The Pros, the Cons, and the Facts About the 10 Best BBQ Smokers For 2018.
If you have ever driven by a popular BBQ restaurant, chances are you’ve been lured in with the distinct aromas of smoked meat.
There’s just something about those authentic BBQ smells that instantly reminds us that it is ok to eat with our hands, get sauce on our faces and enjoy time with family and friends.
The art of smoking meats dates back to centuries ago and has only gotten better with time.
That is because, with such a wide variety of different smokers on the market, even the most novice griller can replicate the same great smoky flavors with much greater ease.
While most people have heard of a smoker or have eaten food that was cooked in a smoker, many people are unfamiliar with just how they work.
While the process may seem intimidating, it is actually quite simple.
Before we get started if you want to familiarize yourself on how a smoker works, I break down exactly how in this article: How Does A Smoker Work? – A Grillers Guide To Using An Outdoor Smoker.
In this best smoker article, we are going to look at a variety of the top bbq smokers available in 2018.
Top 10 Best BBQ Smokers Of 2018Click a topic below to be taken directly to that section.
- Why This Guide Will Be Helpful For You
- The Top 10 Best BBQ Smokers
- #1 Masterbuilt Front Controller Electric Smoker with Window and RF Controller
- #2 Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
- #3 Camp Chef 24 Inch Smoke Vault
- #4 Smoke Hollow Propane Gas Smoker with Window
- #5 Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker 18 inch Charcoal Smoker
- #6 Dyna-Glo 36 in. Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker
- #7 Memphis Advantage Plus Pellet Smoker
- #8 Camp Chef Woodwind SG 24 Pellet Grill And Smoker With Sear Box
- #9 Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker
- #10 Pit Boss Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker, 22″
- Smoker FAQ (Which Type Of Smoker Is Best For You?)
- Final Verdict – Which BBQ Smoker Is Best?
Why This Guide Will Be Helpful For You
Learning how to use a smoker and understanding how they cook is one thing, but picking out the perfect smoker is a whole other ballgame.
Deciding between the hundreds of options out there is the tough part.
For that very reason, I’ve searched out the top 10 BBQ smokers of 2018, to make it easier for you.
In my ongoing love for family gatherings and getting outside to enjoy summer barbeques, I reviewed a ton of smokers of all types and sourced out a wide range of excellent picks that cover the best of the best in smokers on the market today.
Everything from electric and propane smokers, to pellet smokers, Kamado smokers and authentic charcoal and wood smokers.
I’ve included several price points including high-end models down to budget-friendly smokers and many in between. I am confident that there is something here for everyone!
I’ve gone to extreme lengths to review all of the top smokers I could get my hands on from the best manufacturers.
When I couldn’t use a model personally, I did hours and hours of research and reached out to real, long-term users personally to get their feedback.
I can say with confidence that the below line up represents the best BBQ smokers you’re going to find on the market.
The Top 10 Best BBQ Smokers
I’ve compiled a list of the 10 best Smoker options to act as your guide to choosing the best one for your budget and needs.
“The list includes a variety of styles, options, prices, sizes, and features.
You should always perform your own due diligence, however. Never buy a smoker on sight and don’t be swayed by pushy salespeople before you find the perfect option.”
#1 Masterbuilt 20077515 Front Controller Electric Smoker with Window and RF Controller, 30-Inch
✅ 4 chrome cooking racks
✅ RF remote to control internal light, temperature, time, meat temperature, on/off
✅ Blue LED display
✅ Viewing window
✅ Front access drip pan
✅ Built-in meat probe
✅ Rear wheels
Breaking the stereotypical mold of smokers being a heavy cast iron grill, the Masterbuilt 20077515 is a high tech version of traditional smokers.
This electric smoker allows you to easily smoke multiple cuts of meat at once while still having room for some vegetables.
Masterbuilt has designed this smoker with the griller in mind, loading it up with many industry-leading features that make it no surprise that it is a customer favorite.
The 730 square inches of cooking space across the 4 chrome-coated racks allows you to smoke enough food for any occasion.
The 800-watt heating element and full foam insulation allow for a beautiful, even cook at any temperature.
This model includes a built in
With a blue LED display for easy temperature readings and Rf remote controls, you can easily monitor the temperature, time, and meat temperature near or far.
This is a great asset to have to avoid needing to hover near a smoker all day. You can stay inside and prep the rest of your meal while easily keeping an eye on your temperatures.
The easy to use design is also one of the best features on this smoker making controlling temperatures and maintenance an easy feat.
With a front access drip pan, you can easily remove and discard drippings at any time. The side and top air dampers make adjusting temperatures a breeze.
