If you are looking for the best charcoal smoker grill, we understand, and this article will answer your questions. When it comes to smoking, we aim at having that fantastic flavour to our meat, be it cold smoking or hot smoking. Charcoal smokers are highly rated and used due to their ability to give a pleasant and robust flavour to your food compared with other types of meat smokers. You will find that it is faster to smoke using a gas smoker than using a charcoal smoker, but when it comes to the flavour, trust me, you will yearn for a charcoal smoker.
Additionally, the best charcoal smoker on the market (Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill and smoker) is portable and very easy to use, and less expensive. The only shortcoming with these charcoal smokers is, they will need your attention so as the meat does not get burnt. When manufacturers learned that charcoal smokers are in high demand on the market, they have flooded it with various brands of charcoal smoker grills, which could make choosing the right one hard. When you get to buy one, it might become hard for you. But, we have done the research, and here, we share and review the best of them all. We have reviewed the best charcoal smokers that will fulfil your smoking, barbecuing, grilling demands.
We independently select all the products featured on our “best lists.” If you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.
What Is the Best Smoker Grill To Buy? – OUR 7 TOP PICKS!
Best Overall: Weber Original Kettle Premium
Editor’s choice: Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
Best Kamado: Akorn Jr Kamado Kooker
Best Vertical charcoal smoker: Dyna-Glo Vertical Charcoal Smoker
Versatile charcoal smoker: E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill
Best Large charcoal smoker: Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker
Best portable charcoal smoker: Weber Jumbo
#1 Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal smoker Grill
When it comes to versatility and simplicity of use, the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal smoker Grill should be the greatest deal. It is not only a grill but can as well be used as a smoker, hence serving you in many ways, depending on how you choose to use it. This 22-inch medium-sized smoker boasts 363 inches grilling capacity, enough for you to have 13 burgers at once for your barbeque. With this smoking and grilling capacity, you can smoke your big chicken ribs, pork butts, or full turkey without fail.
While using this simple smoker, it is straightforward to control the temperature inside, as it has got dampers which you fully close when the temperature gauge indicates a higher temperature, and then fully open them when the temperature is low.
Moreover, the smoker has got a built-in thermometer that helps you to monitor the meat temperature, which allows you to know when your meat is ready.
No matter how hot the charcoal is, the smoker grill’s fuel grate is capable of withstanding it without breaking down and also retain the heat for a long time, allowing you to save charcoal. Besides, while smoking, it becomes easy to add charcoal or wood as the grates are hinged. While opening the smoker, the shielded handle protects you from any burn, because we expect the whole smoker to be hot during the smoking process.
On the outside of the smoker, there is a hook where you can hang your spatulas, lid for easy access, more so, the outside of the smoker is porcelain-enamelled steel-reinforced, which makes it durable and resistant to corrosion or rust.
Cleaning up this equipment is just too easy because of the One-Touch cleaning system which collects the ash during smoking. This gives you a hassle-free cleanup session. When it comes to portability, the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill smoker has got firm wheels, which enable you to move the smoker around the field with ease. Bring happiness in barbecuing while using this simple smoker. It is, without a doubt, the overall best charcoal smoker grill to buy.
- Very easy to use.
- Large smoking area.
- Easy to maintain the temperature inside the smoker.
- Fit for a smaller group. However, the smoker can smoke as many times without breaking down. So, if you can smoke as many times as you can, then this is not a deal-breaker.
#2 Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker charcoal smoker Grill
When you think of having a water/ bullet charcoal smoker, let the most significant percentage of your thoughts and consideration be on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. The charcoal smoker grill is designed in different sizes such as 14, 18, and 22 inches. Still, all have the same features, with the only variance being the capacity.
Weber has been in the competitive market for quite some time. Because of the simplicity and spacious smokers they make, this smoker has continued to out-compete its competitors. The Weber smokey mountain cooker charcoal smoker grill is covered with a steel body, with a porcelain finishing, which prevents it from rusting and saves you from spending on buying a new smoker. This one lasts forever!.
A 14- inch weber smoker weighs 24lbs but the weight increases with size, where the 22- inch model may be heavier.
With two plated steel cooking grates, the smoker grill carries enough cooking capacity, about 286sq inches for the 14-inch smoker. This capacity is enough for your ribs and a whole turkey to feed a big family or the yearly backyard barbecue with all your friends.
The smoker comprises of mainly four main parts: that is the lid, a cooking grate section, a charcoal and wood-chips bowl and decent sized porcelain enamelled water pan that keeps your meat moisturized, and you can add in some flavours to get to the chicken or turkey. Additionally, the water maintains the temperature within the smoker.
