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: April 15, 2021
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You’ll find innovative technology in all industries these days and if you’re a foodie—or simply enjoy a good plate of food—you’ll be happy to discover what gadgets the food industry now has to utilize. This article will show you a list of the best smoker models on the 2020 market and with one of these you can make dishes you’ve only dreamt of.
We looked at various smoker models and picked the best 10 we found. At the top of our list is our Editor’s Choice, the Camp Chef which impressed with Smart Smoke Technology. And it’s even covered by a long warranty, making it a wise investment. You’ll find the Camp Chef as well as the other winning models described in our product review section. Read details so you can find your ideal new appliance.
To determine the winner and compare quality we considered various important aspects such as capacity and dimensions. After all, you must know if a model will suffice for your size family. You also want a user friendly model so look at the weight details to determine if you’ll easily manage it when moving it around. And don’t forget temperature range: if you’re already into smoking meat and other dishes your new smoker must meet your preferences.
We’ve voted this Camp Chef Woodwind smoker as our editor’s choice for a number of reasons—starting with the high quality. Although we’ll admit that we wouldn’t accept anything less for such a high price.
Given the hard work that goes into preparing for a barbeque, the last thing you need is a smoker that’s difficult to operate. Thankfully that’s something you don’t have to worry about if you pick this smoker which you’ll find very easy to use thanks to its Smart Smoke Technology.
The smoker is designed to regulate the heat for you at the desired temperature. In addition, pellets are also automatically added into the fire. That means less work for you. All you need to do is set the smoker to your preferred temperature and it does the rest. This way you have more time to attend to other duties including mingling with the guests.
You can prepare all sorts of food on this smoker and the best part is that you do this on a single grill.
We all know the hassle involved with cleaning up after a barbeque. That’s why the manufacturer decided to make it easy for you by incorporating an ash cleanout with this unit. As a result, you can clean as you cook.
We’re only concerned with the packaging. In some cases, the packaging can arrive damaged. But thankfully the unit itself seldom is.
You might also find the instructions a little difficult to understand. But overall, assembling the unit will take you anything close to three hours.
If a multi-purpose smoker is what you’re after then pick this Z Grill model. You have the option to bake, roast, grill and smoke using this 8-in-1 smoker. Simply use your preferred cooking method and make your favorite dishes. This is why we’ve voted it the best smoker griller combo on our list.
For such impressive functionality, you’ll appreciate that it comes at only half the price of most smokers.
You’re likely to be impressed by the solid build of this product. No flimsy materials were used in its construction. It’s safe to say that you’ll be having it for a long time.
This smoker combines efficiency, accuracy and ease of use. It’s a cost effective unit that allows you to cook for approximately 20 hours using only 20lb of pellets. The unit is designed to maintain the right cooking temperature at all times to eliminate over or undercooking your food.
Like the model reviewed above, you’ll find this smoker very easy to operate. At just the simple touch of a button, the smoker will start cooking.
Aside from the unit’s affordability and performance, you might like the all black design which makes it a relatively attractive smoker. After all; who said you can’t host your barbeque in style?
The product weighs 180lb making it a heavy unit. But you’ll appreciate that it comes with wheels that make it easy to move around.
Assembling the unit is easy enough. It’s likely to take you at least an hour to set it up.
Some users have noted that smoke tends to come out of the lid. But thankfully this doesn’t affect the taste of the food whatsoever.
If you’re not a fan of the huge smokers then this portable model is for you. Weighing only 40lb, it’s one of the lightest smokers on our list. Moving it around your backyard will be extremely easy. The fact that it has wheels makes transporting it even easier.
As compact as it is, note that it’s not the cheapest model on the market so be prepared to pay a little extra for this model.
Quality of this product is amazing because it’s made using materials of superior quality. The entire cooking chamber is made using stainless steel. If you know anything about stainless steel, you’ll know that it can withstand harsh weather conditions. You don’t have to worry about the paint peeling off your smoker any time soon.
Another feature you’ll find impressive is that it includes Wi-Pellet Wi-Fi technology. This functionality allows you to control the smoker using your mobile phone from wherever you aware. Simply download the Z GRILLS ZPG-6002B app which is readily available on Play Store.
This unit is also designed to maintain the cooking temperature accurately.
