There’s nothing like being able to barbecue on the go. Good times with good people eating great food is a recipe for making memories. But, of course you need a decent portable smoker to make that a reality. Whether you’re looking for a new ‘cue for a weekly beach cook-up, taking camping or to a tailgate, this article gives you choice with the best portable smokers for 2020.
All of these smokers have been chosen based on their performance, portability, our own experience and customer feedback. So, take your pick and grab yourself a new ‘cue for this weekend.
The Best Portable Smokers for 2020
Kamado Joe Jr - Best Premium
Masterbuilt Patio-2-Portable Electric Smoker - Best Electric
Traeger Tailgater - Best Pellet
Broil King Keg - Best Tailgater
Char-Griller Akorn Jr - Best Kamado
Masterbuilt Patio-2-Portable Propane - Best Propane
Camerons Stovetop Smoker - Best Smoker Box
Best Portable Charcoal Smoker:
Weber Smokey Mountain 14" Cooker
When it comes to portability, you simply can’t go past a good old charcoal barbecue. And, what could be better than the top rated smoker from the industry leader, Weber?
The Smokey Mountain Cooker is both high-quality and easy to use making this ‘cue perfect for on the go cooking in any environment. Made from a porcelain-enameled shell with rust-resistant dampers and a sturdy built-in stand, the Smokey Mountain should long outlive it’s generous 10 year warranty. And, the large, removable fuel door coupled with this easy to wipe down interior, make it so easy to clean when you’re ready to pack up and hit the road.
Available in three sizes from the easily portable 14″ to the 22″ monster, this competition-winning smoker makes use of it’s vertical design to speed up cook times so there’s less waiting for your hungry entourage to do.
Stats for the Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Cooker 14"
Fuel type: Charocal
Barbecue material: Porcelain-enameled steel
Grate material: Plated steel
Cooking capacity: 286 sq. in.
Dimensions: 31.4(H) x 14.7(W) x 14.7(D)
Warranty: 10 years on bowl and lid, 5 years on plastics and cleaning system, 2 years on remaining parts
Pros of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker 14″:
- Top value for money
- Durable construction that’ll see you through years and years of cooking at home or on the go
- Small footprint compared to it’s decent cooking capacity
- Easy to clean
- Large, removable fuel door makes it easy to add charcoal and wood without having to move the meat or let smoke and heat out
- Two high-quality dampers make it easy to control the temperature
- Built-in temperature gauge for accurate feedback
- Compatible with the iGrill 2 for real-time updates on your internal meat temperature sent directly to your smartphone
- Backed by a 10 year warranty
Cons of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker 14″:
- There’s no system for hanging the lid while it’s off so you’ll have to find somewhere to put it down safely
- Expect some smoke leakage around the door but this doesn’t affect the quality of the results
Best Premium Portable Smoker:
Kamado Joe Jr.
If a portable smoker that’s going to last and last and last is on your requirements list, check out the Kamado Joe Jr. This mini ceramic barbecue is versatile, easy to use and will stand the test of time.
Measuring about 20 inches by 20 inches, it’s small enough to transport but still offers a decent 148 square inches of cooking space. And, if you don’t know what the numbers mean, that’s enough to cook 4 burgers, 3 large steaks or even a small chicken or pork butt at a time.
Even though the Kamado Joe Jr is made from high-quality, cool-touch ceramic, this smaller version only weighs 68 pounds. And, it’ll still give you the excellent heat retention you’d expect from any of the best kamados or the rest of the Kamado Joe range.
Coming complete with a sturdy stand, a built-in temperature gauge, rust-resistant stainless steel racks and an ash cleaning tool, the Joe Jr is easy to use whether you’re a beginner or advanced. There’s also no reason why you couldn’t use this ‘cue at home too. We’ve even seen it built into outdoor kitchens for anyone who doesn’t need a huge size but wants an affordable and good quality smoker and grill.
Stats for the Kamado Joe Jr.
Barbecue material: Glazed ceramic
Grate material: 304 stainless steel
Cooking capacity: 148 sq. in.
