Best Smoker Reviews 2017

(Updated )
With so many different brands and models for meat smokers on the market, it can be difficult to find one that suits your needs, wants, budget, etc. Therefore, we have reviewed some of the best brands of meat smokers to create a sampling of the different kinds available. We have looked at price, features, construction and design, performance and ease of use as deciding factors for our reviews.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Size
# of Racks
Good For
Add Ons
Our Top Choice
Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker – 3 Size Options
The perfect choice for someone who wants a plain, simple meat smoker along with a traditional grill, and does not mind paying more for high quality.
Great quality, aluminum fuel access door and vents, glass-reinforced nylon lid handle, plated racks, able to use as a grill, and a perfect temperature gauge.
Not as many fancy features relating to the smoking process when compared to others but that’s because it is primarily a barbecue grill.
Vertical/Cylinder - Charcoal
3 Sizes to Choose From
1 Fixed Rack
Portability, Beginners & Pros
Rust-Resistant , Lid Thermometer
Best Value
Cha-Broil Barrel Grill and Smoker – Two Sizes
For cooks looking for a meat smoker that is also a grill, has a very reasonable price, and yet is still of high quality, the Charcoal Barrel Grill is the perfect choice.
Is both a grill and a smoker. Has a low price for its high quality. Suits the majority of basic meat smoking needs.
Minor issues have been reported, one being the flaking of paint in a couple of areas. Complaints about uneven heat spread.
Offset Barrel Grill
44 X 17.5 X 46 inches
2 - Large Grill Rack,Small Smoker
People who want primarily a grill
Cool Touch Handle, Warming Rack
Bradley Original Electronic Food Smoker, Slow Cooker & Roaster
The Original Food Smoker is of a larger size, which can be seen as either a pro or a con, depending upon your needs. It features automatic briquette feeding, which is rarely seen in many other food and meat smokers.
Has an interior that's incredibly easy to clean. Simple controls make it user-friendly. Convenient automatic briquette system – every 20 minutes.
Is somewhat large, so storing may be an issue for some - but great for smoking lots of foods at once.
Electric, Cabinet, Digital
Overall - 17 x 14 x 31 x 24 inche
4 Adjustable & Removeable
Beginners & Pros
Self Feeding Briquettes
Masterbuilt 30" Electric Smoker –With or Without Window
Though there have been some issues with the construction and electrical elements of the machine, it's overall a great unit and smokes food to perfection.
Wood chip loading tray on the side for easy inputting. Great choice for setting it and leaving it. Digital control panel for convenient use.
Occasional complaints about flaws within the electrical and construction aspects.
Electric, Cabinet, Analog
Cabinet - 33.5 x 20 x 17 inches
4 Adjustable and Removeable
Novices and Pros
Up to 24 Hour Cook Timer
Nordic Ware 365 Kettle Smoker – Portable, Indoor/Outdoor
For those smoking food for a small amount of people, only for themselves, or want a food smoker that can be used inside, the Nordic Ware Kettle Smoker is absolutely perfect.
Can be used both inside and outside. Perfect for smaller meals. Because of its size, locks flavor and moisture into food incredibly well.
Because of its small size, can’t fit much food at once.
Indoor/Outdoor, Portable
Small, tabletop 7 x 13 inches
1 Fixed Rack
Small Families, Novice & Pro
Built In Thermometer

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How Do I Choose the Best Smoker?

Buying the right meat smoker for your needs can be overwhelming considering the sheer number of products available. Adding to this, Smokers today are not what they used to be, and are more advanced with myriad features and can be had in several different shapes, sizes and types, making it even more daunting to get the right one. So unless you know exactly the type of smoker you need whether vertical/cylinder, barrel/cabinet, electric, offset or water smoker, you’re going to be like a kid in a candy store. In order to ease your buying decision, let’s walk you through the four common types of smokers available to choose from.

Vertical, cylinder style aka “barrel smokers” are the most common types of smokers available today for several reasons starting with ease of use, compact footprint and affordability. The interior of this type of smokers includes two bowls, where the bowl located at the bottom of the unit is designated for smoker wood and charcoal, and the bowl at the center is where you would store water or liquid to keep your food moisturized throughout the long smoking process.

