If you are new to BBQ and meat smoking you will need to find the best meat smokers for beginners.

There are many different types of meat smokers available today.  They vary greatly in cost, ease of use, and size.  Before you buy a dedicated smoker, it is worth looking at these factors.  That way, you will find the best meat smoker for you and your family. 

Want to learn how to smoke meat, fish, or vegetables?  You have come to the right place.

This article reviews the top 9 meat smokers for beginners.  It includes a buying guide to help you choose the best one based on your needs.  Our experts have also listed each product’s pros and cons, so you can make a more informed decision. 

Meat smokers are fueled by charcoal, gas, pellets, or electricity, and sometimes, a combination of these.  Thus, before you start you need to know which fuel type is more convenient for you.

Electric, charcoal, and pellet smokers are relatively easier to operate.  Propane and offset smokers are harder to control and thus better for people with more experience in barbecuing.

Choosing your first smoker may seem daunting, but by the end of this article, you will have a better idea of which meat smoker is best for you.

Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain
Masterbuilt 20072115
Classic Pit Barrel
Char-Broil 17202004
Traeger Grills Bronson
Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
Masterbuilt 20072115 Bluetooth Smart Digital Electric Smoker, 30-Inch
Pit Barrel Cooker Classic Package - 18.5 Inch Drum Smoker | Porcelain Coated Steel BBQ Grill | Includes 8 Hooks, 2 Hanging Rods, Grill Grate and More
Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker, Deluxe, Silver
Traeger Grills Bronson 20 Pellet Grill - Black (10526)
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Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain
Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
Masterbuilt 20072115
Masterbuilt 20072115 Bluetooth Smart Digital Electric Smoker, 30-Inch
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Classic Pit Barrel
Pit Barrel Cooker Classic Package - 18.5 Inch Drum Smoker | Porcelain Coated Steel BBQ Grill | Includes 8 Hooks, 2 Hanging Rods, Grill Grate and More
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Char-Broil 17202004
Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker, Deluxe, Silver
Traeger Grills Bronson
Traeger Grills Bronson 20 Pellet Grill - Black (10526)
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Bradley BS611
Akorn Kamado
Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP
Masterbuilt 20070910
Bradley Smoker Digital 4-Rack Electric Outdoor BBQ Smoker, Vertical Food Smoker
Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite
Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP 36" Vertical LP Gas Smoker
Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker, Top Controller
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Bradley BS611
Bradley Smoker Digital 4-Rack Electric Outdoor BBQ Smoker, Vertical Food Smoker
Akorn Kamado
Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite
Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP
Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP 36" Vertical LP Gas Smoker
Masterbuilt 20070910
Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker, Top Controller
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Overall Rating:

4.8/5

Product Specifications:

      • Dimensions: 21 x 19 x 41 inches
      • Weight: 39.1 Pounds

Driven by charcoal, the Weber Smokey Mountain relies on briquettes as fuel coupled with wood or chips to enhance the smokey flavor.

It’s simple design and ease of use make it one of the easiest meat smokers for beginners.

Coated in porcelain enamel with a steel inner structure this meat smoker is rust-resistant and thus, long-lasting.

It includes two steel grates that have a surface area of 18.5 inches.

This means it is sufficient for a full turkey and an entire pork shoulder cut, simultaneously. 

It features a vent, and aluminum dampers that allow for air to pass, which helps control the temperature.

A side door allows you to easily add more fuel during the smoking process.  These include wood, chips or charcoal chunks.

A water basin made of porcelain steel keeps the food moist whilst cooking and helps stabilize the temperature.

