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Best Smokers Under $400

The Weber 18-Inch Smokey Mountain Cooker is our top selection because of its ease of use, space-saving design, and outstanding performance throughout our tests. The Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker, which our tester loved for its straightforward interface, is an electric choice.

Despite technological advances, the particular taste of food cooked in a smoker is difficult to replicate—nothing rivals slow-cooked, smoke-kissed pork ribs or melt-in-your-mouth barbecue brisket. The “low and slow” cooking method breaks down collagen and melts fat, resulting in a delicate, juicy piece of meat with outstanding texture. Cooked in this manner, meats (and even vegetables) take on the distinct scents of charred oak and become highly tasty.

If you’re looking for the finest smokers under $400 to help you polish your technique and bring you one step closer to being a pitmaster, look no further.

1. Best Overall: Weber 18-Inch Smokey Mountain Cooker

 1. Best Overall: Weber 18-Inch Smokey Mountain Cooker

  Get it now on Amazon.com

What We Enjoy

  • Design that saves space
  • Simple smoking setup
  • Internal temperature is controlled by a large water basin.

What We Dislike

  • The assembly instructions are fairly ambiguous.
  • When used, it is difficult to observe the water level.

It would seem ridiculous to update a smoker as popular as Weber’s Smokey Mountain (WSM) Smoker, yet Weber listened to the fans and made just minor (requested) improvements to this unit, which won the #1 rank on our list after testing. The addition of a lid-mounted thermometer and a bottom-mounted heat shield has no effect on how this device functions, but it does make it a better smoker. Previously, you had to either drill a hole and insert your own thermometer or place one inside and open the lid to monitor the temperature. You can now readily observe the cooking temperature. The heat shield will protect any surface that you place your smoker on. Overall, a better WSM.

This smoker has a “quite sneaky trick under its sleeve” (in a good way), according to our product tester, in addition to the vents: a huge water pan that rests immediately over the coals helps keep the temperature steady by collecting heat and gently releasing it. It also prevents flare-ups by producing a moist cooking environment and acts as a tray for capturing fats and fluids. As an added bonus? You can flavor anything you’re cooking with the water bowl (such as adding apple cider vinegar to it).

While this smoker is normally priced somewhat over $400, it may be on sale. Alternatively, the 14-inch model is a more economical choice.

Check out Best Weber Grills in 2022

2. Best Electric: Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker

 2. Best Electric: Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker

  Get it now on Amazon.com

What We Enjoy

  • Simple user interface
  • Tight enough to fit in small locations
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Price is reasonable.

What We Dislike

  • There is no high-heat option.
  • It swiftly depletes smoking gasoline.

Review of the Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
Of course, one of the most well-known names in outdoor cooking is Char-Broil. This device, which is part of a broad range of electric refrigerator-style smokers, has digital controls and an insulated design that claims to make it simple to operate and efficient—and it is, in general. This little smoker has a reasonable capacity and a nice set of functions, and if yours works well, it might be a worthwhile purchase. The main disadvantage of all electric smokers of this sort is that smoke output might be restricted, so if you want a strong smoke taste, go elsewhere.

Our reviewer appreciates that the digital interface of this smoker is simple to operate and that the glass on the door allows him to see how the meal is developing. While the absence of high-heat choices is a major disadvantage of this electric smoker, he claims that it has a more consistent and stable temperature control than pellet smokers.

Check out Other Best Electric Smokers in 2022

3. Best Versatile: Camp Chef SMV24S 24-Inch Smoke Vault

 3. Best Versatile: Camp Chef SMV24S 24-Inch Smoke Vault

  Get it now on Amazon.com

What We Enjoy

  • Simple to set up and utilize
  • Temperature range: 160 to 400 degrees
  • The components are strong and well-made.
  • It immediately heats up.

What We Dislike

  • The door is not particularly airtight.
  • The temperature dial is not always accurate.

One issue with gas smokers is that the heat output might be regulated by a firm that believes it knows best. While smoking is done in a certain temperature range, the user should be able to choose whether to “flash” smoke or smoke at a low temperature. With a temperature range of 160 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, this Camp Chef smoker is much more adaptable than many gas smokers on the market. However, like other box-style gas smokers, the body isn’t insulated, and even if the door seals snugly, some smoke leakage is possible. People claim this smoker warms up fast and is simple to set up and operate, but they advise that getting the temperature consistent using the temperature control knob takes some skill.

