Home Reviews Best Smoker Under 300: There’s Big Names on this List!

Best Smoker Under 300: There’s Big Names on this List!

by Burning Brisket
Best Smoker Under 300

So, you’re looking for a cheaper smoker, under $300… Expecting to get a ‘might last a season or two if you’re lucky’ piece of junk? Think again! Thanks to the ever-increasing popularity of smoking, there’s more great budget smoker options on the market all the time.

But, because sorting the worthwhile from the worthless takes a bit of time, we’ve done the work for you. We’ve searched high and low for the best smoker under 300. And, using our experience, the specs and real-user reviews, put together this list of the top 7.

Yes, there is a Weber on this list in your budget along with some of our other bestselling smokers. You’ve got choices and the choices are good. Let’s get started.

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Best Overall:

Weber Smokey Mountain 14" Cooker

High-quality, easy to use and long-lasting, as long as you can get a Weber smoker for under $300, it’s definitely going to top this list!

Measuring 14 inches across to give 286 square inches, this is the smallest of the Weber Smokey Mountains. But, while it’s not huge, it’s big enough to smoke two largish cuts of meat at a time. It’s also small enough that you can easily throw it in the back of the car to take it camping, to the beach or a friends house. Just one bonus.

But, in terms of the smoker itself, the WSM is the best quality barbecue you’ll get for the price. It’s made from porcelain-enameled steel, has easy to adjust dampers and is covered by an impressive 10 year warranty.

A separate fuel door makes it easy to add more coals and, just as you’d expect from industry leader Weber, the temperature gauge is reliable so you can achieve those consistently great results.

If the 14″ feels a bit small to you, the 18″ Weber Smokey Mountain gives you more space and it’s just over the $300 mark.

Easy to use, comes with a cover, the WSM is such good value you really can’t go past it!

Specs 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″:

  • High-quality porcelain-enameled steel body
  • One of the top rated smokers on the market based on user feedback
  • Option of larger sizes if needed
  • Portable
  • Removable fuel door makes it easy to add more charcoal and wood
  • Damper are high-quality and make adjusting the temperature easy
  • Compatible with the Weber iGrill 2 for real-time updates on progress direct to your phone
  • Competition-quality

Cons of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker 14″:

  • Expect some smoke leakage around the door. We don’t find it to be a major, but, like to mention it upfront
  • There’s no hook to hang the lid so you need somewhere safe to put it down while hot

Best Offset:

Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Smoker

If you’re looking for an offset smoker on a budget, there’s simply no beating this best-selling traditional smoker from Dyna-Glo. Sitting well under the $300 mark, the Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset is made from heavy-duty steel that, while it is a bit thinner than more expensive models, is capable of turning out some great food because the vertical style is just so effective.

And, unlike the Weber Smokey Mountain, keeping it cheap with the Dyna-Glo Vertical doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on space. Inside you’ve got 6 removable grates totaling 1,176 square inches of cooking area. That’s enough to hold about 150 pounds of food at a time which would probably even cater for a not-so-small wedding.

There’s a charcoal basket inside the fire chamber to help boost fuel efficiency, the adjustable smoke stack works easily to control the temperature and the large, steel ash pan holds a good amount of ash so you shouldn’t have to worry about cleaning it out mid-cook.

Because it is a cheaper offset, we do recommend using some high-heat silicone and aftermarket gasket tape to seal up any gaps. This will boost heat and smoke retention for better results and the whole cost will still come in under target.

Specs for the Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Smoker

Fuel type: Charcoal

Barbecue material: Heavy-gauge steel

Grate material: Chrome-plated steel

Cooking capacity: 1,176 sq. in.

Model: DGO1176BDC-D

Dimensions: 50.2(H) x 35(W) x 21(D)

Weight: 57lbs

Warranty: 1 year

Pros of the Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Smoker:

  • Low price
  • Very large cooking capacity
  • Decent build considering the price point
  • Comes with a charcoal basket to hold the coals tight, improving fuel efficiency
  • Smoke zone markings on built-in thermometer make it easy for beginners
  • Large, removable ash pan is big enough that you shouldn’t need to clean mid-cook

Cons of the Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Smoker:

  • The steel is thinner than more expensive models so it’s not very efficient in colder weather and will be harder to maintain a steady temperture
  • Expect some smoke leakage between the firebox and cooking chamber and from around both doors – we recommend setting it up with high-heat silicone and a gasket for a better seal

Best Pellet Smoker Under $300

Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett WiFi Pellet Grill

It’s pretty insane to think you can get a pellet smoker under $300. With a bit more technology behind them, they’re just that bit more expensive. But, the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett is a pellet smoker and it sits around about that $300 mark.

So, what’s the deal on it? Is it any good?

The Davy Crockett is actually a really decent smoker. Really popular and top rated, it’s made of a mix of powder-coated and stainless steel, has a reliable temperature controller, and, there’s even WiFi for remote control.

