Fish can be challenging to smoke correctly. You don’t want to go crazy with too much heat and burn your meat. This is a problem with many popular smokers.

They are overkill for fish. That’s why we’ve tested and reviewed the best smoker for fish to help you find the best option for you.

The 10 Best Fish Smokers in 2021

1

Pit Boss 5-Series Wood Pellet Vertical Smoker

The Pit Boss Digital Smoker is an electric smoker with easy to use temperature control that makes cooking fish straightforward.

It comes with a viewing window, which means you don’t need to open the door and lose heat to check the food. This is among the best smokers for fish with an ample 1,513 square inches of space.

We like how it's also easy to move around with its four caster wheels and heavy-duty construction. It also includes an automatic start-up and cool-down system that makes cooking safe.

The wood pellet and chip tray are easy to remove and clean and make this smoker more convenient.

Pros
  • Simple to control fish smoker
  • Convenient to clean and maintain
  • 1,513 square inches of smoking space
  • Front viewing window
Cons
  • Must request warranty from manufacturer
2

Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker

The Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain is a charcoal smoker that, according to Weber, is best for infusing fish and other meats with a traditional smokehouse flavor.

We like it because of the versatility you have to either grill or smoke foods and the smoker's durability overall.

The Smokey Mountain Cooker is made from high-grade steel and comes with two easy to clean nickel plated smoking racks for ample cooking room.

The model is also easily portable, weighing in at only 39lbs (17.69 kilograms), and has a front thermometer for monitoring the internal temperature.

Pros
  • Lightweight yet durable construction
  • Easy to clean cooking chamber
  • Heavy-duty nickel plated smoking racks
  • Comes with complete buyer's guide
Cons
  • No food viewing window
3

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

Z Grills has been making quality pellet smokers for over 30 years, and this model shows the quality they put into each pellet grill.

The pellet smoker can infuse fish with a rich smoky flavor with a consistent temperature monitoring system and simple to use controls.

The smoker can cook at ranges of between 180 degrees and 450 degrees Fahrenheit (82 and 232 degrees celsius).

Z Grills also sells an optional wood pellet smoker tube for cold smoking at a lower temperature.

Pros
  • Infused rich smoky flavor
  • Simple to control wood pellet hopper
  • Hold 20lbs (9 kilograms) of pellets
  • Grill cover included in the price
Cons
  • Bulkier than other fish smokers
4

Smokehouse Products Big Chief Electric

Smokehouse has an advantage over other manufacturers in that their first model was made specifically for sport fishermen.

Though the unit has modernized a bit, Big Chief electric smokers are still solid options.

The durable aluminum construction provides a unique look with a non-adjustable heat element that burns at a consistent 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73.88 degrees Celsius).

The flavor fuel pan and drip pan are both dishwasher safe and provide a means of simple cleaning. We like the no-assembly construction and 50lb (22.67 kilograms) capacity.

Pros
  • Durable aluminum construction
  • Originally designed to use with fish
  • Consistent heat source
  • Cooking capacity up to 50lbs (22.67 kilograms)
Cons
  • No viewing window
  • No side carrying handles
5

Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Smoker

Cuisinart has a solid reputation for home kitchen appliances, and that carries over nicely to their smokers.

Their 30 inches (76.2 centimeters) electric smokers can be a good choice to use if you want an easy-to-use smoker.

The model boasts over 500 square inches of cooking space with a temperature range of between 100 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit (37.77 and 404.44 degrees celsius).

The smoker has a 1,800-watt heating element with three removable stainless steel shelves for easier cleaning.

Pros
  • 548 square inches of smoking space
  • Heavy-duty stainless steel design
  • 3-year limited warranty
  • Removable water and wood trays
Cons
  • Cover not included with smoker
  • No easy viewing window
6

Royal Gourmet SE2801 Electric Smoker with Adjustable Temperature Control

Royal Gourmet has a reputation for quality design, and their electric smokers are no different. We like the adjustable knob they have, making it easy to control the temperature.

The smoker also has an ample 457.86 square inches of cooking space spread out over three chrome-coated smoke racks.

The 1,500-watt heat element can operate at a minimum temperature of 240 degrees Fahrenheit (115.55 degrees Celsius) and 300 degrees Fahrenheit (148.88 degrees Celsius), a good temperature range for fish smoking.

