The most important thing for a beginner is to choose the right type of smoker, so if you aren’t sure if you should go for a charcoal, gas, electric, or pellet, don’t worry. We’ll explain your options and help you choose the right one for your needs.
Best Entry Level Smokers
Traeger Grills Pro Series 780 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker with WIFI Smart Home Technology
A large 780 square inches of cooking space
D2 drive train
Superior build quality
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Masterbuilt MB20070210 Analog Electric Smoker with 3 Smoking Racks, 30-inch, Black
Maintenance and Clean Up is easy
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Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, 30″, Black
Temperature and time are easy to set
Latched and sealed door
No glass to get dirty
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Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker, Deluxe, Silver
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Cuisinart COS-118, Vertical Charcoal Smoker, 18″
Able to smoke a large amount of food
Side access door for easy use
Wide temperature range
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Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite
Good value for money
Build quality could be better
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Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
Twin grates double the capacity of the smoker
Easy access to the charcoal ring during smoking
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1. Traeger Grills Pro Series 780 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker with WIFI Smart Home Technology
Last year one of my friends bought a Traeger Grills Pro Series 780 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker with WIFI Smart Home Technology. Traeger Pro 780 with its barrel-chested primary cooking chamber and a rich array of mechanical upgrades. It is the best entry level smoker grill. Let’s have a look at some of its specifications and know why it is considered the best entry level pellet smoker.
- A large 780 square inches of cooking space
- D2 drive train
- Innovative WiFi monitoring app
- Superior build quality
There is a lot to love in the heavy-duty build quality and engineering of the Traeger Pro 780. Though, if there is a complaint to be made about the construction and engineering, it’s the wheels of the cart base.
The casters are a little too small for a grill this big, and the two wheels have an almost perfectly smooth texture, making it nearly impossible to roll this 146-pound wood pellet grill across uneven terrain.
Ease of Assembly
This wood pellet grill tips the scales at 146 pounds when it comes to assembly. So, you absolutely will need one, if not two, friends to help you put it together. The Traeger Pro 780 is also a little complicated to put together.
The temperature range of the Traeger Pro 780 can go as low as 180 degrees, which is low enough to let you play with “Cold Smoking” techniques. You can genuinely smoke shellfish, salmon fillets, and fresh sausages. However, it might not be the perfect option for cold-smoking bacon or hard cheeses.
The Traeger Pro 780 offers an impressive 780 square inches of cooking space inside the hollow primary cooking chamber.
Ease to Clean
Like the bulk of Traeger’s line, the Traeger Pro 780 was engineered to be easy to clean. The grates scrape down in an instant, and the interior contours of the lower smoking chamber do an excellent job of diverting drippings into the grease management system.
The WiFire app is compatible with both Android and IOS smartphones. It lets you monitor the temperature of the meat being cooked and its relationship to the temperature of the smoke.
The Traeger Pro 780 comes with a three-year warranty. This is a little sparse compared to some direct competitors offering 5-year warranty coverage for similar models.
2. Masterbuilt MB20070210 Analog Electric Smoker with 3 Smoking Racks, 30 inches, Black
Looking for the best entry level electric smokers for you and your family? You’ve come to the right place. Masterbuilt MB20070210 Analog Electric Smoker is the best entry level smokers grill. It has three smoking racks – giving you a good amount of space.
The variable thermostat temperature control lets you set the smoking temperature to your desired reading with ease, and the unit’s built-in thermometer keeps it running at the setting you choose. The smoker includes an interior wood-chip tray and water pan.
This Masterbuilt electric smoker represents the company’s intro model. It’s bare bones, but it does the job. One thing to note is that you must open the cabinet up to add smoke chips. As such, you’ll lose a bit of heat when doing so.
Masterbuilt electric smokers are manufactured to give acceptable smoked food results at a price that won’t break the bank. When I say this, I mean that the base units average a cost of between $100 and $400.
Durability and Value
If kept covered and out of the elements, your Masterbuilt electric smoker should last a long time. The lower-end units are not meant to be daily use workhorses, but the average cooking volume of these electric smokers doesn’t allow for high volume anyway. These electric smokers are meant for average-sized families who enjoy smoked food.
Maintenance and Clean Up
As with any smoker, the prep work you do up front makes a ton of difference in how much work you wind up doing after the cook. Placing your meat in disposable aluminium pans or placing one at the bottom of your Masterbuilt electric smoker will catch drippings and keep clean-up at a minimum.
