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Electric Smoker vs Wood – Which is Best? (Ultimate Guide)

Electric Smoker vs Wood – Which is Best? (Ultimate Guide)

Who doesn’t love BBQ? And to make great BBQ you need a good smoker. There are a lot of smokers on the market from wood-based, pellet grills, and electric ones. So let’s take a look at an electric smoker vs wood.

Electric smokers use electricity for heat in conjunction with wood chips in a smoker box, while wood smokers burn wood for smoke and heat. Electric smokers are easier to use, require less attention, and allow for precise temperature control. But wood smokers offer a more traditional smoke flavor.

Both types of smokers have their own pros and cons, yet comprehending the way they work and what makes them distinct can help you settle on an educated choice.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the mechanics of both wood and electric smokers, as well as discuss their respective advantages. Furthermore, we’ll explore temperature control capabilities in each type of smoker and examine various aspects such as portability, capacity, cost-effectiveness, and ease-of-use.

By the end of this article on electric smoker vs wood comparison, you will be better equipped to choose the perfect smoking solution that caters to your specific requirements while also satisfying your taste buds with perfectly smoked dishes.

Get ALL my Top Recommendations on Grills, Smokers, and BBQ Accessories with descriptions and direct links for easy browsing!

Top Budget Picks for Smokers by Category

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Table of Contents:

electric smoker vs wood lg

How Does a Wood Smoker Work?

A wood smoker is a popular choice among barbecue enthusiasts for its ability to infuse food with that authentic, smoky flavor.

The most common type of wood smoker is an offset smoker, which cooks food by burning wood and/or charcoal in the fuel compartment. In this section, we’ll explore how these traditional smokers work and why they’re still a favorite among many home chefs.

The Basics of Wood Smoking

In a typical wood smoker setup, you place your chosen fuel source (wood and/or charcoal) into the firebox located at one end of the cooking chamber.

As it burns, heat and smoke travel through the cooking chamber where your food is placed on grates above a water pan or drip tray.

This indirect method allows for low-temperature smoking over an extended period of time – perfect for tenderizing meats like pork butt or beef brisket.

Temperature Control in Wood Smokers

  • Vents: To regulate the temperature inside the cooking chamber, offset smokers have adjustable vents on both the firebox and chimney sides. By opening or closing these vents, you can control airflow through your smoker and maintain consistent temperatures throughout the cooking process.
  • Fuel Management: Another key aspect of temperature control involves managing your fuel source effectively – adding more when needed while avoiding excessive flare-ups from too much oxygen exposure.
  • Dampers: Some models also feature dampers within their design to help further fine-tune airflow during smoking sessions.

The Importance of Quality Fuel Sources

Wood smokers are favored for their ability to add a smoky taste to food, making it essential to utilize quality fuel sources like hardwood pellets or seasoned wood chunks.

To achieve this, it’s essential to use quality fuel sources like hardwood pellets or seasoned wood chunks. Various kinds of wood for smoking, including hickory, mesquite, applewood, and cherry, can bring unique tastes to your smoked dishes.

Benefits of Water Pans in Wood Smokers

In addition to providing indirect heat for low-and-slow cooking methods, many wood smokers also feature water pans within their design. These serve several purposes:

  • Maintaining Moisture: As the water evaporates during smoking sessions, it helps maintain moisture levels inside the cooking chamber which prevents meats from drying out.
  • Temperature Control: The presence of a water pan can help stabilize temperatures by absorbing excess heat when needed.
  • Catching Drippings: A drip tray placed beneath grates catches any rendered fats or juices that may fall during smoking sessions – preventing flare-ups and making cleanup easier post-cookout.

Wood smokers are an excellent way to cook food with a unique flavor, but electric smokers can provide convenience and ease of use. By contrast, electric smokers offer a convenient and user-friendly alternative.

How Does an Electric Smoker Work?

Electric smokers are designed to produce heat using an electrically powered heating element.

When turned on, electricity will travel through the heating element until the interior of the electric smoker reaches your specified temperature.

