Pellet vs Electric Smoker: The Battle of the Royals

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Last Updated on April 21, 2021

A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.  

A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling,

passed on from his father and grandfather to him.  

Comparison

Pellet smokers and electric smokers are fan favorites among the outdoor cooking community. The delicious smoky flavors infuse into meats and vegetables, and they are convenient and easy to use. These smokers are ideal for setting the cooker at your preferred temperature, then sitting back and relaxing with friends or family while the smoker cooks your meal to perfection.

Whether you are an experienced chef or learning to cook meat outdoors, you can use digital displays and electronic controls to cook a tasty meal every time. 

Pellet smokers and electric smokers have different cooking methods and various features, so you are sure to find the one that meets your needs.

Pellet Smoker VS Electric Smoker Overview 

Pellet smokers and electric smokers both use an electric supply, and both can give you excellent, smoky-tasting food. However, you need to choose carefully between a pellet smoker and an electric smoker because they can give you very different results. 

Pellet smokers can cook at relatively low temperatures, and you could spend a full day relaxing while cooking your meat. Electric smokers can use even lower temperatures, which can be ideal if you warm meats, sauces, or soups

If you prefer cooking meat quickly, an electric smoker cannot cook at extreme temperatures, whereas many pellet smokers can grill and slow-cook. Modern pellet and electric smokers use technology to simplify the outdoor cooking experience and make it more enjoyable. 

There is no need to struggle with igniting modern smokers since most have auto-start ignitions and turn on at the touch of a button. Use a remote control or smart device to change the settings. There’s no need to even get out of your chair. 

The clear digital control panels give accurate temperature readouts, so you know the cooking chamber’s precise temperature. The controls are straightforward, easy to use, and you can be ready to cook as soon as you set up your smoker. 

The hardwood pellets are efficient, and you can even order online to save a trip to the store. Both pellet smokers and electric smokers create almost no mess, so you can easily wipe them down before covering and storing your smoker for the evening.

Pellet smokers and electric smokers are durable and made of corrosion-resistant and weather-resistant materials, so you can expect them to last for a long time. Both grills styles can also heat the cooking chamber evenly, which is vital for avoiding hot or cold spots, which could affect your meats.

Whichever style of smoker you prefer, you can be sure they can cook a tasty, smoky meal.


Pellet Smoker

Pellet smokers use an auger to feed wood pellets from a hopper into the cooking chamber’s bottom. Efficient convection fans bring air into the chamber, starting a small fire and igniting the pellets. Pellet smokers are well-known for producing flavor-infused meat and vegetables that taste like they were cooked over an open fire. 

You can even choose from a range of different hardwood pellet flavors, and because the pellets are inexpensive, you can experiment until you find your favorite taste. If you value spending time with your guests while your food is cooking, a pellet smoker is an excellent choice. You can plug them into the power source, and the auger intelligently feeds just the right amount of pellets to heat your meat.

Many pellet smokers use modern technology, allowing you to adjust your cooking chamber’s temperature by remote control. This feature is ideal for slowly cooking your lunch or dinner while you socialize with friends and then turning it up to a higher heat towards the end for searing the meat to lock in flavors.

Pellet smokers are perfect for those who enjoy the slow-cook experience during lazy summer days. It’s even possible to spend an entire day cooking your meat. It’s a popular choice for BBQ enthusiasts. However, if you are in a hurry, you can also choose a model that allows grilling, allowing you to cook more quickly.

The advantage of pellet smokers to charcoal grills is that pellet smokers are virtually automatic, they are easy to use, and there is no learning curve. You can plug in it, set the temperature, place your meat on the cooking surface, and the smoker does the rest. 

They’re an excellent choice for those learning how to cook outdoors and for experienced BBQ enthusiasts who value convenience. There is almost no mess, and you only need to clean the cooking surfaces after each use and clean the firepot out after every few cooking sessions.

Advantages

  • The ultimate in convenient cooking – Set your meat on the smoker, fill the hopper, and relax while you wait.
  • Beautiful flavoring – Nothing beats the smoky taste of a pellet smoker using hardwood pellets.
  • Option to grill and sear – Some more expensive models allow you to raise the temperature for grilling. 
  • Easy maintenance – Unlike charcoal BBQs, pellet smokers don’t make a lot of mess, and they are easy to clean.
  • Environmentally-friendly –  Pellet smokers use convection heating for efficiency.
  • Cooking in colder temperatures – The insulation means pellet smokers are ideal for smoking meat when the weather starts to turn in the winter.

DisADVANTAGES

  • Requires a power source – You need to plug a pellet smoker into a power source, so they are not as portable as other smokers.
  • Expensive to buy – A pellet smoker is generally more costly than an electric smoker, so there is a more significant upfront outlay.
  • Requires planning – Not every store keeps a supply of smoking pellets, and you may need to order online. They’re not ideal for a spontaneous BBQ if you don’t retain a stockpile.
  • Lower capacity – Pellet smokers typically can not accommodate as much meat as a vertical electric smoker.

Electric Smoker

Electric smokers are less expensive than pellet smokers, so they are an excellent choice for shopping on a budget. The vertical design is ideal if you want to save space, and they still accommodate a large amount of meat, so you do not compromise on capacity. 

Operating an electric smoker is as easy as using a kitchen oven. Many modern models use intuitive touch screen displays with digital readouts so that you can choose the exact temperature of the cooking chamber. 

