8 Best Smokers for Beginners (2023 Guide)

Smoking meat is an exciting and tasty outdoor activity. The rich smoke flavor you’ll get from slow cooking over wood chips or charcoal will make you want more. But for beginners, using the right piece of equipment will make a difference in the end result.

So if you’re just starting out and looking for the best smokers for newbies, you’re in the right place. We’ve outlined a list of the best units for a first-time smoker. Whether you prefer electric or gas smokers, charcoal and wood smokers, or pellet smokers, we’ve got you covered.

What Are the Best Smokers for Beginners?

The best smokers should be easy to use, so you don’t get frustrated by the smoking process. Also, they should be manufactured with high-quality materials for durability.

Additionally, the price of the unit will be a deal breaker. You don’t want to buy an expensive piece of equipment that you’ll only use twice a year. Worse still, investing money in an item that you won’t enjoy to the fullest won’t make any sense as a beginner smoker.

Here’s our list of the best beginner-friendly smokers:

  1. Pit Boss PB1150G PG1150G Wood Pellet Grill – Best Overall

  2. Masterbuilt MB20041220 Gravity Series 1050 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker Combo – Runner-Up

  3. Weber 18-Inch Smokey Mountain Cooker and Smoker – Best Small Smoker

  4. Traeger Pro Series 780 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker – Best Pellet Smoker

  5. Masterbuilt Electric Smoker – Best Electric Smoker for Beginners

  6. Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill – Best Kamado Smoker for Beginners

  7. PIT BOSS PBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker – Best for Smoky Flavor

  8. Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker – Best Propane Smoker

Top 8 Best Beginner-Friendly Smokers Reviewed

  1. Pit Boss PB1150G PG1150G Wood Pellet Grill – Best Overall

Pit Boss 1150G wood pellet grill


Built with premium steel, the Pit Boss 1150G wood pellet grill is a powerhouse for grilling and smoking meat. It can also sear, bake, barbeque, braise, char-grill, and roast, offering you 8 functionalities in a single piece of equipment.


  • The pellet smoker offers 1158 square inches of cooking space that can contain about 46 burgers.

  • It’s coated with a powder finish that can withstand high temperatures.

  • You can instantly switch to indirect or direct heating using the Flame Broiler Lever.

  • Achieving a stable temperature is easier with the stainless steel meat probes and digital controls. You can use up to 4 probes at a time, depending on what you’re cooking.

  • The hopper can hold up to 32 pounds of hardwood pellets, and there’s a door for cleaning out leftover pellets.

  • The unit sits on a sturdy base that offers sufficient space for storing tools and setting down food. Also, there are 3 hooks by the side for hanging your tools.

  • Although the pellet smoker is heavy, it’s easy to move around with the locking caster wheels.

  • With the Pit Boss app, you can monitor the cooking and adjust the temperature from any location.


Although Pit Boss 1150G wood pellet grill and smoker is affordable, it ranks among the high-end pellet smokers for beginners. With its sturdy build and versatility, the price feels like a steal.

Bottom Line

The Pit Boss 1150G wood pellet grill and smoker offers a large cooking space, which is great for hosting barbeque parties. And with the 8 cooking options, it’s the type of pellet smoker you want to have in your yard.

  1. Masterbuilt MB20041220 Gravity Series 1050 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker Combo – Runner-Up

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker


The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 combines the power of a charcoal smoker and grill to bring you one of the best smokers for beginners. And with 1050 square inches of cooking space, you can host barbeque parties without hassles. Besides the sleek design, the charcoal smoker has tech features that make it a center of attraction at any gathering.


  • Unlike most charcoal smokers, the Masterbuilt smoker houses the charcoal in a hopper, and it’s fed into the grill by gravity. As a result, the heat spreads evenly from bottom to top.

  • The hopper can hold up to 16 pounds of briquettes or 10 pounds of lump charcoal for 8 hours of use. So you’ll have enough fuel to work with.