Pros
  • Adequate cooking capacity 
  • Keeps temperature steady for 8 to 12 hours 
  • Features thermometer ports
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable for every budget
  • Superior construction quality
  • Impressive cooking capacity with 481 square inches of cooking space
  • 3 sections for portability & versatility
  • Use as a food smoker, single or double grill or fire pit
  • Roast, smoke, braise, grill, steam or bake
  • Its water bowl can give over 10 hours of moisture-filled cooking
Cons
  • Requires long oven mitts to reach into the pit
  • The door is not sturdy & may bend allowing cold air in

Overall Rating:

4.2/5

Product Specifications:

      • Dimensions: 20.87 x 20.08 x 31.89 inches
      • Weight: 53.7 Pounds

An affordable entry-level meat smoker that runs on electricity, making it easy to use. 

Ideal for beginners who are just starting out smoking meat.

This compact meat smoker has a cooking space of about 721 sq. inches and a heating element of 800 Watts.

What sets it apart is its digital smart technology which allows you to control the smoker via your smartphone.

You can adjust the temperature, set a timer and turn it on or off all from the convenience of your phone. 

Masterbuilt Smart Electric Smoker can cook enough meat for a large crowd and is great for a big family or to host large gatherings.

It offers terrific value for money and allows you to monitor your meat without having to constantly open and close the smoker.

If you are after a top meat smokers for beginners that gives value and uses advanced technology, this is the right one for you.

Pros
  • Cooking racks are adjustable 
  • Integrated Bluetooth technology
  • Glassdoor allows you to view food without opening  
  • Inexpensive for the features it has
  • Remote controlled
  • Capacity can accommodate 12 whole chickens, 2 whole turkeys, 4 racks of ribs, 48 sausages, 24 burgers, 4 pork butts
Cons
  • Has a 275 degrees F limit so not suitable for high-heat smoking 
  • The wood/chip tray is relatively small meaning you need to deep top it up

Overall Rating:

4.8/5

Product Specifications:

      • Dimensions: 21 x 21 x 31.1 inches
      • Weight: 57 Pounds

This sleek and shiny black-colored barrel smoker is one of a kind.  With integrated handles, vertical rotisserie, and fitted lid it is very easy and convenient to use.

Steel construction with porcelain coating, make it sturdy and sure to last many years.  It is portable, durable, and produces fantastic results.

Grill meat, vegetables, and even cheese on the grate itself or the included planks.  A sizable coal holder allows 6-8 hours of cooking.

Get a unique vertical cooking experience that the manufacturers say “produces perfectly cooked meat every time”.

In addition, 8 stainless steel hooks and 2 steel hanging rods allow you to hook-n-hang your meal.  This handy package also comes with a standard grate for grilling and searing, a 3-point stand, and a wooden hook remover.

Moreover, it includes a good-sized coal basket giving the ideal amount of charcoal for a perfect cook.

Its unique design makes the Pit Barrel Cooker simple to operate and one of the best meat smokers for beginners. 

It produces consistent and impressive results with minimal hassle compared to other cooker options.

It uses charcoal, wood, and chip chunks for fuel and is ideal for beginners wanting to smoke meat. 

Pros
  • Suitable for any terrain 
  • Balcony, apartment and HOA-friendly
  • Produces enough for a medium-sized crowd
  • Simple to operate
  • No hassle cooking
  • Sleek and sturdy build construction
Cons
  • Temperature range is limited – does not provide very high heat
  • Cleaning out the ash is not so convenient once finished

Overall Rating:

4.4/5

Product Specifications:

      • Dimensions: 2.5 x 5.4 x 14.6 inches
      • Weight: 2 pounds

This digital electric smoker offers a portable design and is easy to use.  Get a great smoked flavor without all the hassle of charcoal preparation.

A cooking area of 725 sq. inches and a heating element of 800 Watts, make it is a smoker worth considering.   With a low price point and ease of use, it is one of the best meat smokers for beginners.

However, don’t think that this nifty unit doesn’t deliver.  If you are an outdoor cooking, grilling, or smoking enthusiast this top meat smoker gives terrific results.

The Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker comes with wheels which sets it apart from other smokers that are not portable.

Its grate can be adjusted to 4 height options and the viewing window allows you to see the food without compromising airflow. 

