11 Best Portable Smokers for Camping and Tailgating

Our Top Picks

SmokeHouse Big Chief Electric Smoker
SmokeHouse Big Chief Electric Smoker
Traeger Grills Tailgater 20 Portable Smoker
Traeger Grills Tailgater 20 Portable Smoker
Camerons Large Stovetop Smoker
Camerons Large Stovetop Smoker

Do you love smoking great meat on the go? Barbecuing or smoking meat on tailgate parties and outdoor trips is the best way to make the time memorable. However, to turn this into a reality you need an efficient portable smoker. Choosing a portable smoker is tricky since you need a unit that features compact and lightweight construction without sacrificing functionality and cooking capacity.

To help you out, we have lined up the eleven best portable smokers you can buy today. After testing various portable mini smokers and portable smoker grill combos, we have shortlisted the option that stood out best for quality and performance. Also, a buying guide, in the end, will help you make a calculated and well-informed decision.

Eleven Best Portable Smokers

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Even heat distribution
  • Rugged build quality
  • Highly functional design
  • Lacks effortless cleanup

Top on our list of best portable smokers is the Weber 14-inch Charcoal smoker. It is one of the best-selling products that is rated 5-start on amazon for its impressive price-performance ratio. Weighing only 23 pounds it is one of the lightest smokers you can ever buy for portable use. This is a simple smoker that is made with the needs of adventure enthusiasts in mind and gives you the best grilling and smoking experience on the go.

Cooking grates are 14 inches in diameter and the main cooking area is 143 sq. inches. However, the overall cooking area of the smoker measures 286 sq. inches, and these figures reveal that a smoker can handle plenty of food at one time. Moreover, it has a front door opening that lets you add charcoal. Plus the built-in thermometer in the lid gives you precise and accurate temperature readings and eliminates the guesswork.

The side door opening allows you to run the meat probe cables and helps you create a safe setup. The construction quality is impressive and cooking grates are made with non-stick materials for effortless cleaning. We loved the even heat distribution offered by this portable smoker.

The exterior of the smoker is enamel coated making it highly resistant to fading, scratches, and corrosion. The unit comes partially assembled but all the instructions are provided in the user manual. The only issue we faced while using this smoker is the challenging cleanup. The ash is pretty difficult to drain and it may cost you extra time after packing up.

With a lightweight yet highly rugged construction this is probably the best portable charcoal smoker you can buy today. The smoker combines the best brand name value with a five-star rating making it one of the best portable smokers.

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Ample cooking space
  • Rugged build quality
  • Effortless charcoal loading
  • Lacks heat resistant body

This smoker-grill combo by MasterBuilt has a smart design that packs four stackable smoking racks. The overall cooking capacity is 200 sq. inches which is impressive considering its space-saving profile. The chrome-coated stacks are strictly non-stick in nature giving you a mess-free and perfect cooking experience.

The simple design of the grill makes it equally useful for beginners and experts. The large back opening lets you load the grills without opening the front door. The front door locks the moisture and temperature and maintains the constant temperature throughout the cooking space.

Moreover, this smoker comes with a built-in temperature gauge, and also you can pair it up with any aftermarket smoker thermometer for extra precision and accuracy. It supports Bluetooth technology and connects to your phone. You will receive all the alerts and temperature data on your phone. The smoker’s body is not heat resistant and gets extremely hot from the outside.

If you are on the lookout for an affordable and lightweight portable smoker without sacrificing the cooking capacity, Masterbuilt MB20074719 is a definite way to go. With a built-in temperature gauge, Bluetooth technology, and easy-to-clean non-stick construction it is one of the best portable smokers you can buy in 2022.

  • Easy to transport design
  • Advanced grilling logic and cooking timer
  • Nonstick cooking grates
  • Require electric supply

The cooking grates are porcelain coated and offer a non-stick grilling surface. Also, the cooking grates ensure the even heat distribution to all food parts and even the beginners can cook like a pro. Since it is made for portable use, the cooking area of the smoker is 184 sq. inches. This cooking area is enough to cook food for 2-3 people.

Its self-contained design makes it pretty easy to carry and transport over long distances. We also loved the functional design of the smoker. You can add wood pellets through its front opening. Remember it is an electric unit and requires a 120V electric supply to run. This feature limits its functionality in some remote areas. It can reach a maximum temperature of 450 degrees celsius and the smoker features advanced grilling logic.