The front of a cylinder smoker is appointed with a trap door, which can be opened to replenish charcoal and wood to maintain the temperature in the unit. Your food will be located up top and right below the lid, and will cook with the heat rising from below. This is why it is highly recommended that you avoid opening the lid of the unit when smoking is in progress to retain the heat and smoke inside.

Next up is the vertical cabinet style smokers which are relatively similar in design to vertical smokers, but there are some distinct characteristics that set them apart. For starters, they are larger in size and contain multiple racks that can be adjusted or removed depending on what you are smoking. Furthermore, cabinet smokers provide more options to smoke a variety of smoked dishes simultaneously and can accommodate both large and small items. Although they are similar in functionality to vertical smokers, where the heat rises from the bottom, they do offer better heat control owing to the increased number of vents. It is worth mentioning that cabinet smokers are a tad bit more expensive than their vertical counterparts, but the extra $$$ are well worth the investment especially if you’ are a BBQ enthusiast.

In contrast to larger cabinet style smokers, Water smokers generally have a small footprint, and are a great choice for those with limited patio or deck space. Also referred to as a bullet smoker (although there are also cabinet style water smokers), this type of smoker is easy to operate, and almost guarantees a consistent temperature between 225 to 250 degrees owing to its unique design and thermodynamics. A water smoker is generally the least expensive type of smokers and is divided into 3 compartments – the firebox, water chamber and cooking chamber.

The heating source for water smokers varies and can be charcoal, gas or an electric heating element, and is located at the lower most part of the unit. Above that lies the water pan, which is what makes the magic happen by regulating the heat of the smoker, and deflect the direct heat from the source for a moist cooking environment that prevents your food from drying out. Some meat smokers have dual options available, such as Bradley Smokers Original Smoker, which acts as both a smoker and a slow cooker, with list price of $369.00 (but available for less on Amazon).

Just like the name suggests, electric smokers are your “set it and forget it” type, and use heat sources that burn consistently, and generally offer a larger cooking area compared to other types of smokers. These smokers are also widely used nowadays, and are powered by electricity to ignite the heat source such as wood. Most units such as the Bradley Original smoker are appointed with thermostats or rheostats to monitor the temperature inside the chamber. Another noteworthy feature of electric smokers is that they are versatile, where the heat can be controlled to flow from top to bottom or vice versa.

If you are someone who does not smoke foods a lot, or has a tight budget, you might want to consider an offset smoker that is attached to regular style grill. An offset smoker is popular choice in smokers, and basically features a classic smoker design. It consists of a horizontal chamber that is mated with a firebox, where the former smokes the food and latter provides the heat from charcoal and smoke wood. The chamber of this type of smokers generally features shelves, allowing you to smoke several briskets, racks of ribs and pork shoulders.

However, if you are someone who does not plan on using a meat smoker on a regular basis, are looking for one that is more affordable, and one that is portable, then the Char-Broil Portable Charcoal Grill comes highly recommended. This portable meat smoker and grill is only $93 and is perfect for those looking for a smaller, more affordable option. And of course be sure to check out our reviews of the best gas grills and portable grills if you feel a meat smoker is not for you.

As mentioned earlier, purchasing a meat smoker requires quite a bit of thought and research, so making the process as simple as possible for all buyers is something that we take pride in. Let’s take a look at some of the most the important ones factors to consider when buying a meat smoker.
Price
The price of any product has a large impact on whether or not a consumer will spend the money, and will generally tend to reflect on the overall quality of the product itself. A meat smoker will generally run you approximately $250 for one that is durable and of high quality.

For people who are serious, full time barbecue smokers, you may want to invest in a higher end model, or one that is on the larger side with more features. However, when it comes to meat smokers, cutting corners is not a good idea, because more often than not you'll end up with one that has a really low price tag, with little to offer should you do so. However, there are brands and models that have both a small price tag and added features that are perfect for those looking for a bargain.

