Electric smokers are the new trend for outdoor recreation. A simple backyard barbeque in the summer with family and friends is just pure bliss.
If you’re into outdoor cooking, then it might have crossed your mind to buy an electric smoker. Electric smokers have a lot of different styles and it’s not impossible to find something that suits your needs and personal taste. In this post, we will go through some of the great electric smoker brands and models. They come in various shapes, sizes, and mechanisms. There is also a pellet smoker, charcoal smoker, or gas smoker. But we will be focusing exclusively on electric smokers.
Top picks for small electric smokers
These small devices are quite popular in the market because of the many great features that we have mentioned above. A lot of manufacturers have put out many models and we have selected a few of them that we think are great for their prices in terms of quality and efficiency and other benefits. Feel free to choose from the list below and read our personal reviews about each of them.
1. Masterbuilt 30“ Analog Electric Smoker
- 548 sq. inches of cooking space with 3 chrome-coated racks and 1500 watt heating element
- Dual-wall insulation
- Front-loading wood chips tray, removable water and drip pan
Masterbuilt is a renowned brand in the food appliance industry. This model is the smallest size that they released in the market. In our personal opinion, it’s the simplest electric smoker there is. It does not have any sort of digital controls.
But the perks are already great with the 548 square inches of internal cooking space and 3 racks. This analog smoker has a 1500-watt heating element that can already cook the hard kinds of meat with no problem. Just simply plug it in and it’s ready to go.
It’s quite easy to locate the temperature gauge since it’s just built into the door. It has a water bowl that you can easily detach to refill for the moisture inside the machine. The tray for wood chips is also easy to remove for cleaning. This may be the simplest analog electric smoker in the market today that works exactly as it is intended to.
- Compact size
- Convenient to use
- Patented wood chip loading system
- Inconvenient placement of the temperature gauge
2. Little Chief Small Electric Smoker
Around five decades have passed since the Little Chief brand was established and started manufacturing food smoking appliances consistently. Inside the smoker are 4 cooking grates that can carry up to 25 pounds of food with a 250-watt heating element for slow smoking smaller and softer types of meat.
It cannot effectively cook large pieces of meat though. It has a great temperature control feature and you can also choose where to load your food and where to concentrate the smoke to. If you like to slow cook food more rather than the regular speed of smoking, then this could work for you.
- Compact size
- Large interior capacity
- Perfect for slow smoking
- Heating element is not optimal large pieces of meat
3. Simple Char-Broil With SmartChef Technology
- Monitor internal meat temp, cook time and chamber temp in the smoker from anywhere at anytime via SmartChef app over WIFI.
- SmartChef app sends notifications to your smart device alerting of cooking events such as preheat or cooking completion.
- Integrated meat probe monitors internal meat temp and sends the information to you smart device in real time.
This is a digital smoker integrated with SmartChef technology that allows you to control it from your smart mobile device through its app. There aren’t that many models of this kind available in the market just yet so it’s safe to say that this is one of the first few that has been released. The circular compact shape and size holds 2 smoke racks and 1 cooking basket that can fit a 16-pound turkey.
The heating element is evenly distributed throughout the smoker to ensure that your food is well-cooked. As mentioned, there is an app that comes along with the built-in technology that turns your smartphone into a remote control device for the electric smoker where you can regulate the temperature, set a timer, and also a notification system to alert you when your food is ready.
The app also allows you to choose what kind of meat you are cooking as well. However, one drawback is that the app does not work smoothly in Android operating systems as it does in iOS so that’s one glitch that the manufacturer is hopefully fixing.
- Modern design
- Smart features
- Even smoke distribution
- Minor app malfunction in Android OS
4. Smokin-it Small Electric Smoker
- Up to 22 lbs. of meat capacity per load
- 400 watt heating element, 8 amps 120 volt single phase
- 3" Diameter rubber casters and 3 removable shelves included with space for 4 shelves total.
This is Model 1 of the 3 other models made by Smokin-It that vary with size. This one is the smallest out of all of them. But even with the small size, it can still carry around 22 pounds of meat distributed on 3 racks. The entire thing is built out of durable stainless steel with a 400 watt heating element. Another feature that we love about the Smokin-It Model 1 is that it has wheels which makes transporting it a whole lot easier since it’s also heavy due to its construction.