To help you monitor the smoking temperature, the smoker has got a build-in lid thermometer that lets you know when to adjust the dampers to allow more heat or reduce the heat; the temperature can be controlled up to 190oF. No need to first remove your turkey to add wood or charcoal, the firebox is accessible even with the turkey on the grates.
While you are smoking, you expect seven hours of low and slow smoking at the optimum 225ºF (107ºC) when using water and up to 11 hours without. For you to have better-smoked meat and all your foods it is recommended to use Weber’s own long-burn briquettes as the small woods
- Enough smoking space because of the two grates.
- Easy to control the temperature because of the availability of dampers.
- The firebox is easily accessed.
- Might become heavy to move because it lacks wheels on the legs.
#3 Char-Griller Akorn Jr Kamado Kooker Charcoal smoker
The versatility and portability of Char-Griller E6714 Akorn Jr Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill and smoker are one of the selling points for choosing it as your best charcoal smoker. Its construction is fabulous as it holds a triple wall that efficiently retains heat and maintains the inside temperature in the range of 200-700 degrees Fahrenheit. This would allow you to prepare a variety of foods.
On its outside wall, it carries a powder-coated steel finishing, the interior with porcelain-coated steel, and the cooking grates with cast iron which gives the smoker a forever last.
Akorn Jr Kamado Kooker charcoal smoker uses less charcoal due to its design capable of retaining heat for a long time. With 153 square inches as the smoking capacity, one can prepare about eight burgers or full chicken a lot for the family, whether in slow or fast motion depending on how you control the temperature using the dampers.
The two dampers at the top and bottom maintain airflow in and out of the smoker. At the same time, during cooking or smoking, allowing the temperature to remain stable. More so, on controlling the smoking temperature, the smoker has got a built-in temperature which indicates the temperature in the smoker.
Furthermore, the smoker has got ash pan attached at the bottom of it, which is easy to remove and pour away the ash, making cleaning a straightforward exercise. The short legs and the handles on the sides make the smoker sturdy, giving it a steady motion while using it. And, making it portable for storage.
Above all, assembling the smoker is facile within a few minutes everything is finished, remember to tighten the legs so well and season the grates before use.
- Very easy to maintain the temperature.
- Uses less fuel.
- the body coating makes the smoker durable.
- A bit heavy.
- Quite expensive but has value for money.
#4 Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker
The Dyna-Glo charcoal smoker has got an eye-catching design and great unique features. It is one of the best charcoal smokers. A look at its outside can make you wonder what you may get out of it when you start using it. I believe it will be an excellent answer for all your outside cooking and smoking exercises at a truly affordable cost.
It holds a vertical offset design which allows one to indirectly smoke meat, saving you from burning it in case of higher temperatures, hence giving you a pure and pleasant smoke flavour.
The capacity is just enough for any outdoor activity because the smoker has got six adjustable cooking grates that can be used to smoke various quantities and sizes of food. With 784 square Inch of the total smoking area; 1176 square inches of entire cooking space and each grate can hold 25-pounds of any food, this is super!
Just like any other charcoal smoker, the Dyna-Glo charcoal smoker grill also has a charcoal chamber, but this one highly keeps briquettes or wood chips stacked tightly for increased burn efficiency. Below the charcoal chamber box is the removable steel ash pan to handle large amounts of ash for hours during smoking without it getting full, and when filled, it is easily removable for cleaning.
Getting to the chamber, you do not have to stop the smoking process. You can continuously add charcoal and wood; hence no breaks while using the smoker—no need to light up a matchbox for your charcoal to ignite. The smoker has an electrical ignition system that will quickly ignite the fuel for you.
At the top of the smoker is an adjustable flue that gives additional flavours and allows temperature control. More so, a built-in, stainless steel thermometer gauge “at the smoke zone” will enable you to monitor the smoking temperature. It hence allows you to adjust the temperature to the perfect one for better-smoked flavour results.
- Large smoking space
- Easy to clean due to the availability of the ash collection system and the coating on the smoking grates.
- In case you need to move the smoker, it does not have wheels.
#5 Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Charcoal smoker
Like our second rated best charcoal smoker grill, the Kamado charcoal smoker takes advantage of a high ability to retain heat. Smokers are versatile, and you work according to expectations. The smoker is built to last. It is constructed of 22gauge solid steel construction with its exterior made of powder-coated steel, enabling it to retain heat. The interior is porcelain coated steel to allow even distribution of heat within the smoker.
Because of this construction, the smoker can easily maintain temperatures between 200⁰ and 700⁰ Fahrenheit without any fluctuations. Thus, making it great for all its functions, be it high-heat smoking or slow roasting. More so, this construction allows the user to save money on buying fuel, charcoal, as it uses less energy to attain higher temperatures.
