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: March 24, 2021
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Smokers are the best way to get mouthwatering, tantalizing, and flavorful meat right in your own backyard. Serving juicy meat that falls right off the bone has never been easier. Whether you’re cooking for a special occasion or for a weeknight dinner, these affordable smokers are the perfect mixture of style, price, and quality. If you’re looking for the best smoker under $300, look no further because we’ve got you covered.
Whether you’re partial to propane, charcoal, wood, or electric smokers, you’ve come to the right place. Our list includes the best of the best in every category. We know how important space is when you want to cook a lot of meat at once. Thermometers, temperature gauges, and easy-to-load fuel doors make these smokers a breeze to use. Your smoker should also be easy to transport, easy to clean, and shouldn’t take up too much space. These six smokers check all of those boxes – and then some.
In order to make sure we bring you only the best recommendations, we’ve put some serious time and research into this list. We’ve combed through thousands of reviews, and talked to people who use their smokers all the time to bring you reliable information on each option. First, you’ll see a table that includes a quick rundown and comparison of each smoker. Then we’ll dive into the details with in-depth feature reviews. Plus, we’ve added a comprehensive buying guide to help you decide which is the best smoker under $300 for you.
Our Editor’s Choice is this trusty charcoal smoker. Great for all-day barbecues or regular family meals, this Weber Charcoal Smoker comes complete with a spacious cooking area of 286 square inches. It also comes with rust-resistant door, dampers, and legs. It has a removable fuel door for easy reloading while smoking.
It’s incredibly light at 23 pounds, and will fit easily in the trunk of a car for a camping trip or a day at the lake. The reinforced construction and ease of use do a lot to make this the best charcoal smoker under $300. Temperature control and an accurate thermometer make cooking two large slabs of meat as easy as can be.
The vast majority of reviews for the Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker were positive, but there were a few negative ratings. One thing that people complained about was how difficult construction was. Another criticism was that it doesn’t have handles on the sides to move it while it’s smoking.
Otherwise, this beauty will take care of your savory smoking needs.
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.
This Smoke Hollow Propane Smoker is our choice for the best gas smoker under $300. Its two-door system makes it possible to add fuel or water without losing temperature or smoke. It also comes standard with four cooking grids and a sausage hanger, so you can smoke a whole meal at once.
The cabinet itself is made out of welded steel and the gas system is made of cast brass. Plus, the grates are chrome-plated. This smoker is built to last!
It also comes with a push-button ignition system for easy smoking from start to finish. Of those that bought it, many enjoyed the easy assembly and the quality materials. Weighing-in at 68 pounds it’s certainly no big deal to move, especially with the built-in handles.
Since this smoker does run on gas, you have more temperature control and an increased low to high temperature range. Many users also liked that the fuel tray was large enough to put wood chunks in instead of just chips or pellets. Plus, this propane smoker is quick to get up to temperature, so it’s great for cold climates and quicker pre-heating.
For those users who were not pleased with this smoker, there were a couple of issues. One fairly common problem was that the thermometer became less accurate on some units after several uses. Another complaint was that some heat would leak out of the top door due to the lack of a door gasket. Keep in mind that this smoker comes with a 1-year limited warranty!
Our pick for the Best Electric Smoker Under $300 is this Masterbuilt masterpiece. At over 700 square inches of smoking space, complete with chrome-coated cooking racks, you’ve got plenty of room to smoke your favorite foods. To give you an idea, it can fit six chickens, four racks of ribs, or even two turkeys. The quality construction and incredible heat insulation make for a quality smoking experience.
It has a digital control panel on top to control temperature, power, and time. It also has an adjustable air-damper so you get just the right amount of smoke for your tasty meals. This quality smoker also includes a wood-chip loader on the side so you can add more fuel without opening the smoker door. This makes for quicker, more consistent cooking.
Features that users liked include a drip pan and a grease tray included, keeping clean-up faster and easier. Many people said that the smoker was quick to heat up and incredibly easy to operate.
Those users who weren’t impressed had concerns about the smoker not producing enough smoke at low temperatures. Also, some users said that the digital display is difficult to see in direct sunlight. Something to take into account. There were also some complaints about the paint heating up and flaking off on the door. However, this smoker does come with a 90-day limited warranty.
Our Budget Pick is this Masterbuilt electric smoker. Weighing in at just over 20 pounds, this portable electric smoker is great for cooking anywhere there’s an electrical outlet. The legs fold under to make transport even easier, plus it makes for a much smaller footprint.
Its size makes for a great gift, particularly for those people who live in apartments or condos where they don’t allow charcoal and gas smokers. This Masterbuilt smoker is easy to use and great for getting that savory smoky taste without the hassle of messing with charcoal.
It comes complete with two smoke racks and a temperature gauge built into the door. The analog temperature control and the 1,400-watt heating element make for consistent temperatures throughout the smoking process.
Many users commented on how easy it is to set up, to use, and to clean. Many users also commented on how great the smoker was for the low price. Great for feeding two to four people, this sturdy and reliable smoker is great for both seasoned smokers and first-timers.
Most of the negative reviews for this smoker had to do with adding wood chips frequently. Once an hour seems like the norm on this model for dry wood chips. Also, some users had a hard time getting their temperature above 250 degrees.
What makes it special?
Easy to store
Easy to clean
Great for two to four people
Easy to use
What cons did we find?
Must add wood chips frequently
Sometimes wouldn’t get above 250 degrees
Things to Consider
When looking for a smoker under $300 it’s a good idea to get a little background information first. This section will guide you through the main features that affect the end result and add value to your purchase.
