What is the best electric smoker? Basically, there are two types of smokers: charcoal and electric. While charcoal smokers rely on charcoal to heat wood chips, electric models use electrically powered heating rods. This makes electric smokers a more convenient option as they can automatically provide consistent temperatures throughout the whole cooking process. Besides, electric smokers are easier to maintain and work well in any weather. Charcoal smokers deliver deeper flavors, can be versatile and are available in higher capacities.

Best Electric Smokers from $200 to $400 Compared

There are several things to keep an eye on when buying an electric smoker. First, consider capacity. If your smoker is too small for your needs, it will take more time to make enough food. If you buy a large unit for smoking a small amount of food, you will end up with raw food. The best electric smoker, such as Masterbuilt MB20071117, can fit at least 6 chickens, 2 turkeys, or 4 pork butts.

If you will cook for large groups of people, choose a product like the Dyna-Glo Electric Smoker with 732 square inches of cooking space. And again, if you do not need that much, you should go with a lower-capacity option.

Secondly, look at the number and type of trays, which can be hollow or grill-like. A good smoker should include 3 to 4 trays or racks made of stainless steel. Much depends on the kind of food you are going to cook. For meat, horizontal trays are the best choice, whereas fish requires trays with inclination. Thirdly, make sure that your electric smoker comes with a built-in thermostat ensuring consistent smoking and a thermometer. For example, the CUISINART COS-330 Smoker is equipped with a dial-style thermostat and an easy-to-read thermometer on the door for temperature monitoring.

1. Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker
Crafted from steel, this corded 30” smoker features a fully-insulated body for better heat retention, a convenient wood chip loading system, and a thermostat. The digital control allows for temperature and time adjustment.


2. Masterbuilt MB20073519 Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker
While being heavier, this stainless steel model is sturdier. It includes 4 smoking racks and a probe thermometer. Bluetooth-enabled, it offers temperature and lighting control as well as meat temperature monitoring.


3. CUISINART COS-330 Smoker, 30" Electric
Produced by a famous kitchen appliance brand, this spacious smoker with a vertical footprint features a 548 in2 interior. It comes with 3 removable steel racks and a 1500W heating element with adjustable temperatures.


4. Dyna-Glo DGU732BDE-D 30" Digital Electric Smoker
With a whopping 732 in2 of cooking space, this 1,000-watt smoker is less powerful but offers a higher capacity. It has a digital thermostat, 4 grates, an integrated meat thermometer, and an insulated, double-wall firebox.


5. Royal Gourmet SE2801 Electric Smoker
Rich in features, this 1,500-watt smoker is powerful yet budget-friendly. It has a grease management system, double-wall design, adjustable digital controller, reliable latch system, 3 racks, and handles for transportation.


6. Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
Alternatively, you may go with a charcoal smoker. While being less convenient than electric models, it will give your meat a truly smoky flavor. It has a built-in thermometer, water pan, plated steel grates, and 2 vents.


7. Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
If you look for a multi-use appliance, opt for this product. You can use it to smoke, grill, bake, braise, barbeque, and roast food. Made with advanced wood fire technology, it offers a wide temperature range and digital control.


8. Masterbuilt MB20041220 Gravity Series 1050 Digital Charcoal
This high-performance grill & smoker features 1,050 in2 of cooking space. It holds up to 16 lbs of charcoal and reaches 700°F in 15 min. In addition to a digital control panel, you can monitor the temp in the app via Bluetooth.


Whether you like smoky meats or veggies and cheese, you’ll fall in love with those smokers! In this guide, we’ll talk about what an electric smoker is, what it is good for, how to properly use and clean it, and share some nice little cooking tips that can help your perfect any food you choose to smoke. 

Buyer's Guide

What’s an electric smoker and how it works?

