Best Electric Smokers Under $200

For ages, we are fascinated with the concept of automation and it is of no surprise that we are also seeking convenience in our food prep, especially on that takes a long time like smoked food. Here, we look at electric smokers and in particular, trying to find out what is the best electric smoker under 200 you can nowadays.

We are aware that not all of you have the time. So, if you are only looking a quick recommendation, we suggest that you go for the Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker. It is a well-made budget electric smoker that comes from a well-established brand. If you have the time, read on.

The Models That We Are Recommending In This Guide

What Are The Advantages Of An $200 Electric Smoker?

Advantage #1. They Are Convenient And Quick To Start Up

When you are using an electric smoker, you do not have to worry about not having enough fuel such as charcoal or propane. Just needed to attach it to a grid and you are ready to go. Of course, that is assuming that you have paid your electricity bills. Firing up the electric smokers do not necessitate the use of flames as the electric smoker uses coils to generate heat. That, in itself, is a huge advantage which we will elaborate more in the later part of the guide.

Moreover, the time taken to put together an electric smoker is close to none. Some of them are plug and play types, where the only thing you need to do is to take it out of the box, plug it into a grid, and there, you can use it already. Compared this to other types of smokers such as charcoal or propane smokers, these often take up to hours of your time to assemble. Some propane models are even complex enough to warrant hiring a handyman to put it together for you.

Advantage #2. They Do Not Have A Steep Learning Curve

One of the biggest benefits in using an electric smoker is that you do not have to spend multiple smokes just to get the hang of it, compared to traditional smokers which need experience in controlling the temperature and flames. This is also a big reason why beginners would prefer using electric smokers.

Electric smokers are also the easiest to use among the various types of smokers. You will just need to set the time and you can forget all about it until it’s done. For instance, you can set it up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee and went on with your business. When you come back in the evening, the smoke is done and all you need to do it is to satisfy your belly.

On the other hand, traditional smokers need a lot of babysitting, you probably need to be there to add charcoal or to add water or to open and close the vents. There seem to be numerous tasks to complete and you can’t really take your eyes off it.

Advantage #3. Electric Smokers Are Not Expensive To Run

This is how it ranks. Charcoal is more expensive than propane and propane is more expensive than electricity. While it is true that electric smokers can be quite costly to get at the beginning, the cost of running and maintaining them more than level the playing ground. Over the long run, the cost of smoking with an electric smoker significantly decrease as compared to a charcoal smoker or a gas smoker. Furthermore, you do not have to constantly replenish your charcoal or propane, that saves you a ton of money in petrol cost (you need to drive to get those stuff) and fuel cost over the long run.

Advantage #4. Timers

I mean it. Seriously, this is the best feature of using an electric smoker. The auto shut off function that comes with a timer make sure that your food won’t be overcooked or undercooked. And heck, upon shutting off, the electric smoker still maintains the temperature at a constant while it waits for you to get back. If you do not tend to a traditional grill in time, it is going to overcook your food.

Advantage #5. You Still Get That Taste

Yes, you can still get that taste, albeit not as strong as charcoal smokers. Why? That is because you are able to use wood chips with the electric smoker. Many thoughts that you wouldn’t be able to but that is a misconception. Remember that we are smoking food and without the use of any kind of wood chips or wood based fuel, we wouldn’t get smoke. The main difference of an electric smoker is the power source.

Advantage #6. They Can Be Indoor Friendly.

Unlike conventional smokers where using them indoors is a big no. It is a breach of most tenancy agreements (we haven’t seen any that doesn’t restrict the use of traditional smokers yet) and will likely cause the nearest fire department to dispatch an entire battalion of firemen to your building. Electric smokers’ releases smoke for the food but at just the right amount so that you will still get the flavor.

Advantage #7. Electric Smokers Are Safer To Use

Without any doubt, electric smokers are the safest to use. Conventional smokers use fire as a source of heat and have to be left alone for a long period of time for smoking. Managed inappropriately and that is a recipe for disaster. If you have young children or pets at home, it might better to get an electric smoker. Moreover, electric smokers come with fuses, that means that in the event that there is an accident, the fuse will melt, and the smoker will stop functioning and prevent a fire hazard. The only way to stop a charcoal or propane smoker from burning down the house is to call in the fire department.

What Are The Disadvantages Of An $200 Electric Smoker?

We will have to manage our expectations a little here. We are not saying that a cheap smoker must be inferior. Not necessarily. A cheap electric smoker can still get the job done, but with some compromises.

