Devon Ferguson
Published by Devon Ferguson
Last Updated On: September 23, 2022

If you are new to smoking meat, you may be wondering what type of smoker is best for you. Many different types and brands of smokers are on the market, and deciding which one to buy can be overwhelming.

I have been a dedicated smoker for over a decade and have used every smoker out there.

That is why I can confidently tell you about the best smokers for a beginner to use. Read on to see what smokers will help you get a great taste even without much experience.

Editor's Choice
Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker
Weber
Price
4.5
Material
5.0
Quality
5.0
Capacity
4.7
Overall Score
4.8
Click For Best Price
#2nd Best Choice
Pit Boss Copperhead 3-Series Wood Pellet Vertical Smoker
Pit Boss
Price
4.0
Material
5.0
Quality
5.0
Capacity
4.5
Overall Score
4.6
Click For Best Price
#3rd Best Choice
Z Grills-7002B2E 8-in-1 Smoker
Z Grills
Price
3.8
Material
4.6
Quality
4.8
Capacity
4.0
Overall Score
4.3
Click For Best Price

Our Top Products

1

Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker 22"

The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker 22" is one of the best smokers for a beginner.

It is simple to use and easy to control the temperature, making it perfect for someone just starting out.

The two large cooking grates also give you plenty of space to smoke multiple items at once, so you can experiment with different recipes.

This charcoal smoker comes with easy-to-control dampers that make it simple to adjust the temperature. And with an integrated thermometer in the lid, it is a breeze to monitor the internal temperature of your smoker.

The smoker also comes with an integrated water pan, which helps to regulate the interior temperature and keeps the meat moist as it smokes.

I appreciate that this smoker has a removable fuel door, so I can add wood or charcoal without fear of spillage or burning myself.

That is a useful feature for a beginner, making adding fuel simpler and less messy. This is helpful if adding more fuel mid-smoke or when you need to empty the ashes after cooking.

Pros
  • Lots of cooking space - enough for two large briskets at once
  • Temperature monitor to help you get the perfect cook
  • Removable fuel door for easy access when adding charcoal or wood
  • Dampers make it simple to control the heat
Cons
  • No wheels, so it is challenging to move around when hot

Quick Facts:

  • Product Dimensions : 48.5 x 23 x 24 inches
  • Wattage : N/A
  • Cooking Surface : 726 square inches
  • Hopper Capacity : N/A
  • Fuel Type : Charcoal
  • Material : Porcelain-enameled metal
2

Pit Boss Copperhead 3-Series Wood Pellet Vertical Smoker

The Pit Boss Copperhead 3-Series Wood Pellet Vertical Smoker has thick-walled insulation that lets you cook at any temperature range from 150 to 420 degrees Fahrenheit - higher than many other smokers.

And this pellet grill also comes with an easy-to-use digital control panel that makes it simple to set the temperature and timer.

That is a huge bonus I would have loved to have back in the day when I started learning the ropes of smoking.

The large-capacity hopper lets you smoke for 18 hours without adding extra fuel, and the see-through front door panel lets you monitor the cooking process without letting the heat escape.

I appreciate that this pellet smoker comes with an included meat probe thermometer.

This takes the guesswork out of smoking meat. The pellet grill also has four porcelain-coated racks that are easy to clean [1].

Pros
  • Digital control panel for easy temperature and timer management
  • Included meat probe thermometer
  • Four caster wheels for easy movement
Cons
  • On the heavier side of pellet smokers

Quick Facts:

  • Product Dimensions : 22 x 52 x 25 inches
  • Wattage : N/A
  • Cooking Surface : 721 square inches
  • Hopper Capacity : 18 hours
  • Fuel Type : Wood Pellet
  • Material : Copper-finished metal
3

Z Grills-7002B2E 8-in-1 Smoker

The Z-Grills-7002B2E is more than just a traditional smoker. In addition to smoking meat, it can also sear, grill, BBQ, bake, roast, braise, and char-grill with a delicious wood-fired flavor.

The convection system eliminates flare-ups and hot spots, so your food always cooks evenly.

This pellet grill has an automated electric feed system that adds wood pellets as needed to maintain the set temperature.

This removes the guesswork from adding fuel and ensures that these pellet smokers maintain consistent heat. The digital control panel makes it simple to set the temperature.

