Vertical smokers have multiple benefits as compared to the traditional horizontal ones. Firstly, they have significantly smaller footprints, which makes them suitable for people with limited outdoor space. Second of all, due to the laws of physics, the smoke and heat move upward, which means that the meat or other food in the vertical smoker will be better and more evenly smoked, and thus be juicier, tenderer, and tastier.
If you are wondering which vertical smoker is the most suitable option for your preferences for foods and recipes, your needs, available space, and budget, read on through our reviews of our top picks for the most recommended vertical smokers of all types for 2021.
The best vertical charcoal smoker
The Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) is no doubt among the most popular and bestselling charcoal smokers in our country.
If you are looking for a vertical charcoal smoker, then we strongly recommend the Smokey Mountain cooker.
The Weber Smokey Mountain was first introduced in 1981 and has since improved and become one of the top-rated and preferred charcoal smokers on the market.
It is a reasonably priced smoker, which is suitable for newbies and for experienced pitmasters alike.
It is a bullet-type smoker with a body made of sturdy porcelain enameled steel. Thanks to its vertical shape, this popular charcoal smoker is an excellent option for people with small patios and with limited outdoor space.
This incredible smoker could be upgraded with some essential WSM modifications.
The WSM is easy to set up and adjust so that the temperatures and the smoke remain consistent throughout the cooking with the help of the high-quality dampers and the specific body shape of the smoker.
Adding more coal during the cook is easy thanks to the large removable door.
Once you set it up, you can use a meat thermometer such as the Weber iGrill2, which you can easily set to the desired temperature and enjoy doing something else while the smoker does its job. Once the temperature is reached, the thermometer will alert you so that you can take the food out or go to the next step of your recipe.
The smoker has a built-in thermometer on the dome-shaped lid as well.
Despite its small footprint, the Weber Smokey Mountain cooker and smoker has a large cooking capacity. The 14-inch WSM has a cooking area of 276 sq. inches. The 18-inch one has 481 sq. inches, and the 22-inch model offers 726 square inches of cooking space.
This classic and much loved American vertical charcoal smoker is backed by a 10-year warranty for the body, bowl, and lid, 5-years for the cleaning system and plastic parts, and 2-years for the remaining parts.
Are you new to smoking? Check our guide for the best smokers for beginners.
The best vertical pellet smoker
The Pit Boss Sportsman is our top choice for the finest vertical smoker fueled by wood pellets. It is a sturdy, bestselling smoker and the top model offered by Pit Boss.
This top-quality vertical pellet smoker has a massive cooking area of 1,853 square inches and six cooking racks, which can be removed or rearranged to fit more food or to fit larger foods, like a whole thanksgiving turkey.
The pellet smoker is made of heavy-gauge durable steel and has insulation that keeps the heat and the smoke inside the cooker for more consistent and better results.
This Pit Boss Sportsman vertical smoker is very easy to set up and start thanks to its automatic ignition and temperature controls which can be adjusted from 150 to 420 degrees Fahrenheit.
The vertical pellet grill has a large-capacity pellet hopper that can fit a total of 55 lbs. of pellets, so you won’t need to refill it so frequently during a low and slow smoking session.
The beautiful pellet smoker has a small footprint of 28 x 29 inches and has locking wheels for easy mobility.
The front door of the smoker is see-through, so you can keep an eye on the food without having to open it and letting the smoke and heat escape.
The top-recommended vertical wood pellet smoker is backed by a 5-year warranty by Pit Boss.
For a more budget-friendly option, you may want to check out this reasonably priced Pit Boss Copper vertical pellet smoker as well.
Related article: The best pellet smokers for 2021
The best vertical offset smoker
You don’t need to break the bank to buy a good quality, efficient, and high capacity vertical offset smoker. In fact, the Dyna-Glo vertical smoker is among the least expensive of all appliances we have added to this list.
Still, while it is affordable, this offset smoker is very well built from heavy-duty steel and will ensure that you smoke your brisket, ribs, or other meat or food of your choice via slow and low cooking for the most satisfying results.
Thanks to its offset design, the food will be smoked and cooked away from the direct heat, which means that you will have better tasting, tenderer, and smokier meat at the end.
The vertical offset smoker has a total cooking space of 1176 square inches and 784 square inches of smoking space. Each of its six removable cooking racks can hold up to 25 pounds of food.
It has a built-in thermometer with nifty smoke zone markings to monitor the smoke level and temperature without the need to open the door.
Thanks to the smoker’s charcoal chamber design, you can pack in the briquettes more tightly, and the excellent double insulation on the door also helps improve the fuel efficiency of this budget-friendly vertical smoker by Dyna-Glo.
The ash pan of this smoker is also large enough to hold large amounts of ashes eliminating the need to perform cleanups in the middle of your low and slow smoking.
The size of this vertical offset smoker is 20.2 (D) x 34.52 (W) x 47.03 (H) inches, and it weighs 57 lbs.
At this price and with this efficiency and quality of the construction, the Dyna-Glo is a highly recommended entry-level vertical offset smoker.
Related: The best offset smokers for 2021
The best vertical drum smoker
This is one of the top-selling drum smokers in the world, and although it may look simplistic, it is actually one of the most efficient charcoal vertical smokers you can buy at such an affordable price.
The 18.5-inch Classic Pit Barrel Cooker provides the unparalleled smoking and cooking performance of the good old ugly drum smoker.
