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Best Small Smokers: Which of These 6 is for You?

Best Small Smokers

Sometimes good things really do come in small packages. And, in this case, it’s true. Here you’ll find the best small smokers to buy in 2021. We’ve included everything from stove-top models to compact vertical smokers and high-end downsized ‘cues. So, whether you’re after a smaller smoker to save on space, fit your budget or because you’re only cooking for one or two, you’re sure to find something to fit your needs right here.

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Table of Contents

Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Jr. - Best Kamado

Small but mighty are two words that perfectly describe this top rated smoker from the well-known, Char-Griller. The Akorn Jr. Kamado is a mini version of their full-sized kamado, making it more efficient for cooking less and easy to throw in the car to take anywhere you want to barbecue.

Made from three layers of steel for superior insulation. And, featuring not just one, but two adjustable dampers, controlling and maintaining the heat is easy regardless of whether you’re after high-heat for searing or low-and-slow temps for smoking.

Together with it’s built-in stand, the Char-Griller Akorn Jr. doesn’t take up a lot of space. But, it offers 153 square inches of cooking space which is more than enough to throw four reasonable steaks on or roast a small chicken.

And, while the build isn’t as top-notch as a more expensive, ceramic kamado, the Akorn Jr. is affordable and effective. Perfect for anyone who wants a small yet versatile grill and smoker that’ll get the job done. And, the 5 year warranty is just an added bonus!

Stats for the Char-Griller Akorn Jr.

Fuel type: Charcoal

Barbecue material: Triple walled steel

Grate material: Cast-iron

Cooking capacity: 153 sq. in.

Model: E06614

Assembled size (in): 25.3(H) x 21.5(W) x 20.5(D)

Weight: 37lbs

Warranty: 5 years

Pros of the Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado:

  • Inexpensive
  • Compact size with built-in stand is suitable for use at home or on the go
  • Great reviews to back our opinions
  • Triple layered steel does a good job of holding the heat
  • Wide temperature range that’s suitable for grilling or low and slow smoking
  • Two dampers allows for precise temperature control
  • Lightweight
  • Steel body won’t crack from high-heat like ceramic models can
  • Cast-iron cooking grates are long-lasting and leave great sear marks
  • Built-in temperature gauge makes it easy to monitor your cook
  • Pop-down, easy dump ash pan makes cleanup easy

Cons of the Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado:

  • Steel body will lose some heat in cooler conditions
  • Build can be a bit flimsy
  • Red coloring will discolor over time if you’re using it on high heat
  • Cast-iron cooking grates do require a bit of TLC but can always be fixed if they do rust

Masterbuilt Portable Propane Smoker - Best Propane

If an easy, clean and convenient fuel type is more your jam, then the Masterbuilt Portable Propane Smoker is a top option in the small smoker market.

This little gem comes with all the necessities including a push-start ignition, built-in temperature gauge and a powerful propane burner that’s strong enough to power the 280 square inches of cooking space the Masterbuilt Portable Propane gives. And, while it’s sturdy enough to use at home, the folding legs turn this small box into an even more portable package to throw in the trunk alongside some propane for a picnic, camping or to watch a game.

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

Model: 20050216

Assembled size (in): 23”H x 23”W x 16”D

Weight: 28.5lbs

Warranty: 90 days

Pros of the Masterbuilt Portable Propane Smoker:

  • Steel design with a stainless steel door to reduce the chance of rust
  • Compact size with folding legs and handles for easy portability
  • Lightweight
  • Built-in temperature gauge
  • Decent cooking capacity for a small smoker
  • Separate water and wood trays for effective smoke generation
  • Burner is strong enough to heat this sized smoker without struggling
  • Push-button ignition for easy start

Cons of the Masterbuilt Portable Propane Smoker:

  • Would be nice to have a completely stainless steel body for maximum rust protection
  • You need to find a level place to set up on if you’re smoking on the go
  • Needs an adapter hose to use with a regular propane tank
  • Only has a 90 day warranty

Smokehouse Big Chief - Best Electric

Big is in the name. But, if it’s a small smoker you’re after that delivers big results, this is it. The Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker has been around since the 1960’s. It’s basic, it’s no-frills and it’s also earned a place among our best budget smokers.

Simply load it up and plug it into your regular power and you’re good to go. There’s only one temperature setting, 165 degrees, which means you can’t over-complicate it and you can’t over-do it. Low and slow is this ‘cue’s one and true calling.

Incredible for smoking more delicate foods like fish, nuts and even cheese, the Big Chief can also be used for chicken, pork and beef too. Just take note that if you’re cooking larger slabs like a brisket or pork butt you’ll need to finish it off in the oven to bring the meat up to a safe eating temperature. But, because this smoker will have done all the hard work to create that smoky flavor, there’s nothing left to do but pop it in until your dinner is done.

Lightweight and compact, yet big enough to cook up to 50 pounds of meat at a time, the Big Chief has definitely earned it’s top ratings as a fan favorite over the years.

Stats 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

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:

  • Easy to use with one low-and-slow temperature setting
  • Wood chips can be added without opening the main door which would let the smoke and heat out
  • Aluminum body is rust-resistant
  • Great value for money that comes with a bonus bag of wood chips
  • Decent cooking capacity for a small smoker
  • Ideal for cooking fish, nuts and cheese as well as larger cuts of meat
  • No fancy digital panels and parts to fail
  • No assembly required
  • Lightweight and portable
  • 2 year warranty

Cons of the Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker:

  • One temperature setting so there’s no choice but low and slow
  • You need to finish off large cuts of meat in the oven as the smoker won’t be able to heat them to a safe eating temperature

Weber Smokey Mountain 14" Cooker - Best Charcoal

The 14″ Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is the smallest of the three sizes that this model is available in. And, that makes it perfect for anyone with limited patio space or who wants more efficient fuel usage to cook a smaller meal.

