Smokers are relatively new to the market, but they can really improve the quality of your meats, and they are mostly used when barbecuing.
A smoker is a piece of equipment that cooks at a low temperature for a long time. It cooks food, mostly meat, at a low temperature, in a smoky chamber.
This allows the food you’re cooking to absorb as much flavor as it can, whilst remaining tender and delicious. Smokers are becoming more popular, and they add that extra bit of love to barbecue food.
There are different types of smokers, and if you’re thinking about getting one, you should know what type to get. There are gas smokers, pellet smokers, charcoal smokers, and electric smokers.
It can be difficult to know what kind of smoker to get, especially if you have never used one before. It is daunting, not knowing what it does, and how to use it.
Well, not to worry. In this article, we will be telling you about some of the best smokers on the market, and what makes them great for beginners. From pellet to charcoal smokers, you’ll be sure to find the right smoker for you.
Let’s get on with the list.
- ★ ULTIMATE 8-IN-1 (Cover included): Barbecue wood fire pellet grill: bbq✓bake✓roast✓braise✓smoke✓grill✓sear✓char-grill
- ★ Pellet Grill Technology: There isn't an easier way to get wood-smoked flavors than with a pellet grill. Try it, and you'll taste the difference from a GAS or CHARCOAL grill
- ★ Set the Temperature, Relax, and Enjoy: Z Grills pellet grills will do all the work for you once you set the temperature. No labor-intensive start-up. No babysitting the grill. Enjoy the cooking!
- ★ Consistent Results Every Time: The PID technology holds the tightest temperature possible throughout your cooking for consistent results.
- ★Smoke, Grill, and Everything in Between: With its 180° to 450° F temperature range, this pellet grill has 8-in-1 versatility to grill, smoke, bake, roast, sear, braise, barbecue, and char-grill with incredible hardwood flavor.
The Weber Smokey Mountain has been regarded as one of the best charcoal smokers on the market for a while, and this is only for good reasons.
This smoker is one of the cheapest on our list, costing just under $400 for the medium-sized one (18”). The smoker comes in three sizes, 14”, 18”, and 22”. The 18” inch smoker weighs just 39lbs, and it is small, coming in at 21×19×41 inches.
The Smokey Mountain smoker is made from steel, allowing the heat to be consistent inside the actual smoker. Although this smoker is small, it can unbelievably hold a whole turkey, as well as an entire ham!
It is made from porcelain-enamled steel, meaning it is super durable but also excellent at retaining that heat.
The build quality of these smokers is extremely durable, and the 18” model is the easiest one to use due to how it holds a temperature really well.
It holds a temperature so well due to the water smoker design. There is a water bowl that is situated between the coal and the cooking grates, acting as a humid heat sink.
This helps the smoke chamber stabilize the temperature.
When using the Smokey Mountain charcoal smoker, we found it to be one of the absolute best for beginners.
We are not the most experienced at using smokers, and it was slightly daunting, being a charcoal smoker.
It is given that using a charcoal smoker requires more concentration and maintenance, but we definitely think it was worth it for the authentically smokey food.
Charcoal absolutely takes more practice, especially in terms of lighting it and controlling its temperature, but the ease from the Smokey Mountain helps with this.
The Weber brand is rather well-known and regarded, and this smoker should last you years. The design of this smoker is not new, hence why it is so foolproof.
The smoker appears small, but it can actually fit quite a lot inside. This is because you get two cooking racks. We found that we could fit a brisket, as well as ham, inside.
- The Smokey Mountain smoker is extremely easy to use, and we actually found it quite fun to learn how to use charcoal. It’s great at holding a stable temperature, and it is attractive, too.
- We found that Smokey Mountain had a slight gap between the smoker and the door, meaning that the smoke did come out slightly. It was only a small gap, so it did not affect anything much.
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- Material Type: Steel
- The Weber Smokey Mountain charcoal smoker helps you achieve an authentic smokehouse flavor at home
- It can accommodate a whole turkey and an entire ham at the same time. Item weight- 39.1 pounds
- Made of porcelain-enameled steel, this smoker comes with 2 nickel-plated 18-1/2-inch-wide cooking grates
- Includes a water pan, thermometer, individual vents on bowl and lid, and heat-resistant nylon handle
The Masterbuilt Propane Smoker is also an excellent and inexpensive choice, being the second least expensive option for a good smoker.
Propane smokers are simple to use, hence why they’re superb for beginners. You do not need a power source, so they are portable.