As that implies, you must have your electric smoker or pellet grill smoker located near a standard electric outlet. And yes, unless it voids the warranty with your brand, it’s fine to use a 14 gauge extension cord with most electric grills and smokers.

Nearly all electric smokers have a digital control interface where you can increase or lower the temperature. By adjusting the digital control interface, you can adjust the amount of electricity running through the heating element – more when increasing temperature and less when decreasing.

One great thing about electric smokers is their ease of use compared to traditional wood and charcoal smokers. With just a few simple steps, you’ll be ready to start smoking delicious meats and other foods:

  1. Selecting your desired cooking temperature: Most models come with a digital controller that allows you to set precise temperatures for consistent results.
  2. Loading wood chips or pellets: Although not required for operation, adding wood chips or pellets enhances flavor by producing smoke similar to traditional methods. Many units include a dedicated tray for this purpose.
  3. Filling water pan (if applicable): Some models feature a water pan which helps maintain moisture levels during cooking and contributes to tender results.
  4. Placing food on racks: Arrange your meat or other items on stainless steel cooking racks within the unit’s chamber.
  5. Closing door/lid securely: Ensure proper seal before starting cook time in order to retain heat and smoke inside the chamber effectively.

In addition to these straightforward steps, many modern electric smoker models offer advanced features such as built-in meat probes that monitor internal temperatures without opening doors/lids – making them even more convenient than ever.

Maintaining Consistent Heat and Smoke

Electric smokers offer a distinct advantage over wood or charcoal-fired models in that they are designed to maintain consistent temperatures without the need for constant monitoring.

Unlike wood or charcoal smokers, which require constant attention to manage temperature fluctuations, electric units are designed for set-it-and-forget-it operation.

Most models come equipped with an integrated thermostat, ensuring that your smoker maintains a steady temperature during long cook times. This not only frees up time for other tasks but also contributes to more predictable results – especially important when slow-cooking meats like brisket or pork butt.

Power Source Considerations

It’s worth noting that because they rely on electricity as their primary power source, electric smokers do have some limitations compared to traditional wood and charcoal options.

For example, you’ll need access to an electrical outlet in order to use one – something that may be less convenient if you’re planning on smoking at a remote location such as a campsite or tailgate party.

Granted portable grills and smokers like the Traeger Tailgator on Amazon can be run off a car battery with a simple inverter like this one on Amazon that just plugs into a vehicle charging port and costs less than $40.

In addition, while most modern units are energy-efficient and won’t significantly impact your utility bill during regular use, it’s still important to factor in ongoing costs associated with operating any type of kitchen appliance over time.

Electric smokers are a great way to quickly and easily smoke food with minimal effort. However, wood smokers have their own unique benefits that should be considered before making your decision.

Benefits of Using a Wood Smoker

When compared to electric smokers, wood smokers provide several advantages that make them an attractive option for food enthusiasts. Let’s explore some of the key benefits of using a wood smoker.

Better Flavor

The most significant advantage of using a wood smoker is the superior flavor it imparts to your food. The burning wood and/or charcoal release flavorful compounds that infuse into your meat, resulting in delicious smoky flavors.

Utilizing a wood smoker rather than an electric one to smoke beef, chicken, pork or fish will guarantee the most scrumptious taste.

Versatility with Different Types of Wood

  • Hickory: A popular choice for smoking meats like ribs and brisket due to its strong flavor profile.
  • Mesquite: Known for its intense smokiness and often used when grilling or barbecuing Texas-style dishes.
  • Pecan: Provides a milder smoke flavor perfect for poultry and vegetables.
  • Fruitwoods (Apple, Cherry): Impart subtle sweet notes ideal for lighter meats such as fish or chicken.

Note that while many electric smokers support the use of wood chips or pellets for added flavor (source here on how to do so in an electric smoker), some models do not offer this feature at all. In some instances, it won’t be possible to experience the various smoky flavors that a classic wood smoker can provide.

