The Best Electric Smokers for 2024

best electric smokers

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So you want to smoke meat, but sitting out in the rain tending a fire doesn’t sound like fun to you?

Electric smokers are a perfect choice if you want a set it and forget it, smoker. They can also maintain lower temperatures than many other smokers, making them excellent for cold-smoking and making sausage or bacon.

We think the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker is the best electric smoker for most people thanks to its excellent insulation, clever wood chip tray system, and low price.

Read on to discover why it is our top pick and what other electric smokers you should consider.

Here are the Best Electric Smokers Reviewed for 2024

We’ve selected our favorite electric smokers across a range of price points.

Pellet smokers/grills also run on electricity, but we’ve focused this guide on more basic wood chip-burning electric smokers. If your budget can stretch, we would certainly recommend considering a pellet grill, as they’re more versatile and easier to use.

1. Best Overall – Masterbuilt 40-Inch Digital Electric Smoker

Read our full Masterbuilt Electric Smoker review.

The Masterbuilt digital electric smoker is easy to use for someone just getting started smoking meat, or for anyone who wants to crank out barbecue without the fuss of a charcoal or offset smoker.

The Masterbuilt electric smoker is available in a range of different configurations, and we’ve tested and reviewed the basic 30″ and 40″ models with window and stand.

We’ll cover the Bluetooth model in more detail further on in this guide, so if controlling your smoker on your phone sounds appealing to you keep reading.

The 30″ model gives you 4 racks and 730 square inches of cooking space, which sounds like it would be plenty, but we found the horizontal length was limiting. The 40″ will give you a little extra space that makes smoking whole racks of ribs and packer briskets possible.

For that reason, we would recommend going for the 40″ model, especially since it’s not a huge price difference.

The main cabinet of the smoker is made from steel with plastic trim, while the interior is made from aluminum.

The built-in digital control panel lets you set your internal temperature anywhere between 100 – 275°F. The same panel lets you control the cook time and houses the on and off controls.

The integrated thermostat takes control of the rest.

It’s a well-built smoker for the price, and the chrome-coated stainless steel cleans easily.

The Masterbuilt heats up quickly and maintains a consistent internal temperature without any fiddling around. We should point out that there is no built-in meat probe, so you’ll need to bring your own.

What we like:

  • Excellent smoker body insulation – The Masterbuilt is better insulated than a lot of other cheap smokers, which helps maintain a consistent internal temperature and keeps operating costs down, especially in cold or windy conditions.
  • Generous size-to-cost ratio – The 30-inch digital model comes with 730 sq inches of cooking space, almost the same as the largest 22″ Weber Smokey Mountain.
  • Convenient wood chip tray system – The chip tube system is a convenient way to add more chips without opening the door if you want to get more smoke.
  • Great for cold smoking – You can turn your digital Masterbuilt smoker into a cold smoking machine with a cold smoking add-on kit.

    What we don’t like:

    • Wood chip tray is on the small side – Will need to refill the chip tray, or you can always add a cheap pellet tube to amp up the smoke.
    • Build quality – It’s not the worst for the price you pay, but if you want a really durable smoker, keep reading.

    At a low price point, the Masterbuilt ticks all the boxes you want for an electric smoker.

    2. Best Mid-Range – Smokin Tex Pro Series 1400 Residential Electric Smoker

    Read our full Smokin Tex Pro Series review.

    If you want a smoker that will last longer than the Masterbuilt and have extra cash to spend, the Smokin Tex is our favorite option at a mid-range price point. It addresses most of our frustrations with electric smokers including cheap, flimsy construction and leaky doors.

    The Smokin Tex Pro Series is built like a tank with double wall insulation and super tight rubber door seals. It’s like something you would find in a commercial kitchen but sized down for the home user.

    We found the cooking process extremely simple. Since the smoker is on the smaller side, it comes to temperature quickly.

    All you need to do is add wood to the removable wood chip pan, add your meat, and set the temperature dial.

