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Electric smokers are probably the best way to get into smoking. These electric contraptions provide the same results as a gas smoker, for example, but they are much easier to use (and often more efficient). The good news is, some of them are also really affordable. For less than $300 (even for less than $200), you can have a perfectly functioning electric smoker – and we definitely recommend this to those who never owned a smoker before.
Today, we show you 5 amazing electric smokers that you can get for less than $300. So let’s start!
Cuisinart is not a name we see often when we talk about outdoor cooking equipment like smokers and girls. However, they have pleasantly surprised us with this electric smoker. The Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Smoker is a beautiful and functional unit that allows you to smoke anything with ease – from vegetables to brisket to even a whole turkey.
This smoker is not too big, but not too small either. It offers a total of 548 square inches of cooking space over 3 chrome-coated cooking grates. These grates can be arranged in a variety of ways – which effectively gives you enough room even for the most giant cuts of meat.
Another thing we loved about the Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Smoker is how reliable it is. The 1500-watt heating element combined with a dial-style thermostat allows you to achieve precisely the temperature you want any time. You can choose any temperature you want between 100 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Last but not least, we also liked how easy this electric smoker is to use. It comes with a water pan that you can use to adjust the humidity inside the smoker. A little basket for adding wood chips is also included. All you need to do is fill the smoker up, close the door, set the temperature, and wait for your wonderful meal.
Includes three chrome-coated racks
Lightweight and easy to move
Easy to use
Precise temperature control
Good value for money
The door doesn’t seal perfectly
The thermometer on the front is not the most precise
The Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker is a budget-friendly electric smoker that is still very well made. The construction of this smoker is standard for smokers in the medium size range. You get 3 chrome-plated cooking grates placed one above the other. All together, they give you 544 square inches of cooking area.
What we especially loved about this model from Char-Broil is the way the trays for water, wood chips, and drippings are arranged. Underneath the bottom shelf of the smoker, there are two trays that slide out. One is actually an extra-large wood chip box, while the other one is for water. Underneath all of this is another tray that collects drippings capable of holding up to 12 ounces of liquid. This combination works really well and the result is a smoker that is super easy to use even for beginners, but won’t disappoint even the most seasoned cooks.
Finally, we want to say a couple of words about why we chose the analog and not the digital model. It’s true, the temperature gauge – which is basically a knob you turn around – is a little fiddly. However, after a couple of tries, it’s easy to get the hang of it. The thing about analog controls is that they are much more durable. With digital models, if the electronics malfunction, you can’t use your smoker anymore. With this model, this doesn’t happen.
The Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load Smoker is conceptually different from all the other smokers on our list. This doesn’t mean there is something wrong with it, though. This smoker was made to do one thing, and it does it really well – smoking fish and smaller cuts of meat (or fruits and veggies, if that’s more your thing).
Here is what’s unique about this smoker: the temperature is not adjustable. There is only one temperature setting: 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The thing is, this is the only setting you really need to smoke things like jerky, sausages, and fish. Plus, there is no need to worry about getting the temperature too high and overcooking your meat. As an additional benefit, the Little Chief smoker achieves this using only a 250W heating element and using much less power than other smokers.
As the name suggests, the Little Chief is also smaller than many other smokers. However, it can still fit up to 25 pounds of food at a time, which is plenty. You can’t really fit a brisket or a whole turkey in there, but this is not what this smoker is for. On the other hand, if you are looking for a compact, lightweight, and functional smoker that comes at a very reasonable price – this one might be the right for you
As a nice bonus, this smoker also comes with a nice booklet containing not only detailed instructions but also a bunch of recipes to get you started as well as a bag of Chips n’ Chunks hickory flavor wood fuel.
This smoker from Smoke Hollow is a spacious and powerful electric smoker. You get two chrome-plated cooking racks when you buy this unit, but it could actually fit 3 cooking racks. You can arrange the height of the racks however you like which easily gives you enough space for smoking a whole turkey, making a brisket, or some baby back ribs.
This smoker is powerful enough to do anything you want too. The heating element uses as much as 1500 watts and it’s paired with the precise temperature control gauge. With this combination, there is no limit to what you can do!
The Smoke Hollow 26142E 26-Inch Electric Smoker with Adjustable Temperature Control also comes with a convenient water pan and a tray for wood chips, both of which are covered with a porcelain coating for easier cleaning.
Last but not least, we also like how sturdy this smoker is. The whole cabinet is made of steel. That makes this smoker a bit heavier than aluminum smokers, but also much more durable and impact-resistant.
This model from Masterbuilt is our final pick among the best affordable electric smokers. The MES 35B is a functional, full-sized model that uses only electricity.
What makes this smoker stand out is the fact that there is really a lot of space inside. You get 3 chrome-coated racks which you can arrange vertically anyway you like. Not one, but 2 whole turkeys easily fit in there if you use 2 smoking racks. With all 3, there might not be space for 2 turkeys, but you can easily fit 3 racks of ribs or 3 whole chickens.
This large smoker is powered by a 1500-watt heating element that ensures a stable temperature at all times. You can set the temperature using an analog dial. Not only this, but you can also control the smoke levels using the adjustable air damper on this smoker.
Finally, the Masterbuilt MES 35B also comes with a large wood chip tray, a water pan, and a drip tray. The wood chip tray slides out for easy refilling. When you smoke large cuts of meat, like a turkey or a pork butt, a single smoking cycle can take 6 to 12 hours, depending on your style. During this time, you’ll definitely need to refill the chip tray a couple of times. This is why a sliding tray is really convenient to have.
When we think of smoking meat, we might first think of charcoal, but electric smokers actually have many advantages over traditional methods.
First of all, these smokers are easier to use than anything else. Set the temperature you want, load the wood chips and/or water, and let the smoker do its work. No need to check the fire all the time, no guesswork. For those just starting out with smoking, this can be a great push forward as it’s much harder to make a mistake with an electric smoker.
We can probably agree that electric smokers are great, but it still doesn’t mean every model you encounter will work well. Some smokers are just poorly made and can ruin your overall impression of electric smokers. It’s also not always true that more expensive models are better than the cheaper ones (as we’ve shown you with our picks today).
But how do you choose the right electric smoker? These are some criteria to think about:
Before checking anything else, it’s a good idea to first think about how much space you need for smoking. If you want to smoke smaller things only like fish, jerky, or sausages, you don’t need to worry about not having enough space. Even the smallest of smokers, the Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load Smoker will let you do quite a big batch at once.
However, if a whole turkey or pork butt is more your thing, it’s a good idea to check how much space the smoker offers.
The ideal smoking temperature is always somewhere between 100 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Most smokers will allow you to set the temperature somewhere in this range. Some electric smokers can go even to 500. At this temperature, you’re not really smoking meat, but also grilling it a bit. That’s completely fine though, if that’s something you want to play around with.
Different smokers also come with different kinds of temperature controls. Some are digital and some are analog. The digital controls are more precise, but also more likely to break down over time.
Last but not least, it’s good to check what the cabinet of the smoker is made of and how well it’s constructed. Ideally, a smoker would be lightweight and easy to move but still durable and impact-resistant. It’s also important to check if the door of the smoker closes well – you don’t want any smoke escaping through the door.
Hopefully, today’s guide has shown you that a decent electric smoker doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. The Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Smoker and the Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker, for example, are both powerful full-sized smokers that are also really affordable. If you thought getting into smoking meat would be too big of an investment, now is the time to reconsider.
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