If a clean cooking environment is what you’re after pick this product which ensures that there’s no messy charcoal during the cooking process. This is thanks to the automatic lighting feature. The same feature allows for a safe cooking environment; any risk involved with unsafe fire starters is eliminated.
The only issue we have with the manufacturer is that of poor packaging. Some users have noted that the product arrived damaged. If this happens to you simply make use of the six-year warranty on the product.
If you love throwing a barbeque but want to preserve the environment in the process pick this electric smoker. Electric smokers are known to provide a clean source of energy. In addition your food will have fewer contaminants plus its taste is significantly enhanced.
By picking this smoker you’re saved the hassle of constantly checking the food and fire as is done with some other smokers.
This vertical smoker is made using high quality materials so you’re guaranteed a long lasting product. All the pieces that make up this unit are pretty sturdy— including the smoking box.
The smoker features three removable racks to allow you to arrange the meat exactly how you want it. These racks are also easy to clean making clean-up a breeze.
The cooking area is relatively large and allows you to cook plenty of meat at the same time cutting down on food prep time.
You’ll appreciate that this smoker is very easy to assemble. And it helps that the installation instructions are pretty straightforward. Also, the screws and nuts are packaged separately to avoid you mixing them up.
Whether you’re new at throwing barbeques or you’re a seasoned smoker, you’ll find this unit very easy to operate. All that’s required of you is to simply plug it in, set your desired temperature and you’re done.
With the smoker, you can easily monitor the temperature thanks to the easy-to-read thermometer.
We also love this unit for its portability. Because of its lightweight frame and two side handles, you’ll find it easy to move around.
Our main issue with this smoker is the design of the wood drip tray. It allows for oil to drip into the wood chips which can damage the unit’s ignition.
Also, the packaging is a cause for concern as the product may arrive with dents.
Here’s an even cheaper smoker for those people who want a high performance unit but are working on a budget. Consider this LANDMANN smoker which is the cheapest on our list.
But despite the low price, this smoker allows you to cook the most delicious food even if you’re not a pro chef. First off, it’s very simple to operate. Thanks to the 1400W temperature element, it’s designed to heat up meat to the correct temperature without sacrificing flavor.
You can monitor how the cooking is going by peeking through the view window without opening the door. This way you don’t have to worry about the flavor enhancing smoke escaping the unit.
The unit features a 3-in-1 combo tray which comprises of a wood chip box, water and grease pan.
The unit comes with three levels where you can place different types of food. But note that the model is really compact so this is the product to pick if you have limited space in your alfresco area.
The advantage of the compact and lightweight design is that you’ll find the unit very easy to transport. It weighs only 33lb. The iron handles located on the side not only aid in mobility of the product, but also add to its general appeal.
The trade-off of the unit’s low price might be its durability. A few customers have noted that the door latch may fall off after some use. Also, some users have noted that they have had to seal the door with self-adhesive strips for it to shut completely.
Warranty: parts carry a one (1) year limited warranty except the charcoal chamber, which is warranted to be free of defects for 90 days. Paint is warranted to be free of defects for 90 days except for rust
More features: removable, steel ash pan; pre-installed door seal; “Smoke Zone” indicator
People who love cooking with charcoal will appreciate this vertical smoker. We’ve voted it the best charcoal smoker on our list although you can still use wood chips to fuel it.
What impressed us most with this model is that it contains six grates which total 1860sq inches. This makes it the smoker with the largest cooking area on our list. Pick this model if you want to cook food in abundance at one go.
Even if you’re new at using smokers, this model will make you a pro because it’s very easy to use. It’s designed to cook meat slow at low temperatures to ensure that your meat is well cooked. And the taste of your food will be equally amazing thanks to the slow cooking functionality which enhances the smoke flavor.
The cooking grates are adjustable to allow you to fit in different kinds of foods at any given time.
The controls on this smoker are intuitive. Make use of the temperature gauge to set the smoker to your desired temperature.
For such a large capacity smoker, you’ll appreciate that it weighs only 83lb making it relatively lightweight compared to most models on this list. But since it doesn’t have wheels, moving it around might be challenging—though possible.
You have the option to purchase a cover designed to protect your smoker to increase longevity of the product. But note that it’s sold separately.
Overall it’s an inexpensive product that promises to give you value for your money given its impressive specs.