Pros
  • 457 square inches of cooking space
  • Integrated door thermometer
  • Easy clean tray for wood chips
  • Adjustable temp control knob
Cons
  • Bulky and less portable
  • No front door viewing window
7

Smokehouse Products Little Chief Front Load Smoke

The Smokehouse Little Chief electric smoker comes in at one of the 5 best smokers for fish.

It’s the smaller version of the Smokehouse Big Chief capable of smoking up to 25lbs (11.33 kilograms) of meat.

The easy-to-use plug-and-go setup makes smoking convenient, with operating temperatures of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73.88 degrees Celsius).

The smoker has a removable tray for loading wood chips which makes cleanup easy. If you don't know how to use wood chips in your electric smoker be sure to read this guide. We also like the durable aluminum frame and front-loading design.

Pros
  • Smoke up to 25lbs (11.33 kilograms) of food
  • Consistent temperature settings
  • Easy clean wood chip tray
  • Durable aluminum construction
Cons
  • No cover included with smoker
  • No frog door viewing window
8

Masterbuilt MB20073519 Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker with Broiler

Masterbuilt is a favorite here, and their Bluetooth Digital Electric is one of the better smokers that we’ve ever used for fish smoking.

With the Bluetooth capabilities, you can monitor the heat from your phone for remote control and operation.

The 30 inches (76.2 centimeters) smoker has ample room and an easy side-mounted tube for wood pellets or chips. If you whish to learn which pellet smoker tube model we think is the best

Cleanup is easier compared to charcoal smokers while still providing a solid smoke flavor for your fish.

Pros
  • Remote monitoring and control
  • Side mount wood chip loader
  • Four chrome-plated smoke racks
  • Built-in meat probe
Cons
  • No cover included
  • Must request warranty from manufacturer
9

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker

We’re fans of Dyna-Glo smokers due to their durability and ease of use. Their vertical charcoal smokers are some of the best offset smoker models on the market.

This model has over 1,170 square inches of smoking area, making it the largest grill here. The offset design helps to grill by evenly distributing the heat and smoke.

This is one of the best charcoal smokers that we’ve tested and comes with a solid 25 lbs (11.33 kilograms) of smoking capacity per smoking rack. As long as you season your offset smoker properly, you won't have to look for a new smoker in years to come.

Pros
  • Thermometer with smoke zone indicator
  • 1,176 square inches of smoking space
  • Charcoal and ash management system
  • Six height-adjustable cooking grates
Cons
  • Now front viewing window
  • Bulky and less portable
10

Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker, Deluxe, Silver

Char-Broil manufactures numerous types of smokers, from natural gas to charcoal and propane smoker models.

Their Digital Electric Smoker is one of the better models that we’ve tested and may be a good option to use if you want something easier to use.

The smoker has a sturdy insulated double-wall construction with a glass door viewing window.

It has 725 square inches of smoking space spread over four adjustable grates, giving an ample room for smoking fish.

Pros
  • Simple to clean wood tray
  • 725 square inch capacity
  • Glassdoor for viewing
  • Wheels and handle for mobility
Cons
  • Weighs over 50lbs (22.67 kilograms)
  • Grill cover is not included

Buying Guide For Choosing A Fish Smoker

Different Types Fish Smokers

Type of Smoker

Charcoal

Charcoal is traditionally the better option as it is capable of using a richer smoke taste in your meat. The major downside is that it can be more difficult for beginners to use. However, if you opt for this kind of smoker, you should also read our review of the best charcoal for smoking.

Electric

Electric smokers are better for beginner users, especially the digital type with easy controls. However, these are not as portable as you will need a source of power.

Gas/Propane

Best propane smokers offer a nice balance with the ease of using an electric smoker but a richer smoke taste when used with wood chips.

“Gas smokers are ideal for cooking fish, roasting vegetables, or making a fast dinner of sausages and peppers.”

 

- Josh Cohen, New York Restaurateur (1)

Material Quality and Construction

With any smoker, one of the primary concerns you should have is what materials it’s built from and how durable the construction of the smoker is. The best smokers from reputable companies like Weber and Char-Broil are built with quality construction in mind.

For materials, you want the outer shell and grates to be constructed from insulative yet durable material. Two of the primary materials you should be on the lookout for are stainless steel or cast iron (2). Particularly stainless steel is a good option due to its ability to withstand corrosion and rust.

“Stainless Steel is widely used in food- and beverage-relevant applications because of its high corrosion resistance in combination with good mechanical properties.”

 

- Neda Mazinanian, KTH Royal Institute of Technology Division of Surface and Corrosion Science (3)

Heat Control and Temperature Range

smoking raw fish

Because filets can burn so easily, you want the ability to easily control the temperature range.

