Best indoor electric & analog smokers reviewed featuring Masterbuilt

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  July 16, 2021

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If you’re looking to smoke delicious meats (and more) in the comfort of your home, your best option is an electric smoker, BUT you have the choice between a digital or an analog one.

Using an electric smoker is convenient, easy, and CAN BE just as flavorful as a pellet or even charcoal smoker. The secret lies in choosing the right smoker for your needs.

In this post, I’ll take a look at the best indoor smokers.

Best indoor electric & analog smokers reviewed featuring Masterbuilt

If you’re a beginner, you will absolutely love the simplicity of this Masterbuilt Front Controller Electric Smoker as well as its price. It’s a great beginner model, easy to use, and with the consistently good results we are used to from this brand.

It’s got the front window and even Bluetooth-controlled temperature so I don’t have to sit with it or check it every half-hour or so while it cooks.

But there are a few more options, like an analog or a kettle smoker that might suit your needs more.

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How to buy a bbq smoker video

In this guide, you are going to learn everything you need to pick the right electric smoker.

To make it easier, I have prepared a list of the best electric smokers based on my experience, these are the ones I always recommend to friends and family.

Best indoor electric smokers Images
Best digital indoor electric smoker: Masterbuilt front controller Bluetooth Masterbuilt RF digital electric indoor smoker

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Best electric smoker for beginners: Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Best overall & best electric smoker for beginners- Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital

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Most durable analog indoor electric smoker: Smoke Hollow 30 inch Most durable analog indoor electric smoker: Smoke Hollow 30 inch

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Best cheap analog indoor electric smoker: Char-broil Analog Best analog indoor electric smoker

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Best small electric smoker: Landmann USA 32948 Smoky Mountain Best small electric smoker- Landmann USA 32948 Smoky Mountain

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Best electric pellet smoker: Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade Best electric pellet smoker- Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade

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Best small indoor kettle smoker: Nordic Ware Nordic Ware small indoor kettle smoker

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Best pressure smoker: Emson 8303 Electric Smoker Best Pressure Smoker: Emson 8303 Electric Smoker

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Best electric smoker for restaurantsSmokin-It Model #1

Best electric smoker for restaurants: Smokin-It Model #1(view more images)

Best 6-rack digital smoker: Bradley BTDS108P Best 6-rack digital smoker: Bradley BTDS108P

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Best large size smoker: Cookshack SM066 AmeriQue Cookshack AmeriQue

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In this post we'll cover:

Complete electric smokers guide: how to choose 1, AND use your pick!

An electric smoker is an extremely versatile piece of cooking equipment to have, especially if you love smoked foods. Unlike charcoal, pellet, and gas smokers, electrics are much easier to use, and they are the perfect unit for beginners.

Even pitmasters can benefit from owning an electric smoker because these smokers cook delicious smokey foods.

It does more than just cook meat cuts like briskets, ham, and ribs. It is used to make delicious smoked cheese, fish, nuts, smoked peppers, bacon, sausage, and so much more, I can’t list it all.

Electric smokers guide

In this guide, I’m sharing the best tips for using electric smokers, answering common questions, and giving full reviews for the best electric smokers on the market.

What is an electric smoker?

It is an electric device, usually used outdoors or indoors, that smokes and cooks using hot electric rods.

Since the heat source is electrical, it’s different from using charcoal or pellet smokers like some of these models, which create a lot of smoke. Electric smokers are cleaner and easier to use because they don’t require as much supervision.

Electric smokers come in many sizes, from small indoor ones to large indoor smokers for commercial purposes and outdoors smokers. Although designs can vary, most are made of stainless steel or cast iron.

Features may vary, they can have different sized cooking areas, warming racks, smoking racks, and cool modern features. These include:

The bottom line is that electric smokers make delicious food that’s smoky and flavorful, and they are easier to use and operate. With an electric smoker, everyone, including beginners, can smoke tasty foods.

Also read: 7 Best BBQ Smoker recipe cookbooks from beginner to advanced

Buyer’s guide: what to look for in an electric smoker?

Electric smokers come in many sizes and at many prices. There’s one for all budgets, but before you buy one, there are some things to consider.

I’m listing the three most important factors to think about ahead of investing in a smoker.

Size and cooking capacity

The larger the smoker, the more meat you can smoke at once. A 30 or 40-inch smoker is usually enough for most people. That gives you a few racks for the food.

Consider how much patio space you have for an outdoor electrical smoker. If you want a small apartment-friendly smoker, you’ll need to think small.

It all comes down to your personal needs. Giant smokers are only necessary for pros and restaurants.

Portability

Can you move the electrical smoker around easily? Are you going to keep it in one specific spot on your patio all year round?

The main thing to consider is that the smoker has to be positioned near an electrical outlet so you can plug it in and use it. Moving it from storage to the cooking spot can be hard, especially if the smoker is huge.

So, consider getting a portable unit with sturdy wheels and handles so you can maneuver it.

Size

Smokers come in a wide range of sizes, most ‘average sized’ ones are between 35 and 40 inches, while small and mobile models are between 25 and 50 inches in size.

For the bigger smokers, the price increase can be quite hefty, so be prepared.

Budget

While the selection of electric smokers isn’t that big, defining your budget will still make it easier for you to look for a new smoker.

If a lower price is important to you, look for simple, small-sized models.

How much you cook and what

Do you want to smoke meat, fish, cheese, veg, or all of the above? Are you going to be smoking large racks of ribs or small chicken breasts?

All of these will affect the choice of the grill, so make sure you have your goals in mind before you click ‘buy’.

Features & controls

Make sure that your smoker has a modern temperature adjusting system.

It should include a digital controller that is often equipped with other features including a timer or the option to add temperature probes.

Bluetooth and wireless temperature control are great features to have. Digital displays are a must-have so you can see the temperature at all times.

Look for smokers with plenty of control options, buttons, and digital controls. WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity makes it easy for you to smoke from a distance and if you want something like that, look for smart units.

Cold smoking

Would you like to try smoked cheese, fish, or other more ‘delicate’ foods? If so, make sure the smoker you purchase can be set at a low temperature.

Some smokers include a cold smoking kit which is sold separately. Don’t try and do your cold smoking without one!

Low temperatures don’t produce a lot of smoke, so a cold smoking kit ensures that the food is infused with good flavor and your results are absolutely delicious.

Ok, so the most asked question when looking at buying an electric smoker is:

Can electric smokers be used indoors?

Electric smokers can definitely be used indoors and any electric smoker will do, as long as it doesn’t use gas, charcoal, or wood for fuel. Using highly combustible fuel in indoor grilling is unsafe. That’s why most people in small condos use an electric smoker grill.

A Comprehensive Buying Guide

We are living in a technologically advanced world that has offered us incredibly useful devices to play with. Among the equipment that makes life easier, vibrant, and convenient is the modest electric smoker.

You may be wondering why you need one. Well, we’re going to tell you that there are several reasons why it’s a good idea to have one at your disposal.

One of the best reasons is the fact that the best electric smoker is capable of delivering smoky and tender food without requiring a lot of time and effort on your part.

Yes, that’s right; you can finally make your own smoked beef short ribs! Best of all, you can prep and enjoy it from the very comforts of your home!

We can create a long list of the advantages of using a digital electric smoker but that’s not what this article is about. As you’re reading this guide, we are certain you already have your reason as to why you’re going to purchase this godsend of kitchen equipment.

What you will find listed below are the best electric smokers in 2019. Before we take a closer look at the exciting products currently available for purchase on Amazon, you should know that making a selection isn’t as simple as it may seem.

Different electric smokers come with various features. Read on as we give you tips on how you can choose the best one for your needs!

There’s a long list of features that make an electric smoker the best or at least stand out from the competition.

We’re going to tackle these features below but we’ll help you understand how the different kinds of electric smokers differ from each other first, so you can make sense of the model that you prefer. Let’s start!

Front-Loading Smokers

A front-loading model is the new and popular kind of electric smoker. It offers quick and easy access to the smoker as you simply need to open its door like your standard refrigerator.

