Best Electric Smoker 2017; The Comprehensive Buying Guide:
- Are you in a mess about finding the best electric smoker, as there are hundreds of products having their good and bad sides?
- Need to know which is the best electric smoker for home use?
- Looking for some electric smoker reviews?
- Do you have many more questions regarding smoker like these of above?
Not only you, but everyone faces these problems when they want to buy a smoker, but they’ve no idea about that. Besides, there are hundreds of products and types like electric, charcoal, gas and so on to confuse you more. So finding the best electric smoker is no easy job!
Fortunately for you, I’ve got you covered and that’s what this article focuses about. I’m here to make you ‘zero to hero’ in buying a smoker. If you have literally no idea about smokers, no worries. I’ll introduce you to them.I’ll let you know their types, talk a little about them and will let you know which type is better and more convenient. Then, I’m gonna review some if the products that I’ve come in touch with. And finally, I’ll teach you how you can find the perfect and best smoker for you.
In the article I’ve included-
- Comparison between different types of smokers.
- Some things you need to know about electric smoker
- Comparison between top 10 electric smokers.
- Reviews of top electric smokers in 2017
- A comprehensive buying guide that will help you determining your perfect electric smoker.
- Some frequently ask questions also.
So shall we get going? If you need to know all the information, go through this article thoroughly.
Types of smoker:
There are different types of smokers available on the market. Each of them has their good and bad sides.
The main types are –
Electric smokers, easy operate-able smokers:
Electric smokers are the modern and well developed type of smokers. From the time smokers were first introduced, since then manufacturers have tried to make it better. And electric smokers are the most developed version of smokers. These modern-day electric machines will provide you a great advantage over the traditional wood or charcoal smokers.
Best thing about electric smokers are, you always have things under control while smoking. And the way it’ll help you automate the process and save a lot of time of yours, you’ll love it! As the heat in it is produced by the help of electricity, you can control it according to your wish. But in the case of gas of charcoal smokers,you can’t do that easily.
And, at the end of the day, electric smokers produce tasty dishes. That’s what matter most! BUT! it depends.There are some top-quality electric smokers that performs brilliantly and doesn’t compromise about taste even a bit. But some low-quality smokers DON’T! So the challenge is to separate the good ones from the bad ones. I’ll help yo doing so.
Advantages Of Using An Electric Smoker:
Ease Of Use: Undoubtedly, this is the biggest advantage you can get from an electric smoker. There is no question that electric smokers are the easiest to use.
Just set things up, and forget it! Just add a little smoke wood, set the temperature and time and get back to your business forgetting it. It will smoke your food well with the parameters you have set and shut itself off when it’s done! No lightning charcoal, checking fuel every hour or cleaning messy ash from now on! Life is easier with this awesome technology.
No temperature fluctuation: Another good thing about an electric smoker is consistent heating. The temperature doesn’t go up and down depending on fuel condition, amount left! In wood or charcoal smoker, you might have to face this problem all the time. When they’re just put in to burn they might produce little heat for a bit, then over heat. Again, at the last phase, they become unable to produce enough heat.
But with electric smokers, this issue goes away as all the heating is controlled digitally and automatically, thus temperature fluctuation is minimal or zero.
Cheap to operate: Electric smokers are way cheaper to operate than any wood, charcoal or gas smokers. For a wood or charcoal smoker, you’ll have to keep buying fuel like wood or charcoal, and they’re not very cheap. But with an electric smoker, fuel cost is almost nothing as they don’t consume much power either.
Safety: If you think, fire at an open place could be a danger for your dog or kid, then you’re going for an electric smoker being concerned about safety. Wood or charcoal smoker produces real fire to smoke the food, so there is always a chance that the burning embers might accidentally burn something down. But, with electric smokers, there will be no embers jumping out.
And, most of the modern-day electric smoker(all I mentioned below) is shock proof. They’re wired and insulated well to make sure that there’s no current on the body, even if it’s wet. So electric smokers are safer than all other types of smokers.
