Electric smokers are used to cook meats with a smoky flavor, but without the drawbacks of using pellets, charcoal, or gas. The major concerns about using these materials is the harmful substances they produce and the potential to negatively affect health. Electric smokers also tend to maintain the right temperature throughout the cooking process. A best electric smoker Buyers Guide offers some useful information on the best on the market.
- 1 Our Top 10 Recommendations
- 1.1 Bradley Digital 4-Rack
- 1.2 Masterbuilt 20078715 Electric Digital Smoker Front Controller
- 1.3 Masterbuilt 20071117 30″ Digital
- 1.4 Royal Gourmet 28 Inch Electric Smoker with Adjustable Temperature Control
- 1.5 Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load
- 1.6 Smoke Hollow with Adjustable Temperature
- 1.7 Masterbuilt 20073716 Portable
- 1.8 Smoke Hollow Gas Smoker with Window
- 1.9 Char-Broil Vertical Smoker
- 1.10 Smokin-It 1 Electric
- 2 What Is An Electric Smoker?
- 3 How Does An Electric Smoker Work?
- 4 Advantages & Disadvantages Of Using An Electric Smoker
- 5 What Are The Top Brands Available?
- 6 What Should I Look For When Buying An Electric Smoker?
- 7 Conclusion
Our Top 10 Recommendations
Bradley Digital 4-Rack
This smoker model offers complete digital control of time, temperature, and amount of smoke desired. It features 4 cooking racks and can cook up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s made with a stainless Steel insulated interior to retain heat. Two separate burners are designated for smoke and heating. It comes with a 500 watt cooking element and a 125 watt smoking element. This model takes wood bisquettes and can hold about 20. It will take 4 or 5 to produce the smoky flavor. Buyers say this smoker is easy to use and maintain.
Masterbuilt 20078715 Electric Digital Smoker Front Controller
The Masterbuilt electric smoker offers over 725 square inches of cooking space, four chrome coated cooking racks, a blue LED digital display on the front of the cooker above the door, and a front access drip pan. Temperature controls range from 100 to 275 degrees F. The unit is 30″ high and comes in a black exterior. It also features a locking door and an inner insulating layer, to help keep moisture and smoke from escaping. A wood chip feed system allows users to add wood chips without opening the door.
Masterbuilt 20071117 30″ Digital
This digital electric smoker features an electronic control panel on the top of the unit, to adjust time and temperature. It comes with a completely insulated cooking interior to maintain heat, smoke, and moisture. A side wood chip feeding systems allows users to add chips without opening the main door. Depending on cooking time, some additional wood chips may need to be added at some point during the process. The unit stands 30 inches high and rests on four legs. It comes with a 90 day limited warranty. This model includes a pan to add water or juices for flavor.
Royal Gourmet 28 Inch Electric Smoker with Adjustable Temperature Control
This 28 inch high smoker features a 1500 watt heating element and a completely adjustable temperature control. The unit can also be used as a grill or firewood stove. It comes with three chrome coated, adjustable cooking grates. It features two side handles for easier carrying and a spring wire door handle. The unit weighs just under 50 pounds, making it easier to transport. It also comes with 4 legs, so it can be used on a table top or solid raised surface, such as a tailgate.
Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load
This is a portable, low heat smoker, with a 250 watt heating element. The Little Chief has a small profile but cooks quite a bit for its size. It comes with four chrome plated grill plates, drip pan, flavor fuel pan, flavor fuel, and a bag of wood chips. It stands 24 1/2 ” high. The smoker comes with a 3 year warranty. It’s recommended that the smoker only be used on concrete or another non-combustible surface and that it should be placed at least 2 ft. from any combustible material. It comes assembled or unassembled.
Smoke Hollow with Adjustable Temperature
This model comes with a painted steel wood chip box, 3 adjustable cooking grates, a porcelain coated steel water pan, a magnetic door latch, 2 side carry handles, and adjustable temperature controls. It includes an easy to read temperature gauge on the exterior. The smoker weighs 55 pounds and includes 4 legs for stable use on a table top or another raised, flat surface.
Masterbuilt 20073716 Portable
The Masterbuilt portable electric smoker is designed for efficiency while on the go. It offers 1400 watts of power, 2 cooking racks, removable wood chip tray, water pan, and an easy to view temperature gauge on the exterior. It comes with legs on both sides, which fold up when the smoker is being transported. At under 24 inches high, it can easily be used on a table top or patio. It also features simple controls for low, medium, and high temperature cooking. It provides enough space inside to cook a whole rack of ribs, a chicken, or a small turkey.
Smoke Hollow Gas Smoker with Window
Though this review focuses on electric smokers, the Smoke Hollow Gas Smoker with viewing window is worth mentioning, for its convenience and ease of use. It comes with porcelain coated steel wood and water pans, 4 chrome plated cooking grates, and adjustable gas heat control. It also features a stainless steel burner and a push button ignitor. The unit comes with carry handles on 2 sides and 4 legs for stability. It weighs 50 pounds, making it portable for a variety of outdoor cooking situations.
Char-Broil Vertical Smoker
This model provides over 500 square inches of cooking space, three chrome plated cooking grates, insulated double walls, wood chip and water pans, 2 side carry handles, a temperature gauge on the lid, and a stainless steel door handle. It also features a 1500 watt heating element, an ash pan, and a grease drip pan. The smoker weighs just under 50 pounds and is designed to be portable, with 4 legs for stability.
