The smoker has been known to people for many centuries. With its help, you can give an original taste to a variety of dishes – meat, fish, and vegetables. The design of this device is not too complicated – a metal container, inside of which there is a great for laying food, a lower container for loading fuel, and a special tray where fat and juice flowing from the dish accumulate. During the smoldering process, smoking is carried out, giving the food a unique taste.
Literally, 15-20 years ago, home craftsmen independently made such devices with their own hands, however, in compliance with all the rules, it is almost impossible to make a smoker on your own. Manufacturers of household appliances decided to deal with this problem and launched a huge amount of these products on the market.
If you are just going to try your hand at smoking, then this article will be very useful for you. In it, we will consider the useful qualities of each model included in this rating of the best smokers, and we will also give the basic rules regarding the competent choice of such a device.
How To Choose The Right Smoker?
First of all, it must be said that all smokers are of several types depending on the fuel used – coal, electricity, and gas. At home (especially in apartments), electric models are often used. The smoke here is formed with the help of special heating elements. If you prefer just such a device, then it is best to buy a design that can smoke products at different temperatures. In gas smokers, heat is released from special stones of volcanic origin, which are heated by a burner. However, this design is very rare.
According to users, the most qualitative smoking process occurs exclusively in coal models, where either coal or live wood acts as fuel. In this case, the products will acquire an additional taste. According to the volume of production, smokehouses are domestic or industrial. There are no fundamental differences between them. The only thing that differs is the volume of their chambers for products.
Smokehouses may also be stationary or transportable. The former have significant dimensions, while the latter can be placed in a barn or in a country house, in addition, they are characterized by small overall dimensions. According to the type of smoking, models are cold, hot or semi-hot.
When using hot smoking, food is processed with hot smoke – this is the fastest technology, which takes from 40 minutes to 2 hours in duration. Unfortunately, dishes prepared in this way are not stored for a very long time – only about two to three days. Experienced smokers do not advise using this technology to work with fatty foods, because due to exposure to high temperature, fat begins to melt – this negatively affects the taste of the dish.
Cold smoking is produced by smoke, whose temperature is in the range of 15 to 25 degrees. Its duration is from 10 hours to three weeks. Ready-made products can be edible for a long time. Smokehouses are made of cast iron, stainless or special heat-resistant steel. Cast iron is usually used to make stationary smokehouses, heat-resistant steel is short-lived, so it is best to choose a design made of stainless steel.
When we chose models to include in the review of the best smokehouses of the year, we mainly relied on all the points discussed above. In addition, we took into account user reviews and value for money: we tried to choose not very expensive models so that you can find the smoker you like, and at the same time it would be within your means. Now let’s move on to the consideration of the qualities of each particular model.
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8 Best Electric Smokers Under 300$ in 2022
Electric smokers can be a great and easy way to smoke foods on a daily basis. It won’t cook faster than other methods but it’s easy to set up and push-button simple so you can use it more often.
Charcoal smokers and grills need to be maintained and monitored for the proper temperature. Electric smokers maintain uniform heat.
These devices can be operated with just a little electricity and some wood chips.
Our Recommendations For Best Electric Smokers Under $300:
- Best Overall: Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
- The Runner Up: Masterbuilt Analog Electric Smoker
- Simple and Stylish: Pit Boss 2.2 Analog Smoker
- Budget Pick: Landmann Smoky Mountain
- Best for Salmon, Bacon & Sausage: Smokehouse Products Big Chief
- Best Budget Smoker: Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker
- Best Compact: Cuisinart COS 330 Smoker
- Best Retro: Old Smokey Electric Smoker
Out of the many affordable electric smokers that are available, we selected 8 to be reviewed. These units can be used quickly and provide all the essential functions for great barbecues.
The Runner-Up: Masterbuilt Analog 3-Rack Electric Smoker
There are some things to love about a smoker who keeps it simple and analog, despite all the digital and flashy controls.
Masterbuilt 3-Rack Smoker is a better choice. The functionality is the same, so you can save some money on fancy electronic wizardry.
- Wattage: 1500
- Cooking Area 536 sq. in 3 levels
- Weight 50 lbs
- Construction Materials: Painted and porcelain-enameled Steel
- Dimensions 20’’ x 21.69’’ x 41.15’’ (W x D. x H).
