The 8 Best Electric Smokers, According To An Expert

Written by Mike Futia | Updated February 25, 2024

After smoking brisket, turkey, and meatloaf, our testing revealed that the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker 30” is the best option for most people. Its set-it-and-forget-it operation, digital controls, and good temperature range make it the best electric smoker you can buy today.

Our criteria for electric smokers

  • Temperature control

You want an electric smoker that can consistently hold its temperature for optimal results.

  • Ease of use

Electric smokers are great for beginners, so ease-of-use is important.

  • Water & wood capacity

Most electric smokers have built-in trays for water and wood chips.

  • Insulation & seal

To ensure an efficient use of electricity, look for a smoker that has good insulation and seal.

master built


  • Materials: Alloy Steel
  • Dimensions: 20” x 21” x 33”
  • Weight: 45.9 lbs
  • Cooking Area: 710 sq. inches.
  • Max Temperature: 275°F
  • WIFI Equipped: No
  • Easy to Transport: No wheels, but it isn’t too heavy.

At the top of our list of the best electric smokers, we have the Masterbuilt 30” Smoker. This Masterbuilt 30" digital electric smoker brings simplicity to smoking with its set-it-and-forget-it operation, complete with digital controls for temperature and timer. With a temperature range of 100°F to 275°F and the ability to load wood chips from the side, it offers a convenient smoking experience. 

This smoker is mid-range in size, with 710 square inches of smoking space, which is perfect for a large family or a couple who likes to host guests frequently. The smoker provides ample space with four racks that are adjustable and removable, accommodating up to six whole chickens or two turkeys. This is especially handy for those looking to host the holidays this year.

In terms of cost, this electric smoker isn’t insanely expensive, but it isn’t the cheapest on the list either. It delivers affordability compared to other smoker types, making it an ideal choice for beginners on a budget. The smoker features a digital control screen, making it easy to set your desired temperatures and parameters. However, it isn’t Wi-Fi or Bluetooth equipped, meaning adjustments will require your physical presence.

As far as electric smokers go, we think this is the easiest one to use, especially if you are new to smoking. The Masterbuilt electric smoker ensures a very easy user experience—just set the temperature and walk away. Additionally, there are a few different models to choose from. The main difference lies in the choice of having a glass viewing window, though it's worth noting that the window can get smoked over time. In our testing, there wasn’t any noticeable difference in operation between the models with or without the window.

With an alloy steel exterior, this electric smoker is sure to last you for years to come. The interior is stainless steel, ensuring ease of cleaning with removable pans. The smoker is lightweight and portable, complete with a detachable cord. Only periodic wood chip reloading is needed, and it includes a water pan for moisture and a grease tray. It provides a great smoked flavor with minimal effort, and in our testing, it took about 4 hours to smoke salmon at 225°F, resulting in moist, perfectly smoked salmon.

Our only issue with this electric smoker is that it is a bit small for full racks of ribs, so you’ll want to plan to cut them in half to fit in this smoker comfortably. If that bothers you, then check out our best smoker for large families below, which can accommodate full racks of ribs. With consistent temperature control, although it fluctuates +/- 10°F from the set point, this smoker ensures a reliable smoking experience.


  • Easy to use.
  • Excellent insulations (maintains temperature well).
  • Easy to clean.
  • Mid-size at a mid-range price point. 
  • Very durable.


  • No Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection. 
  • You’ll probably have to cut racks of ribs in half to fit. 

2. Best Runner Up: Cuisinart Vertical Electric Smoker 30”



  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • Dimensions: 22” x 20” x 40”
  • Weight: 59 lbs
  • Cooking Area: 548 sq. inches.
  • Max Temperature: 400°F
  • WIFI Equipped: No
  • Easy to Transport: No

After the Masterbuilt 30”, the next best electric smoker is the Cuisinart Vertical Electric Smoker. While its outside shape and size are comparable to Masterbuilt, it is on legs, so you only have 548 square inches of cooking space. This is enough for a smaller family of up to five people. 