  • There’s a bin for ash collection, which makes cleaning more accessible than in traditional charcoal smokers.

  • The unit features a trademarked DigitalFan that directs air to the cooking chamber for temperature control.

  • Some pellet grills can’t go beyond 500°F, but with this unit, you can get a temperature of 225°F within 10 minutes or 700°F in 15 minutes, which is hot enough for cooking steaks and burgers.

  • Whether you’re smoking meat or searing, the charcoal smoker has cast iron cooking grates for both purposes. It also has enough cooking space if you’re smoking food for a crowd.

  • If you need extra space for prepping meals and cooking, the charcoal smoker comes with a foldable stainless steel shelf and racks.

  • There’s an in-built temperature probe that lets you check the internal temperature without lifting the lid.

  • The control panel has Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth that pairs with your smartphone. Also, there’s an app that you could use to monitor the cooking process.


The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 charcoal grill and smoker is at the mid-end of the market. Considering its comfort features, it’s worth every penny and more.

Bottom Line

One of the problems beginners face is the need for the correct temperature. But with the digital features of the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 charcoal smoker, all that is taken care of.

  1. Weber 18-Inch Smokey Mountain Cooker and Smoker – Best Small Smoker for Beginners

Weber smokey mountain 18-inch smoker


The bullet-shaped Weber Smokey Mountain smoker is a charcoal smoker that has a solid construction and a beautiful finish. It offers an authentic smoke flavor and the convenience of traveling with or fitting it into a small space. Because it’s basically designed for low and slow cooking, it’s the perfect smoker for beginners.


  • Constructed with porcelain enamel, the smoker can withstand corrosion, peeling, and cracking. So, you should expect it to last for a long time.

  • Although the unit looks small, it features 2 cooking grates that can contain a whole ham and turkey at once.

  • It comes with a water pan that keeps the meat moist, so it doesn’t dry out while smoking.

  • The unit’s large door makes it more accessible as you can easily add wood chips or charcoal and refill the water pan.

  • There’s a grommet on one side where you can insert a temperature probe. It also works with Weber Grilling Hub for monitoring the smoking process via Bluetooth.

  • Weber Smokey Mountain features four aluminum dampers for temperature control.

  • There’s no ash collection tray, but you can disassemble the unit and give it a thorough clean.


Compared to other smokers, you don’t have to break the bank to purchase the Weber Smokey Mountain 18-inch smoker. The price is quite reasonable for a portable smoker.

Bottom Line

The Weber Smokey Mountain smoker is ideal for smoking meat when you’re camping or having a picnic with friends. It’s a great first unit for beginner smokers, considering its simple structure and ease of use.

  1. Traeger Pro Series 780 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker – Best Pellet Smoker

Traeger pro 780 wood pellet grill and smoker


Traeger Pro 780 is one of the pellet grills that doubles as a smoker to produce an authentic smoky flavor. And when you talk about a versatile smoker, this piece of equipment serves you a six-in-one functionality for grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, braising, and barbequing.


  • The unit offers 720 square inches of cooking space, giving you enough room for six chickens or 34 burgers. There are also two tiers of cooking racks, so you don’t have to worry about hungry guests.

  • The cooking grates are made of porcelain, which is rust-free and food won’t get stuck on it, which makes cleaning less of a chore.

  • The hopper can hold up to 18 pounds of wood pellets, and it has a trap door for cleaning out used pellets.

  • At 150 pounds, the unit is heavy-duty but comes with wheels that can navigate all terrains.

  • The unit features a D2 controller with screen navigation for setting up the temperature, igniting the unit, and controlling the probe.

  • With the Traeger app, you can control the smoker via Wi-Fi. You’ll also get a notification when the food is cooked.

  • You’ll find several recipes in the app, including ingredients, directions for cooking, and the type of wood pellets to use.

  • Traeger’s Turbo temperature feature ensures that the unit regains its previous temperature when you open and close the lid.


