Meat smokers come in different types based on fuel type. It could be an electric smoker, charcoal, pellet, or gas. The primary difference they carry is the fuel type. In our recent review about the best meat smokers, the overall meat smoker was an electric smoker. There is something great about these smokers. More especially when it comes to their easy steps during usage. Having decided that you want to buy the best electric smoker, here, we take you through the different smokers. Choosing from any of our recommendations will make your smoking fun and fast, without any difficulty.
Here are our top picks for the best electric smoker
We independently select all the products featured on our “best lists”. When you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.
- The best electric smoker overall Masterbuilt-MB20071117
- Editor’s Choice: Bradley BTDS76P digital electric smoker
- Best Analog electric smoker: Char-Broil analog electric smoker
- Best large capacity electric smoker: Masterbuilt-MB20073519 Bluetooth digital electric
- Wide temperature range electric smoker: Cuisinart COS-330 electric smoker
Our Full Reviews of The Above ELECTRIC Meat Smokers
#1: Masterbuilt-MB20071117 Digital-Electric Smoker
Masterbuilt-MB20071117 digital electric smoker took the “overall best” spot in our article on best meat smokers. Here again, it takes the trophy for “overall best electric smoker”. The smoker is extremely easy to use. So, for those who are worried that it is their first time to smoke, a Masterbuilt electric smoker is a perfect option for you.
It has got a digital “on-and-off” temperature control, in that, when the set time is reached, the smoker automatically switches itself off. Plus, when the set temperature is achieved, then it will automatically maintain that temperature.
More so, this digital temperature control will maintain the temperature within the temperature range of the smoker ranging from 100 to 275oF, allowing you to barbeque all kinds of foods. Thumbs up to the manufacture, who chose aluminum as the surface of choice in the interior Masterbuilt-MB20071117 digital electric smoker. Aluminum is known to retain heat for a more extended time, enabling you to keep your meat warm for some time even when the smoker is off.
When it comes to capacity, Masterbuilt-MB20071117 digital electric smoker has got four grill racks, enough to smoke two turkeys or four pork butts at once with ease. Therefore, the smoker is great for all kinds of crowds you wish to cook for and serve meat or chicken. While smoking using Masterbuilt-MB20071117 digital electric smoker, you can add wood chips without having to open the smoker. This is because the smoker is equipped with a wood loading system that can easily be accessed from outside.
Also, for added flavour and moisture to your meat, the smoker has got a water bowl where you can mix extra flavour to get to your meat. At the top of the smoker, there is an air damper to help let out some smoke and heat. With the stainless-steel coating on the outside of the smoker, it is straightforward to clean and maintain the Masterbuilt electric smoker.
If you chose to get yourself the Masterbuilt-MB20071117 digital electric smoker, there are two models with almost the same features. The 30” and the 40” models, which differ in only the heating element output and the smoking capacity. The 30” models have got an output of 800 watts, whereas the 40 model has an output of 1200 watts. So, your choice depends on how much you need to prepare with this smoker; they serve the same purpose.
#2: Bradley BTDS76P Digital
When it comes to quality, Bradley smoker will be a great choice for you. Owning the Bradley digital electric smoker makes you forget that you are new to the smoking field. There is no guesswork while using the smoker. It is highly recommended for those just starting their smoking journey even for those already in the field.
It is made up of a powder epoxy steel and polished stainless-steel interior. This makes it easy for you to clean. Also, to ensure that you stay with your smoker for a more extended period while ensuring you high-quality meals, the stainless interior is hard to rust, it has got a diffuse smoke system. With the help of the diffuse smoke system, smoke keeps on moving, eliminating out the dirty one without letting it on your meat.
The Bradley digital electric smoker has got four grill racks, enough to prepare two full turkeys at once, and other kinds of food such as smoking chicken, fish, pork butt, and vegetables can be made with this smoker. With this outdoor barbecue smoker, you can entirely digitally control temperature, time, and smoke within the smoker. This can be done with the help of the digital generator, which is removable for storage during wet weather.
The addition of wood chips is digitally controlled as you place the wood chunks, wood chips, or pellets in the chopper. The smoker will then automatically move these woods inside to generate smoke. This process can be run for over 8 hours without you having to monitor the smoker; Bradley also has special wood smoking bisquettes (Bradley Flavor Bisquettes), which, if used in the smoker, will add a fantastic smoked taste to your meet. These special wood smoking bisquettes never burn to ashes. They are extinguished out of the smoker hence avoiding any possible chemicals from burnt ashes.
