Do you love the taste of smoked food? Are you looking for a device that will allow you to make delicious smoked food whenever you want? If so, a smoker might be the best cooking device for you. However, there are many smokers on the market, and they all have their pros and cons.
We have reviewed several of these products under 500 to help ensure you have all the information necessary to purchase the right smokers for your needs.
Top Smokers under $500 Reviews
1. Masterbuilt MB20074719 Mes Bluetooth Digital Electric SmokerView at Amazon
Masterbuilt is a popular manufacturer of smokers and other cooking devices, and this smoker has a lot of quality features that make it the best smoker for beginners.
Its Bluetooth capabilities have made it easy for cooks to keep a closer eye on their food, and they added a rear-mounted handle and wheels to the smoker that makes it easy to move to wherever it is needed.
Plus, it has a side wood chip loading system that allows you to tend to the smoker while cooking without getting undesired ash or other trash into your food.
Overall, most consumers expressed that they were pleased with this smoker. They enjoyed the Bluetooth capability of monitoring the smoker without having to constantly go to the smoker.
A few have also expressed a minor issue with the temperature being correct, but they said if you just add a cooking thermometer it gets rid of this issue.
- Rear-mounted handle and wheels
- Side wood chip loading system
- Smart device control capability
- Minor temperature issues
- Poor customer response
2. Weber 711001 Smokey Mountain CookerView at Amazon
Weber is a well-known manufacturer of smokers, and their Smokey Mountain cooker has several features that many others do not come equipped with.
It is designed mainly as a meat smoker, and they have designed it so that the fuel door can be removed entirely to make adding wood and charcoal into the smoker a breeze.
They have added a silicone temperature grommet inside of the smoker to help monitor the internal temperature while smoking meat.
It has two cooking racks, which makes it possible to smoke two large items at the same time, and they designed it to be easy to control the temperature by adding adjustable dampers.
Consumers enjoy the many features that this smoker has to offer. They rave about the removable door that makes it easier to add extra wood and charcoal while cooking, but there have been a few issues with smokers being damaged during delivery.
So, it is important to figure out return policies for the seller of the smoker you are considering.
- Silicone temperature grommet
- Removable fuel door
- Porcelain-enameled center section, lid, and bowl
- Poor delivery statistics
3. Z Grills ZPG-450A Upgrade Model Wood Pellet Grill & SmokerView at Amazon
Z Grills is a well-known manufacturer of grills that are based in the United States, and they designed this model to work as a grill and barbeque smoker in one.
The racks and cover are rustproof, which means you can leave it outside at your grilling station without having to worry about it getting messed up by the weather.
Plus, you can do more than just grill and smoke with this grill. You can also braise, barbeque, and roast things, as needed. They also gave the unit locking caster wheels that make it easy to move the unit to where it will be most useful with ease.
Consumers committed that although it takes a good hour to assemble, they didn’t have any problems following the instructions.
Many expressed their enjoyment of being able to use the six different cooking styles with just one grill, but there were some concerns with the customer service experience. Some expressed they didn’t even get a call back from the company after expressing minor issues with their unit.
- Capable of cooking in six different ways
- Rustproof racks and cover
- Locking caster wheels
- Poor customer service response
4. Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP Vertical LP Gas SmokerView at Amazon
Dyna-Glo makes a variety of types of smokers, and this is a good propane smoker that they have designed for people who don’t want to deal with messy charcoal.
This smoker comes with a limited-year warranty and a porcelain enameled steel wood chip box with handles to make it easier to add chips while cooking. Plus, it comes with four adjustable steel wire racks.
Consumers agree that this is a good propane smoker. It is easy to assemble, and it provides a large cooking area. However, they suggest sitting this grill on the grass or on top of something that will not be messed up by leaking juices from the grill.