Check out Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill Review

4. Best Value: Char-Griller Smokin Pro 830-Square-Inch Charcoal Grill With Side Fire Box

 4. Best Value: Char-Griller Smokin Pro 830-Square-Inch Charcoal Grill With Side Fire Box

  Get it now on Amazon.com

What We Enjoy

  • Priced reasonably
  • Heat is distributed uniformly.
  • A side smoker is also useful for offset grilling.
  • The ashtrays may be removed.

What We Dislike

  • Some claim that the paint on the bottom of the grill peels off after a few usage.
  • The grill is pretty substantial.

Another traditional offset firebox smoker is the Char-Griller. Because it works, this design is quite popular. The Char-Griller is simple to operate, and it even comes with a rotisserie kit. It also functions as a charcoal barbecue, as do other units of this kind. It is also one of the most affordable kind of smokers.

Several customers praised this smoker for how uniformly its cast iron grates spread heat and how well the side smoker performs, especially for offset cooking. It’s very simple to put together, and the grates endure a long time if properly maintained.

Check out Best Charcoal Smokers in 2022

5. The Best Charcoal Grills for Delicious Outdoor Cooking

 5. The Best Charcoal Grills for Delicious Outdoor Cooking

  Get it now on Amazon.com

What We Enjoy

  • Simple to construct
  • Durable construction
  • The temperature is roughly constant.
  • The meat is delicious and smoky.

What We Dislike

  • There is no drip tray.
  • The water/wood chip combination pan performs inconsistently.

This Cuisinart midsized smoker has 784 square inches of oven area, providing you plenty of room to smoke ribs, poultry, and other foods. Its small size means it won’t take up too much space on your patio, and the 40-inch hose is long enough to keep your gas tank out of the way. This smoker also has four 14-inch steel racks that are great for cooking big chunks of meat, entire fish, or your favorite veggies and can be removed to be hand-washed. Two doors provide access to the smoker’s inside, and a vent on the rear allows you to simply control the temperature.

Several consumers claim they had an easy time building this smoker due to its clear directions, and they like how durable it is and how well it maintains a somewhat steady cooking temperature. For the greatest results, some recommend utilizing the water and wood chip combo pan purely as a wood chip pan and the additional pan as a water pan and putting it on the lowest tier of the smoking chamber.

Check out Best Charcoal Grills in 2022

6. Best Charcoal: Pit Barrel Cooker Co. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package

 6. Best Charcoal: Pit Barrel Cooker Co. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package

  Get it now on Amazon.com

What We Enjoy

  • Large storage capacity
  • Set it and forget about it
  • In a very short amount of time, cooks
  • Heats uniformly

What We Dislike

  • The ash pan is available separately.

The Pit Barrel Cooker is a straightforward charcoal appliance that can cook up to eight racks of ribs at once. This smoker requires very little supervision and can be depended on to provide superb meals in a reasonably short length of time. It is designed to run consistently at roughly 300 degrees. While some may dispute that it isn’t a true smoker, others claim that it produces smoky tastes and delicious meals.

If you need more assistance in selecting the perfect product, see our purchasing a smoker guide. Before making a purchase, there are several factors to consider, including pricing, features, and fuel type.

7. Best for Smoke Flavor: Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker

 7. Best for Smoke Flavor: Smokehouse Big Chief Electric Smoker

  Get it now on Amazon.com

What We Enjoy

  • Excellent for smoking seafood and cheese.
  • Simple to use and clean
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight

What We Dislike

  • There is no stand included.

Purchase a separate smoker for smoking huge slices of outstanding barbecue. For over 55 years, the Big Chief and its smaller sibling, the Little Chief, have been created for smoking anything that doesn’t strictly fit under the genre of barbecue. Many pleased customers recommend this smoker for smoking fish, jerky, sausage, and cheese. Lower cooking temperatures that can’t be altered and good smoke output are useful for preserving meals and imparting smoky flavor to items you may not cook or finish elsewhere.