Stainless steel construction and a double-wall build allow it to easily maintain temperatures.  In fact, with its removable and washable meat probe, you get perfect results every time.

Using the meat probe, the smoker will tell you when your meat has been cooked to your programmed internal temperature.

The Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker will keep your meat warm after cooking until you are ready to serve.

This smoker is up to 10 times more efficient than other electric smokers.  Therefore, fill the 4-cup capacity wood chip box and produce up to 7 hours of smoking.

If you love camping and looking for the best meat smokers for beginners, this is a great option.

Pros
  • Warming feature
  • In-built grease tray 
  • Durable and rust-resistant stainless steel construction
  • Insulated, double-wall construction.
  • 750 Watts of power
  • Advanced control panel with easy-read, blue LED display
  • Removable meat thermometer
  • Glassdoor for easy viewing
  • Large, stainless steel locking latch for smoke-tight seal
Cons
  • The remote control can be inconsistent
  • The digital display may not show accurate temperature

Overall Rating:

3.8/5

Product Specifications:

      • Dimensions: 22 x 35 x 38 inches
      • Weight: 77 pounds

A multipurpose unit, that can smoke, grill, bake, roast and braise.  Cook low and slow or hot and fast with this versatile unit.

Impressive design with its horizontal barrel-rolled top and attached drip bucket.

Giving a generous 300 sq. inches of cooking space it is not as heavy as other smokers with similar capacity. 

Light in weight and with 2 wheels you get the ultimate in portability.

With a 6-in-1 wood-pellet grill, get amazing wood-fired flavor without having to buy gas or charcoal separately. 

Its large cooking capacity can smoke meat for any crowd and is great for a big family or large gatherings.

Cook 12 burgers, 18 hot dogs, 4 chickens, or 3 racks of ribs.

Temperature control is precise and easy with its digital elite controller.  In fact, keep the internal temperature at +/- 20 degrees F for perfect results every time.

A portable meat smoker that comes with all-terrain wheels and a sawhorse chassis. It is terrific for camping trips and picnics. 

Moreover, if you love cooking on a patio or balcony this is perfect to use.  With no open flame, this compact unit is safe for small spaces. 

Pros
  • Suitable for all-terrain 
  • Perfect size for balcony, apartment or patio
  • Feeds a medium-sized crowd
  • Versatile BBQ cooker
  • Precise digital temperature control
  • Fuelled by 100% pure hardwood pellets
  • Stabilized construction design
  • Auto-start electronic ignition
Cons
  • Take care with the wheels over rocks 
  • Thinner construction may allow heat to escape

Bradley Smoker BS611 Electric Smoker

Overall Rating:

4.3/5

Product Specifications:

      • Dimensions: 34 x 20 x 18 inches
      • Weight: 25 Kilograms

The Bradley Smoker BS611 Electric Smoker is the perfect way to get into food smoking.

With its high-quality construction, you can be sure your food will be smoked to perfection every time.

The insulated double-wall carbon steel construction and stainless steel interior ensure that heat is retained for even smoking, while the durable powder epoxy exterior protects the smoker from wear and tear.

With its multi-rack design, you can smoke a variety of meats at the same time, making it the perfect smoker for large gatherings.

When not in use, the Bradley Smoker measures just 19” × 22” × 35”, making it easy to store.

And when you need it, the 24″ wide design makes it easy to use.

With four racks and a cooking area of 572 sq. inches, this smoker can accommodate a large crowd.

The digital timer and temperature controller ensures that your food will come out just the way you want it, every time.

With its large capacity oven, smoking turkey, chicken, ribs, brisket and more has never been easier.

The smoker is easy to clean with its stainless steel interior. In addition, the smoke diffuser system keeps the smoke flowing.

Thus, it eliminates old smoke and prevents “black rain” from dripping on your delicious smoked food.

