roast or bake food in the oven. This unit has a temperature control knob with a wide range of heat settings depending on how you want your food prepared.

Read full review.

Best by Category

Best Electric Smoker

88

The Masterbuilt 20078715 is an electric smoker with an LED control panel and remote. This system allows you to preset temperature controls, cook time, and to monitor the internal meat temperature from the LED display or the remote.

Read full review.

Best Wood Smoker

91

If you want a wood smoker with versatile cooking options, the Traeger Grills Texas Elite model is one of the best options on the market. Since it uses wood pellets instead of gas or charcoal, food has a natural, wood-fired flavor.

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Best Propane Smoker

89

The Smoke Hollow 28202G is a top performing propane smoker. It features adjustable racks and sausage hooks, making it easier to smoke meat. The unit also has two doors allowing the temperature on the upper and lower levels to be regulated for different foods.

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Best Smoker and Charcoal Grill

86

If you want a smoker that doubles as a charcoal grill, the Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw is our top recommendation. The large cooking area allows you to fit a lot of food and big pieces of meat on the smoker. You’ll also have complete control over the temperature settings.

Read full review.

Smokers BUYING GUIDE

  • KEY CONSIDERATIONS

    Size of cooking surface

    One of the first things to determine is how much food you’re planning to cook. Some models are specifically designed for small family meals. But if you typically host large gatherings or want to cook a lot of meat, you’ll need to find a smoker with a wide surface area. You should also look for smokers with multiple racks and hooks.

    Temperature control settings

    How do you plan to cook your food? If you prefer the “low and slow” smoking option, you’ll want to find a smoker that allows you to set the heat to low for extended periods of time. For those who prefer food cooked fast at a high temperature, make sure the smoker has that option.

    Flavoring options

    For food with a wood-fire flavor, look for smokers that use wood pellets.

    Safety features

    Whenever you’re cooking, safety is always a top concern. Look for smokers with safety elements such as heat resistant handles. Also, consider if the unit is safe for indoor or outdoor usage. For the most part, you won’t be using your smoker inside your home. However, some models have removable pans that are safe for the oven.

  • PRICE BREAKDOWN

    For less than $85 you can find an outdoor smoker that’s perfect for small meals. For a larger cooking surface, you’ll find electric smokers and charcoal grill smokers for roughly $210. Propane smokers with two doors and hooks for hanging meats are found in the $300 range. $400 will get you a smoker with two large racks, an external thermometer, and safety features. The best wood smokers on the market range up to $900. These units allow you to enhance the flavors of your food.

FULL product reviews

We research hundreds of products in order to bring you a final, unbiased list of the very best. We also use a proprietary algorithm to score each product in terms of quality, value, and brand reputation. These subscores are then weighted to calculate our overall scores. Read more about how we calculate our scores.

1K products
considered
116K RATINGS
ANALYZED
27 research
hours

Best Overall

TOP PICK

Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

For most cooks, the Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker delivers the best performance for the price, making it our best overall smoker. The two large cooking racks provide plenty of space to smoke large quantities of food. It has a built-in thermometer so you can monitor the temperature settings. This unit also has safety features such as a heat-resistant handle to reduce the chances of an injury while you’re cooking.

  • 94overall
  • 98quality
  • 60value
  • 91brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Two cooking racks. The Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker has two 22-inch racks. Customers say this allows them plenty of space to smoke food for large gatherings.
  • Water pan included. Unlike other smokers, this Weber unit has a porcelain water pan. Users attest that this feature keeps the meat tender and moist while it’s smoking.
  • Built-in thermometer. The external thermometer allows you to monitor the temperature settings without having to open the lid.
  • Heat-resistant handle. You won’t have to worry about burning yourself when removing the lid to access your smoked food. The handle is resistant to heat, so it’s safe to touch.

Other Considerations

  • Heavy smoker. This unit weights more than 70 pounds. Some customers say they needed assistance moving it.

Best Value

TOP PICK

Oster CKSTROSMK18

Using wood chips, the Oster CKSTROSMK18 smoker adds unique flavor to your meals. It has versatile temperature settings ranging from 150 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This outdoor smoker may be used inside the home by removing the internal pan to bake and roast meals in the oven.

  • 93overall
  • 93quality
  • 97value
  • 91brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Works outdoors and indoors. The Oster CKSTROSMK18 is an outdoor smoker that has a removable cooking pan that fits inside an oven. It’s also a roaster suitable for use in the oven.
  • Versatile temperature settings. The wide temperature range allows customers to smoke, roast, and bake their meals. The temperature can easily be adjusted from between 150 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Wood chips for enhanced flavoring. This smoker uses wood chips. Customers report that they love using different scented wood chips, such as mesquite, apple, or hickory to change the flavor of whatever they are smoking.

Other Considerations

  • Not ideal for large meals. While this smoker can fit a 20-pound turkey, it is not large enough to accommodate larger cuts of meat.

BEST BY CATEGORY

Best Electric Smoker

why buy?

Electric smokers are designed for smoking foods at lower temperatures for extended periods of time. These units typically have features such as a thermostat temperature control to allow the heat to be set to a specific temperature. The cooking period can also be set for a specified period of time. The best electric smokers have LED display panels and remote control settings as well.