I love that this pellet grill is big enough to cook more than two dozen burgers or smoke six racks of ribs without constant monitoring or adding fuel.

And with the large hopper, I never have to worry about refueling in the middle of a smoking session.

Pros
  • Automated variable speed fan with augur-type electric feed system
  • Comes with a rain cover for protection from the elements
  • A large hopper holds 20 pounds of pellets
Cons
  • It can be hard to remove excess pellets after use

Quick Facts:

  • Product Dimensions : 22 x 40 x 21 inches
  • Wattage : N/A
  • Cooking Surface : 697 square inches
  • Hopper Capacity : Up to 33 hours
  • Fuel Type : Wood pellet
  • Material : Metal body and Stainless Steel lid
4

18.5" Classic Pit Barrel Cooker

The 18.5" Classic Pit Barrel Cooker is a drum cooker designed for fool-proof cooking.

The air-flow convection brings the heat up and around the meat, so there is no need to rotate or baste.

Even a beginner can cook perfectly smoked meats with little effort.

The cooker comes with eight stainless steel hooks so you can cook multiple pieces of meat at once. And the included charcoal basket and stand make it easy to set up and use.

The size of this 30-gallon drum means you can hang a couple of turkeys or eight racks of ribs.

I do like that this cooker comes with a standard grill grate for cooking smaller items. You can use it for burgers and veggies as easily as for brisket.

Further, it has holes on the side through which you can run wires for a meat thermometer.

Pros
  • Has a set-it-and-forget-it mode for easy smoking
  • Comes with eight stainless steel hooks and a standard grill grate
  • The 30-gallon drum can cook multiple hanging pieces of meat at once
Cons
  • Does not have a control panel

Quick Facts:

  • Product Dimensions : 21 x 25 x 36 inches
  • Wattage : N/A
  • Cooking Surface : 692 square inches
  • Hopper Capacity : N/A
  • Fuel Type : Charcoal
  • Material : Steel
5

Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, 30"

Like most electric smokers, this Masterbuilt Electric Smoker is easy to use if you’re a beginner.

It has a simple-to-use digital control panel that makes it simple to turn the unit on and off, set the cooking temperature, and provide the time to cook.

The electric heating element maintains consistent heat, so you can set it and forget it.

This electric smoker has four smoking racks that provide plenty of space for a family feast.

The built-in thermometer in the door means there is no need to open the electric smoker to check on the temperature, ensuring perfectly cooked meats every time.

I am a fan of the side-loading wood chip loading system. It means I can add wood chips without opening the door and releasing all the heat. And the grease drip tray is easy to remove for quick cleaning.

A beginner’s dream come true.

Pros
  • Set-and-forget ease with digital control panel
  • Low price option for beginning smokers
  • Side-loading wood chip tray for easy loading
Cons
  • The electric power cord is only 5 feet long

Quick Facts:

  • Product Dimensions : 20 x 20 x 33 inches
  • Wattage : 1500 Watts
  • Cooking Surface : 730 square inches
  • Hopper Capacity : N/A
  • Fuel Type : Electricity
  • Material : Steel
6

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker

The Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker is a solid choice for those who want to try traditional charcoal smoking but are on a budget.

It is made of heavy-duty steel construction and has a sliding steel charcoal pan for easy reloading and cleaning.

This versatile smoker has six height-adjustable racks that provide a remarkable total of 1176 square inches of cooking space in the cooking chamber.

“For most backyard offsets, the appropriate size of splits is something like two inches in diameter by about eight or nine inches in length. That will give you sustained heating and the right kind of flavor.”
- Smoking Dada BBQ, YouTube Channel

And the easy-to-read temperature gauge is located in the smoking chamber, so you can monitor the temperature without having to open the door and lose heat.

I like that this charcoal smoker has a double-door design. The firebox door has a built-in damper to help control the heat and smoke, while the main cooking chamber door has a stainless steel latch to provide a tight seal.

This design helps to prevent heat and smoke from escaping when you open the doors.