- Small size
- Durable construction
- Wheels for easy transport
- Needs frequent cleaning
5. Meco Stainless Steel Small Electric Smoker
- 351 square inches of cooking space
- 2 chrome-plated cooking grids and built-in temperature gauge
- The stainless steel, chimney-like design with a loose-fitting lid and tight-fitting doors creates a constant flow of new smoke for maximum flavor.
This is another stainless steel constructed electric smoker with simple yet great features. It’s relatively easy to use and can accommodate food for the average-sized family. It has 2 cooking racks and 351 square inches of interior cooking space.
The smoker of this model can also do water smoking which helps in making the meat more tender and juicy. To make it more interesting, it’s not just exclusive to water. You can put any kind of liquid in it which you think can add to the flavor of the meat you are cooking. You can put in a lot of different kinds of food and it would still be cooked efficiently with its 1500-watt heating element. For the heating element, you can also use wood pellets for added smoke production that helps cook the food better and faster.
- Stainless steel material ensures durability
- Great performance
- Simple to use
- Hassle to fit the lid into the base
6. Masterbuilt portable electric smoker
- 1,400 watt heating element with two chrome coatedsmoking racks
- Simple controls with high, medium and lowsettings
- Easy-to-read temperature gauge on door,removable wood chip tray and water pan
Another masterpiece by Masterbuilt. This is one of their small models that contrasts the typically large sizes of electric smokers that they make. It is a standing smoker but the legs can be folded so it can also be placed on an uneven surface when used outdoors. And since it’s basically for the outdoors, it has an analog setting which also means that you need to actively monitor the status of what you’re cooking. The heating element is at 1400 watts with a 280 square inch of interior space. If you buy one, it also comes with a free bag that you can put it in for whenever you take it on trips.
- Foldable legs
- Powerful heating element
- 250 degrees limit on the smoker capacity
7. LANDMANN Small Electric Smoker
- 3-in-1 combination tray
- Non-insulated cooking chamber
- Product is 26 inches
Inside the Landmann electric smoker is a triple-purpose tray that combines the wood chip tray, water pan, and grease pan which is a total space saver and maximizes its 457.86 square inch cooking space that can cater ribs and barbecues alike.
The unit is compact and very handy to use. It also has a temperature gauge with a wide range of temperature control settings. The door has a small glass window so you can see the food inside. It also has a rear damper port and an adjustable stand.
This is perfect for those who do not have enough kitchen space but would not mind cooking outdoors. The non-insulated trays are 26 inches in size and the cooking grates are made of premium steel.
- Non-insulated cooking chamber
- Triple purpose tray
- No wheels
- Analog temperature control
- Small cooking space
8. BRADLEY SMOKER Small Electric Smoker
Next one on the list is the model by Bradley Smoker. At first glance, you will really see that it is premium looking and durable with the classic stainless steel exterior and the interior as well. It is also quite easy to clean. It has 4 racks inside with dimensions of 17 x 14 x 31 inches. And the other two are 24 inches wide. You have the freedom to fully control the temperature settings digitally along with the amount of smoke emitted.
This model can cook a variety of meat and food such as chicken and fish. You can also serve gourmet meals using this top performing smoker with confidence that your food will have that exceptional flavor and touch to it. A lot of people consider this brand as one of the best and high-end quality smokers out there so we highly recommend that you check it out.
- High quality material
- Epoxy steel construction
- Stainless steel interior and exterior construction
- Large internal cooking space
- Two separate heating elements for cooking and smoking
- Not well-insulated
- Heat retention after 4 hours, the time limit of the digital control
- Getting to the desired temperatures will take some time
9. ROYAL GOURMET Electric Smoker
- Spacious cooking surface: 457. 86 sq. Inches of cooking surface over 3 chrome-coated smoking racks; 1500-watt heating power with fully adjustable and removable digital controller; integrated thermometer for a quick check of internal temperature.
- Grease Management system: in addition to removable stainless steel water pan and Lidded chip box, This analog electric smoker has an independent grease cup that makes your life easier with quick and convenient clean-up.
- Versatile application: featuring multi-functional uses, the smoker could satisfy different sorts of needs such as smoked barbecue, firewood grilling, steaming, drying, and etc.
Looking for an electric smoker with a lot of interior? This is one of the best options in the market today. With 3 smoking racks that are chrome-coated and a 1500-watt heating power for the heating element, this Royal Gourmet electric smoker performs really well.