An electric smoker is a device that uses electricity and wood chips to smoke meats and other produce for further consumption. The main advantage of electric smokers is that you really don’t have to do much of anything: there’s no lighting charcoal, no checking fuel, no mess to clean up, and only about 3 ounces of wood chips to give your foodstuff that smoky flavor. All there’s to do here is plug the smoker, fumble around with digital controls, put your meats, close the door, relax, and take a drink. Inexpensive options have a rheostat that turns down the electricity to the coil. More expensive options have a built-in thermostat with a probe within a smoking chamber that regulates the temperature and turns the juice on and off.

Last update on 2022-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Are electric smokers any good?

Of course, nothing will beat the taste of meat or veggies smoked to perfection on gas, charcoal, or a pellet smoker, but electric smokers are good for beginners and some foods in particular, like sausage, bacon, or cheese. Even if you’re a seasoned pro and swear by the beauty and taste of meats you do in your electric smoker, the good old-fashioned cooking methods are still considered the best way of preparing authentically rich and flavourful meats. But electric smokers are still good, some of them are even very good. In this guide, we’ve embarked on a journey to figure out which ones exactly are so good it’s worth recommending to you.

What are electric smokers good for? // What to make/cook in it?

You can cook practically anything in your smoker: chicken, turkey, ribs, sausages, burgers, and pork butts, veggies, cheese, and nuts. Particularly though, electric smokers are good for smoking peppers, nuts, bacon, and cheese.

How & where to use an electric smoker with video instructions

  1. Speaking of meat, you’ll need to thaw it first (unless it’s fresh, of course). Michigan State University Extension recommends thawing meat in the fridge or microwave, rather than in the smoker or at the room temperature.
  2. Check if a smoker of your choice needs to be seasoned first. Seasoning a smoker means cleaning it first from the inside out, letting it dry, and then running it hot (at 250–275 °F) for about 2 to 3 hours to eliminate residue left after the manufacturing process.
  3. After the seasoning, open the smoker’s door and allow it to fully cool off.
  4. Then plug in the smoker and turn it on.
  5. Pull out the chip tray and fill it with the desired type of chips and the amount specified in the manufacturer’s instructions. More tips on wood chips can be found at the end of this guide: Chip Tips.
  6. Preheat the smoker to 200–225 °F and wait for approximately 30 minutes for your smoker to get ready.
  7. Open the smoker and pour hot water into a water bowl at the bottom of the smoking chamber. You can add other liquids to water for a nuanced flavor (like vinegar, wine, or even beer)
  8. Season your meat or marinate it according to your taste.
  9. Put on protecting gloves and place meats on the racks inside the smoking chamber with large items on the lower racks and smaller ones on the upper.
  10. Close and lock the door. Try not to open the door throughout the whole cooking process.
  11. Refer to your recipe book for cooking times.
  12. Add more chips or water as needed. As soon as the smoke from the smoker stops, time for a refill.
  13. As soon as the meat’s done, remove it from the racks and let it rest.
  14. Clean your smoker.

Assembly & pre-seasoning process: 

TOP 5 Best Electric Smokers Under $400

Below, we’ll cover the best electric models we’ve found online, among those are only trusted brands with impeccable reputations and good quality products. The prices do vary: the more features and control over the cooking process you want, the more you have to pay. The beginner models are around 80 dollars, the most expensive ones skyrocket to 500. But the best value for the money is usually about 200 dollars.

Smoke Hollow | Best electric smoker for beginners

Smoke Hollow is a popular American brand that specializes in grilling appliances and accessories. It's among those trusted brands with which you can rely on support and warranty with the products they deliver.

This item here is very easy to use, so even if digital gadgetry is not really your thing, don’t worry, you’ll be able to figure it out in no time. All there’s to do is to plug a smoker in, set the digital controls, pick your wood chip flavor, and put your favorite foods on three available racks, the smoker will do the rest for you. The fully-insulated construction keeps all the heat inside, while an 800-watt element with integrated thermostat temperature control ensures the cooking is even and consistent. There is also a digital control panel with temperature and time, adjustable air damper for smoke control, removable drip pan and water bowl.