Pros
  • Heavy-duty steel construction
  • The vertical offset design allows for low and slow cooking
  • Six adjustable cooking racks provide a large amount of cooking space
Cons
  • A larger footprint makes storage difficult in smaller spaces

Quick Facts:

  • Product Dimensions : 20 x 35 x 47 inches
  • Wattage : N/A
  • Cooking Surface : 1176 square inches
  • Hopper Capacity : N/A
  • Fuel Type : Charcoal/ Wood
  • Material : Stainless Steel and Steel
7

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 Digital Charcoal Grill Smoker

The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 1050 Digital Charcoal Grill Smoker is a top-of-the-line smoker that will impress seasoned smokers while being simple enough to use by beginners.

Unlike most charcoal smokers, this one has a digital thermostat that keeps a consistent temperature within the unit.

The smoker accomplishes this using a gravity feeding system that sends charcoal into the fire as needed.

A digitally controlled fan adjusts air flow to maintain the desired temperature. And the unit has a wide range - from smoking at 225 degrees Fahrenheit to searing at 700.

I appreciate that the control system is Bluetooth and WiFi enabled. I can monitor my smoke and change temperatures from my phone.

I also like that this smoker has a solid 1050 square inches of cooking space and a convenient stainless steel side shelf for additional preparation space.

Pros
  • Easy to fill, gravity-fed charcoal hopper
  • Automated, digital controls for precise temperature
  • Rapid light-up - smoking in 10 minutes or searing in 15
Cons
  • Challenging to assemble

Quick Facts:

  • Product Dimensions : 61 x 52 x 33 inches
  • Wattage : N/A
  • Cooking Surface : 1080 square inches
  • Hopper Capacity : 16 pounds
  • Fuel Type : Charcoal
  • Material : Metal
8

Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill

The Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado is a good choice for beginning smokers who want to try a kamado-style grill.

This grill is known for maintaining even temperatures in the cooking chamber and producing tender, flavorful meat.

The built-in analog thermometer helps you keep track of the temperature inside the grill.

This model is made of triple-wall insulated alloy steel and has two adjustable dampers to control the temperature and amount of smoke.

The cooking grate is cast iron, which is ideal for evenly distributed heat and prominent sear marks.

I am a fan of the side shelves on this grill, as they provide additional preparation space. I also appreciate the handy storage area underneath the grill where I can keep my charcoal and other grilling essentials.

Pros
  • Easy clean-up with a simple-to-remove ash pan
  • Large, lockable caster wheels for easy movement
  • Removable warming rack for versatility
Cons
  • Has installed thermometer, but no automated temperature control

Quick Facts:

  • Product Dimensions : 31 x 45 x 47 inches
  • Wattage : N/A
  • Cooking Surface : 447 square inches
  • Hopper Capacity : N/A
  • Fuel Type : Charcoal
  • Material : Alloy Steel

Buyer's Guide

A person browsing in the phone

When searching for a beginner's smoker, there are a few things to keep in mind so that your initial smoking experiences are positive.

Here are some factors to consider:

Size

Your needs will be determined by the amount of food you plan on smoking at one time.

If you have a larger family or entertain often, the best smoker will have a lot of cooking space. However, a smaller unit will be fine if you only smoke meat for two or three people.

Offset smokers and pellet grills tend to be larger, while gas smokers and electric versions take up less space. A portable smoker is likely the smallest of all.

"From cavemen to the day in which we live now, BBQ has brought people together. Techniques and knowledge, passed down from generation to generation may have been improved as technology has improved, but one thing never changes, the fire and the ability to bring folks together, heritage."
- National Barbecue & Grilling Association

Remember that with a smoker, your meat does not have to be located on a grill rack.

Smoking meat can hang from the smoker's roof, allowing you to put more food in the unit than you would simply on the grill top.

Price

A person pulling money out of his wallet

Obviously, you don't want to spend more than you have to on a smoker.

But keep in mind that you usually get what you pay for with smoking. A cheap smoker will generally require more tinkering and maintenance to produce consistent results.

So, if you can afford it, it's often worth investing in a higher-quality smoker with the technology to help you automatically maintain the proper temperature.

Material

Smokers for beginners can be made from various materials, including ceramic, steel, cast iron, and stainless. Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks.

For instance, a kamado grill or ceramic smokers are very efficient at heat retention but can be quite heavy and expensive.

Steel smokers are less costly but don't retain heat as well. And, of course, some materials are more prone to weather degradation than others.