Getting Smoke Flavor
Please understand that regardless of manufacturer, electric smokers produce food that has mild to medium smoke flavour at best. I amp up my smoke levels by selecting woods like hickory, oak. or pecan. Fruit woods like apple, peach, and cherry produce relatively mild smoke flavours.
3. Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, 30″, Black
In this article, I will explain many of the smokers out there to help you choose the right one for your specific needs. This time around, we’re looking at what you might call a “plug ‘n’ play” model in our Masterbuilt 30 Electric Smoker review.
There are many good electric smokers out there, and the Masterbuilt 30 is one of the most popular, and I’ll explain all the reasons to prove it below. OK, let’s take a deep dive into the details.
The smoker comes well-packed in Styrofoam, and all the racks are wrapped and tied into place. There should be minimal risk of damage from shipping. Once out of the box, it looks a lot like a small bar fridge, short, black, and sturdy.
It sits very low to the ground, and it’s immediately apparent you’re going to be doing a lot of stooping and squatting as you load and unload food and tend to the chips. Appearance-wise, there’s not a lot going on here. It looks very basic, without any unnecessary design elements or bits sticking out.
Electric Heating Element
If gas is out of the question, and you don’t want to mess around with charcoal, electric smokers let you smoke to your heart’s content. It’s easy to start and control, it gets up to temperature in a hurry, and you can still use real wood smoking chips.
Insulated Body and Door Seal
The body is fully insulated, which means minimal heat loss, more consistent temps, and more consistent cooking times. The door is also nicely sealed. This is especially useful for those of us who live in places where it cools off in the fall and winter.
Knowing what temperature your smoker is running at is one of the keys to good smoking. It is imperative to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the process, and having a built-in thermostat helps to hold your desired degrees.
Top-Mounted Digital Control Panel
All the information you need is displayed in the most convenient location, right on the top of the smoker. Your fingers will be well clear of any hot spots as you set your time and temperature, and it’s easy to check on.
Side Wood Chip Loading System
Opening the door causes heat and smoke loss and adds time to your smoking. To minimize the need for accessing the smoking chamber, the convenient chip loading system allows you to access the wood chip pan from the side of the smoker without having to open the door.
The latch mechanism pulls the door tightly shut and locks it in place. There is no chance you’re going to open it and lose your heat accidentally, and it makes a tight seal to keep all the smoke inside where it belongs.
4. Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker, Deluxe, Silver
Everyone loves firing up a woodfired smoker, but sometimes you just can’t beat the sheer convenience and simplicity that an electric smoker offers. That’s especially the case when you’re new to smoking and just looking to get started and get grilling and get in the game.
In our search for the Best Smoker for Beginners, we gravitated toward electric smokers. The Charbroil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker Deluxe stood out to use. Keep reading to see the smoking-hot stuff we love about the Digital Electric Smoker – and why it’s the best home smoker for beginners.
At a Glance
- 725 square inches of cooking space
- Double-steel wall insulation
- It weighs 50 pounds (relatively light)
- 800 watts/275– 285F max temp
- Internal Meat Thermometer Probe included
- Remote Control
- Wheels on the bottom make it easy to move
Vertical smoker designs are beneficial for a few reasons. They bring the heat more evenly and consistently than an offset smoker or grill. The 725 square inches of cooking space are spread out over 4 chromed racks, each large enough for a full rack of ribs.
It has some very nice wheels, which make moving it around your backyard and deck super easy. Another thing that really sets the DES apart is that it also comes with a meat temperature probe and thermometer for monitoring either the internal temperature or ambient cooking temperature.
Charbroil used double steel-walled insulation on DES. This build and installation are so effective that it actually keeps the exterior of the smoker cool to the touch – even when it’s a blazing 265 inside.
Charbroil says this extreme insulation makes the DES 10x more efficient at burning wood chips than a “regular” smoker and that a single 4-cup fill of wood chips can smoke for a full 7 hours.
Control Panel and Remote Control
You can easily adjust any of these settings with the Up and Down buttons on the control panel, and there is also a button for toggling the interior light on or off. Once you start setting these modes up, however, is when things need to be clarified.
5. Cuisinart COS-118, Vertical Charcoal Smoker, Black
The Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical 18″ Charcoal Smoker is designed in the mould of other competitor vertical smokers. Yet it also has a few minor differences, which make it easier to best entry-level offset smokers.
- Able to smoke a large amount of food
- Side access door for easy use
- Wide temperature range
- Above average warranty
The Cuisinart COS-118 Charcoal Smoker is made from modest gauge thick steel. The two 18-inch internal grill grates are made from stainless steel, which can be a little bit sticky. The front access door feels flimsy. It doesn’t come with a dedicated drip tray, which isn’t necessarily a big deal.
