Best smoker 2023: Jump Menu
00. The top 3 ↴
01. Best overall: Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560
02. Best premium smoker: Weber SmokeFire EPX 6 Stealth Edition
03. Best all-in-one smoker: Broil King Regal 500 Pellet Grill
04. Best wood pellet smoker: Traeger Ironwood 650
05. Best smoker for pros: Big Green Egg Large
06. Best budget smoker: Pit Boss Classic 700
07. Best portable smoker: Traeger Ranger
08. Best smoker for build quality: Weber SmokeFire EX4
09. Best charcoal smoker: Weber Smokey Mountain
10. Best mid-priced smoker: Traeger Pro 575
11. Best gas smoker: Char-Broil The Big Easy
12. Best electric smoker: Masterbuilt MES 130
13. Best budget charcoal smoker: Landmann Kentucky Smoker
14. How we test
The best smokers are handy pieces of outdoor cooking equipment that create powerful and tasty smoke that hold a low temperature for several hours. With the best smoker in your garden, you can take your BBQ to the next level and treat your palette to the all-American taste.
First things first: there's a big difference between a smoker and a barbecue. Sure, both cook food infused with smoke created by fats dropping on hot coals or a heat-radiating sheet of metal. But a bona fide smoker does it much more efficiently and over a really long period – around five to 12 hours – until the meat generates a thick 'bark' or crust and the pink flesh beneath it literally falls off the bone. You can find out much more about smokers and how they work by dipping into our guide beneath this carefully curated list of the best smokers money can buy.
When it comes to smoking meats, no country in the world comes close to the USA and specifically Texas and other Southern States where low-and-slow smoking is a way of life. Whether it's a huge brisket (a meat too tough for normal barbecuing) or a rack of ribs, the act of smoking produces a memorable feast of succulent juiciness and intense smoky flavour that simply cannot be achieved using a normal barbecue at normal grilling temperatures.
The best smokers of 2023 are all USA made, which is why we've scoured two of America's biggest suppliers to find the very best smokers you can buy Stateside and in most regions around the world. If they're also available in the UK, we've added links to the best deals.
Beth is Home Editor for T3, covering style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations.
The top three
Best smoker overall
The best smoker overall is the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560. Not only is it powerful and makes delicious food but despite its size, it's insanely easy to use.
Best premium smoker
Best premium smoker
An elite option, the Weber SmokeFire EPX 6 Stealth Edition is the best premium smoker you can buy. It's expensive but worth it if you're a grill master.
Best smokers ranking 2023
Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
The best smoker overall
If charcoal is your favourite smoking fuel then this is the smoker for you. Why? Because it’s incredibly easy to use, it’s computer controlled like a pellet grill and it produces brilliant results no matter what you put in it.
The app-enabled Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 uses lump wood charcoal – or briquettes – the simple power of gravity, a large fan and computer-controlled heat management to provide consistent low-and-slow smoking with very little input by the user. It can also grill and sear like Trojan.
The Gravity Series 560 comes with 560 square inches of meal estate comprising a pair of reversible cast iron grill grates, two wire shelves that can be positioned at two different heights and a 10lb charcoal hopper that is refilled from the top without affecting the cook.
Simply load in the charcoal, light it from beneath, set your preferred smoking temperature using the intuitive computer interface and load on your favourite ingredients. This baby heats up to 221˚F in about seven minutes and will go on smoking till the cows come home – or at least until you run out of charcoal.
In the pantheon on charcoal smokers, the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 – and its two larger stablemates – is a stalwart smoker that can also grill and even sear steaks to succulent splendour. Highly recommended.
Read our full review of the Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560
The best premium smoker
As we detail in our full Weber SmokeFire EPX 6 Stealth Edition review, this is the ultimate, money-no-object smoker on the market today. It's also absolutely massive, meaning you can cook for an entire army on it all at once.
It's expensive, mind, very expensive. But for that investment you get, as we discovered during our real-world testing, premium build quality and craftsmanship, buckets of style, and a system that not only heats up fast but also grills, roasts and smokes food superbly.