Most front-loading smokers, especially the higher-end ones, come with viewing windows. Their doors may also be made of all-glass. More often than not, thermostats are added, as well as wood chips and water pans.

Still, you should check a model’s door design as not all electric smokers have sensible door handles. There are those that need to be pulled downwards or sideward after you throw latches that attach the doors to the equipment.

Additionally, you should be aware that how tight the door and the body of an electric smoker are held together will affect your machine’s cooking speed and temperature regulation.

Top-Loading Smoker

Vertical water smokers or top-loading smokers are suspended over pans of water that sit over heating elements. Their design enables water to hold or maintain temperature for an extended period of time.

Water captures smoke. This means the more moisture your meat has, the more ingrained the smoke will be.

Such kind of smoker is known to work extremely well in warm weather. The only problem is when it is operated during cold months as water will struggle in holding a steady temperature.

If you want this type of electric smoker, it pays to consider the climate in your local area or the specific time of year you’ll be cooking.

An Electric Smoker’s Temperature Safety Zone

The USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service recommends users of electric smokers to maintain temperatures between 225 °F and 300 °F all throughout the cooking process. This is the reason why an electric smoker is unsuitable for cooking food that is not fully thawed. Meat is done whenever internal temperatures reach:

As mentioned earlier, the best electric smokers come with their own temperature probes. There are even those with wireless thermostats that enable you to monitor your smoker’s temperature on your mobile phone or tablet.

They’re great features as they let you ensure everything is going smoothly and the ‘doneness’ you want for your cooks is achieved.

Depending on your electric smoker’s construction, it is important to take note that the following may impact your equipment’s temperature stability:

Features of Electric Smokers that Matter

Here are the features that you need to keep an eye out for while shopping for the electric smoker:

Construction Material

The materials that are used in a smoker’s construction will dictate how well the equipment can hold the optimal temperature as well as its overall durability. The materials that manufacturers commonly use are the following:

As for the racks, they’re mostly made of:

The electrical cord of a digital electric smoker can be 3-12 ft long, so you have to take into account how near or far the nearest electrical outlet is to where you plan on placing your new kitchen toy.

Of course, you have the option of using outdoor extensions cords, but make sure that they have sufficient amperage.

Door/Seal

As you are on the lookout for an electric smoker online, it is likely that you will purchase it on Amazon. Because you won’t be able to inspect the equipment until it arrives on your doorstep, we suggest you read customer reports on the following:

The best electric smoker Amazon can have a door that’s made of either solid metal or glass. The door may also have a window or thermostat set in.

Warranty

Depending on the number of issues you will experience with an electric smoker, its warranty may or may not matter. Rheostats, automated feeders for wood chips – the more complicated your digital electric smoker’s parts are, the more you’ll experience problems regarding its usage and/or performance.

That being said, you need at least the standard warranty of an entire year to protect your investment if you have one of the best electric smokers.

Portability

If you will be able to dedicate a specific spot for your electric smoker in your patio or yard, then portability won’t be a concern. If not, you would want the equipment that is more mobile, especially if your local climate requires you to move it for storage.

In such a case, you need sturdy handles that will let you pick the smoker up. An even better option is a set of wheels that will offer maneuverability without heavy lifting.

Performance

The performance of the best electric smokers 2019 relies on several different aspects, but the key is power.

Their power determines the amount of time your equipment takes to get to a certain temperature, the amount of food that it can handle at one time, as well as how long it can sustain a specific temperature. The wattage of smokers can be 500 to 1400 watts.

Longevity

How long a machine can last is definitely a sensible consideration, most especially when you’ll be spending hundreds or even thousands of your hard-earned money.

Best electric smoker consumer reports are great resources as they will give you an inkling of a smoker’s lifespan. Apart from its longevity, you will also get a good grasp of how your local climate will impact the amount of use you can get out of the smoker.

It is critical because if you’re thinking of getting an electric smoker that is constructed from light metal, that may be perfectly fine but don’t expect your kitchen toy to last you several years if you experience high humidity constantly.

Consider as well the parts that are likely to break down. You’ll find that the simpler the electric smoker is, the better your experience of it and the longer it will last your family.

Height

For most people, the height of a smoker does not matter at all but if you will be playing with the smoker a lot, you wouldn’t want to be doing a lot of crouching or stooping just to check your meats.

An electric smoker’s height will prove to be crucial as well if you experience a limited range of movement.

For an extra cost, some of the electric smokers under 300 come with stands or legs to raise them for at least a foot from the ground.

How easy or hard it is to clean your new equipment is critical as its cleanup can impact the smoker‘s longevity. It will also affect the amount of enjoyment you get out of it.

The components of a smoker can rust if they’re not cleaned after every use. This means if your smoker asks too much of your time for its scraping, scrubbing, and wiping, then you won’t get as much fun and use from it.

How do I choose an electric smoker?

If you have the right electric smoker, you can prepare the perfect piece of smoked meat. Imagine smoking your own sausage or a couple of cornish hens for a family dinner.

It’s all about the equipment.

Here’s what to look for when buying an electric smoker:

Cooking Capacity

Consider the size of the smoker. The product description usually states how much of one food you can cook at once. For example, some smokers will say you can smoke 2 whole chickens at once.

The size you need depends on how many people you want to feed.

If you cook for a small family, buy a small smoker. For occasional family events or guests, choose a medium-sized one. Finally, if you cook for large groups on a regular basis, invest in a commercial-grade electric smoker.

How Much Space it Requires

A smoker can be large or small, but it depends on how much storage space you have in your home. Never choose a large device that takes up all the kitchen space or outdoor patio area. Besides, a small smoker can do the job just fine and there’s no need to buy bulky equipment.

Features

Looks for special features like temperature control, sturdy materials, and a see-through door.

If you want to see the meat smoking and you are a beginner, choose a smoker with a window on the door. This way you can see the food smoking and you aren’t tempted to open the door to check how well the food is smoking.

Controller

You can buy an analog smoker which shows you the temperature on a gauge. The disadvantage to this is that it’s hard to control.

An electric smoker is much easier to control. You can set the temperature and time and let the device do the smoking. The smoker maintains heat at a constant temperature during the cooking process.

Best electric smokers reviewed

Best digital indoor electric smoker: Masterbuilt front controller Bluetooth

What do you do about the autumn and winter seasons?

You certainly can’t smoke food outdoors due to the dropping temperatures. So you no choice but to do it indoors.

The best smoker grill for the job is the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker or any other electric smoker as long as it doesn’t use gas, charcoal, or wood for fuel.

Masterbuilt RF digital electric indoor smoker

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Using highly combustible fuel in indoor grilling is unsafe that’s why we opted for the electric grill. You’ll enjoy the vertically arranged designs of the 30 and 40-inch electric smokers from Masterbuilt.

These grills are the best space-saving grills around. This is the best smoker for you if you’re renting a small flat or a condo.

You can smoke up to 3 or 4 different foods at a time with the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker which means that you’ll also save half the time to cook your meals! Meals you can cook with the electric smoker include:

Electric smokers can only cook easy-to-cook meals. So, you don’t shove the whole turkey in there for Thanksgiving or chunks of meat that are larger than 5 square inches.

It is not designed for those kinds of food and either your electric smoker will break down or your food won’t cook thoroughly. So only cook foods that are mentioned above and only cook them in small sizes.

The size of the grill rack in the Masterbuilt should tell you the maximum volume of content that can fit inside this vertically stacked grill, and it’s a lot!

Smoker features

Check out the latest prices and availability here

Masterbuilt MB20074719 vs Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Deluxe

Best electric smoker for brisket & best with remote control- Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Deluxe

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This electric smoker is a product of Char-broil. They are a very well-known company in the smoking and barbecuing industry.

This should give you more confidence when purchasing the product. Buying from an unknown company that imports re-branded generic products from China may lead to a terrible experience mainly because of the customer support that’s horrific.

Another thing that is going for the Char-broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker is that it’s very easy to operate. It’s one of the easiest electric smokers to assemble.

It’s also relatively effortless to move around. If you are new to smoking, then the Char-broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker is an excellent choice to test the waters.

