Shopping within the confines of your budget is always a wise decision. In order to help you do so, we're taking a look at the best smokers under $500.
We’ve handpicked these models to ensure you have the cream of the crop to choose from. We pride ourselves on doing intensive research to provide only the best information.
For each of the upcoming models, you can expect to receive clear and concise discussion of their main features and a few of the mutual pros and cons shared by recent buyers. If you’re on the hunt for the best smoker under $500, you certainly won’t want to miss out on this.
Comparison Chart of the Best Smokers Under $500
Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker
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How to Choose a Smoker and What to Look For
When it comes to picking out a new (or upgraded) smoker, there are few things to keep in mind. If you’re new to the smoking community, some of these are easy to overlook.
To help combat this dilemma, let’s review some of the main aspects to consider when shopping.
This may seem pretty straightforward, but if you don’t consider how much you may be smoking per session, or how much you might end up smoking in the long-run, you could find yourself in a tight spot with a smaller than anticipated model.
When it comes to size considerations, one of the main things to look for is the number of racks and how they adjust to fit your needs. Are they removable? Are they strong and sturdy? Thinking about these things ahead of time is a sure way to set yourself up for success.
The next main feature you definitely need to consider is the type of fuel required to power the smoker. If you’re looking at a propane smokers, does this fit your lifestyle?
What about pellet smokers?
Perhaps an electric smoker is best?
These are all valid questions that should be on your mind.
Transportation and Storage
If you plan to keep your smoker outside, we certainly recommend investing in a cover.
But, if not, does the smoker on your mind have to ability to easily be moved when you’re done? By protecting it from the elements, you're ensuring it will last for years down the road.
When thinking about this aspect, it’s best to tie this back to size and evaluate if these two go hand-in-hand.
For example, without a cover, can you pick up and carry the smoker by hand? Or does it have wheels? If it doesn’t have wheels, can you easily add some after a quick trip to your local hardware store?
Choosing a model that has an excellent warranty isn’t always a must, but it’s a nice aspect in case problems arise.
It’s often easy to overlook the human error variable of life and keep in mind that sometimes stuff just happens. Plain and simple. When it does, are you prepared and backed by a manufacturer that offers outstanding customer service?
These are just a few of the main things we’ve identified that many buyers often overlook when buying a new smoker or grill. By keeping this in mind throughout this review, you'll set yourself up for an excellent, healthy purchase.
Willy's Top Picks - Best Smokers Under $500
Review of the Best Smokers Under $500
Now we’re going to transition in the review section of our article and outline the main models on our agenda. We’re excited to explain why these smokers made our list.
A versatile and outstanding model to make our list is the Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker. This charcoal smoker is a crowd favorite among all experience levels and is very straightforward to use.
Its vertical design carries smoke and heat right through your meats and vegetables, delivering succulent results. Among the two plated-steel grates are four rust-resistant aluminum vents that allow buyers to trap smoke and heat, boosting results.
Due to its size, the Weber Smokey Mountain is easy to transport and move in-between uses. Weighing in at only 68 lbs (without charcoal), recent buyers have reported that this model can easily be stored or tucked away when it’s not being used.
Additionally, with the purchase of this model, you can also utilize its built-in thermometer and water pan - a great added feature. Let’s take a look at a few other features, then go over a handful of pros and cons.
- 10-year limited warranty
- Features a silicone temperature grommet
- 726 square inches of cooking space
- Aluminum rust-resistant heat shield
- Built-in thermometer and water pan
When it comes down to it, the Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker is an outstanding model for beginners, and one the entire family can learn on. Its vertical design is perfect for producing tasty flavors while the aluminum vents work to trap heat and smoke.
One of the downsides we spotted though, is that the side door is somewhat weak, so you may want to reinforce it upon delivery. Aside from that, this is an excellent model, backed by a strong ten-year warranty.
Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Charcoal Offset Smoker
Rise to any occasion and smoke with ease. The next model on our list is the Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Charcoal Offset Smoker. As the name states, this model uses charcoal as its primary fuel source, which is great for authentic, genuine flavors.
This smoker is loaded with features and loved by all - no matter the experience level. One of the best aspects is the massive amount of space: 1176 square inches among six adjustable racks.
In addition to this, many recent customers love the control they receive when using this model. The built-in smoke stack allows anyone to easily adjust the temperature and smoke output, effortlessly producing those delicious flavors we all crave.
With this, if you are someone who’s just starting out and may be new to smoking, another great benefit of the Dyna-Glo is the stainless steel thermometer that’s built into the door.
There are a few other key features we want you to know about before making any final decisions. Let’s cover those before reviewing the pros and cons.