We have to say, this smoker does look a little cooler than the Masterbuilt for those who have a patio aesthetic to maintain, and it is a little cheaper–making it an excellent option. Just know that if you love to regularly cook large amounts of smoked meats, this smoker won’t cut it. 

One thing we absolutely love about this smoker is the fact that it can get up to 400°F. This is much higher than most electric smokers and can make it an excellent smoker for those who like to experiment. 

With three shelves that can be arranged, you can easily fit two turkeys and four chickens in this smoker during the holiday season. It is a bit on the more basic side, with a dial for selection temperature and an analog temperature gauge, but for those who don’t want to break the bank, it is an excellent combination of features for the price. 

The Cuisinart electric smoker is easy to use and is perfect for a beginner. The only other thing we need to mention is that it is made of stainless steel as opposed to alloy steel, so while it will last a long time, you will need to take some care to ensure it doesn’t rust. 


  • Basic model at an excellent price point.
  • Maintains temperature well.
  • Easy to use.
  • Sleek look. 
  • It can get up to 400°F.


  • No digital temperature controller. 
  • Not big enough for serious smokers. 

3. Best High End: Bradley Digital Vertical Smoker

bradley smoker


  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • Dimensions: 14” x 17” x 31”
  • Weight: 58 lbs
  • Cooking Area: 571 sq. inches.
  • Max Temperature: 250°F
  • WIFI Equipped: No
  • Easy to Transport: No

As far as digital smokers go, the Bradley Digital Smoker is about the best one money can buy. It’s got an excellent digital interface which makes it a cinch to use, and it maintains temperature extremely well thanks to its excellent construction. While it is made of stainless steel (meaning it isn’t as durable as some other electric smokers), it seems to last most customers a long time as long as it is cared for properly. 

With 571 square inches of cooking space and four removable racks, you can surely feed a large family with this smoker, with 4 removable smoking racks, providing ample room for all your smoking needs. The smoker also includes a water bowl for moisture and a drippings bowl, ensuring your food stays juicy and delicious. 

While it isn’t Wi-Fi equipped, not many electric smokers are, and this one has so many settings you shouldn’t have to worry about going out in the snow to adjust it. The digital controls for time and temperature are simple to use, and the smoker is relatively lightweight and easy to assemble.

However, this smoker has a couple of downsides. While its high temperatures of 250°F are a bit low, we also don’t like that this electric smoker requires specific-sized wood briquettes to run, using Bradley Bisquettes wood pucks for smoke flavor. For those who are unfamiliar with electric smokers, most just require putting the wood chips of your choice on the bottom in a tray. But with this one, you will need to keep a stock of the wood briquettes on hand otherwise, you risk running out mid-smoke and being unable to finish your dinner. During our test, only 3 of 5 pucks fully burned up, and they continued smoldering after 1 hour of cook time.

The smoker takes about 20 minutes to preheat the smoker element and loads a new Bisquette puck every 20 minutes automatically, making the operation very simple. 

We should also mention that this smoker is bulky, and with the side briquette feeder, it is the least easy to transport of the electric smokers so far and is only recommended for those who can leave their smoker out year-round. Overall, it provides a steady low-temperature smoking ability and is a straightforward electric smoker for beginners.


  • Easy to use digital temperature controller.
  • Maintains temperature well.
  • Huge cooking area
  • Several options when setting temperature. 


  • Uses briquettes rather than wood chips.
  • Bulky and difficult to move. 
  • No Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity. 

4. Best on a Budget: Old Smokey Electric Smoker

old smokey


  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • Dimensions: 15” x 16” x 29”
  • Weight: 24 lbs
  • Cooking Area: About 285 sq. inches.
  • Max Temperature: 250°F
  • WIFI Equipped: No
  • Easy to Transport: Yes

If you are on a strict budget as you shop for an electric smoker, there is no better option than the Old Smokey. This analog electric smoker with a simple high/medium/low dial control is as basic as it gets, but it still does its job, smoking ribs, pork butts, chickens, and more. 