    You’ll want to add more chips about every 90 minutes or so. You can also use wood chunks if you like, but I was plenty pleased with the chips.

    Smokin Tex Pro 1400 wood box with wood chunks

    To test out this smoker, I also cooked thick pork chops, two racks of baby back ribs (I did need to cut them in half to get them to fit), and a large, 12-pound pork shoulder.

    It was nice not to have to worry about running out of fuel during a long cook, like with a pellet or charcoal grill. Even when you run out of wood chips, the smoker keeps cooking.

    chicken thighs smoking in Smokin Tex Pro 1400

    Being able to smoke between 100°F-250°F also makes this an excellent cold smoker.

    What we like:

    • Outstanding smoke flavor – Everything is sealed perfectly except for a small exhaust vent, so smoke is drawn through the unit, bathing your food in flavor.
    • Built to last – Stainless steel dual wall construction is a definite upgrade over the more mass produced smokers we tested.
    • Easy to clean – Grease and food debris come off the materials with little effort, and you have easy access to the large drip pan.
    • Caster wheels – Four caster wheels make moving the Smokin Tex a breeze

    What I don’t like:

    • Lack of wood chip feeder: You have to open the door to the smoker in order to add more wood chips. Shame it doesn’t have a chip feeder like the Masterbuilt.
    • Space between shelves – There’s only a 3-inch gap between each rack, so if you are cooking anything large or need to baste, you may need to remove a rack (which is easy enough to do).

    While a little extra space would be nice, you can easily work around it by moving your cooking racks around.

    If you want something a little bigger you could also look at the Smokein-it Model #2 which we cover in a bit more detail below.

    3. Best Bluetooth – Masterbuilt Bluetooth Smart Digital Electric Smoker 30 Inch

    Read our full Masterbuilt Bluetooth Electric Smoker review.

    One of the drawbacks of electric smokers is that they lack some of the technological advancements found on pellet grills.

    Masterbuilt created a smoker that connects to your phone via Bluetooth so you can sit back, relax, and control the temperature of your smoker with an app on your phone.

    You can power the smoker on or off, as well as adjust and monitor the temperature of your smoker. While your granddaddy might shake his head in despair at this generation, we think anything that combines barbecue with technology is worth celebrating.

    We tested a 40″ version of this smoker, but for some reason, Masterbuilt now only sells the 30 inch version.

    You get four adjustable racks, which should give you plenty of room even when cooking for large groups of people.

    The heating element is upgraded to 1,200 watts but your max temperature is still a low 275°F.

    The wood chip tray is a nice addition and makes reloading wood chips simple. You don’t have to open the smoker to add new wood chips, which is convenient and avoids losing heat and smoke.

    Being able to adjust the temperature without leaving the house is a nice feature. The Bluetooth technology isn’t perfect, though.

    The actual range is only about 12 – 15 feet, and if you have walls in the way, this can decrease even further. If you’ve used Bluetooth before, you will understand how frustrating it can be to keep losing connection.

    On the other hand, if you can keep your phone relatively close to the smoker it works well.

    And this feature is all about not having to leave the comfort of your house, so even if you have to leave your phone close to the door, it still beats going outside into cold or wet weather!

    What we like:

    • Huge amount of room – With 4 racks, you can churn out a lot of food and feed a crowd of people.
    • Excellent smoke flavor – All food cooked has had a beautiful smoke flavor every time.
    • Wheels make it easy to move – For some reason, a lot of electric smokers aren’t very portable. That’s not the case with the Bluetooth Masterbuilt, as back wheels make moving the smoker easy.

    What we don’t like:

    • Range on the Bluetooth app – The range is quite limited, and there are some annoying issues with needing to reconnect.
    • Small wood chip tray – A slightly larger tray would be nice for longer cooks.

    If you are buying this smoker solely because you can control it on your phone, you might be disappointed.

    However, even if you never plan on using the Bluetooth features, this is still an excellent electric smoker.