Its body is made of a steel drug that is porcelain-enameled for added durability. Thanks to its vertical design, the smoking time is shortened as compared to regular smoking, thanks to the smoke and hot air moving upward directly through and to the meat or other food.
The Classic Pit Barrel Cooker is a set-and-forget smoker, and all you need to do is light it up and let it cook and smoke while you deal with other things.
The vertical drum smoker is sold with some very useful grilling and smoking accessories, including 2 hanging rods, a standard grill grate, 8 stainless steel hooks, a charcoal basket, and a hook remover tool.
This means that you will be set to start smoking or grilling immediately without having to buy additional accessories for this excellent vertical smoker.
Thanks to the added racks and hooks, you can use this smoker for versatile uses and for grilling or smoking meat and poultry of all sizes and shapes.
The size of this Classic Pit Barrel Cooker is 21 (W) x 31.1 (H) x 21 (D) inches, and it weighs 57 lbs., so it can be used as a portable smoker as well.
It is backed by a 1-year warranty and offers unbeatable value for the money asked.
The best large-capacity vertical smoker
The Chubby 3400 has an award-winning design and can be used for smoking, grilling, or barbecuing.
Despite the fact that this is a pro-range heavy-duty vertical smoker, the Backwoods Smoker Chubby 3400 is quite compact and portable with a size of 29 (H) x 21 (W) x 20.5 (D) and a weight of 138 lbs.
It comes with four removable 16.5 x 15.5-inch nickel-plated cooking racks and an added slider and has a total cooking area of 1,023 square inches.
You can use this power horse for preparing delicious food for large groups of people, as it can easily fit a brisket, thigh, and leg, along with a rack of ribs and a pork butt simultaneously.
The vertical charcoal smoker is entirely made of stainless steel with a removable water pan, which allows it to be converted to a barbecue or grill whenever you need to. It is powder-coated on the outside, so it will withstand all kinds of weather conditions.
The temperature can be adjusted from 180 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for low and slow cooking, as well as for grilling and cooking. It can fit up to 10 lbs. of charcoal at a time, so you won’t need to keep refueling it so frequently.
It is a sturdy and yet portable, versatile smoker and grill which is backed by a 1-year warranty.
Best of all, there is no assembly required for this excellent heavy-duty smoker.
The best vertical electric smoker
If you prefer the convenience of using an electric smoker and are looking for the top-rated vertical electric one on the market, then this unit by Bradley Smoker could be the right option for you.
It is compact and light with a small footprint. The size of this smoker is 14 x 17 x 31 inches, and it weighs 57.5 lbs. it is 24-inches wide when you attach the generator.
It is very sturdily built from stainless steel and has four removable and height-adjustable cooking racks, which will provide you with a cooking area of 520 square inches. The exterior is epoxy coated, and the cooking chamber is made of rust-resistant stainless steel, which is easy to clean.
This electric smoker has automated digital controls, so it is among the easiest to set and forget about.
The two heating elements will adjust themselves to the desired temperature during the cooking.
You can set this vertical smoker to the desired smoke level so that you can use it for all types of recipes and for all types of meat and even the most delicate fish.
The smoker has an automatic feeder for the Bradley briquettes and can ensure up to 8 hours of controlled smoke up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit without the need for refilling.
It also has an auto shut-off feature, so you can let it cook overnight or unattended without worrying about your food being overcooked. There is also a smartphone app to monitor and control the smoker remotely.
It is a solidly built, easy to set and use, and very compact electric smoker, which is backed by a 1-year warranty.
Check our comprehensive review for the best electric smokers on the market.
The best propane gas vertical smoker
If you are a fan of propane smokers and are looking for the top-rated propane vertical smoker, then you should check out this superb propane smoker by Masterbuilt.
It features the most precise automated temperature regulation via the ThermoTemp sensors, which automatically adjust the burners to the desired temperature throughout the smoking.
The burner can produce 15,750 BTUs per hour and is made of resilient stainless steel.
There is an integrated heat diffuser that helps spread the heat and smoke evenly.
The vertical propane smoker has a safety shut-off feature and will shut the propane gas automatically if the flame is extinguished.
This feature will let you rest assured that the smoker is safe to use, even if you leave it working overnight.
There is a nifty tank fuel gauge that will display how much propane is left in the tank at all times.
There is a double door that will allow you to refill it with wood chips without opening the main cooking chamber. You can keep an eye on the food cooking inside through the glass window on the door.
The vertical smoker is 22.8 x 28.7 x 53 inches in size and weighs 92 lbs.
It has four cooking racks, which offer a generous smoking space of 961 square inches. This is enough to cook large batches of food simultaneously and is excellent news if you like to entertain guests and host BBQ parties.
Overall, the Masterbuilt ThermoTemp propane vertical smoker is among the top recommended ones on our list if you want an appliance that can hold a consistent temperature and which can be left to do its job unattended without worrying.
It is easy to set and use and offers a massive cooking capacity for preparing mouthwatering smoked meat and vegetables.
We have attempted to present you with objective reviews of the top picks for the finest vertical smokers of all types, which can be found on the market in 2021.
All of them are of the highest quality and will help save space without compromising the cooking capacity.
Our top selections are the best ones of each type which we found for the money, so hopefully, there is one for any need and any budget.
Smoking will be much more efficient and can be faster with a good quality vertical quality because the heat and smoke rise up, and this will help the food inside the smoker get infused with a richer smokier flavor during the cooking.
Good luck with your choice, and enjoy your new vertical smoker!