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The Char-broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker also incorporates a built-in meat temperature probe. This should help you get better results as it takes a lot of guesswork from the equation.

Another feature that is worth mentioning is the real estate. To be more specific, the Char-broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker offers a 725 square inches of cooking space.

This is surprising as this electric smoker comes with a compact build. This also means it’s easier to fit into limited spaces like rooftop terraces, balconies, and patios.

The Char-broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker features a double-wall insulation construction. It’s excellent at trapping smoke and heat.

This also means it’s an efficient smoker as energy is conserved and put to use as much as possible. Also, this electric smoker features a locking latch made from stainless steel.

This mechanism helps in locking down the door to ensure that heat and smoke do not escape.

The Char-broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker features a front glass door and sports a two-tone finish. The design looks expensive, and it’s far from boring.

One thing that you might not like about the Char-broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker is it’s meant for slow cooking. This is because it can only reach the maximum heat of 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

For fast and hot cooking, you will typically need temperatures of 290 to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Hence, if that’s what you are looking for, the Char-broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker may not be the one for you.

Brisket lovers behold the digital electric smoker from Char-Broil. It’s the best option for smoking large cuts of beef.

With four racks and 725 square inches of cooking space, you’ve got enough room to smoke as much brisket as you can eat.

Additionally, all the racks are adjustable, so you can set up the smoker any way you want, depending on what foods you’re cooking.

This vertical electric smoker is full of smart features and comes with a remote control so that you can go about your day while the unit prepares mouthwatering smoked foods.

You no longer have to go up to the smoker to check the display and see the temperature. All you have to do is adjust it via remote control for perfectly cooked meat every time.

What makes this a great smoker is that it has a glass door. Most Masterbuilt electrical units don’t have glass doors, but this one is fun to use because you can see the food browning.

See this smoker being unboxed here:

A major advantage with this smoker is that the trays and pans are all dishwasher-friendly which seriously reduces cleanup time. Also, it’s easy to load the wood chips because the tray is built into the side of the unit.

I want to mention that the remote control has a limited range, so you will still need to stay pretty close to the smoker.

If you want a little bit more ‘excitement’ or features from your electric smoker, then the Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker is the product you need.

While it has the same size cooking area (30 inches) as the Masterbuilt above, it comes with several additional features.

One of the most notable features is the double-wall – which helps improve insulation.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the glass on the front. The manufacturers say that it’s meant to help you see your item without opening the door, but truthfully, you can’t see much due to the smoke.

Best electric smoker for the features- Char-Broil 17202004 Deluxe in use

The product does include a nifty remote control that allows you to monitor and manage the entire smoking process from a distance.

A temperature probe also lets you check the temperature inside the product that you’re smoking. I think this model is super stylish. I love its rounded corners and stainless steel, dual-tone finish.

Pros

Cons

Smoker features

Check the char-broil price here

Best electric smoker for beginners: Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital

Best overall & best electric smoker for beginners- Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital

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Whether you are a newbie to smoking or switching to electric, you need an electric smoker that’s easy to use, not too large, and comes with digital controls.

The Masterbuilt 30 inch is a vertical smoker that’s powered by a powerful heating element, and it’s a great option for beginners. This smoker comes with everything you need: a water pan, drip tray, wood chip tray, and four chrome-plated racks.

In terms of design, it’s very stylish, made of steel, comes in black, and looks like a mini-fridge, so it adds a nice touch to any backyard patio.

It has a low profile, so you’re going to need to get a stand for it too.

The smoker is very budget-friendly but has the quality you’d expect from Masterbuilt – they’re the masters of electric smokers, after all!

I’d say this smoker is the perfect mid-sized unit for the up-and-coming pitmaster. Four racks is enough to get you smoking ribs, pork butts, turkey, or six whole chickens at once.

Check out this video on how to smoke country-style pork ribs in this smoker:

I also appreciate that the smoker is well insulated so that you can use it all year.

But what really recommends this unit as the perfect beginner-friendly model is its top-mounted digital control panel. Therefore, you can see the temperature clearly without having to open the smoker.

As well, the integrated thermostat is of pretty good quality, and you can use it for reference. The wood chips are loaded at the side, so there is no hassle adding them.

Overall, this smoker is just easy to use!

This small, simple smoker is the perfect choice for anyone who is beginning their ‘smoking journey’! It’s compact, really easy to use, and comes at a very affordable price.

And if you’re looking for inspiration, there are loads of video clips on the internet by fans of the product who share their tips and tricks for using this smoker to do some spectacular, delicious meals.

Check out Smoke Trails BBQ making the perfect Texan style smoked brisket in the Masterbuilt:

It comes with a digital panel that allows for a range of temperatures from 100 to 275 degrees F.

Once you select a temperature and hit ‘start’, you’re done! You don’t have to worry about anything else as the built-in thermostat will take over from you and ensure your items are smoked to perfection.

I picked the 30-inch size as it is cheaper, smaller and I find it better for beginners. If at any moment you decide that smoking is something for you, you can replace this model with the much bigger 40-inch.

In practice, I have to admit that the smoker’s insulation is very good which makes the temperature stable.

On top of that, I like the ability to buy a cold smoking attachment which will make it easy to produce smoke at lower temperatures.

Electric smokers are not among the most durable ones but when it comes to Masterbuilt models, the quality for this kind of money is completely satisfying.

You don’t need many gadgets and a weird structure for smoking, as these only inflate the price, if you have a limited budget or you simply want to buy a great electric smoker for as low as possible, then this is a perfect choice.

Pros

Cons

Smoker features

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Most durable analog indoor electric smoker: Smoke Hollow 30 inch

Most durable analog indoor electric smoker: Smoke Hollow 30 inch

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We all want or even dream about having the greatest and latest electric smoker Amazon with all the tempting bells and whistles; however, our bank accounts just won’t cooperate!

Fortunately, Smoke Hollow’s 26-inch Electric Smoker understands our struggles. It is one of the most basic electric smokers around, so you can rely on it to fit your set budget. Yes, it is not a high-tech smoker that you can brag about, but it does not fail in producing quality-tasting food.

Best of all, it does so at an incredibly affordable price!

What we love about this unit is it offers you several temperature levels, so you can smoke on high heat and prepare your meats quickly. You can also smoke food at low heat and slowly for days. With this electric smoker, you also get ample space for cooking for an entire family.

It also comes with the basic features that are needed with such kind of kitchen equipment like 2 cooking grids, a wood chip tray, a drip pan, insulated walls, and a temperature gauge.

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As for the latch of the smoker’s door, it is attached to the unit’s body using a magnetic latching system that secures the entire unit automatically.

This makes the smoker like a fridge with its tight seal. It is effective at keeping in heat and smoke within the smoker to give it a consistent environment suitable for cooking.

It comes with two handles as well that are added to both sides of the smoker. The handles will let you transport the unit easily. Although this 26-inches does not come with wheels, it can still be considered as mobile.

Smoker features

Check the latest prices and availability here

Best cheap analog indoor electric smoker: Char-broil Analog

This analog smoker is well insulated and has a double-wall construction. It also has a removable food thermometer and a heavy-duty door for great durability.

Best analog indoor electric smoker

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Moreover, it has a large stainless steel locking fastener for a smoke-tight seal.

Since using charcoal smokers is a time-consuming procedure and requires a lot of attention. This electric smoker makes grilling easy with 1000 square inches of internal cooking space.

It contains four adjustable smoking racks and provides the capacity to prepare and grill various kinds of food and in large quantities as well.

It has no hassle and is easy to use. All that is needed to do is waiting for your savory meal to be ready with a great smoked meat flavor.

It has a double insulated built-in wall that locks in the heat and steam and keeps the surroundings smoke-free and its advanced control panel monitors and adjusts the temperature of the grill itself.

Other than this, some additional features include a large capacity Smokebox, a Removable temperature gauge, a Warming feature that keeps the food inside the smoker warm, and an 8.5-Cup High-capacity grease tray that makes grease cleaning easy.

The char-broil smoker works exceptionally well for large amounts of food because of its large space. It can prepare food for a group of 10 or more people easily.