Though it has a large capacity, the grates are quite narrow so you have to place certain foods such as ribs diagonally for them to fit. Also, you’ll need to apply silicon on the grooves to prevent smoke from escaping the unit.
Wood-fired food has one of the best and most distinct flavors. And that’s what you’ll get if you pick this unit. Say goodbye to gas or charcoal if you pick this smoker.
This is the product to buy if you’re looking for a versatile grill. With this model you can smoke, grill or bake depending on your cooking preferences. And that’s only half the uses.
Whether you want to cook your food hot & fast or low & slow, this unit allows you to set it to your desired settings.
And much like the model reviewed above, you don’t have to babysit your food with this griller. The smoker is designed to regulate heat thanks to the precision temperature control. You don’t have to worry about your food being burnt.
The cooking surface is quite huge. It can accommodate food for at least 10 people. This saves you on cooking time because you can cook a sizeable number of food stuffs at one go.
Food is kept warm thanks to the warmer provided. No need to worry about serving your guests cold food or reheating it.
The manufacturer also included a storage shelf where you can keep your utensils and cutlery within reach. You don’t have to endure countless trips to and from the kitchen looking for your cooking utensils.
This smoker is pretty easy to use. Although you might face a little difficulty with the assembly. But if you read the instructions, we’re certain you’ll figure it out.
The overall quality of this griller is quite impressive. And it helps that it’s slightly cheaper compared to other models.
If you’re limited on recipes, you’ll appreciate the guide book equipped with cooking suggestions when using this unit.
Here is the product to pick if you’re looking for an effective grill and smoker combo. What impressed us the most with this smoker is its large cooking surface. The main chamber measures a little over 600sq in while the firebox is just under 300sq in large. You’ll admit that that’s more than adequate to cook for many people if you’re into hosting parties.
The fire chamber is made of stainless steel so you’re guaranteed a long lasting product if you pick this unit.
This smoker is designed to monitor and regulate heat throughout the entire cooking process. In addition, smoke will also be kept under control thanks to the multiple chambers.
It’s not the lightest smoker on the market; it weighs 180lb. But you won’t have too much trouble moving it around because it comes with wheels.
However, assembling it might be a bit of a challenge because the individual pieces are quite heavy. But overall setting up will take you anything between 30 and 45 minutes if you follow the instructions carefully.
The baffles are removable and the smoke stacks are optional allowing you to set up the unit according to your preference.
However smoke does tend to escape if you don’t use sealant on the grooves. Though the general design of the unit is quite sturdy, we can’t say the same about the paint. It’s reported to peel off prematurely which will have it look old and run down.
You’ll be happy to know that the smoker is covered by a two-year warranty on any malfunctions or damages.
Lovers of propane smokers will definitely be drawn to this unit. And we’re also certain the extremely low price of this product will also influence this decision.
For such an affordable unit, you’ll appreciate the solid construction. This product features two stainless steel burners. The paint on your smoker won’t be peeling soon thanks to this material.
The cabinet is welded with steel while the grates are chrome plated. Both materials also contribute to the durability of the unit.
The smoker features two large trays that allow you space to place plenty of food. The cooking temperature of this unit will be accurately monitored thanks to the heat indicator located on the smoker.
You can only use small wood chips because the wood trays are not that deep so keep that in mind, when buying wood.
This smoker weighs only 96lb making it a relatively lightweight unit especially when compared to other models on the list.
Note however that it doesn’t have any wheels so moving it around won’t be the easiest of tasks.
With this smoker, you may find it difficult to operate it at low temperatures. So make sure you know the required temperatures of the foodstuffs you’re cooking beforehand to avoid disappointment. Case in point; smoking cheese with this smoker will be next to impossible since the process requires extremely low temperatures.
Unfortunately, the product may also arrive with dents. Call the manufacturer if that’s your fate and they’ll gladly assist.
On the upside you’ll find this smoker very easy to assemble. Installation is likely to take you just under an hour.
From all the products on our list, this Pit Boss smoker is a consumer favorite owing to the high ratings and positive reviews. For this reason we’ve voted it the customer’s choice. But more than anything else, we’re certain customers are impressed by its solid construction. And it helps that the product arrives in one piece with no dents.
