For new smoker users, propane can be a good option for learning how to smoke meats at the correct temperatures. The problem is, many smoker units claim to be good but leave a lot to be desired. We’ve narrowed down the ten best propane smokers to get you started towards smoking perfection.

10 Best Propane Smokers

1

Masterbuilt ThermoTemp XL

Masterbuilt has over 40 years of experience manufacturing everything from smokers to fryers and grills.

ThermoTemp XL is one of their high-end smokers and one of the best selling smokers on the market.

This model is meant for people who do serious smoking with the ability to cook up to 16 chickens, 10 racks of ribs, 20 fish fillets, or 169 jerky strips in one go.

We like the easy set and the fact that we can forget the gas control system and the safety shut off valve. This makes it more convenient to cook as you don’t need to constantly check temperatures.

Pros
  • Safety shut off valve
  • Temperature sensor control
  • Easy read tank fuel level gauge
  • 15,750 BTU burner
Cons
  • Less portable gas smoker
  • Heavier than an electric smoker
2

Dyna-Glo 36” Vertical Gas Smoker

Dyna-Glo is a less known manufacturer of gas grills and propane gas smoker models, but one we’ve come to like.

Their vertical LP gas smoker is well built using durable cast iron with a porcelain enameled steel wood chip box and stainless steel cooking grates.

The racks are height adjustable, allowing you to make room for larger meats such as briskets or turkeys or smaller items such as burgers and chicken. This can be a good option for the average person smoking food for the family or small gatherings.

Pros
  • Heavy-duty cast iron build
  • Stainless steel cooking racks
  • Double door system
  • Heavy gauge large capacity water bowl
Cons
  • No viewing window in door
  • Not easily portable
3

Cuisinart COS-244 Smoker

Cuisinart isn’t necessarily the first company you think of when it comes to smokers, but their COS-244 vertical 36” propane smoker is one of the best propane smokers on the market.

It’s a 36 inch 2 door propane gas smoker, which we like due to less heat loss when changing out water and wood.

The cooking capacity is also reasonable, with over  5 square feet of cooking space. The unit’s built-in temperature gauge makes it easy to monitor the internal cooking temperature and make adjustments as needed.

The only major downside with this unit is that it lacks any portability weighing in at 40 lbs.

Pros
  • Works with 20 lb propane gas tank
  • 2 door propane smoker
  • Porcelain-enameled steel trays
  • 40-inch hose and regulator
Cons
  • Must purchase cover separately
  • Have to request manufacturers warranty
4

Camp Chef Smoke Vault

Camp Chef makes unique looking and highly durable gas smokers.

They consistently make lists for best gas smokers, with the Camp Chef Smoke Vault getting the Amazon’s Choice designation for best Camp Chef smoker.

The unit includes two cooking grids and one jerky rack large enough for meats such as briskets and ribs or small meats such as burgers and sausage.

The Camp Chef comes with a door thermometer that can read temperature ranges between 50 and 550 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 107 degrees Celsius).

It also comes with a heavy gauge steel wood chip tray and water pan for infusing smoke flavor.

Pros
  • Easy to use cooking system
  • 18,000 BTU per hour output
  • Three adjustable damper valves
  • Easy clean removable porcelain base tray
Cons
  • Over 70 lbs total weight
  • Not a two-door system
5

Masterbuilt Dual Fuel Smoker

This is another Masterbuilt propane gas smoker that ranks as one of the best gas units due to ease of use and features.

We like the two-door build, which makes it easy to change out the wood chip tray and the four chrome-plated smoking racks that provide ample cooking surface.

The built-in temperature control system and gauge make monitoring heat and smoke levels easy.

We also like that this has an air damper for better moisture, heat, and smoke level control Overall, this unit can be a good option for the average person looking for something econsistent and reliable.

Read this guide on how to season a Masterbuilt propane smoker.

Pros
  • Chrome-plated smoking racks
  • Two-door smoking model
  • Easy clean removable water bowl
  • Built-in temperature gauge
Cons
  • No front viewing window in door
  • Not easily portable
6

Char-Broil Vertical Propane Smoker

Char-Broil is one of the top makers of gas smokers on the market.

We particularly like the Char-Broil Vertical Liquid Propane Gas Smoker as it's easy to use and comes with a convenient warming rack on top of the smoker.

The Char-Broil smoker features three smoking racks with almost 600 square inches of cooking space. The unit also has an easy temperature control knob and push-button ignition handy startup.

