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Whether you’re looking to throw down some traditional barbecue, smoke salmon after a successful fishing trip, or make a big batch of venison summer sausage, it’s a great time to be in the market for an electric smoker.

Electric smokers have arguably democratized barbeque and smoked foods, making smoking incredibly convenient and accessible. With modern electric smokers, it has never been easier to make smoked foods at home. Today’s electric smokers are made with high-quality materials, versatile designs, and packed full of features for every need and skill level.

With so many awesome electric smokers out there, it can be tough to choose the right one. Whether you’re in the market for the latest and greatest pellet grill or opt for the tried and true wood chip burning vertical box smoker, there’s something out there for every skill level, need, and budget.

Here are a few of our top picks for the best electric smokers on the market.

How We Picked the Best Electric Smokers

I’m no newbie when it comes to running a smoker. Before I made a portion of my living writing about wild food and cooking products, I worked in food service and I have cooked professionally in various capacities for the majority of my adult life. I won’t claim to be some competition pitmaster, but I smoke a mean rack of ribs, and my smoked venison has converted more than a few wild game naysayers.

Chicken smoking on Camp Chef Woodwind Pro 24 pellet grill and smoker
I’ve spent hours cooking, grilling, and smoking on some of the most popular electric smokers. Cosmo Genova

On the media side of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to test out and use quite a few electric smokers, including many of the newest and most innovative on the market.

I drew on my professional and personal experience to pick a handful of the best electric smokers to cover in this article. My favorite smokers have the whole package—they are easy to use, feature-rich, versatile, and appropriately priced. I picked smokers that I have personally used and loved, or that were recommended to me and extensively researched.

While many modern electric smokers come with automated PID controllers, LCD screens, fan systems, and mobile connectivity, we’re defining an electric smoker as simply one with an electric ignition system. An electric smoker could have all of the aforementioned electronic goodies and features, or simply have analog controls with an electric ignitor.

Best Electric Smokers: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Traeger Ironwood XL

Best Overall


  • Total Cooking Area: 924 square inches
  • Hopper Capacity: 22 pounds
  • Temperature Range: 165-500° F


  • Extremely versatile
  • Easy to use
  • Clean burning


  • Expensive

I had the pleasure of reviewing the updated Traeger Ironwood XL when it launched, and it has become my go-to pellet smoker. The Ironwood is such a joy to run that I find myself looking for excuses to spark it up.

The Ironwood can cover everything from low-temperature smoking to high-heat grilling, and everything in between. Like all Traeger grills, the Ironwood is built like a tank, with a heavy-duty gasket lid and a thick insulated body for great heat retention. It maintains an extremely stable temperature while cooking with minimal fluctuations.

The Traeger Ironwood.
I’m a big fan of everything the Traeger Ironwood XL can do—and how well it does it. Cosmo Genova Traeger

Traeger packs a ton of quality-of-life features into the Ironwood. The inside of the Ironwood is designed like a two-bay sink to keep the firepot and ash bucket separate and clean. It has a grill light that automatically comes on when you lift the hood and a pellet sensor that monitors the hopper so you never run out of pellets.

I’m not a huge fan of grilling on pellet smokers, but the Ironwood does an excellent job. Even if you primarily use it as a smoker as I do, it’s nice to be able to cook something quick like burgers or effectively sear or add grill marks to longer cooks. Plus, the connected Traeger app is easy to use and has a ton of cool features like temperature and pellet level alerts, cooking guides, a ton of recipes, and more.

The Ironwood is available in the standard model with 616 square inches of cooking space, as well as the 924-square-inch Ironwood XL (which I have). Both come with a massive 22-pound pellet hopper. The Ironwood is extremely easy to put together and I was even able to handle the XL model by myself. The Traeger name is worthy of its reputation, and I can’t say enough good things about the Ironwood XL.

Best Pellet: Camp Chef Woodwind Pro 24

Best Pellet


  • Total Cooking Area: 811 square inches
  • Hopper Capacity: 22 pounds
  • Temperature Range: 160-500° F


  • Grilling abilities
  • Plenty of add-on accessories
  • Great app


  • Ignition can be a little finicky
  • High low-end temperature

The Camp Chef Woodwind is an excellent pellet smoker packed full of possibilities, that’s available in both 24- and 36-inch sizes. I have owned and used the Woodwind 24 for a few years and have come to love it. The Woodwind has all of the normal features you would come to expect from a great, modern pellet smoker. It has a PID controller with four thermometer ports, Wi-Fi connectivity with an excellent associated app for wireless controls and monitoring, easy cleaning ash bucket and grease trap, and a ton of rack space.

Exterior of Camp Chef Woodwind Pro 24 pellet grill and smoker
The Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill and smoker is one of my favorites. Cosmo Genova

The 22-pound hopper provides hours of no-fuss cooking, and it’s easy to swap pellet flavors with the hopper trap door on the back. The Woodwind also has a cool slide-and-grill feature that allows you to expose the firepot for direct flame grilling.