- Warranty: 1 Year
It is easy to use and clean, making it an excellent starter smoker.
It is made from painted steel and weighs approximately 50 pounds. This makes it a heavy-class smoker that measures 30 inches in height. It is 40 inches high on its legs, and it has three adjustable shelves.
Masterbuilt claims it can hold three whole birds, two turkeys, and three racks of pork shoulder. It has a 1,500-watt thermostat-controlled heating element that is controlled by rheostats and an analog thermometer inside the door.
Best for Salmon, Bacon, and Sausage: Smokehouse Products Big Chief Electric Smoker
The Big Chief can be described as a basic box smoker with very few frills.
It’s light and compact only 27 inches tall. This makes it portable and lightweight so you can take it along on your trip with an RV.
- Wattage: 450
- Cooking Zone: Approximately. 900 sq.in on 5 levels.
- Mass: 17.57 lbs
- Material for Building: Aluminum, and Steel
- Dimensions 26.7’’x16.6’’x13.2’’ (WxDxH).
- Warranty: Two Years
The unit is made with thin panels of aluminum, which keep your food safe but let a lot of heat and smoke out. That’s not the point of this design. It is intended to be able to smoke at 165 degrees.
This unit is great for slow and low-cooking delicate foods, such as fish, cheese, or sausage. This unit is great for any type of smoking.
Even though other heavier insulated smokers might have trouble keeping at these low temperatures for a long, this one is designed to do it all.
You can choose to have your Big Chief front-loading, or top-loading. While most people will prefer the front-loading unit, it is more user-friendly. They operate in a similar way.
Best Overall: Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
If you’re looking to find a smoker who can do everything, this is your best bet.
The Char-Broil Deluxe Model 30-inch features a digital temperature controller for optimal temperature control, double-wall insulation that provides excellent heat retention, and 4 adjustable wire smoker racks for ultimate versatility.
Cooking area: 725 square. inches 4 levels
Mass: 58.7 Lbs
Building Materials: Steel
Dimensions 18.1″ x 16.5″ x 32.5’s (W.xD.xH.)
Warranty 1 Year
The smoker door features a large view window that allows you to view not only your food but also the woodchip tray. The extra-large tray can be used for between four and seven hours.
These 4 racks can be customized to fit any type of item. The smoker’s interior cabinet is 725 square in size and allows for 725 sq. inches of cooking space when all 4 racks have been used. This is a fantastic choice for smoking Briskets and large food items.
The smoker comes with a food probe thermostat that plugs into digital controls. There is also an integrated storage compartment in the cabinet. The smoker stands approximately 33 inches tall. Charbroil has a custom stand that can be raised for easier loading.
The Char-Broil Deluxe Smoker is very easy to use and offers a lot of cooking options. The unit offers exceptional value for your money.
Simple and Stylish: Pit Boss 2.2 Analog Smoker
The Pit Boss Blue Blazing 2 Series is as striking as it is functional. The 593-square-inch cooking area can be divided into 3 shelves that can be customized.
Pit Boss claims it can hold five full racks of ribs and six chickens. It can also hold four pork shoulders. That’s quite a lot of food.
NOTE: This product’s price has increased to over 300 dollars.
- Wattage: 1500
- Cooking Area 593 sq. in 3 levels
- Weight 58 lbs
- Construction Materials: Polished steel and porcelain-coated stainless steel
- Dimensions 21.5’’ x 23’’ x 41’’ (W x D)
- Warranty: 5 Years
This smoker is by far the most appealing of all the group, featuring a brightly colored porcelain-coated exterior with large viewing windows and a large viewing area. On an integrated stand, the unit measures 41 inches high.
The large dial on the front can control temperatures from 150 to 325 degrees. This is enough to cover most smoking activities, including quick roasting large meals and light fish.
Budget Pick: Landmann Smoky Mountain 26-Inch Electric Smoker
Want to get a large capacity at a reasonable price?
The Landmann smokey mountain is easy on the pocket but has plenty of capacity and versatility.