The price won’t break your budget, the smoker is priced affordably ($70-80) considering the quality and functionality it features. The testers who bought the device didn’t report any issues with the smoker up to date. So with all things being equal, this smoker seems like a good buy.

Last update on 2022-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Smoke Hollow with Thermostat: Check the current price

Best Electric Smoker Under $200 | Smoke Hollow - electric smoker with a 1500-watt heating element

This is another model from Smoke Hollow, which is, however, a little more expensive than the previous model (around $100). It’s also more powerful and has other distinctive features which fully justify its price.

There’s a 1500-watt heating element with fully adjustable temperature control and two chrome-plated cooking grids, which can be adjusted to variable heights to accommodate different types of food. Among other features are an advanced heat indicator, a steel cabinet with side and cool-touch spring wire handles, latch system, adjustable draft controls, porcelain-coated removable wood chip tray and water pan.

The customers who invested in this model were pretty happy with how the product delivered, many of them said they used the smoker every weekend since they bought it, or that it was a fantastic option for pork butts and loins and thus, was an ideal thing for pulled pork sandwiches.

Among the issues reported by the unhappy consumers were inconsistent temperature, unreliable heating elements, and low quality of materials used.

Last update on 2022-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Smoke Hollow with Temperature Control: Check the current price

Best Electric Smoker Under $300 | Masterbuilt - electric smoker for two whole turkeys

This is a bestselling smoker from Masterbuilt, another industry leader in grilling and smoking gear, that’s been in business for more than 40 years. The high-quality of its products have earned this line their pristine reputation.

This 30-inch smoker is perfect for both a seasoned pro and a beginner alike. Again, there’s not much to do here, except plug it in, set the digital controls, put your food and chips in, and the smoker does all the rest.

Among the stand-out features here are four chrome-coated smoking racks, patented side wood chip loading system, where you add chips without opening the smoker door, and integrated thermostat temperature control for consistent cooking.

If you’d like to have an electric smoker with window, then there’s actually an option for you: this smoker is available with a convenient glass opening through a stainless steel construction to observe the cooking process. This window model also features a remote control.

If you’re looking for a more technologically advanced model which will allow you to monitor the cooking process from the screen of your mobile phone, then Masterbuilt has one for you: Bluetooth Electric Smoker, where your smart device becomes a remote control.

Last update on 2022-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Masterbuilt with Thermostat: Check the current price

Best Digital Electric Smoker Under $400 | Masterbuilt - Bluetooth electric smoker with

This is yet another option from Masterbuilt, more expensive, but more advanced as well: your mobile device can become a smart remote control in seconds with integrated Bluetooth Smart technology. There’s an app where you can control cooking temperature and time, operate the food light and monitor the internal temperature of meats, as well as start and shut off the device itself. There’s also a transparent glass window where you can see how your meats are gently smoked, take pictures, and share it online.

Customers seemed to love the gear, but others had problems with the apps, which was more of a bummer, of course, considering the price of this thing. But thankfully, Masterbuilt has fantastically responsive and helpful customer service who are there to guide you every step of the way and exchange the units, if anything.

Last update on 2022-12-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Masterbuilt with Bluetooth: Check the current price

Comparative chart of Electric Smokers

Product Features

Smoke Hollow with Thermostat

Digital panel controls
Thermostat temperature control
800-watt heating element
Adjustable air damper
Removable drip pan & water bowl

Smoke Hollow with Temperature Control

Fully-welded steel cabinet
2 Chrome-plated cooking grids
1500-watt heating element
Temperature control
Removable wood chip tray & water pan
Capacity: 1.3 cu.ft.

