Best Portable Smokers (2021’s Complete Buying Guide)

Smoked food is among the most popular meals around the globe. It has a way of bringing family and friends together. For this reason, investing in a top-quality smoker is a great decision to make as we all want our loved ones’ food prepared to perfection.

There are many types of smokers, all with different features. Some are better than others depending on the tasks they are capable of performing. Some are big while others are small. Some use charcoal to smoke while others utilize propane or electricity.

Of the above-mentioned smokers, our attention is directed to portable smokers. These are smokers that you can use indoors or outdoors.

Imagine going camping or on a road trip and having the ability to take your smoker with you. Sounds like fun, right? Especially, if your friends or family are with you on the trip.

Whether you are camping solo or as a group, smoking your food is a wonderful experience. You get to make meat, salads, cheese, or other foods just as you prefer them. Portable smokers have been a favorite tool for people who like outdoor smoking. The main catch is that they end up being in service for a long time. This is because they are shielded from harsh outdoor conditions when they are not in use.

Rusting, gathering dust and decaying are among the harsh conditions that beget importable smokers. This is because they are forever stationed outside in the open. These cases are unlikely to happen to portable smokers.

Are you looking for an excellent portable smoker, wondering how to go about it? We’ve got you.

Below is a list of the leading portable smokers, armed with their descriptions, and reviews from people who’ve purchased them. We will also equip you with information on the pros and cons of each gadget. With that, you’ll be fully aware of what you are getting yourself into before buying them.

List of the Leading Portable Smokers

As stated earlier, there are many high-quality and durable portable smokers in the market. Below is a compilation of the best of them.

Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36″ Propane Smoker, Black


This is a black portable smoker. It weighs about 40 pounds, making it easy to carry around.

The Cuisinart smoker runs on propane, a liquified petroleum gas. This gas is largely available and can be refilled upon exhaustion.

The amazing thing about this vertical smoker is that it has an inbuilt thermometer, hence no need to buy an extra one. The thermometer is visibly stationed right at the smoker’s front door. This makes the monitoring of internal temperature convenient.

Another great feature of this portable smoker is that it has a vent that’s used in controlling the smoke and total temperature. This gives you the option of adjusting the heat used for smoking.

The smoker’s door has a handle that is twisted to seal it tight. This helps the food smoke remain undisturbed until the set time is up. Water and wood chips are held by a steel tray. This storage setup makes it easy to clean the smoker after use.

There are 4 internal racks inside the smoker. These come in handy when smoking large chunks of meat, especially full poultry. The racks are easy to clean and are also dishwasher-friendly.

The spacious interior of this smoker ensures that there is enough space to smoke as much meat as possible. The availability of multiple trays also makes it possible to smoke vegetables and other side dishes alongside the main dish. The internal dimensions of the smoker are 5.45 feet squared.

Pros

  • Using the smoker is easy.
  • It is made of good quality material that protects it from damaging elements such as rust.
  • Assembling the smoker is an easy task.
  • It has an inbuilt thermometer.
  • It is made of lightweight material, making it easy to move around.
  • It has a spacious interior.

Con

  • It may not be suitable for cold smoking.

Masterbuilt 20050116 Patio-2-Portable Propane Smoker


This portable smoker has knobs that are used to regulate the temperature. You can turn them on either side and adjust the flames to produce the required amount of heat.

When its ashtray is full to capacity, you can remove it, discard the ash, clean it then put it back. When removing the ashtray from the smoker, the tray that holds the wood chips slides out to make way. This prevents the ash from spilling over inside the smoker. Also, after use, cleaning and maintenance become a seamless process.

The oils, fats, and sauce dripping from the foods are not likely to interfere with the fire or dirty the smoker’s interiors. This is prevented by the presence of a grease tray placed under the foods on the grate. The tray is removable and easy to clean. It is placed in a strategic way to make it easy to capture the food drippings.

It has an inbuilt gauge that takes the internal temperature. With this, it is easy to monitor the temperature inside the smoker and know when to adjust it.

Its ignition mode is a push-button. To light the burner, you’ll only need to push the button. The burner has foldable legs which help create storage space and makes it easy to transport.

