People boast about the delicate tastes you get when cooking with charcoal.  To achieve these mouth-watering sensations, you need to find the best charcoal food smokers for ease of use and value.

There is no denying the fact you get a special feeling and expectation when you fire up a charcoal food smoker.

Have you ever wondered what makes ribs and steak taste so delicious?  The answer is that they have been cooked on one of the best charcoal smokers.

The key is in the different flavors that can be achieved with marinades, spices and delicious charcoal smokiness.

If you love the mouth-watering tenderness of a smokey barbecued steak, using a top charcoal food smoker will help in adding another dimension to the entire experience. The overall hype around this popular cooking trend is not just some backyard competition with your neighbor to see who has a better grill.

In fact, using a charcoal food smoker will tenderize your meat while infusing a smoky flavor.  This is not possible when you use other barbecuing techniques.

Best Overall
Weber 18 in. Smoker
Best Value for Money
Akorn Kamado
Best Grill and Smoker
Weber Original Kettle
Best Cabinet Smoker
Dyna-Glo Vertical
Best Offset Smoker
Oklahoma Joe
Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite
Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black
Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D 36" Vertical Charcoal Smoker
Oklahoma Joe's Highland Reverse Flow Smoker
-
Best Overall
Weber 18 in. Smoker
Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
Best Value for Money
Akorn Kamado
Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite
Best Grill and Smoker
Weber Original Kettle
Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black
Best Cabinet Smoker
Dyna-Glo Vertical
Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D 36" Vertical Charcoal Smoker
Best Offset Smoker
Oklahoma Joe
Oklahoma Joe's Highland Reverse Flow Smoker
-

To make your choice of a great charcoal smoker in 2021, our expert testers have prepared a list of the best charcoal smokers for you.

The Best Charcoal Food Smokers 2021

Best-Overall-Charcoal-Food-Smoker
Weber Smokey Mountain

Weber Smokey Mountain

With its rich background dating back to the 1980s, WSM or Weber Smokey Mountain is a leading brand in charcoal food smokers.

When it comes to designing and marketing the best-ever charcoal food smokers Weber seems to lead the way.

The model we chose is 18 inches and regarded as an ideal size for most users.  You can feed just the family, or have a whole crowd well supplied wherever you go.

There are 2 other models in the WSM range, the 14 inches, and the 22 inches.  Your choice will depend on your family size and your budget.

The overall success of this smoker comes down to the quality of construction.  A sturdy build makes this highly durable and a removable fuel door makes it easy to add charcoal and wood.

Adjustable dampers allow you to be in control of precise heat. With two cooking grates giving a total capacity of 481 square inches of space you can fit multiple roasts with ease.

Moreover, it is available at a price that is affordable for every budget.

There are three separate sections in the smoker for easy cleaning, versatility, and portability.

The lower section contains the fire grate and charcoal ring and includes 3 sturdy legs and 3 adjustable vents.

A middle cooking section consists of 2 18-inch chrome-plated cooking grates and a water bowl to keep food moist during the food smoking process.

Finally, the dome lid has a built-in thermometer, cool-touch handle, and another adjustable air vent.

To read a full review on this particular machine, we covered it extensively in our Best Food Smokers Reviews for 2021.

Pros 

  • Ease of 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
  • It’s water bowl can give over 10 hours of moisture-filled cooking

Con

  • Door may not seal fully.
Best-Value-for-Money-Charcoal-Food-Smoker
Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Charcoal Smoker

Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Charcoal Smoker

The Kamado grills are known for long-lasting durability due to their cast iron construction.  This feature alone makes them a definite inclusion in the list of best charcoal food smokers on the market.

The exterior of this top charcoal smoker unit has been finished in sleek powder-coated steel.  Moreover, the interior of the unit uses porcelain-coated steel for maximum performance.

This nifty smoker features as much as 314 square inches of top-quality cast iron major cooking space.

Include in this 133 square inches of warming rack and you have a huge capacity food smoker. As such, you get access to a combined space of 447 square inches for cooking.

All Kamado Charcoal Food Smokers are fully insulated.  With triple-insulated kettle walls, you can control and maintain even airflow into and out of the grill.  Its solid construction allows temperatures from 200 – 700 degrees Fahrenheit.

With a  built-in thermometer in the lid, you can easily monitor the heat.  In fact, if you control the airflow properly, you produce succulent and juicy meat and also burn less charcoal. 

Using this beautifully crafted machine correctly, you will save a ton of money!

The 3 rubber wheels form the base of a tubular steel cart and the front wheel locks stabilize the smoker for safety.  This 3 wheel system allows for easy moving and portability.

Other features include an easy-clean ash pan that makes for a quick ash dump, double-wall insulation, and a lockable lid.  Two convenient side shelves featuring utensil hooks fold away when not in use or for storage.

The Akorn Kamado provides true value for money, with an excellent price to performance and quality ratio.  We proudly include it in our list of best charcoal food smokers for 2021.

Pros 

  • Ease of use
  • Excellent price to performance and quality ratio
  • Easy temperature control
  • Folding side shelf
  • Removable warming rack
  • Locking lid
  • Easy clean ash pan
  • Triple-walled insulation retains heat
  • Durable steel construction built to last
  • Adjustable top and bottom dampers
  • Stainless heat gauge
  • Large 8 inch front wheels with locking rear caster
  • Cast iron cooking grates
  • Maintains temperatures from 200°- 700° F
  • 447 sq. in. total cooking area

.

Cons

  • The smoking stone comes at an extra price
  • Smoke may leak if you use cheap gaskets
Best-Charcoal-Grill-Combination-Food-Smoker
Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill

Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill

You might be surprised to know that with a few excellent tips, you can convert the classic Weber Original kettle into a high-performing smoker.

