The Best Electric Smokers Reviewed

(October 2020 Review)

Originally Posted May 26, 2020

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Our Winner

Bradley Smart Smoker with iSmoke Technology

This is a brilliant example of a top of the range electric smoker. One of the best things about this smoker is that it comes with two color-coded temperature probes. These probes are famously accurate and having multiple probes will allow you to keep track of temperature at different levels in the smoker. One of the only issues we found with this smoker is that given how big it is we would like to see a bit more power.

All in all, we believe that this is the best electric smoker on the market and it is a joy to use. The fact that you can control the whole smoking process remotely using the Bradley iSmoke app makes smoking a much more relaxing process.

Other Options

Royal Catering RCRO-1300 Food Smoker
1 Reviews
Royal Catering RCRO-1300 Food Smoker

The first thing that you will notice about this smoker is the high-quality polished stainless steel exterior and interior. This not only makes the smoker look very sleek and modern but also makes it much more resistant to corrosion and improves how hygienic the product is. The one negative that comes with this is how weighty it makes this smoker making it very difficult to transport.

Whether you are looking for a smoker for your homes or even for small businesses the RCRO-1300 is an excellent option. This is because of its large capacity coupled with the large heating element which means that it can cook lots of food in one go.

Bradley 4 Rack Digital Smoker
2 Reviews
Bradley 4 Rack Digital Smoker

One of the many great features included with this smoker is the automatic Smoking Bisquette system which takes away the hassle of manually adding wood chips to your smoker whilst cooking. Instead the smoker will automatically detect when the chip level is low and will add the correct amount. The one drawback with this system is that you can only use Bradley bisquettes

To conclude this smoker is great for all levels of chef because it takes the guesswork out of your smoking process. Your end product will be great no matter how skilled you are which really is a win-win!

What do I Need in an Electric Smoker?

Size and Capacity – Of course one of the main points when looking at the capacity of a smoker is the number of racks it has but you also need to think about the size. The number of racks you have won’t matter if you can’t fit what you want to cook onto one of the racks.

This is the kind of thing we often see when using 30-inch smokers. If you are looking to cook larger foods such as a full rack of ribs then you would be better off going for a 40-inch model.

 

Features – One of the main features that you might want to look at for two reasons is whether is has Bluetooth. Obviously Bluetooth is a nice addition to have as you will be able to control your smoker remotely however recently smokers have suffered from poor range and connectivity. Meaning if you are looking at a Bluetooth smoker then make sure that the Bluetooth is good quality.

Another important feature is the probes. Checking the internal temperature of the smoker s well as of the meat is important to make sure that the end product is perfect. Therefore you should check what type and how many probes are included with your smoker.

Finally, two other features to look out for are access to the wood chip tray without opening the main door so that you don’t let heat escape. Also finding out what options are available on the control panel such as setting internal temperature and cooking time.

 

Budget – From personal experience, you will be looking to spend $200 to $300 in order to get better quality electric smokers. We do understand that you will be able to find electric smokers available for under $100 however we do not recommend these as they will not be as effective.

If you are more in the market for a Bluetooth smoker then you will be looking in the region of $500.

 

Portability – You won’t find many electric smokers out there that are designed with mobility in mind. If you want something portable then you would be better off looking at pellet grills.

What do I Need in an Electric Smoker?

Size and Capacity – Of course one of the main points when looking at the capacity of a smoker is the number of racks it has but you also need to think about the size. The number of racks you have won’t matter if you can’t fit what you want to cook onto one of the racks.

This is the kind of thing we often see when using 30-inch smokers. If you are looking to cook larger foods such as a full rack of ribs then you would be better off going for a 40-inch model.

 

Features – One of the main features that you might want to look at for two reasons is whether is has Bluetooth. Obviously Bluetooth is a nice addition to have as you will be able to control your smoker remotely however recently smokers have suffered from poor range and connectivity. Meaning if you are looking at a Bluetooth smoker then make sure that the Bluetooth is good quality.

Another important feature is the probes. Checking the internal temperature of the smoker s well as of the meat is important to make sure that the end product is perfect. Therefore you should check what type and how many probes are included with your smoker.

Finally, two other features to look out for are access to the wood chip tray without opening the main door so that you don’t let heat escape. Also finding out what options are available on the control panel such as setting internal temperature and cooking time.

 

Budget – From personal experience, you will be looking to spend $200 to $300 in order to get better quality electric smokers. We do understand that you will be able to find electric smokers available for under $100 however we do not recommend these as they will not be as effective.

If you are more in the market for a Bluetooth smoker then you will be looking in the region of $500.

 

Portability – You won’t find many electric smokers out there that are designed with mobility in mind. If you want something portable then you would be better off looking at pellet grills.

What are Pellet Grills?

Pellet grills don’t technically come under a different category of smoker rather than an electric smoker which is why we didn’t recommend any in this guide.

They are, however, very similar in that they also use electricity and are designed for smoking rather than grilling.

Should you Buy an Electric Smoker?

We are sure that if you have had any experience in the smoking world then someone will have told you that food cooked in electric smokers tastes worse than food cooked in charcoal smokers.

While there is some truth in this as we do agree that the best food cooked in a charcoal smoker is better than the best food cooked in an electric smoker. However the only time you will really taste the difference is if the charcoal-grilled food is cooked by a very experienced pitmaster, and even then the majority of people won’t be able to tell the difference.