The fire access doors, air dampers, and smoking racks give the user sufficient control over the smoker.

Smoker features

Check it out here on Amazon

Best small electric smoker: Landmann USA 32948 Smoky Mountain

Best small electric smoker- Landmann USA 32948 Smoky Mountain

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A 26-inch electric smoker is the perfect small-sized smoker for everyday use. If you don’t smoke food regularly, you likely don’t need a big smoker that takes up half of the patio space.

This one is small and compact but still offers enough cooking space. It has three racks and a really unique 3-in-1 tray that hold the water pan, wood chip tray, and grease tray in one place.

The smoker is portable and easy to carry from place to place as it has iron-wrought handles and adjustable feet. It is also lightweight (30 pounds), sturdy, durable, and will last you for years.

To get an idea of its practical size, have a look at this video from Landmann:

When it comes to cooking, it’s easy to do with this one because it has vents at the rear, which lets you release the air if the temperature gets too hot.

This smoker lacks the “smart” features of many other similar products. Therefore, if you struggle with managing the temperature and need remote control or Bluetooth, this might be hard to use.

However, this is a basic smoker, and it costs less than $200, so it’s perfect for occasional smoking.

If brisket is your favorite, you don’t need anything fancier than this electric smoker. It infuses the food with that tasty wood smoke, and it’s an overall great small unit.

Smoker features

Check prices and availability here

Also read: At What Temperature do Wood Chips Smoke? Guide to Getting it Right

Best electric pellet smoker: Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade

Best electric pellet smoker- Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade

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The pellet smoker is the best compromise between a fully electric model and a charcoal unit which can be hard to use. This budget-friendly pellet smoker is versatile and suitable for all kinds of cooking needs, not just smoking.

You can grill, braise, roast, bake, and even rotisserie. But you don’t have to struggle to start the grill because it has an electrical plug, so you start it, and the pellet combustion method creates heat.

There is plenty of cooking space (19.2×26 inches), so you can even smoke big briskets and rib racks or whole chickens. How about a classic pellet smoker beer can chicken?

You can even cook whole large turkeys, so it’s a useful smoker to have.

Check out this video with a review and a nice sweet potato recipe:

The temperature is quite easy to control because the unit has digital temperature controls. Z Grills is the type of grill and smoker with automated temperature control and optimal heat distribution.

Unlike fully electric smokers, you will still need to monitor the grill and the temperature frequently. However, you get a wider temperature range between 180 to 450 degrees, which is more than most electric smokers.

Smoker features

Check the latest prices here

Best small indoor kettle smoker: Nordic Ware

Nordic Ware Kettle is an electrical smoker available on Amazon via various sellers. The model is specifically designed for easy indoor cooking.

It is easy to handle and measures 6-7/8 by 13 by 13-1/2 inches and weighs 8.16 pounds while the total shipping weight is 9.3 pounds.

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It has a cover with a high dome which allows for maximum food capacity. It grills the food easily and the best part is that it can be used indoors as well for times it is freezing outside.

However, it is not recommended to use this smoker at a very high temperature. A temperature range of 190-210 Fahrenheit is ideal for this to turn the raw food into something delicious.

The smoker is originally made in the USA whereas the thermometer used in it is imported from China and the handle is from Taiwan.

This smoker is specially designed to promote culinary creativity for every season and both outdoor and indoor use.

It provides the users with an all-rounder experience and taste when grilled either indoors or outdoors.

Why is this grill special?

This cooker is the only full line of indoor and outdoor grill cookware. It can be used to grill meat, steaks, barbecue, vegetables, or even seafood while it infuses the food with rich and smoky flavor and promotes the overall ambiance of the food.

The device consists of various parts including a high-dome cover, the base pan, water pan, nonstick smoking rack, thermometer, and wooden chips. It is user-friendly, easy to use, and easy to clean.

And because it comes with a thermometer, it is easy to monitor the internal temperature of the smoker as well.

The height of the lid makes it easy to add a steamer rack which is ideal to grill foods like chicken legs, thighs, wings, and vegetables, etc. It also comes with two packs of wood chips in it with apple and oak flavors.

The wood chips can be crushed to a powder that is perfect to use with this smoker. It also comes with a recipe booklet that you can use to cook any dish of your choice.

The smoker gives the food a smoky flavor and the surrounding air a very subtle smoky ambiance but doesn’t smoke up the room.

On a wider note, it is a brilliantly designed smoker which facilitates easy grilling and is worth its cost. To use it ideally, scatter the wood chips or the wood chips powder on the base of the kettle evenly.

Line the water pan with a foil sheet or any heat-tolerant sheet and put it in and put the rack on the top. Use the holes around the edge of the rack to put in a knife when the rack needs lifting.

Smoker features

Check it out here on Amazon

Best Pressure Smoker: Emson 8303 Electric Smoker

Best Pressure Smoker: Emson 8303 Electric Smoker

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This innovative product is a combination of a pressure cooker and a smoker. It is lightweight, easy to use, and compact.

You can cook up to 4lb. of food at once, enough to feed a small family.

It is designed for indoor use, thus it’s safe and smoke-free. This innovative smoker reduces cooking time by up to 50%, which means you are using less electricity and cooking faster.

As well, it reduces the calories of smoked foods.

All in all, this is an excellent small-sized smoker for your apartment.

Smoker features

Check it out here on Amazon

Best electric smoker for restaurants: Smokin-It Model #1

Best electric smoker for restaurants: Smokin-It Model #1

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It would not be a top 10 list of the best electric smokers without the Model #1 Digital Electric Smoker of Smokin-It. It is quite a small model, smaller than most Smokin’-It digital smokers.

Despite its size, it is known for its thoughtful design, high-end construction, as well as features that are uncommon for electric smokers like its compression-fit door latching system, sturdy side handles, a 12-ft power cord, and heavy-duty casters.

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This unit does not require you to go through a complex process for its assembly. All you have to do is install its interior parts and casters, and you can instantly start using it!

The fact that Smokin’-It added hickory blocks to the package shows their initiative, which definitely added points from us.

Model #1 is made entirely out of premium, heavy-gauge stainless steel. As mentioned earlier, its internal capacity, is 468 square inches, which can be too small for some, but trust us when we say you will still be able to have enough space for the smoking of multiple chickens or a turkey that’s in size.

Smokin-it model #1 vs #2

The brother of Smokin’-It’s Model #1, Model #2 is bigger and better! It is capable of holding 36 pounds of meat and vegetables, and it runs on Smokin’- Its new 800W heating element.

But, just like its younger brother, the Model #2 makes use of the same quality 16-gauge stainless steel for its construction.

Model #2 Electric Smoker is certified for commercial use. It has the power cord that we love as well, which is 12 ft long. If you are a serious meat-smoker, then we are certain you will love this unit.

As mentioned above, it is restaurant-grade from its solid build which is like a wrecking ball. If ever the heating element gets damaged after years of use, replacing it is possible and easy as you simply need to clip in the replacement.

We know you’re dying to know why we’re considering this as the third best electric smoker! Apart from being solid and big, you can’t really find anything to fault in the unit. Its results are amazingly well. It is of high quality and it is reliable. What’s more, it is under $500!

The entire unit measures 24 x 30 x 22 in and it weighs a total of 114 lbs.

Why you should buy the Model #1

Unlike most smokers that we are used to, this unit does not require a water tray for its operation. It’s able to pull this off because of its 90% airtight cabinet that diminishes the natural moisture of meats from evaporating. Of course, we were skeptical. But, the pork butt and chicken we smoked were juicy!

My next suggestion might get you seriously surprised, as it only takes third place on my list due to its high price. In terms of quality, durability, insulation, and mobility, however, it undoubtedly takes the first place.

It doesn’t come with unnecessary electronics, a digital controller, remote control, and many other gadgets. The manufacturer focused on very high quality which makes it a solidly built and durable electric smoker.

See how it works to smoke two whole chickens in one of these:

In terms of durability, there’s no point comparing it to my other suggestions, it’s a whole different level but remember that to a large degree it is also impacted by the price, which is also much higher.