This feature allows you to get the precise temperature for different recipes. Plus you will get a cooking timer that is pretty accurate and let you know when the food is done. With all these advanced features it eliminates the need for constant monitoring and lets you enjoy the party.

Traeger grill Ranger portable smoker tucks in like a toolbox for ease of transport and is one of the best portable smokers you can buy today. Its advanced timer and intelligent temperature monitoring features make it equally useful for beginners and pros.

best portable pellet smoker
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Maintains constant temperature
  • Front opening for effortless loading
  • Impressive cooking capacity
  • Exterior gets hot

The cooking area and grilling grates are stacked over one another and even in a compact design, it packs ample grilling and smoking space. The biggest perk of getting this electric smoker is that it is exceptionally lightweight. It weighs only 18 pounds and no extra fuel chamber is used to operate it. The unit runs on a 450-watt heating element and operates at constant temperatures right from the beginning.

Also, it eliminates the need to constantly add fuel and monitor fuel levels. However, its functionality is somewhat limited since electric supply is not available in all remote areas. The big front opening makes the loading super easy and quick. This smoker has a smart wood chip pan that adds a traditional BBQ taste to the foods.

You can cook a maximum of 50lbs of meat at once in this grill and it is a perfect option to host big parties. The stainless steel construction is rugged and highly resistant to corrosion. Non-stick cooking grates are pretty easy to clean. The biggest downside of this electric smoker is that its exterior gets excessively hot and you need to be very careful while using this smoker.

SmokeHouse Big chief with impressive cooking capacity and highly functional design is undoubtedly the best portable meat smoker. The unit weighs only 18 lbs and features a highly maneuverable profile making it one of the best portable smokers in 2022.

  • Heat-resistant hard shell
  • Even heat distribution
  • Built-in temperature gauge
  • Customizable cooking area
  • Hefty ceramic construction

Kamado Joe Jr. is a tabletop smoker that combines a portable design with impressive smoking efficiency for a traditional barbecuing experience. This charcoal grill by Kamado is probably the most compact smoker you can buy today. This is a multi-purpose cooking machine that can cook, smoke, grill, bake, and smear. Even with a compact design and limited smoking space, this unit gives you an excellent experience through its fully customizable design.

It boasts Divide & Conquers advanced cooking system that lets you customize the cooking space according to your needs. The cooking grates are made with high-quality ceramic and measure 13.5 inches in diameter. The cooking gates are strictly non-stick and we found them pretty easy to clean.

Unlike other inexpensive smokers, it features a heat-resistant hard shell body that locks the heat well and results in even heat distribution. The exterior is also heat resistant for safe handling. The cast iron stand is sturdy and provides outstanding stability on flat surfaces. Another feature that we found useful is the built-in temperature gauge.

The thermometer is precise and accurate giving you the correct temperature reading for a guess-free cooking experience. However, the ceramic construction makes it pretty heavy. Although it is a compact unit, it weighs more than 70 pounds and is pretty hefty to carry around.

Kamado Joe KJ13RH is one of the best mini smokers as it packs a lot of functionality in a compact tabletop design. The smoker features impressive heating mechanisms that ensure even heat distribution throughout the cooking area making it one of the best portable smokers.

  • Smart temperature monitoring
  • WiFi connectivity
  • Even heat distribution
  • Storage area and convenience tray
  • Needs stable electric supply

The Green Mountain Davy Crocket WiFi-Controlled grill is an excellent tailgating grill that comes packed with advanced features like intelligent temperature monitoring and Wifi connectivity. This wood pellet smoker features a professional-grade design and a wide cooking area of 219 square inches.

Also, you will get a small warming rack where you can keep your servings fresh and warm. The smoker features a peaked lid design for rib racks and also you will get a convenience tray where you can keep all your cooking essentials organized. The non-stick cooking surface coupled with even heat distribution gives you the perfect cooking experience even in challenging situations.

It uses wood pellets as fuel and the back opening makes it pretty easy to load the pellets. The unit has two voltage supply options 110V and 12V. The 12 V options are added to make it functional in remote areas and you can operate the grill using the car or vehicle batteries. However, it works best with the standard household electric supply of 110 volts.

The grill also supports WiFi connectivity and you can also download its smart app on your phone. You can monitor the temperature, set timers, and control all its features through your phone. This grill is not among the most compact options however it has a foldable leg design and easily fits in the car or RV.