This smoker has four smoking racks, allowing you to fit a lot into it. Although it is a beginner’s smoker, this smoker can fit a lot of different dishes inside, making it perfect for those parties and family gatherings.
Specifically, this smoker has a whopping 961 square inches (0.62 m²) of cooking space, so you won’t be hard-pressed to find the space.
The racks are also removable, so you can move them for more convenient placement.
The Masterbuilt Propane Smoker comes in a 30” size, or a bigger 40”. The whole smoker weighs 92lbs, so it is heavier than some others. It uses propane, which is petroleum gas.
Although this smoker is not the cleanest energy resource, it packs a punch. The smoker has an accurate temperature sensor, that controls the burner to maintain the desired temperature.
With a gas flame, you are looking at far more accurate results, so you do not need to worry about checking on your charcoal or wood every twenty minutes. This smoker is excellent for beginners, with great safety features.
It has a safety value that shuts off the burner if the flame goes out, as well as a fuel tank level gauge, letting you know how much propane is left in your tank.
The Masterbuilt Propane Smoker is easy to use, and it is an experienced smoker in its capabilities.
In terms of assembly, you only need to put the legs on, and the inside trays when you receive the smoker.
This smoker reaches temperatures of 350F, which is incredibly rare for an electric smoker. This smoker is also portable due to the single gas tank that it requires.
- The temperature thermostat for this smoker ensures you will not be standing around watching it all day.
- The structure of the smoker can sometimes need tightening and adjusting, which we found kind of inconvenient.
- This smoker was also slightly difficult to clean due to the way it is built.
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- Temperature sensor controls burner to maintain desired temperature
- Safety valve shuts off burner if flame is extinguished
- Tank fuel level gauge indicates the amount of propane in the tank
- Four chrome-coated smoking racks
- 15,750 BTU stainless steel burner
This electric smoker is a great option for beginners or those who may be on a budget. Electric smokers are just as good as gas or coal smokers, but you do not get as much of the smokey flavor as other choices.
Electric smokers work by heating a cooking chamber, similar to an oven. This works by convection, so the hot smoke will circulate.
For this reason, there is not as much thick smoke, meaning your meat will not be as smokey.
This smoker has a wood chip-loaded compartment, meaning you can add wood chips without opening the actual smoke, so you will not lose much smoke.
This smoker is relatively inexpensive, making it perfect for beginner smokers.
It also has a built-in thermometer, so you can set your preferred temperature throughout the whole process.
All you need to do to use this smoker is plug it into the electrical output, and then you are ready to cook. For this reason, these smokers are also portable and are great for smoking in cold weather.
In terms of size, you can get the 30” version or the bigger 40” version. The 30” smoker costs just over $200, so it is definitely a great price for the reputation of this smoker! The 30” smoker weighs just 45lbs, and it is rather tall and slender for a smoker.
This smoker also has a digital panel, meaning you can keep an eye out for your food without having to probe the food throughout the day.
The smoker is completely insulated, so you do not have to worry about losing any heat or smoke.
This smoker makes a great option for those beginning their smoking journey. It has four smoking racks, meaning you can smoke multiple things at once, a wood chip loader, and digital control.
There are not many things you will have to sacrifice when using this smoker, as it also has a wide range of accessories that you can add to your smoker.
This includes heat-resistant gloves, as well as a slow smoker kit, allowing you to smoke for long periods at lower temperatures.
- The price of this smoker is one of the best things about it, as you do not lose much compared to higher models.
- The potential to customize your smoker with any additions was a big pro for us.
- This smoker is quite narrow, meaning you have to bend down and gently place things in a certain way.
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- Digital panel controls on/off, cooking temperature and time
- Electric Smoker dimensions – 20.47" W x 19.88" L x 33.26" H | Max temperature setting – 275ᵒ F | Inside capacity – 2 Turkeys, 4 Pork Butts, 4 Racks of Ribs, 6 Chickens
- Patented side wood chip loading system allows you to add wood chips without opening door
- Thermostat-temperature control for even, consistent smoking
- Fully-insulated body retains heat
The Traeger brand is one of the most reputable smoker brands on the market, and for only good reasons.
These smokers are priced almost double some on this list, but it is arguable that they are worth it if you are serious about smokers.
This doubles up as a grill and smoker, meaning you can use it for both purposes. This is a wood-pellet smoker, so you will achieve the best wood-fired taste from your meats.
Its maximum temperature is 500F, something that is helpful for searing your meats.