A simple yet solid controller plus only the essential elements are the keys to a significantly lower risk of malfunctions.

In practice, based on multiple reviews, it is not only a very solidly built smoker but also one very unlikely to malfunction.

Smokin-It Model #1 was made entirely of high-quality steel, even elements as minor as the wheels were solidly made which makes it one of the few mobile electric smokers at this size.

I also need to mention the great insulation in this smoker, the structure and the glass fiber gaskets work great. It is one of the few smokers that can boast such a stable temperature and the ability to smoke in poorer weather conditions.

It doesn’t have too much space, but it stands out with the high quality of workmanship and mobility.

Pros

Cons

Smoker features

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Best 6-rack digital smoker: Bradley BTDS108P

Best 6-rack digital smoker: Bradley BTDS108P

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The Bradley Digital 6-Rack Smoker is one of the most eye-catching electric smokers out there. This is because it features a design that isn’t the “norm.” Specifically, this article is talking about the attached smoking box.

The smoking box is where you place your wood chips, and it’s filed like an ammo magazine style. Since the smoking box is attached to the main smoker, there’s no need to disturb your cooking to replace the wood chips.

Also, since the smoking box will automatically consume a wood chip if it detects that it’s running out, it offers great convenience. You can simply load your wood chips, walk away and let the electric smoker do everything.

The Bradley Digital 6-Rack Smoker is also a very modern electric smoker. The settings, which are in the smokebox, are operated through a touchscreen. The display is very bright so you can operate it in sunny or dark conditions.

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Operating the Bradley Digital 6-Rack Smoker is also effortless. In most cases, you will just need to set the heat level and period. Once the timer is up, the smoker will automatically shut off. Hence, burning your food is something that shouldn’t normally happen.

Another modern feature of the Bradley Digital 6-Rack Smoker is Bluetooth connectivity. This means it can connect to your tab, desktop, laptop or smartphone.

If you want to make use of this feature, you will have to download the dedicated Bradley app. With it, you can control the settings. Also, the app can notify you if the Bradley Digital 6-Rack Smoker is done with the cooking.

Keep in mind that Bradley Digital 6-Rack Smoker makes use of two heating elements. One is for the cooking of the food. The other one is dedicated to heating the wood chip and producing smoke.

For the downsides, the Bradley Digital 6-Rack Smoker doesn’t have wheels, so it’s not very portable compared to other electric smokers. It’s advertised as an outdoor smoker, but keep in mind that it can’t stay upright against strong winds.

Smoker features

Check the latest prices here

Best large-size smoker: AmeriQue Electric Smoker SM066 by Cookshack

Cookshack AmeriQue

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We’re now getting closer to the best electric smoker, but let’s first talk about the alternative of the 1st placer, which is the AmeriQue Electric Smoker of Cookshack.

The reason why it bags 2nd place on our list of the best electric smokers is that of its spacious cooking area of 1,008 square inches! Yes, that’s right.

It has a large smoking capacity that’s up to 50 lbs. Its multiple shelves are all nickel-plated and it has a drip pan that’s made of stainless steel for a quick and easy cleanup.

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Being an outstanding piece of kitchen equipment, it is on the higher end range which is also supported by its superior quality construction.

It’s a kitchen toy that will not fail to offer the easiest and most convenient smoking of food that’s enough for an entire weekend party.

As it’s user-friendly, it has garnered a huge following. The large racks of this incredible smoker can hold several Boston butts, entire racks of ribs, and whole briskets. They can be smoked overnight and result to tender, juicy, and delicious meats.

Smoker features

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Cost of smoking per hour

I’ve calculated how much it costs you to run the smoker per hour. It all depends on the heating element, how powerful it is, and how much electricity it consumes, and the electricity rates in your area.

So, if you’re curious to know how much it will add to your utility bill, check out this chart for reference. The costs are all estimates.

Smoker Initial cost Cost of smoking per hour
Best digital indoor electric smoker: Masterbuilt front controller Bluetooth $400  $0.06/Hr
Best electric smoker for beginners: Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital $200 $0.04/Hr
Most durable analog indoor electric smoker: Smoke Hollow 30 inch $420 $0.07/Hr
Best cheap analog indoor electric smoker: Char-broil Analog $200 $0.05/Hr
Best small electric smoker:Landmann USA 32948 Smoky Mountain $130 $0.7/Hr
Best electric pellet smoker: Z GRILLS ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade $750 $0.7/Hr
Best small indoor kettle smoker: Nordic Ware $216 $0.2 – 0.5/Hr
Best Pressure Smoker: Emson 8303 Electric Smoker $125 $0.2 – 0.5/Hr
Best electric smoker for restaurants: Smokin-It Model #1 $379 $0.2/Hr
Best 6-rack digital smoker: Bradley BTDS108P $680 $0.3/Hr
Best large-size smoker: AmeriQue Electric Smoker SM066 by Cookshack $2100 $0.5/Hr

FAQ electric smokers

Are electric smokers faster than pellet/coal smokers?

Electric smokers are very convenient when it comes to their temperature and their speed. They are “set and forget” products.

You turn them on, identify the correct temperature, and then let the smoker do all the hard work. You don’t need to worry about a thing.

When it comes to pellet smokers there’s a lot more manual work involved. You constantly have to check the temperature and adjust it. This takes more time and is less accurate than an electric smoker.

Can I use an electric smoker for cold smoking?

Yes! They are one of the best kinds of smokers to use for cold smoking as you can set them to smoke ‘low and slow’ for a long period of time.

Get the perfect cheese, fish, and veggies by purchasing a cold smoking kit. You won’t regret it!

Learn here How to Cold Smoke Bacon at Home

Do electric smokers create flames?

Some neighborhoods have banned smokers and charcoal grills due to fire risks. An electric smoker doesn’t create any kind of flame. The heat comes from an element.

This means they are the perfect option for neighborhoods where traditional grills are banned.

Do electric smokers break easily?

An electric smoker, as the name suggests, contains many elements in its structure that rely on electricity. They include the temperature controlling system or the heating element as well as other features.

Their unquestionable advantage is usefulness, but the greatest downside is sadly being prone to malfunctions and pretty expensive repairs in many situations.

What type of smoker infuses the best flavor into food?

While there are many types of smokers out there, the electric smoker doesn’t infuse the strongest flavor into your food items. A charcoal smoker is definitely better at this.

However, this doesn’t mean that your meal is tasteless. Electric smokers just create a more gentle, subtle smokey flavor as opposed to the charcoal or pellet kind.

Is your mouth watering yet?

I can just taste those pork ribs, smoked chicken sandwiches, and smokey sausages! Now that you have a good overview of what to look out for when purchasing your new electric smoker, it’s time to start cooking!

To start with, try these Top 10 BBQ Smoker Recipes Out There | From ribs to veggies

Do electric smokers produce carbon monoxide?

An electric smoker produces only trace amounts of carbon monoxide. Generally, this is not dangerous but be careful. Commonly, an electric smoker produces a lot less carbon monoxide than a regular outdoor smoker.

Be careful if you use your smoker in a tight space, open a window, and let air in. The device you buy must be specifically made for indoor use so that it doesn’t emit carbon monoxide.

You may also want to read Fish Tacos for My New Brinkmann Grill

Why you need an electric smoker

Spring and summer span 6 months of each calendar year. These are the favorite months of smokers and barbecue grill enthusiasts to smoke food outdoors.

The summer heat and the least amount of rainfall during these months make smoking food a challenge.

The best time to smoke outdoor is the late afternoon or evening. But, you can smoke indoors at any time.

Whether it’s in your own backyard, or out camping on parks, or maybe you prefer a more scenic place like near the cliffs of The Grand Canyon. Grilling your favorite recipes is best done during the summer and spring seasons.

Why are indoor smokers useful?

The main reason why you need an indoor smoker is due to size. A traditional smoker requires lots of space outdoors and then additional storage space on the patio or in the garage.

An indoor smoker uses fewer utilities and wood thus it saves you money. And finally, there is less smoke and smell.

Are electric smokers allowed in apartments?