Camp Chef Woodwind Pro 24 Smoker Sidekick attachment
I’m a big fan of the Sidekick attachment you can connect right to the smoker. Cosmo Genova

With a temperature range of 160-500° F, you can do everything from smoking fish to grilling. What I think makes the Woodwind so cool is its variety of side-mounted accessories. Sure you have to buy them separately, but you can get a propane grill attachment, a flat-top griddle, a pizza oven, and other awesome stuff that mounts directly to the Woodwind for added versatility.

Best Small: Traeger Ranger

Best Small


  • Total Cooking Area: 184 square inches
  • Hopper Capacity: 8 pounds
  • Temperature Range: 165-450° F


  • Extremely portable
  • Versatile
  • Comes with griddle


  • Temperature stability
  • Low ceiling
  • Heavy

The Traeger Ranger is a pint-sized pellet smoker that you can take anywhere. Take it camping, keep it in the truck, run it for lunch on the boat, or just use it at home when you’re only feeding a few people. The Ranger can be hooked up to a battery pack, RV, or even directly to your vehicle.

Traeger Ranger Portable Pellet Grill and Smoker open and smoking on ledge
We’ve used our Ranger at home when we just want to smoke a few chicken breasts without firing up the full-size Traeger. Amanda Oliver

The Traeger Ranger is not going to feed an army, but you can easily fit enough for four to six people. The small form factor will limit the kinds of things you can fit, but it’s the perfect size for burgers, sausages, pork chops, and can even fit a whole chicken.

The one con of the Ranger is that the ceiling height is pretty low, so it might be tough to fit larger pork butts and things like that. But for most portioned cuts of meat and smaller roasts, it’s perfect. Because of the small size, temperature stability is not as consistent as a full-sized smoker, so maintaining temperatures at the lower end of the range can be difficult. While it’s not the best choice for low-temp smoking things like fish, cooking in the normal 220-350°F is the Ranger’s sweet spot. You can also crank it up for searing and grilling, and it even comes with a small flat-top griddle plate.

While I haven’t had the opportunity to get my hands on a Traeger Ranger personally, I have heard great things from chefs and wild game cooks that I know and trust. Our executive editor of commerce, Amanda Oliver, is a big fan. She raves about its ease of use, accurate temperature controls, and portable size. Read her full review here.

Best Vertical: Grilla Mammoth Vertical Pellet Smoker

Best Vertical


  • Total Cooking Area: 1,600 square inches (3,300 with additional racks)
  • Hopper Capacity: 40 pounds
  • Temperature Range: 180-450° F


  • Massive interior
  • Works with pellets and chips
  • Huge hopper


  • Not great for cold smoking

The Grilla Mammoth is an absolute beast. With 1,600 square inches of cooking surface (and up to 3,200 with additional racks) and a 40-pound hopper, it lives up to its name.

One great feature of the Grill is its Lipped Deflector design that allows you to use both wood chips and chunks as well as pellets. This is often missing even in smokers that cost double or triple the price of the Mammoth. Its heavy-duty design and door gasket provide excellent temperature retention and its solid stainless steel construction and components prevent rust. The Mammoth’s integrated water pan improves low-temperature regulation and grease management making cleaning up a breeze.

The Grilla Mammoth comes with the Alpha Connect 2.0 Controller and associated app that connect to your phone, so you can monitor and control the temperature remotely. The Mammoth also comes with an automatic shutoff safety feature if there are flare-ups and the temperature gets too high. For just around $1,000, you would be hard-pressed to find a smoker this large with so many great built-in features that can use both pellets and chips/chunks. If you’re looking for a true modern vertical smoker, the Grilla Mammoth is an extremely capable option.

Best Budget: Pit Boss 3-Series Analog Vertical Smoker

Best Budget


  • Total Cooking Area: 748 square inches
  • Fuel: Wood chips
  • Temperature Range: 100-325° F


  • Affordable
  • Low bottom temperature
  • Airtight


  • Lack of digital display/controls
  • Requires frequent reloading
  • No option for pellets

The Pit Boss 3 Series Analog Electric Vertical Smoker might not be the absolute cheapest on the market, but you get a lot of added value for a marginal price hike. It retails for just over $300—a heck of a steal.

The Pit Boss 3 series is electric in power only, as only the ignition system is electric. It does not feature an LCD or touchscreen controls. Both the controls and temperature gauge are analog, and you’re not going to have any kind of app or mobile connectivity. I don’t miss any of that, but it might matter to you.

One of the great things about Pit Boss smokers is their heat retention and efficiency. With an aluminized steel liner, double wall insulation, and a high-temperature door seal, the Pit Boss 3 series maintains its temperature extremely well. You can set it all the way down to 100°F for cold smoking, and up to 325°F for smoking things like chicken or beef roasts.

I really like the large glass viewing window that lets you watch the cooking process so you’re not opening and door and letting out heat and smoke when you want to take a peak. Cleaning the PitBoss vertical smoker is extremely easy thanks to a simple front access drawer that collects the grease. The smoker only weighs about 60 pounds, and two rear wheels make it easy to move around.

The only downsides of this smoker are that it requires relatively frequent reloading of chips (every two hours or so) and that it cannot also use pellets.

