Best Propane & Gas Smoker Reviews (2018): Our Top Recommendations For The Money
Propane and gas smokers offer the ideal combination of convenience and performance for most home users. They deliver consistent, mouth-watering results with the kind of precision and ease-of-use that you just don’t get from other formats. However, there are gas smokers and gas smokers, as they say!
In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know to shop for a propane/gas smoker like a pro. We’ll also introduce you to all our favorite models and explain why we’ve chosen these high-quality smokers over the competition!
Reads on to see all our picks and to find out why they make the grade.
Quick Comparison: Top Gas Smokers 2018
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Best Propane & Gas Smoker Reviews (2018)
This Masterbuilt model is currently the only portable model we recommend in the gas/propane category. It’s compact, convenient, and a lot sturdier than you’d think for the price. It can maintain consistent temperatures, both at the low and high ends of the smoking spectrum. Buying the best propane smoker means getting one that maintains steady temperature and the Masterbuilt 20050116 Portable Gas Smoker gives you more than that.
It’s far from perfect, though. While something this small is great for hunting trips and folks who only smoke a little meat at a time, most buyers will want to get something a lot bigger. Don’t plan on using this for very large cuts. You have to open the door all the way to check on things, and it’s not as reliable or well-made as our more expensive recommendations.
This Smoke Hollow model is a good alternative to the Cuisinart if you’re an ambitious beginner who wants a bit more space and versatility. It’s also perfect for those more experienced chefs who want a budget model that won’t limit you in the slightest (at least, not for the vast majority of us. There are certainly bigger options available, but this is as much space as most of us will ever need!
What’s different about this one? At first glance, it’s quite similar to the Cuisinart. They’re within 2” of each other, and they both have a straightforward, 2-door design. The Smoke Hollow does offer noticeably more room, though. Even 2” makes a difference when you’re trying to maneuver one more rack of meat into your smoker! This one’s more rugged, too, and it comes with a sausage hanger in the box. It’s more versatile and spacious than the Cuisinart, and our suggestion to the casual smoker who wants space and options without spending too much money.
This Camp Chef model is our premium suggestion to those who don’t need all that much space but want something more rugged and refined than the Cuisinart above. It’s actually smaller than the Cuisinart, and is essentially a non-portable alternative to the Masterbuilt we’ve recommended as our cheapest pick.
The Camp Chef’s strongest point is its build quality. After all, it’s a premium model! Everything’s rock-solid, especially the stainless door. We also love how thoughtful the design is. It includes an extra removable bottom tray to catch drippings, in addition to dedicated wood and water trays. The gauges are precise and offer plenty of control. As far as we’re concerned, there’s nothing better in this size bracket.
This Weston model is our suggestion to folks who want to be able to smoke a boatload at once, without any real size constraints to speak of. It’s massive and quite expensive, but if you’re really into your smoking and want to do big batches it makes a great deal of sense. This one is available in a few different sizes, but we’re recommending the 48” model and referring to that one specifically here.
What’s so awesome about the Weston? Well, size is obviously its main strong suit. It has space for as much as you could possibly want to smoke in one go. You can get two sausage hangers in here at a time, It’s commercial-grade, too. We know as well as you do that many consumer-grade models are marketed as “commercial,” but this is the real deal! It’s all heavy-duty coated/stainless steel. It starts easily, offers precise temperature control, and should last for years of frequent, intense use.
The Broil King is our favorite gas smoker on the market today. It’s a premium, midsize setup that we think is ideal for the average home smoker who can spend a little more for something that will last a very long time. While it doesn’t have the Weston’s exorbitant allowances for space, it’s built like a tank and has more than enough room for what most users will actually get around to smoking.
Be aware that it runs on natural gas and not propane, though! It’s an oddity for that. All our other picks run on propane, as do the vast majority of gas-type smokers. Like any natural gas model, the Broil King costs more than propane options of similar size and quality. However, in many areas natural gas is significantly cheaper than propane. This one can easily be tweaked to work on propane as well, if that’s your preferred fuel source.
