5 Best BBQ Smokers 2021
Updated July 2021
Are you looking to take your grilling game to the next level this year? Or even if you’re just getting started, here are the top 5 highest reviewed smokers for you to check out. We’ve listed their best features, star ratings & a handy review from a verified purchaser.
You’ll be un-grill-ievable in no time!
In a hurry? Check out our top pick:
Verified Purchaser Review: I highly recommend the Chubby 3400!
I have smoked pork chops, turkey legs, ribs, Boston Butt and brisket in the short few months I have owned my Chubby 3400. I simply fire it up per the instructional video, prepare my meat of choice and cook! I have cooked up to 10 hours at 225 to 250 deg without having to add coals or water. The simplicity of the smoker is awesome and quality of food is spot on. The Chubby 3400 has exceeded my expectations.. If you are enthusiastic about backyard cooking you will enjoy the Chubby 3400.
Verified Purchaser Review: Great smoker
After looking at more smokers than I can count I found this beauty. I love it, since getting it I don’t even use the BBQ anymore! Once you get the hang of the vents you can dial it in and keep the temperature exactly where you want it. It’s small enough and with a propane tank you can take it camping. I couldn’t be happier with this product!
Verified Purchaser Review: Best smoker for your buck
Absolutely love my new smoker, I’ve had it for about a month now and cooked on it like 7 or 8 times already. Very easy to set up and easy to keep temps low for slow and low cooks. I will not eat ribs anywhere else now because mine are better! If you’re hesitant about not having enough space on this, don’t worry there is tons of room and it’s not hard on charcoal. You will never regret buying this smoker.
Verified Purchaser Review: Amazing Smoker!
Recently got the Cuisinart Vertical Propane Smoker and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to prepare for the first use. We’ve owned several smokers in the past, but this was the perfect size! Our smoked meats came out tasting like we were at a BBQ restaurant!
Verified Purchaser Review: Excellent Smoker
I purchased the ST last July and have smoked just about everything you can think of. My favorites are Brisket, Boston Pork Butts, and RIBS mmmm… I have been told by many people over these last few months that my ribs are the best they have ever had. I tailgate and pass them around to people I have just met. Friends and family know when I say “I’m smokin ribs today” they ask if I will have enough for them.
6 Considerations for the Best BBQ Smoker for You (A Buyer’s Guide)
Modern BBQ smokers come in a number of varieties: charcoal, wood, gas, and electric. While gas and electric smokers are a breeze to operate, you might prefer charcoal and wood smokers for the authentic smokey flavor and taste.
It can be a difficult choice to make, which is why we’ve compiled this buyer’s guide outlining the 6 key considerations to help you choose the best BBQ smoker for your needs.
#1 Fuel Type
Whether the smoker is fueled by charcoal, wood, gas or electric-powered, each comes with its own pros and cons. In general, one can think of it in terms of convenience vs authenticity.
Charcoal and wood smokers might require more labour and careful monitoring, but they’re well worth the effort if authentic smokey flavor is a must for you. However, if hassle-free meat smoking is what you’re after, gas and electric smokers will be right up your alley.
For some, wood and charcoal smokers are the only way to get the authentic smoked meat flavor. They are often considered the gold standard for that proper deep smoked taste.
In this regard, the Backwoods Chubby 3400 Vertical Charcoal Smoker brings award-winning quality BBQ to your backyard. Offering a total of 1,023 square inches of cooking area, it can smoke 8 racks of ribs, 3 briskets or 4 Boston butts at a time.
Meanwhile, the compact Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 22-Inch Charcoal Smoker provides 726 square inches of cooking area, ideal for smoking everything from pork to chicken to a full-sized turkey.
Gas smokers offer the best of both worlds: the convenience of electric smokers and the tender and smokey yet perfectly crusted meats of charcoal smokers. The portable gas fuel and relatively light smokers make them the ideal choice for camping and public cookouts.
The Camp Chef 18-Inch Smoke Vault Propane Gas Smoker features an easy matchless snap-ignition and locks in delicious smoked flavor in a variety of foods from ribs to salmon and even baked pies or breads, giving you plenty of versatility.