- Comes in different sizes and styles
- Limited 1-year warranty
- Porcelain-enameled steel wood chip box with handles
- 4 adjustable steel wire racks
- Minor leaking issues
5. Camp Chef SmokerPro DLX -Best Wood Pellet Grill SmokerView at Amazon
Camp Chef designed this wood pellet grill to provide several functions in one device. It has been considered one of the best pellet smoker grills, on the market, and it comes with an automatic pellet auger that feeds pellets into the grill without having to do it manually.
It comes with warming racks, and it was designed to be easy to maintain and clean.
Consumers enjoy the warming racks and the automatic pellet auger, and many of them believe this to be the best pellet smoker grill they have used.
They agree that it is easy for them to clean and maintain, but if there is any need to contact customer service, they agree that the customer service could be better and more responsive.
- Automatic pellet auger
- Comes with warming racks
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Poor customer service solutions
- The price is higher than $500 but you can get it on sale for a more affordable price tag.
6. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker PackageView at Amazon
A lot of effort was put into this design to ensure that it is the best drum smoker available. It comes with everything you need to get started upon arrival. It even has eight stainless steel meat hooks that are designed to smoke hanging meat to ensure the entire thing is smoked to perfection.
Many consumers have commented on the easy assembly of this drum smoker, and due to the success of their food, they agree that it is the best drum smoker for most situations.
The only fault that many consumers have found is that the coal basket sits low in the barrel, which can be fixed by using a small fan to force the heat up into the barrel.
- Includes entire kit
- 8 stainless steel meat hooks
- Minimal assembly required
- The charcoal basket sits low in the barrel
7. Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbeque Grill and SmokerView at Amazon
Char-Griller is a well-known manufacturer of grills and smokers and this model was designed to be the best Kamado grill they have produced.
It has an insulated design that helps to ensure whatever is being cooked remains at the right temperature to get the best overall results.
The base of the grill is made from tubular steel, and it provides a large cooking area. However, it also provides warming space in case you have things that need to cook for longer periods.
Many consumers agree that this is the best Kamado grill they have used, but many agree that this is not the ideal grill for a beginner that has never used this type of grill before. They like the amount of space that it provides, and the insulated design helps to keep the temperature at the right degree.
- Insulated design
- Made from tubular steel
- 447 sq in of cooking and warming space
- Difficult to use for Kamado grill beginners
8. Dyna-Glo DGSS730CBO-D-Kit Charcoal GrillView at Amazon
Dyna-Glo has been manufacturing smokers for many years, and this is one of their finest charcoal grills. They made it from heavy-gauge steel to make sure that it lasts, and the wheels are made of steel to make it easier to move across any type of terrain.
It has a large cooking area that is designed to be able to cook multiple large items at once, and the lid handle is a cool-touch spring to ensure that you can open the lid mid-cooking without getting burnt.
Customers have expressed joy at the amount of time this charcoal smoker keeps coal hot. Some have calculated it as keeping the coal hot for over three hours.
Most agree that it is easy to use, but they expressed that the instruction manual on how to assemble the grill is a little confusing and could be written better.
- Made from heavy-gauge steel
- Steel wheels
- Cool-touch spring lid handle
- 730 sq in of cooking space
- Poor instruction manual
9. Dyna-Glo Signature Series Heavy-Duty Vertical Charcoal Smoker and GrillView at Amazon
This charcoal smoker is one of Dyna-Glo’s signature series, and it was designed to work as a smoker and a grill.
It has a stainless steel temperature gauge to help you get an accurate temperature throughout the cooking process, and it was designed with large steel wheels that make it easy to move wherever you want, regardless of the terrain.
It was also designed to be the best affordable offset smoker for those that are on a tight budget but need a smoker.
According to consumers, this grill works well. It doesn’t leak when using liquid-type seasoning, and it is easy to set up and use throughout the entire cooking process. However, a few consumers have expressed issues with their initial grill arriving with damage from the shipping process.
- Stainless temperature gauge
- Cool-touch spring lid
- Oversized steel wheels
- Poor shipping and handling
10. Masterbuilt 44241GW 2 Door Propane Gas SmokerView at Amazon
Masterbuilt is well-known for designing quality smokers and grills, and this model is one of their most popular propane gas smokers.