Why Choose A Gas/Propane Smoker?
There are a number of reasons why you’d want to choose a gas smoker over the electric and charcoal alternatives.
For one thing, these models are a lot cheaper to buy. Depending on costs in your area, they’re also likely to be much cheaper to operate. Whether you choose natural gas or propane, one or the other is almost certainly going to be cheaper than electricity or the cost. When you add up the time, energy, and money you’d spend to go old-school with charcoal, the savings are also considerable.
These setups can also be used anywhere, since all you need is a gas tank to hook up. You don’t need to worry about having an outlet nearby. You can even set up a smoker at a campsite!
Gas smokers, whether they run on propane or natural gas, are more reliable and easier to use than electric or charcoal setups. They’re relatively simple devices with few components that could give you grief, even over the long term. You’ll also appreciate the fact that they heat up much more quickly and give more consistent temperature than charcoal or electric options.
How Do Gas Smokers Work?
These setups usually follow a standard design. Burners are located at the bottom of a large cabinet, connected to a natural gas/propane tank somewhere on the outside of the smoker. When you light your smoker, the burners heat up a pan loaded with wood chips and water. These create the smoke (or steam, really) that’s used to cook and season meat. Above the pan, and occupying the rest of the cabinet are shelves and racks for your meat products. You can either rack them on shelves or hang them from the ceiling of the cabinet. Sausages are usually hung, for example.
Most models follow this basic vertical design. Of course, each varies slightly in layout and overall volume. Yours may have one door or two, be wider or taller, and so forth.
What To Look For In Your New Propane/Gas Smoker
The most important thing to take care of up front is making sure your new propane/gas smoker will have space inside for everything you want to smoke at any given time. You can always rearrange internal storage or modify components like the gauge, but you can’t make more space in a cabinet. That’s why it’s important to be realistic about how much space you need. It can be tempting to try and save money by going compact, but the savings probably won’t be worth it once you consider how much extra time you’ll be spending smoking in this configuration and setting up each batch.
Any good propane/gas smoker will offer the flexibility to change the internal storage configurations to suit a range of meat products and volumes. Your should come with a range of shelves, hooks, and racks that you can choose between to suit each batch of meat.
Heavy-duty craftsmanship that can stand years of service is an absolute essential from any smoker. These pieces of equipment see high temperatures for long stretches of time, and that’s hard on even the best smokers. Look for rugged metal construction and high-quality components that can stand years of use. You don’t want to sell yourself short by saving a few bucks on a lightly-built model that’ll need to be replaced in a year or two.
A smoker isn’t like a blender or other appliances in that it has essentially no moving parts. You’ll have some basic adjustments for temperature and movable storage, but that’s about it. Reliability doesn’t mean quite the same thing as it does in those contexts for that reason. In the case of a propane/gas smoker, reliability means a design that gives you predictable, repeatable results every time, so that you don’t have to do any guesswork or approximations. Look for something rugged that won’t get leakier over time. Don’t go cheap on gauges, since you depend on them to keep consistent temperatures. You want to invest in something that’ll perform the way you expect
Lastly, look for a smoker that’ll be pleasant to use and easy to work with. For example, we think cleanability is very important. These things get pretty caked with smoke and grease each time you use them, and you need to clean all that out in order to have a food-safe process. Look for models with removable parts that can be easily scrubbed down or sent through the dishwasher for convenience. 2-door designs are convenient, since you can use the small one to check your wood and water pans without losing all the heat and steam in the upper chamber. Overall, just make sure the setup seems intuitive and practical for you to use.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to the best gas and propane smokers. You can learn more about any of the models we’ve recommended in this guide by clicking on the links in our reviews above. That’s the easiest way to check current prices, see complete specifications, and all that other good stuff. For more of our latest buying guides, reviews and recommendations, visit our homepage! All the information you need to shop for kitchen equipment like a pro is at warmchef.com.