The downside? It’s smaller than most other pellet smokers. On it you’ve got 219 square inches of cooking space. That’ll hold about 6 steaks, 2 medium chickens, or 2 reasonable racks of ribs at any one time. It’s not full height, which is alright when you’re using it on the go. But, for home use, you might want to fold the legs up and sit it on a table.

In terms of temperature range, the Davy Crockett gets all the way up to 550°F. It’s not perfect for grilling. But, it’s hot enough that you can cook on high heat if you want to.

Adding to it’s amazing value, it also comes with a meat probe and the cover too.

Specs for the Green Mountain Davy Crockett WiFi Pellet Grill

Barbecue material: Stainless steel

Grate material: Stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 219 sq in

Pellet hopper capacity: 9 lbs

Heat range: 150°F – 550°F

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: Davy Crockett

Assembled size (in): 31.75 (H) x 34 (W) x 23 (D)

Weight: 68 lbs

Warranty: 2 years

Pros of the Green Mountain Davy Crockett Portable Pellet Smoker:

  • One of the cheapest pellet smokers on the market
  • Stainless steel components boost durability, especially if using it out in the weather
  • Accurate temperature control gives consistent results
  • WiFi connectively lets you see and change the temperature from your phone
  • Wide temperature range allows you to smoke, bake, roast and grill at a pinch
  • Comes with a meat probe and waterproof cover
  • Folding legs mean portable smoker

Cons of the Green Mountain Davy Crockett Portable Pellet Smoker:

  • Limited cooking capacity isn’t great if you like entertaining regularly
  • Quite a short smoker which isn’t good on the back. But, it could be set up on a table

Best Charcoal:

Pit Barrel Cooker Junior

Smaller brother of the ever-popular Pit Barrel Cooker, the Pit Barrel Cooker Junior fits everything that’s great about the larger one into a smaller, more affordable package.

With it you’ll get everything you need to charcoal grill anything you can dream of. There’s 4 hooks, 2 hanging rods, a standard grill grate, hook remover, charcoal basket, barrel stand, and a couple of rubs to get you going.

And, one of the best things is that it’s so easy to use. Thanks to the vertical design and 360° heat, you pretty much get it to temperature, hang or place your meat inside and leave it to do it’s thing.

Size-wise, the Pit Barrel Cooker Junior measures 14″ across. But, because you can hang things, you’ve got more flexibility in how you use the space. Hang 6 racks of ribs or a brisket, sit a pork butt on the grate, or throw a medium-sized turkey in there. The results will be hands-down delicious!

And, because it’s a bit smaller than the regular model, the Junior fits in most cars if you want to take it on the go as well.

Specs for the Pit Barrel Cooker Junior

Fuel type: Charcoal

Barbecue material: Porcelain-enameled, 18-gauge steel

Grate material: Stainless steel or regular steel depending on accessory

Cooking capacity: Varies depending on accessories used

Price guide: $

Model: 14″ Pit Barrel Cooker Junior

Dimensions: 21.5″ W x 33″ H x 21.5″ D

Weight: 32lbs

Warranty: 1 year

Pros of the Pit Barrel Cooker Junior:

  • High-quality build made with durable materials that will last
  • Great price
  • Easy to use
  • Top rated smoker
  • Competition-quality
  • Comes with all the accessories you need to get started
  • Doubles as a grill
  • Doesn’t require constant babysitting
  • Portable

Cons of the Pit Barrel Cooker Junior:

  • Smaller than standard capacity
  • We recommend using barbecue gloves to get the meat out safely

Best Electric:

Masterbuilt MES 35B Analog Electric Smoker

This electric smoker isn’t anything fancy. But, it’s simple, effective and well-priced.

Made by the name in electric smokers, Masterbuilt, the MES 35B is an analog smoker. That means there’s no fancy digital panels or extra components to cause problems. Simply turn the dial to the temperature you’d like, load it up and leave it be while it smokes away.

Inside you’ve got 536 square inches of cooking space spread over 3 racks. They’re far enough apart that you can cook 3 large cuts of meat at a time. But, they’re also removable if you wanted to do something extra large like a turkey.

There’s removable and separate water and wood chip trays. Plus, the front access drip tray makes light work of the clean up. It sits on the outside of the unit so you can whip it off and wipe it out when needed.

Where Masterbuilt haven’t gone budget is with their heating element. An impressively large for it’s size 1,500 watts does a great job of creating even heat throughout. It also does a decent job in cooler weather, despite the fact there’s no side insulation on the unit.

Overall, the Masterbuilt MES 35B is a great all-rounder that does the basics well for a no-fuss backyard smoke.

Specs for the Masterbuilt MES 35B

Fuel type: Analog electric

Wattage: 1500 watts

Barbecue material: Steel

Grate material: Chrome-coated wire

Cooking capacity: 536 sq. in.