High-temperature consistency from the heating element while using the smoker is expected, ranging up to 320oF, which allows you to prepare a variety of foods.
#3: Char-Broil Analog
Are you looking for an electric meat smoker, which will be a good value for your money? The Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker is a great deal for you. It has got a large smoking capacity of 544 square inches across three chrome-plated cooking grates. The electric smoker has got an insulated cooking chamber, saving you from electrical shocks. Equipped with a large capacity wood chip box, Char-Broil Analog electric smoker allows one to smoke with less refiling of the woods.
Dirty smoke is let outside by two dampers on the top of the smoker. A water pan in the smoker allows maintenance of even temperatures and smoky flavor within the meat. Additionally, the water in the pan adds moisture to your meat, hence not drying out, and the removable drip tray holds the grease and water from the meat.
While cooking with Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker, you can easily monitor the internal temperature to ensure your meat does not burn out. This is made possible thanks to the door-mounted temperature gauge. It houses a heavy-duty heating element with an output of 1200watts.
Furthermore, the construction of all the features of this electric smoker guarantees you a long-lasting analog electric smoker, which comes with a one-year warranty. Let us prepare great-tasting meals for our families and friends with the Analog Electric Smoker at a lower price.
With advances in technology, Masterbuilt has come up with innovations helping those who would want to control their smokers while they watch their TV screens or cleaning the house. The Masterbuilt-MB20073519-Bluetooth-Digital-Electric smoker can be controlled at a distance using your phone’s Bluetooth connection with the meat smoker.
Adjust both cooking and meat temperature, time, power on or off the electric smoker using this application on your phone. More so, the smoker houses four chrome-coated racks that can handle all forms of meat/food. The smoker also has a wood loading system on the sides for loading wood chips, even when the door is not opened.
Masterbuilt MB20073519 Bluetooth Digital electric smoker has got a built-in temperature probe to monitor the temperature of your meat with a thermostat connected to an 800watt heating element that evenly controls the temperature inside the smoker.
Just like the Masterbuilt- MB20071117 Digital-Electric, the Bluetooth digital smoker has got two models; the 30inch and the 40 inches, with the 40 having a bigger capacity than the 30. Therefore, so the choice will still depend on how many people you hope to invite and serve food prepared using the smoker. However, both have the same maximum temperature of 275oF.
#5: Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Smoker
For a great BBQ, smoking, or grilling, the Cuisinart-COS-330 Electric Smoker will significantly do it for you. Inside the smoker, you find three grill racks, which are easy to clean with a capacity of 548 square inches. The first rack can hold two full turkeys; then, on the other shelves, you can place meat, vegetables, and then have the whole BBQ meal prepared at once.
The electric smoker has got a dial-style thermostat and a 1500-watt heating element, which quickly generates temperatures from 100 to 400°F. An easy-to-read thermometer on the front door helps you to monitor the internal temperatures briefly. So, when you plug in your cord, switch on the smoker, continue with your work, this will be done automatically.
Above the heating element, there is a water tray where you add cold water before you start smoking or grill, which helps to moisture your meat. A wood chip tray large enough to hold enough wood chips, which add extra smoke flavour to your meat, is located beside the wood tray.
Due to the wide temperature range of 100 to 400 oF the oven can smoke/ grill/bbq a wide variety of foods, starting from vegetables, beef, pork, chicken, ribs, seafood, fish, significant cuts of meat using your lovely knife, and whole turkey.
To use this smoker, you don’t require any experience as the smoker is user friendly. The operation steps are straight forward – Add your food, add wood chips and water to their respective trays, then set the temperature and forget it for some long hours enjoying you’re your family and friends. Enjoy a great time with your family and friends while using this great electric meat smoker.
How do electric smokers work?
Just like the heat produced from the combustion of gas, charcoal, pellets for the other meat smokers, heat for an electric smoker is obtained from heating a metal rod called the heating element when plugged into a socket. All the smokers generate the smoke from the wood chips added to the wood chamber above the heating element in the electric smoker.
The smoker comprises of a cooking chamber, an electric heating element, grill racks, a water pan, and the portion for wood chips to produce smoke when the element heats up which gives meat its smoky flavour. Place the chicken in the cooking chamber on the grill racks, add water to the water pan, wood to the wood section above the heating element, turn on the switch of the component to heat up to start smoking.