Unlike many heavy cast iron smokers, this electric smoker includes a handle and rear wheels for easy transportation.
At just a little over 50lbs, this smoker can be moved easily to anywhere you would like to smoke your food. It is also great for taking to the campsite or a tailgating event!
With all of the great features that this smoker provides, it is no surprise that it is at the top of our list.
Not having to sit around a smoker and keep an eye on temperatures allows the user to get other food prepped or stay out of the heat of summer.
If you are looking for a great solution for your past smoking problems, this grill is it.
#2 Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker, 725 Square Inch
✅ 4 removable racks
✅ Double-walled construction
✅ Stainless steel locking latch
✅ Blue LED display
✅ Removable temperature probe
✅ Glass viewing window
✅ Integrated handle
Coming in at a close second is another popular electric smoker, the Char-Broil deluxe digital electric smoker.
This smoker closely resembles the Masterbuilt with a windowed door black metal construction.
With 4 adjustable cooking racks that give you 725 square inches of internal cooking space, you can easily use this smoker for a small dinner or a large party.
The insulated, double wall construction ensures an evenly cooked meal every time. This also allows for you to get up to 7 hours of smoking out of the 4 cup capacity wood chip box.
Monitoring your temperatures is easy with the full-size glass window, removable temperature gauge, remote control, and blue LED display.
To prevent your foods from drying out and to add more moisture to your meats, this smoker features an easy to refill, porcelain coated water pan that easily slides into the smoker at any time.
This smoker comes in relatively lightweight at only 50 lbs. This weight coupled with the built in wheels and handle make it easy to take your smoker on the go.
A customer favorite feature of this smoker is the auto off and warming feature. This feature turns off your smoker when your food is done and keeps it warm until it is removed.
An easy to use drip pan is located on the side to make maintenance easy.
This Char-Broil electric smoker is a great way to let your smoker do all of the heavy
With digital controls and a remote control, temperature control is much easier than having to go out and check your thermometer all of the time.
The windowed door gives you the ability to check your meats without having to lift the lid and lose precious heat.
#3 Camp Chef 24 Inch Smoke Vault
✅ Heavy-duty steel exterior
✅ Three adjustable damper valves
✅ Easy to read door thermometer
✅ Two cooking grids and one Jerky Rack
✅ Matchless snap-ignition
✅ Convertible to Natural Gas
If propane is more of your style, then the Camp Chef 24 inch smoke vault should be on your list of smokers to check out.
Propane smokers have risen to the top as a customer favorite over the last decade as more and more grillers are making the switch to propane.
Propane smokers run similar to propane grills, only they heat up wood chips instead of directly cooking foods.
The Camp Chef smoke vault is our top pick in the propane smoker category due to the high-quality construction and features that is offers. Not to mention, the under $200 price tag!
Shaped just like it is named, a vault, this smoker features the popular stand up box design with a stainless steel door which looks great on any patio.
We all know that looks can be deceiving but that is not the case here.
The Camp Chef includes two adjustable cooking grids and one jerky rack to make smoking any foods a breeze. The included porcelain base tray allows for a quick and easy cleanup.
The easy to read door thermometer and three adjustable damper valves allow you to easily read and control temperatures on the fly to ensure you are getting an even cook.
A protected burner delivers up to 18,000 BTUs for maximum heat control at any temperature.
Weighing in at 75 lbs, this smoker does not include wheels, so it is best placed in a semi-permanent spot. It does include handles if moving is necessary.
With its rigid design and multiple adjustable racks, this smoke vault easily tops the list as our favorite propane smoker.
The extra large door really helps this smoker utilize every square inch of cooking space available. With the included jerky rack, you get an added bonus with no additional cost.
Cooking tips, ideas, and recipes are also included.
#4 Smoke Hollow 38205GW 38-Inch Propane Gas Smoker with Window
✅ 4 chrome plated and adjustable cooking racks
✅ 2-Door design with viewing window
✅ 2 easily adjustable damper vents
✅Easy lite push button ignition
✅ Porcelain-coated wood pan and water bowl
✅Made from heavy-duty metal
Not far behind the Camp Chef is the Smoke Hollow 38205GW, a 38-inch propane gas smoker.
Coming in just slightly more expensive than the Camp Chef, the Smoke Hollow holds its own with its many user-friendly features.
As far as the main construction, this propane smoker is built like most with a high-quality steel and features a windowed door to allow for easy food monitoring without letting heat escape.
This door also includes an easy to read thermometer to keep a close eye on internal smoker temperatures.
