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7 Best Smoker for Beginners That You Need to Know About in 2023
When I first started my BBQ journey, I committed the grave mistake of choosing a smoker with extremely complicated settings! It took me a lot of time to figure out its settings and how to smoke food on it without burning. Trust me, it made me feel like BBQ wasn’t my thing, and I probably wasn’t good at it!
Hence, if you’re a beginner, I recommend going for a quality smoker that is easy to use with fewer settings and complications. Thankfully, there are many such smokers available in the market.
In this guide, I’ve covered the 7 best smokers for beginners in various categories. Let’s get into it!
Comparison Table – Best Smoker for Beginners
|KingChii Portable Wood Pellet Smoker||Spacious, easy storage and assembly||Takes time to reach a higher temperature||$350 – $400|
|Cuisinart COS-116 Vertical Charcoal Smoker||Affordable, water pan included, spacious||Complicated assembly||$115 – $150|
|Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker||Easy temperature regulation, maintenance, and assembly||Food may stick to racks||$149 – $200|
|Traeger Grills Ranger Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker||Portable, beautiful design, efficient slow burning||Expensive, temperature regulation takes time||$430 – $470|
|Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Smoker||Sturdy, allows high heat, quick assembly||Complicated temperature control||$360 – $400|
|Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Smoker||Can heat up between 250 – 500 degrees Fahrenheit, rechargeable batteries, portable||Small smoking area||$250 – $300|
|Grill Pro 31816 16-Inch Smoker||Lightweight, effortless usage||Issues with lid and thermometer, not for slow or high heat grilling||$90 – $100|
7 Best Smoker for Beginners
Right from offset smokers to vertical smokers, this list covers many types of best beginner smokers that are easy to use. This way, you’ll get to choose the one that meets your requirements as a beginner!
- KingChii Portable Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker
In my opinion, this smoker is truly one of the best options for beginners. It’s easy to use, clean, and even assemble.
The KingChii smoker comes in a stainless steel finish and wood pellet type. It is foldable and compact, so you can travel around with it easily! The added wheels for transportation are also a huge plus, as you won’t have to carry it yourself.
Coming to the smoking part, I really like that the smoker has a capacity of 341 square inches of cooking. It’s also available in other options of 456 square inches of cooking. This can accommodate a 14-pound brisket and two whole chickens! Moreover, you’ll get extra accessories with the smoker like a cover and grill cover.
The temperature range is between 180°F and 450°F. All you’ve to do is fill the smoker with wood pellets.
So, if you want a smoker that’s practical and easy to use, this is one of the top picks!
- Assembly may take less than an hour
- Spacious smoking area
- Easy to carry and store
- Quick cleaning because of the oil pollution storage area
- Simple to use
- Slightly short
- May take time to reach higher temperatures
- Cuisinart COS-116 Vertical Charcoal Smoker
Cuisinart is a well-known brand for smokers and it’s great for beginners. So, it is highly impossible to not include one from that brand in this list. I specifically chose this Cuisinart smoker for those who prefer charcoal smoking over wood smoking! Moreover, it is a great option for beginners who want a cheap smoker since it’s an affordable one as well.
This charcoal smoker is bullet-style and not barrel-style. Yet, it provides a spacious smoking area of 402 inches as there are two 16″ stainless steel racks so it will generously accommodate your racks of ribs and give them the smoke flavor. You’ll also get a water pan with it, which has its own set of benefits, like increasing moisture in the meat and regulating temperature!
One of the best things about this smoker is its cost-effectiveness, as you can get it below just $150.
If you’re a beginner, you won’t have much problem using the smoker due to the fewer complicated features.
There are only a few limitations to this smoker. The first one is that the assembly isn’t beginner-friendly, so you’ll have to spend at least an hour or two on that. The temperature gauge may show incorrect readings. Hence, I suggest buying an extra meat thermometer.
- A water pan is included
- Spacious smoking area
- Easy to use and maintain
- Difficult assembly
- Temperature reading may be wrong
- Royal Gourmet Charcoal Grill Offset Smoker
If you want a smoker that is perfect for beginners, this is one of the first smokers that come to mind. Smokers are available in various designs. Out of these, offset smokers are pretty unique as the charcoal or wood burn in a firebox is present on one side. If you’re planning to try your hands on an offset smoker as a newbie, I recommend this one!
The main advantage of this offset smoker is that it’s convenient to add wood chips or extra charcoal without opening the smoker, which is perfect for beginners. So if you want to smoke meat like a rack of ribs or chicken on a barbecue night, you can totally rely on this smoker.
It also offers more cooking space than normal smokers as there are three areas – cooking grates (443 square inches of cooking), warming rack (184 square inches), and offset smoker (184 square inches). The temperature regulation is not difficult, and the in-built thermometer shows accurate readings.