The digital controls of the smoker are removable and it also has a built-in thermometer. The latch ensures airtight sealing so the smoke is really concentrated inside the machine plus add in the double layer of the wall construction too. The handle does not heat up so it’s safe to handle and carry. Upon buying the product, you get three years of warranty. The steel cooking grates are 16” in size with vertical barrel designs. Temperature retention and consistency is top notch.
- Versatile uses
- Secure sealing
- Easy to carry
10. CUISINART Small Electric Smoker
- Two 16" stainless steel racks provide 402 square inches of cooking space
- Porcelain enamel water bowl
- Top and bottom vents provide a dual air vent system
This particular model also received a lot of great customer feedback so we decided to include this in the list as well. It has two stainless steel cooking racks with a 16” size each and the entirety of the interior has a 402 square inch cooking space. It also has two air vents for optimal heat and smoke regulation.
Cooking time is not that long and it is user-friendly, great for outdoor grilling of fish, meat, chicken, and even vegetables. The vertical and cylindrical shape of the smoker also contributes to the evenness of the smoke distribution inside so that your food is really cooked in all parts. Even professional chefs have a lot of positive things to say about this particular electric smoker brand.
- Wide cooking space
- Dual air vents
- Vents are placed at the top and bottom
11. Masterbuilt 20073716 Portable Electric Smoker
- 1,400 watt heating element with two chrome coatedsmoking racks
- Simple controls with high, medium and lowsettings
- Easy-to-read temperature gauge on door,removable wood chip tray and water pan
Your personal road trip companion is here! Escape the city life with your pals and bring this portable electric smoker with you for an instant outdoor grilling experience!
Prepare your whole turkey and some hamburgers because you can fit them all inside this small but terrible smoker with its powerful 1400-watt heating element. What’s surprising is that it only weighs 21 pounds so it’s not that heavy to carry and it can withstand whatever the weather condition is, may it be extreme heat and humidity, strong winds, or heavy rain. You can choose not to have the racks if you feel like it minimizes the space. The airtight seal of the door traps the heat and smoke effectively to really ensure that your food is thoroughly cooked.
Made with the primary purpose of outdoor use, it only has an analog setting and it does not have any digital controls whatsoever. You have to manually set the temperature but the temperature gauge makes it easier for you to monitor. You can get this great little smoker at a price of below $80 only. Yes, the price is tempting but you also have to keep in mind that the price is related to the features that you get so do not expect high-end features for a price like this. Nonetheless, the unit still has the basic features that gets the job done.
Are you an outdoorsy person who likes to live life on the road? Look no further because the perfect electric smoker is already here for you.
- Very cheap price
- Portable with foldable leg stands
- Several cooking systems
- Easy to clean
- Small size
- No warranty for the unit
What is an electric smoker?
Commonly known as a family smoker, this small yet heavy-duty device can cater a family with up to 6 members. Though it may not be intended for large gatherings where you will serve a big crowd, its size is just right for the average household.
These small electric smokers usually have a height of below 30” and a 500 square inch capacity for its interior, suitable for the household size that we already mentioned. Each model varies on the shape and the number and positioning of the cooking racks and it will also determine the available space inside and how much food you can cook at a time. They can also be portable which means you can carry them to other places. This is why some of them come with heat-resistant handles on the side for easy carrying and there are few that even have wheels. Electric smokers can be small or medium in size and have different color selections.
What makes small electric smokers special?
The great thing about these small electric smokers is the fact that they are on-the-go devices for impromptu backyard shenanigans when people want to have that outdoor lunch vibe in the comfort of their own home. Electric smokers are the way to go. They are handy, easy to use, and can cater just enough food for an average sized family. It only needs to be connected to an electrical source in order for it to work. You can bring them for other outdoor activities too like camping and beach barbeques. You do not need a gas tank. It won’t take up a lot of space. And they’re relatively cheap to buy. They are much easier to use with almost similar features with a large conventional smoker.
Some facts about electric smokers
Of course, every decision has its benefits and consequences. Buying an appliance such as an electric smoker is no exemption to that. There are some aspects that you may and may not like. It’s always wise to be informed and have all essential knowledge to bear in your mind so you are able to weigh your options properly and make a firm judgment as to whether or not it is really worth the purchase.
Electric smokers resemble cabinet smokers since they have the same single front door that opens to multiple racks with the heating element below it. Other units also have glass windows so you can monitor the food inside it. It also comes with an analog or digital thermostat that Allows you to adjust the temperature.
