Current Date:December 11, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Smoker for Beginners

Embarking on the exciting journey of home smoking can be both thrilling and overwhelming, especially when searching for the best smoker for beginners. With so many smokers available on the market, each one offers unique features, advantages, and limitations. In this guide, we will review a number of smokers to help you make an informed decision on your next purchase.

Best Smoker for Beginners

Best electric smoker for beginners: Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker

If you’re a beginner to the art of smoking, an electric smoker is a great place to start. It is often considered the best smoker for beginners. The Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker is an excellent option for those looking for an easy-to-use and affordable smoker.


The Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker comes with several features that make it ideal for beginners. These include:

  • Digital controls: The digital control panel allows for easy temperature and time adjustments, making it simple for beginners to achieve the perfect smoke. The controls are user-friendly, and you can easily program the smoker to smoke at a specific temperature and time.
  • Four chrome-coated smoking racks: With four racks, this smoker has plenty of space to smoke a variety of meats or vegetables. The chrome-coated smoking racks are durable and easy to clean, making it easy to maintain the smoker.
  • Integrated thermostat temperature control: The thermostat control ensures that the temperature stays consistent throughout the smoking process, resulting in evenly cooked and flavorful food. This feature is crucial for achieving a perfect smoke, and the Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker provides it effortlessly.
  • Side wood chip loading system: The side loading system allows for easy access to add wood chips without having to open the main door, which helps maintain the temperature and smoke inside the smoker. This feature is useful because it prevents heat and smoke loss when adding wood chips, resulting in consistent cooking temperatures.
  • Removable drip pan: The removable drip pan makes cleaning up after smoking a breeze. This feature is essential because it saves you time and makes cleaning the smoker easy.


The Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker has several advantages that make it the best electric smoker for beginners. These include:

  • Easy to use and perfect for beginners
  • Digital controls make it simple to set and adjust temperature and time
  • Four smoking racks provide ample space for smoking a variety of meats or vegetables
  • The integrated thermostat ensures consistent temperatures throughout the smoking process
  • Side loading system for wood chips allows for easy access without opening the main door
  • The removable drip pan makes cleaning up after smoking a breeze


While the Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker is an excellent option for beginners, there are a few downsides to consider:

  • May not provide as authentic a smoky flavor as charcoal or wood-burning smokers
  • Some users have reported issues with the smoker’s temperature control, resulting in inconsistent temperatures.
  • The smoker’s construction may not be as durable as other, more expensive models.

Best budget smoker: 22-Inch Charcoal Grill Leuwd

Introducing the 22-Inch Charcoal Grill Leuwd, a budget-friendly and reliable smoker ideal for those just starting out on their BBQ journey. With its easy-to-use design, you can master the art of smoking and grilling in no time, all without breaking the bank.


  • Spacious Cooking Area: With a generous 22-inch diameter, the grill provides ample space for smoking and grilling a variety of foods, including larger cuts of meat or multiple items at once.
  • Adjustable Vents: Regulate temperature and airflow with ease, ensuring consistent and even cooking for mouthwatering, tender results.
  • Removable Ash Catcher: Cleanup is a breeze with the smoker’s convenient and easy-to-clean ash catcher, making post-cookout maintenance hassle-free.
  • Heat-resistant Handles: Safely transport and maneuver the grill with its heat-resistant handles, designed to protect your hands from excessive heat.


  • Affordable: The 22-Inch Charcoal Grill Leuwd is priced competitively, making it an excellent choice for beginners looking for a quality smoker on a budget.
  • Easy to Use: The straightforward design and adjustable features allow even the most novice BBQ enthusiasts to achieve delicious and consistent results.
  • Portable: The compact and lightweight design makes it easy to transport and store, perfect for those with limited space or who enjoy grilling on the go.


  • Limited Temperature Control: While the adjustable vents help regulate temperature, more advanced smokers may find the level of control lacking compared to pricier models.
  • Learning Curve: As with any charcoal smoker, there is a learning curve involved in mastering temperature and airflow control. However, with practice, beginners will quickly become adept at using this smoker.

Best upgrade smoker for beginners: Traeger Pro 780

Upgrade your BBQ expertise with the Traeger Pro 780, designed for beginners eager to enhance their smoking and grilling skills. This smoker combines convenience, precision, and innovative technology for an unparalleled BBQ experience.


