Best Smokers for Beginners – 2019 Full Buyer’s Guide

If you have finally, for the first time, planned to host a BBQ party at your home, or just want to simply try out a BBQ yourself, a good quality smoker is essential.

However, if you step out in the market, it’s extremely confusing and difficult to decide which one you need. To help you out, we’ve rounded some of the best smokers for beginners which are surely worth investing in!

Comparison Chart of the Best Smokers for Beginners

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

  • Best charcoal smoker for beginners
  • Porcelain-enameled lid with a thermometer on top
  • The smoker weighs 68 pounds
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Masterbuilt Front Controller

  • Best electric smoker for beginners
  • Digitally lit display for monitoring temperature
  • Has a built-in 800-watt heating element
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Char-Broil Vertical Liquid Propane Gas Smoker

  • Natural gas-fueled smoker which is powered by propane
  • It has 3 chrome plated racks
  • Uses a simple propane heater for smoking food
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Big Chief Front Load Smoker

  • Aluminum-built electric smoker
  • 4 chrome plated racks
  • Comes with a 1.75 pounds of premium quality wood chips
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Smoke Hollow ES230B Digital Electric Smoker

  • Best digital electric smoker from our list
  • Has an 800-watt heating element inside
  • Has adjustable temperature with the maximum being 163 degree Celsius
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Masterbuilt 20078616 Electric Bullet Smoker

  • Best electric bullet smoker for beginners
  • Has 2 porcelain plated racks
  • Smoke temperature goes up to 400 degrees
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Are All Smokers The Same?

Of course, in the diverse market of smokers, you will find a huge variety of varying types of smokers to choose from. Some types of smokers that are most commonly found and used by beginners include:

Charcoal Smokers

If you want your smoked food to be also given a touch of smoky flavor, then a charcoal smoker is the best option. It uses charcoals to smoke the meat, which can be tricky and technical yet works amazingly once understood.

Gas Smokers

This is a healthier option since it uses natural gas and does not produce any smoke emission in the air. They're also much easier to use compared to charcoal ones for beginners.

Electric Smokers

Perhaps the best kind of smokers for beginners is the electric ones since they only need an electric power supply and with just a touch of a button, they do all the job by themselves.

How to Choose a Smoker?

Once you’ve decided what kind of smoker you need, let’s take a look at some beneficial features and qualities that a good smoker has:

Size and Capacity

Each smoker comes with a different capacity. The capacity you choose will depend directly on how often you plan on using the smoker, and how much quantity of food you will be using it for. 

Build Quality

The build quality will be hugely impactful on your overall experience. It will determine its sturdiness, how much weight it can withstand, how long it lasts and good build quality will also make temperature regulation easier.

Meanwhile, a thin or poorly built smoker will use more energy and will leak out the heat, proving to be highly inefficient.

Extra Features and Bonuses

These do not have a direct link to the overall experience of a BBQ smoker, but they will enhance your experience if they are present. Extra features or bonuses could include anything like color variety, a multi-functional smoker that can also bake, accessories, and material choices.

Is it Only Suitable for Beginners?

This is the very question you should ask yourself when choosing the right smoker. While you are a beginner right now, you will learn and become good at smoking BBQ meat in no time. So the smoker you choose to buy should be good enough for both beginners as well as experts.

Willy's Top Picks - Best Smokers for Beginners

Review of the Best Smokers for Beginners

We have shortlisted 6 amazing smokers from the market that can prove to be great for beginners. These vary in terms of features and functionality, yet are exceptional in their own way. The thorough reviews of the smokers can assist you in deciding which one suits your expectations, needs, and usage better.

Pros

  • Large room for 2 items
  • Easy to control temperature; temperature is maintained for 6 to 8 hours
  • Easy to refuel with charcoal or wood
  • Rust-resistant built, sleek and sophisticated design
  • You will not need to upgrade to a new smoker with this
  • Precise control of airflow allows by the dampers
  • Sturdy legs allow better support

Cons

  • Charcoal smokers like these can be complex for beginners
  • Not really portable

The Weber Smokey Smoker is a charcoal smoker that uses charcoal as the fuel to smoke the meat. As a result, it will add great flavor to your food. The smoker has an all-black finish, with rust-resistant built. It also has a porcelain lid, bowl and center section that ensures that no heat is lost. This will improve its efficiency and will cook your food better and faster.