Another fact is that it’s much easier and less stressful to use an electric smoker meaning you will be more willing to use an electric smoker every weekend.

Here are some positives and negatives to help you decide whether electric smokers are for you:

Positives:

  • Some places don’t allow cooking with charcoal meaning electric smokers are the only option.
  • Burning charcoal is much more harmful to the environment than electricity. Charcoal smokers release CO2.
  • Electric smokers are best if you plan on cooking a variety of different foods and therefore give you more flexibility.
  • Once you have set up the smoker you can leave it to do its job and you can get on with your day without worrying about how it is doing.

 

Negatives:

  • You will need a power source meaning cooking outside is more difficult as you will need a waterproof extension cord.
  • If you are looking to crisp skin when grilling then electric won’t work ad they cannot reach the heat needed.
  • Electric smokers don’t create a smoke ring (see below)
  • You may have to spend more money on repairs due to the multiple expensive parts that make up electric smokers.

 

The main question when considering an electric smoker is whether you want to sacrifice a tiny bit more flavor for a much easier, more relaxing experience.

If your answer is you want the ease of use then we would recommend purchasing an electric smoker. And hey, you could always try charcoal smoking in the future!

 

How do they Work?

Electric smokers involve a lot more technology than your traditional smoker. Traditional smokers consist of lighting some charcoal and adding wood. They control the temperature by altering the flow of oxygen depending if you want a larger or smaller fire. Whereas, electric smokers work by changing the flow of electricity.

 

The cheaper electric smokers will offer less control, for example you will have the options of low, medium, and high. These will be controlled by a rheostat, the rheostat’s job is to control the flow of electricity. When you look at more expensive smokers, they will have temperature probes that connect to the thermostat enabling you to have greater control over the internal temperature rather than just high, medium, and low.

It goes without saying, the more control you have the better your food will come out at the end.

When considering why electric smokers don’t produce a smoke ring first we have to understand what a smoke ring is. In charcoal smokers, you get heat through the process of combustion, mix this with wood, and gases are produced that give your meat an added flavor.

On the other hand, an electric smoker produces heat through a metal rod that has wood above it to produce smoke. The difference is in this method the gases aren’t produced through combustion. This means that you don’t get that added flavor and you don’t get a smoke ring, which is the pink layer on the outside of the meat that gives it the authentic barbeque look.

Gas or Electric?

We have already outlined the differences between charcoal and electric smokers, but you may also be wondering where electric smokers deviate from gas smokers.

First of all, what are their similarities, they both use wood chips in a tray to create smoke, and with both, you can just set them and leave them to do their job.

One of the major differences is that gas smokers, just like charcoal, produce heat through combustion and therefore give gases that give the food that smokey flavor. Again this is not an issue for the vast majority of people.

A positive of electric smokers compared to gas smokers is that they are much cheaper to run and there is much more chance of you running out of propane than there is of you running out of electricity.

Using you Electric Smoker to it Highest Potential

If at this point you have opted for an electric smoker, first of all congratulations! We will now give you all the information you need to have the perfect first cook with your smoker.

  • Even though your smoker will have a thermostat we recommend investing in a dual probe thermometer to get much more accurate readings.
  • You are also going to want to season your smoker before using it.
  • Just like you would do with an oven you need to give your smoker time to reach temperature before putting the food in.
  • In order to keep your new smoker clean remove any removable parts and clean them using an oven cleaner.
  • If you are inexperienced we advise your first cook to be a pork butt. This is because it will allow you to make mistakes and you won’t really taste the difference.

The key thing to remember is that practice makes perfect and experimenting with different cuts of meat will help you to master your smoker.

 

FAQ’s

  • Can they be used in the house? The short answer is no. Unless you have some sort of high-end extractor fan set up in your home then it’s not a good idea to.
  • How long do wood chips last? You should only add chips once and once you have put them in the tray they tend to last for roughly an hour. In order to conserve chips it is worth noting that you don’t need to put them in under your smoker has reached temperature. The amount you will need depends on your model of smoker, what temperature you are cooking on, and the size of chips you are using.
  • Should I soak wood chips before use? No! At best this offers nothing and at worst it changes the smoke produced.
  • How is the smoke produced? A metal rod is heated up at the base of your smoker. Above this rod there are wood chips, these chips are allowed to smolder so that they produce smoke.
  • What’s better, electric or charcoal? This all depends on whether you prioritize flavor or ease of use. Yes charcoal smokers can produce slightly better tasting food but you will have to put a lot more effort into mastering a charcoal smoker than an electric one. In general, the electric smoker experience is much more relaxing.
  • How can I clean my electric smoker? Firstly make sure that you keep your smoker dry as this will prevent the build-up of mold. After each use remove an built-up burnt food and creosote.

 

To Conclude

If this guide has convinced you to invest in an electric smoker, we hope it has! Then your best option is the Bradley Smart Smoker with iSmoke Technology as it boasts the color-coded probes and a very usable companion app.

Last update on 2020-10-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Adam Brown

Adam Brown

Growing up it was very much a beige oven based meal which pushed me into learning how to cook more exotic dishes. I have a love for most food especially Thai and BBQ which led me to create the Smoke Guys website. I hope you find my reviews and guides helpful and I'm always open to hearing any suggestions you may have.
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