  • WiFIRE Technology: Connect your smartphone to the Traeger Pro 780 using the WiFIRE app, enabling remote monitoring and control of your grill’s temperature, setting timers, and receiving notifications.
  • Precision Temperature Control: The Pro 780’s Digital Arc Controller maintains temperature control within 5 degrees, ensuring consistent cooking for perfect results.
  • Large Cooking Capacity: With 780 square inches of cooking space, this smoker accommodates numerous food items at once, making it ideal for large gatherings.
  • Pellet Hopper Clean-out: The convenient pellet hopper clean-out feature allows easy switching of wood pellet flavors for greater cooking flexibility.
  • All-Terrain Wheels: The Traeger Pro 780’s all-terrain wheels easily navigate various outdoor surfaces, providing mobility and versatility.


  • Advanced Technology: WiFIRE technology and precise temperature control offer enhanced convenience and accuracy, helping you master BBQ skills with ease.
  • Consistent Results: The Digital Arc Controller maintains accurate temperatures, ensuring consistent and delicious outcomes, regardless of experience level.
  • Versatile Cooking Options: The large cooking capacity and easy pellet flavor switching make the Traeger Pro 780 perfect for experimenting with diverse cooking techniques and flavors.


  • Higher Price Point: The Traeger Pro 780 has a higher price tag compared to budget options, which may be a consideration for budget-conscious buyers.
  • Dependence on Electricity: As an electric smoker, the Pro 780 requires a power source, potentially limiting portability and usage in some outdoor settings.

Best low maintenance smoker for beginners: Z Grills ZPG-7002E 2020 Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker

Experience low-maintenance smoking and grilling with the Z Grills ZPG-7002E 2020 Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker, designed for beginners who want to focus on honing their BBQ skills. This versatile and user-friendly smoker combines convenience and performance for delicious, smoky dishes with minimal effort.


  • 8-in-1 Versatility: The ZPG-7002E enables grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, searing, braising, barbecuing, and char-grilling, offering endless culinary possibilities.
  • Advanced Wood Fire Technology: This smoker automatically feeds wood pellets for optimal temperature, ensuring consistent results and hassle-free control.
  • Large Cooking Area: With 700 square inches of cooking space, the ZPG-7002E accommodates various food items, perfect for hosting friends and family.
  • Electronic Auto-Start Ignition: The reliable auto-start ignition ensures a quick start-up, allowing you to begin cooking immediately.
  • Digital Temperature Control: The built-in digital controller maintains precise temperature control for consistent, delicious results.


  • Low Maintenance: The advanced wood fire technology and electronic auto-start ignition make this smoker easy to use and maintain.
  • Consistent Results: With digital temperature control and automatic pellet feeding, the ZPG-7002E ensures even, consistent cooking.
  • Flexible Cooking Options: The 8-in-1 versatility provides a wide range of cooking possibilities for various techniques and flavors.


  • Initial Assembly: The ZPG-7002E may require some assembly upon arrival, potentially time-consuming for those unfamiliar with grill assembly.
  • Reliance on Electricity: As an electric smoker, this model requires a power source, which may limit portability and use in certain outdoor settings.

Best pellet smoker for beginners: Pit Boss Pellet Grill

Upgrade your BBQ game with the Pit Boss Pellet Grill, an ideal pellet smoker for beginners seeking an effortless and exceptional experience. This smoker combines user-friendly features, versatility, and consistent performance, unlocking your culinary potential and impressing guests at every cookout.


  • Flame Broiler: The innovative flame broiler enables direct flame grilling, allowing you to sear food and achieve a perfect caramelized crust.
  • Digital Control Board: Effortlessly maintain your desired cooking temperature with the smoker’s digital control board, ensuring consistent results and perfectly cooked food.
  • Porcelain-Coated Cast Iron Grates: The durable, easy-to-clean grates provide excellent heat retention and even cooking for mouthwatering results.
  • Large Hopper Capacity: The spacious hopper holds up to 21 pounds of wood pellets, allowing hours of uninterrupted cooking without constant refilling.
  • Wheels and Casters: Equipped with heavy-duty wheels and casters, this smoker is easy to move and position in your outdoor cooking space.


