Best Propane Smoker: Reviews Of The Top Ones
For the perfectly smoked meat- smoked according to your preferences- use the best propane smoker.
It is to see that this newer, more advanced smoker has become the most preferred choice for many homeowners. It is slowly replacing earlier models like the charcoal grill, pellet smoker, electric, etc.
It’s also a fact that it is much easier and hassle-free to use, portable (doesn’t require any electrical connection), and is also highly affordable.
And yes, it’ll take your cooking skill to the next level when preparing your favorite barbecue or food.
In the following guide, I’ll take you through some vital information that will help you in choosing the perfect propane smoker for your home.
Moreover, I’ll share with you the reviews of the 10 most popular smokers on the market today.
Let’s get it started…
What's a Propane Smoker?
We start with a brief description of a propane smoker and what it entails…
A propane smoker refers to a type of smoker that uses the propane gas as fuel. A typical propane smoker takes the shape of a compact gym locker. However, you can find some models featuring other shapes- depending on the manufacturer.
At the base of the propane smoker, you’ll find a burner connecting to the propane gas tank (some people to connect it to a natural gas line- for the natural gas compatible models).
Right above the burner, you’ll encounter a pan or try for the smoking chips, sawdust, or wood chunks.
Between the pan/tray the smoking chamber, you’ll find a water pan that helps keep the atmosphere moist when cooking for long.
At the top of this unit, you’ll get one (or more) chimneys, or adjustable drapers, whose primary role involves venting the smoke.
Now, you might be wondering what makes the propane smoker a darling for many homeowners. When researching the best models on the market, I noted that all the users of this smoker provide you with the following benefits:
Also, maintaining smoking temperatures in this smoker is quite easier than in other smoker types.
These are the top reasons for earning the propane smokers insane popularity across the states.
The Pros and Cons a Propane Smoker
A propane smoker is very similar in functionality and style as an electric smoker. Instead of an electric element that generates heat and causing the wood to smoke, a gas burner does this work.
Thermostats are not present in this type of smoker but a bimetal thermometer installed on the door of the portable propane smoker can be used to check the temperature. This type of grill/vertical gas smoker is commonly found in your local hardware or big box store.
- Just like electric smokers, these vertical gas smokers come in different sizes
- The smoker takes up less space
- Easy to use, just turn the gas knob up or down to raise or lower your temp
- Doesn’t need much attention as compared to charcoal smokers
- Some cheaper units are not very well made
- You need to have a spare tank ready for long smokes
- Is only meant to be used as a smoker
If you want to get a unit that gives you the real bang for your buck, choose from our top 10 recommendations below…
10 Best Propane Smokers:
1. Masterbuilt 20050211 Black Propane Smoker, 40-Inch Review:
Our list begins with the Masterbuilt 20050211 Black Propane Smoker. Straight from the highly reputable Masterbuilt brand, this smoker has a vertical design which allows you to use it to cook as well as grill meats easily. It is also one of the easiest to operate units on the market today, thanks to the igniter it comes with.
As one of the few units that come with a built-in temperature gauge (positioned right in the door), you’ll have an easy time adjusting the temperature of your food as it continues cooking. Something else worth noting about this smoker is that it comes with a locking door design which goes a long way in containing the heat and smoky flavor. Keep in mind that the unit gives you total control over the number of wood chips to add, meaning you’ll as well have control over the amount of smoky flavor you wish your meats and other foods to have.
It’s also pleasing to note that this machine comes with a safe, user-friendly design so that you can enjoy using it all through. Its handles do not get heated up to allow you to open and close the door without burning your hands. It’s also easy to clean and maintain.
With a cool 1,300 square inches total cooking area
, this is an extra-large smoker that will prepare enough food for your family and friends. They’ll doubtlessly flock around this smoker to get a piece of the delightful aroma permeating from it.
2. Smoke Hollow 38202G 38-Inch 2-Door Propane Gas Smoker Review:
If you’re looking for a low-cost, space-saving propane smoker, the Smoke Hollow 38202G 38-Inch is a sure bet. The smoker is proudly designed by Smoke Hollow, a highly respected brand in the smoker field. Measuring 47” x 19” x 28”, you’ll agree with me that this smoker will not consume much counter space, not to forget it’ll be easy to move one from spot to another.
The smoker comes with a two-door design which allows you to monitor and refill both the water pans and the wood pans without necessarily exposing your food and meats to external factors like wind, rain, bright sunlight, etc. In other words, the design ensures that such factors do not affect the smoking process. Besides, it features a firmly welded steel cabinet that helps preserve as much as heat as possible. For those who have never operated a propane smoker before, you’ll find the lower and upper vent controls quite helpful to you as they deliver a high degree of accuracy.