- 6 heavy-duty adjustable racks
- 1500 BTU cast iron burner
- Dual door design to trap heat while loading wood chips
- Wood chip box is durable and grates are covered in porcelain-enameled steel
- Elevated vertical design carries smoke and natural rising heat
- Built-in thermometer
In the end, the Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Charcoal Offset Smoker is an excellent model for those who are just starting out or those who consider themselves an avid chef. With its vertical design and smoke control damper, users have great rule over their entire process.
Additionally, recent buyers love this smoker for its size - now you can smoke tons of variations with ease using the six adjustable racks. If you’ve been keeping your eye on this, you won’t be disappointed.
Best for the Money:
Masterbuilt Front Controller Smoker with Viewing Window and RF Remote Control
The next smoker is the Masterbuilt 20075315 Front Controller Smoker, an excellent model for those who are just starting out or consider themselves an avid, seasoned professional.
Right when you see this model for the first time, you have the ability to peek in side via the massive viewing window. This great feature allows any user to keep an eye on the smoking process and watch your meats glaze to perfection.
Inside the smoker are four chrome-coated racks that can accompany a massive variety of cooking styles. Just to give you an idea of how much space there is, you have the option to smoke 12 whole chickens or 24 burgers - or even mix and match.
Additionally, some other key aspects loved by recent buyers are the digital panel located on top of the smoker and the built-in RF remote control. A few other qualities worth mentioning are listed below.
- 975 square inches of cooking space inside smoker
- Front access drip pan
- 1200-Watt heating element
- LED internal food light
- Patented side loading system for wood chips - no heat loss!
- Built-in thermostat temperature control
When it comes down to it, the Masterbuilt 20075315 Front Controller Smoker is a great model for all experience levels. Some of the best aspects are the thermostat control, massive viewing window, and overall size.
Whether you’re smoking a load of meat every now and then or plan on using this model every weekend, it’s sure to deliver outstanding results.
One of the downsides worth mentioning though is that there are no wheels, so moving it may be difficult. Aside from that, users had great things to say about their experience and the delicious flavors it brings to meals.
The last model on our last, but certainly not least by any means, is the Bradley BTDS108P Digital 6-Rack Smoker. Perfect for hosting parties, socials, or just smoking a ton of meat - this model is outstanding.
This fully insulated smoker features a stainless steel interior and six racks for a variety of different mix-and-match options. One of the biggest perks is the fact that it’s all digital and easy to set.
This user-friendly model is perfect for all experience levels and even considered by some as a "set-and-forget" smoker. Just put in a little extra work upfront, prepare everything ahead of time, and tend to other matters while the Bradley BTDs108P does the rest.
With this, cleaning is super straightforward and doesn’t end up being an extra headache or chore once things are all said and done. The ash catcher is easy to remove and makes for a nearly hassle-free cleanup.
There are several other features worth mentioning though before we discuss the pros and cons shared by recent customers.
- 780 square inches of cooking space
- Electric power source
- Stainless steel exterior and interior
- Digital smoker generator - load enough for up to 8 hours at a time
- Separate burners for generating smoke and oven heat
With the Bradley BTDS108P Digital 6-Rack Smoker, the bottom line is that this smoker is a beast. Backed by a one-year warranty, Bradley definitely leads the competition by delivering a model to buyers that it straightforward, easy to clean, and huge.
Can You Find a Quality Smoker Under $500?
Yes, you can find a quality smoker under $500, but you need to be careful about the features that it offers. Well, there is a common notion that all good things come at a high cost. But, that is more of a false belief, as sometimes, you get amazing things at very low prices too.
There are many high-quality smokers that come from very reliable names in the market. You can go through them and find one which suits your family’s needs best. You can look around for some discounts or sales to land the best prices.
What Do I Need To Know Before Buying a Smoker?
Buying a smoker is not a big deal if you know what to look for. This is why we have listed some of the aspects you have to consider before making a purchase.
The first thing most people look at is the capacity of a smoker. The smoker should have a wide smoking grill that can accommodate all the food items you need to smoke. If you have a small family, then you need not spend money on a spacious smoker.
The smoker should come with a nice hood, which adds a greater measure of safety to it. The hood also helps in preserving the smoke inside to cook the meat thoroughly. So, you should go for a smoker that has an appropriate hood with a safety handle.
The unit of choice should work on a fuel that is readily available. Smoke pellets are used quite largely for smokers. You have to be mindful of the fuel type, which does not cause much pollution and is safe to burn.
Two other important factors to keep in mind are the ease of use and maintenance of the smoker. It should be easily washable with dishwashing liquid to avoid any extra expenses on cleaning fluids. The smoker should also have high weather resistance to serve you for a longer duration.
If this review has contributed toward your next purchase, we hope you leave a comment below and let us know what stood out to you. Be sure to tell us which smoker you chose and your experience while using it. We love hearing from readers and look forward to hearing from you. Happy smoking!