  • Effortless Operation: The digital control board and large hopper capacity make the Pit Boss Pellet Grill simple to use, allowing beginners to focus on honing their BBQ skills.
  • Consistent Cooking: Precise temperature control and porcelain-coated cast iron grates ensure even cooking and delicious results.
  • Versatile Grilling Options: The flame broiler feature enables both indirect and direct flame grilling, offering flexibility in cooking techniques and experimentation with various dishes.


  • Size and Weight: The Pit Boss Pellet Grill is larger and heavier, which may be a consideration for those with limited outdoor space or needing a portable option.
  • Electricity Requirement: As a pellet smoker, it relies on electricity, which may limit its use in certain outdoor settings without access to a power source.

Best propane smoker for beginners: Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker

Meet the Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker, an ideal choice for beginners seeking a user-friendly and efficient propane smoker. Simplifying the smoking process and delivering mouthwatering results, this smoker combines convenience, performance, and style to help you become a true BBQ aficionado.


  • Spacious Interior: The COS-244 offers 5.45 square feet of interior cooking space, providing ample room for a variety of food items.
  • Four Stainless Steel Shelves: The smoker includes four removable, adjustable stainless steel shelves, allowing easy customization of your cooking space.
  • Built-in Thermometer: Monitor the internal temperature with the built-in thermometer, ensuring perfectly cooked food every time.
  • Porcelain Enameled Steel Tray: The dedicated tray holds water and wood chips, providing consistent smoke and moisture for tender, flavorful results.
  • Twist-Lock Door Handle: The twist-lock door handle ensures a tight seal, keeping heat and smoke inside for optimal cooking conditions.


  • User-Friendly Design: Designed with beginners in mind, the Cuisinart COS-244 features a simple setup and easy-to-use controls.
  • Consistent Performance: The built-in thermometer and porcelain enameled steel tray ensure consistent heat, smoke, and moisture for perfect results.
  • Customizable Cooking Space: Adjustable stainless steel shelves offer flexibility in arranging various sizes and shapes of food items.


  • Assembly Required: The Cuisinart COS-244 may require some assembly, which could be time-consuming for those unfamiliar with smoker assembly.
  • Propane Tank Not Included: The smoker does not include a propane tank, so you will need to purchase one separately before smoking.

Best portable smoker for beginners: Smokehouse Products Big Chief Electric Smoker

Begin your smoking journey with the Smokehouse Products Big Chief Electric Smoker, the ultimate portable smoker for beginners valuing convenience and performance. Its compact size, user-friendly features, and consistent results make this smoker perfect for BBQ enthusiasts on the go or with limited outdoor space.


  • Compact Design: The Big Chief Electric Smoker offers a space-saving design for easy transport and storage without compromising cooking capacity.
  • Front-Loading: The front-loading system allows easy access to cooking racks and drip pan, simplifying the smoking process.
  • Five Chrome-Plated Cooking Racks: The smoker features five removable and adjustable cooking racks, providing ample space for smoking needs.
  • Non-Adjustable Heating Element: The 450-watt heating element maintains consistent smoking temperature, ensuring reliable results without constant adjustments.
  • Vented Design: Built-in vents promote proper airflow, optimizing the smoking process for tender and flavorful results.


  • Portability: The compact and lightweight design makes the Big Chief Electric Smoker perfect for portable and easy-to-store BBQ experiences.
  • Easy to Use: The front-loading system and non-adjustable heating element offer a hassle-free smoking experience for beginners.
  • Consistent Results: Consistent smoking temperature and vented design ensure mouthwatering results every time.


  • No Built-in Thermometer: The smoker lacks a built-in thermometer, which may require monitoring temperature with an external device.
  • Lower Heat Output: The 450-watt heating element may not reach high enough temperatures for certain smoking techniques or large cuts of meat.

Best kamado smoker for beginners: Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Smoker

Experience kamado-style cooking with the Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Smoker, perfect for beginners exploring this ancient technique. This smoker combines versatility, efficiency, and ease of use, enabling you to create delicious smoked and grilled dishes to impress family and friends.


  • Triple-Walled Insulation: The Akorn Kamado Smoker boasts excellent heat retention and temperature control, ideal for low and slow cooking.
  • Cast Iron Cooking Grates: Durable cast iron grates ensure even heat distribution for perfectly cooked food.
  • Adjustable Top and Bottom Dampers: Fine-tune airflow and temperature with adjustable dampers for precise cooking conditions.
  • Easy-Dump Ash Pan: The easy-dump ash pan streamlines cleanup by simplifying ash removal after cooking.
  • Large Locking Wheels: Easily move and secure your smoker with large locking wheels.