Other features include a water bowl that holds water inside the smoker. This helps in temperature regulation, that is, cooling the smoker’s interior. It also creates moisture and gives the food a steamy flavor. Two racks are used for smoking the foods. These racks are coated using chrome for the safety of the smoking food.

The Masterbuilt Propane Smoker works best for ham and full turkeys. It smokes on propane gas that can get refilled whenever it runs low. An air damper present in the smoker makes the regulation of moisture easy. It also controls smoke and temperature.

Stainless steel is used to make the burners. This ensures long and rust-free life.

Pros

  • Foldable legs that are easy to set back up.
  • It is light and easy to transport.
  • It has a push-lighter.
  • It is spacious.
  • Presence of temperature knobs for easy adjustment of temperature.
  • It has an inbuilt temperature gauge.

Con

  • Produces high heat that may be too extreme for smoking light meats or normal cooking.

Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical 18″ Charcoal Smoker


This smoker is powered by charcoal. The heat produced by this fuel smokes the wood chips on the burner, producing enough smoke to give the food a smoky flavor.

It has a cylindrical shape which minimizes the space it occupies in the store or inside a vehicle when being transported. The two handles on the side make it easy to ferry around.  It weighs 25 pounds, light enough for portability.

Its cooking space measures 510 inches sq. There are two racks made of stainless steel that measure 18″ and are responsible for the size of the cooking space. The space is sufficient to smoke medium-sized meat chunks and other types of food.

This smoker has two air vents. This makes it easy to control heat, temperature, and the exit of smoke through these vents. The stainless steel material used to make it is resistant to corrosion and enhances its durability.

The compact shape of the smoker makes it heat in an even way, thus food gets smoked to perfection.

Pros

  • Cleaning the smoker is an easy task.
  • Assembling its parts takes a short time.
  • It is made of durable material.
  • It has two racks, creating more space for smoking food.
  • The presence of double ventilation makes it easy to control heat.

Cons

  • Slightly bulky.
  • It can be leaky if not assembled correctly.

Z Grills ZPG-450A 2020 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker


This smoker weighs 84 pounds hence is not too heavy to move around. It can perform about 8 different tasks including, braising, searing, baking, roasting, barbecuing, char-grilling, smoking, and grilling.

It is made in small sizes. This makes it perfect for families and households that are small.

The sturdy steel used to make this smoker ensures its durability. It is also coated with a high-quality temperature powder to prevent damage caused by high temperatures.

It has an auto-ignition capability hence you won’t have to struggle with lighting papers to ignite the pellets.

Due to its compact size, this smoker is capable of using the least amount of pellets for the whole smoking process. You will, therefore, not need to keep refilling the pellets because it smokes longer using fewer pellets than other models.

The smoker is made using PID technology. This ensures a steady supply of temperature in the smoker, resulting in the consistency of the food smoked. It is suitable for slow smoking for up to 20 hours. Ribs and hot dogs are among the best-suited foods to smoke or grill in this smoker.

The wheelers on the legs make it easy to transport as you’ll only be required to push it.

Pros

  • It is anti-corrosion.
  • The temperature settings are automatic and they are displayed in LED light.
  • It is electronically started using the auto-ignite option.
  • It has enough space on the grill to smoke a variety of foods.
  • It performs more than one task.
  • Ease of assembly.
  • The presence of wheelers makes it easy to move with ease.
  • Perfect for slow cooking.

Cons

  • The space may not be big enough for large family meals.
  • The motor can get very loud.

Char-Broil Vertical Liquid Propane Gas Smoker


It is available in black and smokes on petroleum gas that’s liquefied. The weight of this smoker is about 25 pounds. It is designed vertically in a compact way and is shaped like a cabinet.

The smoker’s gas features create an allowance for the perfect smoky experience. It contains two porcelain pans for holding water and wood chips in place. The water is used as a coolant as well as a source of moisture. When the steam mixes with smoke, a smoky and steamy flavor is recreated on the food.

It has a large cooking space that can accommodate large chunks of meat and full poultry. The space measures 7566 inches cubed.

The grates are coated with chrome and they are 3 in number. The coating prevents them from getting destroyed by oil drippings from food as well as the smoke itself. It also makes the grates easy to clean. Having 3 grates means that one can perform three tasks concurrently.