The presence of a removable charcoal dish makes it easy to clean the smoker! A smoker cover is included too, for easy maintenance. It also offers a good heat and smoke balance.
Keep in mind that the assembly can get a little time-consuming, but it’s easy as the manufacturer provides a proper instruction guide.
- Relatively cheap
- Provides easy cleaning
- Assembly is straightforward
- Temperature regulation is uncomplicated
- Uses wood or charcoal
- Food may stick to the racks and cause peeling
- Traeger Grills Ranger Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
Traveling with a heavy smoker isn’t an ideal option. So, if you’re looking for a type of smoker that you can carry around easily, Traeger Grills smoker is the one to go for.
Traeger Grills is an extremely popular brand for smokers. Many of my friends and I’ve owned a Traeger Grill in the past, and can’t deny its excellent quality. This portable smoker is equally good, as it comes with a 176-square-inch grilling area. It may not sound like a lot, but for a travel smoker, it’s amazing!
This smoker is worth buying for beginners due to its easy usage. As it’s a small smoker, you won’t have to sweat about the temperature settings or excessive cleaning. It offers slow smoking, making it perfect for smoking hard meat.
One major limitation of this smoker is that it may take some time to reach the desired temperature. So, you’ll have to be patient.
- Portable and compact
- Quick cleaning
- Facilitates slow burning of coals or wood
- Sleek design
- Temperature regulation takes time
- Can get a bit expensive
- Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Smoker
If there’s one smoker for which I’ve mostly heard raving reviews, it’s the Akorn Kamado smoker! There are many things that you’d love in this smoker, as a beginner.
First of all, the design is quite sturdy and well-built. Once you invest in this smoker, you won’t have to worry about replacing it for years.
The smoker’s assembly is simple, but if you haven’t done anything like this before, you might’ve to spend some extra time figuring out the instructions. As this smoker is popular, you’ll find several resources online! But once it’s assembled, it’s very easy to use and will guarantee you have a great barbecue night.
One of the things I love about Akorn Kamado is its heat retention. The smoker can reach high temperatures and also stay hot for a while! Note that this can become a limitation when controlling the smoker’s temperature.
When it comes to cleaning, it’s pretty much a breeze!
Keep in mind that the grates may rust after six to seven years, so you might’ve to replace them. Accessing coals from the smoker is also a little tricky.
- Durable and strong
- Allows cooking at high temperatures and maintains it
- Easy assembly
- Temperature control can get tough
- Masterbuilt Portable Charcoal Smoker
Beginners of 2023 will love this one. The Masterbuilt smoker is a steal for the price because of its brilliant feature! It comes with a cart, which makes it a practical purchase for those who don’t have a dedicated smoker area.
Moreover, this beginner smoker allows you to control the temperature between 250 degrees Fahrenheit and 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This gives you the chance to cater to both low and slow smoking as well as higher-temperature grilling!
It’s one of the best electric smokers that run on rechargeable batteries! Isn’t it surprising? Another exciting feature I love is that it can last for more than five to six hours without charging.
Talking about its assembly, the Masterbuilt electric smoker doesn’t require much effort to put together.
I’ve found that the company isn’t quick to respond. Therefore, if you need any help, assistance may not be quick. The actual smoking area is also on the smaller side due to its portability.
- A wide range of temperatures
- Comes in both cart and without-cart options
- Rechargeable batteries make it convenient for travel
- Quick assembly
- Ease of use
- Poor customer service (sometimes)
- The smoking area may be a little small
- Grill Pro 31816 16-Inch Smoker
Smoking or grilling is a bit of an art, and it might not come naturally to everyone! So, even if you’re messing things up, don’t worry, you can start with smokers having literally no complexities and still take your barbecue night to the next level!
One of my close ones wanted to smoke food on a daily basis and didn’t want to put in any extra effort. So, he chose the Grill Pro’s 16-inch smoker.
Now, this smoker isn’t ideal for smoking tough cuts of meats, as it can’t maintain a temperature beyond 170 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it’s one of the top smokers on the market for grilling and smoking sausages, chicken, vegetables, or burgers!
You might’ve to modify the smoker a bit by drilling holes into the charcoal pan for better airflow.
- Best for smoking or grilling tiny items
- Lightweight and portable
- Beautiful design
- Doesn’t require much effort from your end
- The lid may not fit perfectly
- Issues with in-built thermometer
As I mentioned earlier, smoking is an art, and finding the right smoker is essential to get something beautiful out of it. Moreover, you don’t have to get an expensive digital electric smoker to enjoy smoking as a beginner. If you’ve just started conducting BBQs, I hope the smokers listed above help you become a true pitmaster soon!