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: September 19, 2021
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Electric smokers provide the ultimate convenience; they are equipped with automated components that allow you to set and forget your food as they do the rest of the work for you. Additionally, they are less messy since they don’t use propane or charcoal that would leave ash behind.
Our team sought to review small electric smokers with their height not exceeding 40 inches. In this ultimate guide of the best small electric smoker in the market, we have provided detailed descriptions of their key features, how they compare to similar models, and their respective pros and cons. We have also included a comprehensive buying guide that will help you make an informed decision.
Char-Broil 18202077 is a 1000-watt smoker which comes with three chrome-plated grates and a sizeable cooking space of 544 square inches. With dimensions of 20.7 x 33.5 x 15 inches and 49.5-pound weight, it is rated among the best compact electric smokers for a small family. There are handles on the side of the unit that ease its set up or relocation.
Buyers also benefit from a 1-year warranty on the whole unit and a 90-day return policy which promotes confidence in purchase. For maintenance, the manufacturer recommends washing the grates with warm soapy water and then rinsing and drying them.
What do we love it for?
It has an attractive warranty on heating elements and other parts as well as a 90-day return policy that allows users to test the smoker before they commit themselves. The grease cup, water tray and wood chip box are located at the front where they are easily accessible. The heavy duty dual latches and the double walled cooking chamber also help in proper temperature control. Also, you can use any wood chips.
What were we disappointed with?
You have to open the door to refill wood chips. This allows smoke and heat to escape. Additionally, it has a relatively spacious cooking area despite being a compact electric smoker. This space can accommodate four grates to fit in more food but instead, the unit comes with three grates. We would also prefer it if the unit included louvre covers that we can adjust for the two side smoke vents.
Bradley Smoker BS611 boasts of many superior features that make it a premium pick and well-spent money. For starters, the interior is made of stainless steel which is a good conductor of heat, resistant to rust and easy to clean. Other features include cooking area of 572 square inches, wattage of 500 and grates that can safely be cleaned in a dishwasher.
There is a smoke diffuser system in form of a removable analogue smoke generator with CleanSmoke technology. This system uses 100% natural wood bisquette fuel; the wood is doused before it turns to ash to avoid imparting a nasty flavor to food.
The small electric smoker grill is capable of temperatures of up to 250°F. As well as smoking beef, sausages, chicken and vegetables, you can also smoke nuts, whisky, wine, or cheese. This is done by taking off the replaceable heating element and using only the smoke generator.
What makes it stand out?
When it comes to small electric smoker grills, one of the things users have to contend with is cleanup which is not always easy. The great thing about this model is that the interior features stainless steel construction which is rust-resistant and also easy to clean. Bradley Smoker BS611 also has an edge with its smoke diffuser system which generates clean smoke. We also liked its ability to cold smoke.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
The fact that this smoker is only compatible with proprietary bisquette fuel is a disadvantage because the fuel is more expensive than traditional wood chips, and may not be as easily available. There are also complaints about the bisquette feeder not working sometimes and users are forced to advance the bisquetts manually. Lastly, you may have to tweak the exterior plugs a little bit to make the heating element work.
This model is manufactured by one of the most popular brands in the market. Masterbuilt MB20071117 uses 600 watts and generates temperature of up to 275ᵒ F which suits most dishes. It comes with a spacious cooking space of 730 square inches that can fit 4 pork butts, 6 chickens, 4 rib racks and 2 turkeys, making it the best portable electric smoker for medium and large households. This unit has dimensions of 20.4 x 33.2 x19.8 inches and low weight of 45.9 pounds, considering its sizeable features.
However, one of the most impressive features of this compact electric smoker is the patented wood chip loading system which allows you to refill wood chips on the side of the unit without opening the door. This is not just convenient, but it also ensures that no heat escapes through the door. If you look at reviews from verified buyers, you will note that this is the feature that attracts them the most and sets this model apart from others.
What are its best features?
It is well-insulated and the temperature limit of 275ᵒ F suits a broad range of cooking styles. We also liked the ample cooking space of 730 square inches which is the highest among the smokers we have reviewed in this article. Add that to the 4 racks, a convenient loading system that doesn’t require opening the door, and a 90-day return policy for buyer security, and you realize why this is among the best compact electric smokers.
What could be improved?