It is designed with dual stainless steel burners, which make them easy to clean, and the water pan comes with handles and is coated with porcelain. It has a total of seven grids that can be used for multiple things at one time.
Most consumers enjoy the different cooking grids that come with this propane smoker, and after looking into propane smoker reviews, they took the chance and purchased this smoker.
The only downside to this smoker is that consumers have expressed disappointment in the lack of customer service response from the manufacturer if they needed to contact them for anything.
- Dual stainless steel burners
- Large porcelain-coated water pan with handles
- 7 cooking grids
- Poor customer service response
Best Type of Smoker
Who wouldn’t want to be a magician with any kind of smoker? Getting a quality barbeque smoker can be troublesome for a lot of people, partly because they are a dozen types of smokers to consider.
With a modern meat smoker, you don’t have to hover over your grill now and then to check the temperature, add woodchips, or fiddle with the tampers.
Ultimately, you need to pick the smoker that you’ll enjoy using most. Scoring myriad smoker websites don’t just guarantee easy picks. We’ll help you evaluate a few types of smokers. How then do you pick a smoker worth your dough?
Foremost, all food smokers yield great cooking results. It all boils down to your preferences. For this reason, you need to know how a propane smoker works. A typical propane smoker resembles a gym locker. Other models reminisce old cabinets- the kind that you see in classic Western break-in movies.
Most propane smokers have a simple design. The bottom part has a gas burner running off a propane tank. Just above the heater is a tray where woodchips, smoking chips, or sawdust are put.
Above it sits a water pan that boils steam, to make sure whatever you are grilling sustains moisture. The rack perches on top of the water pan, where the meat you are smoking sits.
If it’s your first time using a propane smoker, make sure you peruse the instruction manual carefully. Don’t ignore the smoker guide, okay? You have to season the smoker to rid it of any dust or manufacturing oils.
How to Choose the Propane Smoker
Make sure to check the grill’s BTU, which will tell you the exact amount of gas the particular model uses and, consequently, the heat it will produce. Remember that better BTU stats don’t necessarily translate to better cooking.
Get a stable propane smoker. You can test this aspect by pushing the grill from all possible angles to observe whether it trips or not.
Food smokers don’t get any better than propane grills, which are best for cooking hot dogs and burgers. If you would like some turkey, then it is advisable to get a smoker with a rotisserie burner.
Pros of Propane Smokers
- Propane smokers may eclipse other types of meat smokers due to the consistency of the flame produced.
- Propane smokers are relatively affordable.
- Propane guarantees you a clean and efficient burn compared to charcoal or wood
- They are portable. You can easily carry it with you to excursions, camps, or even trips. Since most smokers can reach incredible temperatures of up to 450 degrees, you can also utilize it as an oven.
What is the best type of smoker?
We’re glad that you’ve asked this question. Our next phase of exploring BBQ smokers brings us to electric meat smokers. Our grandparents may have used wood or charcoal to smoke their steaks or food, but it’s time you consider the more contemporary option.
Electric smokers are an excellent choice for fast and efficient grilling.
How to Choose Electric Smoker
You need to purchase an electric smoker with thick seals, metal, and insulation. This way, the heat will be evenly spread inside the chamber. Steel chambers are highly viable in this regard.
You also need to go for a smoker with durable capabilities. It should also have artistry hints if you are to be happy with your decision. Go for a model that is both waterproof and rustproof to make sure it lasts long. Your preferred grill should also distribute heat evenly.
Does your smoker come with tool hooks and covers?
You should purchase a smoker that won’t rust easily in case you leave it uncovered. Depending on your preferences, you should go for a model that comes with in-built table features. It will enable you to cut sauces and boards easily.
Make sure your electric smoker is both child and pet safe. Ensure that the handles are relaxed when the smoker is in use and that its wheels can lock.
Pros of Electric Smoker
- It’s quite simple to smoke your food using an electric smoker. You don’t need to pay much attention since there is a constant supply of electricity.