What to Consider When Choosing an Electric Smoker

Grilling and Cooking Use

The first thing to ask yourself is whether you care about a smoker that can do more than just smoking, like grilling. This will significantly change your available choices and price range. Most traditional vertical box smokers will not have any grilling capabilities, but there is no reason you couldn’t use them to braise, bake, etc.

Many of the newer dome-topped smokers from Traeger or Camp Chef have higher maximum temperatures and heat-resistant non-stick grates that allow you to use them as pellet grills. Some also have add-on attachments such as a propane grill and flat top griddle or pizza oven for more versatility. Note: This additional functionality generally comes at a higher cost.

If you already own or prefer a dedicated gas or charcoal grill, pizza oven, etc., a traditional vertical smoker may be a better option.


Prices for electric smokers can vary dramatically. Generally, the higher the price, the better the build quality, features, overall polish, and in some cases, integration of mobile connectivity. You don’t need to spend a ton on a traditional vertical smoker if you don’t want to. Something in the $300-500 price range is generally adequate, and some can be found even cheaper. If you want a fancier pellet grill/smoker with all the bells and whistles, you can expect to pay roughly $800 up to $2,000+.

I think the $1,000-1,800 price range from an established, reputable company is the sweet spot. It’s a significant amount of money, but you get what you pay for. The better the quality and the easier it is to use, the more you’ll be inclined to use it. It will also generally last longer with fewer problems and have great customer support if things ever go wrong.


Consider the overall footprint and how much space your electric smoker will take up in your garage or yard. You’ll also need to think about the size of the cooking area inside the smoker and how said cooking area is laid out in terms of racks, shelves, etc. There’s no right answer here other than what your personal circumstances dictate.

In my opinion, you should get the biggest size you can reasonably accommodate, as the price difference is generally minor, and you can always cook less. If you’re getting a higher-end pellet grill/smoker that will functionally replace other cooking equipment, it makes even more sense to go big. However, a larger size may be less fuel-efficient.

Fuel Type

Most electric smokers are fueled by either wood pellets, chips, or chunks. I’m a pellet fanboy for a number of reasons, but there’s nothing wrong with the other options. Pellet smokers are convenient in every possible way, sporting large hoppers and automatic feeding for hours and hours of unattended cooking.

Man holding a handful of wood pellets for smoker
I prefer smoking with wood pellets like these. Cosmo Genova

Chips and chunk smokers don’t have the same fuel storage and feeding convenience as pellets and require more frequent replenishment and upkeep. Picking a chips or chunks smoker also limits you primarily to traditional vertical box smokers, but this shouldn’t matter if you don’t intend on buying a smoker with grilling capabilities.


Q: What’s the difference between a vertical smoker and a pellet grill?

A vertical smoker is a traditional “box” style smoker. They are generally rectangular shaped with the firepot at the bottom and a series of small racks above. Vertical smokers cannot grill and generally have a lower temperature range. Some vertical smokers use pellets, while others use chips and chunks.

Pellet grills are designed more like barrel-shaped barbecue pits with longer racks. They can usually both grill and smoke. As the name implies, pellet grills only use wood pellets for fuel, though some can use chips/chunks for additional smoke. They are often more expensive as they’re more versatile and often come with mobile connectivity features.

Q: How do you keep meat moist in an electric smoker?

The same rules for keeping meat moist apply to electric smokers as to wood, gas, or any other powered smoker. This comes down to the quality of the meat, temperature control throughout the cooking process, proper basting, wrapping when appropriate, and other smoking fundamentals. There is no substitute for trial and error and experience.

Q: What should I smoke in my electric smoker?

Whatever you want! There are endless things to try out, and today’s modern electric smokers can be used for roasting, braising, baking, and many other uses beyond traditionally smoked foods. You can smoke your favorite barbecue dishes like ribs and brisket, salmon, deer jerky, vegetables, side dishes, and even certain cheeses and desserts.

Q: Do electric smokers need ventilation?

Absolutely. You should only use an electric smoker outdoors or in an area with high ceilings and a ton of ventilation, such as a covered deck. You do not want to directly inhale smoke in a confined area, nor do you want to risk starting a fire. Modern electric smokers are extremely safe, and common smoking temperatures are generally low, but you should follow all the same fire safety protocols you would for grilling or outdoor deep frying.

Best Electric Smokers: Final Thoughts

It’s hard to pick a bad electric smoker these days, but the ones covered in this article are among the best you can get. Sure you can skimp and find cheaper options, or splurge and go for something ultra-premium, but each of these shines in its own way depending on your needs and budget.

For a traditional vertical smoker, I like the Pit Boss analog or Grilla Mammoth. If you want to low-temperature smoke, high-temperature grill, and everything in between, you can go all out for something like the Traeger Ironwood XL. If you want one smoker that can do it all, and that has a ton of modularity with add-on accessories, give the Camp Chef Woodwind a serious look. And if you travel a lot or simply need something with a small footprint, the Traeger Ranger portable smoker is hard to beat.

Why Trust Us

For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.