When compared with other pellet smokers, the Traeger Pro 780 fits in as a high-end smoker and grill. Although it may be expensive, its amazing features will make it easy for you to begin smoking as a beginner.

Bottom Line

Pellet smokers that combine the powers of Wi-Fi provide convenience and luxury. However, if you’re willing to pay the price and save yourself time and stress while making delicious meals, the Traeger Pro 780 is for you.

  1. Masterbuilt Electric Smoker – Best Electric Smoker for Beginners

masterbuilt 30-inch electric smoker


Charcoal purists may frown at cooking with electric smokers. But the Masterbuilt electric smoker delivers delicious meals with less effort. The 30-inch tall cabinet-style smoker fits into a small space while providing tasty meals.


  • The unit has four cooking racks that offer a total of 730 square inches of cooking space.

  • The cooking chamber is powered by a heating element of 800 watts and can reach a maximum temperature of 275°F, perfect for ribs and briskets.

  • A removable water pan sits at the base of the smoker to make the meat moist and double as a drip tray.

  • You’ll find a damper at the top of the unit for regulating the flow of air and the amount of smoke that goes into the food.

  • The LED display control panel is easy to use. It displays the internal temperature and has buttons for controlling the cooking.

  • If you’re running out of fuel, you don’t have to open the door as this will lead to heat loss. There’s an opening by the side for loading wood chips.


Compared to other electric smokers that offer similar features, the Masterbuilt 30-inch electric smoker has an ideal price point. It balances quality build, effective cooking, and price to become the best electric smoker for beginners.

Bottom Line

If gas smokers are out of the picture and you don’t want to mess with charcoal smokers, then your best bet would be electric smokers. And what better option to explore than the Masterbuilt 30-inch smoker?

  1. Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill – Best Kamado Smoker for Beginners

char-griller akorn kamado charcoal grill and smoker


The Char-Griller Akorn Kamado charcoal grill doubles as a smoker. It’s lightweight but handles more than you can imagine. Offering approximately 447 square inches (warming rack and grill grates), you can cook 27 burgers at the same time.


  • The charcoal grill is built with steel and coated with ceramic to give it an attractive finish. However, this construction makes it lightweight and easy to move around.

  • Moving the unit around your yard won’t be difficult as it has two 8-inch caster wheels and a locking lid.

  • The unit has triple insulation for heat retention when smoking meat for a long time.

  • The dampers at the top and bottom of the smoker allow adequate airflow and precise temperature control.

  • The grill grates are made of cast iron, which is non-stick, retains heat, and is easy to clean.

  • The center of the unit is removable, allowing you to add more wood chips or charcoal without lifting the entire grate.

  • There’s an ash dump beneath the unit that collects ash directly, so you don’t have to deal with a messy cooking space.

  • It has storage space at the base and two foldable shelves on each side, offering extra space for your ingredients. Also, the shelves have hooks for hanging your tools.


The Char-Griller kamado is available at a great price point that’s suitable for beginner smokers. When compared to high-end smokers, its features may feel cheap but they’ll last with great care.

Bottom Line

If you want a kamado smoker that can go on a trip with you, the Char-Griller kamado is the ideal option. It’s lightweight and you don’t have to worry about breaking the ceramic since the inner layer is steel.

  1. PIT BOSS PBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker – Best for Smoky Flavor

Pit boss vertical pellet smoker


The Pit Boss vertical pellet smoker series 3 (PBV3P1) is one of the three series of vertical pellet smokers the company offers. It’s a space-saving smoker for beginners who want to do a lot of cooking. Because it runs on wood pellets, you’ll always get that authentic wood smoke flavor.


  • The unit has 4 cooking grates coated with porcelain for even heat distribution, mess-free cooking, and easy cleaning. You’ll also get a total of 901 square inches to play around with.

  • With a 40-pound hopper, you don’t have to babysit the unit because you won’t run out of fuel.

  • The wall of the unit has a double layer of insulation, which enables heat retention in colder climates.

