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Electric Smokers Buying Guide

Electric meat smokers are some of the most user-friendly smokers for people who are just learning to smoke. One of most difficult aspects about smoking is fuel and heat management. While you do have to add wood chips to create smoke and water to the water tray to keep food moist, the problem of maintaining heat is nearly eliminated with electric smokers. Instead of manually adding fuel and changing airflow, electric smokers regulate themselves. You can plug the smoker into an outlet, set it to the temperature you want to cook, and relax!

Electric BBQ smokers hold wood chips at the temperature you need them at to smoke and create flavor, making it much easier to cold smoke than other types of smokers. You don’t have to worry about an element going out from the flame being too low, like you would have to worry about on other smokers.

When cooking with an electric smoker, your meat won’t get a smoke ring like you see with other types of smokers (charcoal, wood, etc.). However, the smoke ring on a brisket has visual appeal, but it doesn’t influence the taste. So even though you won’t get a smoke ring on your smoked meats, rest assured that you aren’t losing any flavor.

Electric Water Smokers

While most electric smokers will have a small water tray to help keep the meat moist while cooking, water smokers will have a much larger water tray. With a large water tray, you’ll never have to worry about refilling it during the cook. This opens up the possibilities for what you can put in the water tray. Filling it with different liquids like juice or beer will introduce a much different flavor profile instead of adding moisture to the meat.

Digital vs. Analog Controls

Electric smokers are available with either digital or analog controls. While they both control temperature, digital controls require much less interaction than analog does. With a digital temperature controller, you simply press up or down on the controller until your desired temperature appears on the digital screen. An analog controller has a dial that controls the temperature of the smoker.

If you are looking for tips on smoking, check out our guide to smoking. Our experts have put together a list of the top-ranked Best Electric Smokers. If you're still unsure which electric bbq smoker is right for you, then check out our electric smoker comparison chart for a detailed comparison of our top models.