Fuel type: Charcoal
Heat Range: 225°F – 750°F
Model: Joe Jr
Dimensions: 19.75″ W x 27″ H x 20.75″ D (with stand)
Warranty: Lifetime on ceramics, 5 years on metal parts, 3 years on heat deflector and pizza stone, 1 year on thermometer and gasket
Pros of the Kamado Joe Jr:
- High-quality barbecue that’s portable and durable
- Suitable for grilling, smoking, baking and roasting
- Smaller size and lighter weight makes it easy to transport in the trunk
- Fuel efficient
- Quality gasket gives good seal that doesn’t leak smoke
- Easy to use
- Hinged lid makes it easy to lift and doesn’t need to be put down anywhere
- Rust-resistant stainless steel grates will last a long time with proper care
- Sturdy stand that can be used on a table top or directly on the ground
- Comes with a heat deflector plate for low and slow cooking
- Cleaning up is easy thanks to the ash clean-out tool
- Industry-leading warranty
Cons of the Kamado Joe Jr:
- None – we love the Joe Jr!
Best Portable Electric Smoker:
Masterbuilt Patio 2 Portable Electric Smoker
If the cleanliness of electric fuel appeals to you, or, you’re looking for a smoker that’s ideal for RV life, the Masterbuilt Patio-2-Portable is a solid little ‘cue that’s dependable and easy to use.
Measuring 23 by 23 inches, you’ll have 280 square inches of space to mess around with and the Patio-2-Portable couldn’t be any easier to use. Simply plug into your regular power or use an inverter to connect up to your car, set the analog temperature gauge and load it up. With a dual tray design; one for water and one for wood chips, plus a powerful 1,400 watt heating element, the Electric Patio-2-Portable by Masterbuilt is definitely strong enough to heat up quickly and maintain temperature in cooler environments.
Basic but with all the features you do need to make smoking on the go easy, the Masterbuilt Patio-2-Portable Electric is great value for money and a solid investment that’ll turn out some really decent food.
Stats for the MES Patio-2-Portable
Barbecue material: Unknown
Grate material: Chrome-coated wire
Cooking capacity: 280 sq. in.
Fuel type: Electric
Wattage: 1,400 watts
Model: MES 20 / MB20073716
Assembled size (in): 23(H) x 23(W) x 16(D)
Warranty: 1 year
Pros of the Masterbuilt Patio 2 Portable Electric Smoker:
- Compact and lightweight design that’s easy to fit in the trunk, RV or in storage
- Decent cooking capacity that’s large enough to cook a small turkey
- Powerful heating element for greater temperature variance and faster heating
- Basic analog temperature controller has less parts to break than on a digital panel
- Folding legs and built-in handles make it easy to pick up and move
- Dual water and wood chip trays for greater smoke creation
- Easy to clean design
- Very affordable
Cons of the Masterbuilt Patio 2 Portable Electric Smoker:
- Not the strongest build, but, still great value for money
- Analog controls aren’t as precise as a digital panel
- You will need to find a fairly level place to set up safely
Best Portable Pellet Grill:
Traeger Tailgater Pellet Grill and Smoker
Like the sound of being able focus on fishing, family or friends while you’re smoking on the go? Pellet smokers are unbeatable when it comes to set and forget smoking. And, you don’t have to compromise on that real wood smoked flavor because they use just that, 100% wood pellets.
When to comes to portable pellet smokers, the Traeger Tailgater is solid, compact and high-quality.
With Traegers popular Arc Controller with Advanced Grilling Logic, simply set your temperature and it’ll monitor and adjust the rate that pellets are fed into the fire for precise, hands-off control. This unit also comes with a meat probe so you’ll know exactly when your meat’s done. Plus, there’s a keep warm setting so your food can wait for you to finish what you were doing, not the other way around.
Stats for the Traeger Tailgater Pellet Smoker
Barbecue material: Stainless steel
Grate material: Porcelain-coated steel
Cooking capacity: 300 sq in
Pellet hopper capacity: 8lbs
Heat range: 160°F – 400°F
Fuel type: Wood pellets
Assembled size (in): 36(H) x 37(W) x 18(D)
Warranty: 3 years
Pros of the Traeger Tailgater Pellet Smoker:
- High-quality US-made pellet smoker
- Does a great job of sticking near to target temperature
- Reasonable capacity for a portable barbecue
- Folding legs make it easy to fit in a wide range of vehicles
- Set and forget technology frees you up to focus on the fun
- Quality construction means it’s strong enough to use at home as a regular smoker
- Easy-clean porcelain coated racks
- 3 year warranty
Cons of the Traeger Tailgater Pellet Smoker:
- Horizontal design does take up more space than vertical-style smoker
- You need access to power or an inverter to run of the car battery
- The pellet hopper is smaller than other pellet smokers so you might need to top up during long cooks
Best Portable Tailgating Smoker:
Broil King Keg
When you’re setting up to smoke before the game could anything look cooler than a giant keg smoker you can hook up to the back of your truck?!? For the tailgater who’s after a portable smoker that looks the part, you simply can’t go past the Broil King Keg.
