Electric smokers are a perfect choice if you want a set-it-and-forget-it smoker. This ease of use also makes them an excellent option for beginners. Much like gas smokers, electric models use wood chips to get that smoky flavor, and since there is no flame, just a heating element, you won't have to check your fuel before starting. They also don't require constant monitoring like charcoal, pellet, and offset smokers and are great if you're moving on from using your kettle grill as a smoker.
There are many electric smokers to choose from, and top-rated ones have excellent features and are easy to maintain. When looking for an electric smoker, it’s important to find one with easy-to-use controls, a durable design, ample capacity, and various temperature options.
Masterbuilt MB20074719 Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker
What We Love: Stainless steel and chrome-plated construction, tight-sealing door, digital control center, Bluetooth wireless monitoring app, side pull-out wood chip tray
What We Don't Love: Large footprint
If you are ready to up your smoker game, the Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker is a top-of-the-line appliance built to last. This professional smoker is stainless steel with a sleek chrome finish, has a generous 970-square-inch capacity, and includes a tight-sealing glass door to witness all the smoky goodness as the meat cooks.
A state-of-the-art digital control center makes it easy to dial in the exact temperature and smoke density you want. But its star feature is its Bluetooth compatibility. You can check what is happening in the electric smoker at a moment's notice from your smartphone.
This comes with four interior racks and a side loader for wood chips. If your food takes longer than expected, there's an interior light for low-light conditions. This smoker does require a good amount of space (19.7 x 25.7 x 41.7 inches to be exact), but it comes with a rear handle and wheels should you need to move it.
Price at time of publish: $400
Dimensions (DxWxH): 19.7 x 25.2 x 41.7 inches | Capacity: 971 square inches | Wattage: 800 W
Masterbuilt 30-Inch Electric Smoker
What We Love: Easy-to-use digital display, side wood chip loading system, integrated thermostat temperature control
What We Don't Love: Limited accessories
Masterbuilt is known for producing high-quality barbecue equipment, tools, and accessories. Its 30-inch electric digital smoker is no exception in quality and performance. This economical smoker features four chrome-coated interior racks with a full capacity of 530 square inches, which roughly equates to two whole turkeys, six whole chickens, four racks of ribs, or four pork shoulders.
This 50-pound smoker has a top-mount digital panel that displays all the information needed to adjust the thermostat-temperature control and cooking time without the risk of accidental burns. A loader on the side allows you to add wood chips without opening the smoker, ensuring minimal heat and smoke loss. You’ll need to pay extra for accessories, like rear wheels and an extension kit to raise the legs. Clean-up is simple with removable racks and a drip pan.
Price at time of publish: $238
Dimensions (DxWxH): 19.9 x 20.5 x 33.3 inches | Capacity: 530 square inches | Wattage: 1500 W
Dyna-Glo Vertical Analog Electric Smoker
What We Love: Built-in meat probe, side handles for mobility, side access wood chip holder
What We Don't Love: Poor drip can design
The Dyna-Glo Analog Electric Smoker offers a convenient smoking experience with several features to simplify the cooking process. This no-frills analog smoker features a 505-square-inch capacity and a temperature gauge with a smoke zone that makes it easy to learn the best heat range for infusing smoke flavors. Also, a built-in meat probe takes the guesswork out of deciding when your food is done. One thing to be aware of, the drip can is on the small side and may not catch all the excess grease.
Dyna-Glo designed the 1,500-watt smoker with three adjustable chrome-plated cooking grates and a side access wood chip loader to minimize smoke loss during reloads. The double-walled firebox helps retain heat while cooking. Best of all, it's simple and easy to use right out of the box. The large handles on the side of the unit make it easy to move around when needed. This is a great smoker for beginners or those who do not smoke many items.