- It is also relatively easy to learn how to use an electric smoker. There’s no strict manual on setting it up either.
- They are an eco-friendly option since they emit no solid waste. Therefore, electric smokers are a clean smoking option.
- With an electric smoker, you can easily regulate temperatures to your desired range. This means, that if you want to do a task that will preoccupy you for a long time, you can simply tone down the heat and leave the food to cook slowly.
- They are a safety-oriented type of meat smoker. You are less likely to start a fire with an electric smoker since you don’t get in contact with charcoal or gas.
When it comes to the most effective smokers for brisket, pellet smokers are right up there with other beastly grilling machines. You may be asking yourself, what does a pellet smoker offer? How does a pellet smoker work? Let’s explore this further.
How a Pellet Smoker Works
It uses a drill to move hardwood pellets to the firepot in the grill. The pellets are set in the hopper.
The higher the target temperature, the more the pellets are pushed into the auger. Starting a fire requires a hot rod to ignite the pellets.
During the convection process, an induction fan propels hardwood smoke in the entire cook chamber for epic flavoring.
The fan also stokes the flames, which aid in cooking your food evenly. A drip tray-located just above the firepot helps to keep direct flames off your meat. The tray also arrests drippings that might cause flare-ups.
How to Choose Pellet Smokers
You must think about the kind of food you want to cook. Fish fillets, garlic bread vegetables, and chicken wings all require pellet smokers.
If you’d want to cook loin, dense vegetables, ribs, and whole chicken, you’ll need a smoker that has ample grate space, a high lid, and convenient temperature controls.
Importantly, make sure the smoker is built from heavy-gauge still. With this in place, you can use it for many years without the need to worry about wear and tear.
Consider other crucial factors, such as the need for insulated covers, warming grates, side tables, and burners for high temp searing.
Pros of Pellet Smokers
- Consistent flames will undoubtedly give you consistent food results
- You will get to craft food rather than monitor the fire now and then
- Pellet smokers intuitively regulate temperatures. This makes it easy for you to concentrate on the actual cooking.
- Pellet smokers are widely versatile in that you can smoke, bake, grill, and roast.
- Fast preheating prevents possible flare-ups
- All natural pellets come in a rich wood variety, including hickory, pecan, mesquite, alder, maple, and apple.
Pure smoking is a great way to cook your meat for a delicious and tender serving. Ready to take your party grilling game to the next level?
Learning the nitty-gritty about charcoal smokers is the gateway to enjoying succulent steaks and yummy briskets.
Grilling with a charcoal smoker can be a bit tricky compared to electric or pellet smokers, but worry not, we’ve got you covered.
A smoker grill cooks any food over indirect heat and for long periods, precisely what those tough ribs need to taste sumptuous!
Tips to Help You Get the Best Out of a Charcoal Smoker
Utilize a chimney starter
Chimney starters are a must-have in regard to charcoal grilling. They are useful in heating over 100 charcoal briquettes and getting them red-hot within 30 minutes.
You just need to light up a single sheet of paper. No more eating food that tastes like paraffin!
Use just the right amount of charcoal
Feeling comfortable with the chimney is the secret to having an easy grill. Knowing how much charcoal to use depends on the grill’s temperatures.
Therefore, it all depends on how much charcoal the chimney can stack up.
For high-heat smoking (450-550 degrees), which is ideal for grilling thin cuts of meat and steaks, you’d want a fully-filled chimney.
For medium-heat grilling (around 350 degrees), perfect for seafood and chicken, you’d want a ½ chimney. For low-heat cooking (less than 250 degrees), ideal for roasting larger roasts and pork pieces, you’d want ¼ stack.
Preheat & oil the grate
Preheating and oiling the cooking grate ensures that food pieces don’t stick to the grill. You won’t attain those lovely grill markings if you let your food overcook over a cold grill.