If you are not on a budget and looking for an efficient portable smoker this option by Green Davy is a definite way to go. It is an efficient smoker that works over a wide temperature band and you can use it for various cooking jobs like smearing, grilling, and smoking.

little smoker grill
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Works with multiple heat sources
  • Lid-design for even heat distribution
  • Easy to use
  • Exterior gets really hot

Camerons Stovetop smoker is probably the smallest smoker grill that you can buy in 2022. This grill is designed for remote camping sites and is among the most versatile mini smokers. The grill works with charcoal and wood pellets giving the traditional BBQ taste to the meat within minutes.

Since it is made for outdoor use, the manufacturer has tried to keep it simple. The base pan is made for fuel where you spread the pellets evenly and start cooking. However, if you don’t have access to wood pellets or charcoal you can directly place the grill on any open fire-well that is really cool, Isn’t it?

The grilling area is not very large but on 165 sq. inches, you can manage to smoke meat for 2-3 persons. The grilling grates are made with strictly non-stick materials and unlike other cheap grills, we didn’t face overcooking issues. The stainless steel body is rugged and promotes even heat distribution resulting in well-cooked food.

Also, it has a top cover that locks the moisture and heat in the grill giving you the perfect cooking experience. The lid is not peaked and if you want to smoke big pieces or rib racks you can use the foil to warp. The exterior of the grill gets really hot and you need to be very careful about safe handling. The nonstick grates coupled with a stainless steel body are pretty easy to clean.

Cameron’s Large stovetop smoker weighs only 7 pounds and stands among the best small smoker grills. The grill packs up really small and imparts the traditional BBQ taste to the meat making it one of the best portable smokers.

  • Generous cooking area
  • Adjustable temperature
  • Easy to transport design
  • Versatile cooking functions
  • Wide temperature band
  • Lack rust-resistant construction

Broil King Keg 5000 with an ample cooking space of 486 sq. inches is the best portable smoker for RV and other big setups. The grill is designed with the needs of big groups in mind and it packs an impressive cooking capacity on a small setup. The grill offers a perfect balance between weight, cooking capacity, and portability making it one of the best portable smokers.

Unlike heavy-duty ceramic Kamado models, it features a porcelain-lined stainless steel shell. The steel construction is rugged yet lightweight enhancing its portability. The generous cooking space is another standout feature of this smoker. It comes with two stackable racks offerings a total cooking space of around 480 inches.

Also, it works over a wide temperature band and you can cook a variety of foods like baked ones, smeared ribs, steaks, and grilled pizza. The top rack is made with cast iron while the secondary rack features coated stainless steel constructions. The hinged-up top grill quickly swings away giving you quick and hassle-free access to the secondary grate. This smoker uses a straightforward method for fuel loading vai the front opening.

You can add the fuels to the smoker as per user needs during the process and also the rust-resistant dampers allow you to adjust the temperature. The smoker doesn’t have a built-in temperature gauge and it is recommended to use a precise smoker thermometer for a guess-free cooking experience.

The removable ash drawer makes the cleanup quick and easy. The biggest issue with this grill is its cast-iron grates that are highly prone to rust. It is recommended to do regular seasoning to avoid corrosion and enhance the service life.

Broil King Keg 5000 is one of the most competitive tailgate smokers that can cook multiple foods simultaneously on the go. The smoker is impressively efficient and its ability to work over a wide temperature range makes it ideal for professional use.

travel smoker
  • Adjustable temperature function
  • Multiple cooking modes
  • Warming racks
  • Storage area
  • Foldable legs
  • Pretty expensive

Next on our list of best portable smokers is Tailgater 20 by Traeger grills. This is an advanced smoker that uses set and forget technology and even beginners can cook on this model like a pro. The smoker features a horizontal design and offers an ample cooking space of 300 sq. inches. With this ample cooking space, this grill is a perfect way to host big parties on camping sites.

The grill is not among the most compact options, but it’s foldable leg design helps it fit in all vehicles. Also, it packs up really well making the storage and transportation pretty much easier. The grill uses wood pellets as a fuel source and therefore it is the best option if you love the traditional smoky taste. Its rugged stainless steel construction coupled with non-stick smoking and grilling grates helps its stand among the most reliable options.

The grill features an advanced set and forgets technology. The digital arc control maintains the temperature between 190-450F. These advanced features eliminate the guesswork and give you the perfect cooking result even with a little effort and experience. Also, it has built-in meat probes and surprisingly it is accurate. The meat probe gives you the exact internal food temperature and you can avoid overcooked or undercooked food by regularly monitoring the temperature inside the smokers.

