Not everyone has the same needs or any high budgets, so we’ve selected 6 of the best electric smokers we’ve seen in 2021, plus three honorable mentions. Let’s find the right model according to your needs.
The Masterbuilt digital best electric smoker is an extremely easy to use smoker for someone just getting started smoking meat, or for anyone who wants to crank out barbecue without the fuss of a charcoal or offset smoker.
The main cabinet of the smoker is made from steel with plastic trim, while the interior is made from aluminum. The built-in digital control panel lets you set your internal temperature anywhere between 100 – 275°F. The same panel also lets you control the cook time and also houses the on and off controls.
The integrated thermostat takes control of the rest.
It’s a well-built smoker and the chrome coated stainless steel cleans easily.
The Masterbuilt heats up quickly and maintains a consistent internal temperature without any fiddling around. You just need to plug it into an electrical outlet and you’re ready to cook.
If you’ve read our guide to the best smokers for beginners then you already know we are big fans of the Masterbuilt electric digital smoker (MES for short).
The Masterbuilt best electric smoker is available in a range of different configurations including:
- Basic 30″ model
- 40″ with window
- 30″ Bluetooth model with a window and a broiler
- 40″ Bluetooth model with a window and a broiler
We’ll cover the Bluetooth model in more detail further on in this guide so if controlling your smoker on your phone sounds appealing to you keep reading.
You need to be careful shopping around on best electric smoker 2021 as there are a number of outdated models and they are confusingly labeled. Watch out for the old Masterbuilt logo with the sun coming over some mountains as this will mean the product is an old version.
The front window looks kind of cool until you’ve been smoking about 10 minutes and realize there isn’t really anything to see! It also tends to get dirty which defies the point.
It was basically a toss-up between the 30″ and 40″ for this guide. The 30″ still gives you 4 racks and 730 square inches of cooking space, although you may need to cut larger racks of ribs in half and remove a rack if you are cooking extra-large items.
The differences are pretty minor, so in this case, we suggest going with the most affordable no window option and investing your savings in a good temperature probe setup.
What we like:
- Excellent smoker body insulation – The Masterbuilt is better insulated than a lot of other cheap smokers, which helps maintain a consistent internal temperature and keeps operating costs down, especially in cold or windy conditions.
- Generous size to cost ratio – The 30-inch digital model comes with a generous 730 sq. inches of cooking space, almost the same as the largest 22″ Weber Smokey Mountain.
- Convenient wood chip tray system – The chip tube system is a convenient way to add more chips without opening the door if you want to get more smoke.
- Great for cold smoking – You can turn your digital Masterbuilt smoker into a cold smoking machine with a cold smoking add-on kit.
What we don’t like:
- Wood chip tray is on the small side – Will need to refill the chip tray, or you can always add a cheap pellet tube to ramp up the smoke.
- Narrow width – The cooking racks are not quite big enough for the largest slabs of ribs or a big brisket without cutting or rolling them.
We should also point out that there is no built-in meat probe. The only other issue we have with the Masterbuilt electric digital smoker is the stingy 90-day warranty.
With four chrome plated cooking racks and 730 square inches of cooking space, the 30″ model should be a perfect size for most people. That’s enough to fit 8 small racks of ribs or 6 chickens. Because it’s such a popular best electric smoker brand you’ll also find a lot of fantastic resources for it like the Unofficial Masterbuilt Cookbook, and the Masterbuilt owners forum.
At a low price point, the Masterbuilt ticks all the boxes you want for a best electric smoker 2021.
Masterbuilt best electric smokers seem to dominate a lot of the discussion when it comes to Electric Smokers. And while they are definitely worth considering, Char-Broil quietly produce well sized, affordable best electric smokers that could easily give them a run for their money.
In this review we take a look at the 725 Square Inch Deluxe Best Electric Smoker 2021. This unit is on the larger side, but thanks to the cheaper price point for electric smokers it fits squarely into the value for money end of the spectrum.
If you’re not sold on the Masterbuilt, this 725″ digital best electric smoker from Char-Broil is an excellent alternative.
Virtually identical to the Masterbuilt in size and with 4 cooking racks, the Char-Broil has more “smart” smoker features.