  • Versatility: The Akorn Kamado Smoker enables grilling, smoking, roasting, and baking, offering diverse cooking options.
  • Efficient Heat Retention: Triple-walled insulation ensures excellent heat retention and temperature control for fuel-efficient cooking.
  • Easy Temperature Control: Adjustable dampers simplify airflow and temperature regulation, achieving the perfect cooking environment.


  • Assembly Required: The Akorn Kamado Smoker may require time-consuming assembly for beginners.
  • Learning Curve: Although designed for beginners, mastering kamado cooking techniques may require practice and patience.

Best gravity smoker for beginners: Masterbuilt MB20041020 Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker

Dive into the fusion of tradition and technology with the Masterbuilt MB20041020 Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker. Ideal for beginners desiring charcoal flavor and modern controls, this gravity smoker offers precise temperature management, versatile cooking, and simple operation.


  • Gravity-Fed Charcoal Hopper: The charcoal hopper provides consistent heat for up to 15 hours of cooking.
  • Digital Control Panel: Easily set and monitor cooking temperature with the digital panel and built-in probes.
  • Reversible Cast Iron Grates: These grates offer excellent heat retention and versatility for searing, smoking, or grilling.
  • Fan-Forced Airflow: This system ensures precise temperature control, with a range of 225°F to 700°F.
  • Warming/Smoking Racks: Expand your cooking capacity with the included racks, ideal for smoking large cuts or keeping food warm.


  • Effortless Temperature Control: The digital panel and fan-forced airflow enable precise, consistent temperature management.
  • Low Maintenance: The gravity-fed hopper allows hours of uninterrupted cooking without constant monitoring or refueling.
  • Versatility: The wide temperature range and reversible grates make the Gravity Series 560 suitable for grilling, smoking, and searing.


  • Power Requirement: The MB20041020 needs a power source for its digital panel and fan, limiting portability and outdoor use.
  • Price: The Gravity Series 560 may be pricier than other beginner smokers, but its advanced features and ease of use warrant the investment.

Best charcoal smoker for beginners: Tower T978505 Smoker Grill XL

Explore charcoal smoking with the Tower T978505 Smoker Grill XL, a top choice for beginners craving authentic smoky flavor. This user-friendly smoker blends classic design and modern features for effortlessly creating mouthwatering smoked dishes.


  • Large Cooking Area: The Tower T978505 offers a generous cooking area, accommodating ample food for smoking.
  • Integrated Thermometer: Monitor cooking temperature with the built-in lid thermometer for perfectly smoked dishes.
  • Adjustable Ventilation: Regulate airflow and temperature with the adjustable ventilation system for precise cooking.
  • Removable Ash Collector: The ash collector simplifies cleaning, enabling easy ash disposal after cooking.
  • Sturdy Construction: The robust steel construction ensures your smoker’s durability and longevity.


  • Easy to Use: The Tower T978505’s user-friendly design makes it ideal for charcoal smoking beginners.
  • Consistent Temperature: Adjustable ventilation and an integrated thermometer maintain consistent cooking temperature for perfect results.
  • Large Capacity: The spacious cooking area enables simultaneous smoking of multiple dishes, perfect for gatherings.


  • Assembly Required: The Tower T978505 may require assembly upon arrival, potentially time-consuming for beginners.
  • Manual Temperature Control: Unlike some digital smokers, this charcoal smoker requires manual temperature adjustments, posing challenges for new users.

Must-Have Grilling Accessories:

GRILLHOGS 9″, 12″ and 16″ 3 Pack Barbecue Tongs

It’s not just about the grill. To master the art of BBQ, one must be equipped with the right tools. Introducing GRILLHOGS, a brand that has revolutionized grilling with its award-winning BBQ tongs. Designed for practicality, these tongs are an essential tool for any grill enthusiast.


  • Good Housekeeping Award Winner: Recognized as a 2022 Kitchen Gear Award Winner, these tongs are top-tier.
  • Torsion Spring Technology: Ensures a firm grip and greater range of motion for a seamless handling experience.
  • Superior Comfort: Designed with ergonomic, insulated soft grip handles for long, comfortable use.
  • Dishwasher Safe: Crafted with a rubberized soft grip, making cleaning a breeze.
  • 5-Year Warranty: Quality and durability guaranteed with a long-term warranty.


