You may have had succulent slow smoked ribs or brisket at a restaurant or cookout and wondered if you could recreate that yourself. The only problem is you don’t know your way around a smoker or even want to do all the hard work that goes into the perfect smoked barbecue.
An electric smoker is just what you need to throw the perfect barbecue with minimal effort and expertise. Even if you are a professional chef, there is definitely something in the market for you too. Electric cookers come in all kinds of models and picking the right one can be a daunting process.
We have done the dirty work and selected the 8 best electric smokers for your consideration. Feel free to check our Buying Guide for more information on how to choose the perfect model yourself. We used the same criteria when ranking these smokers.
1. Cookshack SM025
2. Bradley Smoker BS916
3. Masterbuilt 20077515
4. Char-Broil Delux Smoker
5. Masterbuilt 20078715
6. Bradley Digital 6-Rack Smoker
7. Cuisinart COS-330
8. Smokehouse Products Little Chief
We recommend this for gourmet lovers and professional chefs. This is as close as you will get to charcoal or wood fed smoker on an electric model.
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Weight: 93 pounds
- Dimensions: 30.5 x 27 x 24 inches
Our number one pick for the best electric smoker is the Cookshack SM025 Smokette Elite. It comes with a high price tag which is difficult to justify by just looking at the appliance especially after reviewing the Bradley. What the Cookshack lacks in looks and technology it more than makes up in functionality.
The appliance is constructed with double walled stainless steel that easily outlasts any of the models featured in this review. The 850-degree fiberglass insulation also keeps the unit cool at high heat. You get 504 sq inches internal cooking space and two racks and a temperature control range of 100 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
The 750W element is built to last even when used consistently on the highest heat setting. The meat temperature probe is also restaurant-grade and gives you an accurate reading every time. Finally, the caster wheels make the unit easy to move when required. The downside is this model is very expensive.
Overall this unit is bare bones but does its job better than any reviewed so ever.
- High-quality construction
- Powerful heating element
- Accurate meat temperature probe
- Small size is not suitable for a large party
Bradley Smoker BS916
Overall this is a high-tech unit good enough for a professional cook. The downside is the appliance is pricey.
- Rack Area: 780 Sq Inches
- Weight: 58.75 pounds
- Dimensions: 41 x 21 x 17 inches
Now we get to the high-end electric smokers with this BRADLEY SMOKERS BS916. Its sleek stainless steel aesthetic is nice to look at while its thin design saves space. This BS916 is a true high-tech model.
The appliance connects to your Bluetooth device and allows you to control the temperature from your device using its iSmoke technology. Simply download the app and you can operate the appliance from your Smartphone or tablet.
The touch screen gives the smoker a futuristic appearance and interactive user experience. Here you can control smoking time and temperature. The unit will automatically shut off when it is finished cooking.
The two independent meat probes give you more control when cooking multiple dishes. You can independently monitor and control the temperature for brisket or roast on the top racks and sausages or fish on the bottom racks. 780 sq. inches of internal space and up to ten racks (6 come included with the appliance) is plenty for entertaining. The additional racks give you a total of 910 sq. inches.
- Bluetooth enabled; monitor and control progress from your smart device
- The interactive touch screen interface
- Up to 10 racks and 910 sq. inches interior space is great for parties
- Double temperature probes give you more control with versatile dishes
Overall this Masterbuilt is a great budget option for novice to intermediate cooks.
- Cooking Space: 730 sq inches
- Weight: 53.4 pounds
- Dimensions: 20.28 x 19.69 x 32.13 inches
Masterbuilt makes another appearance on our review and it is no surprise; this is a reliable brand that has made a name for itself in the outdoor cooking world.
The Masterbuilt 20077515 Front Controller Electric Smoker makes good all the shortcomings of the 20078715 model. It has a viewing window to check on the progress of your meal. You don’t have to just eyeball the meat’s progress; the remote control allows you to adjust the internal temperature and check the progress with the unit’s built-in meat probe.
The 800W heating element is good enough for the size of the unit while up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit will be sufficient for most smoking and grilling. This is a portable unit and the handle and rear wheels make it easy for one person to move it.
The downside is that an 800W heating element is still low for more experienced cooks.
- Decent interior cooking space is good for entertaining
- Handle and rear wheels make the unit easy to move
- In-built meat probe helps with cooking accuracy
- Relatively low power
Char-Broil Delux Smoker
Great budget electric smoker that comes with some great features that we haven’t seen yet in this review.