Comparison Between Top 10 Electric Smokers:
There are hundreds of electric smoker in the market. In the table below, I’ve plotted a comparison between their features. This will help you to pick one best electric smoker among 2 or 3 options by comparing their features.
Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Electric Smoker; Best in the price-performance ratio:
When you are looking forward to buying an electric smoker, you just can’t avoid the name “MasterBuilt.” And the 20070910 30-Inch model is one of the most popular names to the people who love smoking.
Remote Control Enabled:
This smoker is very popular for its innovative and exiting features. It’s the industry’s first “remote controlled” smoker. That’s something really cool to have in a smoker. You can control the smoking process even sitting 100 feet away. Cool, right?
Good cooking space:
It has a generous cooking space of 730 sq. inches, decorated with 4 removable chrome-coated racks. This amount of space will help you handling a family reunion or gathering of friends. Its temperature doesn’t fluctuate even when it’s loaded fully, thanks to its good heating unit.
Nice heating unit:
This smoker features a 800 watt heating unit which can raise the temperature up to 275 degrees F. And the unit is well insulated so no smoke gets wasted. Its heating is more than good enough to cook red meat, fish, etc. But cooking poultry in it might not give you great results as it needs temperature around 320 degrees F.
Well-built and durable:
It is a well-built electric smoker with power-coated steel outer body. It is sturdy and promises durability, thanks to the high-quality steel it’s built from. Its body is scratch resistant also, and the unit is nearly indestructible.
Easy to control:
Its digital control panel is brilliant. The panel shows you all necessary data you need to smoke the food to perfection. You just need to set all the metrics right, and it will maintain those accurately till the process ends.
Built-in meat temperature probe:
This smoker has a built in meat temperature probe. That means your food will not get overcooked inside without letting you know. With the temperature probe, you can check the temperature of the food and take action according to the situation. This minimizes the chance of getting over or under cooked foods.
Side loading wood chip tray, water pan & air damper:
This unit comes with some little yet useful features like side loading wood chip tray, water pan, air damper etc. The side loading wood chip tray lets you add wood chips without opening the front door, thus no smoke gets wasted in wood chip loading process. The air damper let’s you get the desired flavor by controlling the amount of smoke. And the water pan lets you add any liquid to get a flavor of that in your food.
- Remote-controlled smoker, easy to operate and control.
- Good heating unit to smoke food well.
- Sturdy, durable and well insulated.
- Features thermostat temperature control and built in meat temperature probe.
- Pretty cheap comparing to its price, full value for money.
- Does not provide enough heat to smoke something like poultry.
- Doesn’t have any transportation wheel.
- A little bigger space would’ve been great.
Masterbuilt 20075315 40-Inch Electric Smoker; One of the perfect smoker:
Just as I said, you can’t avoid the name “Masterbuilt” in electric smoker era, And the 20075315 40-Inch model is another beast from them. This one is a better and improved version of the 20070910 30-Inch model, but priced a bit high. But I think it’s worth the money.
Big cooking Space:
This smoker has got a big cooking space of 975 sq. inches. That’s pretty big for a small family. And the amount of food you’ll be able to cook at a time, you surely will handle a little gathering of friends or a family reunion. The cooking space is decorated with 4 racks, which are removable. So you can take them out if you need to cook something big, like a turkey.
Powerful heating unit:
It has a better heating unit of 1200 watts over some other models of masterbuilt. It can raise the temperature up to 350 degrees F. Thus cooking any kind of food won’t be a issue anymore. Fish, red meat, poultry everything will get smoked in this one. And, like the 20070910 model, this one also comes with a meat temperature probe that works nicely.
Easy to control & Operate:
For easy controlling, this one also comes with RF remote control, and has a blue LED powered control panel in it. With the blue LED, seeing the data in direct sunlight won’t be a problem, and the remote control will allow you to control the smoker, monitor time, temperature, meat temperature, and switch internal light staying 100 feet out.
Drip pan & water bowl:
This unit comes with a front access drip pan and water bowl for easy cleaning. The drip pan catches’ drip, and you can access the pan from the front. So you can take it out easily and make the cleaning job easier for you.