This is one of the smaller smokers on our list, with only 285 square inches of cooking surface spread over two racks. Additionally, this smoker is cylindrical, which, while this might be great for turkey or chicken, can make it difficult to cook recipes like smoked ribs.

It also only gets up to 250°F, which is pretty low when compared to most smokers. While this may not be an issue for most recipes, beware that there are some recipes that call for setting your smoker to 275°F, which you can’t do with the Old Smokey. You will also need to add a thermometer to monitor the temperature accurately, as it lacks digital controls.

There are no bells and whistles on this smoker, but for under $200, you can't expect too much. However, it does have a small wood chip tray, uses less wood than other smokers, and does not require a water pan, as it keeps food moist on its own. Additionally, it's very forgiving if you overcook food, producing tender and juicy results, though with less smoke flavor than some might prefer.

One of the bright sides of this smoker is that it is easy to take with you, and as long as you have a large battery unit, you can even take it camping with you. The Old Smokey is easy to use, though cleaning can be a bit of a pain. Unlike rectangle electric smokers, which have a front door, the Old Smokey must be loaded and cleaned from the top, which can be difficult if you don’t have full mobility.

But for what you get, this is the best smoker those on an extreme budget can buy, even though it won't get hot enough for true barbecue or jerky and lacks the precision and smoke output of fancier smokers.


  • Easy to use.
  • Extremely portable.
  • Durable.
  • Low cost.


  • Hard to clean.
  • Very very basic–most seasoned smokers will want something a little nicer. 

5. Best for Large Families: Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker 40”

masterbuilt 40


  • Materials: Cold Rolled Steel
  • Dimensions: 28” x 50” x 23”
  • Weight: 59 lbs
  • Cooking Area: 970 sq. inches.
  • Max Temperature: 275°F
  • WIFI Equipped: No
  • Easy to Transport: No

One of the biggest electric smokers on the market, large families should consider the Masterbuilt 40” Electric Smoker. With 970 sq inches of cooking space split over four racks, you have ample space to cook for a large gathering, fitting up to 16 chickens or four turkeys with ease.

Constructed for longevity, the exterior is made with cold rolled steel, and the chrome-coated racks ensure that this electric smoker is built to last. It can reach temperatures up to 275°F, which should suffice for most smoking recipes.

Designed on legs, this smoker has a classic look that can seamlessly integrate into any outdoor setting. While not the most portable option on the market, with some help, it can be moved when necessary.

This model features a digital control panel, making temperature adjustments straightforward. With the added convenience of a remote control, you can monitor and adjust settings from up to 100 feet away. The side-loading wood chip loader allows you to add chips without opening the door, maintaining the internal environment.

It includes a stainless steel water pan to ensure your food stays moist and a rear-mounted grease tray to collect excess drippings, making clean-up easier.

The insulated design of this smoker means you can use it in any outdoor temperature, ensuring versatility all year round. Additionally, it comes with wheels and a handle for added portability, although moving this sizable unit will require caution.

Before you start smoking your favorite dishes, a three-hour pre-seasoning at 275°F is required to prepare the smoker. Plus, it includes a meat probe, enabling you to monitor the internal temperature of your food accurately.


  • It will last you for years to come. 
  • Plenty of cooking space. 
  • Easy to assemble and clean.
  • Maintains temperature well. 


  • No WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity. 
  • 275°F as a maximum temperature is still a bit low for our tastes. 

6. Best For Cold Smoking: Big Chief Electric Smoker

big chief


  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • Dimensions: 12” x 18” x 24.5”
  • Weight: 18 lbs
  • Cooking Area: Not specified
  • Max Temperature: 165 °F
  • WIFI Equipped: No
  • Easy to Transport: Yes

Those who live in a smaller living space often think that because they don’t have a yard, they can’t have a smoker when this is far from the truth. With the Big Chief Electric Smoker, anyone who has a small patio or balcony can still enjoy delicious smoked food. 