Yes, electric smokers can be used indoors and in apartments and condos. Unlike charcoal, gas, or wood-fired grills, electric smokers don’t use a highly combustible fuel source; therefore, they are safe for indoor use.

However, keep in mind that an electric smoker will still smoke up the apartment, and if your neighbors are sensitive, you might get complaints.

Just to be safe, check the apartment rules and regulations regarding grilling and smoking.

Can I use electric smokers indoors?

Yes, some models are suitable for apartment use and general indoor use. Commercial smokers are used in restaurants to smoke meat and other foods. Wet wood chips are heated, and they smoke your food, infusing it with yummy flavors.

These indoor smokers are quite good. They come with their own set of advantages. First, an indoor electric smoker is smaller than the outdoor one. This means it requires a lot less wood to smoke food, which saves you money on wood chips.

Next, they run on electricity but use less than larger smokers. It’s great if you want to reduce utility bills.

Can you use an electric smoker in the garage?

It’s not very safe to use your electric smoker in the garage if it’s an outdoor smoker. The reason is that these smokers cause smoke damage to the garage.

Plus, they will make your whole garage smell like smoke, and that’s not good if you store other objects there.

Strong ventilation is a must-have in the garage, but I recommend avoiding smoking there. Carbon monoxide poisoning is still a danger when you smoke in the garage, so avoid it and stay safe.

Will an electric smoker work in cold weather?

Yes, you can use an electric smoker in cold weather. However, there are certain challenges you’ll face and need to prepare for.

But don’t let cold weather discourage you. When the temperatures drop, the exterior of your electric smoker cools down and as a result, the temperature in your smoker’s chamber will drop too.

This is an even bigger challenge when the wind blows hard.

Snow, rain, wind, and cold weather all have a negative effect on your electric smoker. So, you’ll notice that the temperature in the smoker keeps dropping.

Therefore, the challenge is maintaining the right and even temperature throughout the smoking process.

It’s going to take longer for your smoker to reach the desired temperature. Then, when it’s cold, you need to add extra cooking time.

When the temperature outside is below 45 F, you must smoke for an extra twenty minutes per pound of meat.

Can you use an electric smoker in the rain?

You’re likely wondering if you can use your smoker when it rains and if it’s safe to do so.

The problem with smoking in the rain is that you need to open the top vent as you smoke. But if it rains, the water will trickle down all the way to the food, and that’s not a good thing.

This scenario is unlikely to unfold because most electric smokers are made for outdoor smoking, and the weather is unpredictable. The smoker should withstand inclement weather like rain.

The good news is that you can still smoke when it rains. However, you might encounter some hurdles.

First, the smoker might get rusty.

Second, your grease catcher can become full of water, so you’ll have to keep emptying it during the smoking process.

Then, the third biggest issue is the water in the top vent I mentioned earlier. A simple fix is a piece of aluminum foil loosely covering the vent like a mini tent.

The final and last potentially dangerous aspect of smoking in the rain is your electrical outlet. Make sure to use a grounded GFCI outlet.

Then always put something under the electrical cords so that they are not sitting on the wet ground. If you can cover them, do that also.

For your own safety, never stand in water while you touch the smoker.

Can you use an electric smoker overnight?

Sure, it is possible to smoke all night; however, it’s not quite safe. Even when you smoke meat for a long time overnight, it still needs to be monitored.

Make sure to set the alarm and check on the smoker every couple of hours. Also make sure there is enough water in the pan and top up the wood chips.

The bottom line is that it’s never safe to leave electrical equipment unattended overnight.

Can you use aluminum foil in an electric smoker?

Many recipes call for wrapping meat in aluminum foil. You’re probably wondering if it’s safe to do so in an electric unit.

The answer is that yes, you can use aluminum foil in electric smokers.

The only broader health concern is the potentially toxic elements of the foil seeping into the food.

Are electric smokers healthy?

Generally speaking, electric smokers are safe and healthy to use. In fact, compared to other smokers like charcoal ones, electric smokers are healthier.

They reduce the amount of smoke that leaks out, so you’re not breathing in as many toxic fumes. These electric units also have no flare-ups from open flames.

The food is tasty, and the hot air convection system is not a danger to human health in any way. Electric smokers eliminate the buildup of carcinogenic particles from charcoal. Thus, they are the healthiest smokers out there.

3 Types of Electric Grills: Open Style, Contact Style and vertically stacked

Open Grill Type indoor smoker

All Masterbuilt’s smokers including Masterbuilt Electric Smoker are all closed vertically stacked type, so it definitely does not fall under this category of an indoor electric grill.

If you plan to get an open grill style smoker, then choose one that comes with a lid cover. Most of this type of grill nowadays often comes with a lid cover, so you probably won’t have to give it too much thought.

A lid cover ensures that all of the steam and smoke are contained inside the smoker. You wouldn’t want to set off the fire alarms in your area, now do you?

This is especially important if you are in crowded urban areas like a high-rise apartment or condominium building.

Examples of open grill smokers include the Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler, T-fal GC702 OptiGrill Indoor Electric Grill, and the Delonghi BG24 Perfecto Indoor Grill.

masterbuilt electric smoker

Contact Grill Type

This type of grill has the grill rack as well as the lid cover lined with electrically induced heating rods in order to simulate smoking food – it even leaves char marks on the food!

When you go to home depot, ask for the easily removable grill racks, so that cleaning them will be a breeze.

Brands that offer contact grill type smokers are George Foreman, Krups Universal Grill, Panini Maker, Hamilton Beach MealMaker Express Grill, and Cuisinart Griddler GR-4.

Vertically Stacked Grill Type

The Masterbuilt Electric Smoker and all other grills made by Masterbuilt are vertical grills as I mentioned earlier; however, it isn’t the only manufacturer in the barbecue grill industry that sells vertical grills.

So you can be sure to find an array of designs of this type of smoker at your local Home Depot or on Amazon.

The best thing about this type of grill is that you can smoke several foods on multiple layers of racks simultaneously. Some designs even have meat hooks at the top for an added bonus.

It is also very easy to install anywhere in your condo or apartment. These smokers are very easy to clean which makes it a favorite for indoor smoker enthusiasts in North America.

Known brands that offer vertical smokers are Masterbuilt, of course, Smoke Canyon, Webber, Oklahoma, and Dyna-Glo.

masterbuilt electric smoker

With the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, your indoor grilling experience will be very satisfactory. You can easily smoke a variety of foods and recreate delicious recipes.

You’ll be an expert griller in no time and soon your friends will beg you to cook your amazing recipes for them.

This is especially true during the autumn and winter seasons when people prefer to stay indoors.

Perhaps the only thing you’ll need to worry about is getting a bigger grill. But, this time get one for the outdoors that is fueled by gas, wood, or charcoal.

How do electric smokers work?

An electric smoker is a relatively simple smoking device, and it doesn’t have too many components.

The smoker has a cooking chamber and hot rods, which heat up when plugged into a power outlet. These rods heat the cooking chamber by circulating hot air.

Thus, the basic principle is this: the electric smoker heats food through convection.

The smoker also has grill racks where you can place food, a water pan to keep enough moisture, and a place to put wood chips or chunks for smoke flavor.

The wood burns alongside the heaters, and these are responsible for giving meat that classic smoke flavor.

Main components of an electrical smoker

Before you can become a master at using your electric smoker, it’s important to understand how it’s built and how it works.

Here are the main components:

Heating rods

Each smoker has at least, but usually more metallic heating rods. These are located at the bottom and heat up the space (cooking chamber) and cook the meat.

The heat builds up slowly; thus, the meat cooks slowly. After all, smoking is all about cooking low and slow.

Wood chip tray

Each model is slightly different, but each contains a wood chip tray near the electric heater. You have to place wood chips or small chunks into the tray.

These burn slowly and produce flavorful smoke. Of course, you can only use wood chips that are safe for smoking, such as fruitwoods, and select hardwoods like hickory.

The chips are added to the firebox about a quarter of the way into the smoking process. Usually, you add about a couple of cups to add flavor to the meat.

Water pan

The water pan is usually located under the wood chip tray or under racks if the wood chip tray is on the side.