Build a double fire zone
Charcoal grilling is the art of cooking. To master it, you need to implement the two-zone fire strategy where you load charcoal to one side of the grill and leave the other segment empty.
If you slowly pull off the two-zone fire technique, you can comfortably grill two different foods without overcooking or scorching.
How to Choose Charcoal Smokers
Acquire a smoker with adequate temp controls. This depends on a few factors, such as the ability to tune the distance between the coals and food, practice, dampers, lid, and thermometers.
Get a smoker with a lid that fits tightly. For that reason, go for one that has at least two dampers, including an intake and exhaust.
Make sure your smoker has a digital thermometer. Remember, the internal temperature dictates how the final product will taste, and you need to keep an eye on it often. Ensure that the smoker has easy charcoal access, which makes it possible to control the temperature inside the grill.
Pros of A Charcoal Smoker
- You will enjoy the distinctive, tender yet smoky flavor that cannot be achieved with propane, pellet, or electric smokers
- Ideal for cooking food on high heat, for example, steaks, kebabs, or pizza.
- Charcoal is way cheaper than gas.
Electric vs. Propane Smoker: The Differences that Matter
The million-dollar question that you are likely to pop is- which between the electric vs propane smoker is worth the hassle?
Both are moderately easy to use and can be good picks on a tight budget. As their tags suggest, they use different sources of power- a critical decision factor. They both need a power plug, so make sure you plan for this beforehand.
Electric smokers are not as widely applicable as propane smokers since they run on relatively lower temps. However, it is this feature that makes electric smokers viable for cold smoking.
Propane smokers are a far more versatile option since they are portable and can reach high operational temperatures. However, you need to monitor the temperature closely because some models have poor insulation. With that in mind, they may not offer as much ease of use as their electric counterparts.
Pellet vs. Gas Smoker: Which One is Worth the Buy?
When it comes to the question of the best smoker grill, pellet and gas smokers are worthy contenders. Gas smokers are suitable for rare and medium-rare steaks. It helps the inside get cold enough to make for a tasty raw steak.
Gas smokers have the upper hand in terms of quick and efficient grilling. Gas smokers post better health statistics. They burn away cholesterol hence less fatty meat.
Pellet smokers are more affordable both in terms of purchase and fuel costs. You can rest assured that wood pellets are a cheap commodity, well within your price range.
You’re less likely to undercook food with pellet smokers. The drawback of the same is that you can’t achieve sleek rare steaks. You can monitor and regulate the temperatures by reducing the number of pellets or by utilizing a thermostat.
Choosing Smoker Fuel
The best fuel for smokers depends on the kind of food you want to enjoy.
When you’re burning meat to obtain a flurry of flavors, there’s no way that propane and charcoal will get you the same results. Like everything, each fuel has its pros and cons.
Cooking with whole pieces of wood will give you a luxurious, smoky, crispy flavor. However, if you choose the wrong type of wood, you’ll end up with charred steaks.
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, wood pellets are a good buy. They achieve a robust, woody flavor. However, they are not recommended for grilling. They can also lead to an intense taste.
Charcoal briquettes are excellent for high-heat grilling but can leave your food with unnecessary additives.
Choosing the best type of smoker is a truly mind-spinning experience. Simply put, there’s no right answer! As we outlined earlier, each of these smokers can render epic cooking experiences. Are you looking for an affordable smoker?
Then charcoal and pellet smokers are your best bet. Do you prefer a fast and efficient smoker? An electric smoker will do just fine. We recommend that you buy a smoker that fits your requirements.
We realize that choosing a smoker is a big investment, and there are a lot of features and factors that you need to consider to ensure you purchase the right one. After reviewing the above smokers under 500, we have concluded that the best smoker is the Masterbuilt MB20074719 Mes Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker.
It provides a large surface for smoking multiple things at one time, and it comes with smart technology that makes it easier to monitor your food without having to constantly get up and open the smoke to take a peek.
However, we understand that this might not be an ideal choice for your situation, which is why it is important to research the things that you need in a smoker before making your final purchasing decision.