Fuel Type

A pile of wood for smoker

The type of fuel you use will also affect your smoking process. For a first smoker, we recommend charcoal and wood smokers.

Those traditional methods are relatively easy to use and produce good results.

However, if you're interested in trying a different fuel type, like wood pellets or electricity, smokers are available to accommodate those.

Electric smokers and pellet smokers have some advantages, like being easier to control the temperature, but they can also be more expensive.

Ease of Use

You'll want a beginner smoker that is easy to use and doesn't require a lot of fiddling to get the temperature just right.

Look for features like digital temperature controls and automatic shut-off to make your meat smoking experience as hassle-free as possible.

Newer technologies such as electric smokers, augur-driven pellet smokers, and gravity-fed vertical smokers can also be easier to use than traditional offset smokers.

Additionally, you can control smokers through wireless technology, like your smartphone, which can also be helpful.

Cleaning and Maintenance

A close up image of open smoker

Cleaning and maintaining your smoker is vital to ensure that it lasts for years and continues to produce great results.

Some smokers are certainly easier to clean than others, so look for features like removable ash pans and easy-access grease traps.

Electric smokers may create less smoke than pellet smokers or charcoal smokers, making it easier to clean.

Also, be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions on how to care for your smoker correctly.

Accessories

While not essential, some smoker accessories can make your smoking experience more enjoyable. Smoker covers, for instance, help to keep your smoker clean and protected when not in use.

It's also nice to have a unit on wheels so you can move it around as needed. Just ensure you buy the appropriately sized rain cover so that you can still move the grill with the cover on.

The best smoker may have extra space for your cooking implements. So a first smoker with side shelves, under-shelf storage, or under-smoker storage is ideal.

And a removable warming rack is helpful if you want to be able to cook different types of food simultaneously.

Warranty

A delivery guy wearing red attire holding a hand sign

When purchasing any type of smoker, it's always a good idea to see what kind of warranty the manufacturer offers.

This will give you well-deserved peace of mind in case something goes wrong with your purchase.

This is particularly true for high-tech items like electric smokers or pellet smokers, that may be more prone to having something break.

Additionally, some manufacturers are known to be better than others when it comes to honoring their warranties, so be sure to do your research before buying your first smoker.

Who Should Buy a Beginner's Smoker?

People who love working with automated temperature control and fuel delivery which frees up time to focus on other things, like socializing with their guests or preparing other dishes, should buy a beginners’ smoker.

And you may be shocked at how well one of these smokers performs without your constant maintenance.

Who Shouldn't Buy a Beginner's Smoker?

A woman thinking while holding her phone

People who like to tinker with their smoker and enjoy the challenge of getting the perfect amount of smoke flavor into the meat should not buy a beginner’s smoker.

These smokers are designed to be as easy to use as possible, so they might have more bells and whistles than more advanced smokers have.

Also, if you are someone who likes to smoke large quantities of meat at one time, a beginner's smoker might not have the capacity you need.

So, if you're looking for a smoker that you can really customize and experiment with, you may prefer to examine some of the more advanced options.

Related Articles:

FAQs

What Kind of Smoker Should a Beginner Get?

A beginner should get an electric or a charcoal smoker because they are the easiest to use.

Is It Worth Having a Smoker?

Yes, it is worth having a smoker if you are looking for a way to add flavor to your food. Smoking food gives it a unique taste you can't get from other cooking methods.

The Best Smoker for Beginners - Our Pick

All the smokers I reviewed have features that make them great for beginners.

However, the one that stands out the most is the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker 22". And I am not alone in our appreciation - this smoker has more than 4,300 five-star reviews on Amazon.

It has the best balance of ease of use, traditional flavor, and helpful technology. The two cooking racks, built-in thermometer, and water pan make it easy to cook for a large group.

Its handy fuel door allows you to add fuel or more wood chips to this charcoal or wood smoker without removing the entire lid.

So, If you're looking for the best smoker for beginners, check out the Weber Smokey Mountain smoker.

Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker 22"

Our #1 Recommendation

  • Lots of cooking space - enough for two large briskets at once
  • Temperature monitor to help you get the perfect cook
  • Removable fuel door for easy access when adding charcoal or wood
  • Dampers make it simple to control the heat
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of September

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