The bottom comes with a double drawer for the wood chip tray and water tray, allowing you to tend to both without causing heat loss in the main cooking chamber.

Pros
  • Use with a standard propane tank
  • Smoker comes with a warming unit
  • 595 square inches of cooking surface
  • Porcelain wood chip and water pan
Cons
  • No front viewing window in doors
  • Heavier than an electric smoker
7

Landmann USA Smoky Mountain Vertical Smoker

Landmann is a major producer of BBQ grills around the United States, Europe, and Australia.

Their Smoky Mountain Vertical LP gas smoker is a heavy-duty smoker roaster with over 1500 square inches of usable cooking area.

The smokers best for people who plan on cooking large amounts of food at one time as the smoker comes with almost 5 x the space as smaller gas smokers and electric smokers.

What we like about this unit are the multiple chambers, which make cooking and retaining heat easy.

It has a porcelain-coated water pan and a separate stainless steel box for wood chips along with the main cooking space.

Pros
  • Easy read temperature gauge
  • Works with standard propane tank
  • Easy clean steel box for wood chips
  • 1576-square inches of cooking space
Cons
  • Heat control technology could be better
  • Must purchase cover separately
8

Pit Boss 77435 Propane Smoker

The Pit Boss Vertical Gas Smoker is on the list for best smokers due to its great design and features.

We like that this has a front viewing window, which many gas grills don’t have.

It also has a dual burner system with a temperature range of between 100 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit (37.77 to 176 degrees Celsius).

The smoker box is equipped with three porcelain coated cooking grids totaling 800 square inches of total cooking surface.

The wood chip drawer and grease pan also have external access, which allows you to more easily maintain the internal cooking temperature.

Pros
  • Large food viewing window in door
  • Durable build quality
  • Detailed buyers guide
  • Food cooks evenly with dual burners
Cons
  • Does not have side handles
  • Weighs 50lbs (22.67 kilos)
9

Masterbuilt MB20050716

The final Masterbuilt gas smoker on our list, there is a lot to like about this compared to electric smokers.

One of the things we like most is the large window for viewing food. This makes heat control easier as you can monitor your food without opening the door and losing temperatures.

This is also a two-door vertical smoker allowing you to swap out wood and water without losing heat. The smokers best if you want to do some serious smoking with features like a heat diffuser for even heat all around and a type 1 regulator with fuel gauge.

Pros
  • Safety shut off valve
  • Heat diffuser for even smoking
  • Temperature sensor device controls burner
  • Four chrome-coated smoking racks
Cons
  • Not easily portable
  • Less affordable than some gas grills
10

Pit Boss 77425 Gas Smoker

The final on our list of best propane gas smokers is the PitBoss 77425.

This is a slightly smaller version of the above listed PitBoss smoker for people who don’t need as much smoking space to cook food.

This is another option that has a front window to make sure you're getting the best from your food. This also has two doors to make sure you're maintaining temperatures when cooking food.

This grills best for those that want a durable and easy to use gas smoker with plenty of cooking room for food.

Pros
  • Front-facing door widow
  • Durable stainless steel burners
  • External access to wood drawer
  • 884 square inches of food space
Cons
  • Almost 50 lbs (22.67 kilos) total weight
  • No warming racks

Who Are Propane Smokers For

person cooking

Propane smokers are best for people who want a solid smokey taste without worrying about the cleanup from charcoal.

These can also be good grills for newer smoker users who don’t know how to regulate temperatures with charcoal grills yet.

The best gas smokers will typically have an easy to read temperature knob which makes temp control a bit easier for newer users.

The grills best for this that we reviewed included all of the Masterbuilt lines such as the 44-inch.

Pros and Cons of a Propane Smoker

Pros
  • Perhaps the best thing about gas smokers is how easy they are to use. Unlike charcoal, which requires you to start the coals and keep them going, with LP, you simply turn it on and ignite the burner. This makes these smokers much easier to use than charcoal.
  • When compared to electric, they also provide a more rich smoke flavor. This typically provides the best balance between ease of use and performance. They are also usually cheaper to operate than charcoal.
Cons
  • One of the main disadvantages of smoking with liquid gas is that you won’t get the same smoke flavor as with charcoal. This can be mitigated by using wood pieces or a pellet tube to add extra smoke. However, for a more traditional flavor, charcoal is considered better by many smoking enthusiasts.
  • Another drawback of liquid gas is that you cannot cold smoke foods (1). With electric smokers and even charcoal smokers, you can get temps low enough for cold smoking. But, this isn’t possible with a gas smoker without an extra cold smoking device.