    4. Best Budget – Cusinart COS-330 Electric Smoker

    Read our full Cusinart COS-330 review.

    If don’t mind sacrificing a few features, you can grab the COS-330 for a little less than the Masterbuilt.

    You’ll have to open the smoker door every time you want to reload wood chips or refill the water tray. This will let some smoke and heat out and is inferior to the chip loading feature on the Masterbuilt.

    The thermostat is also really basic, with no way to actually set a temperature. You’ll need to set it at the back and then check the temperature readout.

    For those two reasons, we would recommend you go for one of the other options, but if budget is your primary concern, you’ll be pleased to know you can still turn out some good food.

    In our tests, we smoked spare ribs, chicken breast, and even a whole packer brisket.

    What we liked:

    • Budget friendly – The cheapest out of the electric smokers we’ve reviewed
    • Holds temperature well – During our test, we found minimum variation in the temperature

    What we didn’t like:

    • Basic temperature controls – The thermostat is just a color dial, so there’s no way to set accurate temperatures
    • No chip reloading feature – You have to open the door and let your smoke out every time you reload wood chips

    The COS-330 is a basic smoker without a lot of bells and whistles. You can still smoke some excellent food on it, and it’s a perfectly capable option if you are on a budget.

    5. Bradley Digital 6 Rack Smoker

    The Bradley Digital is a bit of a weird case. Weird because it’s a hybrid between an electric and pellet smoker.

    It’s a front-loading cabinet smoker with a polished stainless steel exterior like a lot of other smokers in this guide, but rather than using wood chips for flavor like an electric, the Bradley has its own proprietary wood “bisquettes”.

    Made out of compressed sawdust, these bisquettes are similar to the pellets you use for a pellet grill, but can only be used on the Bradley to produce heat and smoke throughout the cooking process.

    The Bradley comes with 6 cooking racks (11″ x 13″ cooking space) and is capable of reaching temperatures up to 280°F.

    The 6-rack version has some upgrades over the original, including the digital control panel with improved heating controls, more precise temperature options, and auto-off function.

    This smoker does have a lot of fans, and the wood disks it uses seem to work fairly well. I don’t like the idea of being stuck buying one company’s product though. With wood chips or pellets, you are free to buy any old brand.

    It’s also expensive for what you get, especially when you look at some of the more budget-friendly pellet grills on the market.

    Top electric smoker brands

    We’ve already covered a range of different brands, but if you want to learn a little more about the company you will be buying from then read on.

    1. Masterbuilt

    There is no denying that Masterbuilt is the dominant brand in the electric smoker industry.

    The company has been around for over 45 years and sells a variety of different types of grill including charcoal, propane, and pellet.

    In 2017 Masterbuilt acquired the Smoke Hollow brand from Outdoor Leisure Products, and seems to have phased out those models.

    These days all grills are manufactured in China. Masterbuilt is typically a mass-market brand, with low-cost products that appeal to beginners and casual people.

    Quality seems to be on the rise in recent years, and there has been a steady stream of new product releases and updates lately so you can often get a good deal on an older model.

    Our favorite Masterbuilt electric smoker

    Masterbuilt 30-Inch Digital Electric Smoker
    • Budget friendly and easy to use
    • Easy to reload wood chips
    • Minimal temperature swings
    • Build quality feels cheap
    • Timer feature can be annoying
    Check latest price on Amazon

    2. Bradley Technologies

    Based out of Canada, Bradley is most well known for producing an electric smoker that burns their own proprietary discs or “bisquettes” to create heat and smoke.

    Top Bradley smoker

    What to look for when buying an electric smoker

    We like to consider a pretty standard list of items before purchasing any new smoker.

    Size & capacity

    While most electric smokers appear to have plenty of space when you look at the numbers, you need to consider the width of the smoker.

    There’s no point in having four cooking racks if you can’t fit a full rack of ribs on them.