Authentic Smoke Ring

A hallmark of perfectly smoked meat is the presence of a smoke ring – a pinkish-red layer just beneath the surface. This visual cue indicates that your food has been exposed to enough smoke and heat for an extended period.

Wood smokers are known for producing this desirable smoke ring, which may not always be achievable with electric smokers due to their lower levels of smoke production.

And of course, if we’re talking smoke rings, then we have to talk brisket.

Not sure how to get perfect smoked brisket every time? Luckily in that linked article, I cover everything you need to know. I have a handy cooking time chart based on the size of your brisket.

But I also talk about whether you should spritz or wrap your brisket, and some insider tips from my fellow Texan Aaron Franklin.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Better Heat Retention and Distribution

Wood smokers, especially those made from heavy-duty materials like thick steel or cast iron, offer better heat retention and distribution compared to their electric counterparts.

The ability to maintain consistent temperatures throughout the cooking process ensures evenly cooked meats with optimal moisture content. Additionally, wood smokers can reach higher temperatures than most electric models, making them suitable for searing or grilling as well.

The benefits of using a wood smoker are numerous, from the smoky flavor it imparts to its convenience and affordability. However, electric smokers have their own advantages that should be considered before making your decision.


Key Takeaway: 

Wood smokers provide superior flavor and versatility with different types of wood, such as hickory, mesquite, pecan, and fruitwoods. They also produce an authentic smoke ring and offer better heat retention and distribution compared to electric smokers. Using a wood smoker is ideal for achieving delicious smoky flavors in your meat while maintaining consistent temperatures throughout the cooking process.

Benefits of Using an Electric Smoker

While traditional wood smokers have their own charm, electric smokers offer a range of benefits that make them an attractive option for many home chefs and food enthusiasts.

In this part, we’ll investigate the benefits of using an electric smoker as opposed to a wood one.

Ease of Use

One major advantage of electric smokers is their ease of use. Unlike wood or charcoal-based systems, there’s no need to constantly monitor and adjust the heat source in order to maintain consistent temperatures.

Simply set your desired temperature on the control panel, load up your meat (or other foods), and let the electric heating element do its job while you sit back and relax.

Better Temperature Control

In addition to being easier to operate, electric smokers provide more precise temperature control than their wood-fired counterparts.

With digital controllers allowing users to dial in specific cooking temperatures within a wide range (usually between 100°F-275°F), achieving consistent results becomes much simpler compared with managing open flames or burning coals.

No Need for Constant Fuel Management

  • Fuel Source: Since they rely on electricity as their primary power source rather than combustible materials like wood or charcoal, there’s no need for constant fuel management when using an electric smoker.
  • Safety Concerns: This also eliminates some safety concerns associated with handling hot coals or exposed flames during long smoking sessions – making it especially appealing for those new to cooking with smoke.
  • Cleaner Operation: Another bonus: without ashes from burnt fuel sources, electric smokers are generally cleaner and easier to maintain than wood or charcoal models.

Consistent Results

As mentioned earlier, the precise temperature control offered by electric smokers translates into more consistent results when smoking meats, fish, poultry, and other foods.

This is particularly important for dishes that require low-and-slow cooking methods like smoked pork butt, where maintaining a steady temperature over an extended period of time is crucial for achieving tender, flavorful results.

Versatility in Cooking Methods

In addition to traditional hot smoking techniques (where food is cooked at temperatures between 225°F-250°F), many electric smoker models also offer options for cold smoking (typically below 100°F).

This is perfect for adding smoky flavor to cheeses or cured meats without actually cooking them. Some units even come with built-in features such as meat probes or programmable timers that further expand their versatility in the kitchen.

While there’s no denying the appeal of classic wood-fired flavors imparted by traditional smokers, it’s clear that electric smokers have plenty to offer those seeking convenience and consistency in their smoked culinary creations.

Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster looking to simplify your process or just starting out on your smoke-cooking journey, an electric smoker could be just what you need.

Utilizing an electric smoker can be a great way to impart taste and texture to your dishes without the need for conventional wood smokers. Temperature regulation is a crucial factor when it comes to smoking, so let’s evaluate how electric smokers fare in comparison with the wood-burning kind.