In addition to maintaining temperature, the smoker has got two adjustable dampers, one at the top to maintain airflow and heat control with the help of a built-in temperature gauge to display the inside temperature.
On the outside are the lid’s locking feature, which stops heat from escaping out of the smoker. The bottom dampers allow airflow into and through the whole system of the smoker, starting from the fuel to the smoking area.
When it comes to capacity, enjoy smoking your whole turkey within 314 square inches of cast iron grill space and a 133 square inch removable warming rack allowing you have a lot of ribs smoked at once. When the warming rack is not in use, it can be removed from the smoker.
Furthermore, the smoker provides more working space from the two side shelves. Here, you can place your utensils, spatulas. Also, it has hooks where you can still hang your pans. Best of all, these shelves are foldable when not in use.
For mobility, the charcoal smoker has two large 8-inch front wheels and a rear locking caster wheel, which assist the user in moving the smoker from one place to another. It also has a dump ash pan that collects the ash during grilling or smoking, making it easy to clean the smoker.
Let us sear steaks at a temperature greater than 450oF with the Akorn Kamado charcoal grill, which can withstand this high temperature with ease.
- Very easy to maintain the temperature.
- Uses less fuel.
- Highly durable.
- Large smoking capacity.
- Additional working space.
- It is a bit pricey.
#6 Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker
The Char-Broil vertical offset smoker uses a principle of indirect smoking, but with the use of the firebox directly, you can grill, BBQ. It features 290 square inches for cooking surface enough for having about 18 burgers and 140 square inches in the firebox for grilling and BBQ in a total; it has a capacity of 430 square inches. In addition to that space, it has got a side free shelve where you can place your cooking tools while you do smoke or the already finished meat.
Smokers cooking grates are Porcelain-coated, which makes them easy to clean and resistant to rust, and this is accompanied by the door to the firebox, which makes ash removal very easy.
The availability of many dampers on the firebox and smoking box makes airflow to and away from the smoker very easy. Allow easy maintenance of the temperature and heat within the smoking chamber. To read out the temperature within the inside of the smoker, it has got a built-in temperature gauge, one which you can refer to, to tell whether you need to adjust the cooking temperature or not.
Moving the charcoal smoker from one place to another will be a walkover as it has got cool-touch handles and two large wheels for easy movement; however, some customers have complained about the handles becoming loose with time.
- Large cooking capacity.
- Easy to clean.
- It takes less time to assemble.
- The temperature near the firebox may get higher than that at the end of the smoker.
- Being an offset smoker, you may require more time to smoke.
#7 Weber Jumbo Portable Charcoal Smoker Grill
The weber jumbo is the go-to smoker when you are looking for portability. It has got it all!. It is light in weight with only 9.8 lbs, small, compact with enough smoking capacity, and handles for easy carrying. Are you a fun of moving from one barbeque spot to another, taking your smoker with you? Either in a private or public transport means? Then Weber Jumbo portable is the best charcoal smoker grill for you to buy.
The smoker features a Porcelain-enamelled lid and a bowl that can retain heat and is rust-resistant – even under high temperatures, it will never peel off.
Lid lock allows you to cover the smoker firmly when not in use or when maximizing the smoke inside, and at the same time, it acts as the holder of the lid no need to place it on the ground.
Additionally, the smoker has got dampers that help you control the temperature and heat within the smoking chamber. The Aluminium Ash Catcher collects the ashes as you smoke, making the cleaning process easy and fast. Feel free to pocket this portable smoker and grill to get addicted to charcoal smokers for all your outdoor activities.
- Very portable.
- Easy to assemble and use.
- Gets small for a bigger family or group.
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Different Types of Charcoal Smokers
Water/Bullet Charcoal smoker
They are named so because, in between, they hold a water pan that maintains the smoking temperature, and a bullet because of their shape that resembles a bullet. An example is the (Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker). The dome of these charcoal smokers, they have three sections. The very bottom one to carry the firebox where charcoal and wood chips are placed and lightened.
Above the firebox is the second section, which comprises the water pan which collects the excess water from the meat and maintains the temperature in the smoking area. Above the water pan is the grilling grates where one places their meat, vegetables, etc. for smoking.
Thumbs up to the water/bullet smokers as they do not allow your meat dry up due to the presence of the water pan, which adds moisture, and in case of any added flavour, it gets too to the meat. Bullet smokers are found to be easy to use and less expensive and easy to maintain.
Kamado Charcoal Smoker
A Kamado smoker, just like the Akorn Jr Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill, has a vertical design, just like the water/bullet charcoal smoker. However, the Kamado smoker is egg-shaped, with the bottom narrower than the top.
