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Top Rated Smokers: 8 Proven Winners for All Types & Budgets

TOP DRUM

Pit Barrel Cooker Classic
Pit Barrel Cooker
4.8/5

TOP BULLET

Weber Smokey Mountain 18 Inch
Weber Smokey Mountain
4.8/5

TOP KAMADO

Kamado Joe Classic II
Kamado Joe Classic II
4.7/5

TOP PELLET

Traeger Grills Pro Series 780 with WiFi
Traeger Pro 780
4.7/5

TOP PORTABLE

Traeger Ranger
Traeger Ranger
4.6/5

TOP OFFSET

Oklahoma Joe's Highland Offset Smoker
Oklahoma Joe's Highland
4.6/5

If you want to cut to the chase and only look at the very best smokers out there, you’ve come to the right place. In this review, we’ve rounded up the top rated smokers on the market.

In saying top rated, this isn’t just our opinion saying these models are good (although we’ve used and tested them too). Instead, these smokers have been given the thumbs up by your fellow smoking enthusiasts, the at home users too.

Each of the smokers recommended here regularly sits on a minimum of a 4.5 star rating out of 5. And, they’ve been reviewed by at least 800 people, with many clocking thousands of shining reviews.

They’re the cream of the crop.

And, there’s a big mix of smoker type and price too so for a guaranteed winner, you should find something that fits your particular needs.

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How We Selected the Top Rated Smokers

This list isn’t just us sharing our favorites. To put together this selection of the very top rated smokers, we scoured the market for barbecues that had not just good, but truly outstanding reviews from thousands of real users.

Most of them were already smokers we had used and reviewed. For the couple that weren’t, we bought them and set about trialing them to see if the reviews were telling it how it really was.

We assessed each and every smoker for the following points:

A top rated smoker simply can’t be one of the best if the quality isn’t right on up there. After all, you don’t want it lasting just one season before it falls apart.

Many of the smokers we recommend here we have personally owned and used for a number of years which has given us plenty of experience to comment on their quality and durability.

Top rated smokers make top quality food.

Each of these smokers was tested on multiple occassions to see how good the food that it could make was.

We tried a number of different proteins in each including brisket, pork shoulder, ribs, and fish. Our technique was kept consistent between barbecues as were our seasonings to make sure the only thing we were changing was the barbecue.

A lot of the smokers people rave about aren’t the most expensive. In fact, many of them are really good value for money, affordable options that appeal to the masses.

As such, we took a look at how expensive each barbecue was before approving it for this list.

Using the MEATER Block with the Mastrebuilt Digital Electric Smoker

Note that not every highly rated smoker out there made this list. If we didn’t agree with what people were generally saying, we wouldn’t stand by it as a good product.

Table of Contents

Top Rated Smokers: Thousands Love These

Don’t just take our word for it, these top rated smokers are the best of the best as voted by real-users and tested by us.

TOP DRUM

Pit Barrel Cooker Classic

4.8/5

BBQ type: Drum smoker

Material: Enameled steel

Grates: Stainless steel

Capacity: 8 hangers

Heat range: Approx 275°F

Dimensions: 21″ W x 31.1″ H x 21″ D

Price guide: $$

Model: Pit Barrel Classic

Warranty: 1 year

Although it might look basic, the Pit Barrel Cooker is capable of making some hands-down, incredible smoked meats. And, it’s without a doubt, got reviews from the masses to back this statement up!

Made from a porcelain-enameled steel drum that comes with all the racks and hooks you need to smoke almost anything, the Pit Barrel Cooker is easy to use, versatile and built to last.

Perfect for smoking in your backyard or taking with you on the go, it’s vertical charcoal configuration can cook a lot of meat at once! And, doesn’t need you to stand there and monitor the temperature and smoke levels pedantically throughout the cook.

Instead, this is a fixed temperature smoker. You simply set the bottom vent based on your altitude, load it up with charcoal and meat, replace the lid and leave it to do it’s thing.

Pit Barrel Cooker Classic Loaded at Start of Cook

It runs at about 275°F which we’ve tested and confirmed with our favorite wireless meat thermometers.

And, because of the handy laws of thermodynamics with the vertical set-up, although the bottom rib can get a little charred from being closer to the coals, the meat cooks suprisingly evenly.