- Wattage: 1500
- Cooking area: 442 square.in 3 levels
- Length: 33 Lbs
- Materials for Construction: Colored steel and steel
- Dimensions: 26.7’’x 16.6’’x 13.2’’ (WxDxH)
- Warranty: 1 Year
This smoker has a simple rheostat heating system that plugs into its side. This makes cleanup very easy.
The door comes with a large thermometer and a view window. There are 3 shelves that can be removed from the cabinet. The bottom includes a 3-in-1 combination wood chips tray, water pan, as well as a grease catcher.
Landmann’s model lacks a stand, which is unlike some other models. It has four adjustable levelling feet that allow it to sit on uneven surfaces.
Best Budget Smoker: Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker
The Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker is the second-best electric smoker under $300. It is easy to use, even for those who are not familiar with smoking. You can have a great barbecue without the need for charcoal or a pellet smoker. The primary cooking chamber is made from heavy-duty steel, with plastic trim and an internal made entirely of high-grade aluminum.
You can adjust the temperature of the electric smoker using the built-in digital control panel. The thermostat does the rest.
The Masterbuilt electric smoker is a top-rated model under 300. It is well-designed and built. The chrome-plated stainless steel shake makes it easy to clean. All you have to do is plug it into an electrical outlet, and you are ready for the game.
Masterbuilt is the best beginner smoker. If you don’t smoke for more than 10 minutes, the window becomes irrelevant. It seems like there is also a view.
Its best part is 30 inches. Despite that, it provides 730 square feet of cooking space with 4 adjustable steel racks. You will need to make a large rack for ribs. If you are looking for extra-large items, you can remove the rack. This will make enough space for 8 small racks of chickens or 6 chickens.
If you don’t enjoy the Char-Broil Electric Smoker, the difference is minimal. We recommend that you choose the cheapest window option. A good temperature probe setup will save you money.
Masterbuilt is the most affordable electric smoker for under $300.
|Excellent Price tag||Constructed Material|
|Dimensions 20.47×19.88×33.26in||Weight 45.9 Pounds|
|Great Cooking Surface 730 sq. in||Patented side-by-side wood chip loading system|
|Heating element 800 watt||Thermostat-temperature control|
Best Compact: Cuisinart COS 330 Smoker
You won’t think of the Cuisinart CoS-330 electric smoking machine as a first choice. You will find the key principles behind indoor smoking success if you look at other options. These principles are perfect for a variety of outdoor cooking equipment, such as high-quality electric smokers.
The best electric smoker under 300$ comes with three adjustable steel racks that cover 548 square inches of cooking area. There is enough space between the racks to fit 3 Boston butt pork. This is a great option for camping or tailgating, as it takes up very little space on your deck or patio.
Cuisinart developed a smoker of high quality and the Cuisinart COS330 was a great success. The interior, wood chip tray, and water pan of the smoker are made from stainless steel, which guarantees heat retention and durability. The Cuisinart COS330 is extremely well insulated, and it prevents heat and smoke.
The Cuisinart vertical electric smoker was under 300 watts. It featured an easily-read thermometer that could be accessed from the door to monitor the internal heat. The Dial controller provides consistent grilling results, and can easily adjust the temperature to between 100 and 400 degrees F. It also has 1500-watt heat elements that provide excellent heat.
The Cuisinart electric smoker racks are easy to remove for large cuts of meat. The electric smoker is covered by a 3-year limited warranty.
Although the Cuisinart COS330 isn’t packed with many features, it is still compatible with its cost so there is no difference in your wallet. You have enough functionality to do a lot with it.
Best Retro: Old Smokey Electric Smoker
Houston Texas is home to this Old Smokey Electric Smoker Company. The company was established in 1923 when it created many new designs. They must have felt secure knowing how many years they have been in the business. It is important to be 100% certain that you have the right information to replace a piece of smoke.
Old Smokey’s drum-style, no-frills smoker is a good example. This compact, best-selling electric smoker under 300 is drum-shaped and has a smoking surface of 280 inches.
This is a very unique design, made with high-quality materials. It is also simple. It includes a heating element and a wood chip tray to add a smokey flavor.
The smoker is split into two parts, one for the upper and one for the lower cooking areas.
It is important to hire an expert chef if you plan to purchase this smoker. However, this is not the best choice for beginners.
