Top 10 Electric Smokers Under $500 Electric smokers are often expensive to buy and complicated to operate, and when your BBQ is desperately in need of some smoky fresh food, you can’t have your old and half-working smoker let you down! You need a new, budget-friendly alternative, that’s both nice to look at and worth the money. And that’s why we’ve put this list of the Top 10 Electric Smokers Under $500 in 2021 together for your convenience.
How Do Electric Smokers Work?
Electric smokers are made to smoke meat automatically and without any extra need for input or fuss from the person cooking. This process works using an electric base to heat wood chips, put into the smoker by whoever is operating it, allowing a smoldering effect to occur. It’s a much safer and eco-friendly way to both heat and smoke food consistently.
Once the smoke has started accumulating from these chips, which usually takes about 30 minutes, meat can be added to the shelves inside. With all the smoke and heat having nowhere to go, and forced to build up in the space, your food will cook efficiently and evenly.
The Top 10 Electric Smokers Under $500
Before we get into the bulk of the list, we have three specialized categories to talk about: Best Overall Electric Smoker, Best for Beginners, and Best for Budget. These top three electric smokers have great reviews in their respective areas across the board and deserve a highlighted mention. So, without further ado, here are the categories in full:
Best Overall: Masterbuilt 20075315 Electric Smoker
Although a little on the higher end of the $500 budget available here, the Masterbuilt 20075315 is the best overall electric smoker available on this list. Still an affordable option, however, this model of electric smoker comes from the top range of one of the most famous smoker brands, and it shows.
With easy-to-operate elements, such as easily removable and non-stick racks for accessible and efficient cleaning, the Masterbuilt 20075315 can be used by both smoking beginners and BBQ masters. The door to the smoker also shuts tightly and is well insulated, guaranteeing no smoke leakage, and the evenest temperature control you could ask for. Not to mention just how much space this particular type of smoker really has – with an interior that’s 730 inches wide, you can smoke a lot of food at once!
This electric smoker also comes with a standard 24-month warranty, meaning any repairs or replacement parts will be sent out for free over the 2 years following the purchase date. That’s a great lifespan for an electric smoker but allows for a lot more wiggle room depending on your needs.
Best for Beginners: Bradley Digital 6 Rack Electric Smoker
A well-loved and popular Bradley Smoker, this model is our pick for the best electric smoker for all you beginners to this side of the BBQ game. A reliable, non-windowed smoker, it’s good for the small budget you’re working with, and comes with a wide digital interface. This makes controlling the temperature, as well as managing cooking time (which can work for up to 8 hours if needed), much easier.
The interior cavity is also 780 inches wide, with 6 removable cooking racks allowing for a lot of food. This means you won’t have to wait and/or get used to using the smoker before truly understanding what it’s capable of. It’s a great unit for anyone who is hesitant to put food in an electric smoker and then just leave it, and you can also use it separately as a smoker and an oven.
The Bradley Digital 6 Rack can be a little bit cumbersome, thanks to its larger size compared to many other units on this list, so be sure to keep that in mind if you’re working with a small outdoor space.
Best For Budget: Char-Broil Deluxe Electric Smoker
Digitally controlled and well known to be efficient, the Char-Broil Deluxe is another heavy hitter on this list, officially earning our best for a budget title. Available to buy for right around $300, this electric smoker has a lot to offer its user, whether they be a beginner or a veteran BBQ enthusiast.
Wonderfully portable, and small enough to use in similarly small homes and back gardens, this electric smoker is great if you need a new smoker quickly. Capable of reaching a heat of 275 degrees, this smoker isn’t quite as powerful as the two models above, but it still packs a very warm, smoky punch that’s perfect for party time.
However, it is important to note that even though the Char-Broil Deluxe is budget-friendly upfront, it’s important to note that this model of electric smoker may need more wood chips to keep it running over time, especially when it comes to cooking bigger cuts of meat. This makes it slightly less cost-effective over the long term.
A model of electric smoker that’s known to be easy to use, and, once again, from the Masterbuilt brand that rolls out quality smokers time and time again, the MB20071117 has been a best seller since it first hit the market.
Great for those who worry about losing heat and smoke when opening the door to your electric smoker, this model comes with a specialized chip loader that simply slots in the back. The MB20071117 is also known to hold its temperature well, with a strong internal thermometer you can rely on. However, it’s important to note that lower temperatures on the scale (which can go up to 275 degrees) often have trouble with generating enough smoke for use.
Similarly, be sure to read the instructions for this smoker thoroughly before use, as the process of adding wood chips is a novelty one. The chips must be soaked before being added, a step that a lot of users have misunderstood in the past.
