The Best Smokers for 2018
Who doesn’t like to barbecue? Grilling meats and vegetables in your backyard with family and or friends, in the Spring and Summers months, is a favorite pastime across this planet. It brings together great tasting food and people you enjoy spending time with.
What if I told you there was a better way to get more flavor out of whatever you are cooking?
Smoking food in a BBQ smoker for longer periods of time over a lower temperature brings out unbelievable flavors and falls off the bone goodness. Whether it is Beef, pork, chicken, turkey or even fish it can be smoked to bring out the best taste they have to offer.
BBQ smoking has been around centuries and the smoker was originally just a hole in the ground surrounded by wood used to help preserve meat for longer periods of time. Nowadays it has evolved into an art form used by many.
Whether you are using a regular charcoal grill, a grill with a smoker attached, a propane fueled smoker or an electric grill smoking meats has never been easier.
Every BBQ smoker aficionado has their own way of smoking meats. Some prefer a dry rub, others like to use a marinade or to brine their meat before smoking.
No matter what kind of set-up you use adding wood chips to the smoking process brings out even more flavor to your food. Although there are many to choose from, and some chips are used more with different types of meats, the most popular ones are mesquite, oak, hickory and apple.
Wood pellets are either made out of hardwood or natural composite materials made out of left over by-products from the agricultural industry like sawdust, lumber and other things. They are very dense and have a low moisture content and work great to add an even heat to a smoker.
A pellet smoker type grill uses pellets exclusively as fuel for you to cook with and does it with great results. They are controlled by feeders that maintain whatever temperature you set the smoker at.
Things to consider when buying a BBQ smoker.
A BBQ smoker can use either charcoal, propane or electricity for a fuel source. All three have their benefits. A charcoal smoker seems to have a somewhat better taste than an electric smoker but takes more hands on approach. Electric smokers while the end flavor might not be exactly the same as a charcoal smoker it is a lot easier to use. Propane falls somewhere in between charcoal and electric smoker. You can use wood chips to enhance the flavor with either one of these.
Size is probably the main consideration when buying a BBQ smoker. A minimum size should be 300 square inches of grilling surface to cook on and can get as big as 1,400 square inches.
If you just plan on using it occasionally then a simple BBQ grill will work. All you have to do is offset the food you are cooking from the charcoal and wood chips and put the top vent over the food and you have yourself a smoker.
Looking for something a little bit bigger? Try a bullet smoker. Just as the name implies they are a cylindrical shape smoker that will hold a little bit more meat than a regular grill will.
If you are planning on doing it more frequently or are grilling for a larger number of people than are larger model is for you. Regular charcoal grills with side smoker boxes come in all sizes.
Electric smokers also come in various sizes depending on your needs.
A heavy gauge steel or cast iron will last longer and holds heat in better than a lighter gauge. Heavy duty hinges are a must for long-lasting use. Good sturdy legs and durable heat-resistant handles are also a must.
The best cooking grates are made out of stainless steel. It is the easiest to keep clean. Cast iron follows next but should be coated with porcelain enamel to help prevent rusting in the future.
BBQ smokers, whether they are charcoal or electric, can run in price from around $100.00 to over a $1000.00. Depending how often you plan on grilling or smoking and how many people you have to feed will determine what size and quality you should get. Remember this: having a charcoal grill around sure comes in handy if you ever have a power outage.
Whatever you buy needs to have a vent on the top and on the bottom. The bottom vent controls the amount of heat in the cooking chamber and the top vent controls how much smoke your food will get.
I am an Amazon Affiliate and if you happen to click one of the links below and buy something then I will make a few dollars. I do strive to bring you the best information I can find about the products I review. That is why I choose only items that have at least a 4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.
The Best BBQ Grill Smokers
Charcoal BBQ Smokers:
The Dyna-Glo 36″ Charcoal Smoker is excellent for anyone who likes to cook with charcoal. This is easy to use, holds a lot of food and easy to clean.
Vertical smokers are an excellent way to catch heat and smoke, as they rise towards the top vent, and use every bit of it to cook your food.
– This smoker has four cooking grates that are about 20″W x 10″D. This enough room to smoke just about anything you want to. The cooking grates are adjustable to allow you to cook anything from a large beef brisket to just one small meal or anything in between.
– Comes with 2 doors, one for the food section and one for the charcoal section. This allows you to add more charcoal or wood chips without decreasing the temperature of the food compartment. A definite plus when trying to maintain a constant temperature while smoking.
