Whether it is spring, summer, fall or mild times during the winter, good food is always a reason to bring friends and family together. While outdoor grills have the monopoly over the image of outdoor cooking when the weather gets pleasant, there are few meals that will compare to those cooked in a high-quality electric smoker. After spending over 100 hours investigating electric smokers, including six for this article, the best electric smoker is 40” Masterbuilt 20075315 Electric Smoker. The idea of investing in a smoker might initially be daunting, especially to an aspiring cook. Smoking food, especially meat, takes time and patience. It is a delicate balance to create the flavors a cook has in mind. To make matters more complicated, the market for high-quality smokers is competitive and can be difficult to navigate.
Electric Smokers vs. Propane or Charcoal
The first question that inevitably arises about smoking food surrounds the fuel that one should use with their smoker. Consumers have the option to choose from electric, propane wood and charcoal smokers of all shapes and sizes. Each style of smoker has both advantages and disadvantages in convenience, ease of use, size and the quality of food. This article compares only the best electric smokers in terms of features, quality and results.
Our Pick for Best Electric Smoker
The Masterbuilt 20075315 provides the user with all of the bells and whistles to take home the title of best electric smoker. This product generates the high-quality food that smokers using propane or charcoal are traditionally known for while making it easy for anyone to seem like a seasoned chef.
Electric smokers, unlike propane or charcoal smokers, can be set to a specific temperature for a specific amount of time assuring the food inside is cooked consistently with little to no monitoring by the cook. The Masterbuilt 20075315 is no exception. The Masterbuilt 20075315 has a front digital display where the cook can set the time and temperature for their food. Once the timer is set, the smoker will regulate the temperature until the timer goes off. At that point, the heat will turn off, making it easy for someone to set it and walk away knowing their food will be properly cooked in that time.
The digital interface does more than just add convenience. The timer also makes it easy for cooks, especially beginners, to begin to learn how to smoke food. For gas and charcoal smokers, the cook as to consistently monitor the temperature inside the smoker, adjusting the smoker to ensure the temperature inside is being maintained.
The Masterbuilt 20075315 goes a step further in convenience for the user as well by providing a remote with a built-in digital display. The Masterbuilt 20075315 remote includes all the functionality of the on-smoker digital display including “Set Temperature” and “Set Time” options along with a remote On/Off switch. This allows cooks to multitask while also keeping an eye on their smoker, giving them peace of mind and a little more added control.
It’s a rare opportunity for a cook to be able to focus their attention on creating a quality recipe while not stressing about constantly watching for fluctuations in temperature. The Masterbuilt 20075315 also provides a built-in meat probe so cooks know exactly when a piece of meat has been cooked to a safe temperature to eat. Additionally, the Masterbuilt 20075315 boasts a patented side wood chip loading system. This means cooks can add wood chips without opening the smoker door and releasing smoke and heat.
Electric smokers are not ideal if convenience to a certain chef means complete portability. Being that they rely completely on being plugged in, you cannot take an electric smoker out camping or somewhere completely remote. However, one does not purchase the Masterbuilt 20075315 to be portable. In fact, the Masterbuilt 20075315 is the complete opposite of portable because of its size; but is one of the best electric smokers in terms of capacity. This smoker is not built for someone to smoke a couple chicken breasts and an ear or two of corn – although it can do that without a second thought. Instead, the Masterbuilt 20075315 is built for capacity. It can smoke 100lbs of food at once on its four chrome-coated smoking racks. The Masterbuilt 20075315 listing on Amazon claims that the Masterbuilt 20075315 has the capacity to cook 12 wholes chickens or 48 burgers simultaneously.
To accommodate that amount of food, the Masterbuilt 20075315 has 975 square inches of cooking space. The cooking racks are easily removable to accommodate foods of varying sizes. The Masterbuilt 20075315 is over 40” tall and 25” wide; plenty of room for a full rack of spare ribs going across and tall enough for all four racks to be covered in food. At 20” long, the Masterbuilt 20075315 is deep enough to accommodate large whole chickens and turkeys. Additionally, the Masterbuilt 20075315 sports a clear window on the front door. This allows cooks to see the food as it is being smoked without opening the door and letting out the heat and smoke.
Those who are skeptical of large, electric smokers will ask, “with all that capacity, how well does it retain heat?” The Masterbuilt 20075315 is completely insulated with a latching front door that keeps the smoke inside. This is also critical in maintaining a constant temperature within the smoker itself. Smokers that rely on other kinds of fuel may not be able to consistently maintain the specific temperature needed. Food gets cooked thoroughly with this model.
Perfect for Families
This is the best electric smoker for those with busy households who love spending time outdoors. Because many smokers are heated through propane or charcoal, there are safety concerns regarding the smoker being too hot to the touch especially when children are present. It provides peace of mind to the cook that children and guests can enjoy themselves without fear of accidental burns when cooking outdoors.