Ease of Assembly
When it comes to assembly, the Cuisinart COS-118 Charcoal Smoker is relatively simple, and the instructions are easy to read. You can expect to put it together in 45 minutes to an hour.
To start with, you want to remove the body and lid sections. With a vertical charcoal smoker, you want to use something other than lighter fluid. The lingering odour will likely influence the flavour of the meat. It’s better to start a modest amount of charcoal in a charcoal chimney.
Set up this way, the smoker should reach and be able to hold around 250 degrees in about 15 to 20 minutes. If you prefer a lower fire, it can be dialled down to as low as 120 degrees. This allows you to do things like smoke fish fillets and even fresh sausages.
Each of the stainless-steel racks offers you a little over 254 square inches for a grand total of 508 square inches of cooking surface. This is more than enough to make up to six racks of ribs or two large butterflied chickens. You could even make a modest-sized flat brisket on each rack.
Ease to Clean
The Cuisinart COS-118 Charcoal Smoker is a little more work to clean up than, say, a barrel grill with an offset smoker box. Yet it’s not that bad. The grates can be easily scraped down. Once the fire is completely exhausted, you remove the body section of the smoker. The ash and spent coals can then be dumped into a metal bucket and sprayed with a little water.
The Cuisinart COS-118 Charcoal Smoker comes with a three-year warranty from the date of purchase. Just make sure that you register it within 30 days of making the purchase to be able to activate the warranty! This warranty is slightly better than some of its direct competitors.
6. Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite
Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill is one of the best charcoal smokers under $500. I have 3 smokers, and Char-Griller is one of them, and it works great. I’ll take you through everything you need to know about Char-Griller Akorn in our review.
I’ve been cooking on my Big Green Egg for several years, and I can attest to how great it performs and have recommended it to many people. The Akorn has 447 sq inches of cooking surface and can cook up to 27 burgers at a time
|Model||E16620 Akorn Kamado grill|
|Primary Capacity||302 square inches|
|Secondary Capacity||120 square inches|
Design: The Char-Griller Akorn Kamado is made from triple-walled, insulated steel. It retains heat fairly well, considering the low price and steel build. It has a 20-inch diameter cooking area which is equal to 314 square inches.
Build Quality: The cooking grates are made from cast iron and are very sturdy and make cooking very easy due to the great heat retention. There is even a small circle in the middle that is removable for adding coals.
Ease of use: The assembly of the Char-Griller Akorn is generally quite easy. There are good instructions that will help you spend roughly 30 – 60 minutes getting it ready to cook. As they are very well insulated, they will keep their heat very well.
7. Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
The Weber Smokey Mountain is one of the most popular charcoal-powered food smokers on the market and the best starter smoker. It has virtually revolutionized barbecue, bringing this and almost anything that can be smoked to the backyard reliably and easily.
- 5-inch cooking steel-plated grates for a total cooking area of 286 square inches
- One top and three bottom air vents
- Side-mounted thermometer
- Side-mounted silicon temperature probe access point
- Porcelain-coated lid, body and water pan
- Made in the United States by the Weber-Stephen Products Company
Easy access to fuel door
Weber recognized the problem and addressed it with the “fuel Door,” a rust-resistant aluminium hatch on the side of the smoker. Just open the door for easy access to the ring, toss in more charcoal or wood, and then close it up, all without disturbing your beautiful meat.
Four aluminium dampers
Good smoking and low ‘n’ slow cooking are all about controlling the airflow. Weber installed 4 rust-resistant aluminium dampers on this cooker, one at the top and three around the bottom. This is great for allowing you to fine-tune airflow for hitting and holding your temperature.
Sure, it has a small footprint, but by using two cooking grates, you can take advantage of the vertical space to smoke more meat at once—481 sq. In. Of cooking space in only an 18″ diameter smoker is impressive.
FAQs: Best Entry Level Smokers
What Is the Best Smoker for a Beginner?
Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker is the best entry level smoker for the beginner. It is easy to use and can be controlled without any difficulty. It is easy to set, and it comes with a remote control.
Remember that the key to a really great BBQ is to have fun, enjoy the company of your friends and family, and make delicious food. You don’t need an expensive smoker or the latest gadgets to do that.
I have discussed some best entry level smokers for beginners, and If this guide has helped take away some of the anxiety over buying your first smoker, we would love it if you shared it around.