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5 Best Electric Smokers for 2017 – Reviews and Comparisons

5 Best Electric Smoker Reviews and Comparisons

If you are a meat lover and the smell and taste of smoked meat tickles your fancy, then why not invest in your own electric wood smoker. The process of smoking meat is infused into our DNA from our ancestors, who used wood smoking as a way of preserving meat. Another method for smoking meat was through a smoke-house.

In these modern times, wood smoking is still being used as a way of adding special flavors to all kinds of meat, fish, and for vegetarians, you can even smoke cheese and nuts.

The secret to the wood smoking process is that the food is slowly cooked at a specific temperature for a long period of time. The process is similar to that of a slow cooker, but with the extra benefit of the smoke that adds the highly desirable mouth watering flavor.

Electric Smoker Comparison:​

Our pick

THE BEST ELECTRIC SMOKER

Smokin-It Model #1 Electric Smoker

This durable and high quality unit is a 'must have' smoker for so many appetising reasons. It is easy to use and it provides so many features that makes it an excellent choice for both beginners and wood smoking connoisseurs alike.

Electric vs. Charcoal and Gas Smokers

In comparison with charcoal or gas smokers that can be messy, dangerous, and need to be constantly monitored, electric smokers are the best option for smoking your meat. They are more powerful as they use electricity as fuel to ignite the wood and that continual power source provides heat and smoke for the food.

An electric wood smoker is easy to use, faster, and convenient as it just needs to be plugged into a power outlet. Some electric smokers come with an extra long power cord, which makes them ideal for outdoor use. You do not have to worry about re-stocking the charcoal or re-filling the gas cylinder. Most electric smokers come with inbuilt vents that allow any excess smoke or steam to escape from the smoking chamber.

The art of smoking great food is all about maintaining the temperature of the smoking chamber. With an electric smoker, controlling just the right temperature is so easy as these units have an adjustable thermostat dial that sets the temperature inside the stoking chamber. There are also digital electric smokers that have a digital screen with buttons to set the desired temperature.

One of the best reasons to consider purchasing an electric smoker is that you do not have to constantly monitor the food. You can just sit back, relax, and let the smoker work its flavor magic.

Two Types of Electric Wood Smokers.

Vertical water electric smokers are relatively inexpensive. A water bowl or tray is placed in between the burning wood and the smoking chamber where the food to be cooked.The water is evaporated along with the smoke, which helps to maintain a constant temperature, and the vapor is absorbed by the meat being smoked, which adds the flavor and taste.

Electric cabinet smokers are shaped like a small refrigerator. The unit is heated by an electric element that lies in the base of the smoker. It is similar to an electric hotplate or a stove. Some models have a selection of heat settings: low, medium, or high, which is a great feature as some meats need to be cooked at different temperatures, like chicken that needs to be cooked at a higher temperature.

The Benefits of Using an Electric Wood Smoker

1. Safety features

Just like the common dangers that are associated with using burning wood with charcoal, there is always the chance that stray burning embers can set things alight. When you use an electric smoker, there are no embers to worry about.

2. Temperature control

Unlike traditional charcoal or gas smokers that give little or no control over the temperature, an electric smoker allows you to regulate the heat settings, so that whatever temperature you have set is maintained throughout the cooking process.

3. Timers

Electric smokers come with quality control timers. After you have set the timer, it shuts off automatically, which means you can 'set it and forget'. There is no need to have to constantly open the door and check the progress. Some smokers also come with a digital timer and others with a 24-hour timer.

4. Cooking and Smoking

When it comes to speed, electric smokers are the fastest option for smoking, and they are able to evenly spread the heat from their heating coils across the smoker. The end result: your food is cooked to perfection with a deliciously smoky flavor.

5. Versatile cooking options

Electric smokers are great at smoking a wide range of food items: as well as pork, turkey, and beef, they can also cook sausages, bacon, nuts, and cheese. So if you are a vegetarian, an electric smoker is ideal for you.

6. Ideal for inside use

Unlike gas and charcoal, many electric smokers can be used inside in a kitchen or on the balcony as they do not generate a lot of smoke. But never fear, they will generate just the right amount of smoke to flavour your food.

Six Tips For Using Your Electric Smoker

1. The smoker’s operating manual. Before using your electric wood smoker, always read the manufacturer's' directions.

2. Prepare the smoker. Just like you would with a barbeque: season the racks in the smoker with cooking oil before you start cooking. Before you start to cook, check the smoker’s instructions as each smoker is different. If you are using a water electric smoker, you can then add water to the receptacle. You can even use beer! Or you could soak your meat in beer and then put it into the smoker.

