Best Budget Smokers Buyer’s Guide

Finding the right smoker can be daunting and there are typically some questions that arise during the process. Will this be the right one for me? Will this fit my needs? What are recent customers saying about it? Is this within my budget? No need to worry, we’re going to answer every questions with ease.

In this article, we’re going to review a handful of great models and help you find the best budget smoker! We’re going to work our way up in price and cover our pick under $60, $75, $100, $150, and $200.  

Best Under

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$60

Masterbuilt 20060416 Charcoal Bullet Smoker

$75

Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker

$100

Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

$150

Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill

$200

Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18"

Smoking doesn’t have to come at a cost

As we know, smoking and grilling can quickly become and expensive hobby. There are a plethora of smokers on the market today that are nearly a thousand dollars - something some of us would definitely like to avoid. But quality doesn’t have to suffer as a result of settling on a smoker that is less than ultra pricey ones. We can’t wait to show you which ones made our list!

Best Smoker Under $60

Masterbuilt 20060416 Charcoal Bullet Smoker

First, and our top pick for the best budget smoker under $60 is the Masterbuilt Charcoal Bullet Smoker. This popular model is one of Amazon’s Choice and for good reason. For it’s reasonable price, this little bullet smoker is just that - a bullet who’s killing the smoking game. We’re going to review the best features Masterbuilt packed into this model then take a look at the pros and cons mentioned by recent customers.  Let’s see what’s expected with this purchase!

Main features of the Masterbuilt 20060416 Charcoal Bullet Smoker

  • 395.4 sq. inches of available space for cooking
  • Two smoking racks coated in porcelain
  • Easily add charcoal through the front-access door
  • Water bowl and charcoal pan are also coated in porcelain
  • Built-in thermometer on the lid

Pros

  • Extremely easy to assemble
  • Price range makes it optimal for gift giving
  • Very user friendly and can be fired up in minutes
  • Ideal for a family of four or any beginner smoker
  • Small size makes it perfect for camping or hunting trips

Cons

  • Smaller size means that charcoal space is limited
  • Have to tend to coals  - not a ‘sit and walk away’ smoker
  • Can be damaged if left out outside - easily avoided with a cover!
  • Does not have a lower vent
  • Temperature has been know to be inaccurate with some customers - be sure to check out our article on the Best Smoker Thermometers for a great one!

Best Smoker Under $75

Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker

Second on our list and our pick for the best budget smoker under $75 is the Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker! The standard smoker is the model we’ll be reviewing today but we want you to know this smoker also comes in a deluxe and deluxe plus charcoal starter edition. This model also made the list on our Best Grill Smoker Combo article! Without further ado, here are the main features!

Main features of the Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker

  • 140 sq. inches of cooking space in firebox area
  • 290 sq. inches of cooking space in main area
  • Full control over heat and smoke output
  • Steel firebox grate adjusts vertically
  • Easy to clean out ash thanks to door and adjustable damper

Pros

  • Stress-free shipping process
  • Great model to learn on if you’re just beginning
  • Comes with wheel and built in handles - great for carrying and storing
  • Larger than other budget smokers which is excellent for smoking in bulk
  • Perfect for socializing or hosting parties - ideal for serving groups of 6-8 people

Cons

  • Charcoal box door handles get hot - don’t forget to wear gloves
  • Assembly and directions can be difficult to comprehend for some
  • Cover not included - do not leave outside and be sure to protect it from the elements
  • Charcoal box door handles get hot - don’t forget to wear gloves
  • People have reported small amounts of smoke escaping through the rotisserie cutout slots

Best Smoker Under $100

Weber 741001 Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill

Coming in next is the Weber 741001 Original Kettle and our pick for the best budget smoker under $100! In an act to replicate the kettle that we all grew up with, the Original Kettle is the perfect grill for campers, griller, entertaining, and even expert chefs. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. Weber knows what works and offers an amazing model to be loved by all. Before we cover the pros and cons, let’s check out the main features. 