Get ALL my Top Recommendations on Grills, Smokers, and BBQ Accessories with descriptions and direct links for easy browsing!


Key Takeaway: 

Electric smokers offer several advantages over traditional wood smokers, including ease of use, better temperature control, and no need for constant fuel management or safety concerns associated with handling hot coals or exposed flames during long smoking sessions. They also provide consistent results and versatility in cooking methods such as cold smoking.

Which is Better for Temperature Control – Electric Smokers or Wood Smokers?

Temperature control is a pivotal factor in the smoking process, as it can make or break the flavor and texture of your food. Both electric smokers and wood smokers have their own methods of temperature regulation, but which one offers better control? Let’s dive into this comparison.

Electric Smoker Temperature Control

Electric smokers are known for their ease of use when it comes to maintaining consistent temperatures.

They typically come with digital controllers that allow you to set your desired temperature within a specific range, usually between 100°F and 275°F (38°C to 135°C).

Once you’ve set the temperature, an electric heating element maintains it throughout the cooking process by adjusting its power output accordingly. This precise control ensures that your food cooks evenly without any risk of overcooking or undercooking.

Wood Smoker Temperature Control

In contrast, wood smokers, especially traditional offset models, require more hands-on involvement from the user to maintain stable temperatures.

You need to constantly monitor the firebox by adding wood or charcoal and adjusting air vents in order to regulate heat levels inside the cooking chamber.

The lack of automation means there’s more room for error; however, many experienced pitmasters argue that this manual approach allows them greater flexibility in achieving unique flavors through different combinations of fuel sources and vent settings.

The Verdict: Which One Offers Better Temperature Control?

  • Ease: If you’re looking for a more user-friendly option, electric smokers are the clear winner. Their digital controllers and automated heating systems make it easy to maintain consistent temperatures with minimal effort.
  • Flexibility: On the other hand, if you prefer having greater control over your cooking process and don’t mind putting in some extra work, wood smokers might be a better choice. They allow you to experiment with different fuel sources and vent settings to achieve unique flavors that can’t be replicated using an electric smoker.

Overall, electric smokers offer greater temperature control than wood smokers.

However, understanding how to properly manage the fuel source in each type of smoker is essential for achieving optimal results. Moving on to the next topic, let’s explore how wood management works in both types of smokers.

How Does Wood Management Work in Wood and Electric Smokers?

For both electric and offset food smokers, wood is going to be the source for smoke.

While it also serves as the source of heat for the offset smoker, that’s not the case for an electric smoker. Managing to feed the wood into your smoker plays a significant role when you decide to cook for long hours, especially when preparing dishes like brisket or pulled pork.

Wood Management in Offset Smokers

In an offset smoker, you’ll need to add wood or charcoal regularly throughout the cooking process. This ensures consistent heat levels and maintains adequate smoke production.

The difficulty lies in controlling the temperature and monitoring how much fuel has been used.

  • Maintain proper airflow: Make sure there’s enough air circulation within your offset smoker by adjusting vents accordingly.
  • Add fuel consistently: Keep adding fresh wood chunks or charcoal at regular intervals during smoking sessions.
  • Avoid overloading with fuel: Adding too much fuel can lead to excessive temperatures and uneven cooking results; always keep a balance between desired temperature range and the amount of added fuel.

Wood Management in Electric Smokers

The process of managing wood in an electric smoker differs from that of its traditional counterpart due to its reliance on electricity as its primary heating element. As such, you won’t have direct control over how quickly your chosen type of hardwood burns down.

Instead, this responsibility falls upon your device’s internal thermostat settings (as well as any additional external controllers).

  • Choose the right wood: Opt for hardwood pellets or chips specifically designed for electric smokers, as they’ll produce optimal smoke levels and flavor profiles.
  • Load the wood tray correctly: Follow your smoker’s guidelines on how to properly load its designated wood chip tray, ensuring even distribution of heat and smoke throughout your cooking chamber.
  • Maintain proper moisture levels: Some electric smokers come equipped with a water pan that helps maintain consistent humidity within the cooking area. Just make sure to keep it filled according to manufacturer recommendations during extended smoking sessions.