The large 3.4 cu ft capacity is home to 4 chrome plated cooking grids with multiple adjustment levels for fitting any sized meats into it.
This is a great smoker for cooking for a small or larger crowd.
Below the cooking area is another door, which allows easy access to the porcelain, coated water bowl and wood pan.
This is much appreciated when having to add more wood chips or refilling your water pan during cooking.
Starting this smoker is easy thanks to the cast brass burner and push-button ignition.
The smoke hollow smoker just barely missed out top spot mainly due to the cooking space available when compared to the Camp Chef.
The windowed top door and fuel access bottom door makes for an easy to maintain cook and gives the smoker a very nice look.
The 4 adjustable racks do allow for multiple configurations for differently sized meats. Overall, this is a great propane smoker for those wanting to cook small or large meals.
#5 Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 18 inch Charcoal Smoker
✅ 2 nickel-plated cooking grates
✅ Made of porcelain-enameled steel
✅ Heat-resistant nylon handle
✅ Rust-resistant aluminum heat shield
✅ Built-in thermometer
✅ Vents on bowl and lid
If you like the old school charcoal method, our top recommendation would be the Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain charcoal smoker.
This bullet smoker is the top-rated charcoal smoker in its class with almost 2000 reviews on Amazon at the time of this article. 96% of these reviews are either 4 or 5-star reviews.
Weber is so confident in their grills, that they offer a 10-year warranty on this Smokey Mountain cooker.
These bullet style smokers usually have less cooking space than propane and electric smokers but this Weber still has an impressive 481 square inches of cooking space across 2 nickel plated 18 ½ wide cooking grates.
This smoker also features some of the same design elements seen across the board such as a built in thermometer, porcelain enameled water pans, and easy to use vents.
The main difference with charcoal smokers is that they usually have a hinged or removable lid unlike the doors found on propane and electric smokers.
They do however have either a front or side access door for charcoal and water replacement.
At only 40 lbs and no need to plug it into an electrical outlet or propane tanks, the versatility of a charcoal smoker makes them very popular for those wanting to smoke their food just about anywhere outdoors.
Coming in at #1 for all of the right reasons, the Smokey Mountain cooker is a staple in the BBQ community.
With nearly 2000 amazon reviews at the time of this article, it’s no surprise that this was a clear winner.
The simplicity of the smoker combined with the features everyone needs makes this the perfect all in one charcoal smoker from the leader in the industry.
#6 Dyna-Glo 36 in. Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker
✅ Stainless steel body
✅ Dual door design
✅ Cast iron burner (15,000 BTUs)
✅ Adjustable, removable racks
✅ Electronic pulse ignition system
✅ Charcoal and ash management system
✅ Heavy gauge, porcelain-enameled steel chip box
✅ Integrated thermometer
When it comes to charcoal smokers, there are bullet smokers and offset smokers.
Our runner-up in the charcoal smoker category is a Dyna-Glo Vertical offset charcoal smoker.
This smoker looks similar to a cabinet style smoker, however, the smoke box is offset instead of below the meat. This allows for a better slow cooking by keeping direct heat away from the food.
Built to last, this smoker is constructed of heavy-duty steel that has been powder coated with a high-temperature powder for a long-lasting smoker.
The Dyna-Glo smoker features 6 adjustable cooking grates for a total of 1176 square inches of total cooking space. Each grate has a 25 lb capacity for a total capacity of 150 lbs of food.
On the smoker itself, you will find an easy to read thermometer and a smokestack to regulate your temperatures.
Inside the smoker box, you will find a charcoal chamber that Dyna-Glo has designed to keep your charcoal briquettes together for maximum efficiency
Weighing in at 57 lbs and sporting two heavy duty handles, this smoker is ready to be taken to wherever your next BBQ is.
Although it is larger, it makes great use of all of its room by utilizing an offset smoker box. This allows for a very large smoking cabinet with 6 removable racks that come in handy for all sizes of BBQ.
This is a great charcoal smoker for those wanting a more permanently located smoker that has the capabilities of smoking large numbers of meats.
#7 Memphis Advantage Plus Pellet Smoker
✅ Double Wall, 430 Stainless Steel Construction
✅ Convection System
✅ Intelligent Temperature Control with Wi-Fi
✅ Indirect and Direct Flame Modes
✅ Temperature Range: 180- 650 ° F
✅ Automatic Auger
✅ 12 lb. pellet hopper
✅ Proudly Made In The USA
If you have money to spare, the Memphis Advantage Plus pellet smoker might be the smoker for you. At nearly $2,800, this grill is top of the line.