3. Extension cords. You may need an extension cord, but not just any extension cord, make sure it is suitable for powering a wood smoker.

4. Choosing your wood. There are a lot of different types of wood chips to choose from that will add their own distinct flavor to your food. Applewood, hickory, cherry, cedar, plum, maple or hickory chips are very popular. You will require approximately 4 cups of wood chips for every 3 to 5 hours of smoking when using an electric smoker.

5. Choosing your meat. The best idea for choosing the right meat is to ask your local butcher what kind of meat they suggest is the best for smoking. They may even be able to suggest some cooking tips.

6. Seasoning tip. Season meat with a dry rub, such as sugar, salt or herbs, or soak in a marinade.

Product Reviews and Comparison Guide

1. Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker

If you are a newbie to the benefits of wood smoking or would like a cleaner way of smoking your food, then the Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker is a good entry-level model for you. It is affordable and very easy to use with variable heat settings, a powerful 1.500 watt heating element, which will have no trouble cooking all kinds of meat.

The smoker is made from porcelain coated wood, it is well insulated, with double walled construction for maintaining an even temperature, which is important for producing the best flavor results. You have 505 square inches of cooking surface, three adjustable chrome-plated grates, which is plenty of space for all cuts of meat, and a water container to generate the smoke.

There is a temperature gauge that is mounted on the door, so that you can easily monitor the heat settings for your food. The unit is easy to clean and comes with a removable drip container that will catch all of the grease.

What we like:

  • Ideal smoker for beginners
  • Affordable
  • Can easily reach high temperatures
  • Meat tastes excellent
  • Uses a small amount of wood
  • Lots of shelf space

What we don't like:

  • Cord is not long enough
  • Does not produce enough smoke
  • The door needs an extra nudge to get it to shut properly

2. Smoke Hollow 26142E 36 Inch Electric Smoker

The Smoke Hollow Electric Smoker is lightweight at 33 lbs, but it is a powerful unit with a 1500 watt heating element and a commercial quality heat indicator. Maintaining the temperature of the unit is a breeze as the smoker has an adjustable and removable temperature control.

The cabinet is made from strong steel and is ergonomically friendly with side handles and a cool-touch spring wire handle. With a 250 square inch capacity, and two adjustable chrome-plated cooking grids, there is plenty of space for all cuts of meat and vegetables, and the water and wood chip pan is also included.

The highlight of this smoker is being able to perfectly control the temperature even when you open the door - it quickly regulates itself back to the original temperature, so that you do not lose any cooking time.

What we like:

  • Great price
  • Good quality
  • Able to smoke all kinds of meat
  • Produces a great smoky taste
  • Easy to clean

What we don't like:

  • Small
  • No receptacle to catch the grease
  • The door needs an extra nudge to get it to shut properly

3. Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker

Masterbuilt is well-known for its high quality cooking products and electric smoker technology, so you are guaranteed to get the best cooking results from this digital smoker.

It is a tough smoking unit as its outer material is made from durable powder-coated steel, which means it is strong and scratch resistant. With 730 square inches of cooking space, four chrome-coated racks and 800 watt heating element, it is ideal for smoking all kinds of meats to perfection.

One of the highlights of this smoker is that it is ideal for cold climates. Smoking meat outdoors is no challenge for the Masterbuilt smoker as the unit is well insulated.

The secret to its smoking success is the innovative digital temperature control and with just a push of a button on the digital control panel, the smoker will maintain your desired cooking temperature at a constant level ranging from 100 to 275 degrees. There is no need to open the door to check on your food, since the digital display shows you the correct temperature.

Another great design feature that will make it super easy to maintain that perfect temperature is the wood chip loader that is located on the side of the unit. You do not have to open the door of the smoker to add the wood chips. Just fill the loader with your favorite wood chips, and slide them into the side of the smoker. No mess: no fuss!

There is a removable pan that lets you add water, juice or vinegar, that will increase the flavor of your food. The unit is easy to clean and comes with a removable drip tray to catch all the grease.