The unit comes with a remote control that lets you view and adjust your temperature from the comfort of your home, as well as turn the smoker off if you need to.
You can also control the internal temperature and cooking time via the digital control panel on the top of the smoker.
This unit comes with a glass door which lets you see every rack in the smoker. While watching your food smoke isn’t the most exciting past-time, being able to check the appearance without opening the door is a useful feature.
The Char-Broil Deluxe is very sturdy and well-constructed. The exterior walls are made of stainless steel and provide decent heat retention. The glass door is durable but you should note that some heat does radiate out so be careful if you have kids around.
What we like:
- Ease of use and clean up – The digital panel makes it easy to control the temperature. You can easily add wood or water during a smoke, and because every part fit in the dishwasher cleanup is very easy.
- Flexible setup allows you to fit a lot of food – Because you can adjust each of the 4 15″ x 12.5″ racks, it’s easy to configure the Char-Broil Deluxe to fit whatever you are cooking. If you have something large like a turkey and something smaller like ribs just adjust the racks to accommodate everything.
- Large digital temperature readout – We like that all of the digital controls are easily accessible and that you can view the temperature at a glance.
What we don’t like
- Limited remote-control range – The remote-control functionality is nice, but the distance is a bit limited. It will depend on your individual setup, and how many walls are between you and the smoker.
- Have to set a temp or time – When you set up to cook you need to set either a target meat temperature or a time. Not a big problem but you can’t just set it up to run indefinitely.
You can use the meat temperature probe included to set your desired temperature, and then leave the smoker running until your food is ready. The unit will even cool down once the done temp is reached.
Capacity wise, the Char-Broil should hold two good sized pork butts at once, or 6-8 slabs of baby back ribs depending on size.
If you’re looking for a smoker that’s easy to run, doesn’t require a lot of clean up, and comes with a few bells and whistles then the Char-Broil is an excellent choice.
Best Electric smokers are aimed at people who want a set it and forget it cooker. So Masterbuilt did something really clever and created a smoker that connects to your phone via Bluetooth. You can sit back, relax and control the temperature of your smoker with an app on your phone
You can power the smoker on or off, as well as adjust and monitor the temperature of your smoker
While your granddaddy might shake his head in despair at this generation, we think anything that combines barbecue with technology is worth celebrating.
The capacity is definitely one of the highlights of this smoker. Available in both 30 inch and 40-inch models, we would recommend the 40″ if you think there’s any chance you’ll use the extra space.
It’s much better to have more space than you need, than not enough.
Both models come with four adjustable racks which should give you plenty of room even when cooking for large groups of people. The heating element is upgraded to 1,200 watts but your max temperature is still a low 275°F.
The wood chip tray is a nice addition and makes it reloading wood chips simple.
You don’t have to open the smoker to add new wood chips which is convenient and prevents you from losing heat and smoke.
What we like:
- Huge amount of room – With 4 racks and 975 sq. inches of cooking surface you can churn out a lot of food and feed a crowd of people
- Wheels make it easy to move – For some reason a lot of best electric smokers aren’t very portable. That’s not the case with the Bluetooth Masterbuilt as back wheels make moving the smoker easy.
What we don’t like:
- Range on the Bluetooth app – The range is quite limited, and lots of people have reported issues with the app disconnecting.
- Problems with the app – I believe a lot of these issues have been fixed in the latest versions of the app, but in the past people have had issues with the app randomly increasing the temperature
So, if you are buying this smoker solely for the Bluetooth, you might be disappointed.
Even if you never plan on using the Bluetooth features this is still an best electric smoker though. If you’re not sure what all the fuss is about the Bluetooth features, read on to find out a bit more about how it works.
Also, worth noting that with the 40″ Masterbuilt you get 975 sq inches of cooking surface compared to just 721 sq inches with the 30″ model.
You have the option to control your smoker from The Masterbuilt app. If you’ve used a Bluetooth wireless thermometer before then the temperature monitoring won’t be new to you.
What we really liked though was the ability to adjust temperature without leaving the house.
The Bluetooth technology isn’t perfect though.
The actual range is only about 12 – 15 feet, and if you have walls in the way this can decrease even further. If you’ve used Bluetooth before you will understand how frustrating it can be to keep losing connection.