Top Pick

Masterbuilt 20078715

The versatile temperature range on the Masterbuilt 20078715 allows you to adjust the temperature between 100 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. It comes with an LED display panel and remote for complete control over the temperature, time, and internal meat temperature. Another element that makes this electric smoker appealing is the fast assembly time out of the box.

  • 88overall
  • 92quality
  • 60value
  • 85brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Wide temperature range. Customers have the option to smoke their food at varying temperatures. The Masterbuilt 20078715 ranges from 100 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • LED display panel. Temperature settings and cook time can be controlled through the digital interface and remote. Users say that it’s easy to read the LED display, even when you’re outside and in direct sunlight.
  • Monitor internal meat temperature. The Masterbuilt 200078715 allows you to check the temperature of food while it’s cooking. You can tell if meat is done without opening the unit and disrupting the smoking process.
  • Easy to assemble. Users report that this unit is nearly ready to go out of the box; only a few minor components have to be attached to get started, but that doesn’t take long.

Other Considerations

  • Durability issues. Some customers say they had to get various parts replaced after prolonged usage for a couple of years.

Best Wood Smoker

why buy?

Wood smokers are made for enhancing the flavor of smoked food, specifically for meats. Charcoal and propane smokers can add an unnatural aroma to foods. However, wood smokers use pellets, to give food a wood-fire taste. Flavored wood chips can be used to add unique flavors.

Top Pick

Traeger Grills Texas Elite

The Traeger Grills Texas Elite smoker has multiple cooking options, including grilling, baking, roasting, and braising, in addition to traditional smoking. It’s easy to move this unit around the deck or patio since it has wheels that lock into place when you’re ready to start cooking. The wood pellets add a unique flavor to food that you won’t get from gas or charcoal smokers.

  • 91overall
  • 96quality
  • 50value
  • 90brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Multipurpose cooking options. The Traeger Grills Texas Elite provides customers several options for food prep. Users say this product is great for grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, and braising.
  • Versatile cooking speed and temperatures. Customers say that they can cook meats at low temperatures for an extended period of time. They also have the ability to crank up the heat to cook food quickly.
  • Wood-fire flavor. Food won’t have any residual taste of gas or charcoal. Wood pellets give the food a unique aroma and natural taste.
  • Wheels make it easy to move. Customers report that the wheels are durable and glide smoothly, making it easy to move. Once the smoker is set, the wheels lock into place so it won’t move when you’re cooking.

Other Considerations

  • Temperature not always exact. Some customers say that the actual temperature of the unit sometimes fluctuated from the temperature the smoker was set at.

Best Propane Smoker

why buy?

Propane smokers are typically larger than other units. These products are ideal for people who smoke large quantities of food at the same time. Some of the best propane smokers have features such as hooks to hang meats while they are smoking. It’s an alternative method to charcoal, wood, or electricity.

Top Pick

Smoke Hollow 28202G

The Smoke Hollow 28202G propane smoker hits the mark for attention to detail. The racks in this unit can be removed and adjusted depending on the size of the foods being cooked. It also comes with hooks for hanging meat and has two front loading doors. The quick assembly time means you’ll be smoking food shortly after the unit arrives.

  • 89overall
  • 93quality
  • 64value
  • 83brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Adjustable racks for maximum space. The Smoke Hollow 38202G has removable racks. Customers say this allows them to fit larger pieces of food into the smoker.
  • Comes with sausage hooks. Users report the hooks at the top of the unit are great for smoking meats, such as sausage, turkey legs, chickens, and other foods that are easy to hang.
  • Easy to assemble. Customers say that this unit comes with simple instructions. Assembly time takes one person less than one hour to build.
  • Two doors for smoking. The Smoke Hollow 28202G has an upper and lower door. This allows users to tend to some of the food without disrupting the smoking process of another level.

Other Considerations

  • Tough to smoke at low heat. Some customers report that smoking meat below 200 degrees requires a lot of attention to make sure the unit doesn’t get too hot.

Best Smoker and Charcoal Grill

why buy?

For versatile cooking, a smoker and charcoal grill combo is a great option. These units typically offer a wide range of temperature settings based on what kind of food is being cooked. The best smoker and charcoal grills have a large cooking surface that’s great for preparing food for large gatherings. 

Top Pick

Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw

The Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw’s cooking area totals 1,063 square inches. This cast iron smoker comes with adjustable heat settings so you have total control when you’re cooking. Unlike other smokers and charcoal grills on the market, the Char-Griller Outlaw is resistant to rust. Features such as the removable ash pan make it easy to clean.

  • 86overall
  • 90quality
  • 55value
  • 82brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Large cooking area. Users say a wide range of different foods fits on this surface at the same time. The wide surface area allows large pieces of meat to be smoked as well.
  • Convenient temperature control. The Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw comes with a heat gauge and fire grate that’s completely adjustable. Customers like the option to cook different foods at varying temperatures.
  • Quick clean up. Smokers have a reputation for making a mess, but this model is easy to clean. The surface wipes clean and it has a removable ash pan to catch fallen debris.
  • Resistant to rust. The Char-Griller Outlaw is made from cast iron and painted with a powder coat that’s textured. Users say this finish makes it resistant to rust even when exposed to outdoor elements.

Other Considerations

  • Leaks grease. This smoker may leak grease that could cause a stain on whatever surface you’re using it on, such as a deck, porch, or patio.