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Some smoking enthusiasts love the idea of closely monitoring the entire process for hours on end, adjusting the heat and fussing with the smoke levels. Other enthusiasts want delicious smoky food without that sort of devotion.
Electric smokers take a lot of the work out of the process since they monitor and regulate the temperature during the long smoking process. Sure, you can lurk and watch if that’s what you want, but you don’t have to. Some smokers can handle cold smoking, while others are designed for hot smoking. For smoke creation, some use chips while others use chunks or biscuits. But no matter which you choose, electric smokers free you up for other important tasks, like making your soon-to-be-famous barbecue sauce.
Here, the best electric smokers for your cooking needs.
Best Overall: Masterbuilt MB20074719 Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker
Convenient Bluetooth controls
Built-in meat probe
Easy to add wood chips
Issues operating in cold weather
LED display is hard to read
This smoker has simple digital controls and comes equipped with Bluetooth, so you can step away from the smoker and monitor your meal from your favorite lawn chair, using just your smartphone. Not only can you check the internal temperature of the machine, but the integrated meat probe lets you monitor the food's temperature as well, so you’ll know when your roast is perfectly cooked.
If that’s not enough to love, the smoker has an upper element for grilling or finishing the food, so you can smoke your ribs, slather on sauce, and broil them to finish cooking. Wood chips load from the side, so you don’t have to open the smoker door during cooking to add more. It comes with three standard racks, plus one custom notched rack that can hold a Masterbuilt pan (not included) either on top of the rack or hanging below. The smoker can handle up to six chickens or two turkeys, so there’s plenty of space to feed the family or cook for a party.
"One of my favorite aspects of this smoker is the side wood chip loading system, which allows you to add more chips without opening the smoker door." –Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester
Best for Beginners: Cuisinart 30-Inch Electric Smoker
Easy to use
No glass door
Poor grease pan design
This smoker comes with three stainless steel racks that will never rust or corrode, providing 548 square inches of smoking space. The heat can be adjusted from 100 to 400 degrees, so you’ll have plenty of options for slow cooking or quicker roasting. The water pan and wood chip tray are designed for easy removal, so cleaning is meant to be a breeze when cooking is done.
Meanwhile, the two side handles make this smoker simple to move to the perfect spot in your yard. To get started, you just turn the dial to select your cooking temperature and let it run. A front thermometer lets you monitor the temperature at a glance to make sure everything's cooking as it should.
Best Budget: Smoke Hollow 26142E 26-Inch Electric Smoker
Adjustable cooking racks
Only two racks
Thermometer not always accurate
A great smoker for cooks who don’t want to spend a fortune for occasional smoking tasks, or for anyone on a budget, this gets the job done without a lot of fancy frills. It has two chrome-plated cooking racks that can be adjusted to different heights, and 1.3 cubic feet of cooking space. The drip tray is porcelain coated for easy cleaning after cooking. The door handle has a cool-touch design that makes it safe to open when needed, and the door latches securely to keep the smoke in during cooking. This has a 1500-watt heating element, adjustable draft controls, and a commercial-grade heat indicator, and it can be adjusted from 175-325 degrees for perfect cooking every time.
Best Analog: Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker
Lots of cooking space
Large-capacity wood chip box
Trouble reaching high temperatures
Have to open door to add wood chips
The Char-Broil name might be familiar because of their popular gas and charcoal grills, but their smokers are also worth a look. This model has three chrome-plated cooking grates that offer a total of 544 square inches of cooking space. Double-wall construction keeps the heat and smoke in, while dual exhaust ports give you control over how much heat and smoke you're actually retaining.
There's a temperature gauge in the front door for easy monitoring of the internal temperature, and the door has two locking latches to keep it tightly closed during cooking. The water tray, grease cup, and wood chip tray are easily accessed from the front when it’s time to add more wood or water, and when it’s time to clean up after cooking.
Best Bisquette Smoker: Bradley Smoker Original 4 Rack Stainless Smoker
Automatic feed system for briquettes
Supports allow racks to be pulled out without falling
Separate controls for smoke and heat
Briquettes are expensive
Issues operating in cold weather
Bradley smokers are known for their unique briquettes that feed neatly into the smoker during cooking, with less mess than chips or pellets. It’s easy to see how many are left, so you can feed more if you want more smoke for your favorite smoked fish or for a particularly long smoking session.
This model has four racks that are designed to be stable, even when they're partially pulled out, so you can check on or remove food without worrying about it dropping. Separate burners control the smoke and heat elements, so you can have one or both on, depending on what you're cooking. The interior is all stainless steel, so it won’t rust and is easy to clean. If you smoke for large parties, Bradley also makes a similar smoker with six racks.
Best Top-Load: Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker
Simple and easy to use
Front- or top-load options
Holds up to 50 pounds of food
Only operates at one temperature
Somewhat flimsy construction
The Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker has an extremely simple, no frills design. It features an embossed aluminum construction and a non-adjustable heating element that operates solely at 165 degrees, but it can hold up to 50 pounds of food on its chrome racks. Plus, you can choose between top-load or front-load options—top loading is often more convenient if you're cooking large pieces of meat, as you can load it up in advance and then lower it into the smoker. Despite its simple form, the smoker is engineered for premium smoke ventilation, giving food a rich smoky flavor and superior texture.
Best Digital : Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
Compact enough for small spaces
Lightweight and portable
No high-heat option
Uses up smoking fuel quickly
For hands-off smoking, you need a product like the Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker. This model is operated via an easy-to-use digital control panel that allows you to monitor your cooking temperature and make adjustments as you go. It even includes an integrated meat probe that will help ensure you don't overcook your food!
The Char-Broil Smoker offers 725 square inches of cooking space across four adjustable racks, and you'll get between four to seven hours of smoke after you fill up its large-capacity wood chip box. The unit has a glass door that lets you see inside without letting the smoke out, and it even features wheels and an integrated handle for increased portability.
"The ability to run the smoker for a set amount of time (plus the relative reliability of the temperature control) meant we could actually 'set it and forget it,' unlike with most pellet-fed smokers." –Justin Park, Product Tester
The Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker offers a host of convenient features, from its Bluetooth-enabled controls and built-in meat probe to the side-loading wood chip drawer, and it's a solid choice for anyone who wants to smoke large amounts of food. For a less expensive model, consider the Smoke Hollow Electric Smoker (view on Amazon), which is 26 inches tall and offers a wide range of cooking temperatures.
What to Look for in an Electric Smoker
How much food do you plan on smoking at one time? If you expect to smoke a few slabs of ribs or an occasional turkey breast, you don’t need a giant smoker, but if you’re planning on larger quantities of food that take a long time to smoke, you’ll appreciate the space that a bigger model offers.
An electric smoker needs to be near an outlet when it’s in use, but is that where you’ll always keep it? If you’re going to be moving your smoker from storage to the cooking spot and back again, it’s wise to look at portable units with wheels and a sturdy handle. If you have a permanent spot for the smoker, portability is much less important.
Just like many of today’s appliances, you can find smokers with a wide variety of control options, from simple dials and buttons to digital controls. There are even some that include Wi-Fi connectivity so you can work remotely. Think about what you prefer and choose accordingly.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a cookbook author, as well as a writer and product tester. She stays up to date on all the latest grills and accessories and has personally tested grills for The Spruce Eats.