– The bottom section comes with a porcelain enameled container for the charcoal that holds the briquettes tightly and allows them to burn more efficiently. A separate box for wood chips sits above that.
Below it is an ash pan which is removable for easy cleaning. Top section has a built-in stainless steel thermometer.
– The bottom vents are easily adjustable for the proper amount of heat allowed into the smoking section while the top vent stack is also adjustable.
– This smoker has a 4.1 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.
No matter your level of experience the Dyna-Glo 36″ charcoal smoker should fit every your need.
This 16″ charcoal smoker from Car-Broil is a great smoker for anyone from a beginning BBQ smoker to an experienced one. Its ease of use from loading the charcoal to checking the meat makes it one of the easiest charcoal BBQ’s on the market to use.
– It comes with two enameled cooking grates for a total of 388 square inches of cooking surface. One inside the lower chamber for deep smoking and one underneath the lid for lighter smoking or grilling. Both are easily accessible.
– Made out of a sturdy steel, rust resistant, porcelain coated finish, construction with heavy-duty lid, handles and hinges.
– Vents on located top and bottom for heat and smoke regulation. Also, has a built in thermometer in the lid.
– The bottom section of the unit lifts off in order for you to get to the ash pan for easy cleaning.
– It comes with a 1-year warranty on the entire unit.
– Has a 4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.
The Char-Broil Bullet line of smokers comes with a unique air flow control system that makes it very simple to control your grilling/smoking temperature.
Offset smokers are probably most traditional way to smoke meat because everything is easy to get to and easy to control.
The charcoal and wood chips go into the smoker box and when they are lit the heat travels to the main grill box to smoke your meat and vegetables. This works because the lower vent is on the side of the smoker box and the chimney is of the far side of the larger grill box. Both vents are adjustable for different temperatures and smoke levels.
– This is a vertical designed unit that comes with 5 cooking grates made out of chrome plated steel. Each grate is 17″ in diameter for a total cooking area of 1382 square inches.
As an added benefit located at the very top of the chamber are 6 chrome plated hooks used for hanging sausages.
– The smoker box can also be used to grill food and has a chrome plated grate that is about 28″W x 10″D.
– Door to smoker box slides out to the side for easy loading of charcoal and wood and also for easy clean-up when you are done.
– Body, wheels and spring type handles are made of heavy gauge steel.
– 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon
The Dyna Glo vertical heavy-duty offset charcoal smoker and grill is a multi functional smoker/grill designed for the homeowner who likes to smoke a lot of meat and yet it can also be used as a grill.
Electric BBQ Smokers
This newer class of electric smokers are very easy to use and maintain. If you are a beginner to BBQ smoking than you might want to start off with an electric model. The Master Built line of electric smokers are some of the best.
– Easier to use than charcoal or propane. All you do is plug it in and set the digital controls and let it cook.
– This unit is large enough to smoke 2 whole turkeys or 64 sausages at one time.
– The body and door are fully insulated and sealed to allow all heat to stay in the cabinet.
– This unit contains 4 chrome plated racks that gives you enough area to smoke virtually anything.
– The digital thermostat and temperature control system is located on the top. It allows you to set the temperature and time for anything you want to cook.
– The side wood chip loading system is uniquely designed to allow you to add wood chips without opening the door to let any heat out.
– It also contains a water pan at the bottom to add moisture to the smoking process and doubles as a container for drippings.
– 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon
The Master Built 30″ Electric Smoker was designed for ease of use and easy maintenance. If you are looking for a smoker to begin with this one is very good one to start with.
The Char-Broil Company has been in the barbecue business since the 1940s. They have recently led the way with some of the best electric smokers on the market. The Char-Broil analog electric smoker is no exception.
– The body is double walled constructed and fully insulated to keep heat in.
– This smoker measures 20.7″W x 33.5″H x 15″D. Which is just the right size for a backyard barbecue.
– It comes with 3 chrome plated grates that are roughly 18″W x 15″D. This is big enough to fit a brisket, a whole turkey, several ribs or pieces of chicken.
– Analog temperature gauge mounted on front door which has two latches for a tight seal.
– The larger capacity wood chip tray, the water tray and the grease cup are all accessed through the front door.
– It comes with a 1-year warranty on the entire unit.
– 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon
The Char-Broil Company has been building barbecues for over 70 years with great results and these electric models are no exception. From a beginning BBQ smoker to an experienced one they are easy to use and will always produce great results.