Smokin-It 1 Electric
The Smokin It electric smoker is unique, as it comes with four wheels for easier portability. It looks like a chrome box, but offers cooking space for up to 22 pounds. It features a 400 watt heating element, 3 cooking grates, 18 gauge stainless steel construction, and handles on 2 sides for easier moving. It has additional space to add another shelf and weighs just under 60 pounds. It’s also certified for restaurant use.
What Is An Electric Smoker?
An electric smoker is a type of cooker that uses smoke and heat for cooking, rather than directly exposing the meat or other foods to the heat source. Electric smokers don’t require constant monitoring and adjustments like charcoal smokers. They can be set initially and left alone to do their job. Electric smokers come with a heating element and racks for the smoking process. The number of racks, amount of cooking space, and wattage of the heating element are the most important factors. They’re typically chosen based on the needs and preferences of buyers and the amount of cooking they plan on doing with a smoker.
How Does An Electric Smoker Work?
An electric smoker works by starting with a heating element. The rod in the element gets hot enough to glow. This produces the heat. In order to achieve the smoky flavor, wood chips or pieces are placed above the heating element in a box designed to hold it in place. The glowing element helps to produce the smoke from the wood. Most electric smokers also come with a thermostat, for greater temperature control. This is a crucial component of producing great tasting foods. In addition, vents that are adjustable are added to many models, to allow for better control of air flow and the smoking process.
Electric smokers require an outlet and often, a longer extension cord. This will depend on where the cooker is being used and the distance from any power source. Electric smokers tend to look more boxy than many gas or charcoal smokers, but they do the same job and offer many of the same features, such as access doors and windows to check on the food inside. Many electric models are made with heavy gauge steel and some are insulated, for cooking outdoors in the colder Winter months.
Advantages & Disadvantages Of Using An Electric Smoker
There are several advantages and disadvantages to using an electric smoker. One of the greatest advantages is the amount of work saved by setting a temperature and leaving the cooker to do its job. Another advantage is cost. An electric smoker uses about a half a kilowatt to a kilowatt every hour. With a kilowatt costing around 8 to 15 cents, the electric models are more economical than charcoal. The only additional cost is the purchase of a bag of wood chips, to get the smoky flavor.
One disadvantage of using an electric smoker is that it can’t be taken everywhere other models can go. Many public parks don’t have power outlets. Even when used at home, running a power cord to the nearest outlet can be a challenge. You will also want to prevent outdoor animals from chewing the cord through if left unsupervised for several hours, if you have plenty of nuisance animals such as squirrels around your property. Using a power cord will limit the portability of an electric smoker.
Another potential disadvantage is that some users say the taste of foods is not the same as it is from gas or charcoal models. Many users are perfectly happy with the taste from electric smokers, but buyers who have used other types should be aware of this.
What Are The Top Brands Available?
This is a brand of well constructed smokers in the moderately priced range, offering plenty of cooking surface and convenience features. The interior insulating layer of stainless steel makes Bradley electric smokers a good choice for those who like to cook outdoors in all weather, including the cold of Winter.
Masterbuilt electric smokers are well built and designed, with user convenience in mind. They come with exterior access systems for adding wood chips, so the large main door doesn’t need to be opened, unless water is being added to the water tray. This can also be done while preparing the cooker initially.
Smoke Hollow smokers are smaller, portable units designed to provide the best of outdoor smoking, while maintaining a smaller footprint. The models come with a mix of basic and convenience features. Adjustable temperature controls are important for most buyers and Smoke Hollow smokers have them.
Char Broil smokers are designed to offer the best cooking possible, with smaller, portable smokers. Double wall construction to help insulate the interior cooking space reduces loss of heat, smoke, and moisture. Easy to use features like the door mounted temperature gauge and grease drip pan making using the smoker and clean up easier.
Smokin It stainless steel models offer the best features of portable smokers, with the added benefit of being certified for professional use in restaurants. Buyers say this model is well insulated and does a good job of smoking foods.
What Should I Look For When Buying An Electric Smoker?
when choosing an electric smoker model, it should fit your specific needs or desires in outdoor cooking. It should also be well constructed of suitable materials. Design, cooking area, and wattage are other important features to look for, in matching needs with capabilities of the electric smoker. Every smoker model comes with its own configuration for the cooking trays, the number of trays, and amount of cooking space. Wattage is important if cooking time is critical. It’s also important when it comes to the amount of food you plan on cooking. If you want to smoke three chickens, or add meats and vegetables at the same time, a 750 watt model may not be suitable.
Electric smokers are designed for outdoor use. But, some are designed so they can be used in any weather, including cold Winter months. If you want to use an electric smoker in the Winter, look for quality construction of heavy gauge steel and models that are insulated. If not, the internal temperature may not stay warm enough to achieve the desired outcome or the cooker may take much longer than needed to get the items to the desired state of readiness.
Using an electric smoker can be an easy and convenient way to cook outdoors and produce great tasting foods. Every model comes with its own configuration and set of features. When comparing models, it’s a good idea to compare the same features, and construction, especially when comparing price. The electric smoker buyers guide should help you narrow the list of competing smokers, to those with the most desirable features for your particular situation and cooking needs.