- Cooking Area: 725 sq inches
- Weight: 50.2 Pounds
- Dimensions: 16.5 x 18.1 x 32.5 inches
The Char-Broil Delux Digital Electric Smoker is a budget electric smoker that comes with some great features that we haven’t seen yet in this review. The glass door gives the unit good aesthetics and you can check on the food without opening the door and losing heat in the process.
The double-walled, insulated construction protects the interior temperature from swinging too much especially if it is cold outside. The digital controller displays the interior temperature as well as the meat temperature which we did not see in the Masterbuilt. The remote control also lets you see what’s going on in the smoker from up to 100 feet away.
The clamps on the door make all the difference keeping the heat and smoke inside where it should be. 725 sq. inches of interior space and four racks is enough to cook for up to 10 people.
The spacious smoke box holds enough wood chips to last up to 6 hours depending on the temperature setting. The main downside is the digital display can be difficult to read in direct sunlight.
- Interior space cooks for up to 10 people
- Built-in meat probe improves cooking accuracy
- The glass door has nice aesthetics
- Digital display can be hard to read in direct sunlight
This is the best value for money model in this review. You get all the basic features for a higher-end electric smoker at a fraction of the cost.
- Cooking Area: 730 sq inches
- Weight: 53 Pounds
- Dimensions: 20.28 x 19.69 x 32.13 inches
The Masterbuilt 20078715 Electrical Digital Smoker is a set-it-and-forget unit so it’s perfect for a novice cook looking for an affordable electric smoker that does its job competently.
The digital thermostat is easy to use with a temperature range of 100 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit which is plenty for most smoking and barbeque needs. The LCD display is a nice touch that shows the numbers clearly even in the sun.
The interior space is sufficient to cook for up to 10 people so it’s the perfect equipment for entertaining. The wood chip box is located outside so you don’t have to open the doors (which loses heat) to refill. The construction quality is decent for an outdoor smoker and doesn’t have wild temperature swings under normal conditions.
The main downside is this smoker is heavy for such a small unit and could be mobile with wheels underneath. All things considered, this is the best value for money model in this review. You get all the basic features for a higher-end electric smoker at a fraction of the cost.
- Good heat output
- Multiple useful accessories included
- Bubble wrap and rust proofing can be difficult to clean from wok
Bradley Digital 6-Rack Smoker
The Bradley Digital 6-Rack Smoker comes with more features than the other units reviewed so far and is a good electric smoker all round.
- Cooking Area: 780 sq inches
- Weight: 60.5 Pounds
- Dimensions: 11.5 x 15 x 33 inches
We liked the digital functions where you can control heat and smoke. There are also two timers, one to control the heat and the other smoke independently.
This model uses wood bisquettes instead of wood chips. Bisquettes are basically compressed sawdust that looks like hockey pucks and you can choose from pecan, mesquite, cherry, hickory, alder, apple, or a house blend. These burn more efficiently than wood chips and don’t turn to ash.
The interior of the unit is spacious and holds six racks and has a clean cooking process. High-temperature cooking ranges from 180 to 280 degrees Fahrenheit which is sufficient for most barbeques. This Bradley also supports cold smoking for smoking fish, ham or bacon.
The downside is this smoker has rather low power heating element (500W) for a 6-rack smoker. The temperature also tends to swing more than is desirable especially in windy locations. Overall this is a great electric smoker for amateur or intermediate cooks.
- The spacious 6-rack interior is sufficient for entertaining guests
- Clean cooking retains the natural food flavors
- Fuel burns efficiently
- Very easy to use; just set it and forget it
- Temperature swings in windy areas
- Low powered heating element for a six rack unit
This is a great, portable unit for small family dinners. The downside is the cooking space may be too small for large groups.
- Cooking Area: 548 sq inches
- Weight: 51.5 Pounds
- Dimensions: 22 x 19 x 37.5 inches
The Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Smoker is yet another budget option that offers far better functionality than the Smokehouse if you want to do more than just smoke vegetables and jerky.
The unit is easy on the eyes and looks more like a safe than a smoker. The temperature range of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit is better than you will get from most smokers in this price range.
Standard Paragraphs The analog thermometer on the front door lets you monitor the internal temperature while a temperature control knob allows you to manage of your cooking. The 548 – square inches internal space is sufficient for most family dinners.
This is a great, portable unit for small family dinners. The downside is the cooking space may be too small for large groups. This Cuisinart COS-330 also doesn’t have electric temperature control.
- The small, portable unit is convenient for cooking in limited space
- 3-year warranty
- Good temperature range for barbecue
- Manual temperature control can be hard to get exactly the right temperature
Smokehouse Products Little Chief
This is also a very limited unit and only appropriate if all you need is a small, portable smoker.
