The 10 Best Smokers

Updated April 18, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

10 Best Smokers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Attention, meat lovers: with one of these smokers, you can enjoy the rich flavor of restaurant-grade turkey, beef, sausage and jerky in the comfort of your own home -- and at a fraction of the price. The models on this list come in all different shapes and sizes, and are suitable for cooking everything from entire hogs, to your favorite vegetables (if you must). When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best smoker on Amazon.

10. Nordic Ware 365 Kettle

With an affordable price and a classy red enamel finish, the Nordic Ware 365 Kettle is a great alternative to large and messy industrial-grade units. It's perfect for making family meals indoors or out, on a grill or a stovetop.
  • dome cover accommodates big roasts
  • quick and easy to clean up
  • rather long cooking process
Brand Nordic Ware
Model 36550
Weight 7.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Char-Broil Big Easy

The Char-Broil Big Easy uses TRU-infrared technology to evenly cook turkey, ribs, roasts, or other cuts of meat in half the time it takes other units. Plus, all you need to add is wood pellets, as it doesn't require air dampers or a messy water pan.
  • can also roast and grill
  • holds up to 25 lbs of meat
  • overcooks food too easily
Brand Char-Broil
Model 12201570
Weight 45.4 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

8. Masterbuilt Digital

The Masterbuilt Digital offers an impressive 730 square inches of rack space, and utilizes a powerful 800-watt heating element that will cook your food to perfection. Its front-facing window design allows you to monitor your meat throughout the entire process.
  • racks are coated with chrome
  • includes remote control
  • inaccurate temperature readings
Brand Masterbuilt
Model 20077515
Weight 63.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Louisiana Grills Whole Hog

Designed exclusively for large-scale production, the Louisiana Grills Whole Hog can help make you famous for epic pig roasts and block parties. It features a one-of-a-kind broiling drawer to add a perfect sear to every item on the menu.
  • easy-to-use digital controls
  • uses quite a bit of electricity
  • priced solely for professionals
Brand Louisiana Grills Whole
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Char-Griller Table Top

The Char-Griller Table Top is a compact unit that can be used as a grill or a Texas-style smoker, or even as a side firebox for the company's larger cookers. On its own, it's perfect for camping or small backyard barbecues.
  • cast-iron cooking grates
  • removable ash pan for easy cleanup
  • somewhat difficult to control heat
Brand Char-Griller
Model 22424
Weight 41.9 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Cave Tools Smoker Box

The Cave Tools Smoker Box is a simple and easy way to turn your existing grill into a powerful barbecue tool. It offers complete control over the cooking process, although it takes considerably more attention to achieve the most thorough flavor.
  • must be the least expensive option
  • works best with charcoal
  • not a standalone solution
Brand Cave Tools
Model Smoker Box
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. SmokeHouse Big Chief

The SmokeHouse Big Chief is the absolutely most popular way to cold-smoke a variety of foods. It's incredibly easy for even beginners to use, as its thermostat is fixed at 165° Fahrenheit, the perfect temperature to maximize flavor penetration.
  • priced to fit into any budget
  • for outdoor use only
  • not designed to fully cook most food
Brand SmokeHouse
Model 9894-000-0000
Weight 21.5 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Green Mountain Davy Crockett

Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity makes the Green Mountain Davy Crockett the most versatile one on the market, eliminating the labor and heat loss associated with constantly checking the progress. Running on either 110v AC or 12v DC power, it's the ideal choice for tailgaters.
  • includes cover and tote bag
  • control from anywhere via the cloud
  • adjustable pellet feed and fan speed
Brand Green Mountain Grills
Model Davy Crockett
Weight 77.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Camp Chef SmokePro DLX

The Camp Chef SmokePro DLX is among the most feature-rich options available. Its precise digital controller and automatic pellet feed make it simple for beginners or experts to put the perfect bark on medium- to large-size cuts with ease.
  • ranges from 160 to 500 degrees
  • exclusive ash-cleaning lever system
  • hanging grease bucket prevents mess
Brand Camp Chef SmokePro DLX
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Weber Smokey Mountain

The Weber Smokey Mountain provides an authentic smokehouse flavor right in your own backyard -- and without requiring much square footage, either. Still, despite its small footprint, it's roomy enough to cook two whole turkeys or hams at once.
  • high-quality steel construction
  • handle is heat-resistant
  • industry-leading 10-yr warranty
Brand Weber
Model 731001
Weight 74 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Preserve The Flavors Of Summer

While preparing foods in an oven or microwave are helpful, the smoking process has a way of infusing them with a richness in flavor not experienced by simply broiling them using a conventional oven. A food smoker can provide you with that backyard barbecue taste with an added kick that rivals the quality of the smoked food you'll find in a restaurant.