Wood management in wood and electric smokers is a complex process that requires skill and patience to master. As such, it’s important to understand the differences between these two types of smokers before making your decision on which one best suits your needs.

Next, we’ll look into what renders each type more convenient than the other.

Get ALL my Top Recommendations on Grills, Smokers, and BBQ Accessories with descriptions and direct links for easy browsing!

What is More Portable; a Wood Smoker or Electric?

When it comes to portability, electric smokers have the upper hand over wood smokers.

Electric smokers are generally smaller and lighter than their wood counterparts, making them easier to transport from one place to another. This makes them an excellent choice for those who want the flexibility of moving their smoker around with ease.

Being able to use your smoker at home and then bring it over to a friend’s house for special occasions ensures that you get more value out of your investment. Conversely, wood smokers tend to be bulkier and heavier, making them more difficult to transport.

  • Size: Electric smokers typically have a compact design that takes up less space compared to traditional wood smokers. This means they’re ideal for small patios or balconies where space may be limited.
  • Weight: The absence of heavy materials like cast iron in most electric models results in a significantly lighter weight compared with wood-fired units. This makes carrying and maneuvering an electric smoker much simpler.
  • No open flame: Since there’s no need for burning charcoal or wood as fuel in an electric unit, there’s also no open flame involved during cooking sessions. As such, many apartment complexes allow these types of devices on balconies while prohibiting traditional grills due to fire safety concerns.

If you frequently travel or enjoy tailgating events before sports games or concerts, some portable electric smoker models even come equipped with wheels and handles specifically designed for easy transportation (check out this list).

And as I mentioned above, electric smokers still have to be plugged in.

But portable grills and smokers like the Traeger Tailgator on Amazon can be run off a car battery with a simple inverter like this one on Amazon that just plugs into a vehicle charging port and costs less than $40.

If you want that signature smoky taste only attainable from wood smokers, there are some more compact and portable options available (check out these top-rated portable grills).

The wood smoker is more mobile than an electric one, yet necessitates greater effort for setup and operation. When considering which type of smoker holds the most food, there are a few factors that need to be taken into account.


Key Takeaway: 

Electric smokers boast portability due to their more compact size and weight, making them perfect for those who need mobility or have limited outdoor space. They’re ideal for those who want flexibility in moving their smoker around, while also being suitable for small patios or balconies where space may be limited. Additionally, electric models have no open flame, making them safer for use on balconies and other areas with fire safety concerns.

Which Type of Smoker Holds More – Wood or Electric?

When choosing a smoker, one important factor to consider is the capacity.

The capacity of a smoker will determine the amount of food you can smoke at once. In this section, we will compare the capacities of electric smokers and wood smokers.

Electric Smokers

Electric food smokers are available in different sizes, with most models allowing you to smoke between 30 to 100 pounds of meat at once depending on their exact capacity.

This range makes them suitable for small gatherings or family meals but may require some planning if you want to cook smaller items for larger groups or when smoking large cuts like a whole hog.

  • Easily accommodate up to 100 pounds of meat (depending on model)
  • Ideal for small gatherings and family meals
  • May require planning for larger events or bigger cuts

Wood Smokers (Offset)

In contrast, offset wood smokers are much larger and can accommodate significantly more meat than electric smokers.

They typically have a capacity ranging from 250 pounds up to an impressive 500 pounds. This makes them ideal for those who want to smoke large quantities of meat at one time, such as catering events or hosting big parties.

  • Larger cooking area with capacities between 250-500 pounds
  • Ideal for smoking large quantities at once
  • Better suited for catering events and big parties

In conclusion, it is clear that wood smokers typically hold more than electric smokers due to their larger capacity and natural smoke flavor.

Moving on, let’s explore the cost of these two types of smokers – what kind of smoker costs more?


