With a smoky flavor and juicy, fall off the bone tenderness, smoked meat is a favorite of many around the world. Many people wonder, is it possible to smoke your own meats at home? The answer is yes! There are many smokers available on the consumer market, but not all are made the same. Some are easier or harder to use, and some are larger or smaller than others.
What is the best inexpensive smoker? The answer may seem vague, but the best inexpensive smoker is a smoker that does what you need at the lowest price point. Good smokers will be easy for you to use an easy to get a large amount of meat in and out of efficiently.
There are plenty of different types of smokers, including pellet, wood, electric, and propane that you can choose from before you purchase. The best smoker that you are able to find should fit the criteria of maintaining high quality while also giving your wallet a break when you buy it.
Smokers can range from high-end machines that cost thousands of dollars, to smaller countertop machines meant for a single piece of meat. Do you need a giant smoker? Do you need to use pellets, wood, or electric? Below we’ll go over a few of the types of smokers and help you determine which is the best smoker for you.
Whether you are new to the world of smoking meat or you just want to find an alternative to your existing smoker that won’t put a huge dent in your wallet, you have come to the right place. Keep reading to find out everyikhg you need to know about inexpensive smokers and which one takes precedence over the others.
The Best Inexpensive Smokers
When looking for the best inexpensive smoker, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Not all smokers are made the same.
A grill is not a smoker, but some smokers can act as grills. Some smokers may have multiple racks to put meats on, and others might have a single space for your meats.
Most smokers are designed for the average person’s ease of use, and all smokers listed in this guide are easy to use and designed for home use rather than commercial use.
Types of Smokers:
Pellet smokers are smokers that run on pellets made from wood or a combination of wood and flavorings.
These pellets are typically inexpensive and burn very evenly. They use an electronic thermostat and a feeding system to ensure that the wood pellets slide into the burner at the right rate for the most efficient smoke.
Pellet smokers provide an even, efficient heat and smoke quality, as well as a high-tech way to handle smoked meats. Most of the time, pellet smokers use an automatic control system to slowly feed the pellets into the smoker. Some may be controlled by an app or remote, and some even have wifi!
The best inexpensive pellet smoker is probably the Green Mountain Davy Crockett Wifi Control Portable Wood Pellet Electric Grill. This particular grill is the best because it’s small enough and designed to fit into the trunk of most cars.
That means it’s portable and able to be taken with you to cookouts or friend’s houses. It also has wifi to control the grill from a distance, so you don’t even need to get up to check the temperature or pellet amount. That means more time with the family or friends, and even more time to sit around and drink while waiting for the smoked meats.
Wood smokers are similar to pellet smokers, but you use wet wood chips and fire to slowly burn the chips and create smoke.
Wood smokers run much cheaper than pellet smokers because there is no electronic control or temperature reading. There is no mechanism to load more pellets into the chamber automatically, so they are more simple and therefore cheaper.
The best inexpensive wood smoker is a drum smoker. One good brand of drum smoker is a Pit Barrel. These are extremely popular because they’re literally a barrel and can fit almost anywhere while looking and fitting the part.
When using a wood smoker, remember that it’s more involved than a pellet or any other type of smoker. A wood smoker requires that you watch over it and keep the temperature where it needs to be.
Avoid the style of smoker that you see with a side and main box combo. While they may be cheap and look professional, the cheaper options (under $500) are typically low quality and will leak and have uneven cooking.
Smoke wants to travel up, not sideways, so using a Pit Barrel is a more effective method of smoking meats than your traditional side-by-side combo. You wouldn’t want to waste any of that precious smoke!
Electric smokers are the most similar to pellet smokers, but they are less complicated than pellet smokers. In an electric smoker, there is no fire. You plug the smoker in and a metal rod in the bottom gets red hot.
Above this rod, there’s a reservoir for wood chips, and the chips smolder and smoke as they get hot. This type of smoker is a good trade-off between the expense of a pellet smoker and the more involved wood smokers. It still uses wood, but it takes less care to keep running.
The best electric smoker is the Masterbuilt 20075315. It’s a mouthful, I know. Also known as a front controller smoker with a viewing window and RF remote control, this 40-inch smoker is cheap and easy to use and clean.
It’s a reliable model from a reliable brand and it’s sure to never let you down. With lots of space inside and several racks, you’ll be able to fit your whole cookout inside this beast of a smoker!
Propane smokers are a mix of wood and pellet smoker styles. In a propane smoker, you use propane to heat up a tray full of wood chips using a propane flame rather than an electric or wood frame.
You simply load the tray with wet wood chips of your choice and use the electric igniter to start up the propane flame. The flame heats up the tray, causing the wood pellets to generate smoke.
The best cheap propane smoker is Masterbuilt 20050211. The same brand as the best electric smoker, it’s sure to last a long time.
This smoker is in the vertical style, so you avoid the issues mentioned earlier with the side-by-side style. With a large sturdy tray and several burner nozzles, this gas smoker is sure to give you a thick rich smoke for that beautiful smoky flavor and color.
Propane Vs Electric Smokers: Which One Is Better?
The argument of whether propane or electric smokers are superior overall is a hotly contested topic in the smoker community. On one hand, propane is cheap and easy to use, but on the other, electric is more efficient.
An electric smoker will cost less to run than a propane smoker. When deciding on an electric smoker vs a propane smoker, here are a few things to watch out for. Below is a list of things to consider when choosing a smoker, between propane and electric power.
Propane vs Electric Smokers:
- Availability of propane
- Cost of propane and electric
- Your specific use scenario
The very first thing to consider would be the availability of propane. If you live in a country or area where propane is not readily available, you won’t want to go with a propane smoker.
Propane can usually be found at gas stations, hardware stores, or big-box stores like Walmart. As long as propane is readily available, a propane smoker can be a great addition to your patio.
The cost of propane vs electric is another consideration. If a tank of propane costs you $30, but it runs all summer, that’s obviously the best choice.
However, if you happen to live in an area with low electricity costs, an electric smoker is probably best for you. Electric smokers only require wood chips and water.
Of course, cost and availability are not the only concerns. You will want to consider what’s best for your specific scenario.
Some people are not comfortable transporting or handling large propane tanks, and would rather go with electric. Another consideration is whether or not you’re allowed to have a gas grill or smoker in your residence.
Some apartment complexes may tell you that you aren’t allowed to run a gas smoker outside because of the fire risk. Check your local regulations before making the decision on gas or electric.
If you plan on cooking with younger family members, an electric smoker may be the best decision. Electric smokers avoid the hassle of moving around a heavy tank which would be difficult for a young person to do. If you’re not physically able to move around a propane tank, an electric smoker is probably best for you.
Propane tanks can be quite heavy especially when full, and elderly or disabled people might not be able to lift and move them effectively.
I know you went into this guide feeling completely lost on this decision, but the tips we’ve provided here should assist you in deciding what type of smoker you will purchase. As you can see, the world of smokers is very diverse.
There are several different models, brands, and types to choose from and the choice can seem daunting and confusing to some.
If you’re planning on purchasing a smoker, follow the tips presented in this guide to get the best deal on the best smoker for your personal use.
As you can see, you don’t have to break the bank just to purchase a quality smoker for your meats. In reality, everyone can enjoy a nice meal with that authentic smoky flavor that you can’t find anywhere else.
When you are on the look out for the best smoker for you, it is important to consider the quality of the machine as well as the maintenance and effort that will go into it on your part.
Think about how often you will use it, and if the purchase will be worth it for you in the end. When you are working with a tight budget, you should work within that while you are in the middle of your search in order to truly find the best inexpensive smoker.