The smoking process involves flavoring, cooking, and even preserving a variety of fish, meats, pork and poultry through prolonged exposure to the smoke produced from burning materials such as hickory, maple, cherry, oak, and other fragrant hardwoods. Additional materials burned in the smoking process can include pellets and charcoal. Smoking is accomplished in either hot or cold contexts.

Hot smoking is usually done at temperatures of at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit and is meant to simultaneously cook the food while infusing it with smoke flavor. Cold smoking is done at temperatures less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit in order to enhance a food's flavor while also creating a smoke barrier that prevents bacterial growth. This can help to preserve the food for extended periods of time. Foods are typically cured before undergoing the cold smoking process.

While smokers come in many different shapes and sizes, they fall into one of 4 general fuel categories, which include propane, electric, pellet, and charcoal. Similar to a gas grill, a propane smoker gets its fuel from an independent gas tank with its heat being generated by a gas-powered burner located directly under a steel or iron box containing the wood or charcoal for the smoke. Major advantages to the propane smoker include the consistency of its temperature when smoking foods in a controlled environment, its portability (i.e. to take on camping trips), and the low cost for replacement parts when needed. Electric smokers often leverage a two-box system that includes both a cooking and fire box.

The fire box is equipped with a powerful heating element and is usually adjacent to or underneath the cooking box. Both the heat and smoke produced in the fire box (by the heating element and desired flavor of wood) are transferred to the food box where they cook and smoke the food. Electric smokers are also built to maintain temperature consistency and ease of use. Pellet smokers use an auger system to feed compressed, cylindrical wood pellets into a small stove compartment. This type of smoker is controlled by a thermostat, which informs the auger system when to drop more pellets into the stove. The biggest advantage to a pellet smoker is that all of the heat used for the smoke comes from the wood itself, which leads to an authentic taste. Charcoal smokers operate in much the same way as pellet smokers. The main advantage to charcoal smokers is that they provide the most barbecue-like flavor to your foods in combination with the wood chosen.

Smoking Is A Choice

One of the most important decisions to make right off the bat is whether you prefer an electric or charcoal-style smoker. Assuming an electric unit has a good heating element, it will be easy to maintain proper operating temperatures through the use of a thermostat. The choice of hardwood is also a big consideration, since there are many different flavors available, each with their own unique qualities for pairing with different types of beef, poultry, pork, or fish.

The shape and design of the smoker one chooses can have an effect on the way the food ends up being prepared. For that reason, one must consider the types of food they choose to smoke, how often, and with what materials. An offset smoker, for example, closely resembles an outdoor barbecue and is characterized by a cylindrical-shaped cooking chamber connected via pipe to a smaller cylinder for the fire box where airflow is strictly controlled and used to both cook and flavor your food before it escapes through a rear exhaust vent.

If you like classic designs, then this can certainly do the trick. The upright drum smoker is also vertically-shaped and designed for pseudo-indirect hot smoking, thanks to its bottom charcoal basket and cooking racks covered by a vented lid. This can he helpful in situations where you might not have much room to do your smoking.

A vertical water smoker is similar in design to the drum smoker with the addition of a water bowl in between its fire and cooking racks. The water bowl helps to maintain consistent temperatures in the cooking chamber while also providing reliable humidity that condenses along with the smoke to enhance flavors during the smoking process. For that reason, if rich flavor is important to your meals, a water smoker can be a powerful asset.

A Brief History Of The Smoker

Smoking foods as a way to preserve and enhance flavors has been around since the time of our ancient ancestors. In these times, meat was often hung to dry and when it began to take on the flavors of the smoke from nearby fires, early humans realized the smoke's ability to help preserve and enhance the way their food tasted. This process was eventually combined with curing food in salt, leading to an effective preservation process that has been adapted and developed worldwide ever since.

In 1939, a device called the Torry Kiln was invented at the Torry Research Station in Scotland, which allowed for uniform mass-smoking. The kiln was considered the very first prototype for all modern large-scale commercial smokers.

Since the 1930s, additional refinements and enhancements have been made to both commercial and home-style smokers, however the fundamental principals through which every model type operates has essentially remained the same.

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Last updated on April 18, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

A traveling chef, musician, and student of the English language, Chris can be found promoting facts and perfect copy around the globe, from dense urban centers to remote mountaintops. In his free time he revels in dispelling pseudoscience, while at night he dreams of modern technology, world peace, and the Oxford comma.

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