Propane Smokers Compared To Other Smoker Types

food smokers

Propane vs Electric

When compared to the best electric types, LP smoker units provide a richer smoke flavor with the ability to add additional smoke through wood pieces. Many BBQ enthusiasts will use either charcoal or propane for this reason, while few recommend electric.

Propane vs Charcoal

LP smoker units are considered the best of both worlds when compared to charcoal. Because charcoal can be difficult to get started and maintain temperatures, it can be difficult for new users to smoke meats correctly.

You can control the temperature better with gas grills.

- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Staff (2)

However, with liquid gas, starting the smoker is as simple as turning a knob and pushing a button.  This makes LP units the best option for new users who want a smoky flavor but don’t want to mess with starting charcoal briquettes.

How LP Smokers Work

Propane gas smokers work by using liquid propane gas as a fuel source to cook meat. This LP gas is connected to a burner through a hose regulated by a control knob. The best gas grills will have temperature readings for better control.

An ignitor switch or button is located near this knob, and after turning on the gas, the switch is used to ignite the burner. The gas flows consistently through the burner, allowing the flame to burn at a constant temperature and cook food evenly.

The grills best suited for cooking have two-door setups. This allows for the changing and insertion of water trays and wood trays without opening the cooking chamber, causing major temperature fluctuations.

What to Look For In A Smoker

outdoor propane smoker

Dimensions and Weight

Ideally, you want a smoker that has larger dimensions yet less weight. This means that you will have a greater cooking area but also better portability. Unfortunately, many vertical gas smokers are quite large and can weigh over 50 lbs (22.67 kilograms). It’s best to select grills that weigh 45 lbs (20.41 kilograms) or less and provide at least 800 square inches of cooking space.

Two Door Build

This is one of the more important factors to look at. Gas grills best suited for smoking will have two or more doors The purpose of this is to allow the cooking chamber to seal shut so that you don’t have to open it to change wood and water. You also want cooking doors that have windows, which can also cut down on needing to open the doors to check the meat.

Build Quality

Smoker build quality can range greatly, and you must choose the best build quality to last longer. Brands like Smoke Hollow and Masterbuilt are known for using durable cast iron and stainless steel. These are ideal materials for their anti-rusting properties and sturdiness.

Recommended Article: Smoke Hollow Electric Smoker

Cooking Area

As noted above, we prefer a smoker that has at least 800 square inches (5161.22 square centimeters) for the average user. We’re defining the average user as cooking regularly for a family of three or four and occasionally for larger groups.

One other thing to consider with the cooking surface is whether or not grates are adjustable. Just because you have the cooking area for a large turkey, for example, doesn’t mean you have the height.

Number of Grates

When purchasing a new smoker, we generally like there to be three grates or more. Three to four is the general number, with some having a mix of two grates and a jerky rack or some similar combination. If you plan on cooking large numbers of small meats such as jerky, burgers, or sausage links, it’s better to have more grates.

Grate Coating and Material

When it comes to cooking grates, we find the best to be cast iron or stainless steel. These both do a good job of conducting heat and are both durable and easy to clean (3). The best coatings are either chrome or, even better, porcelain. These can help the grates retain heat longer and spread more evenly.

Number of Burners

Most gas smokers will have a single burner in the center. However, if you can find one in your latest price range, the best smokers have two burners. Using two burners can allow you to have two wood and water trays, which can provide more smoke and more consistent burning temperatures.

temperature check

Temperature Range

There are two factors you have to look at when it comes to temp range. The first is the thermometer range so that you can get a precise reading, and the second is the potential range you can get your grill to.  Ideally, you want a range of between at least 50 and 550 degrees Fahrenheit (10 and 65.55 degrees celsius) for both (4).

When smoking, keep temperatures inside the smoker at 225°F to 300°F to keep meat a safe temperature while it cooks.

- United States Centers For Disease Control (5)

Extra Features

The main extra features you need to think about when it comes to a gas smoker are shelf storage and a rack for warming. You will probably want to set items like plates and cooking tools somewhere, and extra shelving is the solution. For pulling off meat that is done before the rest, a rack for warming is the solution to keep your food from going cold.