When it comes to power, this smoker boasts of up to 20,000 BTUs. And thanks to the external thermometer (situated on the upper door) monitoring this smoker becomes quite easy. With up to four different racks, you’ll agree with me that this unit will give you multiple options for different food preparations.
3. Masterbuilt 20050116 Portable Gas Smoker Review:
Here’s another great propane smoker from Masterbuilt…the Masterbuilt 20050116 Portable Gas Smoker is another perfect option for smoking at home or outdoors. It is a highly portable model ideal for use in camping, road trips, and tailgating.
The first thing you’ll notice about this smoker is its untamed portability. It comes with a compact size of around 24 x 16 x 24 inches, plus it feels light at approximately 23 pounds. In addition to this, it comes with foldable legs that further reduces its overall size, allowing you to transport it from one point to another easily.
Despite its compact size, the smoker provided you with a sufficient cooking chamber that can even accommodate a full turkey. Cooking gets better with this unit, given that its ability to supply you with a stable and steady heat of up to 5000 BTUs via its stainless steel burner.
Cleaning this Masterbuilt is extremely easy. It comes with a removable wood chip tray as well as a water pan, which makes the overall cleaning stress-free and fast. Though the manufacturer states that this smoker is fueled by 1 lb. propane cylinder, I’d recommend you to invest in a bigger tank to ensure you can enjoy sufficient heating power for all your smoking needs.
4. Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36" Propane Smoker Review:
The Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36" Propane Smoker is a great option if you’re looking for a smoker with bigger cooking chamber at a reasonable price. It provides you with ample smoking space, thanks to its four stainless steel racks (each measuring 14” x 14”) and a total of 784 square inches cooking space.
Besides space, the unit has other remarkable features that have made it win the hearts of many homeowners. One such feature revolves around how easy it is to use. You just need to turn on the valve on the propane tank, then twist the control knob and alas- the smoker starts cooking your food. What’s more, you can easily raise or lower the unit temperature by adjusting the vent located at the back. For your info, this vent is situated at the back, unlike in other models, to offer free space on the smoker top.
Because this unit comes with sealed doors, you’ll never have issues with its consistency. And unlike what you might be thinking, this smoker isn’t limited to cooking large meat cuts only. Its multiple racks mean that you can smoke new appetizers as well or even a traditional meal- it all depends on what you and your friends/family cravings! This is truly the best propane smoker for the money.
5. Char-Broil Vertical Liquid Propane Gas Smoker Review:
The Char-Broil Vertical Liquid Propane Gas Smoker presents you with a total of 585 sq. inch cooking surface which is an irresistible deal at its cost. It also offers you multiple rack locations and a double drawer design- making it an excellent option for smoking all your favorite foods.
One thing you’ll love about this propane smoker is the double door design. It lets you enjoy easy, quick access to the water as well as wood, without causing heat loss in the cooking chamber. This ensures consistency inside your unit, which speeds up the cooking process. To heat the water and wood chips for smoking, this top-rated smoker utilizes a simple propane burner. Note that that burner comes with its own temperature control for easy adjustments.
A separate temperature gauge allows you to monitor your cooking chamber. It’s also important to note that the unit comes with a convenient grate- at the top section- that’s great for warming sauces, marinades as you prepare for your meal.
6. Camp Chef Smoker 18-Inch Smoke Vault Review:
Camp Chef has built a reputation with its top-quality smokers that give you a whole new experience when cooking outdoors. At this point, I’d like to introduce to you one of their models that enjoys ever-rising popularity in America- the Camp Chef Smoker 18-Inch Smoke Vault.
It is amazing how this particular unit can heat your food at high temperatures. It comes with an easy to read door thermometer with temperatures ranging from 50 to 500 degrees F, allowing you to adjust/control the cooking temperatures for your foods easily. The unit comes with two adjustable smoking racks that you can adjust to suit your cooking needs. Additionally, it has 3 adjustable damper valves that you can adjust to create the perfect cooking environment for any food you’re preparing.
You’ll also love the fact that this unit is extremely easy to clean; its racks are removable, plus they’re dishwasher safe- making the whole cleaning process easy and fast. And oh! The package also comes with a set of cooking ideas, tips, and recipes that will help you get started using this smoker.
7. Smoke Hollow 38205GW 38-Inch Propane Gas Smoker Review:
If you’re looking an eye-appealing propane smoker, you cannot go wrong with the Smoke Hollow 38205GW 38-Inch Propane Gas Smoker. It comes in a rectangular shape with an attractive style and gorgeous black color that makes it stand from the rest. Apart from visuals, this smoker also has a set of remarkable features that change the way you smoke or cook your food.