For a vertical propane smoker, the Cuisinart’s small base size and four 14-inch heavy duty wire racks in 30 inches of vertical cooking space makes it a great option for patios and outdoor kitchens.
Offering the ultimate convenience in meat smoking, electric smokers are pretty much a plug and play machine. All you need to do is turn on the electricity, add the food, set the temperature, and leave it to do the magic.
A brilliant option in this category, the Smokin Tex Pro Series Residential BBQ Electric Smoker provides the perfect set-it-and-forget-it smoking experience. The no-draft cooking environment ensures perfectly moist food every time.
Insulation is one of the key considerations when deciding on a smoker, as heat and smoke retention are essential for low-and-slow smoking. High-quality smokers use properly insulated thick metal that distributes the heat evenly throughout the cooking chamber and radiates it back for minimal temperature fluctuations.
Besides the 1-inch layer of insulation between the Backwoods Chubby 3400’s stainless steel interior and its powder coated steel exterior for better fuel efficiency and temperature control, its slam latch doors in the firebox and cooking compartment stays tightly closed to ensure minimal heat and smoke loss.
For enhanced insulation, the Smokin Tex Pro Series features a double wall that keeps it cool to the touch with a stainless steel construction made to weather the elements.
#3 Temperature Control
Maintaining the internal temperature of the smoker is essential for great BBQ, which makes temperature control one of the most important considerations when choosing a smoker.
If you’re looking to get a charcoal or wood smoker, it’s important to note that they usually use dampers or vents to adjust airflow through the cooking chamber, which affects the fire and internal temperature. This means ensuring that the dampers are easy to access and operate and made from durable, rust-resistant materials.
You can’t go wrong with the Camp Chef 18-Inch Smoke Vault — its adjustable heat control dial and three damper valves, one on the top and one on each side, maintains precise smoking temperatures and smoke level in your food.
As an option in the gas smoker category, the Cuisinart 36-Inch Vertical Propane Smoker features an adjustable gas supply that allows you to control the temperature with a rear vent for smoke control.
For a combination of convenience and precision, the Smokin Tex Pro Series offers exact temperature control from 100 to 250 degrees with zero effort needed on your part, thanks to the power of electricity.
#4 Built-in Thermometers
Smokers that come with built-in thermometers allow you to monitor the food temperature externally without risking heat loss.
The Backwoods Chubby 3400, Camp Chef 18-Inch Smoke Vault, and Cuisinart all feature an easy-to-read door-mounted thermometer, while the Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker comes with a silicone thermometer probe grommet that makes it easy to keep an eye on the internal ambient temperature.
#5 Temperature Range
A smoker’s temperature range greatly affects the kind of food you can cook in it. The ideal temperature for meat smoking is typically in the range of 200 to 220°F, but if you’re planning to smoke turkey, you might need to crank it up to 320°F.
You don’t want to buy the wrong smoker only to realize your mistake mid-cooking.
The Smokin Tex Pro Series reaches a temperature range of 100 to 250 degrees for easy slow-cooking, while the Camp Chef 18-Inch Smoke Vault goes from as low as 160 to 350 degrees for baking breads and casseroles.
Featuring an included heat diverter plate to keep the heat indirect, the Backwoods Chubby 3400 caters for low and slow cooking at temperatures between 180 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
#6 Water Pans
More like liquid pans, water pans hold water and other liquids such as apple juice, cider vinegar, and beer, to impart distinct flavors into your food.
Besides creating high levels of humidity inside the smoker to keep the food moist, water pans also help stabilize temperature by absorbing and radiating heat upward to even out the heat distribution. While not compulsory to operate a smoker, they’re definitely a helpful accessory to have.
The Backwoods Chubby 3400’s stainless steel water pan can be used to keep food moist while cooking or removed to use the smoker as a grill instead, for added versatility.
There are a variety of factors to consider when shopping for a BBQ smoker, but it all boils down to a simple matter of priorities and how much you’re looking to spend.
We hope this buyer’s guide inspires some ideas for the perfect BBQ in anticipation of the coming summer!
|Backwoods Chubby 3400||Camp Chef 18-Inch||Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain||Cuisinart 36-Inch||Smokin Tex Pro Series|
Cooking Area (sq in)
Smoker & Grill
Ease of Set Up