It can also be helpful if you find a model that has included meat probes. These can be used to measure meat's internal temperature, which will ensure you are cooking everything to a safe temperature.

“Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe internal temperature.”

 

- United States Department of Agriculture (6)

Ease of Assembly

The great thing about vertical smokers is that they don’t always require as much in the way of assembly as a barrel smoker. But, you will still need to do some putting together for your new grill. Ideally, you want to check reviews to see what others have said about ease of assembly. Some units, such as a few from Smoke Hollow, have a reputation for being difficult to work with.

Recommended Article: 10 Best Vertical Pellet Smoker

Ease of Cleaning

LP smokers are typically considered more straightforward to clean than their charcoal counterparts from brands like Smoke Hollow. However, there are still some considerations that can make one smoker easier to clean than others.

You want a smoker that has a removable water and wood tray. This will make it easier to clean everything overall. Also, consider that having two burners, while better for cooking, will make cleaning more of a chore.

Warranty

Warranty lengths can vary greatly when it comes to each smoker brand. Companies such as Smoke Hollow, for example, offer only a 1-year warranty. Some brands offer even less. We’ve seen as little as 90 days from the point of purchase.

The best warranty we have seen was for two years, but that was with only one company. Ideally, you want to find at least a year or more when you purchase a smoker.

Getting The Most Of Your Smoker

using a food smoker

Whether you have a monster 44-inch smoker or a smaller gas smoker made for occasional cookouts, there are some tips that you can take into consideration for better cooking.

First, do not ever put charcoal inside of your LP smoker. The temperatures that charcoal burns at are different than liquid propane gas, which can damage the burner.

The ash can also cause damage and clog up the holes.

Also, make sure you are regularly cleaning your smoker, preferably every three to five cooking sessions.

Many people complain of difficulties keeping internal temperatures high with LP smokers, but this usually boils down to poor maintenance.

Regularly check your smoker for leaks or other issues that could cause a loss in temperature. Also, make sure that you pay particular attention to details when you assemble your smoker. Minor overlooked details such as screws or seals that need to be tightened can lead to poor smoker performance.

FAQs

Are propane smokers any good?

Generally, yes. Propane smokers are good if you are new at grilling and smoking meats. Gas smokers, and electric smokers, are often easier to operate and maintain temperatures than charcoal smokers. This can be helpful for less experienced users learning to safely smoke meats.

Can you use charcoal in a propane smoker?

No. You cannot and should not try and use charcoal in a propane smoker. The burner device in gas grills is made specifically to handle the temperatures that gas will burn at. Using charcoal can damage the components by clogging them with ash and requiring expensive repairs.

How often do you add wood chips to a propane smoker?

You should typically add wood chips every five to six hours for a propane smoker. There is no hard and fast rule to follow, but it’s best to look at the quality of smoke you are getting. Thinner smoke generally means that it is time to replace or add more wood.

Is propane healthier than charcoal?

Yes. Many studies have found that propane is healthier than charcoal due to fewer carcinogenic substances produced during the smoking process. Aside from just the health issue, a gas smoker typically emits 3 to 5 x less CO2, which causes pollution (7).

How much propane does a smoker use?

The amount of propane that a gas smoker uses will vary depending on how often you cook and what food you are smoking. The general rule is that a gas smoker will use 1 to 2 lbs of smoker per session. This equates to about 8 to 10 cooking sessions on one tank.

How hot does a propane smoker get?

A propane smoker will generally have a temp range between 50 degrees and 450 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees and 232 degrees celsius). More experienced users may be able to get temperatures higher than this, depending on the technology.

And the #1 Propane Smoker is...

After thoroughly reviewing ten of the best gas grills, we’ve narrowed down the Masterbuilt ThermoTemp XL as our top pick for the best propane smoker on the market.

One of the things that stands out to us is the large window in the doors that allows for easy viewing of your food, something the runner up doesn’t have. It’s also got ample cooking space, making it a good choice for heavy-duty smoking.

The burner device technology is also better than other units with more precise settings for set and forget cooking abilities. Click here to check out the latest price and purchase the Masterbuilt ThermoTemp XL.

Key Features:

  • Large amount of cooking space
  • Easy food viewing window
  • Stainless steel wood tray
  • Precise heat setting device

Masterbuilt ThermoTemp XL

Our #1 Recommendation

  • Safety shut off valve
  • Temperature sensor control
  • Easy read tank fuel level gauge
  • 15,750 BTU burner
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of November

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