It’s wood chip tray works smoothly, but the tray could be a little bigger. The amount of wood chips it can hold will get smoked in first 50 minutes or so.
Unlike many other models, it has got a front glass door. This lets you see what’s going inside throughout the cooking process.
This unit is fully insulated so there will be zero smoke loss, thus won’t harm productivity. For easy transportation, it has got wheels underneath it. Another good thing is parts of this smoker are easily available in the market. Thus you won’t suffer much if anything gets damaged.
- Produces enough heat to smoke any kind of food.
- Has a big cooking space.
- Easy to operate, control with the remote controller and control panel.
- Features wheels underneath, easy to get spare parts.
- Cleaning up is a bit hustling.
- Front glass gets hard to see through at the end of cooking process.
Masterbuilt 20070411 30-Inch:
The masterbuilt 20070411 30-Inch is another model from masterbuilt that maintains good price-performance ratio. This model has some upgrades over the 20070910 model, and also has a upgrade in the price. Now it depends on you if you feel the upgrades are worth the money.
This unit has a transportation wheel that was lacking in the 20070910 model. This little feature can come very handy under some circumstances.
Unlike the 20070910 model, it has a front glass door. You can observe what’s going inside through the process. Not major, but still a good feature.
In other fields it is pretty similar to the 20070910 model, just little upgrades and error fixing has been done. These things will not show up that way, but you will feel these things while smoking, if you have used the 20070910 model before.
For example, it also has a RF remote control feature for remote controlling. But this time the remote controller is loaded with more function, and has a higher range also. And the front controlling panel has improved a bit also.
Heating unit, cooking space and other:
Talking about heating unit, it has improved a little bit, not by a major margin. This one also has a 800 watt heating element, but produces 10-15 degrees F. more heat than the 20070910 model. Not a major margin, but a upgrade is a upgrade.
Regarding cooking space, nothing has changed. This one also has 730 sq. inches of cooking space decorated with 4 chrome coated racks.
This unit also is built from good, in fact, a little better material(steel, mostly) than the 20070910 model. It’s body is scratch free and nearly indestructible. This smoker will offer a bit more durability.
And, this also has got those little useful features like meat temperature probe, side loading wood chip tray, water pan and air damper.
- Better heating, durability.
- Still a decent cooking space.
- Transportation wheel for easy movement.
- Front glass door for easy observation.
- Heating unit still not perfect.
Bradley Smokers Original Smoker:
Another big name you’ll hear in smoking era along with Masterbuilt is “Bradley” . They’ve a reputation of creating world-class smokers and the one we’re taking about is a classical one from them. This one’s a mid-sized smoker that is good enough to cook food for an average-sized family. You’ll find it to be a bit old school, but it really does make your food taste great.
The Bradley original smoker has a terrific looking fully insulated interior and exterior, which really feels premium. And the build quality is fantastic, also! There’s no chance of smoke loss as a result of such great insulation. And, you can expect this machine not to fall apart and give you good service for years. It did so to its old customers.
Nice decent heating unit:
It has a decent heating unit that has the ambient temperature as minimum and 250+ degree’s F as a maximum. The heating unit performs decent actually. We’ve cooked different types of foods like fish, pork, turkey, beef, and veggies in this machine, and all the foods were smoked and tested well, just like it was smoked by a professional. This unit can be used as a slow cooker or slow roasting oven for its temperature range.
As i said early, it’s not a monster sized smoker. It’s a medium-sized smoker that has decent 520 square inches of cooking space, which is enough for an averaged sized family. And, to increase productivity it is nicely decorated with removable racks that’ll help you cook larger-sized food just by removing them. You might sometime handle a bit larger crowd with it because of its good productivity.
This unit, being a old school one, is a simple machine to set up and operate. Any little experience of using an oven or grill before will help you set this up easily. Switches and nobs it is pretty self-explanatory and it a overall a very straight-forward machine to operate.
There are some features included in this model that you may not have seen in other similar products. To give an example, you’ll get an automatic wood feeder, and this works brilliantly to maintain the heat. .
This unit has got another impressive feature. That is there are separate oven and smoke burners within this smoker. That means that you can even use it as an oven.