This pellet grill looks very similar to a standard gas grill however, it functions very differently.
The 430 stainless steel construction gives this smoker a great look that will stand up to the test of time in any kind of environment
Cook a wide variety of items easily on the 420 square inch cooking surface and with the additional grates available for purchase, you can increase this to 970 square inches.
The 12-pound capacity pellet hopper gives you up to 62 hours of cooking time. This is very handy when you want to get straight to cooking and not have to worry about refilling your pellets.
Taking their smoker to the next level, they have integrated a wifi controller to allow for full control of your smoker through a smartphone app.
This smoker is very heavy at 186 lbs due to its high-quality construction but it does have wheels for easy maneuvering.
Pellet grills are one of the newest ways to smoke meats and can be a great way to save time when cooking your food.
The Memphis Advantage pellet grill offers various industry-leading features including a wifi controller to fully control your grill.
#8 Camp Chef Woodwind SG 24 Pellet Grill And Smoker With Sear Box
✅ Ash Purge For Easy Cleanout
✅ Pellet Hopper Cleanout/Purge
✅ Inner probe and temperature display
✅ Smart Smoke technology
✅ Grease Management System
✅ Dual LED temperature display
✅ 160º F up to 500º F temperature range
✅ Includes 2 meat probes
Coming in second and at about a third of the price in the best pellet smoker category is the Camp Chef Woodwind SG 24 pellet grill and smoker with sear box.
If you are looking for a smoker that can easily smoke any type of meat plus grill, bake, roast, and barbeque, then look no further than this grill.
Designed to be a versatile grill, you can cook whatever you need at temperatures ranging from 160°F up to 500°F.
The 570 square inch cooking area allows for cooking large meals such as whole chickens, ribs, turkeys, and briskets.
Get the perfect seared barbeque finish on your food with the included sear box. This box can reach up to 900°F to caramelize and crisp the surface of your food.
This is a great way to finish off any smoked meats.
Exclusive to the Camp Chef Woodwind grill, the patented ash cleanout allows for you to easily clean your grill between cooks by the pull of a lever.
This eliminates the need for scraping or using a Shop Vac to remove your ash.
Finishing off the features is one of the more innovative additions to this smoker, the Smart Smoke Technology.
A digital temperature control and automatic auger feed pellets into the grill to keep a constant heat and to produce to correct amount of smoke. It’s as easy as setting it and letting it run.
Efficiency and ease of use are the big drivers of success with pellet grills.
The Smart Smoke technology in the Camp Chef Woodwind grill secured this grills spot as our runner-up.
The integration of digital and automatic features, coupled with the versatility of the grill itself, makes this grill an easy to use addition for even the most novice griller.
#9 Char-Griller 06620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker
✅ Triple Wall Steel Build
✅ 20″ Cooking Diameter
✅ Cast Iron Cooking Grate
✅ Removable Warming Rack
✅ 2 Adjustable Dampers
✅ Easy Dump Ash Pan
✅ Folding Side Shelves
✅ Large 8″ Locking Caster Wheels
For those wanting to go the Kamado route, our #1 choice is going to be the Char-Griller 06620 Akorn Kamado Cooker.
Kamado cookers usually have a smaller cooking area than other styles of cookers but are usually more efficient with both heat and fuel.
This cooker features a 314 square inch primary cooking space while the warming rack allows for an additional 133 square inches.
The 22 gauge steel body is insulated for maximum efficiency which uses less charcoal and less airflow.
This allows for a juicier, more evenly cooked meat. An adjustable top damper and bottom damper allow for easy heat maintenance.
Weighing in at only 98lbs, the
For convenience, the two
With the rising popularity of Kamados, Char-Griller tops our list with the 16620
The decent cooking area of 447 square inches and insulated design allows for cooking more food at maximum efficiency to reduce fuel usage and cooking times.
The built in wheels and foldable shelves make for easy transporting and storage to take your Kamado anywhere you desire.
#10 Pit Boss 71220 Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker, 22″
✅ Heavy Duty Ceramic Body
✅ Two-tiered Stainless Steel Grates
✅ Cast Iron Calibrated Damper
✅ Shock-Absorbing Lid Plunger
✅ 2 Folding Bamboo Side Shelves
✅ 4 Heavy Duty Swivel Casters And Wheels
Coming in at a close second in the Kamado grill category is the Pit Boss 71220 BBQ ceramic grill cooker.
This smoker is built very similarly to the
Built from heavy-duty ceramic, the Pit Boss Kamado is made to hold heat in to create a more efficient burn for your charcoal.