  • You don’t have to open the door to check on what you’re cooking because you can see the food through the large window.

  • Although the unit runs on wood pellets, it has a water pan at the base. As a result, you’ll get smoky and moist food like what you’d get from electric smokers.

  • If you open the unit while smoking meat and you want to get it back to the previous temperature, there’s a prime button for that purpose.


The Pit Boss vertical pellet smoker is a high-end smoker for beginners. Unlike other pellet smokers, it offers a reasonable price point, giving you excess value for your money.

Bottom Line

If you want a solid smoker that can hold up a reasonable amount of food, the Pit Boss PBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker is a great choice. With maximum space and minimal footprint, you can invite the entire family over for a BBQ party.

  1. Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker – Best Propane Smoker

Cuisinart vertical propane smoker


The Cuisinart COS-244 vertical propane smoker is a cabinet-style unit that can fit into a tight space like a patio while offering sufficient cooking space. With four 14 by 14 inches removable cooking racks, you’re set to feed a community.


  • The unit is easy to assemble and it comes with a regulator and a 40-inch hose that connects to a propane tank.

  • You’ll get 785 square inches in the cooking chamber for smoking meat and vegetables in large quantities.

  • The internal components are coated with porcelain for heat retention, and there’s a thermometer on the door that allows you to monitor the temperature of the cooking chamber.

  • Similar to electric smokers, the wood chips tray is surrounded by a pan of water so the food can receive equal exposure to moisture and smoke.

  • To prevent heat loss, the door handle locks by twisting, which seals the unit completely.

  • There’s another door below the main door for refilling water and adding more wood chips without distorting the temperature in the cooking chamber.

  • A knob allows you to control the supply of gas so you can attain your desired temperature.


Compared to other propane smokers, the Cuisinart COS-244 vertical propane smoker is available at a competitive price. But the features are worth paying for.

Bottom Line

Precise temperature control is a challenge for a beginner. However, the Cuisinart COS-244 allows you to adjust the flow of gas into the unit. So, if you’re not scared of using gas smokers, this unit is worth your money.

What Are Beginner-Friendly Smokers?

Before heading out in search of beginner-friendly smokers, it’s important to know what they are. Each type has its pros and cons, which will guide you in choosing the perfect one for you.

Charcoal or Wood Smokers

These smokers come with two chambers: the cooking chamber and the portion for wood chunks or charcoal lumps. They add a smoky flavor to food, but you need to be patient when setting up so you can achieve your desired temperature.

Although there’s a damper for temperature control, charcoal or wood smokers may be difficult to use. But with constant practice, an entry-level cook will master the basics. However, with advances in technology, brands like the Masterbuilt Gravity Series are equipped with digital controls to solve the problem of inaccurate temperature.

Additionally, these smokers pose a problem during cleaning because of the ash they generate. But the Weber Smokey Mountain offers more accessibility for cleaning.


  • They have a variety of fuel options. You can add wood chips, wood chunks, or lump charcoal.

  • They offer an authentic smoky flavor to food.

  • The smaller models are portable.

  • They can fit into any available space in your yard or outdoor kitchen.


  • Getting consistent temperatures may be challenging.

  • Constant practice is required to get the perfect end result.

  • You’ll spend more time tending to the unit

Pellet Smokers

These smokers are quite popular and relatively expensive because of the level of convenience they offer. Unlike charcoal and wood smokers, you don’t have to babysit pellet smokers as they can maintain the internal temperature of the unit.

Because they can attain higher temperatures, pellet smokers can serve as an oven and a grill. Brands like the Pit Boss 1150G have an 8-in-one functionality, while the Traeger Pro 780 offers 6 functions.

Also, they utilize hardwood, which implies that they can add a smoky flavor to food though it won’t be the same as a charcoal or wood smoker. In terms of construction, they usually have a hopper for the wood pellets.

The Pit Boss 1150G hopper can hold up to 32 pounds of pellets, while the vertical series 3 model can hold 40 pounds. This is a feature you should look out for as it’ll determine how long the fuel will last.