And, this smoker doesn’t just look good, it’ll make some top-notch smoked meat you can be proud of too.
Made from insulated, porcelain-lined steel, the Broil King Keg is a lightweight version of a regular kamado. This means that not only is this ‘cue great for cooking things low and slow, it also doubles as a grill too. In fact, you’ll be able to cook pretty much anything from seared steaks to slow-cooked ribs, flame grilled pizzas and even baked desserts on this one unit.
And, because size is usually an issue when it comes to feeding your tailgating buddies, the Broil King Keg offers a generous 480 square inches of cooking space spread over two racks. The top rack simply swings out of the way so you can access the bottom rack without any hassle.
Additionally, the Broil King Keg comes with all the standard features you need to make smoking on the go easy. This includes quality, rust-resistant dampers, a temperature gauge and a removable ash drawer for easy cleaning. There’s even a bottle opener so there’s one less thing to pack up and take with you.
In terms of getting this not so small, portable smoker to where you need to be, just load it on the back of your truck. Or, grab the trailer hitch accessory to hook it up to any vehicle without having to wait ages for it to cool down.
This barbecue really is the top choice for football fans. And, there’s no reason not to use it in your backyard on the regular too.
Stats for the Broil King Keg
Barbecue material: Insulated steel with a porcelain-coated interior
Grate material: Cast-iron primary grate, chrome-plated steel secondary grate
Cooking capacity: 480 sq. in.
Fuel type: Charcoal
Assembled size (in): 47(H) x 41(W) x 27.5(D)
Warranty: 10 years on body, 2 years on everything else
Pros of the Broil King Keg:
- Cool design that makes large kamado cooking portable
- Large cooking capacity for portable grill
- Insulated, porcelain-coated steel body is lighter than traditional ceramic and won’t crack making it great for using on the go
- Hinged top rack creates easy access to lower cooking rack
- Optional trailer hitch saves room in the trunk
- Suitable for smoking, grilling, roasting and baking
- Built-in side tables give room for prep and leaving utensils
- Long-lasting cast-iron grates give real grill marks to your food
- Quality rust-resistant dampers make precise temperature adjustment possible
- Removable ash drawer makes for easy clean-up
- Even has a built-in bottle opener
Cons of the Broil King Keg:
- Will take a while to cool down so having the trailer hitch accessory is handy because you don’t have to wait until it’s cooled down as much before transporting
- Cast-iron grates do need regular seasoning. But, they’re easy to fix if they do get a bit rusty
Best Portable Kamado Smoker:
Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Jr.
Traditional kamado cooking is anything but portable. But, Char-Griller have made it so by turning heavy ceramic into the Akorn Jr, a triple layered, small steel egg with legs. And, we love it!
This portable ‘cue is a mini version of their full-sized Akorn kamado. With a hinged lid for easy access, heavy-duty cast-iron grates, easy to use dampers and a super handy pop-down dump ash pan, the Akorn Jr is your best friend for versatility and ease of use on the road.
As is to be expected of a barbecue in this price range, the Akorn Jr isn’t as solid and doesn’t hold heat as well as some of the more expensive alternatives. But, with 153 square inches of grilling or smoking space neatly tucked away in an easy to transport unit that’s backed by a 5 year warranty, you can’t really go wrong!
Stats for the Char-Griller Akorn Jr.
Fuel type: Charcoal
Barbecue material: Triple walled steel
Grate material: Cast-iron
Cooking capacity: 153 sq. in.
Assembled size (in): 25.3(H) x 21.5(W) x 20.5(D)
Warranty: 5 years
Pros of the Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado:
- Compact design complete with sturdy stand and handles to make it easy to move
- Triple layered steel holds heat well in good weather conditions
- Capable of smoking and grilling due to wide temperature range
- Dual dampers for greater temperature control
- Steel body won’t crack or break like ceramic would if moved around
- Cast-iron cooking grates leave excellent sear marks and are long-lasting with proper care
- Built-in temperature gauge for easy monitoring
- Pop-down ash tray makes dumping waste quick
- Backed by impressive user reviews
- Great 5 year warranty
Cons of the Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado:
- Build isn’t really strong
- Steel body won’t hold heat very well in colder conditions
- Cast-iron cooking grates do need proper cleaning and seasoning to prevent them from rusting. But, can always be fixed if they do rust
- The red exterior will discolor over time if you’re using on high heat
Best Portable Propane Smoker:
Masterbuilt Patio-2-Portable Propane Smoker
This portable smoker is the propane version of the Masterbuilt electric that we reviewed above. So, if you want a smoker that you can use with a clean but cord-free fuel source, then this is it!
