Best Smokers For Beginners: Top Starter Picks

Smoking food is an age-old tradition that infuses flavors and tenderness into meats and vegetables that other cooking methods can’t match. This style of cooking, which involves long exposure to low heat and smoke from various kinds of wood, is revered for its ability to transform simple ingredients into complex, delectable dishes. Smokers come in various shapes and sizes, and for the beginner, the journey into smoking can be as intimidating as it is exciting due to the subtleties involved in the process.

Choosing the right smoker as a novice is crucial, as it sets the foundation for one’s barbecuing experience. For beginners, ease of use and maintenance are paramount. Electric smokers provide a hands-off experience, with temperature controls that maintain a consistent smoking environment. Conversely, charcoal smokers offer a more hands-on approach that gives a classic flavor but requires more attention to temperature and smoke levels. When making a purchase, potential buyers should consider factors such as size, build quality, ease of temperature control, fuel type, and price to ensure that the smoker aligns with their culinary goals and lifestyle.

The critical thing to keep in mind is that not all smokers are suitable for a beginner. It’s important to find a smoker that not only matches the beginners’ skill set but also grows with them as they become more experienced. Some smokers are very forgiving and suitable for learning, while others might require a steeper learning curve. Our comprehensive analysis involves examining a range of smokers that promise to cater to those just starting out, focusing on features that we believe are conducive to a positive beginner experience. We devoted significant time to researching and testing various models to find the best smoker for beginners that balances ease of use, cost, and cooking quality, presenting our findings in a comparative table format.

Top Smokers for Beginners

Before we present our curated list of smokers, we understand that choosing the right one can be a blend of personal preference and practical functionality. For those starting their journey in the art of smoking, we’ve focused on ease of use, affordability, and reliable performance. We’ll compare key features like heat control, maintenance requirements, and overall build quality to assist you in finding a smoker that’ll make your foray into smoking meats and other foods both enjoyable and successful. Our comparison table will offer a clear and at-a-glance assessment of each product’s strengths.

1. Masterbuilt 30″ Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker

We recommend the Masterbuilt MB20071117 for its stress-free setup and use, making it ideal for beginners venturing into the world of smoking food.


  • Simple digital controls for temperature settings
  • Spacious interior perfect for large cuts of meat
  • Side-loading system for wood chips allows smoke flavor maintenance without opening the door


  • The digital display can be difficult to read in bright daylight
  • Indoor storage recommended to avoid moisture in the controller
  • Some users may prefer a stronger smoke flavor than what electric smoking provides

Our personal experience with the Masterbuilt 30″ Electric Smoker has been mostly positive. It’s particularly useful for those who are new to smoking foods. The digital controls demystify the process, allowing us to set the temperature with confidence, and the consistency of the heat takes care of the rest.

The ample cooking space inside this smoker has allowed us to effortlessly smoke full turkeys and briskets. We’ve found it exceptionally handy for family gatherings and events where we want to impress without the stress.

One of the standout features we appreciate is the side-loading system for the wood chips. It’s convenient since it negates the need to open the door and potentially lose heat, ensuring that the food is cooked evenly and maintains that delectable smokey flavor.

However, as with any product, there are a few drawbacks. Reading the digital display in direct sunlight can be a nuisance, but it’s a minor inconvenience compared to the benefits. Storing the smoker indoors is necessary to protect the electronic components, which might be an issue if your garage or storage space is limited. Lastly, those accustomed to the intense smoke infusion from traditional charcoal or wood smokers might find the flavor profile from an electric smoker to be milder than they’re used to.

In summary, for us, the Masterbuilt 30″ Electric Smoker has been a game-changer. It’s a smokin’ hot choice for beginners, and while no product is perfect, the ease of use and quality construction make it a worthwhile investment.


2. Masterbuilt Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt Electric Smoker

After several rounds of smoking with the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, we can confidently say it’s an excellent choice for those starting their smoking journey.


  • Intuitive design makes it ideal for beginners
  • Consistently even smoking due to vertical design
  • Cleanup is simple thanks to removable components


  • Temperature regulation requires some attention
  • Door latch could be sturdier for better heat retention
  • Short power cord limits placement options

From the moment we unpacked this smoker, we appreciated the assembly simplicity. With a spacious interior, we found ourselves cooking everything from multiple racks of ribs to a large turkey with ease. Temperature control is manual, which offers a great way for beginners to learn the nuances of smoking without feeling overwhelmed by digital controls and settings.

Our experience with its heat retention has been positive, though we noted the door latch could be improved for a more robust seal. This didn’t hinder our smoking results but seems like a point where Masterbuilt could aim for improvement.

The highlight for us was the cleanup. The trays and bowls of the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker are engineered to be removed easily and cleaned, which is a godsend after a long day of smoking.

Analog Temperature DialAllows for straightforward temperature setting
Three Chrome-Coated RacksAmple space for a decent quantity of food
Removable ComponentsFacilitates an undemanding cleanup

In our times using the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker, we realized that while it does require some manual temperature adjustments, this offers valuable learning for those just getting into smoking. The temperature dial might test your patience initially, but it also instills a sense of hands-on control and satisfaction with each successful use.

No doubt, it’s been designed with the user in mind, promoting a confidence-building journey into the world of smoking meats and other delicacies.


Buying Guide

Choosing the Right Type

When we consider the purchase of a smoker, the first step is determining which type suits our needs. We generally have options such as electric, charcoal, propane, and pellet smokers. Electric smokers are convenient and easy to control, making them great for beginners. Charcoal smokers offer a more traditional experience with richer flavors. Propane smokers provide a balance of convenience and flavor, while pellet smokers combine the ease of electric with the taste of charcoal.

Capacity and Size

The amount of food you intend to smoke at a time will guide your choice in size and capacity:

  • Small (under 30″ height): Ideal for small families or occasional use
  • Medium (30″-40″ height): Suitable for regular use or medium-sized gatherings
  • Large (over 40″ height): Best for large families or frequent entertaining

Important Features

Weighing the importance of various features is critical. Consider the following:

  • Temperature Control: Easy-to-use temperature controls are essential for consistent results.
  • Build Quality: Look for sturdy construction with quality materials to ensure longevity.
  • Maintenance: Easy-to-clean models save us time and enhance the smoking experience.

Price Range

Sticking to a budget while finding the right balance of features is important. We categorize smokers into three broad price ranges:

Temperature ControlBasicAdvancedPrecision
Build QualityStandardDurableHeavy-duty

Take these factors into account, and you’ll find a smoker that fits our beginner needs perfectly.

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