types of smokers

12 Different Kinds of Smokers & Best Brands

Smoker is one of the most essential outdoor cooking apparatus that has the ability to maintain the low cooking temperature in a smoky environment for a longer time period. The best type of smoker is the one that performs all these functions efficiently while providing enough space that is required for producing the right amount of smoke needed for BBQ. There are many different types of smokers available in the market.

Modern BBQ smokers are the ones that are built for precision and convenience in which the user doesn’t have to wait for hours constantly for checking the meat, adding wood, controlling temperature, adjusting damper, and much more. With the right type of smoker, the user can get the smoked meat or chicken on the table with less effort without worrying about getting it undercooked or overcooked.

Types Of Smokers

1. Bullet Smoker

bullet smoker

This is one of the best types of smokers that are highly affordable and is indulged with many significant features. These smokers are divided into three main components including the bottom one that is used for holding the heat. For operating these smokers, the heat source is mainly charcoal while others have an electric heat element and gas burners.

Moreover, above the heat source is the water pan that runs the whole system. The function of the water pan is to regulate and store the heat of the smoker while repelling the direct heat that provides a moist cooking environment to the meat and prevents it from drying out. Furthermore, above the water pan is the smoking chamber that is operated by burning the fire, filling the water pan, and placing the meat on the rack.

The size of this smoker is small and is not very spacious. Due to their compact sizes, these smokers are highly efficient and do not require much fuel or power for operation. The most significant and impressive feature of these smokers is the automatic temperature control that facilitates the users in cooking the food evenly in less possible time. On the other hand, the cooking space that these smokers offer is suitable for large-sized families and can hold up to chicken and meat at the same time.

2. Offset Smoker

offset smoker 1

Offset smokers are the best types of smokers that are indulged with many professional features. While talking about the construction and design, these offset smokers are constructed in a vertical box-shape structure that is equipped with cooking chambers. These chambers help in circulating smoke and retaining the heat that results in even grilling and cooking of meat and chicken.

The best part of these smokers is that they have an adjustable flue that is present on the smokestack that provides complete control over the temperature to the users. Moreover, a built-in thermometer ensures that the temperature is maintained at a stable rate. Typically, these smokers offer a large cooking capacity of 1900 square inches that easily fits big-size meat and chicken and is suitable for large-sized families.

Moreover, the build quality of these smokers is high as it is constructed with premium quality steel that enhances their durability. The best part of these vertically designed offset smokers is that they raise the heat and smoke naturally with fewer efforts. These offset smokers are the best type of smokers that facilitates the users to infuse the delicious smoky taste in meat and chicken.

3. Electric Smoker

electric smoker

These are the modern types of smokers that prepare the food effortlessly and in less time. The best part of these smokers is that it does not require any charcoal or light and the user does not need to check the amount of propane or charcoal left in these smokers. These smokers are easy to clean and maintain as there is no ash left after all the work is done.

While talking about the function, the basic operations of these smokers are effortless and straightforward. Typically, there is an electric heating element attached to the plate that is present above the wood chips or charcoal. When the electric heating element is heated, it heats up the smoker and burns the wood chips to create the smoke.

Moreover, these smokers are available in high-end and low-end types. The difference between high-end and low-end smokers is that the higher smoker is equipped with a thermostat that regulates and controls the temperature whereas the lower-end smokers are equipped with a simple dial. The higher the dial is, the hotter is the temperature.

4. Pellet Grill Smokers

Pellet Grill Smokers

This type of smoker is similar to that of the offset smoker. One of the major differences between these smokers is that they are of high technology and are integrated with many advanced features. This smoker is operated on electricity and is equipped with the thermometer present in the cooking chamber with the temperature controller inside.

The user sets the temperature while the electricity stabilizes and maintains that temperature range. In short, this smoker operates similarly to an oven. Furthermore, the firebox is replaced by the hopper. The user fills the hopper with smoking pellets that are made from compressed sawdust. These pellets are filled by an auger coming from the hopper to the firebox that is located inside the smoker.

Along with this, the electronically controlled thermostat maintains and controls the speed of the auger that feeds the firebox in the grill, controlling the cooking temperature. The smoke that is generated from burning the pellet provides a delicious smoky flavor to your meal. The best part of this grill smoker is that it has a large cooking space and is easy to move and assemble.