The Masterbuilt Patio-2-Portable Propane features the same steel and stainless steel boxed body as it’s electric brother and has two cooking racks offering a reasonable 280 square inches of cooking space. At the bottom, there’s a separate water and wood chip tray for excellent smoke creation while being able to keep your meat perfectly moist. There’s also a built-in temperature gauge and analog propane controller to make setting your heat level simple.
With a push-start ignition and propane burner that’s definitely powerful enough to heat this cooking space, the Patio-2-Portable Propane is both effective and easy to use.
As the name suggests, there’s no reason you couldn’t use this smoker at home as long as you’re happy without having a huge capacity. But, you might want to purchase an adapter hose to hook it up to a regular propane bottle if you’re using it every weekend.
Stats for the Masterbuilt Portable Propane Smoker
Fuel type: Propane Gas
Barbecue material: Steel with stainless steel door
Grate material: Chrome-coated wire
Cooking capacity: 280 sq. in.
Number of burners: 1
Total burner BTU-per-hour-input: 5,000
Assembled size (in): 23”H x 23”W x 16”D
Warranty: 90 days
Pros of the Masterbuilt Portable Propane Smoker:
- Stainless steel door protects the most vulnerable part of the smoker by reducing it’s chance of rusting
- Compact design with folding legs to make portability easy
- Decent cooking capacity for a portable smoker
- Separate water and wood trays for better smoke creation
- Powerful propane burner that’s strong enough for a smoker of this size
- Push-start ignition
- Analog temperature control has less parts to break than on a digital panel
- Built-in temperature gauge for simple heat monitoring
Cons of the Masterbuilt Portable Propane Smoker:
- Bit of a shame that the whole box isn’t made from rust-resistant stainless steel. But, can be kept well as long as you clean and dry
- Do need a fairly flat surface to safely set up on
- Requires an adapter hose to use with a 20lbs propane bottle
- Short warranty
Best Portable Smoker Box:
Camerons Stovetop Smoker
For outdoor lovers who are looking for the best camping smoker, the Camerons Stovetop Smoker is a versatile piece of kit that transforms any outdoor fire to a smoker and packs up really small. Yes, it’s called a stovetop smoker. But, for anyone who likes to cook on the go, this smoker box works equally well in a home oven, over a gas grill or an open fire.
To use this little box, simply place some wood chips in the base of the pan, add your meat and cover with the lid or foil and place over your heat source. The wood chips will smoulder to smoke your food while all the moisture is retained for mouthwatering results.
Seriously, the results you can get on this thing are legit! If you don’t believe us, check out other user reviews too.
Once you’re done, the full stainless steel body and racks are easy to clean and are dishwasher safe. You can even use the Camerons Stovetop Smoker as a regular oven dish at home, on a gas grill or over a fire as well.
Available in two sizes that both conveniently pack up into itself, the Camerons Stovetop Smoker is hands-down an impressive way to smoke over anything hot!
Stats for the Camerons Large Stovetop Smoker
Barbecue material: Stainless steel
Grate material: Stainless steel
Cooking capacity: 165 sq. in.
Fuel type: N/A – requires a separate heat source
Model: Original Stovetop Smoker
Dimensions: 11″ W x 13″ L x 3.5″ D
Warranty: 7 years
Pros of the Camerons Stovetop Smoker:
- Can be used with any heat source including open fires, regular ovens and gas grills
- Suitable for all types of food; larger cuts of meat just need to be covered with foil
- Doubles as a regular cooking tray with rack
- 100% stainless steel design to be rust-resistant and easy to clean
- Lightweight and portable
- Packs away into itself to take up less room
- Available in two sizes depending on your needs
- Works with any type of wood chip
- Holds moisture well so your food doesn’t dry out
- Great results
- Long warranty
Cons of the Camerons Stovetop Smoker:
- It’s not a true smoker so you won’t get a great smoke ring or crispy bark. But, finish over an open flame or uncovered in the oven for a crispier exterior
- Will make your house smell a bit smoky if using inside