Disadvantage #1. They Cannot Reach A High Temperature

This really depends on what you are smoking. Many recipes out there often suggest a smoke temperature ranging from 225F to 250F and for this, even a cheap electric smoker can do the job well. But, if you are following a recipe that suggests a higher than usual temperature, then you might find that the smoker is inadequate for your needs.

To be able to make them under $200, you will have to understand that there are compromises to the build quality and material that they use. And that means that they will need to turn down the heating element wattage a little to accommodate for the less than ideal materials. They may be made with steel, but it might be a tad thinner than those expensive models. This is just material science.

Disadvantage #2. They May Be Limited In Space

More space means more materials. And more materials mean more moolah. To be able to provide with an electric smoker under $200, they will need to save some production cost. And often to refrain from compromising too much on the build quality, they will have to shed some expenses in the size department. They probably cannot make the structure thinner as that will mean they will have to reduce the capability of the heating element and by doing so, your electric smoker might be only just hot enough to cold smoke rather than hot smoking.

Disadvantage #3. You Might Be Missing Out The Fun

Some of us might find it fun to walk back and forth from the smoker to tend to the food. Watching the food turn from red to brownish just turns up our palette, if you get what we mean. Manually adding charcoal to the smoke just brings some sort of relief in our mundane life. Everything around us is already getting automated, so having something to do seems kind of fun sometimes. However, we do concur that this might not be a choice as some of us may live in an apartment.

Disadvantage #4. Electric Smoker Does Cost More

We know that we are on the topic of cheap electric smokers. But, with a $200 budget, it is not a stretch to say that you can be getting a quality charcoal smoker at this price. However, remember that we said that you will get your money worth in the long run when you have savings from using the grid. So, what can you do now? Start smoking!

What Are The Things To Think About Even If You Are Getting An Electric Smoker Under 200?

Consideration #1. The Wattage And The Temperature

This is arguably the most important thing, aside from cost, that you should really look at when choosing a budget electric smoker. The wattage is a primary determinant of the temperature of the smoker. And, we are usually going for the range of 800 to 1,200 watts for a decent smoke.

Consideration #2. The Smoking Space

We have mentioned that budget electric smoker kind of have a limit on how big it can get. Surely, it won’t be as big as a traditional smoker, but you can still expect to get some decent room from a $200 smoker.

Consideration #3. The Size Of The Electric Smoker

We are looking for one that is small and compact in size relative to the cooking space. What? You are surprised? A small and compact means that the material is thicker and a thicker a material is crucial to retain heat to smoke your food evenly. If you get one that has a large footprint, chances are the material stretched thinner.

Consideration #4. A Good Warranty

One of the good things that have happened in this century is competition. With competition among the manufacturer, many have tried to entice us with promises. And it is often easier to offer warranty than to give any kind of freebies. All they need to do is to make sure that their smoker is at the top of the game and chances are, they do not have to incur much expenses in offering you a warranty. It is free for them.

4 Best Electric Smokers To Give Yourself A Treat

#1. Masterbuilt 20071117 30″ Digital Electric Smoker

 

The first model on our list comes from Masterbuilt. This product features four chrome-coated smoking shelves of 174 square inches each. That gives a total of 696 square inches of cooking space. That is enough to smoke food for up to 17 people at once. The shelves are also removable so if you find the need to smoke whole birds, simply take the racks out and it should be enough.

During smoking, you will often need to add more wood chips to give that taste to your food. When you do that, generally, there will be some sort of temperature drop when you open the main smoke chamber. This model adopts a two door system where you can add chips into it without opening the main chamber, which translates into no loss of heat. Do take note that their door is opened at the side, which means that, ideally, you do not want to slot it in a corner where you cannot access the side door.

To control the temperature and to set a timer, you can do that from the digital panel at the top of the smoker. There is also an integrated thermostat for you to measure the internal temperature and adjust accordingly if you need to. Also, not forgetting to mention that the smoker is fully insulated, which it should be.

Drip pan and water tray are also included in the design. The drip pan collects the waste for easier disposal afterward. At the time of writing, the manufacturer offers a 90 day warranty on this product.

Features And Specifications Of The Product At A Glance

  • Cooking Area: 696 square inches.
  • How Many Cooking Racks: 4
  • Removable Racks: Yes
  • Cooking Temperature: Maxed at 275F
  • Grate Material: Chrome Coated
  • Dimensions: 19.9 x 20.5 x 33.3 inches
  • Weight: 39.3 pounds
  • Power Rating: 800 Watts
  • Cord Length: 6 feet
  • Warranty: 90 days Limited Warranty

#2. Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker

 

The next model comes from Char-Broil, a brand that many of us are familiar with. This model by Char-Broil features a cooking area of 544 square inches spread across 3 cooking shelves. The cooking shelves, themselves, are made with chrome-plated steel.