This is not a deal breaker, as you may still be interested in purchasing a dual-check thermometer setup.
|Item Weight||24 Pounds|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||15.5 x 15.5 x 29 inches|
The Most Important Features Of An Electric Smoker
Once you decide to buy an electric smoker, it is easy to find the one that suits your needs. Nearly all of them consist of metal cabinets with an electric burner at the bottom.
While there isn’t much difference between designs and manufacturers, there are still some important considerations to make when shopping.
Size and capacity
Perhaps the most important thing you should consider is how large your smoker must be. You should also consider how much food it can hold.
Do you plan to make whole turkeys or pork shoulder? You might also be looking for something to go with fish fillets and smaller items.
In addition to the actual dimensions of the smoker box, it’s important to take into account the shelves that are included with it.
How many of them are there and in what ways?
For taller items, you should be able to operate your smoker with one shelf, and more shelves for shorter or smaller items.
You also need to think about the shelves. You want to smoke delicate foods like flaky fish on a shelf with small grids. Food may fall through regular wire racks that only have one direction.
A majority of electric smokers include a simple rheostat that controls the temperature of the heating element. This should be combined with the cabinet temperature gauge to give you an easy-to-use and foolproof temperature control.
There are a few factors that could cause trouble for the electric element, which holds constant heat.
This system requires patience. Experience and practice will show you which settings resulted in what temperatures. These units can only be marked as “high” or “low”.
Some units come with thermostats, which will turn the electric element on/off to maintain the desired cooking temperatures. This is truly set-it-and-forget-it cooking at its finest.
Is it worthwhile to spend more?
This will depend on your style of chef and the amount of attention you give to the smoking process.
Analog and digital thermostats are available. Both are accurate but may require some calibration.
Overall Quality and Design
When it comes to smoking, you get what you pay for. The question is, how much do we care about the additional quality we might be giving up?
An electric smoker requires a certain number of watts to heat up the cabinet. The temperature of the oven will be maintained for longer if the cabinet is well-insulated and thickly constructed.
The wattage of a cheaper unit with less insulation and thin metal will be higher.
Do you really care?
Although it is always good to save energy, most people smoke only a few times per week.
The appliance is already small and doesn’t use a lot of energy. Watts can be a problem if you’re in an RV that runs your smoker on battery power or a portable generator. Most people won’t notice the difference at home.
Your smoker will not be able to maintain the desired temperature unless it is unable to. Your smoker may not be able to keep up with the temperature outside if it is cold.
Look for one that is extremely insulated if you are going to be using it in extreme temperatures.
Finally, take a look at the overall design and style of your smoker.
Is it easy to quickly load more wood chips? Is it necessary to open the main cabinet doors and let the heat and smoke out? How difficult is it to get it all out for a thorough clean-up?
Some models include features that may be of interest to you. Some models have added functionality, such as lights for nighttime cooking and built-in timers.
These features might be enough to convince you to buy a smoker. But, these functions can easily be added to any smoker cabinet for just a few dollars.
Some doors have viewing windows, which are cool and can be used to monitor your wood chip pan. But, before you get to these details, make sure you are focusing on the quality, fit and finish, as well as insulation.
Warranty and Brand Reputation
Pay attention to brand names and reputations with customer service.
Smokers come with a minimum of a one-year warranty. Extended warranties usually mean a better build quality and a more durable appliance.
To get an idea of the ease with which you can obtain replacement parts, you can also look at their spare parts.
1. Do I need analog or digital electric smoke?
An analog electric smoker is a simple and easy-to-use choice. The temperature can be adjusted with a knob or read from a thermometer. These models are generally cheaper than digital ones.
Modern digital electric smokers offer a more sophisticated option that allows for finer temperature control. This type of smoker is recommended for experienced users as they are more difficult to use and more expensive.
2. Can an electric smoker be used indoors?
Electric smokers are best used outdoors. An electric smoker should not be used indoors as it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and fire hazards. You may also notice a strong stench of smoke in your apartment. There are electric smokers that can be used indoors.
3. How often should I clean the electric smoker?
After each use, it is best to clean your electric smoker’s grease pan and racks. It is also advisable to clean the grill pan and racks more often. A general rule of thumb is that an electric smoker is less messy than a charcoal smoker. However, it is still important to clean the smoker after each use for about five times.