Some electric smokers have Bluetooth controls, allowing you to monitor and adjust the cooking temperature from your smart device, a convenient feature if you want to relax. The wood chip loading systems are straightforward, and many electric smokers let you add the chips without opening the door to preserve accumulated heat.

Although an electric smoker does need an electrical supply to cook, they are economical. The clean energy source is also kind to the environment, and you won’t bother your neighbors with drifting smoke. Because many condos and apartment buildings don’t allow residents to use real outdoor fires, an electric smoker is an excellent choice for hosting a cookout. 

You can plug your electric smoker in and have a great evening with other residents or friends, and the slimline design means you won’t be in the way of other residents.

While an electric smoker is popular for cooking meats because the lower temperature allows slow-cooking, they are also excellent for heating smaller foods. Melting cheeses over the meat or warming pieces of bread and nuts are easy in an electric smoker, and they’ll come out of the cooker with a lovely lightly-smoked flavor

The clean-up after using an electric smoker is easy as they make almost no mess. They are the perfect choice for allowing you to sit down and relax with a drink after enjoying a tasty meal.

ADVANTAGES

  • Easy to use temperature setting – Like an oven in your kitchen, set the dial to your preferred temperature to cook faster or slower.
  • Super clean – Electric smokers leave virtually no mess. Just clean the cooking surface, and they’re ready to go again.
  • Perfect for condos and apartments – Many shared living spaces don’t allow real fires, but you can still get together using an electric smoker.
  • Suitable for cooking smaller foods – Because you can set a very low temperature, electric smokers are ideal for heating cheeses and bread slices.
  • Inexpensive to buy – Electric smokers are one of the more affordable cookers on the market, and they are also cheap to run.
  • Compact design – The vertical cooking design of an electric smoker means it doesn’t take up much horizontal space.

DisADVANTAGES

  • Unsuitable for grilling – Electric smokers cannot achieve the heat necessary to grill or sear meat.
  • A lighter flavor – The food from an electric smoker tastes fantastic, but it doesn’t have the same level of a pellet smoker’s infused flavors.
  • Takes practice – There is a water pan to keep the meat moist, but it can take a bit of trial and error to get succulent, juicy meat.
  • Needs plugged in – An electric smoker needs a power source, so you can’t go too far away from an electrical socket.

Pellet Smokers and Electric Smokers Go Head to Head

Pellet smokers and electric smokers are both excellent choices for outdoor cooking. However, they cook using different methods, and you may find one model is a more suitable choice for your needs. There are several crucial aspects to consider.

Flavor and Texture

For a more-infused wood smoke flavor, it is hard to beat a pellet smoker. The automatic steady addition of wood pellets to maintain the heat level ensures a continual smoke supply to flavor your meat. The convection heating method warms the cooking chamber evenly, avoiding hot spots that could toughen your meat texture.

Electric smokers provide a smoky flavor, lighter than what a pellet smoker offers, but you may prefer that fresher taste. Because you can cook at very low temperatures, it is easier to cook your meat to an individual’s desired texture. Although it can take a bit of practice, you can be precise about how moist you cook your meat by mastering using the water tray.

Heating and Cooking Capacity

Many pellet smokers can slow cook at lower temperatures and reach higher temperatures to grill and even sear meat. This combination is convenient since you don’t need to use your kitchen grill if you need to prepare meat quickly. Pellet smokers tend to have a large cooking area, although this can mean the smoker is quite big, and they use a horizontal rather than a vertical design.

You can adjust the temperature on an electric smoker at the touch of a button or the turn of a dial, and it responds quickly. Although an electric smoker can cook at high temperatures, it cannot reach grilling heat. However, electric smokers have a vertical layout, so you have several grills positioned above and below one another. This feature enables you to cook considerable amounts of meat simultaneously.

Ease of Use

Both pellet smokers and electric smokers provide the ultimate in convenience for outdoor cooking. A pellet smoker’s automatic auger feeds the pellets without your intervention and maintains the cooking chamber temperature at the required temperature. 

Placing a tray of wood pellets at the bottom of the cooking chamber is straightforward in an electric smoker, and you can add more without even opening the door. Both types of smokers have embraced modern technology, and you can control the heat settings from a remote control or a smart device

While it is easy to clean a pellet smoker because they create little mess, you need only wipe down the cooking surfaces and the pellet trays on an electric smoker, and it is ready for the next use.

Upfront Investment and Running Costs

Pellet smokers are more expensive to buy than electric smokers, although there are many affordable models for both cookers. As pellet smokers and electric smokers plug into a wall socket and use electricity for power, there is an ongoing electric cost. However, many models are economical and can be cheaper than gas or traditional or charcoal cookers.

You need to replace the hardwood pellets, which usually come in bags. These pellets can also burn at an efficient rate and heat a large cooking chamber for many hours.

Jim Bob

Jim Bob

Wrapping It Up

Pellet smokers and electric smokers are efficient and very easy to use. Whether you prefer to stand over your cooker or control it via Bluetooth from a distance, there are many available options. Because you have precision control over the temperature, you can cook meat to your preferred taste. 

The smoky flavors are delicious, and you can choose different flavored pellets to find your favorite taste. After a substantial meal, the last thing you need is to spend time scrubbing your cooker, and both these smokers produce very little mess and are easy to clean.

For the perfect blend of convenience, flavor, and price, look no further than a pellet or an electric smoker.