One such feature involves a large, clear and tempered window at the upper door which allows you to monitor the unit as it continues cooking your food without necessarily opening the door. Also, it comes with a two-door design that helps prevent heat loss when refilling the wood and water pan and tray respectively.
There’s no limit to the type of food you can prepare using this propane smoker. This is evident from its 4 chrome-plated cooking grinds, which you can easily adjust to the right cooking height for different foods- like beef, chicken, game meat, fish, ribs, etc. It even comes with a sausage hanger at the top (inside)! Simply the best vertical propane smoker today.
8. Masterbuilt 20050716 Thermotemp Propane Smoker Review:
Another Masterbuilt propane smoker! The Masterbuilt 20050716 Thermotemp Propane Smoker not only makes propane simple but also safe. Unlike most of the propane smokers out there, this model comes with a patent-pending innovation (thermostat controlled temperature) that allows you to just set the desired temperature and walk away. No more adjusting or monitoring the smoker temperatures!
Another feature that separates this unit from other models is its safety shut-off valve. Needless to mention, this ensures you enjoy a safe smoking experience by automatically shutting off the burner whenever the flame blows out. Even better, it comes with the tank fuel level gauge that allows you to check the amount of fuel remaining before you start cooking. This helps eliminate the convenience caused by the unexpected extinguishing of the flame in the middle of the cooking.
Thanks to the four smoking racks that come with this propane smoker, you’ll have ample room for smoking all your favorite foods. You can trust this unit to cook up to 12 whole chickens, or 2 whole turkeys, or 4 racks of ribs or 48 sausages, or 4 pork butts, or 32 burgers. With the dual-door design, adding wood and water becomes easier and quicker.
9. Weston 48-Inch Outdoor Propane Vertical Smoker Review:
The Weston 48-Inch Outdoor Propane Vertical Smoker is probably the biggest model that made it to our list. While it might not be the cheapest unit on the market, this smoker features a top-quality, performance-driven design. And this makes it the most preferred option for heavy duty applications.
One reason why you’ll fall in love with this smoker is its heavy gauge, fully welded steel cooking chamber which gives it excellent strength and durability to serve you for a more extended period of time. Though it’s made for heavy duty use, it’s straightforward to start up and use, thanks to the rotary igniter. Besides, it features a fully adjustable propane fuel delivery system that adds to its ease of use.
You’ll also appreciate the external temperature gauge as it accurately displays the internal smoker temperature. This unit is ideal for use in parties as it has a gigantic capacity that accommodates large amounts of food at a go. Don’t forget it also features two sausage hangers which count as additional food space.
10. Cajun Express Smoker - 4 Rib Propane Pressure Smoker Review:
The last spot of our top-best propane smokers goes to the Cajun Express Smoker - 4 Rib Propane Pressure Smoker. The unit has a higher cost compared to the others we’ve previously discussed. But that’s nothing compared to what it gives you. This is one of the fastest smokers you can find on the market today- capable of cooking baby back ribs within 35-40 minutes or a full brisket in only 2 hours!
So, what’s the secret to its faster cooking/smoking capabilities? Well, it operations are based on a patented smoking process that constitutes a pressure/vacuum regulator that excellently revolutionizes the cooking time. As this regulator breaks down the PSI inside the fully sealed cooking chamber, it breaks down the connective tissues in your meat quicker than any other unit- giving you fall-off-the-bone tender meat in the shortest possible time.
The two 17 X 13 ½” stainless steel cooking grates that come with this smoker are pretty easy to pull out. And this gives you hassle-free access to your food as well as the smoker tray. Also, note that the drip pan follows the cooking grate as a way of eliminating mess.
The food grade, high-temperature door seal together with the adjustable front hinge and heavy duty latch help prevent heat loss, further speeding up the cooking process!
If you want to cook your favorite food in record time, just invest in the Cajun Express Smoker - 4 Rib Propane Pressure Smoker!
Propane Smoker Buying Guide: Things To Look For
One of the main reasons why you’ll hear people complaining about the poor performance or unreliability of propane smokers is because they invest in poorly constructed units, with limited smoking capacity.
In this guide, I’ll show you what to look for when buying a propane smoker for your needs:
Durability (construction quality)
If you want to end up with a reliable propane smoker that will serve you for a longer period of time, you should start by checking its overall construction quality.
When checking the durability, beware of think, flimsy metals that tend to wrap on exposure to extremely high temperatures. This will lead to poor insulation. Where possible, go for heavy steel since it offers excellent insulation.
While still on it, pay close attention to the unit seams. Poor sealed/assembled seams can lead to significant heat loss, and this makes your foods take overly long to cook.
Besides, ensure the unit comes with sturdy racks, as well as drawers and doors that close easily and completely.
The next thing to look for when buying a propane smoker is the capacity it comes with.
