5 Best Smoker for Beginners: Intro to a Great Hobby

Suppose you’ve been dreaming of smoking ribs, brisket, and pork butts in the backyard for a while now, then the best smoker for beginners is an excellent place to start.

This article will explore some best smoker models that are perfect for any beginner looking to get into BBQ and smoking. We will cover both electric smokers and charcoal smokers, so there is something here for everyone!

There are several factors to think about before investing in your first smoker. However, the following are the most crucial aspects to consider before putting any money down on something you will be using for many years.

Smoker Type: Gas Vs. Electric?

The first consideration is whether you want a gas or an electric smoker. We recommend that beginners start with an electric model as they are easy to use and have more consistent results than other smokers.

But if you’re adamant about using one of the latter two options, then go for it!

Fuel Type: Charcoal vs. Wood?

The second thing to consider is whether you want a charcoal smoker or an electric/gas one. While we recommend that beginners start with the latter, if you’re determined to use wood as fuel, then go for it!

Size: How Many People Do You Plan To Feed?

Think about how many people you want to be cooking for and buy a smoker that will give you enough room to do so. We recommend something smaller like the Masterbuilt Pro 30 inch electric model if it’s just yourself.

If you want to feed as many mouths as possible, though, the Oklahoma Joe Longhorn smoker is for you.

Build Quality: How Solid Do You Want It?

It’s the thing to consider is how much you are willing to spend. Cheaper models might require more maintenance and not hold up over time.

But, on the other hand, they will provide excellent results for beginners who can’t afford a larger model with higher build quality yet!

Efficiency: How Much Wood/Charcoal Do You Want To Use?

Smokers use wood and charcoal as fuels, so before grabbing the first smoker you see, this is another thing to think about. If you’re a stickler for efficiency, we recommend an electric or gas model because they require less fuel overall.

Future-Proofing: How Long Do You Plan to Use This Smoker?

Consider your long-term plans for the smoker. If you’re planning on using it for decades and passing it down as an heirloom, then go with a larger model like those from Traeger or Oklahoma Joe.

But if this is going to be a short-term hobby for you, then go with a smaller model like an electric vertical smoker.

Heat Retention and Distribution: The Temperature Control Factor

Consider how well your smoker will retain heat and distribute it evenly across the whole cooking surface. If you want to make food quickly, have consistent results, and have a big area with heat, then get a large grill like those from Green Mountain Grills or Traeger.

Price: How Much Are You Willing To Spend?

Before making a purchase, the last thing to consider is how much you’re willing to spend. If you want the best of the best, then go with a large, expensive model like those from Green Mountain Grills or Traeger.

But suppose this is going to be a short-term hobby for you. In that case, we recommend going with a smaller model like an electric vertical smoker.

 Warranty and Support: How Much Do You Care About After Sales Support?

Finally, consider what kind of warranty and support you’re looking for. Suppose this is going to be a long-term investment. In that case, we recommend getting something with an extensive parts replacement program to give you peace of mind if anything goes wrong down the line.

But if it’s a short-term thing, get something with minimal warranty and after-sales support.

Best Smokers for Beginners – Which Types of Smokers Should I Get?

This article aims to talk about the different types and their pros and cons.

Charcoal Smokers

A common type of smoker, charcoal smokers, is simple to set up and use. However, they require more maintenance than other types since you need to keep adding fuel throughout your cooking time to run correctly.

It’s also worth mentioning that even though this is a “simple” method of smoking, there are some basic rules that you should follow to get the best results.

For example, it’s important not to add more charcoal than recommended, or your meat will end up tasting burnt and bitter!

Benefits of Charcoal Smokers

  • If you don’t mind spending more time maintaining your smoker, charcoal models are a great option.
  • They also tend to be cheaper than other types on the market, so they can be an ideal choice if you don’t have much room in your budget.

Drawbacks of Charcoal Smokers

  • One drawback is that unless you have an electric starter, you’ll need to use a chimney lighter or another fire-starting method which can be time-consuming.

Electric Smokers

Electric ones are Increasingly popular smokers due to their ease of use and relatively cheap price tag. Electric smokers are becoming more common on the market, especially for beginners who want something easy that they don’t have to monitor during their smoke. They are also very efficient, requiring minimal wood chips to create smoke.

Benefits of Electric Smokers

  • One benefit is that they require next to no maintenance – plug it in, and the built-in heating element does all of the work for you!
  • Another plus point is that electric smokers are easy to clean and maintain, which is excellent for beginners who don’t know how long it takes!
  • Electric models won’t give you the best results if you want an excellent smoky flavor. They don’t impart that signature “smoky” flavor that you can get from other types.