The first Kamado design was seen in Japan with the meaning of the stove” or “cooking range. Away from the regular bullet smokers, Kamado charcoal smokers are made from ceramic. It highly makes them tremendous outdoor ovens, also used for making your favourite pizza, smoking, and grilling.
Because they are made from ceramics, they can insulate, evenly distribute, and hold heat for a long time. This allows the user to use less charcoal throughout the smoking and grilling section.
This versatile smoker can be used as a grill at the same time maintaining temperature up to 750oF. The vent in the lower side of the smoker provides air to the fuel/charcoal. The vents at the top for air to exit the cooker. Temperature is controlled by adjusting these two vents, enabling you to maintain it in the smoking area.
Offset Barrel Charcoal Smoker
The main characteristic of offset smokers (e.g., the American Gourmet) is indirect smoking. In this case, the heat is not direct to the meat being smoked. The cooking chamber is horizontal barrel-shaped, with a lid connected to a firebox chamber for charcoal and wood chips.
As the smoke gets from the firebox, it passes over the smoked meat, delivers the flavour, and then to the exhaust pump. The most significant advantage of offset barrel smokers is easy to access to the firebox, adding charcoal and woods, allowing smoking not to be interrupted.
Both on the firebox and the cooking chamber, some vents allow in air and let out, respectively. This allows one to control the inside temperature. When the temperature shows a higher temperature, close the inlet vent, and open the outlet vent. And in case it is low, then open the inlet vent and close the outlet vent to maintain the temperature.
Vertical Cabinet Charcoal Smoker
Suitable for those aiming at saving space, just like the bullet/water charcoal smokers, the vertical smokers are vertical. Still, the firebox is away from the cooking chamber. The cooking chamber comprises more than one grilling racks arranged in the vertical set up, not like the horizontal offset.
A Dyna-Glo is one of the typical examples of vertical cabinet smokers; with the meat on the racks, you open the door to access it just like in the refrigerator. The addition of grill racks to the smoking area is possible, allowing it to provide/create a larger cooking capacity.
Features to Consider When Buying a Charcoal Smoker
Since charcoal smokers come in different price ranges, it is always good to know how much you are willing to spend on one.
Standard charcoal meat smokers are usually budget-friendly but may lack some features and accessories. Whereas the modified ones are a bit pricey but with extra features and more additions.
But while buying that smoker, remember the running expenses as some may consume more charcoal than you planned.
More so, charcoal smokers come in different sizes. Choosing the right size depends on the number of people you ought to prepare for meat using the smoker.
Having to prepare for a large group of people, then a charcoal smoker with a large capacity is good. And in case of a small family for your barbeque, then a smaller smoker is the best.
Some charcoal smokers may go for a lower price, but need a lot of charcoal to finish up smoking. Others are charcoal friendly because they require less charcoal to finish up smoking. When your smoker can enable you to use less charcoal, then you spend less.
Some people believe that for something to be portable, it should be small in size. I take it the other way if you are capable of moving your smoker from one place to the other with ease, then it is a portable smoker. Be whether big or small.
Bear in mind the portability of the charcoal smoker before buying it because you may need to move it. Unless when you got a permanent place for it. Some large smokers come with wheels that enable you to push it from one location to another with ease.
Brand and Build Quality
There are many brands of charcoal smokers on the market that come with different quality, high-end smokers such as Kamado smoker.
They have excellent quality since they have thick walls capable of maintaining temperatures within the smoking area with easy. Though they tend to be a bit pricey but worth the spend.
When buying, check the thickness of the racks, door, racks. Also, check the metal from which they are made from some metals that are prone to rust after some time.
Kind of high-end charcoal smokers has got more warranty years, such as four years compared to low-end smokers. That can go for only one year.
A more warranty gives you the ability to navigate your smoker. More so when it is your first time to use than when the warranty is shorter.
But also remember that some damages may not be fixed by the provider but may be granted paid-up assistance.
The introduction of modernized electric and gas smokers, coupled with the desire to get away from the labour-intensive and complicated traditional way of smoking while using charcoal or wood. This should not wholly drive us away from the advantages of charcoal smoking. Charcoal smokers give a more pleasant and robust flavour to your food than other types of meat smokers. Charcoal smokers remain the best when it comes to giving out the most robust smoke flavour to your food and fish.
As these smokers come in different sizes and from other brands, they will bear similarities. But, of course, with some differences, making it tricky for you to choose the best. Follow our guide to choosing the best charcoal smoker grill, which will give you what you expect. With the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill and smoker, you cannot go wrong.