  • They’re versatile as you can use them for various cooking methods such as smoking, grilling, roasting, and barbequing.

  • They add smoke flavor to food like charcoal smokers.

  • The hopper can be cleaned with ease.

  • You don’t have to worry about getting the right temperature as the unit maintains a steady temperature.

  • The pellets burn completely unless they are clogged due to moisture.


  • They’re costly

  • They’re not portable

Electric Smokers

These smokers take the shape of a cabinet with several racks that provide sufficient space for cooking. The Masterbuilt model is 30 inches tall and has four racks.

Beneath the racks, you’ll find the electric heating element that heats the unit. Also, there’s a pan of water that adds moisture and flavor to the food. But you shouldn’t expect the flavor to be as strong as what the wood smoker offers.

For beginners, electric smokers are easy to use. They work like ovens; place the meat in the unit and select the temperature of the cooking area. You can spend time chatting with friends over a can of beer or two and then come back within the time frame to your smoked meat.

Because these units run on electricity, you don’t have to buy pellets, wood, or charcoal. As a result, there will be no need to clean ash. You only have to concentrate on maintaining the unit.

When it comes to price, these units are affordable compared to other types of smokers. However, you should be careful not to buy a cheap smoker because it won’t have proper insulation to function in cold weather.


  • They’re easy to use; flip the switch, and you’re good to go.

  • They offer a consistent temperature, allowing you to smoke at lower temperatures for a long time.

  • They’re affordable and the running costs are low.

  • You can use them indoors.


  • Water and electricity aren’t friends. Even a small drizzle may damage a component in the unit.

  • If left unattended, grease may accumulate on the cooking surface and cause a fire.

  • Unlike charcoal smokers, you won’t get a smoke ring with these units. Also, the flavor won’t be strong even if your smoker combines electricity with wood.

Gas or Propane Smokers

Electric and gas smokers are quite similar because they’re convenient and generate clean heat. The difference is that the latter uses a gas supply instead of an electric heating element. Also, these smokers have 3 sections. The cooking area is at the top, the trays for water and wood chunks are in the midsection, and the burner is at the base.

Gas or propane smokers are easy to use as you can select your desired temperature and regulate the gas supply. However, you won’t get the authentic flavor and smoke ring that a charcoal smoker offers, but you’ll get a distinct meat taste.

Although most propane units work with a propane tank, some have adaptations for natural gas. However, you’ll have to install a gas line in your home if you prefer natural gas.


  • They’re lightweight, portable, and easy to use. A push button will ignite the unit while a knob controls the heat intensity.

  • You don’t have to worry about power outlets as you can position the unit anywhere and plug it into a propane tank.

  • You don’t have to babysit the fire as the smokers offer precise temperature control.

  • The smoked meat will taste almost like what you’ll get from a charcoal smoker.

  • You’ll get consistent temperature provided there’s sufficient fuel in the tank.

  • The fuel burns cleaner than charcoal or wood, which makes it eco-friendly.


  • Purchasing a cheap smoker may result in a gas leak.

  • You have to monitor the propane tank to ensure you don’t run out of fuel while cooking.

  • A budget smoker won’t come with the proper level of insulation to function in the cold. Also, it won’t have precise temperature control features, which means you’d work hard to ensure the smoker doesn’t get too hot and ruin your food.

Kamado Smokers

These smokers take the shape of an egg and double as a grill. Traditionally, they’re made of ceramic, but some models like the Char-Griller kamado utilize steel while adding a ceramic coating to give it a shiny appearance.

Ceramic retains heat and provides the right temperature required for smoking. However, it’s fragile and may crack or break if it falls. It’s also heavy, making it unsuitable for road trips.

Compared to other smokers, ceramic kamado smokers are quite expensive. But the cheaper models utilize several metal layers to get similar insulation that ceramic offers. Whether steel or ceramic, seasoned smokers prefer a blend of both worlds because steel won’t crack and ceramic is rust-resistant.