One of the most portable electric smokers on the market, the Masterbuilt 20078616 is another top seller on the market. Made to be smaller and easy to carry around, weighing about 18 pounds, this model of electric smoker isn’t ideal for large parties, but it’s the perfect, budget-friendly fit for a small gathering in your backyard.
Considering this is such a portable model, it can be lifted and operated without gloves, thanks to the lack of heat-conducting material in the lid and handles. With 400 square inches of interior capacity, it has about half the cooking power of the larger smokers on this list.
However, it can also reach higher temperatures than the other smokers as well, simply because it has far less space to heat. This is great for tough meats such as beef and pork, which are most often laid out at a BBQ. Simply spread out across the two racks that come fitted with the model.
One of the best low-maintenance, hassle-free electric smokers on the market, the Cookshack Oven Model SM009-2 is a market favorite, thanks to just how passionate the brand themselves are for the art of BBQ. This electric smoker comes highly reviewed, thanks to Cookshack’s years of experimentation before release.
Easy to clean, thanks to the built-in grease management system that’s new to the market, this electric smoker is also very well insulated. The SM009-2 can also cook and smoke even the largest of turkeys, which makes it a great choice of smokers for holidays and special events. And considering how innovative the digital interface is, you can set the temperature, slide in the meat, and then just leave it to do its thing!
However, be sure to note that the temperature settings in this model may be slightly off. While Cookshack claims that the temperature has a max of 250 degrees, most people find the max to be about 245 degrees.
A great electric smoker for those who have previously had some experience with smokers, the Smoke Hollow 20162E comes without a digital interface and features a windowless door, which means you’ll need to already know what’s going on inside.
A quite traditional model of smoker, the 30162E is a 30-inch wonder. Coming in various other sizes as well, the 30-inch model is the one we’ve chosen for this list, as it’s the best all-rounder in its class. Good for a consistent cooking time and temperature, thanks to the inner insulation, Smoke Hollow has achieved a great sense of smoking stability with this model. Similarly, this electric smoker comes with easily removable parts, meaning this smoker can be taken apart and cleaned with efficiency, which is just another great feature in our book!
Be sure to note that this model of electric smoker also comes without any wheels, making it a more permanent, non-portable option, which should be kept in mind if you’re trying to find a smoker that’s good for wheeling in and out for parties and festive occasions.
Quite possibly the largest electric smoker on this list in total, this is a heavy-duty option for anyone with serious smoking needs. Maybe you live in a cold area and need to cook all at once, or maybe you’ve got a huge family reunion to cater to, Smokin-It has got you covered with their Model #1.
Even though this model of electric smoker is quite large and good for mega amounts of food, it’s still a lightweight and portable option for your smoking needs. Some users have described the taste of the food that comes out after cooking and smoking to be ‘perfection’, which gives this model of electric smoker a slight flavor edge over the competition as well.
Yet, without using a remote heat sensor, some users have found it difficult to control this model’s temperature. Similarly, some parts have been reported to wear far more easily than others, which may mean you’ll need to reach out to Smokin-It more often than you’ll want to.
Another Char-Broil favorite, the Vertical Electric Smoker is a free-standing and easy-to-use model. It has a good amount of insulation and can be easily cleaned with removable and adjustable racks.
Often available at around $100 to $200, this model of electric smoker is rather budget-friendly and has a good smoking capacity at 505 square inches of space. While this is slightly less than other options on this list, there’s a good value for money here. However, what makes it such a great buy is the technically infinite thermostat setting, allowing you to heat at any temperature you would like to.
However, this model of electric smoker is notorious for losing both heat and smoke when opening the door to add wood chips, which it does not allow you to keep remote track of. Therefore, it may require more ‘babysitting’ compared to the other models on this list, with the lack of a proper door latch being another worry for many users.
Another vertical electric smoker is this Old Smokey model, is a simple and traditional model of smoker that many people fall in love with. Fitted with a flat top lid, this electric smoker has strong guaranteed insulation, being completely sealed according to the design. This is a very durable model of an electric smoker and has a great cooking element.
The Old Smokey Electric Smoker comes without a digital interface and is controlled via a front-mounted dial. Because of the vertical and round shape, the cooking racks will have to be removed in order to add more wood chips when needed.
We hope this guide has helped you find the perfect electric smoker! Remember to contact us if there’s anything else we can help with in regards to finding what you need online. We would be glad to help! Here are some other guides from our site that might also interest you: Top 10 Digital Thermometers or What is a Tomahawk Steak?. Thanks again for reading! If you have any questions about electric smokers.