Here is another quality 30″ electric smoker from Master Built that has a few extra benefits.
– Number 1 being a remote control that monitors temperature of the internal cabinet and the temperature of the meat. It is also used to measure the time left and the light inside of the cabinet.
– Number 2 being a double thick cooking window to see how your food is progressing.
– The large capacity can cook up to 12 whole chickens or 24 burgers at one time.
– The cabinet is made out of a double wall stainless steel construction. This holds the heat in and allows for easy cleaning.
– Comes with 4 chrome plated racks which are about 18″W x 10″D.
– Easily moved by tilting back onto rear wheels.
– 4.2 stars out of 5 on Amazon
The Master Built 30″ electric smoker is easier to use than either charcoal or propane and made for anyone from a beginner to a seasoned barbecuist.
Propane BBQ Smokers
Another fuel you can use for a smoker is propane. It falls right in between charcoal/wood/pellet and electric in 2 categories.
Ease Of Use Rating-
Best Tasting/Flavor Rating-
As far as propane consumption goes a 20 gallon tank will last for approximately 28 hours when smoking food.
A propane smoker is also nice for you to have around in case of a power outage.
This Cuisinart propane smoker is somewhat smaller than some of the others reviewed here and yet it can smoke stuffed mushrooms in under an hour and is still large enough to smoke a full turkey.
– Contains 4-14″ x 14″ stainless steel grates inside the 5.45 square foot smoking area.
– Two door design allows access to lower area without letting out heat or smoke from food area.
– The porcelain wood and water tray sets right above the burner assembly.
– Propane lights automatically with a twist of the burner knob. 40″ hose and regulator included.
– Upper vent located in the rear of the cabinet and a buit-in thermometer located on the door.
– 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
The Cuisinart 36″ propane smoker is small enough to cook just one meal and large enough to cook enough food for a weeks worth of meals.
The Char-Broil Big Easy is truly a unique grill/smoker because it combines three different types of cooking into one.
– It can grill, roast or smoke your food and also uses infrared technology to do this.
– The infrared system works by the heat from the flame going up in between the inner and outer wall of the Big Easy. This allows the food to cook evenly with no cold or hot spots.
– You can use the top grate to roast or grill your food or put it down into the body of the grill to smoke. The bottom section can hold up to 25lb. Turkey.
– Smoker box is easily accessible on the side of the grill.
– Burners effortlessly ignite with the push of a button.
– 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon
The Big Easy by Char-Broil is an amazing piece of equipment that can be used to cook just about anything.
This durable gas smoker from Smoke Hollow is made for someone who wants to smoke a lot of food to use during the week or to cook for a backyard gathering of several people.
– Made completely of steel this 2 door design conveniently allows you to access the lower section, to add wood or water, without letting any heat out of the smoking section.
– The insulated window allows you to see how your food is progressing and comes with a thermostat to monitor the temperature.
– The 4 chrome plated cooking racks are approximately 20″W x 14″D.
– The burner assembly is made out of cast brass with a push button ignition system. A 40″ hose and regulator are included.
– The large porcelain coated wood box sets above the burner assembly and has a lid which allow for an even distribution of smoke. Above that sits the large water bowl which is also porcelain coated.
– 4.1 put of 5 stars on Amazon.
– Hangers are located on top of inside cabinet for hanging sausage.
This Smoke Hollow gas smoker offers a great design and is easy to use. Adjustable flame temperatures allows you to cook something at a faster rate or at a slower rate.
Wood Pellet Smoker Grills
Wood Pellet smoker grills are very popular because they offer a way to automatically and consistently bring fuel to your fire. This method of smoking or grilling gives an even cooking temperature to whatever you cook.
They run off of electricity and have a control panel that automatically feeds pellets into a hopper where they burn at an even rate keeping a constant temperature throughout the entire smoking process.
Hardwood pellets come in cherry, mesquite, hickory and many more.
The advantages of you using a pellet smoker are:
– Once you load the pellets and set the temperature the grill does the rest of the work.
– A more consistently even cook. “No charred parts from flare-ups.”
– A more unique and subtle smokey flavor.
– They can be set to a wide variety of temperature ranges so you can smoke something slow or grill something fast.
The Camp Chef Deluxe is made with the homeowner in mind. Many of the built-in features make it very easy to produce excellent tasting food with an ease of use.