Key Takeaway: 

Electric smokers can hold between 30 to 100 pounds of meat, making them ideal for small gatherings and family meals. On the other hand, wood smokers have a larger cooking area with capacities ranging from 250-500 pounds, making them better suited for catering events and big parties. Ultimately, the decision of which smoker to choose depends on your desired outcome and personal preference.

What Kind of Smoker Costs More – Wood or Electric?

When looking at the cost of smokers, there are several elements to take into account. Electric smokers generally have a higher initial price tag compared to wood smokers, but they also offer benefits in terms of ease of use and maintenance.

Let’s dive deeper into the costs associated with each type of smoker.

Initial Cost: Electric vs. Wood Smokers

Electric smokers, on average, tend to be more expensive than their wood counterparts due to the inclusion of advanced features such as digital temperature control and automatic timers.

However, prices can vary greatly depending on the brand, size, and additional features offered by different models. But certainly, with brands like Traeger, you are paying more for the name.

And despite Traeger being a great grill and smoker (I own an Ironwood 650), you may be able to find a better one for less by going with other brands.

In contrast, offset wood smokers, which lack these high-tech components typically found in electric models, often come at a lower initial cost.

The exception would be large offset units or those built on trailers for commercial purposes.

Maintenance Costs: Electric vs. Wood Smokers

  • Electric Smokers:
    • Easier maintenance due to fewer moving parts and less exposure to open flames;
    • The potential need for replacement parts like heating elements or digital controllers over time;
    • No fuel costs (e.g., charcoal or wood) other than electricity usage. But you will have to buy wood chips or pellets purely for wood smoke.
  • Wood Smokers:
    • Require more frequent cleaning due to ash and soot buildup;
    • No need for replacement parts like heating elements or digital controllers, but may require occasional repairs to vents or seals;
    • Ongoing fuel costs (e.g., charcoal or wood) throughout the life of the smoker.

In terms of maintenance, electric smokers generally come out on top as they are easier to clean and maintain. However, offset wood smokers can still be a cost-effective option if you’re willing to put in the extra effort required for upkeep.

Considering Other Factors: Which Smoker is Right for You?

Beyond just initial and maintenance costs, it’s important to consider other factors when choosing between an electric or wood smoker. For example:

  • Ease of use: Electric smokers offer simpler operation with set-and-forget functionality while wood smokers demand more hands-on attention during cooking;
  • Cooking results: Wood smokers often provide a richer smoky flavor compared to electric models which may not produce as much smoke;;
  • Versatility: Some electric models support adding wood chips/chunks for added flavor whereas others do not; meanwhile, most traditional wood/charcoal-based units allow you greater flexibility in your choice of smoking fuels.

Wood smokers may be pricier than electric ones, yet the convenience of an electric smoker might make it worth spending a bit more. On the other hand, what kind of smoker is easiest to use – wood or electric?

Get ALL my Top Recommendations on Grills, Smokers, and BBQ Accessories with descriptions and direct links for easy browsing!


Key Takeaway: 

Electric smokers tend to cost more initially than wood ones, but they provide advantages with regard to usability and upkeep. Maintenance-wise, electric smokers are easier to clean and maintain. However, offset wood smokers can still be a cost-effective option if you’re willing to put in the extra effort required for upkeep.

What Kind of Smoker is Easiest to Use – Wood or Electric?

Electric smokers are simpler to operate and maintain than wood smokers, making them the more user-friendly option. In this section, we will explore the reasons why electric smokers are easier to operate and maintain compared to their wood counterparts.

Setting Up the Temperature and Timer

Electric smokers make temperature control simple by providing digital interfaces where you can set your desired temperature and cooking time. Once these settings are in place, the smoker takes care of maintaining consistent heat throughout the cooking process.

This eliminates guesswork when trying to achieve optimal smoking conditions for your meat.

In contrast, using a wood smoker requires constant monitoring and adjustment of vents in order to regulate airflow and maintain stable temperatures inside the cooking chamber.