- No more lighting a flame and keeping it burning, You do not need to learn how to make fire from wood.
- Electric smokers are also safe to use because of the absence of open flame.
- Stable heat distribution
- Does not consume charcoal or gasoline
- Temperature threshold is not that wide the highest temperature it can reach is only up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cheaper models do not have insulation or airtight doors making the temperature unstable
- Does not create the same amount of smoke as a charcoal smoker
Analog vs. digital temperature controllers
Analog temperature controllers allow you to manually adjust the temperature according to your preference. This means you have to monitor the rise and fall of temperature for yourself. It has a knob that you can twist back and forth to regulate the power that is being supplied to the heating element. The knob usually has temperature markers or simply just low, medium and high settings. Digital controllers on the other hand have built-in sensors that monitors the actual temperature and compares it to the temperature that has been set. It checks whether or not both coincide and if not, it automatically adjusts the temperature in the power supply to the heating element. Obviously, smokers with digital controllers cost more than analogs.
A guide to buying small electric smokers
Small electric smokers are small for a reason. You have to bear in mind that it won’t be able to accommodate large amounts of food at one time. So if you usually serve a large number of people, then this won’t do the job for you. Also, all those features won’t matter if the capacity of your smoker is less than the usual amount. It all boils down to how much food your smoker can cater at one time. Capacity should be your utmost priority in choosing a good electric smoker because you will be using it to serve food to others and it must be able to handle a decent amount at one go so you won’t be using it for a long time since it also consumes electricity.
These electric smokers are popular among consumers because they are also easy to use. You do not need any technical knowledge to be able to learn how to operate it. Generally, the typical electric smokers sold in the market today are really user-friendly. So this should also be something you have to check if you can easily operate. You have to consider the temperature controls, if it has a temperature gauge, windows you can look through to monitor the food, and other features that make it an easier process. More advanced features like connectivity to smart devices, Bluetooth, or WiFi are a bonus.
It is always a great feature for electric smokers when they have a wide temperature range. The optimal range should be 100 to 400 degrees so you have a bigger chance of being able to cook a variety of food in varying temperatures. It’s even better if it can reach up to 500 degrees. Aside from that, you also have to consider the ease in controlling the temperature, the heating element, and the smoke. You have to gain control of these somehow to be able to cook the food properly. Timers are also an added bonus. There are electric smokers with digital controls available which makes the controlling of the settings easier.
The one edge of electric smokers of this size is the fact you can bring it anywhere easily. Their size and weight makes them very portable and perfect for outdoor use. As long as you have an electrical source, you can power this device and have an instant griller and food smoker wherever you may be. Apart from portability, also keep in mind its durability because it should not be very fragile especially if you move it around a lot. And don’t forget that the length of its power cable should also be at a decent length for you to be able to plug it in a quite distant outlet.
There are electric smokers that are difficult to clean and maintain. It helps if the cooking grids, trays, and racks are easily removable so you can clean them separately. In case of breakages, you also have to ensure that it is easy to find replacements for the replaceable components. The essential parts that may be prone to damage should be readily available so you won’t experience any difficulty in finding a replacement. Lifespan is a very important factor to consider for electric smokers.
It is very convenient if your electric smoker comes with a feature that lets you control and monitor it from a distance. There are already models available in the market today with such features. You do not need to keep an eye on it all the time. You can simply adjust settings, check temperatures and food conditions from afar. Some remote controls grant you the convenience of checking the temperature of the meat itself and you can also view from the remote control how the cooking is going. This allows you to multitask since you can safely leave the smoker unattended and just monitor the status from a distance.
Shelves are usually made of chromed or stainless steel and oftentimes porcelain. Versatile shelving gives you more freedom in arranging the food that you need to place inside. In case when you need to put in more than one kind of food and they’re all varying in size, you need to have the liberty to arrange them in your own way. If you can rearrange the shelves, then you can decide where to put the different foods.
The chip tray determines how much wood chips you can put, how you place it, and how fast it runs out. For every 45 minutes to 1 hour you need to refill the tray with fresh wood chips to keep producing smoke consistently and to maintain the temperature as well. This is important to ensure that the food is cooked well.
Caveats are like vents or small openings in the heating chamber of the electric smoker that allows the exchange of smoke, heat, and air. Regulation of these elements is important to stabilize the temperature of the smoker inside. It helps in ensuring that the food is not burnt with too much heat and smoke and also not undercooked if there isn’t enough. Proper regulation produces perfectly smoked food.
