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Charcoal Smokers (35 Items)

Charcoal Smokers: What to Look For

Charcoal smokers make it easy to infuse real charcoal flavor into your food. They’re perfect for backyard BBQs or tailgating, whether you’re a beginner or a competitive smoker and griller. You can also add wood chips for even more smoky wood taste. When it comes to charcoal smokers, there are many brands, sizes, and configurations to choose from. One of the biggest decisions is whether to go with a vertical or offset configuration.

Vertical vs Offset Charcoal Smokers

Vertical charcoal smokers are straight up and down (vertical) in orientation, and can accommodate for multiple levels of cooking grids for smoking food. Some are pill or bullet shaped with many cooking levels and a lid, while others are more rectangular in shape. Some are even shaped like a box with a door for easy access to food. These smokers range anywhere from 286 to 1,364 square inches of cooking surface.

Most vertical smokers are also charcoal water smokers. They typically consist of 3 compartments. The bottom section is the heat source that holds the charcoal. The middle section is where the pan of liquids is stored. The top section is the actual smoking chamber. When the liquid evaporates during the smoking process, it creates humidity and adds flavor to keep food moist. Vertical smokers are great for keeping the temperature nice and low. Some vertical smokers have a removable liquid pan so you can use the smoker as a charcoal grill too. It’s like having two grills in one!

Offset smokers look like a grill with a rectangular or barrel shaped body, but they have a fire box off to the side. Some fireboxes have a cooking grid inside, providing even more cooking space. These offset smokers are usually much larger than a vertical smoker, but only have one level of cooking grid. These smokers range in size from 900 to 1700 square inches of cooking surface.

Be sure to check out our list of Best Charcoal Smokers to discover our experts' top ranked vertical and offset charcoal smokers.