This smoker and grill offers six different ways to use it, including smoking, baking, roasting, braising, grilling, and barbecuing. You get your money’s worth with this smoker, as well as quality assurance.
The Traeger Pro is the best-selling pellet grill on the market, and it is suitable for beginners, and experts. At times, it is better to invest in something quality, so you are guaranteed to get your money’s worth.
This smoker has 780 sq inches (0.5 m²) of space for you to accommodate up to thirty-four burgers, six racks of ribs, or six chickens without any effort.
There is also a built-in meat probe, meaning you do not have to worry about constantly probing your meat.
Additionally, the smoker and its built-in thermometer are compatible with WiFire technology, which allows you to control your grill, as well as the temperature from the app on your phone.
We found this smoker to be really great, even for beginners. We thought it was great because it was high-end on the smoker spectrum, meaning it had all these features that made us beginners better at understanding how to use it.
These smokers are completely durable, as they are made from strong metal. This smoker weighs 145lbs, which is the heaviest smoker on our list, so it is not a contender for portability.
You can grill with your smart devices, too. Alexa can adjust the temperature of your grill, monitor the temperature of your food, and set timers for you. If that’s not easy, we don’t know what is!
Traeger uses all-natural hardwood pellets, ensuring you have the maximum smokey taste that you desire, even if you are a beginner!
- We found this grill super easy to use, with top-of-the-line features to make the smoking experience easier than ever.
- This smoker is super pricey, so if you are a beginner who is not sure about smoking, it may not be a viable investment.
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- NEVER USE GAS OR CHARCOAL AGAIN: Traeger created the original wood-pellet grill as the ultimate way to achieve wood-fired taste; The Pro 780 takes it to the next level with precise temperature control. 500 °F Max Temp
- CONNECTED HOME TECHNOLOGY: WiFIRE technology connects your grill to home WiFi and the Traeger app allows the user to control the grill from anywhere; Alexa technology allows you to do it all by voice
- VERSATILE BARBECUE COOKING: The Pro 780 pellet grill offers 6-in-1 versatility to grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and BBQ all on the same grill; The Porcelain grill grates makes clean up a breeze
- THE MARKET LEADER IN PELLET GRILLS: The Traeger Pro Series is the best-selling pellet grill; The upgraded Pro 780 with D2 drivetrain starts quicker, heats up faster, and puts out better quality smoke
- BUILT FOR LARGE FAMILY COOKING: 780 sq in of grilling space that can accommodate thirty four burgers, six rib racks, or six chickens effortlessly; The built-in meat probe allows you to cook to perfection
This smoker is one of the mid-points in terms of budget in our list, but we found this smoker to be great as a mid-range smoker.
This smoker is a wood-burning smoker, and it allows you to grill, bake, roast, smoke, braise, and barbecue with a single grill.
It is a combination dual, so you can get your money’s worth by using it for other things. This smoker has a digital control screen, where you can use the meat thermometer, as well as change the grill temperature.
The smoker is easy to assemble, but we found it to be pretty heavy. It is the second-heaviest smoker on this list, only by a pound or so. It does come with a folding shelf, as well as lots of clever ways to clean out your smoker.
This smoker is great for beginners because it doubles up as a grill amongst other things, allowing you to play around with other features as you learn how to use your smoker.
This smoker has the room for a huge 811 inches (ca. 21 m) of space for smoking, grilling, and everything in between.
It has a second level for cooking, so you really do get the best of both worlds. You can choose to switch between your grill and smoker with the push of a lever.
This grill also has the capacity to add lots of accessories and attachments, so you can get the best for your money.
This grill is pretty good for beginners because it is not complex enough to confuse you with lots of features, but it has the solid footing of being an excellent smoker.
The smoker may not be the feature point of this grill, but with its smoke chamber and temperature thermometer, you are bound to get some exceptional results.
- We thought this grill was incredibly simple to use, and the smoking feature was really easy to do, and we achieved pretty perfect results.
- The temperature accuracy of this smoker was pretty inconsistent at times, so we had to keep more of an eye on our food than we wanted to.
