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Best Electric Smokers: 8 Reliable Performers

In the world of barbecue, electric equals convenience, ease, and affordability. They’re the cheapest type of smoker, can hold a huge volume, and are perfect for beginners.

But, before you get too far into the research, we will point out that no matter how well made an electric smoker is, you simply cannot get the same sort of results that you’d get on an offset smoker, charcoal barbecue, or a pellet grill.

Without the flame provided by a real fire, you can’t get the chemical reactions you need to make really good bark or that same level of flavor infusion.

If you want the real deal in terms of meat but don’t want to have to work for it, a pellet smoker is a better (although generally a little bit more expensive) option. We even think they’re easier to use than an electric when it comes to smoking a whole brisket, racks of ribs, pork shoulder, or any other chunky cut. Check out our best pellet smokers under $500 review for compariably priced options.

That being said, electric smokers can still be worth their weight in gold and might be the best thing for you.

If you’re looking for the very cheapest way to smoke a lot of food, want to cook a whole heap of fish in one go, or want to make your own jerky, an electric smoker is a great solution.

If you’ve had a look already, there’s an insane number of electric smokers on the market and they pretty much all look the same. So, instead of chancing it on say, that one, choose from one of our tried and tested models.

These have been selected based on their performance, reliability, features, and affordability.

And, if you want dirt cheap, check out our review of the best electric smokers under $300 although you’ll see a few of those models featured here as well.

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Table of Contents

The Best Electric Smokers: Our Top Choices

How do you know if the box works or not? Choose from one of these tried and recommended electric smoker models. There’s something to fit all budgets and needs here.

BEST OVERALL

Masterbuilt 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

This electric smoker is by far THE most popular model out there.

We’ve owned one for a few years now and for a really great price, you get a basic but well-functioning digital electric smoker that can hold a fair bit of meat.

No, it’s not the best out there in terms of performance. The side wall insulation doesn’t do much about actually cold weather, the build quality definitely isn’t anything to rave about, and you have to be careful to never leave or run this thing in the rain, or water will get into the electric control panel (this can be fixed though).

But, looking at the big picture, this thing is pretty unbeatable in terms of value.

Our favorite thing about the Masterbuilt Digital is the side-loading wood chip port.

Adding Wood Chips to the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

This awesome design feature means that you never have to open the cooking chamber’s door, causing the cooking temperature to plummet, to add more wood chips.

Instead, simply slide the insert out, fill it with chips, pop it back in and turn.

One full load gives us anywhere between 30 – 60 minutes of smoke production depending on our cooking temperature and the type of wood chips used. And, you can easily tell when it’s time to top up because there won’t be any smoke coming from the top vent.

In terms of temperature regulation, the Masterbuilt Digital Electric does a fairly good job of staying steady so long as the weather is alright out.

We’ve successfully cooked whole briskets in here, many a rack of ribs, smoked chickens, sausages, and pulled pork. But, our favorite thing to do in here is salmon.

Hot Smoked Salmon on Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker 140B

The flavor is light but noticeable enough, and it cooks quickly so there’s no temperature struggles over long cooks.

White fish turns out great too.

And, if you want to cold smoke, the going with this Masterbuilt is the easiest way to do it. Just grab a Slow Smoker Attachment which slides into the wood chip port to cook cold with up to 6 hours of smoke production without having to lift a finger.

Pros
Cons
BEST VALUE

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

East Oak is a new brand on the block who are bringing some serious competition to the market with this model, the 30 Inch Digital Electric with Glass Door.

Bascially, they’ve taken every common electric smoker feature and one-upped it, throwing it altogether in a package with a red hot price on it. And, maybe it won’t stay this cheap for long. But, for now you’re getting a whole lot of electric smoker for your dollar.

Good viewing door on East Oak Electric smoker with window

Instead of the typical two-layer insulation, East Oak give you a third level of protection against the cold and the difference is noticeable. This electric smoker stays steadier than your average which, for us, translates to faster cook times.

And, instead of having to top the wood chips up every hour or so, the extra large wood chip holder that’s still side-loading, can go for 2.5 – 3 hours before having to add more.

Replenishing the wood chips so often really means that electric smokers aren’t totally set and forget but you’re one step closer to being very hands off with this East Oak. We’ve often left meat to cook beyond the 3 hour mark without any wood chips in there at all and the meat didn’t taste that different to a cook where we kept the smoke coming.

But, you’re also getting a full glass door with a built in light, and an included meat probe that plugs directly into the control panel. This lets you see exactly when your meat is done without having to fork out on a separate meat thermometer. It’s a decent savings and nice to have everything temperature related displayed on the one unit.

