There’s nothing better in the hot summer weather than inviting all your friends around to your house for a nice barbecue dinner.
A great addition to your traditional barbecue set up is a smoker. They can provide food with a strong smoky taste making your burgers and sausages even yummier.
They also often require less effort than your traditional grill, so they are a great investment if you’re an avid barbecuer.
But with so many different smokers on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is the best to buy, particularly if you’re a beginner in this area of cooking.
That’s why we’ve put together this great guide to the best smoker for beginners.
We’ve even included an additional buyer’s guide to help you in your search, with an FAQ section to answer your questions.
Best Smokers for Beginners At a Glance:
|Top Top Top Top Top Top||Best Overall||Dyna-Glo DG01176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker||View Details|
|Top Top Top Top Top||Gas Friendly||Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker||View Details|
|Top Top Top Top Top||Premium Pick||Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker||View Details|
|Top Top Top Top Top||Electric Friendly||Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker||View Details|
|Top Top Top Top Top||Best in Technology||Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, 30", Black||View Details|
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:
Best Smoker for Beginners for 2023
1. Dyna-Glo DG01176BDC-D Smoker
- Vertical design lends itself to naturally rising heat, achieving greater efficiency and improved smoke flavor. Offset design keeps direct heat away from the food, allowing for slow cooking.
- Six height-adjustable cooking grates accommodate various sizes of food. 784 square Inch of total smoking area; 1176 square inches of total cooking space with 25-pounds capacity per grate.
- Porcelain-enameled steel charcoal chamber is designed to keep briquettes stacked tightly for improved burn efficiency.
- Charcoal & ash management system with the charcoal chamber, grate, and sliding, removable steel ash pan. Designed to handle large amounts of ash for hours of maintenance-free cooking.
- Smoke stack features an adjustable flue for additional flavor and temperature control.
- Built-in, stainless steel thermometer. ‘Smoke Zone’ indicates ideal temperature for infusing smoke flavor and an easy-to-read gauge helps you achieve perfectly smoked foods.
- Dimensions: 20.2 × 34.52 × 47.03 in
Our favorite smoker for beginners is the Dyna-Glo DG01176BDC-D.
We think this is the best smoker on the market because it is packed with so many amazing features. It is designed vertically aiding the natural flow of smoke for better taste and efficiency.
This smoker has an offset design allowing you to slow-cook food if you wish. It also has an enormous capacity of 1,176 square-inches cooking space allowing you to cook plenty of food at one time.
With its built-in thermometer, you can easily measure temperature, and ensure it stays in the ‘smoke zone’ for optimum taste.
All of this combined with its ash capacity allowing for plenty of maintenance-free cooking, there’s no doubt that this is one of the best on the market.Check Price on Amazon
2. Cuisinart COS-224 Smoker
- 5. 45 SQUARE FEET OF INTERIOR: The spacious 5. 45 square foot interior means there is plenty of room to smoke a variety of meats along with several trays of vegetables. The vertical footprint makes it a perfect size for patios and barbecue kitchens.
- Product Dimensions: 19.3 L x 18.1 W x 38.6 H | Weight: 69.5 lb
- FOUR 14 X 14-INCH REMOVABLE STAINLESS STEEL SHELVES: Four stainless steel racks can be easily removed for smoking whole birds or large cuts of meat. Racks are dishwasher safe, making cleanup easy.
- BUILT-IN THERMOMETER: Features easy-to-read thermometer on the front door for accessible monitoring of the internal temperature.
- TOTAL TEMPERATURE AND SMOKE CONTROL: An adjustable gas supply gives control over the amount of heat. Optimal smoker access through two doors and a rear vent can be opened or closed to control the amount of heat and smoke exiting the oven.
- SEAL-TIGHT TWIST-LOCK DOOR AND HANDLE: The door stays tightly sealed with a twist of the handle.
- PORCELAIN ENAMELED STEEL TRAY HOLDS WOOD AND WATER: A porcelain enamel steel tray holds the wood chips and water so clean-up is easy after use. Smoker requires wood chips when grilling.