So, Bradley Smoker BS611 Electric Smoker makes one on our list of the best meat smokers for beginners.

Pros
  • Double-wall carbon steel construction for even smoking
  • Stainless steel interior for easy cleaning
  • Durable powder epoxy exterior
  • Digital timer and temperature controller
  • Multi-rack design
  • Smoke diffuser system eliminates old smoke and prevents “black rain” from dripping on your food
Cons
  • A bit expensive

Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker

Overall Rating:

4.5/5

Product Specifications:

      • Dimensions: 27 x 19.2 x 46.46 inches
      • Weight: 54 Pounds

The Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker is a great smoker for the professional or beginner.

It has a total of 784 square inches of cooking space on four adjustable steel wire racks.

This smoker is perfect for smoked flavored foods, ensuring that your taste buds will be delighted with every bite!

This smoker uses a 15,000 BTU cast iron burner to heat evenly and produce mouth-watering smoked foods.

With an electronic push-button ignition, this smoker is easy to use and has a large control dial to make your smoking experience perfect every time. 

The porcelain-enameled steel wood chip box with handles and lid allows you to choose your desired wood chips for the best flavor profile.

Plus, the porcelain-enameled steel water bowl helps keep food moist during smoking.

With its double-door design, sliding air dampers, and decorative temperature gauge, this smoker gives you all the options you need to smoke meats to perfection.

Moreover, it’s built with your safety in mind, so you can rest assured knowing that your food is being cooked properly.

The Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker is certified by the CSA, meaning that it has been safety tested and approved for use.

The smoker also comes with a one-year limited warranty, giving buyers extra peace of mind.

Assembly is easy, with dimensions of 27×19.20×46.46 inches and a weight of 54 pounds – this smoker can be easily transported and used almost anywhere. 

Therefore, Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP is one of the best smokers for beginners.

Pros
  • The high-quality construction ensures even smoking and perfect results every time.
  • Multi-rack design allows you to smoke a variety of meats at the same time.
  • Has digital timer and temperature controller
  • The smoker is easy to clean
  • Has smoke diffuser system
Cons
  • Some users report that the smoker is difficult to assemble.

Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill

Overall Rating:

4.7/5

Product Specifications:

      • Dimensions: 45 x 31 x 47 inches
      • Weight: 97 Pounds

The Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill is an excellent smoker for beginner grillers.

This kamado-style grill can handle high heat grilling as well as low and slow cooking, making it perfect for a variety of dishes.

With a 20-inch cooking diameter and 447 square inches of total cooking area, this grill can cook up to 27 burgers at once!

Its triple-wall steel insulation keeps the heat in, while the cast iron grates provide even cooking.

The locking lid and 8″ locking caster wheels keep your food safe and secure, while the removable warming rack and bottom storage shelf make this grill a breeze to store.

The foldable side shelf workstations with BBQ tool storage hooks make it easy to prepare your food like a pro.

With indexed adjustable dual dampers and a thermometer, you’ll be able to control the heat levels with ease.

Plus, cleanup is a breeze with the removable Easy Dump Ash Pan.

Pros
  • Triple-wall steel insulation for even heating
  • Cast-iron grates for even cooking
  • Locking lid and 8″ locking caster wheels
  • Removable warming rack and bottom storage shelf
  • Foldable side shelf workstations with BBQ tool storage hooks
Cons
  • The grill doesn’t have a digital timer

Masterbuilt 20070910 30-Inch Black Electric Digital Smoker

Overall Rating:

4.4/5

Product Specifications:

      • Dimensions: 20 x 17 x 33.5 inches
      • Weight: 45.86 Pounds

The Masterbuilt 200710 electric smoker is the perfect way to get started smoking meat.

With 730 sq. inches of cooking space and 4 chrome-coated racks, you’ll have plenty of room to cook up a storm.

The 800-watt heating element ensures that your food will be cooked evenly and perfectly every time.