Another advantage you’ll get from this model is that it is very easy to clean. With the easy cleaning method in this smoker, it’ll reduce a major part of effort of yours in cleaning.
The reputation of “Bradley” comes into play when we talk about customer service. In any problem of yours, they’ll put maximum efforts and do all they can to help you solving the problem.
- Excellent interior and exterior, insulated and durable, relatively.
- Decent heating, able to cook different types of food.
- Easy to clean.
- Being a classic one, taste of dishes is excellent and real smoky.
- Heating unit could be better.
- A little larger cooking space would be great.
Electric Smoker~Buying Guide !
Here, I’m trying to help you choose the best electric smoker under your circumstances. I’m gonna tell you exactly those things you need to keep in mind while choosing the perfect smoker for you. After finishing this guide you’ll consider yourself a pro in choosing the best electric smoker. Get going-
Step 1 – Determine why you are buying it:
There are hundreds of models of electric smokers in the market now that serves different purposes. Some are made to cook food for a large crowd, some are for small, and some are for an average. Again, different model has different cooking ways, though the basic process is same. So, first of all, you really need to determine what you are gonna use it for.
For example, if you need to prepare food for medium-sized family, buying a huge sized expensive electric smoker won’t help, right?
So, if you need to cook food for a medium-sized family, I’ll suggest going for the masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch model.
If you think along with your medium-sized family, sometime you’ll need to cook for additional people like friends or something, go for a little bigger model like the Masterbuilt 20075315 40-Inch model. For an even bigger one, you can go for the Bradley 6 racks digital smoker.
If you wanna go for a smaller model for a smaller family and wanna same some bucks, The Bradley Smoker Original Smoker would be a smart choice.
Step 2 – Fix an average budget in mind:
Let’s say you’ve chosen the perfect size of smoker for you. But you’ll find many different models on that size range. Now, some of them might have some extra features, but they could have much higher price for that added features. Buying that would be a loss. So, having an average budget in mind is helpful not to get confused choosing the best electric smoker for your need.
One thing you need to keep in mind, lower price doesn’t always mean a win. First look for performance, then price.
Step 3 – Rate a smoker good having these features:
Ease of use:
This is the biggest advantage of a electric smoker, and you need to make sure that the smoker you are choosing is easy to operate. You should know about the control panel of that smoker, which features it has got in that and weather provides enough data for you to monitor the process and control it also. And, an additional remote control, just like some masterbuilt model has, would be great. The Masterbuilt 20070910 and 20075315 models perform well regarding this matter.
Food cooking capacity:
It depends on how much food you’ll need to cook at a time. I’ve talked about this earlier. It’s just a remainder. I just wanna ensure you never skip this issue while choosing a smoker. No matter how many good features a smoker has, if it doesn’t have enough space to serve your purpose, look for a bigger model.
Another important thing that many people skips is the build-quality. You definitely want a durable smoker that will perform for you for years. To make sure it does so, buy a smoker made from good materials and has an overall good built quality and finishing!
Price vs Performance:
It’s a tricky issue that you don’t wanna get fooled on. Make sure the smoker you choosing is worth the money. Some smokers will add little more value and ask way higher price. These are not good to go. Make sure it has a great price vs performance ratio. It means it should perform great and have a convenient price tag on it. And nothing beats the Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch model when it comes to price vs performance ratio.
Having asked all these questions, I hope you’ll find the best electric smoker to serve your purpose.
Some Frequently asked questions:About Best Electric Smoker;
There are some questions I often get asked. Like-
Q: Are the dishes cooked with electric smoker taste authentic?
A: Yes, they do by 95%, not by 100%. But for me, I’m okay with that considering the amazing ease of use and other features I get from a electric smoker.
Q:Are electric smokers cheaper to maintain that other types of smokers?
A: Certainly. They are way cheaper, maybe by half or so!
Q: How can I get the best possible tasted food cooked by my electric smoker?
A: Use a proven recipe, use wood chips, maintain perfect temperature. You’ll get the best out of you an electric smoker then.