- 40-INCH PROPANE HOSE AND REGULATOR: Includes a 40-inch hose and regulator that attaches quickly to a standard propane tank. Grill works with 20lb propane tank. (propane not included)
Another excellent smoker to choose is the Cuisinart COS-224 smoker.
Similar to the last smoker, this also has a vertical footprint for greater efficiency.
Additionally, it has a 5.4 square-feet capacity with four stainless steel shelves allowing you to cook plenty of food in one serving.
Even better, the shelves are easily detachable and dishwasher-friendly. This smoker is designed with 2 doors allowing you to access all of the food within its compartment.
It also has seal-tight lock doors which ensure the smoker remains shut until you open it up, making it one of the best available.Check Price on Amazon
3. Weber 18-inch Smoker
- Material Type: Steel
- The Weber Smokey Mountain charcoal smoker helps you achieve an authentic smokehouse flavor at home
- It can accommodate a whole turkey and an entire ham at the same time. Item weight- 39.1 pounds
- Made of porcelain-enameled steel, this smoker comes with 2 nickel-plated 18-1/2-inch-wide cooking grates
- Includes a water pan, thermometer, individual vents on bowl and lid, and heat-resistant nylon handle
You should also consider the Weber 18-inch smoker.
This smoker does have a slightly smaller design than the others on this list, but it is still an excellent smoker. Despite its smaller design, it still has a big capacity allowing you to serve a large number of guests easily.
It is built with porcelain-enameled steel for durability and comes with safety features including a heat resistant nylon handle to prevent injury. With all these amazing features, this is clearly one of the best smokers on the market.Check Price on Amazon
4. Char-Broil Analog Smoker
- 544 Square inches of cooking space spread across three chrome-plated cooking grates
- Double-wall insulated construction with dual exhaust ports.Wash cooking grate with warm soapy water, rinse and dry throughly
- Door-mounted temperature gauge, and dual latches to keep door sealed shut
- Front-access water tray, grease cup and wood chip tray
- Measures 20.7 in W x 33.5 in H x 15 in D. 1, 000 watt electric element
Another excellent choice is the Char-Broil Analog smoker.
This smoker also comes with a large capacity of 544 square-inches which is plenty of space. Its interior is designed with three chrome-plated racks allowing you to separate meat from vegetables easily.
This smoker is built with an insulated construction for minimal heat leakage and has a door-mounted temperature gauge so you can monitor its heat throughout.Check Price on Amazon
5. Masterbuilt MB2007117 Smoker
- Digital panel controls on/off, cooking temperature and time
- Four chrome-coated smoking racks
- Patented side wood chip loading system allows you to add wood chips without opening door
- Thermostat-temperature control for even, consistent smoking
- Fully-insulated body retains heat
- Water bowl to add moisture and flavor
- Air damper for smoke control
- Wood chip tray for easy ash removal
Finally, you should consider the Masterbuilt MB2007117 Smoker.
This smoker may be last on the list but that doesn’t affect what an amazing product it is. This is the only digital smoker on this list, and it comes with a digital control panel complete with a power button and temperature controls.
Its compartment comes with four chrome-plated racks allowing you to cook lots of food in one period. The main feature that makes this smoker stand out from its competitors is the side wood-chip loading system.
This feature allows you to easily refill the wood chip bucket without affecting the cooking process of your food. With all this in mind, the Masterbuilt MB2007117 is definitely one of the best smokers on the market.Check Price on Amazon
Best Smoker for Beginners Buying Guide
A smoker is an excellent addition to your barbecue or outdoor kitchen set-up. With scrumptious smoky food available effortlessly, they are sure to take your next barbecue party to the next level.
With a smoker, you’re sure to be the envy of your friends.
But with so many different models of smokers on the market, we understand that it can be tricky to know what to look for when you’re a beginner.
That’s why we’ve put together this great buyer’s guide, complete with an FAQ section to aid you in your search. We also have a great article “25 Smoker recipes” perfect for beginners!
Types of Smokers
The most important thing you should consider before making a purchase is the wide variety of smokers that are available. Generally, there are 6 different types of smokers that you can choose from.
The smoker that you are most likely to buy as a beginner is an electric smoker. These devices are operated via an electric connection. They are generally very easy to use and are great value for money, making them a good first choice while you build up your skills.
