BBQ Smoker Windows: Are They Worth It? Find Out Here

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  May 27, 2022

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You’ve been wanting to get a smoker for a while now and you’ve finally decided to get a smoker. But then you notice something strange. There’s a window in the smoker.

A smoker window is a special type of window in a smoker that allows you to monitor the smoke inside the smoker and check the progress of the meat. It also allows you to let the smoke out of the smoker and helps you maintain the temperature inside the smoker.

So what exactly is a smoker window and how does it work? Let’s take a look at all of that in this article.

Smoker windows are a relatively new addition to the world of smoking meat, but they have quickly become a popular feature for many reasons. Here are a few reasons why you should consider a smoker with a window:

  • Monitoring the smoke: One of the main reasons people choose a smoker with a window is to monitor the smoke and make sure everything is going smoothly without having to open the smoker and let out heat.
  • Checking the meat: With a smoker window, you can check on the meat without opening the smoker and letting out heat and smoke. This is especially helpful for longer smoking sessions when you don’t want to disturb the meat too much.
  • Cleaning: A smoker window makes it easier to clean the inside of your smoker. You can see any residue or grime that needs to be cleaned and approach it accordingly.
  • Softening soot and drippings: If you have a smoker with a window, you can use a liquid like vinegar or baking soda to soften soot and drippings on the window. This makes it easier to scrub away any grime that may have accumulated.
  • Tips for cleaning: When cleaning the window, make sure to use a safe cleaning solution and avoid using abrasive materials that could scratch the glass. You can also use a mat underneath the smoker to catch any drippings and make cleaning even easier.

The Dark Side of Smoker Windows: The Downsides You Need to Know

1. Temperature Fluctuations

One of the most significant downsides of smoker windows is that they can cause temperature fluctuations. The window can let out heat and smoke, which can affect the cooking temperature and the flavor of the meat. This can be especially problematic if you’re smoking meat for a long time, as the temperature fluctuations can cause the meat to dry out or become overcooked.

2. Cleaning Hassles

Another downside of smoker windows is that they can be a hassle to clean. Smoke and grease can build up on the window, making it difficult to see through. This can be especially problematic if you’re trying to monitor the progress of your meat. Cleaning the window can be time-consuming and may require special cleaning products.

3. Durability Issues

Smoker windows can also be prone to durability issues. The heat and smoke from the smoker can cause the window to crack or break over time. This can be frustrating, as replacing the window can be expensive and time-consuming. Additionally, some types of smoker windows may not be able to withstand high temperatures, which can limit their usefulness.

4. Cost

Finally, smoker windows can be more expensive than traditional smokers without windows. This is because the window adds an extra layer of complexity to the design and construction of the smoker. Additionally, some types of smoker windows may require special materials or manufacturing processes, which can drive up the cost even further.

Is a Smoker with a Window Worth the Investment?

  • Experiment with smoking techniques: Having a window on your smoker allows you to experiment with different smoking techniques and see how they affect the meat. You can easily check the color and texture of the meat without opening the smoker, which helps to retain heat and moisture.
  • Better control over temperature: With a smoker that has a window, you can easily monitor the temperature without opening the door. This helps to maintain a consistent cooking level and ensures that your meat is cooked to perfection.
  • Adds to the overall experience: Let’s face it, smoking meat is not just about the flavor, it’s also about the experience. Having a window on your smoker allows you to watch the smoke and see the wood chips in action, which adds to the overall experience of smoking meat.
  • Easy to check on the meat: With a smoker that has a window, you can easily check on the meat without opening the door. This saves time and ensures that the temperature remains consistent.

Choosing the Right Window Type for Your BBQ Smoker

When it comes to smoker windows, there are a few different types to choose from. Here are some of the most common:

  • Single-pane glass: This is the most basic type of smoker window. It’s a single sheet of glass that’s sealed around the edges to keep smoke and heat inside the smoker.
  • Divided lites: These are windows that are divided into smaller panes of glass. They can give your smoker a more traditional look, but they’re also more difficult to clean.
  • Grids: Grids are similar to divided lites, but they’re made of thin strips of wood or metal that are attached to the glass. They can be a good option if you want a more rustic look.
  • Simulated divided lites: These are windows that look like they’re divided into smaller panes, but they’re actually a single sheet of glass with a grid pattern on top. They’re easier to clean than true divided lites.

Sealed vs. Non-Sealed Windows

Another thing to consider when choosing a smoker window is whether you want it to be sealed or non-sealed. Here’s what that means:

  • Sealed windows: These are windows that are completely sealed around the edges. They’re more energy-efficient and will keep smoke and heat inside the smoker better than non-sealed windows.
  • Non-sealed windows: These are windows that aren’t completely sealed around the edges. They’re easier to install and replace, but they may not be as energy-efficient as sealed windows.

Choosing the Right Window Option

When it comes to choosing the right window option for your smoker, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Consider the style of your smoker: If you have a traditional smoker, you may want to choose a window option that complements that style.
  • Think about how often you’ll use your smoker: If you’re going to be using your smoker frequently, you may want to choose a window option that’s easy to clean.
  • Consider the climate where you live: If you live in a hot or humid climate, you may want to choose a window option that’s more energy-efficient.

Replacing Your Smoker Window

If you already have a smoker with a window and you need to replace it, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you choose a replacement window that’s the same size as your old window.
  • Consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient window option.
  • If you’re not comfortable replacing the window yourself, consider hiring a professional to do it for you.

Glass-ceramics to master the task

When it comes to barbecue smokers, the type of glass used for windows can make all the difference. Standard glass is not able to withstand the high temperature and sudden temperature changes that occur inside a smoker, which means it can shatter or crack easily. Tempered glass, on the other hand, is designed to handle these conditions and is much less likely to break.

Glass-ceramic windows for the masters

For those who take their barbecue seriously, glass-ceramic windows are the desired choice. These windows are made by combining glass and ceramic materials, which means they are able to withstand even higher temperatures than tempered glass. This makes them the perfect choice for barbecue makers who want to keep a close eye on their food without sacrificing heat or smoke.

The benefits of glass-ceramic windows

Glass-ceramic windows offer a number of benefits for barbecue enthusiasts, including:

  • The ability to see inside the smoker without opening the door, which helps to maintain a consistent temperature and smoke level.
  • The ability to catch any grease or stains that may accumulate inside the smoker, making it easier to clean.
  • The ability to add a touch of style to the grill, as glass-ceramic windows come in a variety of colors and finishes.

Overall, if you’re serious about your barbecue, investing in a smoker with a glass-ceramic window is definitely worth considering. Not only will it help you master the task of smoking delicious food, but it will also add a touch of high-end style to your grill.


So, that’s what a window in a smoker is for. They let heat and smoke out, and let you monitor the cooking process. 

So, don’t be afraid to try a new technique and use a window to your advantage. You’ll be surprised at how much they can improve your smoking experience.

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.