Chicken Out of the Pit Barrel with MEATER Plus

It’s charcoal smoking made really simple. Even Pitmasters like Steven Raichlen compare the Pit Barrel Cooker to some of the world’s most expensive barbecues. But, you wouldn’t guess it by it’s bargain price tag.

The Pit Barrel Cooker is a seriously superb smoker that’s easy to use, consistent and affordable.

Read our full review of the Pit Barrel Cooker.

Pros
Cons
TOP BULLET

Weber Smokey Mountain

4.7/5

BBQ type: Charcoal bullet

Material: Enameled steel

Grates: Plated steel

Capacity: 481 sq inch

Heat range: Low to high

Dimensions: 19″D x 21″W x 41″H

Price guide: $$

Model: 721001

Warranty: 10 yrs bowl, 5 yrs plastics, 2 yrs other

Second up in our line of the top rated smokers is none other than the iconic Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.

This dedicated smoker from one of the industry’s top leaders has been so thoughtfully designed with one thing in mind, ensuring consistently incredible results. And, that it does.

Crafted from the same durable, porcelain-enameled steel that their tried and true kettle grills are made from, the Smokey Mountain’s vertical design and quality dampers make it easy to control the temperature to keep the moisture and smokiness right where you want it.

Now, smoking on the Smokey Mountain is more hands on than it is on the Pit Barrel, a kamado, or a pellet grill. But, if you like tending to the barbecue, the results you can get on this thing are competition-worthy.

Smoking on the Weber Smokey Mountain 22

Available in three sizes to suit anyone from the solo enthusiast to larger families and groups, the Smokey Mountain Cooker is a solid investment that’s backed by Weber’s 10 year guarantee.

We love it and are not at all surprised that this tried and true smoker is so well rated by the people who know best.

Pros
Cons
TOP KAMADO

Kamado Joe Classic II

4.7/5

BBQ type: Kamado

Material: Glazed ceramic

Grates: Stainless steel

Capacity: 256 sq inch

Heat range: 225°F-750°F

Dimensions: 46.5″ W x 48″ H x 28″ D

Price guide: $$$

Model: Classic II

Warranty: Ceramic lifetime, 5 yrs metals, 1 yr other

If a kamado is your weapon of choice, the Kamado Joe Classic II is hands down our favorite in this category. This thing outshines the competition in pretty much every single way with reviews that are simply too impressive to ignore.

The Kamado Joe Classic II gives you incredible and consistent results. It’s extremely versatile in terms of cooking space, set up, and the fact that you don’t have to compromise on grilling versus smoking. This barbecue does an outstanding job of both.

But, what makes the Kamado Joe stand streets ahead of any other kamado, including the Big Green Egg is in all it’s innovative features.

There’s the Air Lift Hinge that reduces the really heavy dome weight by 96%. The industry leading mesh fiberglass gasket is guaranteed to last 10 times longer than that on any other kamado. The patented Kontrol Tower Top Vent is weather-resistant, and lets you precisely control the airflow for better temperature management. And, the ingenious AMP six-piece firebox that significantly reduces the chance of this often replaced part from cracking due to sudden changes in temperature.

Kamado Joe AMP Firebox

But, the useful features don’t just stop there.

We love the versatility of Kamado Joe’s Divide and Conquer cooking system. By itself, a standard 18″ kamado grate doesn’t give you that much cooking space. But, with Classic II’s two-level design, you can add more square inches, set up different heat zones, or cook with different surfaces in different halves of this barbecue.

Kamado Joe Classic II set up with indirect and direct heat cooking on 2-tier Divide and Conquer

It’s versatility to the max. And, if you’re at all interested, check out the latest price. The value that Kamado Joe have packed into this incredible smoker really is the icing on the very delicious meat cake.

For all the details, read our full review of the Kamado Joe Classic II.

Pros
Cons
TOP PELLET

Traeger Grills Pro Series 780 with WiFi

4.7/5

BBQ type: Pellet smoker

Material: Powder-coated

Grates: Porcelain-coated

Grilling: Indirect heat

Capacity: 780 sq inch

Hopper capacity: 18 lbs

Heat range: 225°F – 750°F

Dimensions: 49″ W x 55″ H x 27″ D

WiFi: Yes

Price guide: $$$

Model: TFB78GLE

Warranty: 3 years

The Pro Series 780 is one of Traeger’s oldest models. But, because it’s such a favorite with you, me, and everyone else, they’ve upgraded it over the years to keep it’s technology relevant.