On the other hand, if you can keep your phone relatively close to the smoker it works well.
And this feature is all about not having to leave the comfort of your house, so even if you have to leave your phone close to the door it still beats going outside into cold or wet weather!
Best Electric smokers are already the cheapest type of smoker out there. Our top and runner up selection already cost less than the budget pick in some of our other guides
But if you really want to maximize your budget, the Smoke Hollow 30″ is probably the best budget electric smoker and can be purchased for well under the cost of the Masterbuilt or Char-Broil, but with similar features.
The Smoke Hollow offers a similar size, although with only 3 chrome coated adjustable grill racks. You should be able to comfortably fit 2 turkeys, 3 pork butts or 3 racks of ribs. The digital control panel lets you set your temperature, and integrated thermostat controls the temperature for you.
What we like:
- Impressive insulation for the price – Construction quality is surprisingly good for a budget smoker.
- Easy to assemble – Comes well packed and mostly assembled so shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes to put it together.
What we don’t like:
- Need to open the main door to reloadthe wood chip tray – It would be nice to have a chip feed system like the Masterbuilt Digital as opening the door too often can cause temperature fluctuation.
Sure, it doesn’t have a remote like the Char-Broil, and the insulation won’t be as good as your top of the line smokers (this might not be the best smoker for extreme cold), but at this price hard to fault.
The 26″ Electric Smoker from Smoke Hollow is our top pick if you’re looking for a compact smoker.
At full price the 26-inch Smoke Hollow costs around the same as the basic 30″ Masterbuilt. Luckily this unit can often be picked up for much less.
In terms of specs it’s quite similar to the MES. Available in both 26 and 30″ you can choose to save a few bucks if you won’t be cooking large volumes, or pay a tiny bit extra for more space.
The 26 Inch model packs a 1500-watt electric heating element and 1.3 cubic feet of cooking capacity.
The unit comes with two chrome-plated cooking grids that can be adjusted to variable heights. For example, if you are smoking a brisket and ribs at the same time you can modify the racks to fit everything in.
Design is similar to other electric smokers, with a heating element at the bottom, then a wood chip tray and water pan sitting above that.
You get a temperature gauge on the front door instead of controls mounted to the top.
The cabinet style makes operation very simple, and the spring wire handle with the latch door allows you to easily get in and out without burning yourself.
What we like:
- Excellent heat control – The 1500-watt heating element gives you a temperature range of 175 – 325°F. Nothing crazy but higher than some larger electric smokers. Compact footprint. The 36.5 x 19 x 16.5″ footprint means it doesn’t take up too much space on patio, while the adjustable shelves still let you fit larger items in there.
- Great for novice smokers – Setup is straight forward and controlling temperature is very easy.
What we don’t like:
Short warranty – The 90-day warranty is definitely on the stingy side.
Cleaning heater element – You can get some meat juices dripping on the heating element which makes clean up a little bit harder. Would have been nice if the water pan did a better job catching drips. You can easily fix this by adding a wire rack with some foil under the second shelf.
The Smoke Hollow 26″ is a no-frills electric smoker with great temperature control that represents excellent value, especially when it goes on special.
Ideally, this review guide for best electric smokers 2021 has helped you choose what model of a smoker is best, and if an electric smoker is even ideal for you.
For the most people, we are glad to suggest the basic Masterbuilt Digital Electric smoker in either 30 or 40″ relying upon your prerequisites.
The facts demonstrate that electric smokers get a useful piece of flack for being “excessively simple”. However, on the off chance that you would prefer not to manage charcoal or shell out for a costly log consuming smoker, electric can be a great decision.
Is electric smoker healthy?
Not only are electric smokers healthier than the other type of smokers, but they’re safer too. They reduce heat and smoke leakage well eliminating the possibility of unsafe flare-ups from open flames and smoke, as well as reduce the overall smoking time.
What is better electric or charcoal smoker?
If you’re after convenience above all else, go with an electric smoker. If you want the best smoky flavor at all costs, then you’ll want a charcoal meat smoker. If you mainly want convenience, but you’d like better flavor than the electric offers, get a propane smoker.