Another common choice for beginners is a gas smoker. These operate almost identically to electric smokers except they are powered by propane tanks. A gas smoker is a great choice if you are a beginner but do not want to run your smoker on electricity.
Once you have gained more experience using a smoker there are a variety of other options you could move on to. One great choice is a charcoal smoker. These devices are shaped like vertical cylinders with the heat source located directly below the grilling area.
They provide the food with a strong smoky flavor through the burning of charcoal and wood chunks. Another option you could move onto is a pellet smoker. These devices maintain the temperature through the constant burning of wood pellets and require more attention than other models.
Alternatively, you can buy an offset smoker. These devices take their heat from a real wood fire which is located in a chamber that is slightly offset from the cooking area. This allows the heat to rise and cook meat or vegetables.
The final type of smoker is a combo smoker, but this is often just used as a way to describe other smokers, rather than its own type.
As a beginner, your best choice would be an electric or gas smoker but you can always look at other types of smokers as a choice in the future.
You should also consider the size of the smoker you are going to buy. Different smokers will be larger or smaller which will impact the amount of food you can cook at a single time in the chamber.
To identify the perfect size for you, you should consider a few questions. The first thing you should ask yourself is how many people do you usually cook for?
If you are a family of 4 and you only ever cook for your family a smaller smoker may do the job. Whereas if you often host parties or invite your friends around for barbecues a larger smoker may be better suited.
You should also ask yourself how often are you going to use the smoker? When it is not in operation you will have to store the smoker so you should consider this.
Larger smokers tend to have higher fuel costs as they are bigger to operate. But if you buy a smaller smoker you may later regret this when you have to cook for a larger group. You should weigh up all your options with your situation and decide from there.
Another factor you should consider is portability, which is closely linked to the size of the smoker. Portability is one of the factors that will either be important to you or it will be completely irrelevant.
The reason that portability is most likely to matter is if you are an avid camper. If you go camping regularly you may find that you want to take a smoker with you. If this is the case, portability will be important.
Portable smokers are generally designed to be smaller than non-portable smokers and are often built with more durable materials to ensure they aren’t damaged during transit. Portable smokers are also usually powered by propane or pellets as these are materials you can easily take on the go with you.
You may decide to buy a portable smoker even if you do not travel often. For whatever reason, a portable smoker may appear more attractive, but you should take into account that this might limit the smoker’s capacity and therefore the number of people you can cater for.
The importance of portability will vary depending on your situation but it is something you should consider when buying a smoker.
Quality of Build
Finally, you should consider the quality of the build the smoker has. This will have a huge impact on your overall experience with the smoker and will likely influence whether you are happy with your purchase or not.
The quality of build depends on the materials it is built with and will impact how durable the device is. It will also affect the sturdiness of the smoker and the amount of food it can cook at one time.
Furthermore, the quality of build will affect how long the smoker will last, and the rate at which it can regulate its temperature. These are all factors that are vitally important to your experience with the smoker.
A cheaper smoker might appear more attractive initially because of the price. But in the long run, you are likely to spend significantly more money on a cheaper smoker as they will leak heat and therefore use more energy.
The better-built smokers can be off-putting because they are expensive but they will save money in the long run and last a lot longer than their cheaper competitors.
The importance of quality of build will differ depending on your situation. If you want a smoker which you will only use a handful of times a cheaper device may be the job.
But if you want a smoker to use regularly, a better quality of build would be a greater investment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a smoker and a grill?
Smokers and grills are very similar in that they both complete the task of cooking food.
However, they differ in the temperature by which they cook the raw ingredients placed in them. Smokers use indirect heat to cook the food it contains, whereas grills cook food through direct heat.
Will my smoker get hotter if I open the vents?
Yes, air entering the smoker via the vents is likely to increase its temperature.
The vents provide the function of drawing smoke up from the wood/charcoal, therefore increasing the temperature that your meat is exposed to.
How long will a propane tank last on a smoker?
It is difficult to calculate the amount of time that a propane tank will last with your smoker as it depends on different factors.
However, if you generally use the propane tank on warm days an 18-pound propane tank will likely last for roughly 40 hours. You might consider buying a propane tank gauge to help you better keep an eye on this.