When compared to other electric smokers on the list, this one is a little different. Because its top temperature is 165°F, we don’t recommend it for serious smokers unless you are interested solely in cold smoking. This is because it doesn’t get quite hot enough to smoke a wide range of smoked meats. While 165°F is sufficient for some recipes, you will find yourself quite restricted when it comes to smoking items like turkey, which usually require at least 185°F.

What we love about this smoker is that it is small, very portable, and relatively inexpensive. In fact, even if you already have a smoker on hand, the Big Chief can be an excellent addition to your appliances because it can smoke things like veggies, cheese, salmon, and more that you can’t smoke in your regular smoker. 

Unlike other smokers, this one can easily be packed into a shed or closet during the off-season, and you can definitely take it on the go when you go camping for the week. It isn’t quite as durable as the other smokers on the list, but as a second or travel smoker, we absolutely love it. 

A few tips for using the Big Chief: don't open the smoker often as it releases heat and smoke. Use the proper wood, choosing chips for a normal smoke and chunks for a slower smoke. Match the wood type to your food, considering options like pecan, hickory, or maple. Be cautious not to over-smoke foods, particularly on your first tries, and allow extra cook time — planning for eight hours if a recipe says six. 

Consider accessories like extender trays for more capacity, especially since the compact size limits the volume of food you can smoke at once, potentially requiring multiple loads for larger cooks. 

While the temperature can't be controlled and only has low and high settings, this smoker produces good smoke flavor when used properly. It is excellent for smoking fish, jerky, cheese, and nuts, making it a simple electric smoker that is good for smaller batches.


  • Inexpensive.
  • Lightweight model and can be moved with ease, can be used as a camping smoker.
  • Easy to use.
  • Makes excellent cold-smoked food. 


  • Very basic smoker
  • Doesn’t get hot enough for some smoking recipes
  • No Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity. 

7. Best Mid-Size Electric Smoker: Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker

char broil


  • Materials: Stainless Steel, Glass
  • Dimensions: 17” x 18” x 33”
  • Weight: 50 lbs
  • Cooking Area: 725 sq. inches
  • Max Temperature: 275 °F
  • WIFI Equipped: No
  • Easy to Transport: No

In the middle of the pack of the best electric smokers, we have the Char-Broil 725. This electric smoker comes with 725 square inches of cooking space on four different racks, allowing you to make enough of your favorite meats to feed a large family and maybe some friends. 

Made of stainless steel with glass in the door, this smoker maintains temperature really well, and with a top temperature of 275°F, you can make almost any smoker recipe you come across. It also has a no-hassle grease cleaning system, which makes it easier to clean than other electric smokers.

While it isn’t Wi-Fi equipped, it does have a digital control panel for temperature, time, and monitoring the meat probe. This, along with a side-loading wood chip box and a water pan for moisture, ensures that you have all the control and features needed for a successful smoking session. Just remember to empty the water pan after each use and allow 40 minutes to preheat the smoker at the "PH" setting before its first use.

You can choose to cook either by time or to a specific internal temperature using the meat probe, ensuring your meat is perfectly smoked every time. This smoker is particularly good for foods like ribs, providing a rich smoke flavor.

In terms of cleaning, the door and glass will need attention after each use, but thankfully, removable parts make the process easier. With detailed instructions in the manual and user-friendly settings, this smoker is very easy to use, making it a great entry-level option for beginners.

This smoker isn't the largest on our list, but it definitely isn’t the smallest, either. It can be moved, but it isn’t meant to be a travel smoker. With proper maintenance and a cover to protect it, this electric smoker can provide steady low-temp smoking with minimal effort and last for a long time, offering great value for your investment.


  • Digital temperature controls with a built-in meat probe.
  • Warming function, which you can use to keep your dinner warm when it is done smoking.
  • More efficient than other smokers.
  • Sleek design with glass door. 
  • Easy to clean.


  • No Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Too heavy and bulky to be used on the go. 