Although there’s no WiFi or Bluetooth (not that many electric smokers have that), this East Oak comes with a remote so that you can see and change the temperature from inside your house. It works well for the times when you’re feeling lazy or just don’t want to leave what you’re doing.

Topping it off, East Oak also give you a 3 year warranty.

You do need to register your unit within 90 days to get it. But, it’s a long guarantee for an electric smoker where they usually leave you high and dry after a year or two max.

The only real downside we’ve found with the East Oak is that there’s not a lot of height between the racks. So, while the total cooking capacity can be quite large if what you’re cooking is quite flat, you do need to whip a rack or two out for taller things like a whole chicken or even a big point end of a brisket.

Still, at the end of the day, we’re very happy with the East Oak and would even go so far as recommending it over the Masterbuilt Digital above although the brand isn’t as well established.

Pros
Cons
BEST BUDGET

Char-Broil Analog Electric

3.8/5

BBQ type: Electric smoker

Material: Insulated steel

Grates: Chromed wire

Capacity: 544 sq in.

Wattage: 1,200

Dimensions: 15″D x 20.7″W x 33.5″H

Price guide: $

Model: 18202076

Warranty: 1 year

If cheap is what you want then this electric smoker, the Char-Broil Analog Electric gives you decent performance at a rock-bottom price.

You’ve got all the standard and basic features like a latched door for a decent seal, side-wall insulation to improve temperature stability, and a water and wood chip tray.

Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker

The 1,200 watt heating element is powerful enough to get the smaller than average 544 square inches of cooking space up to temp. But, with an analog, don’t expect to be able to just set this smoker to a precise temperature and walk away.

You do need to make some general, higher or lower adjustments until the heat’s dialled in to where you want it. Judging it by the dial alone won’t cut it because you’ll need a higher dial position on colder days while less power might cut it for the mid-summer cook.

Unfortunately you do need to open that cooking chamber door to add more wood chips which will drop the temperature too.

But, if the only way you’re going to buy a smoker is by going cheap and you can’t push it the extra $50 or so more to go a Masterbuilt, this Char-Broil can cook some decent food. It’s smoky goodness without the bells and whistles and sometimes there’s nothing wrong with that.

Pros
Cons

Bradley BS611 Digital Electric Smoker - Best Set and Forget

Creating an appropriately smoky environment inside an electric smoker can be tricky and take a bit of practice. But, Bradley have made the whole process simple and healthier with their range of self-feeding electric smokers.

The BS611 works a bit differently to regular electric smokers. Instead of sitting a tray of wood chips over the heating element, there’s a separate smoke box that’s powered by it’s own heating element. Doing it this way gives more control over the cooking temperature and smoke levels while creating the cleanest, most consistent smoke for better flavor and reliable performance.

Like all Bradley Smokers, the BS611 burns their Natural Wood Smoking Bisquettes. Plug the smoker into the power, set the cooking temperature and load the bisquettes into the smoking box and you’re good to go for up to 9 hours. It really is set and forget smoking, especially if you’re using it with a wireless meat thermometer to monitor exactly how your cook is going from inside your house.

The BS611 is also fully insulated for great performance when the weather’s not so good. And, it’s stainless steel inside for better durability.

Specs for the Bradley BS611 Digital Smoker

Barbecue material: Stainless steel interior

Grate material: Stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 572 sq. in.

Fuel type: Digital electric

Temperature range: Up to 250°F

Wattage: 500 watt cooking element + 125 watt smoking element

Price guide: $

Model: BS611

Assembled size (in): 18(W) x 20(D) x 34(H)

Weight: 45 lbs

Warranty: 1 year

Pros of the Bradley Digital Smoker:

  • Makes the cleanest, healthiest and most consistently great smoke of all the electric smokers
  • True set and forget smoking solution with up to 9 hours of wood feeding
  • Stainless steel interior for improved durability
  • Insulated body improves performance and efficiency during the colder months
  • Can be used as a cold smoker

Cons of the Bradley Digital Smoker:

  • You need to buy the Bradley Bisquettes which are more expensive than regular wood chips. But, you can actually turn the smoking element off after a couple of hours (when the most smoke is absorbed) to reduce costs
  • The maximum temperature is lower than a lot of other electric smokers. It’s high enough to low and smoke well but if you’re planning on cranking it right up, this Bradley won’t do it
BEST HIGH QUALITY

Cookshack SuperSmoker SM045

4.8/5

BBQ type: Electric smoker

Material: Stainless steel

Grates: Nickle plated

Capacity: 756 sq in.

Wattage: 750

Dimensions: 19.5″D x 20.5″W x 35″H

Price guide: $$$

Model: SM045

Warranty: 2 years

This electric smoker looks industrial because it is. And, if you want actually good quality in an electric smoker, the looks are something you’ll have to compromise on.