Drawbacks of Electric Smokers

  • Electric smokers can be hit and miss when it comes to consistency as they tend not to hold heat very well.

Offset Smokers

Offset smokers are a common choice, especially those who want to start smoking meat professionally. Since the dawn of BBQ, they have been around and continue to be very popular, with some even being used in commercial applications such as barbecue restaurants or catering events.

Benefits of Offset Smokers

  • The main advantage is that you can use both direct heat and indirect heat, which gives you a lot of control over your cooking.
  • Although they take up more room than other types, offset smokers are usually more significant and better insulated to handle longer smoking times and cuts of meat with ease.

Drawbacks of Offsets Smokers

  • The main drawback for offset smokers is that they tend to be very basic if you get the cheaper models and don’t have all the bells and whistles you’ll find on other types.

Gas Smokers

Another increasingly popular type of smoker, gas smokers, are straightforward to use and maintain. They run on propane, a quick heating fuel that gives you instant heat so your food can be ready in no time at all!

Benefits of Gas Smokers

There are many benefits with this kind of smoker – the main one being how fast they heat up and the fact that you can control the temperature so easily.

You don’t need to bother with charcoal or wood chips as it’s all done for you, which is great if you’re a beginner!

Drawbacks of Gas Smokers

Although there aren’t many drawbacks, keep in mind that gas smokers don’t give off any smoky flavor due to the gas heating up.

Kamado Grills

If you’re looking for a smoker that is also your grill, then kamado grills are the way to go. This innovative design lets you get two birds with one stone!

Benefits of Kamados

  • The benefits of this kind of grill/smoker combo are that they give off a unique smoky flavor, can be used in various ways, and are incredibly versatile.
  • Kamados are the very best smoker/grills on the market. However, they can be pretty pricey, so you’ll have to budget accordingly if this is your kind of thing!

Drawbacks of Kamados

  • The main drawback with kamado grills is that they can take a long time to heat up and cool down, which is great for cooking meat but not so much if you’re short on time.

Pellet Grills

Another popular “new” smoker style, pellet grills, is gaining popularity as they give you the best of both worlds.

Benefits of Pellet Grills

  • Pellet smokers cook your food quickly and efficiently with no hassle at all!
  • They also have a very low-temperature range, so if you want to smoke meat slowly, this is the smoker.

Drawbacks of Pellets Grills

  • One drawback that some people don’t like with pellet smokers is how heavy and bulky they can be, making them difficult to move around.
  • Although there are many benefits, one downside of pellet grills could be how much wood pellets cost.

Which Accessories Do You Need?

After you’ve purchased one of the best smokers for beginners, you might believe the work is done. While you could certainly get away with it, there are a few essential accessories that you’d be doing yourself a favor of if you bought them.

Probe Thermometer

A probe thermometer is a must-have for any smoker. It will allow you to monitor the temperature without opening up your grill.

It helps prevent heat loss and can help improve efficiency so much that it’s worth getting one!

Food Grids/Disposable Pans

You’ll also need some food grids or disposable foil pans to place your food on so they don’t fall through the gaps or get burnt.

Lighting Tools

If you have an offset smoker, you’ll probably need some tools for starting up wood chips which can be a bit of a pain without them!

Wood Chunks and Lump Charcoal

If you have a charcoal smoker, it’s probably easiest to get wood chunks or whole lumps of hardwood rather than finding the correct size chips.

Slicing and Trimming Knives

You’ll also need a good quality knife to slice and trim your meat with since it’s one of the most important parts!

Best Smoker for Beginners 2022

Our top two selections for the best smokers for beginners on the market are carefully chosen to be simple to operate while being of excellent quality and providing.

Best Gas Smoker for Beginners

If you want the convenience of gas, then we recommend the Dyna-Glo Vertical L.P. Gas Smoker. It’s a quality smoker that’s easy to use and produces impressive barbecue.

The Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP is a good choice if you purchase a gas smoker for your first smoking experience. This unit features an ample cooking space to help you get used to smoking meats before moving on to more significant projects.

Specs

  • Color: Black powder coat
  • Item Weight: 54 Pounds
  • Item Dimensions (LxWxH): 27 x 19.2 x 46.46 inches
  • Fuel Type: Liquefied Petroleum Gas
  • Cooking space: 784-square inch 
  • 15,000 BTU Cast Iron Burner

Benefits

  • This unit is straightforward to assemble. The construction of the Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP is sturdy but not too heavy.
  • Large Wood Chip Box
  • Large Capacity Water Bowl

Best Electric Smoker for Beginners

If charcoal and fire management are not your thing, perhaps the relative ease of electricity would be more suitable? if so, we might have found the perfect model.

The Masterbuilt 20070910 is one of the most popular smokers on the market, and it looks as strong as a safe. Despite being powered by electricity, it’s likely the most straightforward smoker to operate in this selection.