For the purpose of this review, we've looked at brands and models that have ranges of affordability to fit any budget, without sacrificing the need for durability and overall high quality. We took different types of needs into careful consideration when looking for some of the best meat smokers on the market, and have come out with options for those who would make use of theirs often, and for those who would not.
Features
Features are important within the decision-making process, and depending on what you're looking for in a meat smoker, whether its simplicity or extensive features, we have taken five of the best rated when it comes to meat smokers with the best features to offer. For example, the Smokey Mountain Cooker comes with a rust-resistant aluminum fuel door, silicone temperature grommet, and a built-in lid thermometer.

You also have the option to choose from electric, digital, woodchip, and charcoal meat smokers, which all depends on the taste that you prefer. For example, some prefer their smoked meats to have the taste that you would only have from applewood wood chips. If you're someone with a very specific taste, then having a feature that caters to your taste, such as an automatic woodchip loader, is definitely best.

Even the most basic of meat smokers come with thermometers and ventilation systems, but the more advanced smokers generally offer multiple digital controls and functions to choose from, which is why we have taken all the corresponding benefits and features for each meat smoker that have been chosen for our top five list into careful consideration.
Construction and Design
Depending on how often you plan on using a smoker, the construction and design are important factors. For example, if you want one that can be conveniently stored, paying close attention to the size specifications and whether or not the model you are looking at can fit wherever you are planning to use for storage. You will also want to figure out whether you want a traditional woodchip, charcoal, electric, or digital smoker, and whether or not you want one that has multiple functions to it, and not just a smoker overall. For example, some brands and model offer both a smoker and a slow cooker, such as the Bradley Smokers Original Smoker.

If you're planning on using your smoker frequently, and need a brand that offers a model with a construction and design that caters to large amounts of food, then you're going to need a meat smoker that has more than enough room to properly cook any amount of food you put in. We have only included the meat smokers that have met our construction and design expectations when it comes to durability, being able to hold large, and small, amounts, and whether or not they are sturdy enough to be able to use for many years to come.
Performance and Ease of Use
When it comes to performance, you have a couple of choices available to you; single-use, dual, and multiple-use meat smokers. Depending on what you plan on using a meat smoker for, narrowing your search down is incredibly easy, especially since we lay everything out for you, including performance and design.

For example, if you're looking for a meat smoker that practically does all of the work itself, then we recommend the Masterbuilt Electric Digital Smoker, which allows you to punch in the simple settings to your satisfaction, and leave it! This meat smoker can also hold up to 80 lbs. of food, which makes it easier to smoke and cook large amounts of food at once, without having to worry about watching the time and switching food items in order to save time.

A high quality meat smoker that is able to have near perfect, if not perfect, ratings with performance and ease of use, should be able to hold a decent size amount of food, have a thermostat temperature that is properly integrated in order to keep a consistent, even temperature, and be able to keep the majority, if not all, of the smoke inside the machine itself.

However, if you're looking for a meat smoker that is compact in size, and even one that can be used indoors, then we have found one of the top meat smokers available on the market that meets both of those requirements, as well. The Nordic Ware Kettle Smoker allows indoor smoking with ease and does not compromise space.

What is the Best Smoker?

Even though meat smokers generally have the same purpose, no two brands are the same, and making a final decision on which brand and model are best for you can be a tough one. Different features, prices, and sizes can cause an overload in the decision-making process, which is why we've laid everything out for you. Let’s see how our 5 recommendations stack up.
Our Top Choice
The Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker by Weber has won our top choice spot simply because it's a multi-tasking unit, has an affordable price tag, and comes with multiple beneficial features, such as plated racks to ensure cleaning is an easy process. If you are looking for a portable charcoal grill, we recommend checking out the Smokey Joe ® series, including the large sized 18” Jumbo Joe.
Weber Smokey Mountain Vented Smoker Grill - Good for Charcoal or Woodchips

Weber Smoker 721001 - 18-Inch Black


Features
The Smokey Mountain Cooker by Weber is perfect for those who are looking for the most simple meat smoker available, especially when it comes to the features. The best part about this smoker, thanks to the features, is that is takes very little care requirements overall, and lasts for many years to come.