But, the Smokey Mountain Cooker in no way compromises on quality or features. This competition-quality smoker screams Weber quality. From it’s long-lasting, easy to clean and rust-resistant porcelain-coated shell to the quality dampers and large removable fuel door, smoking on this baby is simple and simply hands down amazing.

It’ll only take up 14 square inches of space on the ground. But, you’re getting a generous 286 square inches of cooking space spread over two grates. The vertical design distributes heat and smoke well while the accurate built-in temperature gauge makes it easy to monitor your cook. Backed by a 10 year warranty, the Smokey Mountain also took our title as one of the best value smokers on the market. Solid and reliable, it’s a buy you won’t regret!

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.

Model: 731001

Dimensions: 31.4(H) x 14.7(W) x 14.7(D)

Weight: 23lbs

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″:

  • Great value for a smoker that’ll last you through years and years of cooking
  • Quality porcelain-enameled steel body is durable, rust-resistant and easy to clean
  • Small footprint
  • Decent cooking capacity
  • Portable
  • Adding charcoal and wood is easy via the large and removable fuel door
  • Easy to control the temperature with two high-quality dampers
  • Accurate built-in temperature gauge
  • Also compatible with Weber’s iGrill 2 for real-time readings of the internal meat temperature so you can literally cook meat to perfection
  • Industry leading 10 year warranty

Cons of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker 14″:

  • No hook to hang lid when it’s off. But, being a smoker, the lid shouldn’t be off too often
  • Expect some smoke to leak around the door but this doesn’t affect results and you could seal it better if it bothers you

Kamado Joe Jr. - Best High Quality

We LOVE Kamado Joe! And, if you’re after a smaller smoker but still want quality then you’re about to luck out with this top-notch kamado from one of the most innovative companies in the industry.

The Kamado Joe Jr is a mini version of the Classic Joe II. Weighing just 68 pounds, it’s still made from cool-touch ceramic that offers excellent heat retention and gives you a surprising 148.5 square inches of space to grill, smoke, bake or roast.

It’s perfect for using at home. And doubles as a portable ‘cue that’ll make everyone at the tailgate, campsite or beach envious. Complete with a stand that’s sturdy enough to hold the hot egg, there’s also no reason why you couldn’t build this small kamado into an outdoor kitchen setup in your backyard.

While the Joe Jr doesn’t have all the innovative features that it’s big brothers have in the Kamado Joe range, the basics will serve you well when it comes to turning out excellent barbecue. From the 304 gauge stainless steel cooking grate to the accurate built-in temperature gauge and ash cleaning tool, the Joe Jr is designed to make smoking small easy. It even comes with a heat deflector as standard so you can get started with low and slow smoking or home-made pizzas straight away.

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)

Weight: 68lbs

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:

  • Versatile barbecue that can cook anything from low and slow smoked meats to grilled steak, home-made pizzas and even baked desserts
  • High-quality ceramic build that holds heat well for efficient use of fuel, even in cold environments
  • Seals well with a quality gasket to prevent smoke leakage
  • Built-in temperature gauge for accurate cooking
  • Comes with a removable nest for stand-alone use or easy built-in capability
  • Hinged lid is easy to lift
  • Stainless steel grates are rust-resistant for durability
  • Includes a heat deflector plate for smoking and other indirect cooking
  • Light enough and small enough to be portable
  • Great warranty
  • Ash clean-out tool makes pack up quick

Cons of the Kamado Joe Jr:

  • None – it’s an awesome small smoker that doubles as a grill

Camerons Stovetop Smoker - Best Stovetop

Now, this smoker isn’t designed to be a replacement for a stand-alone ‘cue. But, if you’re after something small that smokes well and can be used on any heat source, Camerons Stovetop Smoker is an excellent product!

Made from full stainless steel, this simple smoking box is suitable for indoor and outdoor use and will seriously wow your family and guests with it’s legit results. Simply place some wood chips in the base of the pan, add the rack with your meat on it, cover with the lid and cook. It works on gas or electric stovetops, in the regular oven, on an outdoor campfire or over another grill. It’s design means your food won’t dry out and the unit doubles as a regular oven tray or smoker too.

Available in two different sizes, the Camerons Stovetop Smoker comes with everything you need in the one inexpensive package including some wood chips for you to sample. And, because it’s stainless steel, simply chuck it in the dishwasher once you’re finished cooking and the clean-up is done for you!

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

Weight: 6lbs

Warranty: 7 years

Pros of the Camerons Stovetop Smoker:

  • Smokes food on any heat source without needing a dedicated smoker or even a barbecue
  • Great for all types of food including meat, fish and vegetables
  • Full stainless steel design is rust-resistant and dishwasher safe
  • Doubles as a regular cooking tray or smoker
  • Lightweight making it suitable for taking camping to smoke over a fire
  • All components pack into each other so they don’t take up much room
  • Can be used for large cuts of meat by simply covering with aluminum foil instead of the provided lid
  • Helps to retain natural moisture of what you’re smoking so that it doesn’t dry out
  • Available in a few different sizes depending on your needs

Cons of the Camerons Stovetop Smoker:

  • Not a true smoker so it won’t create that crispy bark or a great smoke ring. But, you could finish by heating directly over the stove, in the oven or on your grill for a crispy finish
  • Makes your house smell a bit smoky if you’re using it inside