It is a versatile smoker that works over a wide temperature range and can be used to grill, smoke, BBQ, smear, bake, and roast. In addition to the main cooking function, you’ll also get a keep-warm function. The feature keeps your food fresh throughout a long party for a phenomenal experience. This grill-smoker combo has a separate storage space and convenient tray to keep all the cooking accessories organized. Also, removable ash drawers and non-stick cooking surfaces make the cleanup easy.

Traeger Grills Tailgater 20 with an impressive cooking capacity and advanced customizable temperature features is the best mobile smoker you can buy for campsites. The smoker uses premium-grade porcelain-coated stainless steel and a rust-resistant cooking area for reliable and long-term performance.

  • Portable and space-saving design
  • Heat-resistant body for safe handling
  • Even heat distribution
  • Effortless cleanup
  • Leakage issues
  • Limited cooking space

If you need something extremely compact for grilling and smoking consider this smoking-grilling combo by Charcoal Companion. This is a versatile smoker that works with charcoal and liquid propane. The smoker is lightweight and portable and you can easily carry it to camping sites.

This smoker can reach upto a maximum temperature of 400 degrees celsius and can be used with all types of stovetops. It lets you cook a variety of foods thanks to its customizable temperature feature. The peaked lid design makes it perfect for big meat pieces and rib racks.

Also, the lid locks the heat and moisture for even heat distribution throughout the chamber. The stainless steel cooking grates are non-stick and offer a mess-free grilling and smoking experience. Also, its heat-resistant silicone handles, base, and lid offer a safe and risk-free experience.

The rugged build quality is another standout feature of this smoker. The coated steel body is highly resistant to rusting and promises a long service life. The smoker also comes with an enameled steel drip pan that collects all the grease for effortless cleanup. The biggest downside of this smoker is that it is highly prone to leakage when you use liquid propane as fuel.

Charcoal Companion CC4132 is an efficient stovetop smoker grill that lets you cook a variety of meals on the go. The grill is designed for individual or 2-person use and it is advised to modify the grill to avoid leakage issues.

  • Vertical space-saving design
  • Impressive cooking capacity
  • Controlled airflow for even heat distribution
  • Low-quality temperature gauge

Final on our list of best portable smokers is the CharBroil 15-inch vertical smoker. This smoker boasts a spacious cooking area and space-saving design making it perfect for outdoor adventures. The smokers feature two porcelain-coated grilling grates and the total cooking area of the grill is 370 sq. inches.

The is a smoker grilling combo that combines a large cooking area with a compact design and is among the most effective smoking and grilling systems.  The closed chamber airflow control mechanism ensures even heat distribution throughout the chamber. The feature that we found most impressive is the numbered dampers.

These Heat-resistant dampers allow you to control the temperature while working with multiple foods. It has a front door opening for effortless fuel loading. Also, the porcelain-coated body is rugged and can withstand rough use for many years to come. However, the body lacks heat resistance and gets extremely hot making it dangerous for the users.

The smoker has a sturdy cast iron stand for unmatched stability on flat surfaces. Plus you can detach its stand for safe and compact storage. The smoker has a built-in temperature gauge for temperature monitoring. However, it is not much accurate and it is advised to use a precise aftermarket smoker thermometer for more accurate and precise temperature data.

Char-Broil Charcoal smoker features a space-saving design coupled with heat-resistant handles for easy transportation. Although it is a lightweight and compact unit, its cooking capacity is enough to feed a big crowd.

How To Choose The Best Portable Smokers?

If you want to invest in the best portable smoker or looking for a little smoker grill for outdoor adventures, you need to consider multiple features like fuel type, size, cooking capacity, ease of use, and ease of cleaning.

Considering these features and calculating your smoking needs will help you make the right type of smoker or grill. If you want to make a wise decision refer to this buying discussing all the features and essentials of the best portable smokers.

best portable smoker,Small smokers grills

Fuel Type

Smokers and grills use different types of fuel and you need to choose the one that suits best your needs. You can find electric smokers, liquid propane smokers, charcoal smokers, and wood pellet smokers. All types of grill and smokers have their own pros and cons making them perfect for different situations.

Electric smokers are the most efficient and handiest smokers you can buy. They are pretty easy to use and run over a constant temperature range once you turn them on. However, they have limited functionality in remote areas since electric supply is not available at every camping spot.

However, advanced electric smokers are designed with low voltage requirements and you can operate them with a car or vehicle battery. Liquid propane grills are not an ideal option for outdoor use, as you have to carry a lot of fuel along with the grill. Liquid propane is stored in tanks and it is quite challenging to carry fuel tanks on the camping sites.

