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Best Electric Smoker Under 300: These Cheapies Perform!

BEST OVERALL

Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker
Masterbuilt Digital
4.6/5

BEST VALUE

East Oak 30 Inch Electric Smoker
East Oak 30
4.6/5

BEST GLASS DOOR

East Oak 30 inch electric smoker with glass door
East Oak 30 Glass
4.7/5

BEST ANALOG

Cuisinart COS 330
Cuisinart COS-330
4.4/5

BEST FISH SMOKER

Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker
Smokehouse Big Chief
4/5

One of the best things about electric smoking is how cheap it is to get into. A few hundred bucks and you can buy yourself a really decent electric smoker.

But, if you’re looking for something that’s a guaranteed red-hot price, this is our list.

Here, you’ll find our thoughts on the best electric smoker under 300.

They’re still major brands, include all the must-have features and make at home smoking really easy. You’ll even notice that our overall winner takes the cake in our general, best electric smokers list too. So, you can choose from these with confidence.

And, if you do want to stretch the budget a bit, check out our top picks of electric smokers under $500.

We’ve also got a separate list just for small electric smokers if that’s what you’re after too.

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How We Tested the Best Electric Smokers Under 300

We love a good budget find so we really enjoy scouring the market for the bestest and cheapest products out there.

After compiling a list of the most popular, feature-filled electric smokers that fit into the under $300 (not on sale) category, we bought them, got them delivered, set them up, and then got testing.

Each smoker on this list was tested for the following factors over at least 5 separate cooks:

A consistent temperature makes it a lot easier to create those same great results next time.

So, we monitored the ambient cooking temperature with the wireless MEATER probes in all of these affordable electric smokers.

The MEATER automatically creates a graph of the ambient temperature reading throughout the entire cook which made it simple to find out which electric smokers keep the heat as steady as possible.

Most electric smokers require you to manually add wood chips pretty frequently to keep producing constant smoke throughout the cook.

Different models of electric smokers have different ways of doing this.

We made notes on how easy it was to add more wood chips, what effect it had on the temperature inside the smoker (if the door had to be opened), and how often wood chips needed to be added for optimal flavor.

Unfortunately, the sun isn’t always shining and you might still have a hankering for ribs, need to cook that turkey, or process your latest catch when the weather isn’t that crash hot.

In general, electric smokers do have a harder time performing in cold, wet, or windy conditions than some other types of smokers. As such, we tested each and every one in less than ideal conditions too which was easy for us because we get plenty of that where we live.

An electric smoker with an undersized heating element will often struggle to reach the target temperature and, as such, take longer to cook whatever you’re cooking than it would in a different type of smoker.

Because of this, we used the wireless MEATER thermometer to automatically record how long each cook took to compare the performance of the best electric smokers under 300.

It wouldn’t be a good smoker unless it made good food. So, using the MEATER thermometer app, we added photos of each cook we did on these smokers and added notes on how well they turned out.

This included paying attention to the depth of smoke rings, moisture levels, and how good the smoked flavor was.

Using the MEATER Block with the Mastrebuilt Digital Electric Smoker

For consistency, we cooked the same types of meats in each smoker, used our absolute favorite Hardcore Carnivore seasonings, and used the same method of wrapping our meat in butchers paper.

We also made notes on other helpful features of each particular smoker including any insulation, extra settings, and the quality of the seal.

You’ll also find the details of exactly how much food each of these tried and tested smokers can cook down below.

Table of Contents

The Best Electric Smoker Under 300: Our Top Choices

You want a deal, and you want something good. Good news is, you don’t even have to wait for one of these smokers to go on sale. They’re cheap and work like a charm.

BEST OVERALL

Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker

4.6/5

BBQ type: Electric smoker

Material: Insulated steel

Grates: Chromed wire

Capacity: 711 sq in.

Wattage: 800

Dimensions: 20″ W x 33″ H x 19″ D

Price guide: $

Model: MB20071117

Warranty: 1 year

After having owned and used this uber-popular Masterbuilt electric smoker for years, we’re still blown away at just how affordable this kind of performance is!

Yes, you can get fancier. But, the Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric smoker delivers all the basics in a value packed package that’s all you really need to smoke good food.

The digital temperature controller maintains a steady temperature throughout the cook. You’ve got a choice of two different capacities to suit your needs. And, the side loading wood chip port is a feature we just can’t live without.

Adding Wood Chips to the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

You’ll need to add more wood chips every hour or so to maintain the smoke levels inside this smoker. So, by being able to add wood chips without having to open the door, you’re maintaining the cooking chambers’ temperature for a steadier and faster cook.

In terms of negatives, at this price point we do find that the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker really isn’t an all-weather smoker. The side-wall insulation just isn’t enough for easy cooking in really cold conditions and ours struggles to reach and maintain a steady temperature, lengthening the cook time considerably.

Because the digital control panel is on top, it also cannot get wet. So, you’ll need to store it in the garage and have somewhere undercover to use if it’s raining.

