Brisket being put in a Smoker

Choosing the Right Smoker: Pellet, Charcoal, or Electric

Are you a fan of BBQ but finding it difficult to pick the proper smoker? Don’t worry, my friend! Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced smoker, choosing the appropriate kind of smoker can greatly impact the flavor and texture of your meat.

How can you choose the best option when so many are available? We can help with that! We’ll be delving into each of the three primary categories of smokers in this article: pellet, charcoal, and electric. We’ll give you the skinny on their advantages and disadvantages so you can decide with the knowledge to make your taste buds sing.

So relax, drink a cold, and get ready to master smoking! But first, let’s give a brief description of each category of the smoker. Compressed sawdust pellets are used as fuel in pellet smokers, renowned for their comfort and reliable temperature control. Conversely, charcoal smokers use traditional charcoal to create the smoky flavor we enjoy. Lastly, electric smokers are popular with people who value simplicity and inexpensive maintenance because electricity is used to power their heating elements.

Are you prepared to discover more? Let’s start now!

Pellet Smokers

Let’s talk about pellet smokers now. This smoker might be ideal if convenience and reliability are important to you.

Compressed sawdust pellets are used in pellet smokers; these pellets are placed into a hopper and automatically ignited by an electric igniter. Instead of using a charcoal smoker, you won’t need to worry about checking the fire or adding additional fuel.

Best Choice
recteq RT-700 Wood Pellet Smoker Grill | Wi-Fi-Enabled, Electric Pellet Grill | 702 Square Inches of Cook Space

Wi-Fi-enabled wood pellet smoker grill with superior quality construction, offering ultimate versatility to smoke, grill, sear, bake, braise, and dehydrate. Its smart grill technology ensures precise temperature control, while the 702 sq. in. cooking space, 40 lb. hoppers, and included meat probes allow for effortless smoking and grilling.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/29/2024 05:08 am GMT

The simplicity of usage of pellet smokers is one of their main benefits. Merely set the desired temperature, and the smoker will take care of the rest. Also, you don’t need to constantly check your fuel supply because the pellets are fed into the smoker automatically.

Pellet smokers are renowned for their reliable temperature control and their simplicity of usage. This is so they can manage the temperature and keep a constant heat throughout the cooking process. They do this by using an electronic controller.

The adaptability of pellet smokers is yet another fantastic quality. Because of their swift capacity to attain high temperatures, you may use them for slow-smoking a brisket to grilling a steak.

So, who ought to get a pellet smoker? A pellet smoker might be the best option if you’re searching for a practical and simple-to-use smoker that produces consistent results and are willing to spend a little extra money upfront.

Yet there are certain drawbacks to using pellet smokers. One is that they can cost more than other kinds of smokers. Also, although they provide your food with a smokey flavor, the flavor profile is typically softer than what you’d get with a charcoal smoker.

Charcoal Smokers

Let’s discuss the traditional option for smokers: charcoal smokers. This smoker might be perfect if you’re a traditionalist who enjoys that genuine smoky flavor and is ready to put in a little extra work.

Traditional charcoal is used in charcoal smokers as fuel, which you must manually light and tend to throughout the cooking process. But don’t let that discourage you; with a little practice, you can master temperature control and create some outstanding barbeque.

Best Choice
Realcook Vertical 17 Inch Steel Charcoal Smoker, Heavy Duty Round BBQ Grill for Outdoor Cooking, Black

This smoker has a built-in thermometer, adjustable air supply, and stable porcelain-enameled water and charcoal pans. It offers 453 square inches of cooking space, can be used for different cooking methods, and has a latch-locking system for stability. With two access doors, it's easy to check and add charcoal or wood.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/29/2024 04:44 pm GMT

The affordability of charcoal smokers is one of their main benefits. They are frequently far less expensive to buy and use than other smokers. Also, you can obtain higher temperatures for searing and grilling with charcoal since it burns hotter than wood pellets.

But, the smoky flavor that charcoal smokers give your meal makes them truly magical. When you smoke, the charcoal and wood you utilize create a distinct and genuine flavor that is challenging to recreate with other fuel types.

Of course, charcoal smokers have their drawbacks as well. There might be better options for novices because they require more care and ability to use than pellet or electric smokers. Controlling the temperature might also be difficult, especially if you need to get used to working around live flames.

So who ought to get a charcoal smoker? A charcoal smoker might be ideal if you’re a traditionalist who enjoys that smoky flavor and is ready to do extra work. Plan on taking a little longer to tend to your fire and raise or lower the temperature as necessary.

Electric Smokers

Let’s discuss electric smokers, last but not least. An electronic smoker may be the best option if you want to set it and forget it when it comes to smoking.