Wood pellet or charcoal grills are famous among outdoor enthusiasts as they impart the traditional and real barbecue taste to the meat. Charcoal smokers are not beginner-friendly as they involve a lot of guesswork. Wood pellets are lightweight and you can easily transport them to the far-off areas, therefore pellet grills are an excellent option for portable use.


Portability is of course the top concern when you are looking for a smoker for remote use. You can find many smokers on the market that feature an easy-to-transport design and easily fit inside the truck, car, or RV.

However, you need to keep in mind that many portable smokers cut down cooking capacity and other design features to make them lightweight and compact. For instance, some units feature lightweight construction, but they lack durability and easily get damaged during handling and transportation.

Some of the compact units cut down the cooking space, limiting the cooking capacity of the unit. Some reliable brands have introduced models with features like folding legs, fold-out handles, and caster wheels for effortless transportation and maneuverability. Some lightweight models pack like a toolbox kit, or self-contained packaging making them pretty easy to carry and transport over long distances.

Size And Capacity

While looking for a portable smoker or grill you need to create a balance between size and cooking capacity. The cooking area of the smokers and grills is measured in square inches. The maximum cooking area that you can find in a portable smoker grill is 200 sq. inches. These grills are spacious enough to cook meals for 3 to four people. However, if you want to maximize the cooking space, you will have to make a little compromise on portability.

Temperature Range

When you are on a campsite, you do not have many options to cook different foods. However, versatile smokers that work over a wide temperature band can perform multiple cooking jobs and you can turn them into small outdoor kitchens.

You need to look for a versatile smoker grill that works over a wide temperature band like 100F-500F. With these versatile smokers, you can bake, smoke, grill, and smear foods. Also, they work as a stove and help you get most of your cooking jobs done on the go.

Ease Of Cleaning

Ease of cleaning should be one of your top concerns since cleaning can be hectic if the unit you buy doesn’t offer a straightforward cleaning. You should look for non-stick cooking surfaces for easy and fast cleaning. Also, it is advised to look for a reliable grease collection mechanism for mess-free cooking and cleaning experience. If you are buying charcoal or wood pellet smoker, you must focus on the ash collection system.


Leakage is another concern when you are buying propane smokers, you must look for proper leakage prevention mechanisms. Usually, the budget offset smokers are highly prone to leakage and require modification to prevent leakage issues.

Ease Of Use

You must look for a functional design to enhance your work speed and for an untiring experience. User-friendly grills use a handy mechanism for effortless fuel and food loading. If you are buying a charcoal or wood pellet grill you should look for a wide opening for fuel loading.

Even heat distribution and customizable cooking space are some other features that come in handy when you are smoking or grilling in outdoor conditions. The warming racks, storage areas, hanging hooks, and convenience tray are some features that help you work in an organized manner.

Frequently Asked Questions

It highly depends on your taste and requirements. If you want a smokey taste in your Traeger Grills are known for the best price-performance ratio and they offer long-term and reliable performance. Traeger grills combine the impressive cooking capacity with portable design and are definitely worth the money.

Both pellet and wood smokers are beneficial in their own ways. However, if you can not decide between both and want the functions of both options in a single model, then a If you want a smoker for mobile use, you should look for vertical smokers since they have a space-saving design. However, if you have enough space in the backyard or balcony you can buy horizontal smokers. Horizontal smokers have larger cooking areas than vertical smokers.


We can safely conclude that market is flooded with different types of portable smokers and all you need to do is do comprehensive research. We are hopeful that this review and buying guide will help you choose the best smoker for portable use without any issue. All the options reviewed on our list are tested for quality and performance but our top three picks are

  • SmokeHouse Big Chief Electric Smoker for its lightweight construction, effortless fuel loading and cleaning, even heat distribution, and self-contained packaging.
  • Traeger Grills Tailgater 20 Portable Smoker for its multiple cooking functions, storage area, impressive cooking capacity, and customizable temperature features.
  • Camerons Large Stovetop Smoker for its affordable price, lightweight construction, lid design, easy to use mechanism, and ability to work with multiple heat sources.

Vertical smokers with stackable cooking racks are the best option for portable use. These smokers offer a space-saving design without sacrificing the cooking capacity and let you host big meals on the go. Also, you must look for strictly non-stick cooking surfaces for effortless cleaning and a perfect cooking experience. Must read our guide about how to buy a best beginner smoker to buy a quality grill deal as a newbie.

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