    Masterbuilt MB20071117 Electric Smoker Assembled

    This is a common problem with the smaller 30″ sized smokers, although you can always get around it by folding or cutting, or buying smaller racks.

    But if you want to fit large items like whole packer briskets and full racks of ribs, consider a 40″ model.


    We prefer smokers like the Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker that let you access the wood chip tray without opening the main door and allowing heat and smoke to escape.

    Masterbuilt MB20071117 wood tray

    You’ll want to check what kind of temperature and meat probes are included so that you can keep an eye on the internal temperature as well as your meat doneness.

    No probe isn’t a deal-breaker, you can invest in a much better quality third party thermometer that can measure your food and your smoker temp at the same time.

    Also, pay attention to the digital control panel and what options are included. Most models will let you set the internal temperature, while some let you also choose a cooking time.

    The other main feature to look out for is Bluetooth or any level of remote control.

    It’s a nice feature to have to be sure, however, the last few generations of smokers suffered from very poor Bluetooth range and disconnection issues.

    The landscape keeps changing though, so I suggest checking out the manufacturer’s app in the app store and looking over some of the latest reviews.


    With their reliance on mains electricity, electric smokers aren’t really designed to be portable.

    Even though pellet grills need to be plugged in, they seem to have received all the innovation when it comes to portability.


    While you can pick up an electric smoker for just under $100, we would recommend looking in the $200-$300 range as that seems to be the sweet spot.

    For the latest Bluetooth models expect to pay up to $500.

    Pros and cons of buying an electric smoker

    So you’ve read all about the best electric smokers available and you’re almost ready to buy, but maybe you’ve read some bad things about them.

    If you buy an electric one thing is certain. You’ll need to get used to hearing silly comments from your friends about how much better charcoal tastes (unless your friends don’t smoke meat in which case they will rave about your food and say it’s the best thing they’ve ever eaten).

    We agree that food cooked in a charcoal smoker by a skilled pitmaster will have a better flavor.

    But 95% of people won’t be able to tell the difference, and the small bit of flavor you’re giving up is more than made up for by the ease of use.

    And if going electric means you can barbecue every weekend instead of twice a year, then it’s a no brainer

    Rather than just telling you which is the best electric smoker to buy, we’ve also included a detailed look at the pros and cons of going electric:

    Electric smoker pros:

    • Electric smokers are “set it and forget it”. This could be a pro or a con depending on what you enjoy and what you hate about barbecuing
    • If you plan on smoking a variety of food types like fish or sausage then electrics excel. You can also easily convert them into a cold smoker for making bacon and cheese
    • If you live in an apartment or unit that doesn’t allow cooking with charcoal then electric might be your only smoker option.
    • Electricity is less harmful to the environment than burning charcoal. Studies like the ones done by Iowa State University have shown the harmful effects of CO and CO2 emissions from burning charcoal.

    Electric smoker cons:

    • The name probably gives this one away, but you’ll need a readily available power outlet or weatherproof extension cord.
    • You’ll need to reload wood chips every 30-45 minutes to keep generating smoke.
    • Because electric smokers can contain a more parts than more traditional smokers, you’re more likely to run into problems that can result in expensive repairs. Not as big a problem as on pellet smokers but still something to think about.
    • You won’t get a smoke ring (more on this below).
    • Electric should only be used as a dedicated smoker. Unlike other types of smoker which can work OK in a pinch, an electric smoker cannot achieve the higher heats needed to get crisp skin roasting a chicken or grilling meat.

    Electric is all about compromise. You give up a little bit in the way of flavor, but you gain in the ease of use. While perfectly capable of making delicious food, other types of smokers can get an even better result.

    Check out our electric vs pellet comparison for more details.

    If you’re OK with making a small sacrifice in flavor (to be honest most people won’t be able to tell the difference) then electric could be the right choice for you.

    And if you’re like us and collect smokers like some people collect shoes then you can always try your hand at charcoal or pellet in the future…

    How do electric smokers work

    If you’ve never smoked on an electric smoker before, you’re probably wondering how these contraptions work.

