Smoking meat, fish, and other foods can create flavors that are as distinctly delicious as they are difficult to achieve. If you’re looking for those flavors but don’t want to deal with the hassle of maintaining and operating a more traditional smoker, our best electric smoker guide can help you select a smoker that will provide the great taste you expect without any headaches.
Quick Summary - Best Electric Smoker Overview
- Our top overall choice for the best electric smoker is the Masterbuilt 20075315 Front Controller Smoker – it is large, reliable, accurate, and even comes with a small remote control.
- The Smoke Hollow D4015RS 40-Inch Digital Electric Smoker is another large, aesthetically pleasing smoker that incorporates Bluetooth technology for ease of use.
- Char-Broil’s Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker is a great option if you want a slightly smaller – but not quite portable – option for your home.
- If you want a no-frills smoker you can take anywhere, check out the Masterbuilt 20073716 Portable Electric Smoker.
- The lightest and most portable smoker on our list is the Masterbuilt 20078616 Electric Bullet Smoker.
Why Use an Electric Smoker?
A good electric smoker provides all of the delicious, irreplaceable taste that only wood smoking can provide while managing to eliminate many of the drawbacks that come with smoking. Paramount among them is ease of use and adjustability – all of the smokers featured on this list offer adjustable thermostats, and some include timers, internal thermometers, and other features designed to remove the hassle and guesswork from smoking. Some even offer digital thermostats, enabling you to set and forget the temperature of your smoker down to the degree.
Alongside this primary focus on ease of use, electric smokers typically use less wood, heat up quicker, and are much safer than conventional smokers, since electric smokers don’t have an open flame (which also makes them ideal for apartment dwellers and people with HOA restrictions). As an added bonus, a few of the electric smokers on this list take full advantage of their connected nature, going above and beyond to add even more digital features and conveniences.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing
Here are a couple factors to consider in choosing the best electric smoker for your needs:
Size is an often-forgotten consideration when people look to purchase electric smokers. Don’t fall into the trap of always buying the largest model, especially if you might want to take your smoker on the road. Remember that even the smaller, more portable smokers listed here have fairly large capacities. Consider if you really need multiple racks, or if the extra space will just be a hassle when you try to move your smoker. Of course if you’re cooking for a crowd on a weekly basis, you’ll want to go big, but if you’re only cooking for your family, choosing an overly large smoker will waste both fuel and time.
For an electric smoker, performance primarily means three things: quality, adjustability, and features. On the first factor, all of the smokers listed here are nearly equally excellent. Barring a few minor details that will be mentioned below, they all generally smoke equally well. The last two performance factors will require closer attention, but keep in mind that they’re both double-edged-swords: adjustability and added features often come at the cost of simplicity and ease of use, so make sure you keep balance in mind when considering the performance of your choice of electric smoker.
Here are the in-depth reviews of our top five best electric smokers:
The Masterbuilt 20075315 Front Controller Smoker is our choice for best electric smoker, and for good reason. It comes equipped with a lot of nice features, but most importantly, it is a reliable and easy-to-use machine that will satisfy the beginner or more advanced smoker.
This Masterbuilt electric smoker comes with four racks that add up to 975 square inches of cooking space. According to the manufacturer, that’s enough room for 12 whole chickens, 4 pork butts, or 2 whole turkeys. It has a full foam insulation to ensure that your desired cooking temp is maintained.
Using this smoker is super easy – the digital control panel allows you to set the temperature and cook time, and the smoker will do the rest. From there you can use the convenient remote to monitor your meat’s internal temperature (via included meat probe), as well as the smoker temperature and remaining cook time. And if you can’t resist taking a peek, the large viewing window will allow you to do so without opening the smoker and disrupting the temperature.
Note that this smoker is quite large and heavy. At 73 pounds, it is the heaviest smoker on our list by over 20 pounds. That won’t be a problem if you’re just using it at home, but if you’re looking for something more portable, check out the last two options on our list.
The Smoke Hollow D4015RS 40-Inch Digital Electric Smoker has a lot in common with the Masterbuilt smoker above, with some added complexity. Like the Masterbuilt, it offers an abundance of space, a meat probe, and a digital display. Rather than an RF remote, it offers Bluetooth capabilities – you can use your phone or any other smart device to monitor and operate the smoker.