A smoker under $300: What you should and should not expect
It is possible to spend a few thousand dollars on a really high-end smoker. Those usually come with meat thermometers for testing the temperature of the meat while it’s smoking. Some of them include the latest technology, so you can monitor everything on your smartphone. Plus, they are usually better insulated than the smokers under $300.
But, if you’re just looking to get into smoking meats, or are looking for something that is portable, but can still deliver quality meat for a large number of people, then we’ve got something for you. While most of the smokers mentioned above are reliable and quality, the best offset smokers for under $300 are something to consider. Offset smokers are a great option, but not always the cheapest.
Features to consider while choosing a smoker
There are many different features to choose from. In order to make sure you get the right smoker for your needs, we’ll discuss the different features here.
Smoker type and power source
There are several different smoker types available today, and they all have different benefits and options. Vertical smokers, like the Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker, are great for cooking large amounts of meat at the same time. You can get vertical smokers that operate on electricity, charcoal, propane, or even wood pellets.
Barrel smokers are great for cooking your meats from all sides at once to make sure they cook evenly, and still have that great smoky taste. Barrel smokers are also available in a variety of power sources.
2-in-1 smoker and grill combos are also popular for those folks who want the option of grilling and smoking. These types of smokers are usually offset, meaning that the heat source is not directly below the meat but off to the side. The most popular offset grill smoker combos use charcoal or pellets.
Most slow smoking is done around the 200 to 250-degree Fahrenheit range. However, smoking can also be done at higher temperatures for quicker results. For the best smokers under $300 that have the highest temperature range, you’ll want to check out the Cuisinart COS-330, which has a range of 100°F to 400°F. Or the Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker which has a range of 100°F to 350°F.
If you’re looking for the maximum amount of cooking area, look no further. When you want to cook a lot of meat all at once, maybe to feed your family or a gathering of friends, you’ve got to go for these reliable, durable smokers. The Masterbuilt 20071117 has a cooking space of 709 square inches. Coming in second on our list is the Cuisinart COS-330, which has a cooking area measuring 548 square inches.
Number and quality of grates
With a large cooking area, you usually get more grates. For the highest number of grates, and the highest quality, you’ll want to check out the Masterbuilt 20071117 which comes standard four chrome-plated cooking grates. The Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker also has quality chrome-plated cooking grates, but only three of them.
Dimensions and weight
If you don’t plan on moving your smoker all that often, we recommend the Smoke Hollow 38202G. It weighs just under 70 pounds and measures in at 18.5 x 27 x 47 inches. The nice part about the Smoke Hollow is that even if you need to move it, it won’t be hard. Of course, our budget pick is the smallest and lightest grill at 15.9 x 23.6 x 23.3 inches and just over 20 pounds. It’s easily portable for those who are looking to smoke on the go.
Ease of use
Although all of the smokers we rated are fairly easy to use, there are a couple who make is very simple. Generally, charcoal smokers require the most attendance, but gas and electric are both pretty comparable. The easiest smoker for under $300 is the Cuisinart COS-330. You simply set it up, set your food, and set the temperature.
All of the grills come with at least some limited warranty. A 90-day warranty is standard, but the grill that has the best overall warranty is the Weber Smokey Mountain, which comes with a 10-year limited warranty!
Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your smoking experience:
Allow for more Time: Smoking is an art. Although you can smoke delicious meats quickly, it’s best done slowly. So allow for more time than you think you need. If you rush the process, your meat may not be as tasty as it could be.
Keep it closed: Only open the door to the meat only when it’s absolutely necessary. Such as when you need to mop your meat, or add more fuel. Opening the door lets heat escape and it takes time for the meat to get back up to temperature.
Make it brown: A properly done smoking session will leave your meat with a dark brown – almost black – bark on the outside. This is one of the best ways to tell that your meat is done, in addition to using a meat thermometer.
Don’t over-smoke: It’s easy to want to keep putting more and more wood chips or pellets into your smoker, but you really don’t need a torrent of smoke. As long as the heat is where it should be and there is a soft and steady flow of smoke, you’ll get some great tasting meat. Remember you should really only be smoking your meat for half of the full cooking time.
Let the air flow: Keeping the air vents open a good amount will help the smoke flow over your meat. If too much smoke gets trapped in your smoker it can end up leaving a bitter taste in your meat.
Generally, electric smokers seem to be the easiest to use. Since they don’t require coals for the heat you only have to worry about maintaining the wood chips. For example, the Masterbuilt 20071117 is easy to use, thanks to the digital console on top and the dedicated wood chip door.
It’s always a good idea to check the internal temperature of your meat to ensure that it is cooked thoroughly. Some high-end smokers come with probes for such purposes. Digital meat thermometers are fairly inexpensive.
With a few modifications and some supplies, you can smoke with a charcoal or gas grill, depending on the style of the grill. Really all you have to do, is put a foil tray with water and wood chips next to your heat source, and keep the heat on low.
Our best smoker under $300 is the Weber Smokey Mountain 14-Inch Charcoal Smoker, with scoring 9.9 out of 10. This lightweight smoker is roomy but also light, which makes it great for travel. Users love its sturdy construction, rust-resistant pieces, and accurate thermometer. The Smokey Mountain is also our pick for the best charcoal smoker under $300.
Coming in at number two with a score of 9.7 out of ten is the Cuisinart COS-330. This electric smoker has a cooking area of 548 square inches, and is great for big parties or small get-togethers. The quality construction, analog temperature control, and built-in thermometer make this smoker reliable and consistent. The 1,500-watt heating element makes for the best BBQ smoker under $300.
Our pick for best gas smoker under $300 is the Smoke Hollow 38202G. This smoker scored 9.6 out of 10 and comes with four chrome-plated grates and a sausage hanger. 3.4 cubic feet of cooking space makes for a ton of delicious food. This one also includes a dedicated fuel door and welded-steel construction.