At the start of smoking, cold water is added to the pan to ensure the temperature in the smoker doesn’t get too hot too quickly. As soon as the water starts to heat up, it releases steam, and that helps the convection cooking process.

Also, the water ensures the food stays a bit tender and moist and doesn’t end up hard and chewy. Humidity is essential for the best-smoked foods.

How to or should you use an electric smoker water pan?

It’s best to use the water pan. This piece of equipment makes temperature control much easier.

When it’s cold outside, you can add some hot water to the pan. It helps the smoker reach a high temperature quicker.

On the other hand, when it’s hot outside, but the smoker temperature is getting too hot, you can add some cold water to the pan. It can help maintain a stable temperature in the cooking chamber.

Learn more: Why put water in a BBQ smoker? Benefits + when NOT to

Grilling racks

The grilling racks are where you put the meat or other foods when you smoke. Most of these racks are made out of non-stick stainless steel.

You place the food straight onto the racks (especially filet cuts of meat). You can also place your cast iron skillets right onto the grilling racks for roasted foods.

Dampers and vents

Without dampers and vents, you can’t control the smoker’s temperature. The temperature settings in an electric smoker are controlled by airflow.

Since oxygen feeds the flames, you need to be able to control how much oxygen goes in.

Dampers at the bottom of the smoker unit open, so they allow air to enter. When more air enters, the oxygen feeds those flames that increase the temperature.

Vents at the top of the smoker can be opened and closed as needed. They allow the heat to escape when the temperature gets too hot.

Some heat also escapes when you open the unit’s front doors when you check on the food.

Accessories for electric smokers

Accessories are the perfect way to customize your electric smoker. They can help you get the most out of your device and make smoking easier, so you should keep an eye out for these accessories.

The 6 best accessories for electric smokers:

  1. An electric smoker cover – this is absolutely essential in order to protect your smoker outside. Without an electric smoker cover, the unit gets damaged and rusty when it gets wet and rained on.
  2. Wireless meat thermometer – without a good external thermometer, it’s hard to know the exact temperature inside the smoker. The built-in thermometers are usually pretty inaccurate. I recommend a wireless thermostat because you can always know the temperature even if you are away from the unit.
  3. Additional racks for smoking all kinds of meat like sausages, jerky, seafood, etc. Because of their shape, you need special racks to hang sausages. That’s why you’ll need to invest in additional racks for your electric smoker.
  4. Electric smoker stand – a stand is what you put the smoker on if you want it to be higher, especially indoors. A stand raises the smoker at least 16 inches so that you have easy access to it and don’t need to squat.
  5. Smoker insulation blankets – it’s a blanket and smoker cover, but it insulates the heat so that it stays inside the smoker and doesn’t escape. You’re supposed to use the insulation blanket in the winter during cold months when it takes longer to smoke. By keeping the heat inside, the blanket helps maintain a constant temperature in the smoker.
  6. Special heatproof gloves – heat-resistant gloves are a must-have because they help you handle and maneuver your smoker safely. With a silicone grip, the gloves don’t get hot and also help against slipping. Therefore, even when you touch hot components in the smoker, you don’t burn your hands. You can thus safely pick up the trays, touch racks, and hot meat.

Also read: these are the 22 essential tools you need to improve any grill smoking experience

Does the size of an electrical smoker matter?

Of course, it does. It really depends on how much you want to smoke and how many people you want to smoke for.

While a small smoker may be all you can fit in your apartment, a bigger smoker is always the best option for pitmasters.

When you smoke, you need to give yourself plenty of cooking space. It all depends on your patio size, too; the smoker can’t take up all the space. But a good smoker must have enough space for a lot of meat.

Consider a vertical smoker. It’s a tall smoker, and it can double or even triple the total cooking area. It’s great for smoking all kinds of foods.

The cooking surface is measured in square inches. On the other hand, a wide smoker has double doors and is better if you want to smoke really big cuts of meats like ham.

A bigger smoker is more advantageous than a smaller one because you can cook more food. Since smoking takes a long time, why not batch cook your favorites?

Electric smokers used & stored outside

Most electric smokers are designed for outdoor use, and it is safe to use them on your patio or garden.

The more important factor to consider is how and where you store the smoker.

You can store the electric smoker outside, but you need to invest in a cover so you can keep it dry. The smoker should not be rained on regularly, or it will rust and get damaged.

For your own safety, keep the smoker and all components, including wires, away from rain or snow.

Once you cover the smoker, it will be fine even if it gets rained on. But the key is to protect it properly with a durable cover. Smoker covers are very cheap (under $20), and they are waterproof!

Check out this one on Amazon

How to use an electric smoker

When you’re cooking with your electric smoker, you’re using a low-heat, slow cook, convection oven. How it works is that the hot air surrounds the meat (or other foods), and it heats up the internal temperature of the food while adding a smoky flavor.

The heat is provided by a hot metallic rod. These devices are easier to use than traditional pellet or offset smokers because you simply set the temperature, and then you can go about your day.

You will need to occasionally add more water and flavored wood chips but only once every few hours.

Here is a step-by-step guide on using an electric smoker:

  1. Turn on the smoker by plugging it into an electrical outlet and turn the ignition on. Use the smoker’s instruction manual to check how to do it best because each smoker model varies.
  2. Fill the water tray with water (hot water in the winter). You can add some herbs if you want extra flavor.
  3. Add wood chips to the wood chip tray or wood chip loader. Close the loader.
  4. Some smokers also have a small tray under the grates where you can store wood chips if you don’t have a separate storage solution. Residue from the wood loader can accumulate there but don’t worry; this only enhances the smoky flavor. Don’t empty this tray; let the wood bits add flavor.
  5. Now it’s time to add the food. Marinated meats, seafood, cheese, and vegetables can now be added straight to the grates or in cast-iron pans. Position the food well, lock the grill and make sure to secure the lock.
  6. Look for the temperature gauge and the timer settings. Depending on your food, you should set the ideal temperature and time to cook.
  7. Once smoking is well underway; you may have to adjust the vents and dampers. The airflow regulates the temperature, so keep an eye on it; even if you are a distance, don’t leave the smoker unattended for too long.
  8. After the food is smoked and finished, clean the smoker to remove residue and grime.

Check out this short video in which a woman demonstrated how to use the Masterbuilt electric smoker in 5 easy steps. It’s short and easy to understand and follow along to:

Can barbecue meats be smoked well in an electric smoker?

Of course, it’s simple to make very smokey and tasty meat in your electric smoker. The secret to making delicious smoked meat recipes is to learn how to set up and use an electric smoker properly.

Once you get the hang of it, you won’t stop smoking. An electric smoker cooks meat well, helping the meat retain juiciness and tenderness while infusing it with smokiness, often from flavored woods.

There are pitmasters like Meathead Goldwyn who insist that an electric smoker is not as good as traditional charcoal, gas, or pellet smokers.

But he admits that electric smokers can cook very tasty foods, and they are easy to use.

Convenience is important after all, and if the meat is full of flavor, there is no reason not to buy an electric smoker.

What are the pros and cons of electric smokers for cooking?

Pros

Cons

Electric smoker vs. charcoal

Electric smokers are different because their heat source is electricity.

An electric smoker has a heated rod near the bottom of the unit. The hot air circulates and combines with the smoke to cook and infuse the food with a smoky flavor.

Once you set the timer and temperature, you can basically let it do the work.

The charcoal smoker functions on a simple principle – hot charcoals burn and generate heat to cook foods. Wood chunks or chips burn on top of the charcoal and add that smoky flavor.

The disadvantage of charcoal smokers is that they constantly require attention. The temperature fluctuates, so you have to adjust the dampers and vents more often.

A charcoal smoker gives a smokier flavor to the food than an electric unit. Also, it can give the meat that crispy skin that an electric just can’t.

The bottom line is that although charcoal smokers are usually cheaper and more popular, they are more difficult to use.

Read more on Wood pellet vs. charcoal vs. wood chips vs. wood chunks

Electric smoker vs. pellet smoker

Electric and pellet smokers both have to be plugged into an electrical source. While the electrical smoker cooks the food with electricity, the pellet smoker works with combustion.