8. Best Large Capacity: Dyna-Glo Vertical Wide Body Offset Charcoal Smoker

 8. Best Large Capacity: Dyna-Glo Vertical Wide Body Offset Charcoal Smoker

  Get it now on Amazon.com

What We Enjoy

  • Simple to construct
  • There is a total of 1,890 square inches of cooking area.
  • Strong construction
  • Maintains temperature well

What We Dislike

  • Door seals might be used.

This vertical smoker includes an offset smoke box that keeps excess heat away from the food to prevent overcooking the bottom components while still providing excellent smoke throughout the cooking box.

The six movable cooking grates enable you to modify the height of the cooking surface for dishes of various thicknesses, allowing you to cook thin fillets on one rack, huge birds on another, and a wheel of cheese or a bowl of salt on another, with less wasted space between the items. With 1,890 square inches of cooking area, you may smoke up to 150 pounds of food in a single session.

This smoker’s outside is powder-coated steel, and the wood chip box is porcelain-enameled steel, so it will look excellent even after many years of usage. The robust handles make it simple to move the smoker to the ideal cooking location, and the inbuilt thermometer allows you to check the temperature without opening a door. You’ll undoubtedly like the grease system, which gathers both food drippings and humidity from the interior of the cooking chamber, making cleaning quick and simple.

Final Decision

The Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker is our top recommendation for a home smoker—a it’s perennial favorite owing to its adaptability and performance—but if you prefer an electric model, the Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker is a hands-off alternative for smoking that works well.

What to Look for in a Smoker for Less Than $400

Type of Fuel

Sure, any of these smokers will utilize wood to produce smoke, but you have options for how that wood is heated. Electric smokers are more handy, whilst charcoal smokers are more traditional. Another alternative is to use a gas grill. Because wood gives the taste, the fuel selection is more about personal preference.

Portability

While you won’t be moving your smoker very far, you may wish to store it in storage while not in use, or you may want to be able to relocate it to a better place in the yard if the wind unexpectedly changes. Consider if you’ll be able to move the smoker on your own or whether you’ll want assistance.

Check out The Best Gas Grills for Less Than $250 Best Gas Grills Under $500 in 2022

Cold Smoking Capability

Most smokers have little trouble with hot smoking, but cold smoking is more difficult. Do you want to cold smoke fish or bacon for supper, or do you want to smoke and prepare slabs of ribs or enormous hunks of brisket? If cold smoking isn’t something you want to try, don’t hunt for smokers who have that choice.

FAQs

How do you make use of a smoker?

Smokers, as opposed to grills, are used to cook items low and slow, giving smokey tastes and tenderizing pieces of meat. “Whether it’s a stick burner, pellet, gas, charcoal, or electric, all smokers are meant to cook food over smoldering low heat,” explains Mike Lang, Another Pint Please’s grilled food writer. Choose your meat and hardwood, soak the wood for an hour, then smoke for at least six to eight hours at a low temperature (about 200 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit).

Is it possible to produce beef jerky in a smoker?

You very certainly can. “Beef jerky is prepared by dehydrating lean slices of beef, which makes it excellent for slow cooking in a smoker,” Lang explains.

What meals are permissible for smoking?

Most people think of barbecue when they think of smoking: beef brisket, pork and spare ribs, beef short ribs, or pig shoulders. “After hours of cooking at low temperatures, these fat-laden meats transform into soft smoke-infused treats,” Lang adds. However, you are not limited to barbeque. When smoked, fish, sausage, and cheese all provide delectable results.

What is the best way to clean a smoker?

A wire grill brush, a wet/dry vacuum, and a lot of elbow grease are all required. “Smokers and their extended cooking durations leave them vulnerable to combustion accumulation,” Lang explains. As a result, he carefully cleans his smoker after four to five uses, pulling everything apart, removing extra gunk, and giving everything a thorough cleaning. A little wet/dry vacuum is a popular shortcut for removing ash from the smoker. “It saves time and keeps the kitchen clean for the next chef,” Lang explains.

Are there any essential smoking accessories?

Even if your smoker includes a built-in thermometer, a cordless digital thermometer is ideal for monitoring the smoker’s ambient temperature as well as the inside temperature of your meal. “Using technology allows you to go about your day while being in constant communication with your chef,” Lang explains. You’ll also need a lot of patience. “Unlike grilling, smoking is measured in hours rather than minutes,” Lang explains.