Holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics, loves traveling and learning new languages. Fluent in Spanish, is learning French and Czech at the moment. Enjoys exploring national cuisines every time he visits new countries.
Claims that grilling is the art that he has been learning all his life long and is not planning to stop. Has been grilling for as long as he can remember. Author of numerous online and offline grilling masterclasses runs his own BBQ accessories shop.
Last updated: July 06, 2021
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If you’re thinking about getting into smoking meat, an electric smoker is a great choice. They have a lot of interior space so you can cook a lot of food at once plus they’re lightweight and easy to use. These smokers are also more affordable and much safer than charcoal or propane alternatives because the heating element is contained and easily controlled. Plus, they’re capable of smoking at a lower temperature which is just what you need to smoke fish.
We considered a few key features when putting together this review of the best electric smoker under $200. First, we looked at power and temperature. Both of these things are so important when it comes to smoking so it’s really important to get an appliance that performs consistently and reliably. The controls are important, too. You should be able to make quick adjustments on the fly. Finally, we considered the cooking space. Sometimes, you want a smoker that can feed an army. Other times, you might want something that’s made to feed smaller groups of people. We made sure to find a smoker for everyone.
We spend hours researching manufacturer’s information and comments from professional smokers as well as people who use these smokers in their own backyards. First, you’ll find a table that compares all of our choices side by side. After that, you’ll find in-detail reviews of each product followed by an in-depth buying guide to help you figure out which best electric smoker under $200 is the right one for you.
This Cuisinart Electric Smoker is perfect for beginners and casual cooks alike. At 548 square inches of cooking space over three separate racks, you can smoke a whole meal for a large group all at once. The perfect temperature control knob and built-in thermometer allows for easy smoking. Not only that, but you won’t have to worry about adding wood chips or any other fuel to keep the temperature where you want it.
All you have to do is place your food inside, add wood chips and water, then set the temperature and relax. You won’t have to think about it until your meat is flavorful and tender, and your vegetables are savory and delicious. It’s also easy to move with the convenient side handles. This is a great option for cooking the best BBQ with a smoker under $300.
This smoker features a 1,500-watt heating element that allows for cooking from 100°F to 400°F. It is made out of sturdy, durable materials, while maintaining a low weight for easy transport and storage. It is also easy and quick to assemble, so you can be smoking your favorite meats an hour after you receive it.
Some customers who bought this smoker had problems with getting it to smoke at low temperatures. Some also said that the door is lacking a seal, so when you open it, the temp drops inside, causing some longer cook times.
Another great option is the Smoke Hollow SH19079518. This digital design is really easy to use. All you have to do it plug it in, set the digital controls, and you’re ready to go. Load it up with your favorite wood chip flavor and you’ll have a delicious meal in hours.
This smoker has an 800-watt heating element for even, consistent smoking and it’s insulated to prevent heat from escaping. The digital panel controls the power, temperature, and time settings and there’s an integrated thermostat to ensure consistent smoking.
One of the great things about this machine is the adjustable air damper. You can adjust it and control the smoke to make sure you get the results you want. There’s also a removable water bowl that’s easy to refill when needed.
There are three chrome-coated racks and plenty of room to smoke a lot of different foods simultaneously. In total, this smoker can hold nine chickens, three racks of ribs, 36 sausages, or 24 burgers. There’s even a drip pan to collect the mess for easy cleanup.
Some users complained that this smoker didn’t stand the test of time and stopped working after a few uses. A few others had problems with the accuracy of the thermometer. If there is a problem with the machine, keep in mind that it’s covered by a one-year warranty.
This Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker has an impressive 544 square inches of cooking space spread over three chrome-plated grates. The door-mounted temperature gauge is super convenient and easy to read so you can monitor the internal temperature quickly and easily then make adjustments as needed. Need to add more water or wood chips? Just use the front-access door to do it quickly and easily without letting the heat escape.
A 1200-watt heating element reaches the perfect smoking temperature quickly and the double-walled insulation prevents any heat from escaping. That’s not all, there are also dual exhaust ports for when you need to make adjustments to what’s going on inside the smoker.
This smoker has enough room to cook for your family or have the neighbors over for a barbecue. The removable drip tray is great for easy cleanup plus it has heavy-duty door latches and side carrying handles for convenience.
Some people had problems with the accuracy of the thermometer and others complained that the black paint on the outside of the unit began peeling and chipping off. Others complained that the product arrived with dents, but it’s difficult to say if this was an issue with the product or transport and delivery.