What to Find in the Electric Smoker?
90% of electric smokers I have come across are have got a vertical design with the fuel source, which is the heating element at the bottom of the smoker. It means that the heat travels from down to the top of the meat smoker. The following are the components of the electric meat smoker in order.
The heating element which is in the coil, straight or strip of wires form is found at the very bottom of the meat smoker, which when electrical current passes through it usually glows red hot to generate heat and then spread within the smoker.
Wood Chip Chamber or Tray
Since the heating element only generates heat, a wood chip tray is placed just above it for placing wood chips, pellets, or chunks which when heated, they create enough smoke for your meat. Some people can still smoke without the addition of these wood chips depends on the strength of the smoke one needs. Many different wood chips can produce the right amount of smoke for a more fabulous flavour.
Just above the wood chip tray is the water pan where cold water is added to prevent the temperature from over rising within the smoking chamber. More so, the water adds humidity to the smoked meat, keeping the surface of your meat from drying completely.
To start smoking, the meat is placed either directly on racks or placed on the skillet, which is then placed on the grill racks. Electric smokers usually come with stainless steel racks placed in the smoking area, which are very easy to clean.
Dampers located at the bottom and the top of the electric smoker, control the smoking temperature inside the smoker. The damper located near the fuel source is used to manage the oxygen intake. To increase the temperature, increase oxygen intake by fully opening the intake chamber and then to lower the temperature partially open it.
The damper on top to the meat smoker is to let out some heat from the electric smoker, and in most cases, it should be left open all the time. Some heat during smoking can be let out by opening the door.
Smoking Tips While Using an Electric Meat Smoker
Grill Rack Seasoning
Seasoning your grill racks may be regarded a waste of time, but no! To help your meat get off the racks fast without sticking, seasoning the grill racks is a must. This is a great option. Add a little cooking oil to your shelves. Put some wood chips on the wood tray and run the smoker for about 10 minutes.
It is done at a temperature of 257oF. But if it is the first time to use the smoker, do this for like 2 hours, such that you let out any coating residue on the grill racks and any chemical within the smoker. Addition of woods gives your smoker a new smell, ready to place in your meat.
Use Wood Chips
Several electric smokers do not give that strong flavour you may need, so, to overcome that, they come with a wood chip tray where wood chips/ pellets are placed to generate smoke when heated.
Depending on the choice of wood chips, you choose their presence to add on flavour to your meat or chicken. Be mindful of the chips you buy some are for different meat whereas others are multipurpose. Add wood chips every 45 minutes depending on the heat within the smoker and the flavour you need on your meat. Time for the addition of wood may vary from one smoker to another.
Use of Temperature Probe
Most of the electric meat smokers come with a temperature gauge, though sometimes these are not fully effective in displaying the right temperature within the smoker.
You can always opt to buy your digital temperature probes which will be capable of showing you the right temperature within the smoking area for better results.
Control the Smoking Temperature
Different meat or food use different smoking temperatures so for better results always use the correct temperature. Soft meat like pork butt and vegetable requires a lower temperature compared with hard meat such as turkey and chicken require slightly higher heat.
Always monitor your temperature such that you do not exceed the required temperature for the food you are smoking.
Give Yourself Enough Time While Smoking
Since electric meat smokers smoke at a bit lower temperature compared to the charcoal, grill and gas smokers, always take some extra time while using the electric smoker so as your smoker flavour sticks on your meat.
This will also depend on what you are smoking. Just like smoking a brisket may take 1 hr, and 10 minutes, the smoking whole turkey may take more than this.
Keep Your Smoker Clean
As proper hygiene should be part of everything we use, same to the electric smoker after using it clean it to remove any food residue and prevent it from being a habitat for bacteria. Never leave your smoker dirty clean every after any smoking session.
Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Electric Smoker
Before buying any electric smokers, you need to find reasons why you need it, cost, type to purchase and many others. The following is our buying guide before you grab yourself a meat smoker.
Capacity and Size
These two factors usually move together when it comes to electric smokers. Just as many smokers may have more grill racks, but when you cannot fill in massive meat such as the whole turkey, then it will not be of good use buying such a smoker.
Go for a smoker with both more racks and adjustable ones so as you can change them for more significant foods. In case you prepare meat for functions or many people then go for a more substantial capacity electric smoker and those with few people then a small one but can fit the whole chicken or turkey then okay for you.