Masterbuilt with Thermostat

721 sq. inch of cooking space
4 chrome-coated racks
800-watt heating element
Thermostat temperature control
Options with window and remote control

Masterbuilt with Bluetooth

Integrated Bluetooth technology-control
721 sq. inch
800-watt heating element
Digital panel controls
Internal meat temperature
Blue LED digital control panel display
4 chrome-coated smoking racks

Chip tips

According to the USDA and Michigan State University Extension the following chips are ideal for:

  • Hickory chips will pair well with most of the meats
  • Applewood chips are best for chicken and pork
  • Mesquite is perfect for beef because of its stronger flavor
  • Alder wood chips are perfect for fish

Although some connoisseurs say to never soak chips, USDA actually advises doing so. To see how you like it most you really need to experiment!

Pros and cons


  • Ideal for beginners to learn the basics of smoking meats
  • Very easy to operate: set the time and do your stuff until it’s done
  • Space-saving and easy to clean up
  • Prices are pretty affordable


  • Might malfunction in winter and cold temperatures without being able to reach the desired or needed temperature
  • Cannot be used in the rain
  • Larger models (like 40-inch) would cost more but would be able to accommodate larger pieces of meat
  • The traditional smokers still yield better flavors

Is smoked meat bad for your health?

Let’s face it, smoked, grilled, or BBQed meat (any meat actually for that matter) is not very healthy. So don’t expect an electric smoker to make meat suddenly very healthy or beneficial.

Back in the 1980s, the study that observed certain districts in Hungary for 10 years found that the percentage of stomach cancer among all types of cancer was nearly twice as high in one of the Hungarian districts, where predominantly home-smoked meat products were consumed.

The more recent study (2017) observed survivors of breast cancer and their smoked, grilled, and barbecued meat consumption after surgery for 18 years and concluded that those who consumed smoked (grilled and barbequed) meats after surgery had increased mortality rates, which were elevated by as much as 31%. Those women who didn’t consume meat had a better chance of living longer.

But is an electric smoker worse than any other type of smoker?

Not really, it’s certainly not dangerous or worse than others. In fact, it eliminates certain chemicals that are detrimental to health anyway. However, it also takes away the complexity of the combustion gases which makes the food from electric gear taste inferior to that from traditional smokers.


Can an electric smoker be used indoors? // Can it be used in a garage?
Some smokers that utilize cold smoke can be used indoors. Like this Slow Cooker Kit from Masterbuilt. However, please, check if the product can be used indoors with a seller or in an instruction manual.

Can an electric smoker be used in rain? // Can it get wet?
Yes, it can get wet, thus cannot be used in rain.

Can an electric smoker be kept or stored outside?
It’s better to store it under a roof, like in a garage.

Can it catch fire?
Yes. So, please, follow the instructions carefully to prevent the fire.

Can an electric smoker be used as a dehydrator?
Yes, you can. But the temperature should be really low.

Can you use an electric smoker in winter?
Yes, you can. But it won’t probably as easy as in summer time and will take much longer.

Can I use it on a screen porch?
Yes, you can.

How much water should I use in an electric smoker?
Fill the water pan that comes with the smoker completely to the brink, and check if it’s there in a few hours. Usually, you’ll have to refill water every 2-3 hours.

When and how to clean an electric smoker?

You need to clean your smoker after each use:

  1. Turn the smoker off, unplug, and let it cool down completely.
  2. Take everything out from the smoker (racks, trays, bowls).
  3. Use a sponge or a damp towel to clean the smoker’s accessories and the inside (never use harsh chemicals except for a small amount of vinegar for stubborn stains).
  4. Before cooking some people wrap aluminum foil around trays for an easy clean-up process.
  5. Wipe out the smoker after the clean-up, let it dry, put everything back in and close the door.

Clean-up and storage:


In conclusion, it’s worth saying, that whatever gear you choose, you really need to experiment and practice with the meats, seasoning, herbs, liquids you use to achieve that ultimately nuanced and rich flavor, but it’s all worth it! Good luck and happy cooking!

Add comment