While we found the solid insulation an advantage for heat retention, we also found that it limits the smoker’s ability to generate sufficient smoke at low temperatures. A number of users report peeling of the black paint in the interior which the manufacturer attributes to buildup of grease from insufficient cleaning causing bubbles on the paint. They recommend repainting the interior with a heat-resistant paint. Another minor drawback is that the digital controls are not easy to read on sunny days.
CUISINART COS-330 comes with a limited warranty of 3 years, which is about thrice as long as the period offered for most models in the same price range. The mini electric smoker also has a high temperature limit of 400°F that can accommodate different types of food with varied cooking temperature.
Other features are a tray for wood chips and a water pan that prevents food from drying out. Both can be easily removed, and they are made of stainless steel for easy cleaning.
You can use any type of wood chips such as cherry, mesquite, pecan, beech and hickory, or even opt for a blend to impart unique flavors. A blend would highlight the best qualities of each type of wood included, and it is complementary to beef, fish, burgers, pork, or pizza.
Lastly, the door has a chrome spring handle and the smoker has handles on the sides to improve mobility.
Why did it make our list?
It has an attractive warranty of 3 years which most comparable models don’t have, an impressive temperature range of 100°F to 400°F, and a 1500-watt heating element to achieve high temperature. The racks, water pan and wood chips tray are removable and dishwasher safe. It also comes with a built-in thermometer on the door, and the smoker has a compact footprint that is ideal for balconies and other limited areas.
What is not ideal about it?
It has an ineffective grease collection system because the box is too small to catch all the dripping fat. This makes it tedious to clean, especially around the heating element. Secondly, it produces insufficient smoke at temperatures below 250°F. For some units, the black paint on the front exterior start peeling off and causing rust after some time. This is often due to not curing the smoker before initial use.
If you are looking for a portable electric smoker that is also affordable, then we recommend Royal Gourmet SE280. It has a cooking space of 457.86 square inches, cooking power of 1500 watts and a built-in thermometer to measure internal temperature. The 28-inch analog electric smoker with three adjustable chrome-coated racks is ideal for several styles of cooking such a steaming, smoking and grilling
It features handles on the side that help while transporting the unit. Opinions are divided among users over the smoker’s temperature. While majority praise it for good temperature control that yields dishes with the texture and flavor they intended, there is a significant number whose units reportedly never reach more than 200 degrees, even on a hot day. Fortunately, the customer support is responsive to complaints by customers. There is also a 1-year limited warranty in place to insure against manufacturing defects.
What stands out?
We liked the waste management system because the grease cup, water pan and wood chip box are removable and made of stainless steel which is easy to clean. The smoker also comes with side handles to lift and move it, an integrated thermometer to monitor internal temperature, and 2 racks that can be adjusted to fit large-sized meat or more dishes. It also works with any type of wood chips, which is convenient.
What cons did we manage to find?
The top of the door leaks some smoke. Additionally, the back of the unit also leaks heat because it is not double walled for insulation. This prevents the smoker from achieving high temperature even when the weather is hot and the unit is operating on high setting. Some of the users have tried to limit leakage with dampers which seem to fix the issue. Others have had replacements from the manufacturer for defective thermostats.
Smokehouse Products Little Chief Electric Smoker is lightweight and compact. It weighs 12.2 pounds and measurements of 11.5 x 24.5 x 11.5 inches. Unsurprisingly, the cooking capacity is also quite small compared to the other products we have reviewed in this article; a space of 200 square inches which is a smoking capacity of 25 pounds of fish or meat.
It comes with chrome-plated racks that slide easily, a grease pan that is dishwasher safe and a 250-watt heating element which reaches a maximum temperature of 165°F. It also includes a pan for wood chips and a water pan which you conveniently load from the front door panel of the smoker.
What do we love it for?
It is inexpensive and suitable for beginners on a budget. Secondly, we like that it is made locally and therefore easily available. We can also bet on its quality since it has been certified by CUL, UL and CSA. The other features we liked is that this is a front loading and compact electric smoker that is easy to move, and it comes with more than 50 recipes and premium wood chips so you can start smoking right away.
What were we disappointed with?
This mini electric smoker does a great job at maintaining steady heat. However, it does not come with a thermostat which the other products we have reviewed seem to all have. This means that you cannot adjust the temperature. Also, you may have to buy an insulating blanket sold separately for the smoker to achieve high temperature. This is a great model for a starter smoker but it is fairly basic for professionals.