To describe this top rated smoker in just a few words, I’d say it’s basic and affordable with all the right features to make smoking and grilling really easy.

The upgraded D2 drivetrain gets going quickly, doesn’t take long to heat up, and produces cleaner smoke than the original 780 did. This version also has Traeger’s WiFIRE control panel so that you can connect the grill up to your home’s WiFi system to see, set, and change the temperature from anywhere that’s got an internet connection.

Although this pellet smoker isn’t an open flame grill, it’s maximum temperature of 500°F does do a good job of grilling a quality steak.

Smoking dinner on the Traeger Pro 780 with WiFi

For this price, you don’t get the insulated side walls of Traeger’s premium models, or the Downdraft exhaust system. But, you’ve still got really reliable, Traeger quality with a good cooking and hopper capacity. They’ve even thrown a meat probe in as well.

There’s a lot of reasons why this has been such a best-seller and a hit with real users time and time again.

Pros
Cons
TOP PORTABLE

Traeger Ranger

4.6/5

BBQ type: Pellet smoker

Material: Powder-coated

Grates: Porcelain-coated

Grilling: Indirect with cast iron griddle

Capacity: 176 sq inch

Hopper capacity: 8 lbs

Heat range: 165°F – 450°F

Dimensions: 20″D x 21″W x 13″H

WiFi: No

Price guide: $$

Model: Ranger

Warranty: 3 years

This is another of our all-time favorite smokers and there’s a whole host of other people who love it too!

The Ranger is a mini Traeger pellet smoker packed up into a briefcase style tabletop model.

It’s nothing fancy. There’s no WiFi and apart from the keep warm mode, there’s no fancy features either.

But, this little smoker can smoke some good meals while you’re out camping, fishing, or at a tailgate too. And, it’s not just that the fresh air makes you extra hungry, we’ve even used the Ranger at home as a regular grill for up to 4 people and love how few pellets it uses to cook up a single meal for the family.

Traeger-Ranger-Cooking-Chicken

In terms of temperature regulation, the Ranger does fluctuate more than some of the newer Traegers.

And, because the grate is so close to the heat deflector, we do recommend turning the meat half way through a smoke so that the bottom side doesn’t char a little. But, the food this thing can turn out is delicious and it nice not feeling like you have to load up a huge smoker in order to justify using so many pellets.

We probably end up grilling on the Ranger even more than we use it for smoking because it’s so easy and quick to fire up. It comes with a cast iron griddle plate which makes the grilling even better than using the regular rack.

Grilling on the Traeger RAnger with the griddle plate

It really is a great little unit.

If you’re using the Ranger on the road, check out our guide on choosing the best way to power your portable pellet grill. It was written in conjunction with an electrician to give you the best advice and solutions.

Pros
Cons
TOP OFFSET

Oklahoma Joe's Highland

4.6/5

BBQ type: Offset

Material: Powder-coated

Grates: Porcelain-coated

Capacity: 619 sq inch

Heat range: Low and high

Dimensions: 33.5″D x 57″W x 53″H

Price guide: $$

Model: Highland

Warranty: 2 years

This smoker is one of the most well-known offset smokers around.

Affordable and decent quality without being bullet-proof, the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Offset Smoker gives you a basic setup for charcoal or real wood smoking for anyone who wants to do it the traditional Texas way.

Yes, you can definitely spend more on an offset smoker and you’ll get a better product. But, the Highland is a pretty decent balance between price and function.

Made from heavy-gauge steel, you’ve got a sizeable 619 square inches of low and slow smoking space inside the main chamber. Without any mods, it will leak a bit of smoke around the door. We haven’t found it to be significant enough to impact how good the food turns out though.

Smoking on the Oklahoma Joes Highland offset smoker

If you do want to grill in here, you can do it two ways. Firstly, simply set the included grilling grate in the firebox and sear over the 281 square inches of hot coals. Or, throw the charcoal racks in the main chamber and set the entire thing up as a charcoal grill.

It’s old school and basic like the original offsets were. But, the Highland’s definitely good enough to turn out some great food.