Price at time of publish: $180
Dimensions (DxWxH): 18.4 x 23.5 x 35.9 inches | Capacity: 505 square inches | Wattage: 1,500 W
Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
What We Love: Built-in meat thermometer, large smokebox, remote control temperature gauge, wheels for ease of transport
What We Don't Love: No side-loader for wood chips
The Char-Boil Deluxe Black Digital Electric Smoker comes with a generous 725-square-inch capacity and an easy-to-use digital control panel with a remote control temperature gauge that allows you to monitor your cooking temperature and make adjustments if necessary. The built-in meat thermometer means you'll know when your meal is cooked just right. Unlike many smokers, the Char-Boil Deluxe has a glass door that allows you to monitor the inside of the smoker without having to let the heat and smoke out. It also includes built-in rear wheels, so it's easy to move around.
The glass door does not affect the seal; once the door is latched, the smoke will not escape. In addition to its roomy interior, four adjustable racks offer you various cooking options, ranging from racks of ribs, hams, or even turkey breasts. The smoker does not have a side loader for wood chips, but its smokebox holds enough to allow you to smoke for up to seven hours before you need to refill it.
Price at time of publish: $430
Dimensions (DxWxH): 16.5 x 18.3 x 32.3 inches | Capacity: 725 square inches | Wattage: 750 W
Related: The Best Smokers
Best for Beginners
Cuisinart 30-Inch Electric Smoker
What We Love: Internal meat probe, side handles, the temperature gauge on the front
What We Don't Love: Imperfect drip pan design
The Cuisinart 30-inch electric smoker is perfect for casual or first-time smokers because it is convenient and easy to use. This smoker has 548 square inches of cooking capacity with three chrome-coated removable racks, which is spacious enough to make enough smoked chicken and beef for a large crowd. At 19 x 22 x 37.5 inches, it's also compact enough to use regularly for smaller dinners. Be aware that the drip pan doesn't provide full coverage, so you may get some grease drips on the ground with this smoker.
This smoker is ready to use with only minor assembly required. It comes with handles on the sides, so you can move it around as needed. After the smoker has been seasoned, place your meat on the rack, insert the meat probe, set the temperature on the front, and let the smoker do its job. The 1,500-watt smoker can get up to 400 degrees and features an easy-to-read thermometer on the front door. Best of all, the grates, water pan, and wood chip tray are all removable for easy cleanup.
Price at time of publish: $199
Dimensions (DxWxH): 19 x 22 x 37.5 inches | Capacity: 548 square inches | Wattage: 1,500 W
Related: The Best Electric Grills
Smokin-It Model #2 Electric Smoker
What We Love: Stainless steel construction, casters for mobility, side handles
What We Don't Love: It's heavy
The Smokin-It electric smoker may seem basic initially, but it is a well-insulated, heavy-duty appliance with stainless steel construction. It's also heavy—weighing in at 114 pounds. Fortunately, it includes removable casters and side handles to move it around. This is a professional-level smoker designed to smoke up to 35 pounds of meat.
This 17.25 x 21.5 x 24-inch smoker is NSF Certified, which means it has been tested by respected independent product testing organizations and is safe for restaurant use. It's made from 18-gauge stainless steel and has four interior shelves that can be easily rearranged at any time, depending on what you cook. The 800-watt smoker is not intended for beginners and is ideal for serious smokers.
Price at time of publish: $700
Dimensions (DxWxH): 17.25 x 21.5 x 24 inches | Capacity: 300 square inches | Wattage: 800 W
Related: The Best Grill Thermometers
Bradley BTDS76P Digital 4-Rack Smoker
What We Love: Extra-large capacity, programmable for up to eight hours, easy timer and temperature control
What We Don't Love: Bisquettes not included
The main design feature that distinguishes this Bradley Digital Smoker is the ability to create significant smoke automatically. It uses a digital controller to measure the main cooking chamber's temperature and smokiness to determine when to release one of Bradley's proprietary wood bisquettes (sold separately) into the burning area. This feature allows you to program the smoker and leave it unattended for up to eight hours.