The first thing you will notice about this model is its durable construction of 100% 18 gauge stainless steel which also makes it heavy. Smokin-It Model #2 weighs 114 pounds, but it features side handles, and four heavy duty rubber casters with diameter of 4 inches which you attach to the smoker to ease mobility.
The upgraded and replaceable heating element with wattage of 800 is notable for the LED indicator light, fiberglass insulation to retain heat, 7 amps 120-volt single phase, and a long power cord measuring 12 feet. Buyers receive screws to mount the stainless-steel hanger with pre-drilled holes. Other features include a rheostat that regulates temperature from 100F to 250F, a double latch door, a smoke box, and a drip pan that easily slides out for cleaning.
What do we love it for?
It is sturdily built with heavy-duty stainless steel and well-insulated with fiberglass. We also appreciate the upgraded heating element with indicator lights, the long cord that comes with built-in storage, the screws and pre-drilled holes that ease set up, and the bonus sample of hickory woof. The NSF-certified smoker for restaurant use also generates consistent heat, is easy to clean and it has cooking capacity of 35 pounds of meat.
What were we disappointed with?
There is an initial learning curve because this is an advanced model with several components. The good thing is that all the instructions you need are included. One of the things you must adhere to is the recommendation of not exceeding 8 ounces of wood at a time. This may require a scale which adds to the cost if you don’t already own one.
LANDMANN MCO 32954 is an affordable mini electric smoker which is optimized to have essential features that don’t take up a lot of space. For instance, it comes with a 3-in-1 combination tray for the water pan, grease pan and the wood chip box.
There is also a detachable variable temperature controller as well as a damper port in the rear for heat regulation. The 1500-watt heating element is separate. Besides being a lightweight model with weight and small dimensions of 33 pounds and 16.6 x 26.7 x 13.2 inches respectively, this compact electric smoker also features wrought iron side handles and adjustable feet that are advantageous in transporting it and setting it up on uneven surfaces.
What are its best features?
We liked the combination tray for the wood chip box, grease pan and water pan because it saves space. The portable electric smoker is lightweight and you can set it level on irregular surface by adjusting its feet. Besides that, it features a double walled door with an adjustable latch and a convenient viewing window that shortens cooking time by reducing heat loss. The smoker comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
What could be improved?
There are a number of user complaints regarding the poor sealing at the door which lets the heat and smoke escape. Some of them have been able to fix this with high temperature rubber sealers, door gasket and self-adhesive felt strips. The viewing window allows you to monitor the food while it is cooking without opening the door. However, you have to open the door to refill the wood chips.
Whether you are looking for the best small electric smoker under 100 or a pricier pro-grade model, we have discussed the key features you should consider before making your purchase. Our guide also includes usage tips and a brief FAQ segment.
Pros and cons of electric smokers
Smoker choice is always the question of quality and convenience. Sometime we just crave for easier way to smoke the meat without needing to control the temperature all the time. Electric smoker though allows such easiness, still have some restrictions regarding the cooking process.
One of the greatest advantages of electric smokers is that portable units are easily available, as evidenced in this article.
They generate high temperature which speeds up cooking.
Low maintenance; they are quick to start up, cheaper to use, easy to clean, and they need minimal monitoring when cooking.
They come with integrated heat control that maintains a consistent temperature for even cooking. Other digital controls regulate smoke and cooking time so it takes less effort on your part.
They provide a convenient method of refilling wood and water to limit heat loss.
You can use compact electric smokers indoors.
While they are generally expensive than other types, you can find decent small electric smokers for under 100 dollars.
They are easy to configure for cold smoke for food like cheese or bacon.
They require electricity to operate. This can be limiting if there are no outlets.
The taste may not have the authentic barbecue flavor produced by a charcoal smoker, although the type of wood used to smoke counts, too.
Replacing a damaged heating element or repairing the electric box is costly.
How to use compact electric smokers
Season the smoker before you first use it to get rid of manufacturing residue and to prime the unit.
Avoid harsh cleaners and abrasive brushes when cleaning the smoker.
Use only approved accessories to adhere to the warranty.
The US National Center for Home Food Preservation reports that most food scientists do not recommend cold smoking due to the inherent risks from unsafe preparation.
We have featured one of the best small electric smokers for under $100, others that cost nearly twice as much, and some that are priced in the $500 range. This shows that compact electric smokers are available for different budgets, and you can find the right one for yours.