But the main difference between the two is that pellet smokers use special hardwood pellets that burn and smoke your food. The pellets provide an indirect heat source that cooks the meat.

The advantage of a pellet smoker is that you can cook all kinds of foods, and it’s not just for smoking. Cooking options for these units include baking, grilling, smoking, charring, and roasting. How about pellet smoker bacon?

In terms of flavor, the pellet smoker gives a more intense smoky flavor because the combustion of wood imparts a different flavor from electric units.

The bottom line is that pellet smokers are great because they give food that classic smokiness pitmasters are after. They are still more difficult to use, though, than electric smokers.

Electric smoker vs. propane smoker

An electric smoker is best when you want to control and cook delicate foods like cheese and fish. When you use a propane smoker, you have less control over temperature.

Gas smokers are more versatile, and they can cook at a higher temperature but require constant monitoring while you use them.

Propane smokers have a propane tank that acts as the fuel source. You can add wood chips to the smoker, too, and so you get amazing wood smoke-flavored food.

The gas smoker is most similar to charcoal smokers, and you can get the same kinds of results.

What makes the propane smoker is that you don’t need electricity to run it, but you’ve got to fill up that propane tank regularly.

But, for outdoor smoking, it’s very convenient. Also, these smokers are cheaper than electric smokers.

Electric smoker temperature range

Electrical smokers, like the Masterbuilt, have a temperature range between 100-275 degrees F (37-135 Celsius).

But, there are some electric smokers with a wider temperature range between 100 F all the way to 500 F. That’s the best option if you plan on smoking a variety of meats and other foods.

Before you start to worry that your electrical smoker doesn’t get hot enough, you should know that the ideal temperature for smoking is between 225 to 250 F.

This is just a generalization, and some meats require other temperatures to cook well. Also, take into account cold smoking vs. hot smoking.

What wood chips to use for an electric smoker

The wood chips have different flavors. Fruitwoods like apple are sweet and fruity, for example.

The type of wood chips you use will influence the overall flavor of your smoked food. That’s why choosing the best wood to pair with your food is of utmost importance.

Wood chips are just as important as seasoning. Using the wrong wood can ruin the meat’s flavor.

If you want the meat to have that cant-get-enough aroma, then choose a wood that complements the type of food you’re smoking.

There is no difference between wood chips you use in an electrical smoker compared to offset or other smokers.

Here is a list of the most popular wood chips for electrical smokers:

Best tips for smoking with an electric smoker unit

One of the advantages of electric smokers is that the unit regulates the temperature for you, so less guesswork and supervision are required.

1. Use a temperature probe and don’t rely on the built-in one

Electric smokers have a built-in thermometer called a thermostat. But, in most smokers, these aren’t the best quality and are often inaccurate.

Sure, if you buy a very expensive smoker, the thermostat might be good, but your best bet is to use your own external temperature probe.

Use it and it’s going to show you the actual temperature so you can smoke the perfect meat every time.

2. Always cook at the right temperature

Not all foods cook at the same temperature. I know, it sounds like common sense, but people usually forget to check the ideal cooking and smoking temperature for each cut of meat or food.

For example, you have to cook poultry at a higher temperature of 275 degrees F, while brisket and ribs are smoked at 225 F.

3. Maintain a clean smoker

It may be tiring, but you always have to clean your smoker before using it. If a smoker is not clean, it doesn’t perform optimally, and the flavor of the food won’t be as good.

An electric smoker is so appealing because it burns very clean. Therefore, remove any charred food or buildup from the smoker.

Ashes and grease deposits must be removed to keep the smoker in good shape.

After each smoking session, clean each cooking surface well, especially the grates and pans.

If you want less clean-up, you can always use a drip pan at the bottom of the smoker. This collects grease and drippings, and you can clean it as soon as you’re done or when you clean the unit.

You’re probably wondering how often to clean an electric smoker?

Well, the answer is after each use, as I mentioned above. But every few months, you need to do a deep clean of the smoker.

Then you have to re-season it also to keep it nice and oily. This not only prevents rusting of the metallic components, but it will make the food taste much better.

4. Always give yourself extra time

Smoking involves a lot of planning and time management. Some meat, like ham, can take up to 24 hours to cook. So, on that day, you’ll need to do some supervision day and night!

Here’s the thing. Electrical smokers cook food slower at a far lower temperature than regular charcoal smokers. The meat has to become tender, smoky, and well cooking inside.

For that, you have to prepare for a long cook. Some foods like ribs take several hours to smoke. But if the weather is cooler, it can take an extra hour or two.

So, the best tip is to give yourself enough time and avoid frustration.

5. Experiment with wood flavors

The fun part of smoking is deciding which wood flavor to add to the smoker. The smoke then flavors the food.

Most electric smokers come with a wood-burning option, and you can add flavored wood chips of your choice. Fruitwoods like apple, cherry, and apricot are popular.

But so are hardwoods like hickory, alder, and mesquite. There’s nothing quite like the bacon-y flavor of hickory paired with ham or brisket.

If you’re feeling experimental, you can even blend woods. Apple and hickory are good pairs that complement each other.

Beef works best with hardwoods, while delicate poultry tastes best with apple or cherry.

How to season an electric smoker

Before you use your smoker, you have to season it. Don’t worry; it’s not hard to do.

The role of seasoning is to remove and burn off the residue on the grill racks, chip tray, or the rest of the smoker. You will often find lots of residue on the sides of the smoker, especially all over the stainless steel.

During the manufacturing process, some residues still remain inside the smoker, so you must clean it before you use it for the first time.

Grab a small brush and cover the interior surfaces of the smoker with a light coat of cooking oil. It doesn’t have to be dripping all over the place but make sure to use a generous amount of the cooking racks.

Then, run the smoker for 3 hours at 275 degrees F. If you want to do it like the pros, after 2 hours, add some wood chips to the tray. This creates smoke and primes the smoker with that smokey aroma before you even cook meat for the first time.

What to cook in an electric smoker?

Electric smokers are just as versatile as pellet, charcoal, or gas smokers, and this means you can smoke any food you like.

Here are some great food ideas to smoke in your new electric smoker:

Derrick Riches of The Spruce Eats recommends easy cuts of meat like small pork shoulder roast or picnic roast for beginners.

These cuts are inexpensive and quite forgiving because they pair well with most woods, so you can’t really go wrong with the flavors.

How to smoke pork shoulder in an electric smoker

Smoked pork shoulder is one of the most delicious foods you can make with your smoker. But, for some reason, people always think it’s very hard.

People always ask, “is smoking a pork shoulder easy in an electric smoker?”

Let me clear this up: there is a simple way to do it!

If you want to make pulled pork that you can shred easily and add to your sandwiches, you’re going to have to smoke for approximately 7 to 8 hours, but a large cut of meat can take up to 12 hours.

After all, it all depends on the size of the meat cut. It’s actually one of the easier foods to smoke if you follow the low and slow method, and there’s not much you can mess up.

Here are some basic rules to follow:

Pros and cons of indoor electric smokers

Like all smokers, indoor ones have pros and cons you should consider before investing in one. I highly recommend getting indoor smokers if you have a small business or restaurant and want to serve fresh smoked foods.

Pros

Cons

The bottom line

Smoked foods are delicious – there’s no doubt about that. Luckily, electric smokers make it easy for anyone to make tasty foods.

The food tastes amazing, the flavors are similar to outdoor smoking, and these devices are affordable, and you might even be able to use an electric smoker on your apartment balcony.

Whether you’re a fan of smoked ribs, beef brisket, or you prefer smoked gouda, there is a smoked food recipe for everyone.

The great news is that an electric smoker is pretty easy to use so you don’t need to be a pro to get all the tasty benefits of such a unit.

However, always be careful and ensure you don’t leave electrical devices unattended for long periods of time.

In conclusion, the next time you invite friends and family over, make them some delicious smoked sausage, hot dogs, or even cold-smoked cheese in your new indoor cooker.

Now you have the smoker sorted, let’s look at some of the best electric smoker cookbooks with recipe inspiration for all skill levels

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.