5. Ugly Drum Smokers

Ugly Drum Smokers

Ugly drum smokers are another best type of smokers that requires minimal assembly and needs more charcoal for functioning. These smokers facilitate the users with an array of rugged steel hooks that enable them to hang the pieces of meat and chicken. Moreover, these vertically designed smokers enable the users to cook different varieties of food with less effort and in time without consistently maintaining the temperature.

The vents are located on the lid and are placed down by the charcoal basket that maintains and controls the temperature, allowing the users to mingle with the guests rather than attending the cooking duties and standing in front of the smoker. While moving towards construction, these smokers are made of premium quality steel that is powder-coated along with a porcelain enamel finish, making them sturdy and highly durable. Moreover, these smokers provide 30-gallon of cooking space to the users that is suitable for feeding medium-sized families.

In addition to the simple design, these smokers are easy to use and are suitable for beginners. The users can load the charcoal basket with charcoal or woodchips and set the desired temperature with vents and then add meat and chicken for cooking. Due to their compact size, these smokers allow very little oxygen and airflow inside the drum. Furthermore, they can be used as a grill by adding charcoal while holding and maintaining the temperature for a longer time.

6. Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill

Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker & Grill

These are the heavy-duty smokers that work similarly to bullet smokers. They are available in different sizes and shapes, facilitating the users to opt accordingly. These vertically designed smokers are constructed in cabinet shape and do not contain lots of parts for assembling.  Furthermore, these smokers are equipped with cooking chambers that circulate the heat and smoke which results in even cooking of the meat and chicken.

For running these smokers, the user needs to have charcoal and wood chips. The pull-out chamber that is present at the bottom of these smokers consists of a buffer in between. The water pan may or may not be attached to this buffer like water smokers. The cooking chamber that is located above the charcoal contains many shelves for placing the meat and chicken.

Furthermore, for regulating the temperature, these smokers are equipped with vents that are present at the top and bottom sides. There are two doors of these smokers, one on the front side and the other one for the charcoal chamber. With the help of these doors, the user can add or remove the charcoal pieces easily without burning their hands. As these smokers are larger in size, the user can cook the whole meat in a single shift and are suitable for serving a large crowd.

7. Gravity Smoker

Gravity Smoker

Gravity smokers are equipped with the coal chute that is present on the side rather than having a firebox or charcoal. This coal chute is constantly filled with charcoal in order to provide a steady and constant supply of smoke. The best part of these smokers is that they are well constructed and are highly durable along with lots of insulation that is present in both the cooking chamber and coal chute.

The best part of these smokers is that they are sealed tightly at the side having only one way of passing the oxygen. The charcoal in these smokers is burned in a low-oxygen environment. The exhaust stack that is present at the top of the chamber draws the smoke into the cooking chamber and then around the meat and chicken for infusing a smoky taste.

Moreover, these smokers are equipped with an extra-wide adjustable smoke port that prevents clogging. Another noteworthy feature of the griddle is that they are equipped with various dampers that are present around the charcoal and cooking chambers that precisely maintain and regulate the temperature during the smoking process. Due to thick insulation, these smokers are set and forget type, holding the high temperature up to 12 hours.

8. Kamado Charcoal Grills

Kamado Charcoal Grills

Kamado grills are the best types of smokers that have a well-built structure that enhances their durability. While talking about the construction, these charcoal grills are made from ceramic which is a highly insulating material, enabling them to maintain a steady low temperature for a longer period of time. Having a wide range of temperatures, the user can even bake pizza or can even cook meat for steak.

For running these charcoal smokers, the user will need to load the firebox with premium quality wood chunks and charcoal while using a lighter or electric fire starter for burning the wood chunks and charcoal. A removable heat deflector is one of the most noteworthy features that sits between the grill grate and firebox that turns them into an indirect and slow cooker.

Moreover, the vents or dampers that are present at the top and bottom of these smokers regulate the temperature by allowing the flow of air that maintains it at a steady rate. These smokers are also available in three sizes, helping the users to opt for the suitable size of the smoker accordingly. Most of the users have recommended the medium-sized smoker as it is fuel-efficient and has reasonable cooking space.

9. Table Top Charcoal Smoker

Table Top Charcoal Smoker

These are the standalone tabletop smokers that are indulged with many incredible and impressive features. While focusing on the construction of these smokers, they have a robust build quality that makes them highly durable and long-lasting. Furthermore, the cooking grates of these smokers are constructed with cast iron whereas the chassis is built from premium rugged steel, delivering the best combination of durability and efficiency.

