Our Top Picks
Best Overall Smoker: Masterbuilt 20075315 at Amazon
“Provides a professional finish at an affordable price.”
Best Beginner Smoker: Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker at Amazon
“Single rack smoker with 481 square inches of surface space.”
Best Pellet Smoker: Tailgater Elite Wood Pellet Smoker at Home Depot
"Still infuses your food with smokey flavor but there are no additives."
Best Offset Smoker: Oklahoma Joe Highland at Walmart
“Optimal control and heat distribution.”
Best Budget Smoker: Masterbuilt 20050211 at Amazon
“A great build quality with a lower price tag.”
Best Large Smoker: Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D at Walmart
“Vertical offset smoker with enough space to cook around 150 lbs of meat.”
Best Professional Smoker: Bradley BTDS108P at Amazon
“Digitally controlled and can automatically smoke meat up to eight hours.”
Best Portable Smoker: Masterbuilt 20073716 at Amazon
“A great addition while camping or having a party.”
01 of 08
Best Overall Smoker: Masterbuilt 20075315
The best meat smoker isn't necessarily the most expensive or professional. In fact, you can do a lot with a basic smoker if you have the right amount of heat and cooking time. Therefore, this top pick makes meat smoking a straightforward task by giving you all the essentials without a complicated setup.
The Masterbuilt 20075315 is a fully enclosed smoker oven that provides a professional finish at an affordable price. Offering a total of 975 square inches of cooking space, the smoker is divided into four separate levels to cook large amounts of meat at the same time. Wood chips are loaded at the bottom using an integrated loader system with an easy-to-clean drip pan that catches excess meat juice.
02 of 08
Best Beginner Smoker: Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker
Large smokers can get rather complicated when you get into the intricate details of heat sources, smoker layouts, and cooking times. Most of these things will be overwhelming to the beginner. Therefore, it's easier to start off small when you're searching for your first smoker. This user-friendly, beginner smoker will make your first time smoking experience easier and more fun.
For those new to the world of smokers, the Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker is hard to beat for a truly user-friendly experience. The 18-inch smoker is a small, vertical unit that functions more like a grill. Using charcoal for the heat source, cooking with the smoker involves placing the meat on the single rack, closing the lid, and waiting. The cooking rack provides a total of 481 square inches of surface space.
03 of 08
Best Pellet Smoker: Tailgater Elite 20 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
If you've never tried a wood pellet grill or smoker you're definitely missing out. Pellet smokers use 100 percent hardwood for a quick and clean burn that is much healthier than charcoal. It still infuses your food with beautiful, smokey flavor but there are no additives and almost zero ash. Whether you're looking to invest in your first pellet smoker, or you're replacing an older model, you can't go wrong with the Tailgater Elite 20 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker. It can grill, smoke, roast, bake, and so much more. It boasts 300 square inches of grilling space, so if you need to feed a crowd this smoker won't let you down. The digital controller is easy to operate, and when you're done cooking the porcelain grates can be easily cleaned with a grill brush or grill cleaner. If you want to take this grill to a neighbor's house or a space with limited square footage, the legs fold down flat.
04 of 08
Best Offset Smoker: Oklahoma Joe Highland
One secret to good smoked barbecue is heat control. Many people worry about the heat source itself, but they really need to think about the position and amount of heat. Offset smokers, for example, try to maximize overall heat control and smoke distribution by removing the heat source from the meat itself. With a little bit more control and coverage, you can get better results with the same amount of effort.
For optimal control and heat distribution, the Oklahoma Joe Highland smoker is the only real option to consider. Using durable metals, the heavy-duty construction of the smoker makes it a great choice for places with poor weather conditions. The offset design loads firewood on the side and places multiple dampers to control the heat and smoke between the fire and meat. A single storage rack provides plenty of space for multiple pieces.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best Budget Smoker: Masterbuilt 20050211
A budget meat smoker can be a great way to explore this unique world of barbecue without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on equipment you aren't sure will be useful. We like this model because it has a good build quality, along with a lower price tag so you can still make some outstanding barbecue.
The Masterbuilt 20050211 is an outdoor cooker with a simple setup. Fueled by gas, the smoker sports a control valve and spark igniter that will create a steady heat source at the bottom of the unit. Four interior smoke racks provide plenty of space for multiple pieces of meat to absorb the smoky flavors all at once. The exterior is protected with a black powder coat that will resist the elements outdoors.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best smokers under $400.
06 of 08
Best Large Smoker: Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D
Meat smoking for great barbecue is a time-intensive process. In order to make a lot of barbecue, it's smart to do as much of the cooking and smoking as you can at the same time. This is where large meat smokers really shine. By offering more cooking space for large amounts of meat, you can cut down on the overall smoking time.
The Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D is a vertical offset smoker with enough space to cook around 150 pounds of meat at once. The vertical offset design increases heat control and a more even smoke distribution since the heat source is removed from the meat. On the inside, the interior contains six adjustable cooking grates so you can position each piece of meat to accommodate different sizes. This smoker uses charcoal as a heat source.
07 of 08
Best Professional Smoker: Bradley BTDS108P
For the best results, a professional meat smoker is a great addition to any barbecuer’s arsenal. These meat smokers usually offer more space, finer control, and a completely enclosed environment to seal in the smoke for the best results. Even though they aren’t the most budget-friendly option, buying a professional smoker is an investment that will keep making a return for years to come.
The Bradley BTDS108P smoker brings meat smoking into the digital age. As a fully contained, vertical smoker, this unit creates an enclosed environment that traps all of the smoke indoors. Six individual racks offer plenty of space for people wanting to smoke a large amount of meat. Everything is digitally controlled with a computer that automatically smokes meats up to eight hours at a time.
08 of 08
Best Portable Smoker: Masterbuilt 20073716
Want to smoke some meat on the go? While using large, heavy smokers is out of the question, a trusty electric, portable smoker is a great addition while camping or having a party. The smoker will often provide just enough space to cook meat for a single meal without having to drag around a heavy unit and a lot of fuel. This can help cut down on preparation time while giving you the same quality meal.
Small, slow, and low is the best way to describe the Masterbuilt 20073716. Using a 1,400-watt electric heating element, the smoker eliminates the need for traditional heat sources like wood, charcoal, or gas. A wood chip tray is present for people wanting a more traditional taste in their meat as well. The smoker comes with a simple control setup, viewable temperature gauge, and support legs to keep the unit upright regardless of the terrain.
What to Look for in a Smoker
Smoking capacity Smokers come in a variety of sizes, so think about what types of foods you plan to smoke—from a plate of wings for a party to a whole turkey or something larger. Also, consider if you plan on smoking larger batches of food ahead of time and freezing them for later.
Portability Portability isn’t just about tossing your smoker in the trunk to take it to a party—it’s also about the ease of moving it out of storage to the yard and back again. Especially if you don't have a permanent outdoor space for a large smoker, think about portability as you shop.
Heat source Electric smokers are easy to use—just plug them in and add wood, water, and food Their heat is also easy to regulate since it’s much like a stove. On the other hand, smokers that use propane are more portable, since you don’t need a power outlet, but you need to watch its propane levels to make sure you don’t run out in the middle of smoking that brisket.