8. Best with Bluetooth: Dyna-Glo 30” Smoker

dyna glo


  • Materials: Alloy Steel
  • Dimensions: 20” x 19” x 33”
  • Weight: 70 lbs
  • Cooking Area: 732 sq. inches
  • Max Temperature: 275 °F
  • WIFI Equipped: Yes
  • Easy to Transport: No

Dyna-Glo is one of the few electric smoker brands that offers smokers integrated Wi-Fi which allows you to adjust the temperature on your smoker even while you are on the go. Dyna-Glo has three different models, a 30” and 40”, as well as a 30” without the glass window. 

This electric smoker is spacious, giving you 732 sq. inches of cooking space with the 30” model across four moveable shelves. With a top temperature of 275°F, you can make almost any smoker recipe your heart desires. 

We also love that this smoker is made of alloy steel, which is a little more durable than stainless steel. With the set-it-and-forget-it Bluetooth technology, you can truly load this smoker and then go about your day without having to worry about checking on dinner. 

Additionally, the Dyna-Glo has a built-in meat thermometer, making it easy to know when your food is done. 

One thing we do have to mention is that this smoker does get some complaints about its ability to hold temperature, especially when customers purchase the one with the glass window. If you are interested in the Dyna-Glo smoker, we recommend selecting the 30” model without the glass window for best results, as these models are reported to maintain temperature better. 

While this electric smoker isn’t particularly large, it is heavy, so it is not recommended that you plan to use it as a travel smoker. But otherwise, this electric smoker is the best design with Bluetooth, and it is available for a reasonable price. 


  • Equipped with Wi-Fi-/bluetooth capabilities.
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Large cooking area.
  • Durable.


  • Some customers report difficulty with the smoker holding high temperatures.
  • Not portable.

Who Should Buy an Electric Smoker?

Electric smokers are a unique type of smoker, and they aren’t for everyone. Know that we only recommend electric smokers for those who are new to smoking. 

Why? Well, while electric smokers are easy to use and produce nice smoked meats, they simply can’t hold a candle to other smoking methods. Anyone who is a pro will tell you to get a charcoal smoker or a pellet grill, either of which offers many more options and yields better results. 

That being said, pellet grills and charcoal smokers can be expensive, and there is a little bit of a learning curve to using them. If you don’t have the time or money to invest in one, then an electric smoker will give you great results now. Just don’t expect the meats you smoke to be good enough to enter into a competition. 

Electric smokers are also for people who can’t have anything else. Some HOAs prohibit the open flames found in charcoal smokers and don’t allow pellet grills. When this is the case, an electric smoker is probably the only way you can get good smoked food without upsetting the HOA, and it's worth it.

The one last thing we have to mention is that an electric smoker is a smoker only. This means it is best for someone who already has a grill or doesn’t want one. But if you want to both smoke and grill, then you are much better off looking for a smoker-grill combo that can do both for one price. 

Think a pellet grill is better for you? Check out our 10 best pellet grills.

What Are the Top Electric Smoker Brands?

Obviously, we don’t have the time to test every electric smoker in the world, and some of the ones you may be considering probably weren’t on this list. When you are in doubt as to whether or not a particular smoker is worth it, we recommend sticking with the best brands. Because even if you choose a smoker we didn’t test, as long as it is from a reputable brand, you can’t go wrong. 


Masterbuilt is the top brand when it comes to electric smokers, and it is easy to see why. They build durable, decent-quality smokers that are easy to use, no matter what your experience. 

Plus, Masterbuilt has the largest line of electric smokers, so if you are looking for a specific feature, it is more likely that a Masterbuilt smoker will have it over any other brand. 

While they certainly aren't the fanciest, they get the job done, and we recommend Masterbuilt to anyone who wants to try their hand at using an electric smoker without spending the money to purchase the most premium brand. 


Char-Broil isn’t very famous for their electric smokers (they are much more popular for their gas grills), but they do produce a nice electric smoker. 

Many electric smoker users have been choosing Char-Broil in the last few years because of their sleek design (and awesome door style), but we find they are very similar in quality to the Masterbuilt. They also have fewer options for product range, meaning you might not be able to find an electric smoker that is exactly what you want. 