With digital temperature and timer controls, this smoker is simple to operate.

Plus, it comes with a meat probe so you can be sure your food is cooked perfectly every time.

This smoker has a thermostat temperature control that ensures even cooking from 100 to 275 degrees F, so your meat will always come out cooked perfectly.

It’s easy to use, with convenient side loading wood chips and a removable drip pan.

The top air damper also makes it easy to control the heat and smoke.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced smoker, this smoker is ideal for all types of meat.

Pros
  • Digital controls make it easy to operate
  • The meat probe ensures that your food is cooked perfectly every time
  • Thermostat temperature control ensures even cooking
  • The smoker is easy to use and comes with a variety of features
Cons
  • The size might be small for some people

Buying A Meat Smoker Guide

Choosing the right meat smoker can be a tedious task, so before you start know what to look for.

The type of smoker you buy will depend on budget, space, fuel availability, capacity, type of food you want to cook and most importantly, the type of smoker.

1. The Type of Meat Smoker

There are different kinds of smokers based on their fuel type and each has its pros and cons. 

Charcoal Smokers

Charcoal smokers are ideal for those who want to properly infuse the smoke flavor into meat. They also require you to learn how to manage the briquettes or charcoal, airflow, timing and wood choices.

It also happens to be the cheapest fuel source for smokers. However, they are only suitable for those who have open-air lawns or backyards.  They are not allowed for use on apartment balconies.

Gas Smokers

These use natural gas or propane as their fuel source.  Gas smokers are simple to use and are also a quick way of smoking meat.  Maintenance and cleaning are not easy however, they often don’t produce a truly smokey flavor.

Pellet Smokers

Pellets are made from hardwood, sawdust or other materials. They are easily loaded into the feeder of a pellet smoker and are added till the desired temperature and smoke is reached.

A digital controller allows you to maintain a steady temperature for even cooking.

Electric Smokers

As the name suggests they are powered by electricity which makes them the easiest to use.  All you need do is place your food inside, set the temperature and timer and let the process begin.

Their setup is simple and they are ideal for places where charcoal or gas smokers are not allowed.

Kamado Smokers

These are ceramic smokers.  An all-in-one unit that allows you to grill, smoke, bake and roast.  Kamado smokers make very tender meats because of their low oxygen, fitted space and high moisture.

They are perfect meat smokers for beginners wanting all of the perks of smoking and grilling units. 

2. Build Quality 

Thin materials simply mean the smoker is not durable and temperatures may vary.  For the meat smoker to properly insulate heat, construction material needs to be sturdy and well-coated.

If the material is too thin, then it also results in decreased efficiency as chances of leakages are high. 

3. Capacity 

The size and capacity of smokers should be carefully considered as you can later regret it.  Whether you want to serve at large gatherings or just for your own family is something you need to consider. The frequency of smoking should also be taken into consideration.

FAQS

  • Is smoking a better option than grilling?

The main difference between the two is time. Smoking requires greater time with a consistent temperature, whereas grilling is quicker and easier. Smoking results in more tender and flavorful meat

  • Are there any drawbacks of smoking food?

Smoking food is time-consuming and requires more attention. Keeping food moist may be difficult, and one has to be careful about not contaminating meat flavor. 

Conclusion

Hopefully, you now have a fair idea of what to look for in meat smokers for beginners.

By matching your capacity, fuel type, budget, and build quality with the available options, you can find the right one for you.

This article compares the 9 best meat smokers for beginners on the market.  However, most of these will serve you for many years as you journey from relative beginner to smokey BBQ expert!

If you enjoyed this article feel free to leave your comments below with any feedback.  We love hearing from our readers!

Find more kitchen and preserving tips on the links below relating to meat smoking techniques and tips.

Top Meat Smokers Forums For Great BBQ Taste At Home

5 Best Electric Food Smokers For Value And Taste

Can Smoked Meat Be Bad For You? Our Expert Results