But even before you check the unit capacity, you should already have an idea of what you intend to use it for. Do you plan to cook foods for your friends, a party of juts you and your spouse? How frequently will you be using it?
All these questions will help you to get the unit with just the right capacity for you.
If you plan to smoke frequently and for many people, then you’ll need to look for a model with bigger capacity.
Otherwise, if you’ll be using it with your spouse only, then a smaller capacity will do.
It’s also a good idea to look for units that come with adjustable shelves to give you the flexibility you need to suit your cooking needs.
Fast Cooling Unit
One of the best things you can get in a propane smoker is its ability to cool quickly once you’re done preparing barbecue.
If you get a model that cools faster, buy it. This will ensure that you can always move it to your preferred location as soon as you’re done cooking.
Some propane smokers cool off immediately you turn them off.
Ease of Maintenance
Most beginners tend to overlook this factor, though it’s also an important consideration.
When we talk of an easy to maintain the unit, we are referring to one that takes less time to clean. You don’t want to invest in a model that takes longer to clean than it takes to cook.
Ensure it comes with easily removable parts that you can remove and dip in a sink for easy cleaning.
How much budget have you set aside for a propane smoker?
One thing you’ll love about these units is that they’re quite affordable. But just like any other products, these units come in a wide range of prices, with varying sets of features and capabilities.
Your best bet would be to make a list of units that fall under your budget, carefully analyze their features, and eliminate ones that don’t match your requirements.
This will help you narrow down your choices to the perfect units for you.
PRO TIP: look for a unit with sufficient wood chip trays and water pans. These will save you the hassle of having to refill your unit now and then.
Top Propane Smoker Brands On The Market
Another reason why people often complain about propane smokers that break down easily- or fail to love to their promise- is because they buy from less-known brands that make poor quality units.
If you want to get the real value for your money, then I strongly recommend you to buy from the following brands:
Started over 40 years ago (1973, to be exact), Masterbuilt is one of the leading producers of top-end propane smokers in the world today.
Through all these years, the company has gathered sufficient experience and expertise to help them come up with leading-edge, highly innovative products to make life even easier for you. Other than propane smokers, they also manufacture other types of smokers as well as replacement parts for all smokers.
2. Camp Chef
Camp Chef also takes pride in providing you with the best quality propane smokers that will make your smoking experience quite easier and fun. The company was established back in 1990 with the idea of improving how you cook outdoors.
As of now, they boast of 20 plus years of experience in this industry. And this enables them to continue providing you with top-end products that offer you efficient cooking methods for all your outdoor gatherings.
3. Smoke Hollow (Outdoor Leisure Products)
The OLP (Outdoor Leisure Products) was established back in 2005 by Rick Davidson, a lifetime BBQ industry entrepreneur.
They challenge themselves every day to continue providing you with exceptional quality, highly innovative propane smokers that not only enhances your outdoor cooking experience but also makes it fun.
4. Landmann USA
Landmann USA is also a respected manufacturer of top-of-the-line propane smokers. Everything the company does is centered on offering you quality products that you’ll enjoy using for many years.
Their design team, the Fairburn, GA, works tirelessly to come up with new, exciting products featuring cutting-edge technology.
If you buy from Landmann USA, you’ll end up with a truly durable smoker whose ease of use and performance are second to none.
Propane Smoker Maintenance: Our Top Tips
Congrats! You’ve finally bought your first propane smoker. But one thing you need to understand is that only you have control over the longevity and performance of your unit.
In other words, if you want to extend the lifespan of your smoker while enabling it to reach its maximum potential, you have to take good care of it.
Gladly, taking care of your unit isn’t difficult as you only need to clean it properly as explained below…
Proper cleaning of your propane smoker:
Cleaning your propane smoker is a necessary ritual if you want it to stay for long while performing at its best. The process isn’t hard; all you need to do is dip a clean rag in warm, soapy water and use it to wipe down your smoker.
Avoid using spray chemicals or harsh cleaners on your smoker as these might affect its lifespan. Start with its interior- making sure you clean every corner.
If your unit comes with removable trays and pans, remove them and clean them separately. This will make the cleaning process much easier.
Proper cleaning of your smoker after every use not only extends its lifespan but also keeps off molds.
Final Thoughts on the Best Propane Smoker Reviews
Your outdoor cooking just got better with our top 10 best propane smokers reviews above. These models are designed to give you a more efficient cooking experience while outdoors. They’re extremely easy to use for everyone (including beginners), they’re quite portable, and have sufficient cooking space.
Above all this, they’re quite affordable!
If you’ve never bought a propane smoker before, our buying guide will show you what to look for.
As your next outdoor party is fast approaching, pick the perfect propane smoker from the above post right now and enjoy this new outdoor cooking experience while it lasts.