Main features of the Weber Original Kettle

  • Built-in thermometer on lid
  • 10 year limited warranty from Weber
  • 363 sq. inches of cooking space within the heavy duty 22 inch steel grate
  • Removable aluminum ash catcher makes dumping ash a breeze
  • Bowl and lid are both porcelain-enamel coated and able to withstand high temperatures

Pros

  • Rust resistant vents built into lid
  • Lid seals tightly trapping in heat and smoke
  • Bottom wire rack can hold small amounts of charcoal
  • Easy to transport in RV or camper - perfect for camping trips and hunting
  • User friendly assembly - legs easily attach via spring clips and push pins

Cons

  • Does not include cover
  • Grill grate and overall height is not adjustable
  • Legs are constructed from thinner metal but no reports of them breaking
  • Wheels work great but are not high-grade material - be cautious on rough terrain
  • Hood does not have a hinge to hang on grill while it’s off - you’ll have to set it down/off to the side

Best Smoker Under $150

Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill

Number four on our list and the best smoker under $150 is the Char-Griller Akorn JR. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill! This compact design is ideal for a number of different environments and can easily be taken on trips. This is perfect for single chefs, family outings, and year-round smoking sessions. Let’s have a look at the main features then hear what recent customers had to say about their experience! 

Main features of the Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill

  • Lid is hinge locking
  • 153 sq. inches of cooking space
  • Ash pan can be easily dumped making cleaning simple and smooth
  • Dual airflow dampers on top and bottom help regulate airflow and temperature
  • Triple wall steel construction insulates to provide a one of a kind smoking experience

Pros

  • Durable handles let users easily transport smoker
  • One of the more affordable ceramic models on the market
  • 14” cooking diameter fits a wide variety of poultry and meats
  • Built in heat gauge gives you a quick and clear temperature reading
  • Kamado style grills support even heating and overall deliver delicious flavors

Cons

  • Not a BBQ - do not attempt to grill with lid open
  • Learning curves vary when it comes to handle assembly
  • Weighs in at 40 lbs. - some find it hard to transport by themselves
  • Height is only 25.3” - a few recent customers felt this was too small for a Jr. smoker
  • Model does not come with cover so be sure to protect it from harsh weather conditions

Best Smoker Under $200

Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18"

The Camp Chef Smoke Vault is an outstanding smoker designed to lock and secure meats or veggies, safely storing them until you’re ready to indulge. The sleek and professional design of the 18” model we’ll be reviewing is beautifully constructed and features an eye catching stainless steel door. Proudly carried by the Smoke Hollow name, this smoker is crowded with features. Let’s take a look why it made our list for the best budget smoker under $200!  

Main features Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18":

  • Includes water pan
  • Easily visible built in door thermometer ranging from 50℉ to 550℉
  • Matchless snap-ignition makes start up a walk in the park compared to other models
  • 2 adjustable racks - cook meats of all sizes with ease
  • 3 adjustable dampers to control heat and smoke output

Pros

  • Built in wood chip tray
  • Durable and built to last
  • Simple to clean with removable features
  • Comes with smoking ideas, recipes, and tips
  • Removable porcelain base tray aids in easy clean up after use

Cons

  • Hard to keep rain out via top top vent
  • No insulation as with a few other smokers on the market
  • Learning curves vary with assemble, but most say it’s pretty straightforward
  • This Camp Chef model is heavy and can be challenging to move once fully assembled
  • Factory thermometer can be off - it may be best to invest in an aftermarket thermometer for accurate results

The Bottom Line

When it comes to picking the perfect smoker, there are a ton of things to evaluate, including budget. The products we’ve outlined all come with a great deal of benefits but surely there are qualities to be weary of based off recent customer’s history. The bottom line is - out of these smokers, our top pick is the Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18". It was hard for us to find things that people didn’t like, it’s simply a great valued, well-rounded smoker.

Conclusion

In the end, we hope we’ve contributed a great deal toward your next purchase and smoking excursion. While the Camp Chef is our top pick, that doesn’t mean that the others won’t serve you well. If this review was helpful (or not helpful for any reason), be sure to leave a comment below. We love hearing from readers and can’t wait to hear about which smoker you settled on. Happy Smoking!

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