This can be challenging for beginners who may not yet have developed an intuition for how changes in vent position affect internal temperatures.

Maintaining Consistent Heat Levels

  • Electric Smokers: With their built-in heating elements, electric smokers ensure that heat levels remain steady throughout your cookout session without any intervention on your part. This means you can focus on other tasks while still achieving deliciously smoked meats with minimal effort.
  • Wood Smokers: On the other hand, managing heat levels in a wood smoker involves continuously adding fuel (wood or charcoal) as well as adjusting air vents – both activities demand close attention from users during long smoking sessions which could last several hours.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Another aspect that makes electric smokers easier to use is their relatively low maintenance requirements.

Since they don’t rely on burning wood or charcoal, there’s no need to clean out ash or soot after each use. Some models even feature removable drip trays for easy grease disposal, further simplifying the cleaning process.

Wood smokers, in contrast, require more frequent cleaning due to the buildup of ash and creosote inside the cooking chamber. This can be a time-consuming task which may deter some users from choosing this type of smoker over an electric model.

If you’re after a no-fuss experience with little maintenance required, an electric smoker is probably the way to go. While wood smokers offer authentic smoky flavors that many enthusiasts crave, their operation demands greater attention and effort compared to their electric counterparts.

Are Electric Smokers as Good as Regular Smokers?

Yes, electric smokers can be just as effective as traditional wood or charcoal smokers. They offer precise temperature control and convenience, making them suitable for both beginners and experienced users.

However, some purists argue that the flavor produced by an electric smoker is not quite the same as a wood-fired one.

Both types have their advantages; it depends on personal preference and needs.

Best Wood Smoker

The Pit Barrel Cooker Classic from Amazon is a popular barbecue smoker and grill that is designed to provide an exceptional cooking experience.

Over 1,100 reviews and almost all are 5-star!

The smoker features an 18.5-inch drum that is made from porcelain-coated steel, making it durable and resistant to rust and corrosion. It also comes with a number of other features that make it a great option for both beginners and experienced pitmasters.


  • Easy to use: Simple and easy-to-use design
  • Durable construction: Porcelain-coated steel construction makes it durable and resistant to rust and corrosion
  • Large cooking capacity: Easily fits 8 Racks of Ribs, 2-3 Pork Butts/Shoulders, Turkey Hangers allow for 2 16 lb Turkeys, with two hanging rods included
  • Versatile: Can be used as both a smoker and a grill
  • Everything Included: Comes with a variety of accessories, including a cover, ash pan, and hook remover
  • Consistent Temperatures: Excellent heat retention and consistent cooking temperatures


  • Smaller Capacity: May not be suitable for large gatherings or cooking large cuts of meat
  • Not Cold Weather Friendly: Can be difficult to regulate the temperature in extreme weather conditions
  • Poor Fitting Cover: Some purchasers reported the cover may not fit the smoker perfectly
  • Not Airtight: The smoker may be prone to leaking smoke or moisture during use
  • Time-Consuming to Assemble: Requires some assembly before use

Overall, the Pit Barrel Cooker Classic Package is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high-quality smoker and grill.

Its simple and easy-to-use design makes it a great option for beginners, while its durable construction and large cooking capacity make it suitable for experienced pitmasters as well.

However, it’s important to note that the smoker may have some drawbacks, such as difficulties regulating temperature in extreme weather conditions and the potential for smoke or moisture leaks during use.

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.

Best Electric Smoker

The Masterbuilt 40-inch Digital Electric Smoker from Amazon is a high-quality appliance that allows you to smoke your favorite meats, fish, and vegetables with ease.

Over 1,500 near-perfect reviews tell it all, at a price that won’t break the bank!

This smoker is equipped with a digital control panel that makes it easy to adjust the temperature and time settings, and it comes with four chrome-coated smoking racks that provide ample space to cook a variety of foods.