    Unlike your traditional smokers, where you just fire up some charcoal and add wood, electric smokers have a lot more technology involved.

    Instead of controlling the heat by limiting the flow of oxygen, electric smokers have controls to change the flow of electricity (for you nitpickers, they also have very tiny vents to help control internal temperature).

    Think of the oven in your kitchen, but with smoke (if your indoor oven is smoking a lot, you should probably get it looked at by a professional).

    This close-up of the inside of the Cusinart COS 330 shows a common electric setup with the heating element sitting under the wood tray. You then have the water container off to the side.

    ribs in the electric smoker with a silver tray underneath it

    With el-cheapo electric smokers, you will get less control (e.g., low, medium, high). This is due to the rheostat, which controls the flow of electricity.

    With the higher-end models, you’re more likely to get an internal temperature probe inside, which connects to the thermostat to give you greater temperature control.

    Obviously, with smoking, the better temperature control you have, the better results you are likely to get.

    These days you can get electric grills that allow you to smoke as well. Like the Ninja Woodfire which burns pellets, not chips like most of the smokers in this guide.

    Meathead explains how this different method of smoking causes you to miss out on the smoke ring.

    ribs readyMeathead Goldwyn, Electric Smokers: Buying Guide?

    “The heat in gas, pellet, and charcoal cookers comes from combustion which, when mixed with wood, produces gases that impart a distinct flavor.

    The heat in an electric comes from a glowing metal rod. Smoke is created by putting wood above the heating element and letting it smolder.

    But electrics don’t usually produce the needed combustion gases, so the flavor is different and there is no smoke ring, the pink layer of meat on the outside that says “Southern barbecue”.

    The ring doesn’t add flavor, but it adds authenticity and creates visual expectations. 

    What about Pellet Grills?

    You also might be asking yourself why we haven’t recommended any pellet grills in this guide.

    While pellet grills do run on electricity and are much better suited for smoking than grilling, they don’t share much in common with the electric smokers we’ve looked at in this article.

    In recent years pellet grills have become far more popular than pure electric. Their design allows you to store enough wood pellets to last for many hours in a hopper so you don’t need to reload every 45 minutes like you do with an electric.

    For many people, the advantages of pellet grills outweigh any cons. You are going to pay a premium for the convenience though, and there are a lot more parts to break.

    You can read more about them in our guide to the best pellet grills.

    Is electric or propane better for smoking?

    We’ve already covered the pros and cons of going electric. But you’re probably wondering what the main differences are between a gas or an electric smoker.

    If you’re stuck deciding between gas and electric we have a detailed guide that compares the pros and cons of both.

    Both types of smoker share a lot of similarities:

    • They both fall into the ‘set it and forget it’ style
    • There’s no need to manage a fire or light charcoal
    • Smoke is created by adding chips to a wood chip tray

    There are a few important differences to consider. Like a pellet or charcoal smoker, gas smokers produce heat through combustion.

    Camp Chef Smoke Vault Review
    The Camp Chef Smoke Vault is a popular gas smoker

    This process produces gases that give your food it’s smokey flavor and distinctive smoke ring (more on that below).

    Meanwhile electric smokers produce heat from a glowing element.

    This won’t matter for 90% of amateur pitmasters. If you want to really hone your craft you might want to consider another type of smoker though.

    For the rest of us, electric smokers still produce delicious barbecue.

    With an electric smoker, you’re almost guaranteed not to run out of fuel (unless you have a power cut or forget to pay the electricity bill). They’re also cheaper to run than propane.

    Most people need to use an extension cord to power their smoker. It’s up to you if this is more annoying than running out of propane mid cook. 

    Getting the most out of your new electric smoker

    So you’ve got a shiny new electric smoker and now you’re ready to fire it up. Before you do, here are a few simple tips to help you produce some fantastic barbecue on your first time.