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- SLIDE AND GRILL- grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and barbecue with Premium wood-fired flavor on a single grill. Digital control, best of both Worlds, use the meat probe to check the internal temperature or toggle the grill temp with the push of a button
- NEW PID CONTROLLER- Gen 2 PID Controller 1-10 Smoke Setting (Not WIFI Compatible)
- EASY ASH CLEANOUT- cleaning between cooks is as easy as pulling a lever, thanks to the exclusive ash cleanout system You won’t find on any other grill. That means less time wrestling with the vacuum and more time enjoying heavenly food
- EASY ASSEMBLY and start up- check out the walk-through assembly video on camp chef site, so you can get cooking right away. In just a few minutes, you’ll be ready to load up the grill with whole chickens, Brisket, ribs, jerky, & more
- FOLDING FRONT SHELF- comes with full sized folding shelf PGFS24 $74 MSRP
Type Of Smoker
The type of smoker you invest in is super important, and there are many to choose from. You can decide on gas, electric, wood, or charcoal, and there are many brands of each one.
Each type of smoker has its pros and cons, something that you will have to consider before buying your smoker as a beginner.
Charcoal smokers have a charcoal pan, as well as a smoke chamber and water bowl, allowing the thick smoke to penetrate into the meat sat on the grates.
A charcoal smoker is a popular choice for a dedicated smoker because it has been known to have some of the best flavors, and it is guaranteed to create that signature dark crust on whatever you are cooking.
If this is something that you look for, a charcoal grill may be the best option for you. However, it is important to know that charcoal grills require more effort, as they very much take it back to basics compared to some other smokers on the market.
A propane smoker is another popular choice, and this works by having a flame at the bottom of the smoker, placed underneath a wood chip tray and water pan.
This creates the same effect as a wood-burning smoker. These smokers are easy to manage, and you have a pretty accurate perception of the temperature within the smoker.
A whole gas of propane can last up to fifteen hours, something that is quite essential when cooking for large groups.
It is significant to note that a lot of propane smokers are quite narrow and small, and cheaper models have been known to leak smoke.
Pellet smokers are some of the most popular smokers to buy, and they are thermostatically controlled, meaning it is really easy for you to go about your day, and leave the smoker to smoke on its own.
You do not have to worry about managing the fire, as these smokers are pretty safe, and will keep burning for hours.
Pellet smokers are more expensive, so if you are not serious about smoking, they will set you back. Also, with a pellet smoker, you will not be able to achieve that smoke crust that charcoal smoking produces.
Finally, electric smokers. They fall into the category of ‘lazy smoking’ which means you set up the smoker and go about your business.
An electric smoker means that you can simply add wood every few hours, but you do not have to check up on it.
A lot of electric smokers also have digital thermostats, and you can even check the temperature from your phone.
However, electric smokers are more inclined to break early, and you will need a power outlet nearby. This also has been known to increase your electricity bill.
When buying a smoker as a beginner, you should know how much you are willing to pay in relation to your skill.
If you are passionate about wanting to use smokers, it may be worth it for you to invest in a top-of-the-range smoker, or at least a pretty good one.
You have to begin somewhere, and it is always better to spend a bit more to start with and learn your craft as you smoke.
If your skill is something that is going to affect how much you are going to spend, maybe reconsider spending a lot until you are confident that you would like a good smoker.
It could be worth spending $150/$200 on a second-hand or lesser quality smoker to get your footing. Although, when you start to use it more you will need to upgrade, so it could be better to get a better one to start with.
If you are an avid griller, and you want to start using a smoker, it may be worth thinking about investing in a grill that doubles up as a smoker.
However, as a beginner, it is probably to best to invest in a dedicated smoker, so you have the room and capabilities before you upgrade to a grill combo.
Dedicated smokers allow you to focus on the meats, and smoke for long periods of time.
You do not have to think about grilling and the timings of everything. This could be something you consider as you get better at using your dedicated smoker.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Point Of A Smoker?
A smoker adds that extra oomph to your meat. By gradually cooking meat at a low temperature with direct smoke, your meat can absorb these amazing woody flavors.
It is excellent for fish and meat because it will make the meat exceptionally tender, as well as lovely and smoky.
What Is The Easiest Smoker To Use?
The easiest smoker to use is probably an electric smoker because you can monitor the temperature easily, as well as turn it on and off exactly when you desire.
Electric smokers are seen as the easiest smoker to use because you can set them up, and come back in ten hours. You can also set the temperature from your smart devices.
How Many Types Of Smokers Are There?
There are electric smokers, wood smokers, gas smokers, electric smokers, pellet smokers, and kettle grills.
As a beginner, it can be incredibly daunting knowing what kind of smoker to buy, let alone what you are looking for.
There are different types of smokers for different uses, and it is important to know how many types of smokers there are, and what the differences are between them.
We hope you have learned about the types of smokers available, what makes them great for beginners, and which one to consider.