What we like:

  • Ideal for small amounts of meat
  • Good quality smoker
  • Insulated for cold climates
  • 24-hour timer; ideal for long-term cooking
  • Digital thermometer for maintaining an even temperature
  • Digital display controls
  • Wood chip loader located on the side of the unit
  • Removable drip tray

What we don't like:

  • Not suitable for large gatherings
  • There's no adjustment for controlling airflow
  • The overflow pan is too small

4. Smokin-It Model #1 Electric Smoker

Just like its name, the Smokin-It Electric Smoker will have you cooking and smoking your meat like a professional. Strong and durable, the smoker is made from stainless steel construction and is insulated with fibreglass that will reduce heat loss. With a 400 watt element and 8 amps of power, the unit can cook up to 22 lbs of meat per session (meat or seafood), and a rheostat for temperature control from 100F to 250F degrees.

Although this electrical smoker only weighs a little less than other models, weighing at 64 pounds, the newly designed side handles make it easy for you to move the unit and there are wheels that give greater portability. There is plenty of room for all your favorite meat with three stainless steel grilling racks included, as well as a smoke box and drip pan that slides under the smoker.

Special extra features include: a sample of hickory wood to season your new smoker, a 12 foot power cord and an integrated electric power cord hanger on the back panel of the unit where you can attach the power cord.

What we like:

  • Well made and compact
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Fiberglass insulation minimizes heat loss
  • Generates great flavor
  • Extra long 12-foot power cord, can be stored on a hanger at the back of the unit
  • The heating element of this smoker can be replaced easily
  • Wheels for greater portability
  • Extra sample of hickory wood

What we don't like:

  • Expensive
  • No digital temperature display or control

5. Bradley Digital 4-Rack Smoker

Bradley Technologies is another company that specializes in meat and food smoking products, and their award-winning Digital 4-Rack Electric Smoker will provide you with 8 hours of controlled smoke; and cooking temperatures up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit. The patented "smoke generator" is located on the side, and the wood chips are automatically added onto the burner every 20 minutes.

If you are looking for an electric smoker that is easy to use with a 'set and forget' approach - then why not choose this funky, shiny unit that resembles a small refrigerator.

It is ideal for beginners and experts alike. The modus operandi is simple: plug the unit it, place the wood chips into the loader, fill the dish with water or whatever liquid you like, set it to your desired temperature, depending on what kind of meat you are cooking, and then sit back, relax, and wait for it to do all the hard work. And the result - Voila! Perfectly cooked and smoked food.

The Bradley is powered by a 500 watt cooking element and a 125 watt smoking element, and it weighs in at 57 pounds, including the smoke generator, which means it is one of the lighter models on the market.

The smoker is made from stainless steel which provides maximum insulation that enhances that much needed heat retention, and it is perfect for outdoor cooking on hot and cold days. It has ample cooking space with four racks, but if are entertaining and creating gourmet foods for a large group, then maybe the 6 Rack model is more suited for your needs.

For full operator control, there is a full digital display that helps you to monitor temperature, cooking time, and the right amount of smoke for perfectly cooked and smoked food. To clean it, you simply remove the drip pan and racks and clean it from inside.

What we like:

  • High quality stainless steel
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Easy to assemble and maintain
  • Quiet
  • Great cooking and smoking performance
  • Full set of digital controls
  • Large cooking space and adjustable racks
  • Insulated
  • Separate burners

What we don't like:

  • Expensive
  • No handles or wheels
  • Not ideal for indoor cooking
  • No viewing window
  • Can be difficult to maintain high cooking temperatures in very cold climates

Our Top Pick

Our top pick for the best electric wood smoker is the Smokin-It Model #1 Electric Smoker. 

Our pick

THE BEST ELECTRIC SMOKER

Smokin-It Model #1 Electric Smoker

This durable and high quality unit is a 'must have' smoker for so many appetising reasons. It is easy to use and it provides so many features that makes it an excellent choice for both beginners and wood smoking connoisseurs alike.

The unit is made from strong stainless steel construction and is insulated with fibreglass that will reduce heat loss, and with a 400 watt element and 8 amps of power, the unit can cook up to 22 lbs of meat per session (meat or seafood)

As well as providing you with three stainless steel racks, and a rheostat that can control temperatures from 100F to 250F, there is an extra long 12 foot power cord, and a hanger on the back of the unit to store the cord when you are not using it.

It is a portable unit with side handles and wheels. An extra bonus feature from Smokin-It is a sample of Hickory wood that is provided with the smoker. As well as using the unit outdoors, it produces considerably less smoke than the traditional offset smoker, so you can even use it inside.

Happy wood smoking!

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