- Build Material: Aluminum
- Weight: 12 Pounds
- Dimensions: 11.5 x 11.5 x 24.5 inches
Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load Smoker is front loaded and can hold up to 25 pounds of food. You can use it right out of the box (after seasoning) with no assembly required. The unit cooks at a preset temperature of roughly 165 degrees Fahrenheit and packaging includes hickory flavored wood chips to get you started.
This is a very basic smoker that won’t handle large cuts of meat or barbeque. It works well with low-temperature smoking for cheeses, sausages, fish, vegetables, nuts, and jerky.
t is easy to operate and cleaning is straightforward. The unit weighs a little over 15 pounds so you can easily move or transport it if needed.
This is strictly a smoker and not a cooker. At the price, it does the job well for a smoker if nothing else. On the downside, the light aluminum construction makes it difficult to use in low outside temperatures. This is also a very limited unit and only appropriate if all you need is a small, portable smoker.
- Portable and lightweight easy to transport and store
- Easy to use, no assembly or temperature setting required.
- Lightweight construction makes it susceptible to outside temperatures
Electric Smoker Buyers Guide
An electric smoker is much like a traditional wood or charcoal smoker except, as the name suggests, runs on electricity. Electric smokers come with a control panel that makes it easier to cook with. Rather than control the temperature manually, simply program the cooking process on the control panel and allow the smoker to run.
Electric smokers use wood chips so you do not entirely lose the smoky flavor you are used to with the traditional smokers. The best part is some of these units can be used indoors which allows you to enjoy smoked barbecue all year round.
Advantages of Electric Smokers
Electric smokers have some advantages over traditional charcoal and wood smokers including;
- Require little supervision; you do not have to constantly check on the smoker to make sure you are not running out of fuel.
- Burn cleaner than charcoal smokers
- Easy to make the perfect barbecue even for novice cooks. Charcoal smokers require some experience.
Full control over temperature which is necessary for a great barbecue.
- Easier to maintain lower temperatures required for summer sausages, jerky, and slow and low cooking.
What to Look for in an Electric Smoker?
How do they work?
There are so many electric smokers on the market that it can be frustrating to pick the right one without some kind of checklist. As a rule, cheaper models don’t perform nearly as well as they should and have a short shelf-life. The best strategy is to invest money in a smoker that you will use for many years without problems. With that said; there are still many affordable models on the market. Below is what to look for when picking the best electric smoker.
Power translates to the amount of heat generated inside the smoker. Shoot for at least 800 watts for smaller units (700 sq. in.) and from 1200 watts for larger units (above 1000 sq. in.). Low power affects heat distribution and limits the cuts that you can cook in your smoker.
The two allies of a great smoked barbecue are temperature and time. Choose an electric smoker that lets you control both. A thermostat will ensure that you maintain a consistent temperature for the set time without having to interfere with the cooking process. A temperature gauge that lets you know what’s going on inside is also very useful.
Outside conditions affect the internal temperature of the unit. How much the inside temperature is affected by weather conditions entirely depends on how well insulated is the unit. Choose a well-insulated smoker to avoid temperature fluctuations that can affect the quality of your barbecue.
The size of the smoker depends on how many people you will be cooking for and the amount of space you have to allocate to the unit. Cooking space also goes hand in hand with the size of the smoker. Internal space generally comes in two, four or six-rack sizes.
Four-rack units are just the right size for most people.
Two-rack units are better for larger cuts of meat while the six-rack is good for smaller cuts and cooking vegetables.
More accessories often mean you have to pay more for your electric smoker. Some useful accessories include App to monitor the cooking process from your phone, refilling wood chips without opening the door, wheels and handle for mobility, meat temperature probe, and a remote control.
There is an electric smoker for everyone in this review. If all you want is to smoke vegetables, cheeses, jerky and nuts, then the Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load Smoker is a great, cheap option. The Masterbuilt 20078715 Electrical Digital Smoker gives the best value for money and is a model that even a professional chef would feel at home with.
If looking for a complete 21st century digital experience and have the budget to match then the BRADLEY SMOKERS BS916 walks the thin line between features and functionality. Finally, for people with no qualms about spending big bucks on the best electric smoker on the market, the Cookshack SM025 Smokette Elite is definitely the way to go. This is an appliance that a professional chef would approve and the quintessential slow-smoked enthusiast will fall in love with.
It is important to manage your expectations when cooking with electric smokers. You cannot replicate the crust, flavor profile, and smoke ring of a charcoal or wood-fed smoker even with the best electric model on the market. Still; these electric models come very close without all the hustle attached to cooking with a wood or charcoal smoker.