Of course, if Char-Broil has an electric smoker you think you will love, go ahead and buy it over Masterbuilt, we just don’t think they are that different of brands when it comes to comparing quality.


Bradley is an American-based company that turns out excellent electric smokers. They are known to be durable, large, and easy to use. 

Our only problem with Bradley is that their smokers require briquettes to produce smoke, and these can be a huge hassle to stock and keep on hand since you will have to buy the ones sold by Bradley (they don’t just take any briquettes).

But if you don’t mind keeping specific fuel on hand, you can’t go wrong when you choose a Bradley smoker. 


Cuisinart is less known for its electric smokers and more known for its kitchen appliances, but we find that their smokers are generally of decent quality. While they aren’t quite as durable as some of the other smokers on the list, they are easy to use and clean in true Cuisinart fashion. 

Like with Char-Broil, the Cuisinart smoker line is small, so you may not be able to find one that fits your exact specifications. But if you do, you can’t go wrong with a Cuisinart electric smoker. 

What is the Best Type of Electric Smoker?

The best type or brand of electric smoker will vary widely from person to person, depending on what specifications you are looking for. Personally, we consider Masterbuilt to be one of the best brands because they have so many options, but Bradley also puts out high-quality smokers. 

We recommend taking a look at both brands while you shop and evaluating the pros and cons of each so you can find the smoker that is best for you. 

What to Look for When Choosing an Electric Smoker?

Have you decided that an electric smoker would suit your family best? Below are some things to consider when shopping for an electric smoker. 


We also consider the size and capacity of an appliance to be its most important feature. This is because if you buy the wrong size, you won’t use your appliance to its full potential, and the same goes for electric smokers. 

You need to ensure that you buy one that is big enough to cook for your family and any guests you plan to serve regularly. We generally recommend planning on 100 square inches of cooking space per family member you plan to feed on a regular basis. This means a family of 5 would need a smoker with at least 500 square inches of cooking space. 

Beyond the cooking area, you also need to look at the area where you plan to store or set up your electric smoker. If you are restricted to only a balcony or need to store your smoker inside during the winter months, you’ll need to ensure whatever smoker you buy will fit in the area you set apart for it. 


After considering size, the next most important aspect of an electric smoker is its construction and durability. Not all electric smokers are built the same, and while some will last you for years to come, others will begin to rust or fall apart after just 2-3 years. 

We recommend buying the most durable smoker that you can afford. Durable smokers are made of cast iron or alloy steel and should have a 3-5-year warranty to protect your investment. If a stainless steel electric smoker is all you can afford, that’s fine, just try to find one with a decent warranty for the length of time you plan to own and use the smoker. 

We also recommend purchasing a cover for your smoker or planning to move it inside wherever there is inclement weather to protect its exterior from rust. 

Fuel Source

This probably sounds weird on a list of electric smokers, but not all electric smokers run purely on electricity. Some of the Bradley models as well as some of the Masterbuilt models, require briquettes to function. When this is the case, you will spend more on fuel than you would if your electric smoker didn’t require these. 

Most electric smokers require wood chips to run but ensure you read about the fuel source closely to double-check that you don’t need anything else. It is also a good idea to check what voltage the electric smoker requires, as some (usually commercial ones) require industrial outlets and won’t work at your home. The last thing you want to do is buy an electric grill you can’t even use. 


In most cases, you probably won’t need to plan to move your electric smoker, as you probably have a patio or yard to keep it in. But for those who want a smoker to take camping or plan to store their electric smoker in a shed, you also need to consider portability as you shop. 

Generally, electric smokers aren’t very portable, and they aren’t meant to be, but there are some that are lightweight or built on wheels so that they can be moved when needed. If you need an eclectic smoker that you can take on the go, ensure you keep this in mind as you look at various electric smokers, and always check the weight before you buy. 

Desired Features

The next thing you need to consider as you shop for an electric smoker is any extra features you would like your smoker to have. For example, if you want an electric smoker with Wi-Fi, you will need to know this as you shop and before you select your electric smoker, as very few actually have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology. 