The solid bamboo shelves on each side provide a rigid support for any food or utensils. These shelves also fold down to easily store your grill.
Dual tier 22” cooking grates give you plenty of cooking space to cook for you or your family.
Heat control is made easy with the cast iron calibrated damper and easy to read, built-in thermometer.
Coming in at a close second as a top Kamado grill and securing the #10 spot on our best bbq smokers, the Pit Boss 71220 give you an easy to use smoker/grill.
With a heavy ceramic body, a bamboo handle, and bamboo shelves, this grill is made from the highest quality materials.
Cook many different types of foods at the same time with the two-tiered, stainless steel grates. The integrated locking wheels make for easy moving and storing.
This grill would be perfect for the average griller who enjoys smoking meats.
Smoker FAQ (Which Type Of Smoker Is Best For You?)
Before making a choice on a smoker, it pays to understand your wants and needs.
Ask yourself what types of meats do you plan on cooking the most, and how much time and energy do you want to invest while cooking?
For some who crave the flavor of smoked meats but don’t have the time to babysit a smoker all day, a pellet smoker, electric smoker or a propane smoker may be a better choice.
For others, it is not only about the end results, but the challenge of getting there that makes it all worthwhile. A charcoal or Kamado smoker is more likely your cup of tea in this case.
The below often asked questions and answers will help you decide if a smoker will be the best choice for you, but more importantly, they will help you decide which type of smoker best fits what you need.
What Type of Smoker Best Suits Your Needs?
Each smoker type offers different styles of cooking, different functions, different amounts of interaction and even different flavors.
So to find the perfect smoker for you, let’s do a quick break down of each type.
Electric smokers seem to be all the rage recently. They’re also newer to the market compared to most other types of smokers.
They are one of the easiest ways to smoke meat. They don’t even produce a flame but instead utilize electricity sent to a heating element that sits under a wood tray.
Basically, you just plug it in, select the temperature you want to cook your food, and your smoking meat in no time.
Propane smokers are one of the most popular versions of smokers on the market and perfect for someone who desires a simple to use, hands-off approach to smoking.
Not only that, you won’t get the mess you get from a charcoal smoker (they are simple to clean) and you won’t be tied to one location like an electric smoker.
Factor in the fact that they are pretty inexpensive, and it’s easy to see why propane smokers appeal to many.
For the traditionalist or someone who craves the authentic wood smoked flavor that only a charcoal smoker can produce, there are no other options!
Being the most popular form of smoking meat, and the one that has been around the longest, they produce the greatest flavor!
There are several different design options to choose from like drum smokers or vertical smokers and offset smokers.
Charcoal smokers come with the largest learning curve and the most interaction, as you have to start and sustain the fire and learn how to control and maintain the proper temperature.
Clean up is a chore and not one that not everyone is interested in.
All the hard work pays off in the form the authentic smoke meat they produce and offer excellent bragging rights to everyone you know.
While pellet smokers popularity is on the rise, they are still the least used smoking option today.
With the many advancements in pellet grill technology, that has already started to change.
They are a great option for beginners just learning to smoke meats.
They not only provide evenly cooked and great tasting foods, but they are also super hands-off as far as maintenance and require little to no prior meat smoking experience to produce excellent tasting food.
Kamado smokers are incredibly versatile and can be used for a variety of cooking methods. Everything from grilling to barbequing, baking, roasting, searing and smoking.
They are usually made from heavy-duty duty ceramic or metal and do an incredible job of creating and maintaining heat. They are also very fuel efficient.
I personally love my Big Green Egg Kamado style cooker and use it at least three times a week for grilling and smoking.
They are a great option for any serious outdoor cook. They are a long-term outdoor cooking investment.
Final Verdict – Which BBQ Smoker Is Best?
There are plenty of really good bbq smokers across the many different styles on this list, and each of them can produce excellent smoked foods.
After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of which smoker best fits your needs.
Don’t forget to take into account what you will be smoking, what fuel you would like to use, how much effort you want to put into it and how much room you have to add a smoker to your patio, deck, etc.
Without question, the top smokers on this list offer quality and high performance in the BBQ smoking world!
Most of them are loaded with features that will help you take your smoking game to the next level.
Some of the options take out the hard work associated with babysitting a fire while creating perfectly smoked meats.
Others require a more hands-on approach and offer the added pride of a meal well done. Whatever your style, these smokers will get the job done!
Now It’s Your Turn
Which outdoor smoker have you used before?
Have you used any of the BBQ smokers on this list and have any tips to share?
What features do you typically like to see in a smoker?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.
If you still have questions, please feel free to send me a message.
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