Why are we impressed?
Door mounted temperature gauge
Front access door for water and wood chip access
Powerful heating element
Dual exhaust ports
Removable drip try for easy cleanup
What negatives must you be aware of?
Thermometer can be inaccurate
Paint chips easily
Product occasionally arrives damaged but may be a delivery and transport issue
The LANDMANN MCO 32954 is a small and mighty smoker that’s the perfect size for up to five people. The 147.7 square inch cooking area holds about three 4-pound briskets at a time. That’s just enough room to feed your family without wasting any space. It’s a very basic smoker at a reasonable price and is ideal for anyone who’s just getting started.
This smoker holds a consistent temperature so you get even results. It features a removable variable temperature control which is a great feature. If you ever have any problems with it, you can repair or replace only the temperature control instead of having to send the entire smoker back. There’s also a large window on the door makes it easy to check on your food throughout the smoking process so you don’t have to open the smoker to take a look.
The door is held shut by a magnet which can be a little unreliable. In fact, some users stated that the door would occasionally pop open, allowing the heat and smoke to escape periodically. The seal is also unreliable at times unless you add a high-temperature gasket sealer to make it more airtight.
Users had mixed results when using this smoker in cold weather. Most people were pretty impressed but its performance while others felt it wasn’t quite up to par.
Next is the Masterbuilt 20070210, an excellent smoker with 548 square inches of cooking space spread over three chrome-coated racks. The 1500-watt heating element is powerful and reliable and the temperature gauge in the door makes monitoring the smoking process really easy.
The variable thermostat temperature control is easy to adjust and goes from 100 to 400 degrees D. It’s great at maintaining the temperature, too, because the dual-wall insulation holds the smoke and heat inside where it belongs. If you need to add more wood chips or water, there’s an easy-to-use front-loading door that allows for quick and easy access. That means less interruption and more consistent results. When you’re done, cleanup is easy thanks to the removable, washable drip tray.
One frequent comment was that this smoker isn’t as effective when used in cold weather so it might be a better choice for someone who lives in a climate where the temperature fluctuations aren’t so extreme.
Some users also commented that the temperature adjustment was inaccurate and the thermometer didn’t give accurate readings which made it difficult to know how hot the smoker was really getting. Another issue is that the warranty period is only 90 days which isn’t a whole lot of time if something starts to go wrong.
Why are we impressed?
Powerful 1500-watt heating element
Easy-access front door to add more wood chips or water
Removable, washable drip tray
What negatives must you be aware of?
Inaccurate temperature adjustment
Short warranty period
Things to Consider
There are a lot of reasons why electric smokers are a great choice. To make sure you get the right one for you, let’s take a look at some of the main things you should know to make the right choice.
Advantages of electric smokers compared to other smoker types
One of the best reasons to choose an electric smoker is you never have to worry about fuel. All you have to do it plug it in and you’re ready to get cooking.
Electric smokers usually have more cooking space than other types of smokers. Our top pick, the Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Smoker, has 548 square inches of cooking space but there are some other electric smokers out there that have upwards of 700.
Another great thing about electric smokers is that most models have movable chrome-coated racks. That means you can adjust or remove as needed if you want to cook larger pieces of meat. They’re easy to use, too. Just fill the water tray, add your favorite wood chips, and turn your smoker on at the desired temperature. That’s it!
Electric smokers usually weigh significantly less than other their counterparts in part because they don’t have a fuel tank.
They’re pretty easy to move around or put into storage when they’re not in use. Despite this, they’re usually made of heavy-duty, strong materials like stainless steel.
One of the biggest benefits of an electric smoker is safety. The heating element is inside the smoker, and you can completely control the temperature which helps you avoid accidental burns and shocks.
Electric smokers under $200: What you should and should not expect
Electric smokers are available in a wide price range. Some of the most expensive models cost upward of $1000 and commercial products can go much higher than that. High-end models typically have better insulation than those in the under $200 price range. They often include temperature probes to monitor the meat internally as well as more effective ways to better control the heat and amount of smoke. Some expensive models are also equipped with Bluetooth so you can download an app on your smartphone, sync it with the smoker, and monitor everything right in the palm of your hand.
If you’re looking for a smoker under $200, it’s important to be realistic about what to expect. The temperature controls aren’t always as precise as they should be and there isn’t any way to monitor the internal temperature of the meat. Some of them don’t work too well in the winter because they have less insulation and so they lose a lot of heat when it’s cold outside.