  • These units can maintain both high and low temperatures, making them suitable for both grilling and smoking.

  • They’re suitable for cooking in all seasons.

  • The metal versions are durable and won’t crack when dropped.

  • They have an ash collection compartment at the base that makes cleaning a breeze.


  • Because of the thick walls, kamado smokers take time to warm up.

  • Ceramic smokers are heavy and prone to cracks.

  • The built-in versions are difficult to clean unless there are several access doors for airflow and accessibility.

Offset Smokers

Offset smokers, like the pit barrel cooker, take the form of a drum. They could be standing or lying horizontally on a base. Because people used oil drums to construct them, they were called drum smokers.

An offset smoker utilizes charcoal or wood, but you can use a mix of both fuel types to add a distinct flavor to the food. Its construction makes it suitable for smoking a large quantity of meat at once while infusing a delicious smoky flavor.


  • They’re ideal for cooking a lot of food at once.

  • The cooking grate is large enough for spreading big meat cuts

  • They can serve as a grill.

  • They’re durable if well-maintained.

  • You don’t have to open the cooking chamber to add more charcoal or wood.

  • They’re inexpensive to purchase and operate.

  • They deliver an authentic taste to your barbeque.


  • Maintaining a steady temperature might be difficult, but it’ll help a beginner smoker learn better.

  • You have to tend to the drum smoker to ensure that it’s not too hot for smoking meat.

  • During cold weather, an offset smoker will require more fuel to attain the required temperature.

  • An offset smoker is heavy and has a large footprint.

How to Choose the Best Smokers for Beginners: Buying Guide

It’s not good enough to know the best beginner-friendly smokers. You should also keep an eye out for certain important characteristics. Now, let’s see some factors to consider when buying your first smoker.

Quality of the Material and Construction

Maintaining a stable temperature is important for smoking, and you need a high-quality material to achieve this. Materials like stainless steel are rust-resistant and can withstand high temperatures for a long time, provided they’re coated with a powder finish.

Additionally, the lid or door of the unit should lap properly to prevent heat loss. And if you’re going for a charcoal or wood smoker, it should have dampers for adequate airflow and temperature regulation.

Cooking Capacity and Footprint

The construction of the smoker will determine the size of the cooking surface and how much floor space the entire unit will occupy.

For instance, vertical smokers have a small footprint, but they offer sufficient space for cooking, and the racks are removable so you can place whole chicken or turkey. Pellet smokers are usually wide because of the hopper attachment, and you can place large meat cuts on the cooking surface. Some units offer up to 1050 square inches of cooking area.

Whether you choose a pellet or vertical smoker, it should offer enough square inches for the number of people you plan to feed. Sometimes, you may host more people than you planned. So, an extra space won’t hurt to smoke more pork butts.

Also, you have to think about where you’ll place the unit. If your yard or outdoor kitchen doesn’t have sufficient space, a vertical or kamado smoker may be ideal. However, you can choose the pellet or horizontal offset smoker if space isn’t an issue.

Your Recipe

You can cook a lot of food with a smoker. So, your recipe will help you choose the ideal unit for you. For instance, if you’re smoking whole chickens and turkeys, you’ll need a smoker that has hooks, while small foods like vegetables and sausages can be left on a rack.

Also, if you’ll try out other cooking methods like baking, roasting, and grilling, you should look for a smoker that allows that level of versatility.

Your Budget

Smokers vary in price, depending on the brand, type, and features. Beginners might be tempted to opt for a budget smoker, but it may not last for a long time. While there are high-end smokers, you can settle for something in between.


For entry-level cooks, smoking meat might be intimidating. But when you’re armed with the right smoker, you’re on your way to becoming a pro. We shared our list of the best smokers for beginners, including a buying guide to help you when you’re ready to get your first smoker.

Remember, you don’t have to buy a budget smoker because you’re cutting down costs. It would be best if you went for a unit that offers great features and functionalities without breaking the bank.

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