These tabletop smokers provide a cooking capacity of about 260 square inches which makes them suitable for serving small-sized families. Being a versatile model, they can be used as both a griller and smoker that enhances the flexibility of these smokers and their overall value. Moreover, due to tough and durable construction, these smokers are able to maintain and hold high temperatures for a longer time period.

While using a pair of vents, the temperature of these smokers can be maintained easily manually as they provide lots of insulation. Moreover, while talking about the inner parts of these smokers, they are covered with the non-stick layer that helps the users to clean these parts easily and are also dishwasher safe. Due to their compact and small size, these smokers are lightweight and portable which facilitates the users to carry them around anywhere easily.

Also checkout best charcoal smokers review and buyer guide if you are interested in buying a good one.

10. Charcoal Grill

Charcoal Grill

These charcoal grills or smokers are the best purchasing option due to their impressive grilling results at a reasonable price range. These charcoal smokers are considered to be the best in terms of build quality and performance rate and provide a cooking capacity of 363 square inches, having enough room for grilling and smoking dozens of chicken, meat, and burgers.

The build quality of these smokers is impressive as the exterior is made of premium quality steel along with a porcelain enamel finish that makes them tough and highly durable. Moreover, the hinged grates of these charcoal grills facilitate the users to add more coals while cooking with a minimum mess. The lid of these smokers has a hook that saves the users from burning their hands.

Another noteworthy feature of these smokers is the one-touch cleaning system that helps the users to remove the ash easily. Furthermore, the impressive heat control system maintains the temperature at a steady rate and cooks the food evenly. Being light in weight, these smokers are highly portable and facilitates the users to carry the charcoal grill easily anywhere.

11. Gas Or Propane Smokers

Gas Or Propane Smokers

These gas smokers are similar to electric smokers that are highly convenient and are easy to operate. These gas smokers are available in an affordable price range and produce smoke and heat by burning charcoal and wood chips. While using these gas smokers, the key to cooking and smoking the meat or chicken is to use indirect heat on one side and the food on the other side. Furthermore, the user has to turn on the burners of these grills while cooking the food in the opposite direction.

Most of these gas smokers are constructed in a cabinet shape, equipped with vents and burners on the chimney and at the bottom along with dampers present at the top. The smoke or gas that is produced travels through the manifold from the bottle and down towards the cooking section. The smoke is then ignited as it flows out of the valves of the burner. Similar to electric smokers, these gas smokers do not produce smoke naturally but use charcoal or wood chips to create a delicious smoky flavor.

Moreover, the temperature of these gas smokers is easily controlled and maintained as it is much easier to change the heat and temperature than with a pellet burner or charcoal. For retaining the moisture of the meat, the user needs to put the bowl on the top of the unlit burner and under the food. By doing so, the water heats up and produces the heat that is then transferred from the hot side of these smokers to the cooler side.

If you are interested in buying a propane smoker, read our buying guide and review article about how to buy a best propane smoker and what are recommended ones.

12. Wood Fire Ovens

Wood Fire Ovens

These types of wood smoker ovens are mostly used for baking pizzas but can also be used for producing smoky flavor in the meat.  These smoker ovens are becoming popular due to the incredibly delicious smoky flavor that they produce. Additionally, these over smokers can be used for roasting chicken, baking different pieces of bread and desserts, etc.

The key to these wood smokers is their heat management which is the user has to control the temperature and heat of the oven according to the food. Furthermore, these wood ovens use a combination of radiation and convection cooking methods of producing juicy meat infused with a smoky flavor. There is a specific method of operating these wood ovens. First, light up the fire using a small number of wood chips or charcoal and then push them back to the oven.

After burning the oven, place the meat or chicken on the pan or tray and close the doors of the oven and choke the exhaust for maintaining a slow and low temperature. To further increase the temperature, add a small amount of charcoal or wood chips. In case the temperature gets too high, open the vents for maintaining the temperature at an optimum level.

Different Brands Of Smokers

1. Dyna-Glo Charcoal Smoker

Dyna-Glo is one of the best brands that produce high-quality charcoal smokers. The smoker is constructed with high-quality steel, making it more durable and sturdy. Furthermore, the smoker provides a large cooking space along with a detachable middle section that offers users to both grill and smoke their food. It is also equipped with a lid and adjustable base along with a stainless steel temperature gauge that maintains and reads the temperature easily while cooking the food. Hence it is a great compact-sized smoker.