Pros

  • It consists of 3 racks for both warming and smoking food.
  • It has an inbuilt thermometer.
  • The interior is spacious and can handle a lot of food.
  • The material used to make works well as an insulator. This regulates the heat in the smoker.

Con

  • The built-in thermometer may be flimsy, requiring you to use another thermometer.

Masterbuilt Portable Propane BBQ Smoker


This smoker is built to give you the ultimate camping or outdoor experience. It is designed with a small-framed silver exterior but a spacious interior. The legs of this smoker can be folded when not in use, making it occupy small storage space.

The temperature gauge is easy to read. It is inbuilt but stationed at the outer part of the smoker, to tell you the temperature without opening the smoker doors.

It comes with two pans, one for the wood chips and the other one for holding the water.

For tailgating, camping, outdoor smoking, and other activities, this is your go-to smoker.

Pros

  • Foldable legs for easy storage.
  • Inbuilt thermometer gauge hence you won’t need a detachable thermometer.
  • Compact shape and size, making it easy to move around.
  • Ease of assembly.
  • It’s made of corrosion-free material with an appealing silver coating.

Con

  • For a safe setup, a flat surface is required. It may be hard to operate on steep grounds.

Portable Wood Pellet Grill


This portable smoker has been listed among the most technologically advanced smokers ever built.

It weighs 200 pounds and has four wheels attached to its legs. This makes it easy and convenient to move.

Nothing comes close to the meat probes that are built in this portable smoker. Not to forget its ability to connect to WiFi for the smooth running of your smoking activities. This tech advancement gives you the ability to control the process of cooking or smoking, despite your location.

Its six-year warranty guarantees you great service. The manufacturer’s confidence in this item is all the assurance you need to know that it’s going to offer you the service of a lifetime.

The ignition system is inbuilt and consists of hot-flash ceramic technology. The stainless steel material used to manufacture the smoker prevents it from corrosion and rusting.

Both meat probes are plugged into the controller of the grill. With this, temperature control is easy as you’ll use your smart device to control the grill temperature.

The grill is multipurpose. Besides smoking, it can also grill, roast, broil, sear, and act as a meat probe dehydrator.

Its temperature is capable of shooting up to 500° F. It is, therefore, capable of handling foods that require a high-temperature configuration. Using the smart tech temperature control, the smoker cools down as fast as it heats up.

Pros

  • Easy temperature control.
  • High material-quality.
  • Using this smoker is easy since you rely heavily on smart technology.
  • It has a long-term warranty.
  • The drip pan keeps it free from oils and dirt.
  • It is instant such that when the food is cooked as required, it turns off instantly.
  • Easy to assemble.
  • It has wheelers for easy portability.
  • The presence of two probes makes it easy to cook more food.

Cons

  • Heavier than other models.
  • May be harder to control manually in the absence of a WiFi network.

Char-Griller E22424 Table Top Charcoal Grill


The Char-Griller E22424 tabletop charcoal grill is made of cast iron and is considered ideal for the Texas smoking style. Its weight measures about 41 pounds.

This smoker can be easily attached to Char-Griller barrels of all models. Its grill comes in two designs: the table-top style and the Texas-style that’s horizontal.

The sliding drawers ease access to ashes and the coal. You can add the coals by sliding the drawer outwards then slide it back when you are done. The same happens with the ashtray when it’s time to clean up.

Its handles may seem hot to touch but that is not the case. They are made of materials that remain cool throughout the cooking process.

You can use the firebox on the side for other activities. When you are done using it, you can easily go back to using the smoker.

The smoker is perfect for tailgating, camping, picnics, and other outdoor activities.

Pros

  • Durable material.
  • Easy to carry.
  • Easy to assemble.
  • Large cooking space.
  • Easy heat control using the 2 dampers that comes with it.
  • Offers a Texas grill style of smoking.

Con

  •  The grill is too close to the cooking grates. One may alter the function of the other.

Masterbuilt 20073716 Portable Electric Smoker


This is an electric smoker whose source of fuel is electricity. It weighs 21.6 pounds and can be transported with ease.

Its foldable legs make storage and transportation easy. It is equipped with simple power controls whose settings can be high, low, or medium. This means that you don’t have to deal with the mess that comes with the addition of charcoal and other smoking elements when regulating heat in other smokers.