Simply add wood chips to the coals after they have soaked for an hour or so.  Replace the lid and wait for the delicious smokiness to be created.

If your goal is food smoking then you may want to look at buying a specialized charcoal food smoker.  However, if you wish to have the flexibility of a smoker and a grill, then you should definitely look at this dual model.  

This smoker upgraded into a hinged cooking grate for easily adding charcoal while grilling.  The One-Touch cleaning system, with a high-capacity ash catcher, makes for a smooth grilling experience.

Whatever might be the case, you can always opt for the Weber Original Charcoal Grill & Smoker combo. The overall body of the charcoal grill is made out of pressed steel sheets that are coated with porcelain enamel.  Even the wheels are made from materials designed to withstand elements, creating terrific durability for this smoker.

The One-Touch cleaning system provides easy maintenance.  To cleanup charcoal ash and debris simply swipe it into the high-capacity, removable ash catcher.

A major reason why this griller is capable of functioning as a smoker is because of its amazing heat control. Without lifting the lid, easily adjust the dampers to control the airflow. 

Closing the dampers completely will cut the oxygen flow to help extinguish coals. This enables you to maintain a stable temperature for a longer time without burning too much fuel.

This smoker offers other features for convenience.  A lid shield to prevent the handle from heating and hooks to hang grilling tools for accessibility.

For its versatility as a food smoker or grill for BBQ, the Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill makes our list of best charcoal food smokers for 2021.

Pros 

  • Durable wheels and constructions
  • Airtight when sealed
  • Portable and light
  • Easy to clean
  • Precision heat control
  • High-temperature tolerance
  • Easily add fuel
  • Heat shielded handle
  • Convenient lid placement
  • Accessible grilling tools

Con

  • Limited cooking capacity
Best-Cabinet-Charcoal-Smoker
Dyna-Glo Vertical Smoker

Dyna-Glo Vertical Smoker

The given vertical charcoal smoking unit is packed with an impressive 784 square inches of total cooking area.

In addition to being spacious, the entire unit is extremely cost-effective as well. Dyna-Glo Vertical Smoker is ideal for capturing maximum smoke flavor.

The main benefit of using this vertical smoker is that you can access food quite easily.  Indeed, this is unlike other models where you cannot access the entire level without taking off the grill racks.

A Dyna-Glo Vertical Smoker allows you to reach all the racks easily and simultaneously.

The overall assembly of the unit is straightforward.   The racks are well-made and sturdy, offering great durability.

It is built with a two-door design for accessibility and to maintain heat.  For burn efficiency, the porcelain-enameled charcoal chamber is designed to keep briquettes stacked tightly.  Having an adjustable damper, allows you to easily control temperatures

The vertical design of this smoker lends itself to naturally rising heat.  You are able to achieve greater gas efficiency and maximum smoke flavor.  The top smoke stack improves airflow and heat distribution throughout the smoker.

For an easy-to-read temperature gauge, it has a built-in stainless steel thermometer.  This indicates the ideal temperature for infusing smoke flavor to achieve perfectly smoked foods.

It features a large removable steel ash pan.  Designed to handle a huge amount of ash, this means hours of maintenance-free cooking.

Easy access and large capacity place the Dyna-Glo Vertical Smoker in our list of best charcoal food smokers for 2021.

Pros 

  • Ease of access, 2 door system
  • Vertical design for heat efficiency
  • Abundant temperature and control options
  • 4 cooking grates
  • Huge 784 square inch cooking area
  • Charcoal & ash management system
  • Custom-fit Dyna-Glo premium cover protection – Model DG784GSC
  • In-built stainless thermometer gauge
  • Smoke stack improves air-flow

Cons

  • Thin steel may not hold heat well
  • Does leak but can be fixed with silicone to joints
  • Paint will flake over time 
Best-Offset-Charcoal-Food-Smoker
Oklahoma Joe Highland Reverse Flow Charcoal Smoker

Oklahoma Joe Highland Reverse Flow Charcoal Smoker 

Offset smokers also go by the name of wood-burning smokers or stick burners.

With the common perception that you need wood as the main source of fuel for these appliances, most experts agree that charcoal can still form the base of the fire.

You can continuously add smoked wood for increasing the overall flavors.

Unlike other models of offset smokers available, the Oklahoma Joe Highland model makes use of a unique reverse flow technology for its application.  This is where smoke gets directed to the furthest end of the smoking chamber before traveling across the chimney and the food.  The idea is that this offers improved results while cooking.

With this charcoal smoker unit, you get access to a total of 619 square inches of cooking space in the primary cooking chamber.  At the same time, there is 281 square inches of space in the firebox chamber that can be utilized for searing/grilling.

For long-lasting use, this smoker is made of heavy-gauge steel and porcelain-coated cooking grates.

The Oklahoma Joe Highland Smoker features a front shelf, ideal for storing food and utensils.  There is a large bottom shelf that provides plenty of space for charcoal, wood, or other fuel.

A convenient door on the side of the firebox lets you stoke your fire without opening the chamber lid.  It makes raking out the firebox ash much simpler.  Furthermore, it has large wagon-style wheels for easy mobility.

With its unique reverse flow technology, the Oklahoma Joe Charcoal Smoker gets a place in our best charcoal food smokers for 2021.

Pros 

  • Unique reverse flow design
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Reverse flow or traditional offset smoking
  • Pre-Installed baffle plates
  • Large charcoal basket
  • 900 square inch cooking space
  • Swing-open firebox door
  • Convenient front and bottom shelves

Cons

  • Requires some modification for making it airtight

Conclusion

There are ample reasons why charcoal smokers are regarded as one of the best tools by backyard barbecue lovers.

This method of cooking results in better flavors as well as different smoke options.  Get a truly unique smoky flavor that is difficult to be replicated with other styles of cooking.