  • Easy to use and set up: Digital control panel for precise temperature and time settings
  • Large cooking capacity: with four chrome-coated racks (978 square inches of cooking space)
  • No Heat Loss: Convenient side wood chip loading system (can load without opening the smoker)
  • Meat Probe: Built-in meat probe thermometer for perfect cooking results
  • Easy Clean Up: Removable drip pan for easy cleaning
  • Durable construction: Sturdy construction with a powder-coated steel exterior


  • Controller Issues: Some users have reported issues with the digital control panel malfunctioning
  • Takes Time to Heat: The smoker can take longer to reach the desired temperature compared to other models
  • Wood Chip Hopper: The wood chip loading system can be difficult to use for some users
  • Heavy: The smoker is quite heavy and may be difficult to move around
  • Cover not included: The smoker does not come with a cover, which may be a problem for outdoor use (luckily you can grab this one on Amazon for under $40 bucks)

Overall, the Masterbuilt 40-inch Digital Electric Smoker is a great choice for those who enjoy smoking meats, fish, and vegetables at home.

Its large cooking capacity, digital control panel, and built-in meat probe thermometer make it easy to use and achieve perfect results every time.

However, users should be aware of some of the cons, such as potential issues with the digital control panel and the longer heating time compared to other models. Additionally, the smoker’s weight and lack of a cover may make it less convenient for outdoor use.

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.

Best Pellet Grill Smoker

Now to be fair, I own a Traeger (although I own more than 1 grill/smoker). But I was surprised as anyone to see this one as the #1 selling pellet grill/smoker on Amazon!

The Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill on Amazon features an innovative design that allows users to cook food with wood-fired flavor, ease, and consistency.

Here’s a detailed list of the pros and cons of the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill:


  • Large cooking surface: The grill offers a 573 square-inch cooking surface, making it an ideal choice for cooking for large groups of people.
  • Easy to use: The grill features a digital temperature control system that makes it easy to set the temperature and monitor cooking progress.
  • Wood-fired flavor: The grill uses wood pellets to cook food, providing a smoky, wood-fired flavor that is hard to achieve with other types of grills.
  • Convenient ash cleanout system: The grill features an ash cleanout system that makes it easy to clean up after cooking.
  • Durable construction: The grill is made with high-quality materials, ensuring that it will last for many years with proper care and maintenance.
  • Multiple cooking options: The grill can be used for grilling, smoking, roasting, baking, and more, providing users with a versatile outdoor cooking appliance.
  • Great value for the price: The grill offers a lot of features and capabilities for its price point, making it a great value for the money.
  • Portable: At only 20 lbs, this thing is light and easy to move!


  • Pellet usage: The grill tends to use more pellets than other types of pellet grills, which can be expensive in the long run.
  • Temperature fluctuations: Some users have reported that the grill can experience temperature fluctuations, requiring frequent monitoring and adjustments during cooking. To be fair, I see that with my Traeger too, but it doesn’t really impact the finished product.
  • Assembly required: The grill requires some assembly before it can be used, which can be time-consuming and challenging for some users.

Overall, the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill is an excellent choice for those looking for a high-quality outdoor cooking appliance that can provide wood-fired flavor, versatility, and ease of use.

While it does have a few drawbacks, the pros far outweigh the cons, making it a great investment for anyone who loves outdoor cooking.

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon.


After exploring the differences between electric smokers and wood smokers, it’s clear that both have their advantages.

Wood smokers offer a more authentic smoky flavor but require more attention to temperature control and wood management. Electric smokers may be simpler to use and have more exact temp control, yet they might not provide the same smoky taste.

Ultimately, the choice between an electric smoker or wood comes down to personal preference and what you value most in your smoking experience. No matter your level of experience, there’s a smoker that can suit your needs.

On a budget and think a great smoker is out of your reach?

Think again! There are a lot of great smokers out there for not a lot of money. In that linked article, I share all the best smokers under $375 so you can get started smoking meats without breaking the bank!

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Top Budget Picks for Smokers by Category

Click any of those to see the current price on Amazon.

Photo by Gonzalo Guzman: and IMG_4941 by Jack is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped, edited, merged, and had a graphic and text overlay added.