Additionally, if you want a smoker that can accommodate accessories like sausage hooks, or a spit, you’ll want to ensure the electric smoker you have chosen is compatible with these before you pull out your wallet. 

There are some electric smoker accessories that can be added after your purchase (such as a cover), but there are many features that must be purchased as part of the electric smoker. For this reason, we recommend making a list of your desired electric smoker features before you shop to ensure you get what you want. 


Last, but certainly not least, you’ll need to consider cost. Of course, we would all like to buy the most expensive electric smoker on the market, but this doesn’t always work with everyone’s budget. 

We recommend setting a budget before you go and only looking at smokers within that budget. When you set your budget, ensure you also consider anything else you will need to pay, such as shipping or for a cover, and keep those in mind as you shop. 

Electric Smokers Compared to Charcoal Smokers

Charcoal smokers and electric smokers both produce smoked food, but if you’ve ever owned a charcoal smoker (or grill), you know that any meat cooked over charcoal has this delicious and irresistible charcoal taste. 

Unfortunately, you won’t get this with an electric smoker, but keep in mind that these smokers still use wood chips to produce smoke, meaning there will still be excellent smoke flavor, it just won’t have that charcoal taste. 

You may be wondering why anyone would choose not to have this charcoal flavor in their smoked meats, and the answer is simple, electric smokers are way easier to use than charcoal smokers. 

With a charcoal smoker, you may have to struggle with a learning curve on how to use it, and anyone who has had to light charcoal before knows it isn’t a walk in the park. So if you are new to smoking, then an electric smoker is better just because it will be way easier for you to use, and you can still get some good results. 

But if you are a seasoned charcoal griller, and love the charcoal flavor, then you may want to purchase a charcoal smoker. Just make sure you give yourself some time to learn how to use it before planning a big event. 

Electric Smokers Compared to Pellet Grills

traeger pro with pellets

Electric smokers aren’t just similar to charcoal smokers, but they are also similar to pellet grills. Pellet grills are grills that use electricity to light wood chips, similar to an electric smoker, but unlike a smoker, they have an open flame, which means they can be used for both smoking and grilling. 

While pellet grills will bring you unparalleled versatility you won’t find with an electric smoker, they are larger, and as we said, they have an open flame. This means not everyone will have space for a pellet grill, and some areas with an HOA won’t allow one. 

In these cases, an electric smoker is probably the best you will get. But if you can only buy one appliance and you want something that will both smoke and grill, then a pellet grill is the far superior and more economical choice. 

How Do Electric Smokers Work?

Electric smokers work a little differently than pellet grills and charcoal smokers. Electric smokers have an electrically driven heating element that can be turned up and down to change the temperature. High-quality electric smokers also have vents that are adjusted to lower or maintain temperature. 

While this is how the heating is controlled, this on its own doesn’t produce any smoke. Rather wood chips need to be placed above the heating element (or within it on some smokers), and as they get hot and smolder, smoke is produced. Without these wood chips, your electric smoker is basically just a fancy oven and not worth the cost. 

With electric smokers, you don’t have as much control over the amount of smoke as you would a pellet grill, but you can put in fewer wood chips if you are really worried about there being too much smoke. But from an ease-of-use standpoint, electric smokers are some of the easiest smokers to use and excellent for beginners who aren’t ready for a more complicated smoker just yet. 

The Best Accessories to Buy with an Electric Smoker

When you buy your electric smoker, there are a few accessories you will need to have on hand in order to use your smoker to the best of its potential. For best results, we recommend ordering all of these things when you order your electric smoker so you can start smoking right away. 

Wood Chips

While you might be buying an electric smoker, you will need wood chips in order to produce smoke. We recommend ordering a few different variations so you can experiment and find what you like. You’ll probably want to keep a bag or two handy because you don’t want to run out mid-smoke.

Remember, if you are buying a Bradley smoker, you can skip the wood chips but you will need to buy briquettes instead. To ensure you buy the right size briquettes that will fit your electric smoker, we recommend purchasing these directly from Bradley. 