The cooking surface is quite large so you can cook a lot of food at one go. Whether you want to cook chicken, hamburgers or pizza this is the smoker to pick.
You’ll appreciate the sturdy construction of the unit. The iron grids are coated with porcelain so they won’t get damaged soon.
For people who are environmentally conscious, they’ll appreciate how the smoker is fueled by 100% natural wood pellets for clean cooking. No harmful chemicals are emitted during cooking.
This smoker is versatile. You can use it to sear, grill or roast depending on your cooking preferences.
It weighs 118lb which makes it relatively heavy. But like most models on our list it also features wheels for mobility.
Not only is the grill versatile but it’s very easy to clean.
Also, setting up this smoker is simple. It’ll take you a couple of hours at least provided that you properly follow the instructions.
The only issue some customers have with this product is that the temperature sensor is sometimes faulty. It doesn’t give an accurate temperature reading. In addition, over time the smoker fails to maintain temperature which may result in overcooking of food.
This smoker is covered by a one-year warranty by the manufacturer.
You can see there are many interesting options on today’s market. How do you find the ideal one for you? We discuss all important features of finding and owning a smoker so you can make an informed decision.
A smoker: What you should and should not expect
So, you’ve been to a barbeque at someone’s home and now you want to experience that same yummy meat on your table at home? Get yourself a smoker without further ado but be prepared for this new way of cooking.
For starters, take your time in deciding which one to pick, because as you read through the features below you’ll see how vital it is to align details with your personal goals in using your smoker. It won’t help if you pick the best propane smoker, but it’s too small for catering for your extended family each Sunday.
Also educate yourself on the dos and don’ts of using a smoker. For one thing, you’ll have to keep your curiosity at bay: with many smokers, if you’re going to open it every few minutes to check on your food, you’ll affect the temperature and your cooking time will be longer.
One exciting thing to look forward to when you shop for the best smoker grill for your use is that in 2020 you’ll have many high-tech features to pick from. These days you can do so much more, with minimal effort because technology transformed the market. Digital controls and quality materials will result in the best meals you ever tasted.
Features to consider while choosing a smoker
Now let’s list the features that really matter. It’s important you pick features based on your personal preferences and what you’ll be using your smoker for. The products like the Camp Chef above are impressive, but it’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ decision: your smoker must suit your lifestyle as well as being a quality product and a wise investment.
Smoker type and power source
The smoker market is quite versatile so you’ll come across vertical smokers—see the LANDMANN model above—as well as offset smokers and box smokers. As you’ll see with models like the Dyna-Glo Wide Body Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker you also have units that work with charcoal as source or even wood pellets, seen in the Traeger Grills unit above. Each one gives you a unique experience in terms of effort and will even affect the taste of your dishes differently.
You can also consider an electric smoker or one powered by propane. Many foodies prefer the electric type because they’re easier to manage, especially when it comes to temperature. You also don’t need much: just plug it in. But remember you must be near a power source, so if you have a barbeque far from your house itself it can be problematic.
For more portability you can pick a propane smoker. With this one you just need to be safety wise and diligent in checking its levels. If you run out of propane in the middle of a cooking session your dish may be ruined.
Temperature range is important because it determines how many different types of dishes you can try out. For some you’ll need exceptionally high temperatures while with others you don’t want to burn them. An expansive temperature range empowers you to do more.
Ideally it must be super easy to manage the temperature, such as the digital controls you’ll find on the Traeger Grills TFB57GLE.
You need to consider if your new smoker will be able to cater for your needs. If you know you’ll often make food for a large number of people, make sure your smoker will be able to hold enough food for everyone. It’s usually a long process so you can’t do it twice in one day, right?
Also think of the type of meat you like to cook. If you want to serve turkey, your smoker must have enough space for such as large piece of meat, like it is in the case of Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker.
Number and quality of grates
Your smoker’s grates determine a lot in terms of usage and maintenance.
For starters, how many levels are there? In the Masterbuilt MB20051316 unit above you can see how handy it is to have different levels so you can accommodate different dishes. You’ll also have more capacity if you have multiple grates so you can cater for more people.
But don’t forget their quality. You want a good quality grate and then note that each material comes with its own pros & cons.
Cast iron is a great cooking surface as it retains heat, but it’s hard to maintain.