Here are some of the features that make the Smokey Mountain Cooker one of the best meat smokers around:
  • The aluminum vents and fuel access door
  • Will never rust, thanks to the aluminum, even if the protective cover isn't on
  • Plated racks make cleaning easier
  • When open, can be used as a grill
  • Will not burn your hand, thanks to the glass-reinforced nylon lid handle
  • Incredibly accurate gauge for temperature
Even though the features are incredibly basic, they are perfect for someone who wants exactly that - a simple, easy to use meat smoker. One feature that we have found owners love is that the vents and fuel access door are made of aluminum and will not rust should they forget to place the protective cover back on after cooking. It could rain all night, for example, and will not damage the smoker at all.
Construction and Design
The Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker is approximately 19 inches in diameter and 41 inches high, and can accommodate a full-sized turkey and an entire ham at one time, according to the manufacturer. The total square inches of cooking area comes out to 481, with room for the majority of types of meat, thanks to the two-rack height layout. There are three sizes to choose from for this brand of meat smoker - 14-inch, 18-inch, and 22-inch.

This meat smoker is covered with porcelain enamel, and is fitted with a water pan. This ensures that the meat will remain moist and melt right off the bone after it's been smoked for a couple of hours. Overall, this design aspect of the meat smoker ensures that the consistency of the food is smoked to pure perfection.

There are many important aspects that go into the construction and the design for this smoker, such as:
  • Has a construction of steel
  • Includes a coating of hard-wearing ceramic
  • Comes with a high-quality cover
  • Easy to move with the top handle
  • Capsule build allows for easy storage
Overall, the construction and design of the Smokey Mountain Smoker by Weber screams perfection through the high quality.
Performance and Ease of Use
When it comes to performance and ease of use, this meat smoker has a basic operation that is fueled through charcoal, wood chips, or specific liquid made for smokers. This smoker is perfect for those who are wanting to only to set the controls and leave it for a couple of hours, and ideally only want to have to vent it or add more fuel when required to do so.

The Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker utilizes simplicity and perfect ease of use.
  • The controls and instructions on how to use and operate it are incredibly simple ad straightforward
  • Can take any sort of fuel to ensure that varied tastes are satisfied
  • Adding a bit of seasoning is easily done whenever needed
  • Setting and leaving the smoker is done without worry
  • Unlike other smokers, there are few whistles and bells, which ensures no confusion
For those looking for a meat smoker that has as few controls and instructions as possible, the Smokey Mountain Cooker is the ideal choice.
Best Value
The Char-Broil Offset American Gourmet Grill by Char-Broil may have a basic appearance, but this meat smoker is incredible – and it has the benefit of being both a standard grill and s BBQ smoker. If you’re looking for something smaller, that you can take on the go, we recommend the Char-Griller Table Top Charcoal Grill that comes with a side fire box.
Char-Broil American Barrel Gourmet Grill - Combination Offset Smoker, BBQ & Charcoal Grill

Cha-Broil Smoker Grill 15302030 - Standard


Features
Char-Broil is a company known for excellence when it come to outdoor cooking. We chose their Offset Smoker as our choice for best value because it is a perfect option for people on a budget who also want a great charcoal grill. Despite being a “low cost” grill, it has many beneficial features that other "budget brands" don’t, such as:
  • Ceramic-coated grates,
  • Firebox door for easy, mess-free ash removal,
  • Temperature monitoring is done through the combination of the vent, damper, and thermostat,
  • The wheels make it easier to move around,
  • Can be used with either charcoal or quality wood chips, and
  • A spring-wound handle that never gets too hot
Considering the Charcoal Barrel Grill by Char-Broil is a budget smoker, you would not think that it would be this exceptional, and yet it's managed to make our list of the top rated meat smokers available.
Construction and Design
Though the Charcoal Barrel Grill by Char-Broil is advertised to have 426 square inches of area to cook in, approximately 138 inches is taken up by its smoke box. Within the chamber where the firebox is located, in the space where you put your food that is to be cooked and smoked, there is approximately 140 square inches of cooking surface to use. Overall, it's about 44 inches high, 17.5 inches deep, and 46 inches long.