Made from double walled stainless steel with 850°F Spin-Glas® insulation sandwiched in between, the Cookshack SuperSmoker stays cool to touch while giving your steadier temperatures that are less impacted by a bit of bad weather.

We’ve used it in almost freezing conditions without an issue.

Inside you’ve got three grates that are wide enough to fit a brisket. Unfortunately they’re nickle plated instead of stainless steel. But, everything else about this smoker is top quality.

One of our biggest pet peeves about electric smokers in general is that they’re not really set and forget because you have to keep going back to top up the wood chips. But, place a chunk or two of wood in the large box and the Cookshack should provide enough smoke to cook without having to open the door to replenish it.

Included in the price is also a wired meat probe that plugs into the control panel for seamless monitoring without having to buy a separate thermometer.

The SuperSmoke cooks as beautifully as an electric smoker can ever do. And, it’s made in the USA.

Pros
Cons
BEST CHEAPER HIGH END

Smokin-It #2

4.8/5

BBQ type: Electric smoker

Material: Stainless steel

Grates: Stainless steel

Capacity: 1,247 sq in.

Wattage: 800

Dimensions: 21.5″D x 17.25″W x 24″H

Price guide: $$

Model: #2

Warranty: 3 years

For a similar product to the Cookshack with similar performace but a significantly lower price, there’s the Smokin-It Model #2.

Like the Cookshack, this option isn’t pretty, but, at the moment, the industrial look is the only choice if you’re after an electric smoker that’s actually decently insulated.

With fiberglass sandwiched between 28-gauge, 201 stainless steel, a double latch door system, and a rheostat temperature controller, we found the Smokin-It stays within the stated +/- 30°F of your set target.

Rheostat temperature controller on Smokin-It #2

While the temperature doesn’t hold as steady as a newer, PID-style controller, this performance is pretty consistent even in cold weather so you know the insulation is doing it’s job well.

Unlike the Cookshack, you are getting stainless steel grilling racks which is nice to know they should stay in better shape over time. And, for the cheaper price of this model, you’re getting a larger cooking capacity with 1,247 square inches.

Just be aware that the racks do sit quite close together. With all the racks in, you don’t have enough height to cook a whole chicken or a brisket. But, if you’re loading it up with fish, sausages, jerky, or something else similar, you can fit a lot of meat in here.

Inside the Smokin It 2 Electric Smoker

You’ll notice that there’s no side loading wood chip port on this model either. Like the Cookshack, it’s designed to smoke with one or two large chunks of wood instead of chips. This makes the smoke last longer so you don’t need to fill it up mid-cook.

Smokin-It advise against using too much wood and we’d have to agree, going lighter on the volume with a stronger type of wood is a better if you want stronger flavor.

The #2 doesn’t have a probe port though so you will need your own meat thermometer if you want an easy way to check when your meat is perfectly cooked without having to open that door. Read about our favorite wireless probes if you’re interested.

Pros
Cons

Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker - Best For Fish

Smokehouse have been a fan favorite since they began in 1968. And, instead of trying to do it all, they’ve kept their range small, specialized and spot on.

The Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker is primarily designed for smoking fish. With one temperature setting of 165 degrees F, it’s basic, it’s no frills, and, it’s perfect for home-smoked salmon, trout and steelhead. But, it’s also great for jerky, cheese and sausages too (just to name a few…).

Using the Big Chief is easy! Load via the front access, plug it in and close the door. The consistent low temperature gives you certainty that you won’t overheat your food. It’s also been designed with premium smoke ventilation to make sure the smoke circulates correctly for maximum flavor and proper dehydration.

Lightweight and compact, the Big Chief is large enough to cook up to 50 pounds at a time.

It can be used to smoke heavier cuts like brisket and pork butt too. But, keep in mind that because of the low temperature, you’ll need to finish these larger cuts off in the oven to bring them up to a safe eating temperature after they’ve had their smoky treatment in here.

Specs for the Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker

Fuel type: Electric

Barbecue material: Aluminum

Grate material: Chrome-plated wire

Cooking capacity: 576 sq. in.

Wattage: 450 watts

Price guide: $

Model: Big Chief

Dimensions: 24.5(H) x 18(W) x 12(D)

Weight: 21lbs

Warranty: 2 years

Pros of the Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker:

  • Very easy to use with one setting for cold smoking
  • Ideal for smoking and dehydrating fish without overheating
  • Separate door for adding wood without disturbing temperature in the cooking chamber
  • Rust-resistant aluminum body
  • Can hold up to 50 lbs at a time
  • Lightweight and compact for easy storage
  • Inexpensive

Cons of the Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker:

  • Single temperature setting doesn’t give flexbility
  • Larger cuts of meat needs to be finished off in the oven to make sure they’ve reached a safe internal temperature

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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