– The digital control system allows you to grill/smoke within a temperature range of 160 degrees up to 500 degrees. This is done by the automatic auger feeding system which feeds wood pellets at a predetermined rate to maintain a certain temperature.
– The grilling grate is 22″W x 19.5″D and the warming rack is 24″W x 6″D.
– The hopper will hold 18 lbs of wood pellets which is large enough for most meats you will smoke and is easily cleaned out thru the side door. The automatic feed system allows the right amount of wood pellets to enter the cooking area at the right time.
– This unit comes with an internal temperature sensor and an internal stainless steel meat probe to help you make sure it is at the temperature you want it at.
– It has a 4.4 stars out of 5 on Amazon.
The Camp Chef Deluxe BBQ Grill and Smoker is one of the best wood pellet grills that make cooking easy. It was made with the homeowner in mind. You pretty much just have to set the temperature to what you want and forget it.
Whether you are grilling something on a high temperature or smoking something on a low temperature the wood pellets advance thru the auger at a steady rate to maintain the proper temperature.
The wood pellet grill and smoker from Z-Griils is more than just a grill and smoker. It is also does roasting, baking and braising.
– Made of polished stainless steel for easy cleanup and to resist corrosion.
– It comes with a built-in fan for convection cooking.
– It has an upgraded control board that handles the pellet feed system, lights the grill automatically, LED temperature readout and will also set the temperature between 180 and 475 degrees.
– The automatic pellet feed has the ability to hold 20 pounds of hardwood pellets.
– This is one of the larger pellet grills on the market with a total cooking area of 700 square inches. 26″L x 19.2″W main grilling area and a warming/smoking rack that is 27.5″L x 6.9″D.
– Large storage area below grilling area.
– Waste oil collector for easy cleanup.
– Heavy duty caster wheels (that lock) for easy moving.
– As an added value it also comes with a free waterproof grill cover.
– It comes with a 3-year warranty from manufacture and a 30-day refund/replacement guarantee.
– 4.4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.
The Z-Grills pellet grill is made for everyone from beginners to seasoned pros. It is known as the Ultimate 8 in 1 because it can grill, smoke, bake, roast, sear, braise barbecue or char-grill.
What else could a backyard barbecuist ask for?
– The Traeger Grill Company patented the first pellet grill in 1986 and has been improving on them ever since.
This is their newest version and it does everything from grill, smoke and bake to roast, braise and barbecue.
– Whether you want to grill or sear something hot and fast or smoke or bake something low and slow either is possible with the Texas Elite 34
– With the digital elite controller setting the temperature is as easy as setting your oven. Easily started with an electronic auto-start ignition.
– One of the larger grilling areas on the market at 646 square inches it has the ability to grill or smoke 24 burgers, 6 whole chickens, 32 hot dogs or 9 racks of ribs.
– Made out of a powder coated steel construction with a finish that is easy to clean and will last for a long time.
– Easily moved with durable wheels that lock in place.
– The hopper has an 18 pound capacity.
No matter if you want to smoke a brisket or a rack of ribs, grill chicken or even a pizza or bake an apple or pumpkin pie the Traeger Texas Elite 34 will work for you. It has tremendous value and consistency as a griller/smoker that you can trust and will meet all your needs.
Charcoal BBQ Smokers>
For an easy to use beginning charcoal smoker I would choose the Dyna-Glo 36″ Charcoal Smoker. Its clean simple vertical design makes it easy to use and maximizes the units smoking ability. Its large capacity and two door design make it a must have for any charcoal smoker.
Electric BBQ Smokers>
Master Built 30″ electric smoker
Its thick stainless steel construction and large capacity to hold a lot of food make it a clear favorite in the electric smoker category. As an added benefit it comes with a remote control to easily control the temperature.
Propane BBQ Smokers
Smoke Hollow 38″ Gas Smoker
Its somewhat larger capacity, 2 doors and vertical design make this propane smoker a very good choice for any type of BBQ smoker.
Wood Pellet Smoker Grills>
Z-Grills Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
This is the hands down favorite for a wood pellet grill. The large capacity for cooking area and pellet hopper sure come in handy when you are cooking a lot of food. With its ability to cook many different types of food and digital control board to maintain the proper temperature make this a clear favorite in the pellet smoker market. Throw in a 3 year warranty and low price for everything you get and this is the one you should choose if you are in the market for a wood pellet smoker grill.
These are only my recommendations. Each one of these 12 smokers I have chosen are a good quality item that will work for a beginner or a professional.