The most distinctive feature of this charcoal smoker is its capacity of smoking 2 large items simultaneously. It has a large room for smoking, which will allow you to finish cooking faster. Furthermore, another great feature of this smoker is how it conveniently allows you to keep control of the temperature.

It has an easy to view and easy to access thermometer at the top of the lid, with easy to use dampers. Moreover, another feature that adds to its convenience is its wide and easy-to-open door that allows you to add more charcoal easily. The door also comes off for better accessibility.

Bottom Line

Even though generally charcoal smokers can be difficult for beginners to use, we still recommend this smoker to be used by beginners since it has an easy to use design.

It has an efficient temperature control functionality and also has a durable and study built which means that it is going to last you a long time.

Pros

  • Highly recommended for beginners
  • Good capacity makes it ideal for various purposes
  • Portable due to its wheels
  • Easy and convenient temperature control
  • Internal food light for easy monitoring
  • Remote control for easy and quick monitoring

Cons

  • Difficult to clean
  • Unable to stand sturdily due to the wheels

Electric smokers like the Maserbuilt Front Controller are a great choice for beginners since they do all the job by themselves. This electric smoker has a capacity of 30 square inches that can allow you to cook a large item.

Moreover, it has chrome plated 4 racks that allow you to smoke different items at the same time. It also has a window for you to keep a check of the items being smoked. The electric smoker is fully insulated with foam that helps retain heat for a long time.

A prominent feature of this smoker is its LED display of temperature, which makes it extremely easy to read and understand. The cherry on top; it also has a convenient and efficient remote control for the temperature control, on/off option, light control and more. It also has an LED internal light for the food, so that you can easily look at how much more it needs to be cooked.

If you are looking for a smoker that is easy to store, move around and portable, then this is the perfect choice. It has roller wheels and is lightweight, which makes it extremely easy to move around. The smoker weighs 53 pounds and is built with stainless steel which ensures its durability.

Bottom Line

As a beginner, you want to buy yourself something that easy and quick to use and understand. This electric smoker is a good start for your BBQ smoking experience. It has mostly all of the features and functionality that any professional level smoker has. Ranging from portability to a good capacity, the electric smoker is a good choice for any beginner.

Pros

  • Simple, sleek design and comes with 3 racks
  • Has a grate for sauces on top
  • Easy to access food section with vertical door
  • Easy on the pocket
  • Gas feature leads to a consistent flow of heat

Cons

  • Insulation is not good enough
  • Not portable because of the weight
  • Inconvenient thermometer

The char-broil smoker is a natural gas fueled smoker that comes with a traditional vertical cabinet design. It has a black colored appearance which adds a touch of sleekness and simplicity to it.

The vertical cabinet has 3 chrome-plated racks, with a capacity of 595 square inches, which should be good enough for you as a beginner.

However, competitor’s models have a larger capacity. Although depending on your usage and preferences, it can be a good choice if you are looking for a compact width-wise smoker.

Since it is a natural gas fueled smoker, it will also be friendlier to the environment and won’t leave out any harmful gases or smokes, unlike the charcoal ones.

Char-broils smokers are known for being budget-friendly yet equally of high quality and performance. It has a decent insulation system, is made of steel and weighs 76 pounds. It also features a water warming section, which however is attributed to being inconvenient and messy.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Char-Boil gas smoker does not seems to be a bad option in terms of its price. As someone new to smokers, you might not want to invest too much in a unit, so this makes a good choice.

However, there are competitors’ products in the market that offer a wider variety of features and also work better.

This gas smoker is not as efficiently insulated, and you may experience issues with the temperature regulation. However, the gas and propane feature ensures a consistent level of heat supply.

Pros

  • Sturdy and durable
  • Easy slide racks
  • Portable thanks to numerous accessibility features
  • Efficient ventilation to get the perfect smoky taste

Cons

  • Temperature is not adjustable which might annoy some

If you're looking for an electric smoker for all the convenient features it has to offer; then the Big Chief smoker is the right option for you. This smoker is the most diverse and versatile smoker in the market, considering its extra features and high quality functionality.

It is a front-loaded smoker, meaning that it has a vertical door in the front from where you load all the items into the smoker. It has a capacity of smoking up to 50 pounds!