All that said, smokers in this price range are certainly capable of delivering delicious smoked meat and are one of the best ways to get into the hobby.
Features to consider before buying an electric smoker
To make sure you get the best possible electric smoker that fits your budget, let’s take a closer look at some of the main things to consider.
Power and temperature
The more power the smoker’s heating element has, the hotter it can get but there are other things to think about, too. The Smoke Hollow SH19079518, for example, is only 800 watts but it’s effectively insulated to maintain a steady level of heat. On the other hand, the LANDMANN MCO 32954 is 1500 watts but is not insulated which means that some heat will escape.
Look for a powerful, reliable smoker that allows you to get the temperatures you need to get the best results. A lot of power should get you there but effective insulation goes a long way, too.
A lot of these smokers have a built-in thermometer so you can see the internal temperature at all times so you know when you need to make adjustments. There are generally two types of temperature control. Most of our picks use analog controls that usually consist of a simple dial that increases and decreases the temperature as needed. We did include one that has a digital display which is a little easier to use and allows you to make more precise adjustments.
Cooking space and overall dimensions
Electric smokers come in a lot of shapes and sizes. Some of them are designed to feed a lot of people. For example, the Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker has 544 square inches of cooking space which means you can cook a lot of food. If you don’t need something that big, there are smaller options available, too. The Masterbuilt MB20073716 has only 280 square inches which are enough to cook four chickens, one turkey, or two racks of ribs which is still enough food to feed a small family and then some.
Pay attention to the dimensions because some of these units take up quite a bit of space.
They’re all pretty lightweight and easy to use, though, so if you’re short on space it won’t be too difficult to move them out of the way when you’re done cooking.
Durability and warranty
Most of these smokers are covered with a one-year warranty, though we found one that’s covered for three years and one that’s only covered for 90 days. Most of these smokers are made of durable stainless steel which is pretty tough, but there are problems that arise with the hardware and electrical components from time to time. Read through the warranty information carefully so you know what’s covered and what isn’t.
How to use an electric smoker?
Each product comes with its own set of instructions so make sure you read through them carefully. That said, they all work in pretty much the same way. Seasoning your smoker before you use it for the first time is recommended. Basically, that means you run a smoking cycle without any meat just to clean it out and get rid of anything sticking around from the factory. Use a low-temperature setting of about 275 degrees F and let it run for about 3 hours, adding woodchips for the last hour or so.
When you’re ready to smoke your first meat, add woodchips into the chip tray and water into the water pan. Turn on the smoker and set the appropriate temperature. You should allow the smoker to heat up for about 45 minutes or so before placing meat into it. Regularly check on the water and woodchips and add more as needed or it won’t be able to produce any smoke.
Most electric smokers require an additional kit if you want to use them for cold smoking. Cold smoking requires temperatures of about 70 to 90 degrees F and most electric smokers aren’t designed to reliably maintain a temperature that low.
Wait for the smoker to cool completely then remove the drip tray and wash it in the sink. Brush all the debris from the bottom of the smoker then gently wipe down the sides with soap and water. Use a plastic scrubber since metal can scrape and damage the interior.
As we mentioned, it’s important to season the smoker first. This process will get the smoker ready for your first batch of meat. After the smoker is seasoned, just follow the directions as you normally would.
Some smokers can be used indoors but it’s generally recommended that you don’t. There are some significant risks with using a smoker inside. Because the machine is still producing smoke, the air in your home is greatly affected. Not only will it make your home smell like smoke and meat, but it can also raise the levels of carbon monoxide in the air which could be really dangerous.
It depends what you want the end result to be. Dry chips burn faster which means they give off more intense smoke whereas wet chips are slower burning and produce smoke that is much less intense.
The Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Smoker is our best all-around pick. The large easy-to-read thermometer makes it easy to monitor temperature. With three cooking racks and a total of 540 square inches of space, this lightweight smoker feeds a crowd and is really easy to use. It’s beginner friendly but pros will love it, too.
Next, we recommend the Smoke Hollow SH19079518 has an easy-to-use digital control so you can make quick and easy changes to the temperature, power, and cook time. An adjustable air damper gives you control over the amount of smoke and the cooking surface is large enough to cook nine chickens or 24 hamburgers.
Finally, we recommend the Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker. The best thing about this one is the easy-to-use front access door. It gives you easy access to the wood and water tray so you can replenish them without letting all the heat and smoke escape.