Overall though, the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker is a solid performer that does a pretty decent job of anything you throw at it.

Hot Smoked Salmon on Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker 140B

There’s even a Slow Smoker Attachment which is one of our favorite cold smoking solutions. This can be added to the side port to automatically feed wood chips for up to 6 hours straight.

Pros
Cons
BEST VALUE

East Oak 30-inch Electric Smoker

4.6/5

BBQ type: Electric smoker

Material: Insulated steel

Grates: Chromed wire

Capacity: 725 sq in.

Wattage: 800

Dimensions: 17.56″ D x 18.97″ W x 32.44″ H

Price guide: $

Model: PES23002

Warranty: 3 years

East Oak are a newer company that specialise in everything outdoor including firepits, pizza ovens, and electric smokers. And, we’ve very impressed with their entry-level, budget-friendly model, the 30″ Electric Smoker.

The only reason this smoker hasn’t taken the spot as the best electric smoker under 300 overall is that it hasn’t been around that long so we’re waiting to see how it fairs long-term.

At first glance, it’s pretty similar to Masterbuilt’s Digital Electric in that it’s got side-wall insulation, the same sized 800 watt heating element, and a similar cooking capacity. But, where we really found it’s performance to be better was with East Oak’s side loading wood chip port.

side loading wood chip port on the East Oak 30 inch electric smoker

It’s that much stronger and more sturdy than Masterbuilt’s. And, inside of having to refill the wood chips every hour or so, the side loading port holds the goods better so you can fit more to create smoke for up to 3 hours, making this unit way more set and forget.

We found the temperature regulation to be very good as well. At most, the ambient cooking temperature measured about 15°F off from our target.

Although it is insulated, we still struggled a bit cooking during colder weather. But, I’d have to say this unit did have an easier time than the Masterbuilt.

Another plus of this unit versus the competition is the longer 3 year warranty. Electric smokers have electric components that are quite common to have problems with. So, having that cover for a longer period is reassuring.

Enter BURNINGBRISKET at East Oak’s checkout for 5% off all items, even if they’re on sale.

Pros
Cons
BEST GLASS DOOR

East Oak 30-inch Electric with Glass Door

4.7/5

BBQ type: Electric smoker

Material: Insulated steel

Grates: Chromed wire

Capacity: 725 sq in.

Wattage: 800

Dimensions: 17.56″ D x 18.97″ W x 32.44″ H

Price guide: $

Model: PES23001

Warranty: 3 years

Because we were so impressed with East Oak’s entry-level model, we wanted to see how their glass-fronted model performed and it ended up being our favorite.

This is the most expensive option on this list of the best electric smokers under 300. The technical specifications are the same. But, it’s got the full, glass door plus a built in light, giving you good visibility of what’s going on inside.

Good viewing door on East Oak Electric smoker with window

One other thing that makes this model worth the extra cash is that it has a remote so that you can operate everything on the control panel from inside your house if you want to.

There’s even a meat probe that plugs directly into the control panel so that you can monitor how your meat is going without having to buy a separate wireless meat thermometer. Unfortunately there’s no port to feed the probe wire through so we’re hoping that the door’s gasket handles the wire pressed up against it when it’s closed. We’ll update this review in good time.

In terms of performance, we really appreciate the fact that you only need to top up the wood chips every 2.5 – 3 hours. Because of needing to add wood chips, we feel that electric smokers aren’t really set and forget but, this one takes it that much closer to being a hands-off smoking experience.

The 800 watt heating element coupled with the side-wall insualation generates enough heat to give a stable temperature in most weather conditions.

And, there’s plenty of space for regular cooking, or bulk smoking your latest catch.

Enter BURNINGBRISKET at East Oak’s checkout for 5% off all items, even if they’re on sale.

Pros
Cons
BEST ANALOG

Cuisinart COS-330

4.4/5

BBQ type: Electric smoker

Material: Steel

Grates: Chromed wire

Capacity: 548 sq in.

Wattage: 1500

Dimensions: 22″ W x 37.5″ H x 19″ D

Price guide: $

Model: COS-330

Warranty: 3 years

If you already know Cuisinart for quality in the kitchen, just carry that same impression over to their range of smokers. The Cuisinart COS-330 keeps things simple and effective with plenty of space, lots of power, and an impressively high-quality build, especially for the price.

Holding 548 square inches of cooking space, split over 3 racks, you can load up heavy, or adjust your setup to hold a whole turkey.

Cuisinart COS-330 Loaded Up

We personally find the old school analog dial harder to use than digital ones, although we do see how some people would prefer them. But, the powerful 1,500 watt heating element is plenty to heat the cooking space easily in good weather conditions. There’s no side-wall insulation so it does struggle when it’s cold or windy out.

The biggest issue we’ve got with this smoker is that to add more wood chips (which you’ll need to do every hour or so), you have to open the single, cooking chamber door. This had a huge impact on the temperature inside and the COS-330 will take a while to get back up to temp again.