How to pick the best small electric smoker
Below is a checklist of what to look for before buying small electric smoker grills.
Dimensions and weight
The best small electric smokers for under $100 are compact and portable, which makes it convenient to transport them for cookouts or install them on balconies. A model with a large cooking capacity will also be generally bigger in size and probably heavier.
Thick walled insulation and durable steel construction would also increase the weight of your smoker. All the smokers we have reviewed are of manageable weight and they have a profile that does not occupy a lot of space. They also come with side handles, and some have casters for mobility.
The cooking area of portable electric smokers is the cooking surface which is typically listed in the description of a specific model. It is indicated in square inches, or in the amount of food you can cook at a time. For example, Smokehouse Products Little Chief Electric Smoker has cooking space of 200 square inches with smoking capacity of 25 pounds of fish or meat. There are also models that make reference to their width. They include LANDMANN MCO 32954 which is described as a 26-inch smoker. Look for a model with sufficient space to fit and smoke your food at once. A good guide for determining the ideal cooking space for you is one pound of meat per person.
When choosing among small electric smoker grills, consider their capability to achieve a wide range of temperatures. This widens your cooking style options since different dishes are smoked at different temperatures, and helps you to avoid overcooking or undercooking them.
The next thing to check is whether the smoker includes an integrated thermometer that maintains consistent temperature. Most portable electric smokers will come with a temperature gauge on the door. Some may include a built-in thermometer or a heat indicator. Ambient temperature will cause heat fluctuations. Other factors that would contribute to this poor insulation, vents that are obstructed or cannot be adjusted, opening doors to refill water and fuel, and doors with no proper sealing.
Digital vs analogue
Digital smokers are more convenient and user-friendly than analogue models because they come with a control panel with controls that allow you to set the cooking time, internal temperature and smoke. Such products may also have a viewing window and an efficient method of loading the wood chip tray without opening the door.
Controls and power
Some advanced electric smokers are capable of Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to operate them and monitor your food remotely.
User-friendly features that are accessible and adjustable free you up for other tasks because you can simply set the desired settings and let the smoker do the rest.
For power, check the wattage of the heating element and for a long cord. The latter is ideal because it extends your smoker’s reach to distant power outlets.
Durability and warranty
Stainless steel construction and chrome plated grates are common in the best small electric smokers because they are durable. They are also easy to clean.
Warranty will vary depending on the specific product. The smokers we have recommended have different warranties that are one year, two years, or three years, and some offer a 90-day return policy. Also, research the compatible accessories and the availability of parts before committing yourself since some smokers would only work with proprietary products.
Let the smoker cool completely, and then remove the smoker box, racks and trays. Brush residue downwards and out of the chamber. To avoid scratching the surface, use warm water, mild detergent and a plastic brush to scrub the interior gently. Clean the removable components with warm, soapy water and let them dry completely after rinsing. Wipe the exterior with a damp, soapy cloth. Use the same for the meat probe and thermostat. Wipe them dry.
Electric smokers should be covered when they are not in use to protect them from dust, dirt and natural elements which may cause fading, rusting and peeling, among other forms of deterioration. We recommend Char Broil Performance Smoker Cover, a heavy-duty fabric with a protective liner against sun fade, sealed water-resistant seams and adjustable side straps to securely fit small electric smoker grills.
Mini electric smokers are energy-efficient; their wattage can be as low as 500. For instance, Bradley Smoker BS611 has that wattage yet it can achieve temperature of up to 250°F. Otherwise, wattage depends on the specific model and is included in the description.
Char-Broil 18202077 performs well in retaining smoke and heat owing to its double walled chamber with heavy duty latches. It has removable components conveniently accessed from the front, and the manufacturer offers a 90-day return policy appreciated by most buyers.
Bradley Smoker BS611 includes a removable smoke generator that emits clean smoke, a replaceable heating element, a high temperature limit of 250°F, and user-friendly set-and-forget features that let you calibrate your desired smoke and temperature settings.
Our choice for the budget pick is Smokehouse Products Little Chief Electric Smoker. This compact device has enough space for great variety of products to be cooked inside. This electric smoker is lightweight and can be easily carried around the patio.
We’ve looked at all the best small electric smokers on the market today and sure you will find the one that can make your BBQ parties the absolute hit.