The external temperature gauge is well calibrated and easy to read. Its heating element is at 1400 watts. There are also two racks coated with chrome and are suitable for cold smoking.

This smoker has a pan that holds water during the smoking process. It also has a tray on which the wood chips are placed during smoking.

The two handles on the side can be used to carry it around. It is, therefore, well suited for road trips, tailgating, backyard smoking as well as camping.

Pros

  • Easy to control the temperature.
  • Assembling the smoker is an easy task.
  • It is light and portable.
  • Foldable legs that make storage and transportation easy.
  • A large cooking space that can accommodate meals such as full turkeys.

Con

  • It only runs on electricity and may not be suitable for places that have no electric power.

Smokin-It Model #1 Electric Smoker


This is one of the three models of smokers created by this brand. The smokers are labeled by size, #1 being the smallest.

It is made with stainless steel of high quality which enhances its durability. The hinge on the door makes it lockable throughout the whole cooking process.

The wheels attached to the smoker’s legs make its transportation easy. To move it around, you’ll only need to push it forward.

It uses electricity, with an electric capacity of 400W. The interior of this smoker contains 3 racks, and there’s more space in between that can accommodate a 4th additional shelf.

The handles on its sides come in handy while lifting it, and their temperature remains cool despite all the heat that is inside the smoker.

You won’t need to figure out how to assemble it, as it is delivered while fully set and ready to use. There is a free sample of hickory chips delivered alongside the smoker.

Pros

  • Lockable door hinge that makes cooking easy without disturbance.
  • Compact shape and size.
  • Wheels on the legs for easy transportation.
  • It is already assembled hence time-saving.
  • Comes with a free sample of hickory wood chips.
  • Low power consumption.

Cons

  • Impossible to use without electric power.
  • May be too small for large families.

Royal Gourmet BBQ Charcoal Grill


The smoker is made using stainless steel, making it durable. It comes with a temperature gauge that helps you know the internal temperature that you are cooking with.

It uses charcoal or briquettes. Wood chips or pellets are used over hot coal for smoke production.

This smoker has a heat capacity of up to 400° F. This makes it suitable for both cold and hot smoking. It is also capable of smoking for long hours.

The material used to make it is heat resistant and has a black coating that prevents the original coating from peeling off.

It is fitted with a vent that regulates the heat and smoke inside the smoker. Its weight of 54.2 pounds and the wheels on its legs make it easy to transport.

The smoker comes with a removable ashtray that prevents the smoker from getting dirty or too clogged up with ashes.

Pros

  • Rust-free and heat resistant.
  • It is durable.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Easy to transport.
  • Large cooking space.
  • Easy smoke and temperature control owing to the smoker’s vent.

Cons

  • It has no auto-ignition capability.
  • It comes without the cover.

Factors to Look out for While Buying a Portable Smoker

Buying-a-Portable-Smoker
Photo credit: traeger

Size

Before buying a smoker, you must bear in mind the amount of food it can accommodate. If you intend to prepare food for a large number of people, a smoker with a large grill is the most suitable.

For smaller groups of people, medium or small-sized smokers are ideal.

Durability

Buy a smoker that is capable of serving you for a long time. Some may be more expensive than others – depending on the quality.

To decide on a smoker’s durability, consider other factors such as the material and coating used on it.

Price

Portable smokers have different costs depending on their features. If you are on a budget, a low-priced smoker may be the best choice. It may have fewer features compared to the others but it is not less of a smoker in any way.

If your budget allows it, a high-end smoker is a good idea. It may have added features and higher-quality material as compared to the others.

Sources of fuel

Fuel sources for smokers range from charcoal, electricity, liquified gas among others.

Consider the availability of that particular fuel. From there, make a decision of what suits you best.

To break it down further, consider the fuel consumption of each type of smoker. Some electric smokers consume more power than others.

Know the voltage of the smoker you intend to purchase and be advised accordingly. The same approach applies to gas and charcoal smokers.

Conclusion

Portable smokers make camping and other outdoor activities worth looking forward to.

There are many brands and models of smokers that are portable. There are also many factors to put into consideration before making a purchase for the same.

Having provided you with all you need to know about the finest portable smokers available in the market today, we hope you are in a better position to make an informed choice. Happy shopping!

Last update on 2021-10-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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