Therefore, it’s ideal that the smoker has some kind of numbered heat control settings such as the Weber Smokey Mountain has on the damper or some kind of precision digital control system (4).

Ease of Use and Maintenance

The easier that a smoker is to use, the more likely your meat will turn out correct.

If you don’t have any experience with charcoal, gas smokers and electric smokers can be good choices. Gas and electricity are a bit easier to control and also clean and maintain than charcoal and wood.

Total Cooking Area

Regarding the cooking area, the best smoker is the one that fulfills your specific needs. If you are only using your smoker for occasionally cooking a few filets for your family, you will be fine with 300 to 500 square inches of smoking space.

If you are regularly smoking for large groups, however, we recommend 800 square inches or more.

Dimensions and Weight

The dimensions and weight will affect how portable your fish smoker is. Some of the best models have been created to take on camping trips and other areas you might need them.

Consider if you will be traveling with your smoker and if so you should factor that in when looking for the best model for your needs. If you want to learn which portable smoker we think is best be sure to visit this page.

Warranty

Because smokers take a lot of abuse, buying a model that has a good warranty is essential. Ideally, you want to look for a model that provides at least a two-year warranty on all parts.

Pay particular attention as many companies will provide different warranty lengths on different parts of the smoker.

Extra Features

preparing before smoking meat

You can find numerous extra features when it comes to the best smoker for fish, and while many of them are helpful, not all of them are essential.

Some of the best extra features that we like to see include:

  • Shelving space for plates
  • Hooks for storing grill brushes
  • Meat probes for internal monitoring
  • Digital thermometers
  • Storage spade for gas tanks (propane smokers)

Tips on Smoking Fish

Fish can burn incredibly easily, and the last thing you want is to ruin your meal. Remember that lower temperatures and longer smoking times are always preferable to a charred meal. If you want a more smoky flavor, we recommend using one of the most recommended pellet tube smokers.

Make sure that you aren’t drying out your fish by smoking them for too long.

Fatty fish like tuna and salmon are better for smoking than salmon. This is because the fat absorbs the smoke flavor better than leaner fish with less fat content.

You also want to make sure you are using the right woods, so you don’t get any funny flavors. The best woods to use when smoking include:

  • Apple
  • Cedar
  • Cherry
  • Alder
  • Hickory
  • Maple
  • Pecan

FAQs

Will smoking fish ruin my smoker?

No. Smoking fish will not ruin your smoker. Many people think that the fish smell will get into the smoker, however, this should not be a concern if you are smoking at low temperatures and cleaning your smoker after each use.

What is the best temperature to smoke fish?

The ideal temperature to smoke fish is between 175 and 225 degrees Fahrenheit (79 and 107 degrees celsius). It’s possible to smoke at lower temperatures to ensure the flavor is being infused in the fish. However, you need to heat your meat to these temperatures for safety.

Do different fuel sources affect how smoked fish tastes?

Yes. Different fuel sources such as wood and gas can affect how fish tastes. It’s important to make sure you are using a wood type that matches the specific fish you are making. Because fish has a strong flavor, you want a wood that will infuse well into the meat.

Is cold-smoked fish safe?

Yes. Cold smoked fish is safe if you do it correctly. You must brine the meat to kill off bacteria. You should also ensure that you are not rushing the process. The primary reason people get sick from cold smoking is due to pulling the meat too early.

How long should you smoke fish?

You can smoke fish for a few hours at low temperatures for a rich wood taste. However, you should heat the meat between 175 and 225 degrees Fahrenheit (79 and 107 degrees Celsius) for at least 20 to 30 minutes to kill off parasites and bacteria.

Our Verdict For Best Fish Smoker

After extensively testing the best smokers and pouring through thousands of reviews, we’ve concluded that the Pit Boss 5-Series Wood Pellet Vertical Smoker may be the best smoker for fish.

It does a good job of infusing a rich smoky flavor into the meat, which can help balance out the fishy taste you want to avoid.

The model has a solid capacity for larger cookouts. We also like the rust-resistant steel frame, which can be good if you take your smoker near water.

Check out the Pit Boss 5-Series Wood Pellet Vertical Smoker if you want quality smoked fish.

Pit Boss 5-Series Wood Pellet Vertical Smoker

Our #1 Recommendation

  • Simple to control fish smoker
  • Convenient to clean and maintain
  • 1,513 square inches of smoking space
  • Front viewing window

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