The Char-Broil Barrel Grill gets the job done nicely for a family of average size, and has more than enough space to fit multiple pieces of food at a time. A cover comes highly recommended if you are planning on keeping it outside of your home, or wherever it will be exposed to the weather's elements, even though the construction of this meat smoker consists of steel.

There are many construction and design gems that make this meat smoker one of the top rated to have including:
  • Adjustable height for any size requirement,
  • Ash can be easily removed to ensure there is no accumulation,
  • Includes a handy side shelf for plates, sauces, spices, etc., and
  • Two cooking areas.
This meat smoker makes cooking anywhere, even on the go, incredibly easy. Owners have raved about how much they love bringing theirs with them on camping trips, especially because the design allows for space to smoke meat and grill vegetables, for example, at the same time.
Performance and Ease of Use
In our research we came across some comments about issues with uneven heat distribution in both of the cooking areas. However, this can be easily fixed by monitoring the fuel/heat source and the reality is that this is an issue that's been seen in most, if not all, offset smokers. Using charcoal, for example, will solve this problem because it burns slower than other fuels, therefore adding better distribution of heat. Despite learning how to properly distribute heat, especially if this is your first meat smoker, the Charcoal Barrel Grill is incredibly easy to use and maintain.

For a cheap meat smoker that is anything butcheap, we highly recommend the Char-Broil Offset Smoker and Grill.
Bradley is one of the most renowned brands in the world when it comes to meat smokers, with their Original Food Smoker and Digital Food Smoker being two of the very best smokers that they offer. Both offer exceptional smoking features designed for both novice and experienced food smokers.
Original Electronic Food and Meat Smoker by Bradley – Self Feeding, 4 Adjustable Racks

Bradley Smoker #BS611 - Black


Features
When it comes to quality food and meat smokers, Bradley is a name that is at the top of many the list for many serious smokers. We chose their Original Smoker because it is a great choice for both people knew to the world of smoking foods, as well as those with lots of experience.

There are plenty of great features when it comes to the Bradley Original Food Smoker --
  • Self-feeding briquette (every 20 minutes)
  • Comes with 4 removable racks so you can set up the smoker to fit the foods you want to cook.
  • Rack supports to ensure the racks do not tip over when they are being pulled out to remove food.
  • Extra large feet in the front for added stability and support.
  • Removable side panel in the generator to ensure cleaning is easier.
  • Can be used as a slow cooker and a roasting oven, as well as a smoker.
Overall, the Bradley Original Food Smoker is definitely a powerhouse that is worth the money, should you have the available space.
Construction and Design
The dimensions of the Bradley Original Food Smoker are larger than the other meat smokers on our list, and practically need a list of their own --
  • 17" W x 14" D x 31" HT - 24" W for the exterior, which includes the side generator
  • 15" W x 11.5" D x 25.5" HT for the interior
  • 19" height of usable cooking area above the convenient drip tray
  • 572sq", or 4 x 11 x 13, for the rack area itself, which includes 4 of them
Though the machine is somewhat large, it makes up for its bulky size with everything else that it offers. The steel exterior, which is coated in epoxy, is so strong, that it lasts for years. The stainless steel surface internally offers plenty of heat retention, and the insulation within the entire food smoker ensures that food is cooked and smoked evenly. This smoker is energy efficient as well, thanks to the insulation.
Performance and Ease of Use
Ease of use with the Original Food Smoker is quite excellent, considering the machine adds briquettes automatically into the burner every 20 minutes, which minimizes the effort of the user. If you plan on smoking food for more than a couple of hours, all you have to do is load up the side generator's extended piece with briquettes, and leave it! The dial control lets you adjust the temperature of the smoker as you see fit whenever you need to do so. The racks are non-stick, and the generator has a removable side panel, which makes this smoker easier to clean.
Masterbuilt has come out with some incredible meat smokers, such as the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker and the Grizzly Cub Portable Fireplace and Grill. Some of their units even include Bluetooth, as well! Whatever smoker you choose from Masterbuilt, you will be more than happy with the results
Masterbuilt 30" Digital Electric Smoker – Side Loading Wood Tray, 4 Adjustable Racks

Masterbuilt Smoker 20070910 – Windowless


Features
Masterbuilt started out as a small family owned company in 1973 – and with their commitment to excellence, they have become a leader in the work of outdoor food cooking products. The Masterbuilt Electric Smoker made out list both because of the quality construction, but also because of how powerful it is as a smoker – great for both novices and experienced smokers alike.