Electric smokers heat a heating element with electricity, which causes wood chips or pellets to burn and emit smoke. This makes it one of the most straightforward smokers because you don’t have to worry about starting or maintaining a fire.

The continuous temperature control of electric smokers is one of their main benefits. You may set it and forget it without worrying about temperature changes because they employ an electrical controller to manage the temperature.

Best Choice
Masterbuilt MB20070210 Analog Electric Smoker with 3 Smoking Racks, 30 inch, Black

This smoker features a built-in temperature gauge and an analog dial for easy temperature control. The wood chip tray slides out for easy ash removal and has three chrome-coated smoking racks. With a 1,500-watt heating element, smoking is even and consistent.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
05/29/2024 02:05 am GMT

Electric smokers also have the advantage of requiring little maintenance. You don’t have to bother about ash or soot cleanup after every usage because there isn’t a fire to take care of.

However, electric smokers also have certain drawbacks. One is that their selection of smoke flavors may be constrained. Moreover, there are better choices for high-temperature cooking, such as searing or grilling, because they don’t get as hot as charcoal or wood pellet smokers.

Electric smokers might also be pricey compared to certain other types of smokers. However, if ease of use and convenience are your primary objectives, it can be well worth the cost.

So who should buy an electric smoker? An electric smoker might be the best option if you want a consistent smoking experience that requires little maintenance and is willing to give up some smoke flavor and high-temperature cooking capabilities.

Comparison of Pellet, Charcoal, and Electric Smokers

After going through the basics of pellets, charcoal, and electric smokers, let’s compare them to make it easier to choose the best.

Let’s start by discussing the price range. Typically, pellet smokers cost between a few hundred and several thousand dollars, making them the most expensive option. Smokers made of charcoal are often less expensive, ranging from $100 to $500. Electric smoker prices range widely, from less than $250 for some models to more than $1,000 for others.

Electric smokers are unquestionably the easiest to operate. They provide consistent temperature control, no fire to tend to, and are exceedingly simple. Due to their digital controllers and automatic pellet feeders, pellet smokers rank second in terms of usability. The most expertise and care must be used while using a charcoal smoker, but that is part of the charm for many people.

Let’s move on to the various flavors of smoke. In this case, charcoal smokers are the winners since they deliver an unmistakably smoky flavor. Pellet smokers can produce a respectable amount of smoke flavor, but some people feel it needs to include some of the authenticity of charcoal smoking. The least flavorful smoke is produced by electric smokers, although wood chips or pellets can still be used in a variety of ways to increase smoke flavor.

Let’s compare the range of cooking temperatures offered by each variety of smoker. The hottest smokers are made of charcoal, which makes them perfect for grilling and searing. Although they can reach a respectable temperature range, charcoal may get less hot than pellet smokers. Electric smokers are ideal for low- and slow-burning fires since they have the widest temperature range.

Which kind of smoker is best for you, then? Your individual preferences and tastes matter. An electric smoker can be the best option if you’re searching for convenience and usability. A charcoal smoker might be the right choice if you’re a purist who enjoys that smoky flavor and is willing to put in a little extra work. Further, if you’re looking


It may be difficult to choose the appropriate smoker, but our guide has helped you to know what to look for in a pellet, charcoal, or electric smoker. Here is a quick summary of our main ideas:

  • Pellet smokers are simple to operate and provide continuous temperature control, but they can be pricey and only come in a small selection of smoke flavors.
  • Charcoal smokers provide the true smoky flavor and high-temperature cooking, but their use necessitates greater care and expertise.
  • Electric smokers are wonderfully simple to operate and need very little upkeep, but they do not work well for high-temperature cooking and offer a limited selection of smoke flavors.

The smoker that best suits your needs and preferences is, in the end, the one you should choose. An electric smoker can be the best option if you place a high priority on use and convenience. A charcoal smoker may suit you better if you’re a purist who likes that genuine smoky flavor. A pellet smoker can be the best option to balance convenience and flavor.

Which smoker will you decide on, then? Before making a purchase, whatever your choice, make sure to do your homework and read reviews. You may enjoy mouthwatering smoked meats and veggies in the convenience of your garden with the appropriate smoker.

And if you find this article helpful or have any suggestions feel free to reach us!


Featured Categories

About Me

Greetings BBQ & Brisket fans!

Since BBQ is now a professional career, I designed this website to turn you into a Brisket Pro. BBQ is more than a cooking style; it’s a lifestyle and art form. 

Read about how our community of grilling pros gets the perfect bark on our brisket or what grills and accessories we use. Plus, ask questions and find answers to your burning BBQing questions.