The Masterbuilt 20075315 is truly the best electric smoker on the market today. It makes it easy for a cook of any skill level to produce consistently delicious food. The features of this unit are well worth the price and the durability and craftsmanship of the smoker mean it will be a part of a cook’s arsenal for a long time.
Best Electric Smoker Runner-Up
A close second to the 40” Masterbuilt 20075315, the Char-Broil Deluxe is still one of the best electric smokers on the market today. This model, like the Masterbuilt version, sports a front panel digital display to full control the smoking experience. An insulated dual wall ensures the temperature inside the smoker remains constant and the smoke doesn’t leak out. Like the Masterbuilt model, the clear glass front door allows cooks to keep an eye on their food visually. The Char-Broil Deluxe also comes with a removable food thermometer to ensure your foot is at the optimum temperature.
Unlike the 40” Masterbuilt 20075315, the Char-Broil Deluxe does not come with a remote. Cooks have to stay somewhat close to the unit if they want to watch their food and monitor the temperature. Also, the Char-Broil Deluxe has a slightly smaller capacity than its larger competitor. At 725 square inches, the Char-Broil Deluxe still has plenty of capacity for cooking for a large group but doesn’t quite match the 975 square inches of the Masterbuilt 20075315. Finally, unlike the Masterbuilt 20075315, the Char-Broil Deluxe wood chip tray is inside the door of the unit. This means Char-Broil owners must open the main door of the smoker to replenish the wood chips, letting out smoke and heat in the process.
Overall, this smoker is a quality product that will allow any cook to begin to get the hang of smoking. It is easy to use and large enough to smoke a variety of food simultaneously. There are just a few features the Masterbuilt 20075315 has that are absent from the Char-Broil Deluxe does not have.
Best Electric Smoker on a Budget
Getting quality results from a smoker doesn’t have to break someone’s bank. For the budget conscious cook who wants a solid electric smoker, one can’t go wrong with the Old Smokey Electric Smoker. With adjustable temperature controls, a durable steel body and two grills, the Old Smokey is easy to use without breaking the bank.
This unit is highly portable, weighing a fraction of the Masterbuilt and about half of the Char-Broil Deluxe. The temperature controls are featured near the base plug-in. The lid on the top is flat to ensure no moisture or smoke condenses on the metal.
The Old Smokey doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of the Masterbuilt or the Char-Broil Deluxe. There is no LED display on the front or glass door to see inside. The capacity of the Old Smokey is also substantially smaller at approximately 280 square inches; nearly a third of the capacity of the Masterbuilt. But if you want to cook quality food in the best electric smoker for those looking to cut a grocery bill down while creating incredible food at home, the Old Smokey will not disappoint in any way.
While the Char-Broil Deluxe and the Old Smokey are high-quality products, the 40” Masterbuilt 20075315 Electric Smoker is the best electric smoker for novices and experts alike. It has massive capacity, an easy-to-use control panel with a remote included and is built solid. It gives expert-level control to cooks of all skill levels and background. Given the features and space of the Masterbuilt 20075315, a cook can get a huge bang for their buck and be the life and envy of any party.
Best Electric Smoker FAQs
Q: How do I know if I prefer food cooked in propane or charcoal smokers versus an electric smoker?
A: The only way to know for sure is to do your own research. Find friends, co-workers, family members, etc. with different types of smokers and give your favorite food a try. There is nothing a cook enjoys more than sharing their food with someone else. Personal preference is key when it comes to finding the specific fuel that creates the flavor you’re after.
Q: What wood chips are best to use in the smokers listed above?
A: Again, this comes down to personal preference. The best advice anyone can give is to do your own research. Experiment, eat, share and repeat.
Q: The smokers above are electric, can I use them indoors?
A: No. Never use a smoker of any kind indoors.
Q: How easy are these smokers to move if they need to be stored?
A: The Masterbuilt 20075315 is a beast at nearly 73lbs but does have two wheels and a rear-mounted handle. The Char-Broil Deluxe is lighter at about 50lbs and does have two wheels on the back as well. If you want the best electric smoker in a small size, the Old Smokey is about 23lbs. It also has two handles and is incredibly easy to move.
Q: How many watts are the respective heating units?
A: All of the heating units on the products above are 1,200 watts.
Q: What is the best way to clean each smoker?
A: Each smoker has its own recommendations on how to properly clean it after use. Be aware of using harsh chemicals though.
Q: Should you use dry or pre-soaked woodchips?
A: In all models above, you can use either dry or wet wood chips. Dry wood chips burn faster than wet chips. Therefore, you will have to continue to replenish them as the smoker works.