Stainless steel grates are easy to handle as they’re lightweight, but they don’t retain heat very well. Over time you’ll also see the quality deteriorates because of the exceptional heat.
An enamel covered grate—whether stainless steel or cast iron—is a crowd favorite because of non-stick properties. But take care when you clean it so you don’t chip away at the coating.
Dimensions and weight
Here you have to be practical: if you only have a small space available to place your smoker you’ll need a smaller unit.
Also consider aspects like portability. If you don’t have a spot where your smoker can stand 24/7, protected from the elements, you’ll need to put it in storage or use a cover. Is the one you pick easy to carry or move around your property? With so many options available there’s no reason for a complicated setup. Pick a lightweight unit.
Remember, you also don’t want to clutter up your patio with your smoker. There must still be space for you and your guests to sit.
Ease of use
Cooking should be a fun time so don’t let your new appliance ruin the experience for you. Make sure the accessories and features make it easy to use.
For starters, know that a built-in thermometer is ideal. Since many recipes require you to use a certain temperature, you don’t want to guess. Prevent cooking disasters by knowing what temperature you’re working with.
You also need an easy way to control the temperature, so a user-friendly control panel is ideal.
And you live in the 21st century where everything is becoming wireless and remote controlled. So why not your smoker too? With a remote control you can sit back and enjoy time with your guests while still staying in control of the cooking process.
We suggest you look for units that have caster wheels as these are easy to move around.
Warranty is a great sign of the quality of a smoker. Some of them don’t come cheap so make sure you make the right long term investment. Our editor’s choice, Camp Chef PG24MZG, is an excellent example as you’ll get three years’ coverage.
If there’s no warranty at all, chances are the manufacturer is aware of design faults or low quality workmanship. Rather steer clear of these units.
If you’re excited about starting, but don’t want cooking disasters, what do the experts advise you to do?
The ideal process starts long before you place your dish in your smoker. You should take your meat out of the fridge one or even two hours before you start the smoking process. You’ll save yourself some smoking time since the meat won’t be icy cold. If it’s inside for a shorter period it may even retain more moisture to ensure a succulent meal.
You should also remember preparation techniques like brining the meat or rubbing salt into it. This is another method of ensuring your meat remains moist.
Once it’s on the heat you need to be patient. You can have the best smoker grill combo around, but if you don’t cook your meat slowly—that means using low temperatures—it will end up burnt and not as tasty as you imagined. Some experts advise you to use a temperature of around 225° and this works for many different dishes.
When picking wood for the best pellet smoker you just bought, be prepared for a few experiments. Different woods will result in different flavors so try out different types each time you cook. If you’re not sure what to start with, hickory works well with most meats and mesquite is also a smart option.
Most smokers are designed to serve you well for a few years, but you need to look after it and maintain it. Clean it after you’ve used it and protect it from rain and other harsh conditions by storing it under a roof or creating a cover. If you have a propane smoker you must ensure the propane container can’t get damaged and that it’s firmly connected before you use your smoker again so there are no leakages.
With cold smoking you still create sumptuous meals but they take much longer because you don’t expose the food to heat. It happens at around 85°F. The smoke is generated in one place and then must be channeled to the food so it has time to cool off. To preserve the food the meat is usually salted beforehand as this prevents bacteria growth.
You can smoke vegetables and meat together but remember that their flavors will affect each other. So you need to think carefully which veggies you pair with your meat. Sausage and onions go well together while peppers suit steak better. You need to find items that complement each other.
Now it’s time you choose. If our choices will make it easier, here’s our top 3 list.
The Camp Chef PG24MZG received a 9.7 rating and was our winner simply because it’s an excellent mix: impressive technology, it looks sleek and you even get a long warranty period. It’s an investment and will meet most people’s needs.
In the second place, you’ll find the Z Grills ZPG-7002B and we gave it 9.5 because of the user-friendliness. And once again you get an excellent warranty period.
But we can’t disregard the value of the Z GRILLS ZPG-6002B coming third. The wheel design ensures great portability. It is as big as our Editor’s Choice model and is even extendable to 1,054 square inches of cooking space if you need it to be larger. It also comes with a longer 6-year warranty.
The modern market gives you plenty to pick from. Let us know how your first barbeque went with state-of-the-art equipment.