This Smoke Hollow electric smoker comes equipped with dual heating elements, so you won’t have to worry about inconsistent temperatures or heat distribution. Perhaps the most unique feature on this smoker is the “cold smoking” setting, which will let you smoke cheeses and fish without fear of overcooking. There is also a “fast smoking” setting that will get smoke flowing faster if desired.
Both the Masterbuilt electric smoker above and the Smoke Hollow have 40 inch cabinets, but the Smoke Hollow is roughly 20 pounds lighter. While it’s not portable per se, moving it around occasionally is not a hassle.
If you like the red color and think you might be interested in Bluetooth controls and unique settings, this is the best electric smoker for you.
Sitting evenly between the complexity of the Smoke Hollow and the arguably primitive simplicity Masterbuilt Electric Bullet at the bottom of our list is the Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker. It takes the best parts of the technologically advanced electric smokers (like internal thermometers, adjustable thermostats, and timers) while ignoring the arguably superfluous (like the remote controls and the Bluetooth); similarly, it captures the ease of use of the simplistic smokers while not being held back by their lack of adjustability.
The Char-Broil uses its 725 square inches spread across four racks to good effect, giving it enough capacity for all but the largest of gatherings. Additionally, it is alone on this list in providing an added feature that does something beyond providing control at a distance or quicker preheating – its thermostat and thermometer are hooked into a keep-warm function, allowing the smoker to automatically control the heat once your meat has hit a set point, preventing overcooking and maintaining perfectly cooked meat.
Ultimately, the Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Smoker is an electric smoker that does everything you could ever want from a smoker, whether conventional or electric. It is neither stuck in the past nor aggressively forcing itself into the future.
The Masterbuilt 20073716 Portable Electric Smoker is unique on this list in that is was designed from the ground up as a travel smoker, with a small size and folding legs. But that’s not to suggest that it’s somehow inferior – the Masterbuilt Portable contains a surprisingly powerful 1,400-watt burner and is able to hold anything from a medium-sized 15-pound roast, or even a few racks of ribs (if you cut them in half to fit).
It is operated with a simple three-setting control that allows you to select from high, medium, or low. While this may seem like a drawback, it may also be enough customization for a casual smoker. It has a thermostat, so finding out what temperature those three settings translate to will be a breeze, and replicating a perfect meal will come a lot easier than it would with a complex smoker.
This portable smoker is a perfect choice if you’re looking to smoke on the road, but it shouldn’t be discounted just because you’re not planning on using your smoker exclusively on the road. The Masterbuilt Portable Electric Smoker is a powerful smoker in its own right, and if you desire simplicity and don’t need a huge smoker, it may be the best electric smoker even for an occasional traveler.
To some, despite their arguable convenience, remote controls and Bluetooth technology prompt a shaking of the head rather than excitement. They want a smoker, not a new technological device to worry about. If you want your smoker to smoke, and nothing else, you may want to consider the throwback stylings of the Masterbuilt Electric Bullet Smoker.
When it comes to features, the Electric Bullet is barebones. It offers a thermometer and a three-setting thermostat. But if you’re the type to go for this kind of smoker, you’ll understand that this can be an advantage rather than a disadvantage. The Bullet does one thing, and it does it well. It won’t hold enough food to feed a large crowd, but it will smoke food for you and your family as well as any smoker on the market.
This simple to use Masterbuilt Bullet Smoker is a bit larger in dimensions than the Masterbuilt Portable, but it is the lightest smoker on the list. Though not intentionally designed as a portable smoker, its diminutive size does give it a desirable flexibility. While it won’t be as easy to take from place to place as the Masterbuilt Portable, it won’t be as daunting of a task as it would be for the remainder of the smokers listed here, and the lack of folding legs does add a bit of stability.
While each electric smoker on our list has its benefits, the the Masterbuilt Front Controller Smoker is our #1 recommended best electric smoker. It provides useful features without being overly complicated, and it does a terrific job at maintaining an even cooking temperature. However, it is fairly large and heavy – if you want a smaller, lighter smoker, the Masterbuilt Portable Electric Smoker is the one for you!
I hope our roundup helps you choose the best electric smoker for your needs. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!