One great feature of this smoker is the fact that the top-mounted control panel regulates the temperature as needed, which goes from 100 to 275 degrees, and lets you set a cooking time between 0 to 24 hours. You can find the loading tray for wood on the side, which you can also use while the smoker is in use. The racks alone are a feature on their own, considering they are plated with chrome, and are above a drip pan to catch juices and help with cleanup to make it easier.
Construction and Design
The Masterbuilt Electric Smoker comes with a great combination of both convenience and size, thanks to its cabinet-style. The unit is 33.5 inches high, 20 inches around, and 17 inches deep, with 730 square inches of area to cook, and comes with 4 racks. Retaining heat and reducing energy consumption is done quite well because of the high quality insulation, as well as the outer casing, which is made out of powder-coated steel. There is also a removable pan for liquids, as well.
Performance and Ease of Use
Because the Masterbuilt Digital Smoker is an electric unit, it's incredibly easy to set up and use. All you have to do is set the temperature, load up the wood chips, and press the button to get it started. Depending on your taste preference, considering some prefer to add spirits or juices to their meats, you can use the removable liquid pan to add water for moisture, or whiskey, for example, for added flavor.
For those who are searching for a small, convenient, kettle smoker to use both indoors and outdoors, then the Nordic Ware Kettle Smoker is both the perfect and delightful option. It's small, high quality, and a beautiful shade that will fit well with any kitchen. Nordic Ware also makes a great 3 in 1 indoor/outdoor cooker that grills, steams and bakes!
Nordic Ware Portable Kettle Style Smoker – Good for Indoor and Outdoor Use

Nordic Ware Smoker #36550 - Red


Features
When it comes to grills, smokers and equipment for outdoor cooking, Nordic Ware is not a name that will come automatically to people’s minds but we just HAD to tell you about the Kettle Smoker that is part of their 365 line of products designed for indoor and outdoor use – all year long. The reality is that many people love the taste of smoked foods, but don’t want to invest in a full sized cooker (or don’t have the room of for one), and if that’s the case this small-sized smoker is a perfect choice.

The Kettle Smoker comes with a recipe book, non-stick pan, vent, thermometer, non-stick rack for food, liquid pan, and a tightly fitted lid. You will also receive a supply of fine wood chips to start with, which will also give you an idea of the size you will need to buy once your small supply is used. Overall, the simplicity of the Kettle Smoker is incredible.
Construction and Design
At 7 inches high and 13 inches across, the Kettle Smoker is perfect for a decently sized chicken, steaks, and even ribs. Constructed of durable steel, its design makes it simple to have it smoking on your stove or sitting outside for smoking foods with ease. It’s also great as an easy-to-pack smoker to take with you on camping trips.
Performance and Ease of Use
To ensure that you do not smoke your home out when using the Kettle Smoker inside, using an abundance of thin wood chips is highly recommended, as well as following the instructions given with the unit to the letter. Proper ventilation will be needed, especially considering it has a large impact on the end result's flavor. Overall, the Kettle Smoker is incredibly easy to use and works as a food smoker should.

If you're looking for a compact smoker that is designed to feed only a few people, as well as one that you can use inside and out, then the Nordic Ware Kettle Smoker is a great option for you.

Get the Best Smoker Today!

We've looked at some of the best rated meat smokers currently available on the market with consumers in mind, to ensure that, no matter what your budget or preferences may be there's a model and brand to fit all needs and wants alike. We believe that any of these 5 top smokers will give you what you need for excellent smoked foods.

Our Top Choice
Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker – 3 Size Options
Best Value
Cha-Broil Barrel Grill and Smoker – Two Sizes
Bradley Original Electronic Food Smoker, Slow Cooker & Roaster
Masterbuilt 30" Electric Smoker –With or Without Window
Nordic Ware 365 Kettle Smoker – Portable, Indoor/Outdoor