However, this device should never be used indoors, even in the garage, since it produces carbon monoxide.

Specs

  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Color: 30″ Black
  • Item Weight: 45.86 Pounds
  • Item Dimensions (LxWxH): 20 x 17 x 33.5 inches
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Cooking space: 730 sq. inches
  •  Cooking Range: 100 to 275 degrees F

Benefits

  • The Masterbuilt 20070910 is a digital smoker, meaning you can control the temperature quickly.
  • The knobs are straightforward to use, making this an excellent choice for those looking for user-friendliness.

Drawbacks 

  • The control panel is not waterproof

Best Pellet Smokers for Beginners

Are you looking for the most direct, most hands-off smoking experience possible? If that’s the case, a pellet smoker is just maybe what you’re searching for. Here are two of the most OK pellet smokers for beginners.

The Z Grills 2020 is an innovative pellet smoker with a lot to offer any beginner. This device provides the convenience of all-in-one cooking, so you can smoke and grill your food without switching appliances.

Specs

  • Power Source: Wood Pellet
  • Color: Silver
  • Item Weight: 84 Pounds
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 48 x 22 x 51 inches
  • Fuel Type: Electric, Liquefied Petroleum Gas
  • Cooking space: 700 sq.
  • Hopper Capacity: 20 lbs 
  • Rustproof cover & racks

Benefits

  • The Z Grills 2020 is a very innovative product. It offers the convenience of using it as a smoker, grill, oven, and more.
  • The ability to use it as an oven is a perk that’s almost unheard of in pellet smokers – most units can only do one or two of those things!
  • Simple to use

Drawbacks

  • The Z Grills 2020 is difficult to clean – ashes can get stuck in the grease catchment tray.

Best Charcoal Smokers for Beginners

The following are, in our view, the most OK charcoal smokers for beginners who are just getting started. They’re simple to operate and provide excellent results.

The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is one of the most popular charcoal smokers on the market, and it’s easy to see why!

It has an effortless design that makes using it a breeze, plus you can control how much smoke flavor your meat gets with ease.

It also comes in three sizes (14″, 18″ and 22″), so you’ll be able to find one that fits your needs.

Specs

  • Power Source: Charcoal
  • Color: Black
  • Item Weight: 39.1 Pounds
  • Item Dimensions (LxWxH): 21 x 19 x 41 inches
  • Material Type: Steel
  • Rust-resistant metal legs
  • Built-in lid thermometer
  • Plated steel cooking grates
  • The capacity of the Smokey Mountain Cooker: 18″

Benefits

  • One of the enormous benefits of this smoker is that it has a built-in lid thermometer which can come in handy.
  • It also cooks incredibly evenly and efficiently, plus there’s a tremendous amount of variation on how you can smoke your food thanks to its adjustable dampers!
  • This brand has an extensive support network and community for assistance because of its popularity.

Drawbacks of This Style

Although there aren’t many drawbacks with this smoker, some people don’t like how it can rust easily or the fact that it doesn’t have a water pan. However, these are easy fixes if they’re deal-breakers for you!

The Pit Barrel Cooker is an incredibly popular charcoal smoker that’s perfect if you’re looking for something fun and straightforward!

It has a novel cylindrical design which allows it to retain heat very effectively. Plus, there are tons of amazing recipes out there, so you’ll never get bored.

Specs

Power Source: Charcoal

Color: Black Porcelain enamel coating

Item Weight: 57 Pounds

Item Dimensions LxWxH21 x 21 x 31.1 inches

Fuel Type: Charcoal

Benefits

  • The significant benefit of the Pit Barrel Cooker is that it has a massive internal cooking capacity. That makes it perfect for more substantial cuts of meat or smoking multiple items at once.
  • It’s also straightforward to use and easy to get started with, plus there’s an included recipe book so you can learn how to smoke your food even better!
  • Set up is simple, with no assembly or seasoning required.

Drawbacks of This Style

The main drawback of this smoker style is that it can be challenging to get started if you’re not used to charcoal smokers. However, once you’ve got the hang of creating your fire and maintaining heat, then there aren’t many drawbacks at all!

Wrap Up on Best Smoker for Beginners

So there you have it – stick around if you want to get more advanced in your smoking techniques!

We all have to start somewhere, so if you’re getting into smoking, these are some of the best smokers for beginners currently available on the market.

What’s your favorite style of smoker? Let us know in the comments!

Z Hashan

Z Hashan

Hi, my name is Z Hashan, and I’m passionate about smoking the best BBQ. There’s nothing more satisfying than cooking a delicious piece of BBQ and seeing the joy on people’s faces while they have a bite of it.

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