A Cover

An electric smoker is a large investment, and the last thing you want to do is have it rust during its first winter in your yard. We recommend purchasing a cover that fits your smoker when you order it or plan to store it indoors when it rains or snows. 

While there are some generic smoker covers on the market, we find purchasing one from the company that made your electric smoker is the best way to ensure you have a good-fitting cover. 

A Temperature Probe

Some electric smokers come with a temperature probe, but if yours doesn’t, you absolutely need one before you plan your first smoke session. A temperature probe is the ONLY way to know that your smoked meat is done and safe to eat.

If you don’t buy one, you run the risk of consuming undercooked meat, which could make you and your family sick. 

Cleaning Supplies

While you won’t need to clean your smoker right away, you should plan to clean it after every smoke session. We recommend grabbing some sort of brush to clean the grates (we recommend the bristle-less Grill Rescue Brush) as well as some rags of sponges for cleaning the rest of the interior from time to time. 

Tongs or Fire Proof Gloves

When using your smoker, you’ll need a way to get your meat out of the smoker when it is done. Tongs should be sufficient for ribs, but if you are planning to make large cuts of meat like brisket or pork butt, you’ll want to also grab a pair of fireproof gloves as the tongs won’t cut it. 

Do You Need to Season an Electric Smoker?

Just like with a pellet grill or charcoal smoker, you should plan to season your electric smoker before you use it. Seasoning is the process in the grilling world which involves turning on your electric smoker and running it with nothing in it for at least an hour. 

This seasoning process is important because it burns off any chemical or factory residue that may still be on the interior of your grill and provides a base layer of smoke. It will help your electric smoker work better when you cook food and will ensure meat cooked in your smoker doesn’t have a metallic or chemical taste. 

Most outdoor enthusiasts recommend seasoning a smoker once per season, but with an electric smoker, unless you are giving it a deep scrub every season, one seasoning process should be fine for the entire life of the smoker. 

How to Clean an Electric Smoker

In most cases, cleaning an electric smoker is fairly easy. We recommend cleaning your electric smoker entirely at least once per season and cleaning the racks after each smoke session. 

Here are the steps for cleaning an electric smoker:

1. Turn your electric smoker off and allow it to cool completely before you begin. 

2. Remove the racks, water pan, drip tray, and smoker box (and any other removable parts).

3. Sweep or vacuum out large pieces of residue and any built-up ash. 

4. Use a sponge or rag soaked in warm soapy water and gently scrub all interior surfaces of the smoker. Use a second rag to dry. Do not use any steel wool or metal on the interior of your electric smoker. 

5. Clean the racks, water pan, and drip tray using warm soapy water and allow them to dry. 

6. Once everything is dry, reassemble your electric smoker. You can also wash the exterior with warm soapy water if you desire. 

**If your smoker has a window, only use glass cleaners approved for cooktops or oven interiors on the window. We recommend using a separate cloth for window cleaning. 


How Long Do Wood Chips Last in an Electric Smoker?

How long wood chips last in an electric smoker will vary widely from brand to brand, but as a general rule of thumb, they should burn completely in 3-5 hours. If you are smoking meats for over 3 hours, ensure you set a timer to remind yourself to refill the wood chip box. 

Do You Have to Soak Wood Chips Before Using Them?

It is not required to soak wood chips before using them. You can if you would like, but we generally recommend putting the wood chips in your electric smoker dry unless you are soaking them in something that will add to the flavor, like whiskey or apple juice. 

Can You Use an Electric Smoker Inside?

Electric smokers will produce smoke as they work, and it is, therefore, dangerous to attempt to use one indoors. Electric smokers should only be used outside, in a well-ventilated area otherwise, you could accidentally cause the injury or death of yourself and others due to smoke inhalation.

Mike Futia

Hello, I'm Mike Futia, a passionate griller and BBQ enthusiast. I'm the creator of Grill Frenzy, and I'm committed to sharing my knowledge of grilling and smoking with you. I believe that BBQ and grilling should be accessible to everyone. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, I'm here to guide you on your grilling journey. Welcome!


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