    • Make sure you season your new smoker before attempting to cook any food in it. We have a guide you can follow for seasoning your electric smoker.
    • Even if your smoker comes with a dial in thermostat, we strongly recommend investing in a dual probe thermometer setup. The temperature can vary a lot at different places in the smoker, so you need to measure the air temperature right where the meat is cooking. Check out our guide to the best smoker theromometers
    • Make sure you allow your smoker enough time to get up to temperature first, before adding any food.
    • We always recommend starting off with a pork butt or two for your first smoke. This more forgiving cut of meat will still taste good even if you make some mistakes while you are learning the kinks of your new smoker.
    cooked pork butt from the electric smoker in a foil tray
    • You’ll want to keep your new smoker clean. The best way to do this is to take out any of the removable parts (racks, water pan, etc) and give them spay with a good oven cleaner.

    Other than that it’s all about practice practice practice. You should find temperature control a breeze, leaving you to experiment with different cuts of meat, rubs, injections and all that other fun stuff. 

    Electric Smoker frequently asked questions

    1) Are electric smokers as good as charcoal?

    The answer to this question all depends on your definition of “good”. If you’re one and only priority is flavor, and you have the time and dedication to learn how to operate a charcoal smoker, then you can get better flavor with a charcoal barbecue.

    But if you want a smoker you don’t have to maintain, that’s easy to fire up then an electric smoker can be much better for YOU.

    2) How do electric smokers make smoke?

    Electricity heats up an element at the bottom of the smoker. Wood chips are placed above the heating element where they can smolder. 

    smoker wood chips
    Wood chips ready to go on the smoker

    3) How long should wood chips last?

    The amount of wood you need to add to your electric smoker will verify depending on a few factors such as the model you’re cooking on, how hot you are cooking and the size of chips you use.

    According to Masterbuilt you should only add chips once and they should last for around an hour:

    We recommend that you only put your smoking wood into the chip holder after the smoker has reached temperature and the heating light has turned off.

    You only need to add wood chips once in most cases in the first 20 minutes or so, it should last for around 1 hour or so.

    You will find that once the meat has started to cook it will seal in the juices and the smoke flavour that will continue to be absorbed into your meat. If you keep on adding smoke after that point it will build up on the outside of the meat and will make it very strong.

    You will need to experiment. Just remember to start with less wood than you think, and slowly increase. 

    4) Can you use an electric smoker in the house?

    I suppose I understand the temptation. Being outside you get rained on, snowed on, and it can be generally miserable.

    But I still laugh when I see this question come up from time to time. Unless you are prepared to install some serious, restaurant grade extraction system, keep your smoker outside.

    Your significant other probably doesn’t want the smell to be permanently in your house anyway.

    5) Do you have to soak wood chips before using them?

    This is a total myth.

    For some reason the debate about soaking wood chips rages on though.

    At best soaking wood does nothing, at worst it can change the type of smoke that is produced. We have a full break down on the weird wood controversies people obsess over in our guide to smoke wood

    6) How do you clean an electric smoker?

    It’s important to keep your smoker clean and dry after each use. Avoid using any strong cleaners or large amounts of water though.

    All you need to do is wipe the surface after each use and remove any burnt food or creosote that might have built up.

    Keeping everything dry inside will help you avoid mold.
    If you’re smoker came with a window you can follow this simple video to get it clean.

    Lots of people use magic eraser pads from Mr Clean that clean with no chemicals. Another good trick is to use a home made mix of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. You could also use alcohol, but why waste it? 

    To wrap it up

    Hopefully, this guide has helped you decide what model of smoker is best and if an electric smoker is even right for you.

    For most people we are happy to recommend the basic Masterbuilt Digital Electric smoker in either 30 or 40″ depending on your requirements.

    It’s true that electric smokers get a fair bit of flack for being “too easy”. But if you don’t want to deal with charcoal or shell out for an expensive log burning smoker, electric can be a great choice.

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