What type of smoker should I get?

The ideal smoker for you depends on your preferences, budget, and desired level of involvement. Wood pellet smokers like the Z Grills ZPG-7002E offer precise temperature control, making them beginner-friendly. Other options include charcoal, propane, electric, and kamado smokers, each with its own pros and cons.

What sized smoker should I get?

Consider the number of people you’ll typically be cooking for and the space available for your smoker. Larger smokers can accommodate more food but take up more space and require more fuel. Smaller smokers are more portable and fuel-efficient but might not be suitable for large gatherings.

Is build quality important when it comes to a beginners’ smoker?

Yes, build quality is crucial for any smoker, including those for beginners. A well-built smoker provides better heat retention, temperature control, and durability. Look for smokers made of high-quality materials, such as thick steel or cast iron, and featuring tight seals and strong hinges.

How much do smokers cost?

Smokers come in a wide range of prices, from budget-friendly options under $200 to high-end models costing over $1,000. Beginners can find reliable smokers in the $200-$500 range, offering a good balance of quality and affordability.

How do smokers work?

Smokers cook food at low temperatures, usually between 225°F and 275°F, using indirect heat and smoke generated by wood, charcoal, or pellets. This slow cooking process imparts a smoky flavor to the food and breaks down connective tissues, resulting in tender and juicy meat.

How easy is it to use a smoker?

Using a smoker can be straightforward or complex, depending on the type of smoker and your experience level. Wood pellet and electric smokers offer the easiest learning curve, with precise temperature control and minimal involvement. Charcoal and propane smokers require more hands-on attention to maintain consistent temperatures.

What is the easiest food to smoke?

Chicken and pork shoulder are among the easiest foods to smoke, as they are relatively forgiving and require less time than other meats. Beginners should start with these cuts to build confidence before moving on to more challenging foods like brisket and ribs.

What is the difference between smoking and grilling?

Smoking involves cooking food slowly over indirect heat and smoke, while grilling uses direct heat for quick cooking. Smoking imparts a deep smoky flavor and tenderizes meat, whereas grilling results in a seared exterior and juicy interior.

How long do smokers last?

The lifespan of a smoker depends on its build quality, materials, and maintenance. High-quality smokers can last for many years with proper care, such as regular cleaning and protecting them from the elements with a cover.

I need to cook for 5 people. What is the best smoker?

For a group of 5, consider a mid-sized smoker like the Traeger Pro 780 or the Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker. Both options offer ample cooking space for this number of people and provide user-friendly features for beginners.

I need to cook for 10 people. What is the best smoker?

For a gathering of 10 people, the Pit Boss Pellet Grill or the Masterbuilt MB20041020 Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker are suitable options. These smokers have large cooking areas to accommodate the quantity of food needed and offer precise temperature control for consistently great results.

I need to cook for 20 people. What is the best smoker?

When cooking for 20 people, you’ll need a smoker with a substantial cooking area. The Tower T978505 Smoker Grill XL is an excellent choice, as it features a large cooking surface and a sturdy build. Another option is the Char Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Smoker, which offers ample space and excellent heat retention for large-scale cooking.


After careful consideration of the various types of smokers perfect for beginners, the Z Grills ZPG-7002E 2020 Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker stands out as the best overall choice. This smoker offers a superb balance of user-friendly features, exceptional performance, and versatility, making it an ideal option for those starting their smoking journey.

The Z Grills ZPG-7002E allows for precise temperature control and consistency, which are crucial for beginners who are still mastering the art of smoking. With its digital control system and automated pellet feeding, this smoker ensures that you can maintain the desired temperature without the need for constant monitoring. This convenience allows you to focus on refining your smoking techniques and exploring different flavors.

Furthermore, the Z Grills ZPG-7002E’s versatility is unmatched, offering eight different cooking functions, including smoking, grilling, baking, and roasting. This adaptability enables you to experiment with various cooking styles and expand your BBQ repertoire, making the most of your investment.

While the Z Grills ZPG-7002E may not be the most budget-friendly option, its features and performance justify the price. As a beginner, investing in a reliable and versatile smoker will set you up for success and provide you with a solid foundation for mastering the art of smoking.