Ease of Use
The ease to use the electric smokers vary from model to model as different models have different designs with various features which you need to overcome to learn how to use the smoker.
Meat smokers come with user manuals that will take you through the whole process but still with some designs it might get hard to learn. Going for an electric smoker with removable racks, a wood tray, a see-through window for you to monitor the inside temperature and also a digital thermometer, I assure you this will ease your use.
Go for an electric smoker with a wide range of temperature. For example, ranging from 100 to 500 degrees F. This gives you a more extensive range of foods to smoke and grill. The temperature range will depend on the heating element of the meat smoker. So always check on the guide for the temperature range.
Modern electric smokers automatically control the smoking temperature, so this I guess will be a better smoker for everyone as you can continue with your work as you smoke just come to change the meat.
Owning a portable does not mean having a smaller smoker; it means owning a smoker that you can move from one place to another provided there is electricity. Have an electric smoker with wheels for smooth movement, long cord to get to the socket and light and easy to move.
Depending on your budget, electric smokers vary from lower to higher price range; this sometimes depends on the model, brand, extra accessories such as smoker with the remote control will be a bit pricey than the standard electric smoker.
However, affordable electric smokers are known for being long-lasting even with a few modern features such as a digital thermometer.
Before buying an electric smoker, also consider the period of warranty. I would advise you to go for an electric smoker with two years rather than a one-year warranty. especially when two options are presented.
It gives you a chance for the supplier to be accountable for any fault when using the electric smoker. But remember not all damages will be considered by the supplier. Try reading the user manual and know what can be compensated for and that which cannot be compensated.
Advantages of an electric smoker – Why You Should Go for an Electric Smoker
Unlike charcoal, gas meat smokers, electric smokers are said to be safer; they have an inbuilt in technology in that when the temperature of the smoking areas goes very high, they can switch off the heating element.
Less possible cases of electric shocks compared to the charcoal smoker where there are high chances of burning yourself while lighting or turning the charcoal.
It is straightforward to control the temperature of the electric smoker as most of the current electric smoker has a digital temperature probe which monitors and controls the temperature within the smoking area.
Also, they have got a water pan which helps to maintain the temperature constant within the smoker. With this feature, most people do opt for these smokers so as not to babysit the smoker while smoking.
More so, while smoking the inbuilt temperature gauge displays the used temperature. This allows you to adjust the one you need.
Very Easy to Use
A mere click on the switch lets your smoker start doing its job. It allows you to set the temperature and time at which you want to smoke. Hence, limiting your supervision time. The comfortable thing about using an electric smoker is that it guarantees you high quality smoked and grilled food.
Smoke and Grill Variety of Foods
Since an electric smoker has got a wide temperature range, grill and smoke a wide range of foods. Starting from the vegetables, soft meat and then to the hardest meat. Just as we mentioned about hot smoking and cold smoking, you do both two while using a meat smoker.
How to clean an electric smoker
#1 After using your smoker, let it first cool down
This will allow you to reach every component of the smoker without fear as they are no longer hot. However, you should not leave it for a long time as the debris will harden and become hard to remove.
#2 Pull out all the possible removable components
The smoker comprises some components that are removable. So, it is better to first remove them before the cleaning process starts. Normally the commonest removable components include a water pan, a drip tray, and racks that collect grease and debris from use. Place the components in a sink with hot water to soften the debris. Those which are dish washable you can put them in the dish waster.
#3 Clean the components: Using your scouring sponge and scraper you can now clean off the debris and any rust from them.
#4 Start cleaning the inside
To start cleaning the inside of the smoker, pour out the ashes from the cooking woods from the ask box. Place a small paper or cloth below the smoker to hold the debris from the inside of the smoker. Fully scrab the inside of the smoker including the windows, glasses, and corners of the smoker.
#5 You can now clean the outside
After cleaning the inside, you can now start cleaning the outside of the smoker using a damp cloth
#6 Dry the smoker. After the clean-up, you can now dry the whole smoker starting from the inside to the outside using a big wad of paper towels.
You can now put back the components to the smoker.
All you need is a perfect electric smoker which will give you a great taste of your smoked meat. Try one of our picks of the best electric smoker. I guess the Masterbuilt digital electric smoker will be a great choice regardless of your skill level. Electric smokers vary in sizes, prices and designs as well as come from several brands. Find that which is convenient for you and expect a better return from these electric smokers.