10 Best Types of Smokers – Which is the Best to Buy?

A smoker is an essential piece of equipment in the BBQ world, best for indirect cooking. Whether you want to purchase a smoker for the first time or upgrade to a better one, you should always ensure that you do your due diligence first. The starting point to buying the best smoker is understanding the different smoker types.

1. Offset Smokers

The offset smokers have their fireboxes set to the side of the smoking chamber. The benefit of this design is that it moves the heat and smoke further away from your food, making indirect cooking even more effective.

Further, offset smokers come either as a horizontal or vertical variety. The offset is the most appropriate option if you are looking for a smoker with excellent and even heat distribution. In addition to even heat distribution, the offset smoker has many other pros, including the following;

  • Ability to use different fuel types
  • Large cooking chamber
  • It comes in two varieties; horizontal or vertical

2. Vertical Smokers

These are types of smokers with grilling grates lining vertically and flowing upwards. Vertical smokers are also efficient because the heat rises to provide even heat to the food in the upper chambers. 

One of the reasons for the popularity of these smokers is that they are easy to set up.

3. Gas/Propane Types of Smokers

Gas/propane smokers use liquid propane gas as the fuel source. If you have to use gas smokers to prepare your meat, consider using wood chips for a smoky flavor. Gas smokers are generally fast and easy to use, unlike charcoal smokers, which might take a lot of time to light, especially if you lack some tools.

Additionally, propane smokers come with several other benefits, including the following;

  • Easier to control temperatures
  • Some types are quite portable
  • Cheaper to operate
  • Easy to clean

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4. Electric Smokers

As the name suggests, electric smokers use electricity as a primary fuel source. Like gas smokers, electric smokers lack the smoky flavor you can get from charcoal or offset smokers. However, you can overcome the challenges by introducing wood chips. Generally, electric smokers are easy to use, offer a stable temperature range, and are, in most cases, cheaper to operate.

5. Pellet Smokers

Pellet smokers have been around for quite some time, and their popularity continues to rise due to their efficiency. A pellet smoker uses wooden pellets as a primary source of energy. Many BBQ enthusiasts believe best pellet smokers are excellent for cooking meats such as ribs and briskets as they are excellent for low and slow cooking.

6. Charcoal Smokers

Charcoal smokers come in an avalanche of sizes and shapes. In addition, numerous brands specialize in the manufacture of the charcoal smokers, such as the Char-Broil Kettle Grill and Weber Smokey Mountain.

One of the benefits associated with the best charcoal smokers is that they provide the traditional smoky flavors necessary for making foods more delicious. Again, these smokers come at pocket-friendly prices.

7. Cold Smokers

As the name suggests, Cold smokers use low heat with a lot of smoke to infuse smoky flavors into the food. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that you cannot use cold smokers for cooking meats. The main objective of cold smokers is to add a smoky flavor to the foods.

Cold smoking involves using temperatures that are too low to cook meat to a safe level of doneness. If you have never executed cold smoking before, ensure that you equip yourself with the necessary skills before trying it out to avoid food poisoning.

8. Kettle Grills

Kettle grills are normally small and use charcoal as their main fuel source. The small size of these grills makes them popular as they perfectly fit in small spaces. Therefore, if you have limited space in your kitchen, the kettle grills will be the best option for you.

However, kettle grills have temperature fluctuations making them less consistent for smoking.

9. Drum Smokers

Drum smokers are excellent for DIY as they are super easy to put together. In addition, when using drum smokers, you can easily cook a huge batch of meat comfortably.

Generally, the design of drum smokers is quite simple. A basket for keeping charcoal goes to the bottom of the drum. Also, there are several vents to help with temperature control. Nonetheless, you would require a little bit of experience to make effective use of the smoker. Once you are used to the drum smoker, you can hold a BBQ festival in your backyard and prepare a delicious feast for your guests.

10. Stove Top Smokers

The stovetop smokers are excellent for indoor smoking. If you live in an apartment with insufficient lawn space, stovetop smokers will be your most appropriate option. The stovetop smokers appear like a compact container with a rack.

To use the smoker, you must put the ingredients on the rack and place some wood chips under the rack before putting it on the stove.

How to Choose the Best Smokers for your Needs

Determining the best smoker is challenging, considering so many different types. Hence, if you are out to find a smoker to help accomplish your smoking adventures, ensure that you know what to look out for in the best smoker.

Here are some of the critical factors that will affect your choice.

1. The Budget

As much as you want to prepare a delicious feast for your friends or family, you do not have to spend more than you can afford. Therefore, the first step is to ensure that you invest in a smoker within your budget. Fortunately, you can always find options for less than a hundred dollars.

The main features that influence the cost of a smoker are the size, the quality of the material used to make the smoker, and the extra features such as the meat probes, digital thermometers, and many others.

2. Experience Level

You want to purchase a portable smoker that will make it easy for you to cook. Besides, the smoker is supposed to make your work easier and more enjoyable. Therefore, always consider your experience in using the smoker. Gas and electric smokers are easy to use because they do not require you to perform complex procedures.

3. Type of Fuel

A smoker’s fuel type can influence several other factors, including portability, flavor, and ease of use. If you want to infuse the natural smoky flavor into the food, go for charcoal or wood.

4. The Volume of the Food

If you intend to use your smoker for cooking large volumes of food quite often, then ensure that you invest in a heavy-duty smoker. A heavy-duty smoker can serve you for a long time while providing excellent services.

5. Portability

If you love traveling with your smokers, you have to ensure that you purchase portable smokers. Charcoal smokers are generally the best option because you can access the fuel easily. Another critical factor to consider when looking for a portable grill is the size. Large smokers will be tricky to transport from one point to another.

6. Durability

Lastly, ensure that you are spending your money on a smoker that will serve you for a long time. A smoker made up of quality materials is safe for the user and offers value for money. In addition to the material, you should also closely examine the smoker’s construction.

Also read: Weber Spirit II E-310 Gas Grill Review– Everything You Need to Know


While there are numerous types of smokers in the current market, you must examine your situation before deciding on the best smoker for your needs. The offset smoker will be the most convenient if you prefer to avoid traveling with your smoker. On the other hand, BBQ enthusiasts who travel a lot will require a charcoal smoker.

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