2. Weber 14-Inch Charcoal Smoker

This charcoal smoker manufactured by Weber is one of the best seller smoker that is suitable for beginners as well as professionals. The best part of this charcoal smoker is that it is well constructed and is available in an affordable price range. The best part of this smoker is that it holds the temperature steadily upto hours and has small footprints. Having three main sections, the lower one has adjustable vents for controlling the airflow. Whereas the middle section contains a water pan, two cooking grates, and an access door for adding wood chips or charcoal. With an automatic temperature control system, it is the best smoker that cooks food effortlessly in less time. 

3. Oklahoma Reverse Flow Smoker

Oklahoma has an excellent reputation among pitmasters as it manufacturers heavy-duty smokers that are crafted with 12 gauge black oil pipes and are built to last. This type of offset smoker is suitable for professionals, offering massive cooking space. On the other hand, the dampers or vents that are present on the sides of this smoker regulate the heat and temperature whereas the firebox is there to maintain and regulate the flame instead of opening the entire chamber. Furthermore, the cooking grates of this smoker are rust free and are covered with a layer of porcelain. The best part of this smoker is that the temperature is always steady and consistent from the left to right side.

4. Pit Barrel Cooker Vertical Smoker

Pit barrel is another best brand that manufactures the best charcoal smoker with minimal assembly. This vertically designed smoker enables the users to cook a variety of food effortlessly in less time without consistently regulating and maintaining the temperature. The smoker has high build quality as it is constructed with powder-coated steel along with a porcelain enamel finish that makes it highly durable and sturdy. This charcoal smoker provides a large cooking space and can be used as both smoker and grill. 

5. Cuisinart Electric Smoker

This versatile smoker is one of the best purchasing options as it offers a wide variety of significant features. The size of this smoker is 18-inch and is equipped with two grates that provide the cooking space that is suitable for serving small-sized families. This smoker is designed to maintain and hold the high temperature for a longer time period. With the help of a detachable pan, the smoker is easy to clean. Equipped with the vents, the smoker controls and regulates the temperature and heat. The best part of this charcoal smoker is that it is lightweight and can easily fit into the trunk space of every vehicle. Hence it is the best charcoal smoker that is available in an affordable price range.

FAQs:

It highly depends on your taste and requirements. If you want a smokey taste in your Pellet smokers are difficult to operate and take a longer time to burn. Furthermore, these smokers infuse delicious smoky flavor into your meals and also burn charcoal at much higher temperatures as compared to the wood chips. Hence Wood chips are the better option and can be burned easily.

Charcoal smokers are the best purchasing option as they are less pricey as compared to the gas or propane ones. If you want to invest in something that is reasonable yet of high quality then opt for charcoal smokers as they are efficient performers and suitable for heavy-duty tasks.

Charcoal grills are the best options as they are easy to use, available in an affordable price range, and are efficient performers. Moreover, they are also better for creating huge amounts of smoke in less time especially if the user can comfortably grill the meat and food with indirect heat.

Following are the different types of smokers:

  • Pellet smokers
  • Charcoal smokers
  • Gas smokers
  • Electric smokers
  • Offset smokers
  • Kettle grills
  • Kamado grills

Meat smokers are the best for infusing delicious smoky taste in the meat. The smoky flavor is stronger and holds and regulates the smoke more efficiently. These meat smokers cook the meat evenly while retaining the original taste.

Charcoal smoker requires skills, patience, and dedication whereas electric smokers are the fastest and cook the food effortlessly in less time. For beginners, an electric smoker is the best purchasing option as it is easy to use and is highly convenient. Charcoal smokers infuse better smoky flavor but cook food with lots of effort.

While buying the best smoker, look for the one that has a great insulation system and can hold temperature for the longer time period. The smoker should be easy to use and can be cleaned easily. Another most important factor while buying the smoker is that it should have vents and dampers on the sides for regulating and controlling the temperature accordingly.

Conclusion

The above listed are the different types and brands of Smoker or griller that are highly efficient and are used for infusing delicious smoky flavor to your meal. Each type of smoker has certain pros and cons, it is very important for the users to choose each type wisely according to their needs and demands. These smokers are perfect for grilling meat and cooking food evenly while retaining the original taste. The best part of these smokers is that they are well-constructed with premium quality material that makes them highly durable and sturdy. If you are a beginner and want to buy a best smoker read our beginner’s smoker guide.

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