The extra-large (2,288-square-inch) capacity smoker's digital interface is intuitive to use, helping you create delicious, consistent, and high-quality, pure smoke flavor. You simply set the timer and temperature, and it does the rest. Bradley Digital Smokers offer a more effortless and better way to roast, smoke, and barbecue outdoors.
Price at time of publish: $550
Dimensions (DxWxH): 14 x 17 x 31 inches | Capacity: 2,288 square inches | Wattage: 500 W
Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker
What We Love: Lightweight, easy to use, cooks up to 50 pounds
What We Don't Love: Feels less sturdy
If you're looking for a beginner smoker on a budget, look no further than the Smokehouse Big Chief. This lightweight (21-pound) smoker includes five chrome-plated cooking racks and can handle up to 50 pounds of meat. It doesn’t include any bells and whistles, which means it’s straightforward and easy to use. It runs at one temperature—165 degrees—and is well-ventilated for circulation and dehydration. This particular smoker loads from the front but is also available in a top-load design if you prefer.
Because it is so lightweight, this aluminum smoker does feel a bit less solid and sturdy than the others on our list. However, if you’re looking for a basic electric smoker that can deliver delicious smoky flavor, this one fits the bill. It plugs into a standard 3-prong outlet and is easy to store.
Price at time of publish: $172
Dimensions (DxWxH): 12 x 18 x 24.5 inches | Capacity: 846 square inches | Wattage: 450 W
Related: The Best Pellet Smokers
With its state-of-the-art digital control center, sleek design, and large capacity, the Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker would make a welcome addition to anyone's backyard setup. Anyone who's just getting started using an electric smoker should pick up the Cuisinart 30-Inch Electric Smoker for all the right flavors without too much of an investment.
What to Look for in an Electric Smoker
If a smoker is not big enough for your needs, it will not be a worthwhile appliance, no matter what its features are. Electric smokers usually have three to four racks to hold enough meat to feed a family of four to six people. The capacity will vary depending on the size of the meat you are cooking. If you want to smoke whole ribs, briskets, or other large cuts of meat, choose a smoker that can be configured to fit the meat without cutting it in half first.
Smokers come with various control options, from simple dials and buttons to digital controls. Some smokers include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, so you can adjust the smoker's temperature or check the internal meat temperatures remotely. The more features the smoker has, the higher the cost.
An excellent electric smoker will have a temperature range of 100 to 400 degrees. This range consists of all the appropriate temperatures to make it easy to smoke meat and grill all kinds of foods. The better the heating element the smoker has, the better the level of smoke it will produce.
Cleaning the smoker is a necessary task to keep it working well for years, and a smoker easy to maintain will make it faster to prepare for each meal. Electric smokers with easily removable cooking grids, racks, panels, wood chip trays, a drip pan, and a water pan make cleaning easier. Eventually, you have to reorder these parts, so make sure you can reorder them from the manufacturer.
Can you use an electric smoker in your garage?
You shouldn’t use an electric smoker in a garage. "Although the risk for fire is significantly lower than a traditional smoker, the dangers of carbon monoxide inhalation would be serious, even with the garage door open," warns Chef Tim Hastings.
Do you place the meat directly on the racks in electric smokers?
Generally, yes. "Meat is typically placed on the racks like a traditional smoker, but check the manufacturer specifications for each model," says Hastings.
Is an electric smoker as good as a wood smoker?
For home users, an electric smoker works just as well (if not better) than a wood-fired smoker. For ease of use and temperature control, electric smokers are superior to wood smokers. Professional chefs and smoked food aficionados may note less richness in the flavor of food cooked on an electric smoker. However, electric smokers typically include several cooking racks (instead of a single rack in a wood smoker), which makes it easier to cook several types of meat and delicious smoked vegetables at once.
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Debbie Wolfe is a freelance writer and online shopping expert who spends hours researching and comparing household items so you don't have to. She is the proud owner of countless appliances and can help you choose the right one, regardless of your needs.
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