Pros
Cons
TOP PROPANE

Camp Chef Smoke Vault

4.6/5

BBQ type: Propane

Material: Powder-coated

Grates: Chrome-coated

Capacity: 619 sq inch

Heat range: 150°F – 350°F

Dimensions: 16″D x 24″W x 44″H

Price guide: $$

Model: SMV24SB

Warranty: 1 year

Simple yet effective are two things we really value in a smoker and the Camp Chef Smoke Vault Propane Smoker nails both of these.

The body itself is very well made. We’ve never had any issue with smoke leaking through the door. And, the temperature holds as steady as you’d expect from a propane smoker. It’s not insulated but does a decent job even in not such great weather.

Inside, the wood and water trays are really durable and fully enameled. You get two regular racks and one jerky rack. Together, it’s not a lot of cooking space. You can buy extra racks if you want to load it up. We grabbed a couple of extra jerky racks because we love how the jerky turns out on this smoker.

Inside the Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24

Don’t expect to grill on the Camp Chef Smoke Vault. It’s a dedicated smoker only and the 18,000 BTU/hr doesn’t give you more than 350°F. But, for fish, cheese, nuts, chicken, ribs, turkey, and brisket, this barbecue does a solid job.

The only complaint we’ve got about the Smoke Vault is that you have to open the main door to add wood chips which does let a lot of the heat out, there’s no separate fuel door.

That being said, we usually get between 2 and 3 hours before we need to top up the chips. It’s plenty of time to smoke fish but is a little annoying when opening the door adds time to your total cook while the smoker gets back up to temp.

Pros
Cons
TOP ELECTRIC

Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker

4.5/5

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 is the only barbecue on this list that we’ve listed as a top rated smoker even though it doesn’t quite make our 4.5/5 minimum rating.

But, the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker is one of the most popular, best-selling models ever. And, it’s the highest rated electric smoker, as judged by more than 10,000 users.

We’ve owned this uber-popular model for a number of years now. It’s our go-to smoker for fish simply because it’s so easy, effective, and has a lot of space to lay out fillets from our latest catch.

You can use the Masterbuilt Digital Electric for things other than fish though. Pulled pork, ribs, and even brisket all turn out pretty good in here.

Racks Loaded Up on the Masterbuilt 40 Inch Digital Electric Smoker

We do find that the 800 watt heating element does struggle a little with the heavier cuts of meat and they generally take longer to cook. And, although there’s basic insulation, this smoker has a hard time reaching and maintaining  the set temperature when the weather isn’t crash hot.

The side loading wood chip port is worth it’s weight in gold!

We usually add wood chips every hour or so. Opening the main door that often would extend out the total cooking time enormously. But, simply add more chips through the port when the smoke disappears and the inside temperature stays steady. The kids love doing this job too.

Adding Wood Chips to the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

If you want to cold smoke, you can get the Slow Smoker Attachment for this smoker as well. This fits in the side wood chip port and lets you pump smoke for up to 6 hours through the cooking chamber without the heat.

Pros
Cons

FAQs About the Top Rated Smokers

We have defined a top rated smoker as a barbecue that has at least a 4.5/5 star rating from at least 1000 real users. Then, we also have tested and approved these top choices before recommending them to you.

Top rated smokers have superior quality and give superior performance when compared to more budget-friendly options.

But note, not top rated doesn’t mean the most expensive. Most of the smokers recommended here are fairly affordable options as we’ve balanced their quality and performance with price.

Some of the top rated smokers we’ve recommended are dedicated smokers while others can be used for both smoking and grilling.

If you want a barbecue that does both, scroll up to our review of the Kamado Joe Classic II, the Traeger Pro 780, the Traeger Ranger, and Oklahoma Joe’s Highland.

According to the masses, the award for the number one grill and smoker equally goes to the Pit Barrel Cooker, the Weber Smokey Mountain, the Kamado Joe Classic II, and the Traeger Pro Series 780 Pellet Grill.

Which one of these is right for you will depend on what type of fuel you prefer to use, and how much involvement you want in the smoking process. Scroll up to read more on each of these favorites.

Yes, the likes of Traeger, Weber, and Kamado Joe consistently produce top-rated smokers. We have shared our experience using each of these smokers plus more in this review.

Traeger produce some of the best quality pellet smokers out there.

Instead of focusing on budget, Traeger give you the best in the way of precisely automated temperature control, smoke distribution, durability, and a whole heap of extra, useful features.

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 committed 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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