Benefits of a small electric smoker
Portability is the edge of small electric smokers. Who doesn’t love a cooking machine that you can carry around on trips and use on-the-go? Some smokers also have wheels so you can just pull them around like luggage. Also, it does not take a lot of time to cook food because it uses electricity and also the smoke is concentrated inside the small space of the smoker so more heat is produced, thereby cooking the food faster and saves up a lot of time and energy as well.
How do electric smokers work?
It is really interesting to know how these electric smokers work considering they also use electrical energy and wood chips at the same time. So how do these two elements coordinate together? Turns out, the process is not that complicated. The electricity powers the heating element. And instead of controlling the oxygen flow, the rate of electrical current is the one that is controlled. Imagine your oven but instead of the usual heat, smoke cooks the food inside.
Take for example this Masterbuilt 40-inch Smoker setup. You can see that the heating element is situated just below the wood chip tray and the water tray is just by the side.
Cheaper electric smokers give you less range of control like low, medium, and high settings only because of the built-in rheostat. However, the more expensive and advanced models give you more features and allow you more control over temperature from the thermostat that is connected to the temperature regulator inside the smoker itself. It’s much easier to achieve desired results if you have more freedom over temperature control.
Pellet grills also run on electricity but they are intended more for grilling, hence the name. They are not recommended for smoking so they fall under a different category.
Which is a better choice for smoking – electric or propane?
You already know about the advantages and disadvantages of electric smokers. But now let’s differentiate between gas and electric smokers to further give you more knowledge about your available options.
First let’s look at the things they have in common:
- Does the job without constant monitoring
- No need to start and keep the fire burning
- Produces smoke with wood chips
But you have to keep in mind that gas smokers produce an open flame to burn the wood chips and create smoke. This method of cooking allows the heat and smoke to really seep through the meat and enhances its flavor and tenderness. Electric smokers, on the other hand, use a heating element without an open flame. While this may not work for professional cooks, those people who simply want to enjoy a convenient and hassle-free smoking experience, this is already a great option. There is no risk of running out of gas and disrupting the cooking session going on with electric smokers because the power supply remains consistent. And they’re basically cheaper in overall costs than gas smokers.
Maximizing the use of your electric smoker
Ready to use your new electric smoker? We bet you’re excited to get it up and running and start making those tasty meals. But before anything else, allow us to share some tips on how to make the most of your new cooking companion.
- Season your electric smoker before putting any food inside. We also have a guide for you on how to season your electric smoker.
- A dual probe thermometer setup would be a great addition to your electric smoker even if it already comes with a thermostat. Temperature distribution is not even all throughout the interior of the appliance and so it would serve you well if you are able to monitor the temperature in the area where the meat is placed. These smoker thermometers may work well for you.
- Like you do with an oven, you have to preheat the smoker first before you put in the food that you want to cook.
- If you’re still starting out in trying your new smoker, we advise giving it a try with a couple of pork butt slices first. This does not take much time and effort to cook and it won’t be too much of a problem if you run into some glitches in the beginning.
- Clean up after use always. Remove the racks and trays and wash them separately or spray with designated oven cleaners.
Above all that, practice makes perfect. The more times you try it out, the more you learn about it and become better at operating it. We suggest trying different kinds of meat and other smoked recipes. Have fun with it.
Are electric smokers as good as charcoal?
It all really boils down to what “good” means for you since we all have different needs and preferences. If you’re only after convenience, then electric smokers would really be good for you. However, if you really want to achieve that top-tier food result, charcoal is the way to go. It’s slower but it produces better flavor and texture. Electric smokers are low-maintenance and do not need constant attention.
How do electric smokers produce smoke?
The electricity powers the heating element below the wood chip tray and that causes it to burn and produce smoke.
Can you use an electric smoker in the house?
Electric smokers are designed for outdoor use. They are sturdy enough to withstand any type of weather, may it be heat, humidity, rain, or wind. It also emits heat to the surroundings so it’s definitely not a good idea to keep it indoors.
We hope that this post has given you enough insight and information about small electric smokers. We aim to provide relevant and accurate product reviews to help our readers make an informed decision regarding their future purchase. Rest assured that the products we listed above are of high quality and within reasonable prices. Feel free to reach out if you have any further questions.
Last update on 2022-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API