Moreover, its sleek and intelligent design has an effective ventilation system built for proper air flow and dehydration. This ventilation systems also allow a smoky flavor to be added to the meat; just like a charcoal smoker but easier! The ventilation system also emits any excess moisture so that the smoke is built nicely.

Furthermore, it is made with highly durable and sturdy aluminum, including chrome plated racks that are extremely removed and slide inside. It also features a 165 preset temperature that smokes your food at this low temperature without any risk of burning or ruining it.

However, some people may not like the adjustable temperature feature because they want to take control of the temperature themselves. But if you are a beginner, then this feature should make it easier for you to use the product.

Bottom Line

Overall, this extraordinary smoker is an all-in-package that can be used at the beginner level as well as expert level. It features all the essentials and also comes with extras like the wood chips.

Its ventilation system and aluminum built are some distinctive features that make it a good purchase.

Pros

  • Sturdy built and simple, sleek design
  • Good capacity, making it capable of handling various needs
  • Mess and hassle-free
  • Fully insulated body retains heat
  • Budget-friendly, making it the ideal choice for beginners

Cons

  • The heat tends to leak out sometimes

The smoke hollow electric smoker has endless features that make it worth the investment. Firstly, it has a simple, sleek and elegant all-black appearance that will not look odd in your outdoors. Secondly, it has a smoker body which is fully insulated and retains heat and controls temperature efficiently.

Moreover, it features a digital control panel on the top which is extremely easy to access and use. It has an on and off option as well as a temperature regulation feature. It also features an adjustable air damper that allows consistent and good air flow control.

Another great feature about this smoker is its ability to consistently provide heat to the food due to its 800-watt heating element along with a nicely insulated body.

It is also a hassle-free and mess-proof smoker as it comes with a removable water bowl and a removable drip pan for easy maintenance.

Overall, this budget-friendly smoker is built with sturdy, durable and long-lasting material, enhancing your smoking experience as a first timer.

Bottom Line

To sum it up, this electric digital smoker is the answer to most of your problems as a beginner. It is easier on the pocket, which means you don’t have to invest a huge amount in a smoker for the first time.

However, it lacks features like flavor addition and portability compared to other competitor products from our list.

Pros

  • Compact and portable, making it good for small gatherings
  • Simple and easy to use for beginners
  • Easy temperature control
  • Easy to read and control temperature gauge on the lid

Cons

  • No extra features or color options
  • Not built with sturdy material

For beginners, a bullet smoker is usually is a better choice. For this reason, this Masterbuilt electric bullet smoker qualifies as one of the best smokers for beginners.

It comes with a built-in thermometer on the lid which is easy to read, use and control. It is powered by a powerful 1650 watt heating element which provides consistent heat and regulates temperature.

The bullet smoker also comes with extra features like easy to use removable porcelain-coated wood chip tray. Moreover, it is a compact and portable smoker with its compact dimensions and 17.5 pounds of weight.
It also has a simple and attractive design and won’t stand out in your outdoor area.

It has a capacity of 395 square feet with 2 porcelain coated racks. Even though the capacity is relatively less, it still qualifies as a good choice for beginners who plan on using the smoker for smaller gatherings.

Bottom Line

Overall, the bullet smoker seems to be a good option for people who want a smoker for small gatherings or a lesser amount of food.

If you are looking for a smoker for frequent use with large items, then this may not be a good choice for you. The competing products from our list also provide more versatile features than this one. 

Nevertheless, it still adds value to the money and can contribute to your experience as a beginner.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Before you can finally go ahead and choose from our list of 6 best smokers for beginners, there are still some features and aspects you must consider. These aspects include your budget, purpose/use, portability, and your expectations.

Budget

Budget is an imperative factor to consider before buying a smoker for yourself. You need to ensure that going for a too expensive smoker will not automatically ensure high performance. Yes, expensive models do have better features most of the time, but it’s not true that cheaper models are not qualified enough either.

Purpose/Use

Ask yourself what you need the smoker for, how many people do you plan to cook for, what kind of food do you need the smoker for and how frequently will you be using it.

Portability

Portability is an aspect that may be of importance to someone and not to someone else. So you should see if you want a smoker that is easy to carry so that you can also take it with you to your trips.

Conclusion

In conclusion, beginners who are looking for a good smoker should go for something that will last for a long time and can also be useful even after you’ve mastered the art of BBQ smoking. Electric smokers seem to be a good option for both experts and beginners due to their convenience and versatile features.

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