This smoker is also insulated with double wall. This means that the heat retention ability of this smoker is going to be top notch. To control the temperature, there is a door mounted temperature gauge. The thermostat is analog, not digital, so bear that in mind. To keep the heat and smoke in, you can lock the door with two latches, one at the top and the other at the bottom.

To access the wood chips tray and water tray, there is a front door for you to do that. This is also a two door design for minimal leakage of smoke and heat when you are topping up the chips. Personally, I like the front load design as compared to the side load design due to familiarity.

At the point of writing, Char-Broil offers a 1 year warranty on this product. Be sure to check it before you purchase as it might be different for you if you look at this guide at a different time than when we wrote it.

Features And Specifications Of The Product At A Glance

  • Cooking Area: 544 square inches.
  • How Many Cooking Racks: 3
  • Removable Racks: Yes
  • Cooking Temperature: 100F to 350F
  • Grate Material: Chrome Plated
  • Dimensions: 15 x 20.7 x 33.5 inches
  • Weight: 49.5 pounds
  • Power Rating: 1,000 Watts
  • Cord Length: 6 feet
  • Warranty: 1 Year Limited Warranty

#3. Masterbuilt MB20073716 Portable Electric Smoker

 

If you are liking the first model that we introduced but is looking for one that is smaller and more compact. Then check this out. This Masterbuilt smoker features two chrome racks that are enough to make food for a small crowd – about 4 chickens. The racks are removable when you need it to smoke a larger slab of meat.

Powering the smoker is a 1,400 watts heating element that can bring the smoker up to approximately 275F, which is enough for most recipes out there. The temperature is situated at the front and you will use it in conjunction with the analog control panel in front. This is a stark difference from the digital design in the other model, but this change has also contributed to the relatively lower price this has – which is great.

For easy transportation, the legs can be folded up so that it is easy for you to move it around the house or the backyard or to keep it in the garage during winter. The legs, when deployed, are also sturdy enough to keep it from wobbling during the smoking process.

At the time of writing, Masterbuilt is offering a 1 year warranty on this product, which is considered generous as compared to the other model. Often, we think that the longer the warranty that is offered, the better the build of this product as they are more confident of it lasting a long time.

Features And Specifications Of The Product At A Glance

  • Cooking Area: Guesstimate at 200 square inches.
  • How Many Cooking Racks: 2
  • Removable Racks: Yes
  • Cooking Temperature: 100F to 275F
  • Grate Material: Chrome Coated
  • Dimensions: 15.94 x 23.62 x 23.31 in
  • Weight: 21.81 pounds
  • Power Rating: 1,400 Watts
  • Cord Length: 4 feet
  • Warranty: 1 Year Limited Warranty

#4. Smokehouse Products Big Chief Front Load Smoker

 

The last but not the least model that makes our list comes from Smokehouse. From the name, you can probably tell that they specialize in smokers. And in this case, the electric smoker. This model is the most affordable out of the options we laid out in this list but with a catch. This model operates at a non-adjustable temperature of 165F.

So, depending on what recipes you are following, the temperature may or may not be enough for your needs. But, if you are okay with the temperature, it will stay relatively constant throughout the smoke. This model can smoke up to 50 pounds worth of food at one go. There are 5 chrome plated racks with approximately 400 square inches of space each.

The big chief is fully loaded at the front. There is no side or separate door for you to add wood chips in. The wood chips are added at the bottom of the electric smoker. Overall, this is a low cost, no frills, get the job done for most people kind of smoker.

At the point of writing, they are giving away a recipe book that helps you get on the ground running. Not only that, but they are trying to get your attention by also giving away a bag of hickory wood chips. The warranty on this product currently stands at 2 years.

Features And Specifications Of The Product At A Glance

  • Cooking Area: 50 pounds worth of meat
  • How Many Cooking Racks: 5
  • Removable Racks: Yes
  • Cooking Temperature: Fixed at 175F
  • Grate Material: Chrome Plated
  • Dimensions: 12.4 x 18.2 x 27.1 inches
  • Weight: 17.57 pounds
  • Power Rating: 450 Watts
  • Cord Length: 4 feet
  • Warranty: 2 Years Limited

Best Electric Smoker For Easy Smoked Food

In this guide, we have broken down the nooks and cranny of the things that you need to know about electric smokers under 200. The key is to manage your own expectations. While all of the smokers work well and get the job done, they do not come with fanciful features or award winning design. But that will do for most us. If at this point you are still undecided on which model to get, we suggest that you go for the Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker. It is a well made budget electric smoker that comes from a well-established brand, so we figured it will be the safest to start with.

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