But, the warranty is 3 years versus the really limited 1 year that Masterbuilt offers. So, with good meals we’ve cooked on here, this model is a decent contender in the under $300 price range.

Pros
Cons
BEST FISH SMOKER

Smokehouse Big Chief

4/5

BBQ type: Electric smoker

Material: Aluminum

Grates: Chromed wire

Capacity: 576 sq in.

Wattage: 450

Dimensions: 24.5 H x 18 W x 12 D

Price guide: $

Model: Big Chief

Warranty: 2 years

An absolute bargain for anyone who wants an electric smoker to primarily cook things like fish, jerky, and sausages, the Smokehouse Big Chief is built just for this.

With one temperature setting of 165°F, it’s very low and very slow so you don’t burn those more delicate foods. But, it’s careful layout also creates exactly the right type of smoke ventilation you need for maximum flavor and proper dehydration. The flavor is amazing!

Smoke production from Big Chief electric smoker

More compact and lightweight than other alternatives, you can up and go with the Big Chief on fishing trips to smoke up to 50 pounds of meat at a time. But, there’s also a smaller version, the Little Chief if even more compact is your priority.

We found that the wood chip pan needed to be topped up every hour or so. But, there’s a hinged flap to lift up and top up the included pan without having to open the main door which would let the heat out.

Because it’s our job to try it, we also tested out the Big Chief on cooking heavier cuts of meat including a pork butt and sliced brisket.

For safety, these meats have to be finished off in the oven to bring their internal temperature up to the recommended level. But, we did like the smoky flavor we got from cooking them for the first few hours in the Big Chief. However, we’d recommend sticking to fish and lighter foods instead of mucking around switching larger cuts of meat between the smoker and the oven.

Pros
Cons

What to Expect in the Best Electric Smoker Under 300

Under $300 is probably the cheapest smoker of any type that you’re going to be able to buy.

But, the good news is that electric smokers are quite a basic type of barbecue so, picking one up for under $300 is possible, and, won’t just get you a pile of rubbish that can’t cook anything worth eating.

An electric smoker under $300 will look like a pretty basic box with basic digital temperature controls, a heating element that’s just strong enough to get the job done, and a reasonable 700 square inch capacity.

In this price range don’t expect Bluetooth connectivity, remote control, automated wood feeding systems or actually decent insulation.

But, if your budget is limited, $300 really is enough to get you a basic electric smoker that can turn out some darn good food.

What to Look for When Buying A Cheap Electric Smoker

Some of the cheap electric smokers out there really aren’t worth the cash. So, either buy from this list of our tried and tested budget electric smokers, or look for the following features at a minimum:

800 watts is really about the minimum power level you’d want to heat an average 700 square inch smoker without struggling. More is obviously good, but, 800 should do a pretty decent job.

If you want to be able to smoke during winter, or cooler spring and fall months then you’ll want your electric smoker to at least have basic side-wall insulation.

This will help to hold the heat in and keep the cold out so that the heating element doesn’t have to work as hard to reach and maintain a steady temperature.

Most electric smokers are only going to fit one decently sized cut of meat. You might get two fillets of fish on a single rack. But, think about what you want to cook and how much of it and make sure the smoker you’re looking at has enough space.

Opening the cooking chamber door on an electric smoker significantly drops the temperature. And, it takes the heating element a good long while to get the temperature back up there.

Unfortunately, wood chips need to be replenished pretty frequently, like every hour or so. So, getting a smoker that’s got a side loading wood chip port to add more wood without having to open the cooking chamber door will save you from accidentally extending your total cook time.

Electric components are more susceptible to problems. And, cheap units are too. So, grab something that’s got a decent warranty behind it to give you peace of mind that any problems that do pop up will be taken care of without costing you more cash.

FAQs About the Best Electric Smoker Under $300

Yes, you sure can get an electric smoker that makes some decent meat for under $300.

Electric smokers are one of the cheapest types of smokers you can get. So, although they can get much more expensive, check out our tested and approved cheap electric smokers for a guaranteed goodie.

Masterbuilt are the biggest brand in electric smokers. They have a huge range. And, while the quality isn’t the best out there, you can expect decent quality that works well at a great price.

Char Broil do make some of the cheapest electric smokers. But, after putting them to the test against other brands, we do have to say that we like the quality and performance of Masterbuilt and East Oak better than any of the Char Broil models.

Kate Brown, the founder and voice behind Burning Brisket, is not your typical pitmaster or restaurateur. Her expertise in barbecue grew from a humble desire to cook exceptional meals for her family. From overcoming burnt brisket mishaps to establishing her boutique cattle ranch, Kate shares her passion to help 'ordinary' individuals cook extraordinary barbecue, believing that simplicity often yields the best flavors. Kate is commited to making great barbecue accessible to all with the right resources and some tasty practice.

About Burning Brisket

Burning Brisket is one of the leading, independent authorities on all things barbecue. Family-owned and run, it's our mission uncomplicate the art of smoking to help you enjoy making incredible food at home for your family and friends to create memories over.

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