Electric smokers are a great choice for those with limited time. Instead of using charcoal or wood pellets that usually take some time to heat up, electric smokers let you get to work even faster. Many come with digital controls that let you turn on a timer and let that smoker run while you spend the day at work, get your home ready for a party or even sleep.
The best electric smoker for the money varies based on just how much money you can afford to spend. We narrowed down our list to the top electric smokers under 1000, 500 and even 200. Make sure that you read over the benefits of electric smokers too, to see why an electric smoker might be better for your home than a pellet or propane smoker.
Benefits of Electric Smokers
No Experience Necessary
To use a standard smoker, you need enough experience to know how much wood to add, when to adjust the heat and how long to smoke each ingredient. Electric smokers do not require any experience and are great for beginners. You may find that you do not even need to use the included instructions before you begin smoking.
Works with Most Outlets
Electric smokers use the power provided by a nearby outlet to bring up the temperature and to smoke your foods. With propane smokers, you need a large propane tank with enough gas to power the smoker, and wood smokers require a lot of wood pellets. As long as you have a standard grounded outlet, you can use an electric smoker anywhere.
Though some think that electric smokers only use electric power, these smokers come with a tray that lets you use any type of wood that you want. The heat from the smoker is high enough to burn those chips to create plenty of smoke. Some even come with alerts that tell you when the smoker needs more wood.
If you ever used another type of smoker before, you know that cleaning up after smoking is hard. Those models produce a lot of charred wood and ashes that you need to empty. With electric smokers, the charred wood and ashes remain inside an easy to empty tray on the bottom.
Thanks to the digital temperature settings on these smokers, you no longer need to spend a lot of time guessing as to which setting to use. You can turn the smoker down to its lowest setting and then slowly increase the heat to experiment with the settings based on what you want to cook and how much smoke flavor you want.
One of the biggest mistakes that new smokers make is that they don’t keep track of the time. Smoking a gorgeous brisket for just a few minutes too long can result in a hunk of meat so dry and tasteless that no one even wants to try it. Modern electric smokers have built-in timers that let you smoke for the perfect amount of time.
Less Wood Needed
Wood pellet smokers come with a hopper that can store up to 20 pounds of wood or more, but these smokers can go through several pounds of wood fairly rapidly. Electric smokers come with a tray that holds that wood. Most only require one cup of wood chips for each hour that you want to smoke.
More Even Cooking
With other types of smokers, you risk the outside cooking before the inside cooks, which can leave behind raw spots that taste bad. An electric smoker offers more even cooking that creates a nice smoke ring around the outside with a moist and juicy inside.
Electric smokers are also safer to use in smaller spaces and on apartment patios and balconies. These smokers do not produce embers like other smokers do, which can lead to fires.
Best Electric Smoker Under 1000
The best electric smoker under 1000 is the Hakka Electric Stainless Steel Smoker, which uses stainless steel on both the inside and out for extra insulation, which keeps the heat on your food and off any surrounding areas. This has a more professional look that requires you spend a little more time getting to know it before you start smoking, but it can churn out smoked meats that look like those found on any restaurant menu. The insulation inside provides more energy efficiency and ensures that you don’t waste any power.
Digital timer lets you set a smoke time up to three hours in advance, and as soon as the timer finishes counting down, the smoker automatically shuts off. As it cools down quickly, you can rest assured that it won’t retain so much heat that your meats come out dry or overcooked. With its thermostat control, you can use a lower temperature for cold smoking or raise the heat up to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
Though it may look a little scary at first glance, this smoker is actually pretty easy to use. The timer knobs turn easily and have marks that let you see how much time you selected, and a separate knob on the bottom controls the heat. The power switch turns the smoker on and off, and a bright green light comes on to let you know when the smoker has power.
Four chrome racks inside adjust and pull out for loading up your food, and the bottom rack acts like a drip tray to catch any fat, juices or liquids from the meats above to keep the moisture away from your wood. Two additional trays are suitable for storing extra water and wood chips.
Best Electric Smoker Under 500
Your hunt for the best electric smoker under 500 ends with the Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker, which offers 275 square inches of space inside for smoking over three trays. Those trays feature a smoothly gliding design that lets you pull the racks out for putting new food on each one or for transferring food out before serving. These trays let you cook all your favorite meats, including roasts, rib racks, poultry, and seafood.
A food thermometer comes with this smoker and features a longer cord that lets you push the thermometer into a piece of meat and view its internal temperature from outside. This thermometer even has a reset button when you want to check a different piece of meat. You can monitor the temperature of the interior of the smoker on the digital screen located just above the door.
That door has a durable lock that ensures the door remains locked and shut when you smoke meat and a full viewing mirror that will get your mouth watering as you see all the meat cooking inside. That latch also helps form an airtight seal that keeps colder temperatures out and locks in all the smoke. The double-wall construction of the interior better insulates the smoker to keep cold spots from forming and to ensure that the temperature is stable across all racks.
A LED display on the front shows you both the temperature and the countdown clock when you set the timer to help you see the total amount of time left. You’ll also appreciate the buttons surrounding that screen that turn the smoker on and off, let you adjust the timer and even turn on an interior light.
Best Electric Smoker Under 200
Finding an electric smoker under 200 (www.seriouslysmoked.com) isn’t as difficult as you might expect because you can bring home the Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Black Electrical Digital Smoker for well at this price point. Masterbuilt designed this smoker to come with some of the features that made the company a household name while still fitting with smaller budgets. This is a digital model that lacks a viewing window but comes with more than 700 square inches of space that can accommodate full turkeys and chickens.
Four chrome-plated racks slide in and out for adding and removing food and are completely removable for smoking larger meats and cuts. The chrome plating is a great addition because it lets you quickly pull off chicken legs and other ingredients without the bottoms sticking to the racks. It also comes with a removable drip pan that protects your wood chips from any of the moisture coming off those meats.
A controller located on the top acts like an electric thermostat for better temperature regulation. Its temperature ranges from between 100 degrees Fahrenheit for colder smoking up to a maximum temperature of 275 degrees Fahrenheit for more traditional smoking. As it is so easy to use, Masterbuilt recommends the 20070910 for both beginners and more advanced smoking experts.
With a top air damper, you can change the airflow inside for letting in more air to circulate the smoke or blocking out the air to ensure that meats come out with a thicker layer of smoke on the outside. Masterbuilt also put the wood chip tray on the bottom side, which lets you load and add more wood chips without disrupting any of the upper racks.