Price guide: $

Model: MB20070210

Dimensions: 21″ W x 40″ H x 20″ D

Weight: 57lbs

Warranty: 1 year

Pros of the Masterbuilt MES 35B Analog Smoker:

  • Powerful 1,500 watt heating element creates an even temperature throughout
  • Basic analog controls are easy to use and leave less technological components to break
  • Separate, removable wood and water trays are effective and easy to use
  • Moderate cooking capacity while not taking up a lot of space on the ground
  • External drip tray can be emptied without opening the cooking chamber

Cons of the Masterbuilt MES 35B Analog Smoker:

  • The unit’s quite sturdy but the metal is quite thin and isn’t insulated in any way
  • The analog dial shows more or less heat instead of an actual target temperature so you’ll need to get used to where you like it set and check the temperature on the built-in front gauge

Best Kamado:

Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Jr.

If the versatility of a kamado is what you’re after, the Char-Griller Akorn Junior make it possible on a smaller budget.

Along with a tighter budget, you’ll also get a smaller kamado. But, it’s not bad quality. The Akorn Junior is made from triple layered steel making it lightweight, durable and great at retaining heat. It’s got heavy-duty cast iron grates, easy to use dampers and a great pop-down dump ash pan. It’s pretty much just a mini, portable version of Char-Griller’s full sized Akorn Kamado.

On it, you’ve got 153 square inches of grilling or smoking space. Sounds small compared to some of the other smokers on this list, but it’s still decent enough to feed a couple or a small family. And, being smaller and lightweight means it’s easy to take with you for cooking on the go, or, to whip it out of the shed to grill up a steak or two.

Backed by a 5 year warranty and a super long list of raving real-user reviews, the Akorn Junior is a pretty sure thing.

Specs 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:

  • With the change you’ll have leftover from $300, you’ll be able to stock up on charcoal and meat
  • Triple layered steel holds heat well, maximizing efficiency and minimizing fuel usage
  • Wide temperature range lets you smoke, grill, bake, and cook just about anything
  • Dual damper system is ideal for accurate temperature control
  • Lightweight means it’s portable
  • Steel body won’t crack like ceramic kamados will
  • Cast iron cooking grates leave a great sear
  • Pop-down ash tray is so easy to clean
  • 5 year warranty

Cons of the Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado:

  • The red exterior is powder-coated but has been reported to discolor from high-heat cooking over time
  • Cast iron grates need proper cleaning and seasoning to prevent rust. But, they can be fixed if they do rust

Best Propane Gas:

Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP 36" Vertical LP Gas Smoker

For anyone who wants to use their propane grilling tank to smoke as well, or just likes propane cooking, the Dyna-Glo Vertical LP Smoker provides value, function and ease of use.

Powered by a single 15,000 BTU cast iron burner, there’s an electronic push-to-start button with sliding dampers on the top and sides for better control over the heat and smokiness.

Inside, there’s a large slide-in water tray and a large wood chip tray that are both porcelain-enameled. Porcelain-enamel is great because it’s easy to clean and really durable. But, the size of these trays are what’s a big bonus. They’re so large that you won’t need to pop back every 30 minutes or so to check on things. Plus, they’re accessed through the bottom door so you don’t need to disturb the heat and smoke in the cooking chamber when you do need to add more wood and water.

Cooking capacity is a moderately large 784 square inches. You’ve got 4 racks with a choice of 5 positions so there’s options depending on what you’re cooking.

But, if you can stretch the budget (they’re not much over the $300 mark), this exact smoker is made in a large and extra large version too. Along with more space, these also come with rib racks and hanging hooks giving you even more flexibility. Both feature the wide body design that’s perfect for laying ribs out flat.

Specs for the Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP 36" Vertical LP Gas Smoker

Fuel type: Liquid propane gas

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material: Chrome-plated wire

Cooking capacity: 784 sq. in.

Number of burners: 1

Total burner BTU-per-hour-input: 15,000

Model: DGY784BDP

Assembled size (in): 46.46(H) x 27(W) x 19.2(D)

Weight: 54 lbs

Warranty: 1 year

Pros of the Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical LP Smoker:

  • Large capacity for a smoker in this price range
  • Powerful burner is appropriately sized to heat the cooking chamber
  • Double door design minimizes heat and smoke loss when you need to add more water and wood chips
  • Large, porcelain-enameled water tray and wood chip box are very durable and easy to clean
  • Easy to use
  • Available in two larger, wide-body sizes that are great for laying ribs flat but also come with rib racks and sausage hanging hooks

Cons of the Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical LP Smoker:

  • Steel isn’t particularly thick so it can be hard to bring it up to heat if you’re cooking in colder conditions
  • Seal isn’t tight around the door so you might want to fit a self-sticking gasket to lock in as much heat and smoke as possible

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