It's not without flaws, though. The setup is a tad awkward in places due to its massive size and weight, and while the Weber Connect app is good, it isn't the best in class.
There are smaller, cheaper smokers on the market, though, so unless you can stretch financially to one of the very best and – more importantly – need the capacity delivered by the SmokeFire EPX 7, we'd advise looking at less beastly models made by Traeger, Broil King and Pit Boss.
The best all-in-one smoker
This no-nonsense do-it-all leviathan is one of the best pellet smokers money can buy – and also one of the most expensive. Mind, you do get an awful lot of great features for your hard-earned.
Firstly, the broil King Regal 500 is built like a tank and made almost entirely from 2mm thick 14 gauge steel. And yet despite the weight (135kgs), it was one of the easiest barbecue smokers to build.
The Regal 500 comes with acres of grilling estate – 865 square inches including the porcelain-coated warming rack. The main 625 square-inch cast iron cooking grate is divided into five separate sections for easy removal when cleaning. Mind, cleaning is something you may not have to do a lot of because the Regal 500 has a fire pot cleaning agitator that empties the burnt ashes into a container. This is an extremely handy feature because with most other pellet smokers you have to remove the grill plate and baffle and reach for a cordless vac to suck up all the pellet dust. The Regal also ships with a full rotisserie set, including the motor. The large pellet hopper, meanwhile, will accommodate a whole 9kg bag of pellets.
All pellet smokers are equipped with an onboard computer that regulates the temperature so that they retain constant heat throughout the entire grilling process. It’s this electronic wizardly coupled with an electrically-powered pellet auger that makes these smokers by far the easiest type to use.
This model’s control panel is one of the biggest on the market. The lettering on the LED display is large enough to check the running temperature from the other side of the patio. The controller also produces consistent temperatures that rarely fluctuate, even during long smoking sessions upwards of seven hours.
The Regal 500 also has one of the widest temperature bands on the market and is one of only a handful of pellet grills capable of reaching a temperature of 600˚F (315˚C). This makes it an ideal grill for searing steaks, something most pellet grills are incapable of. Like quite a few pellet grills on the market, this model can also be used with an app so it can be controlled remotely.
If you’re in the market for a sterling pellet smoker that performs admirably well no matter what cooking method you select, whether it’s low-and-slow-smoking or fast-and-loose grilling, then this model is about as good as it gets.
Get more information about this top smoker in T3's Broil King Regal 500 review.
The best wood pellet smoker
Traeger is arguably the most popular pellet grill manufacturer which isn’t surprising given that its founder Joe Traeger is credited with having invented the pellet grill system we know and love today. We’ve already taken a good look at the Traeger Pro 575 and the amazing Traeger Ranger portable so here’s the next level.
The Ironwood 650 differs in a number of ways to the cheaper Pro 575 we review below. Its grill grate is bigger for a start and it has a rear exhaust instead of a chimney. It also comes with double insulated sidewalls which help it hold its pre-set temperatures more consistently in cold weather.
Heading over to the heart of the system – the D2 computer interface that keeps everything ticking over – you’ll find two extra buttons. The ’Super Smoke’ button functions at lower temperatures and produces oodles of extra smoke to help infuse meats with that delicious woody flavour that pellet barbecues are so good for. If you love a deep pink smoke ring in your cut of brisket this beast will sort it.
The Ironwood also has a dedicated Keep Warm button which is handy for those occasions when someone turns up late or you simply fancy a second helping of smoked ribs that haven’t gone cold and congealed. Aside from an interior light and a handy place to store the provided meat sensor, the hopper is also equipped with a sensor that lets you know when it’s due for a top up.
Traeger’s cleverly named WireFi system works a treat with the Traeger app and if you don’t know about this app then you should immediately download it even if you don’t own a Traeger. Why? Because it’s got some of the best grilling and smoking recipes on the planet.
As is the case with all Traeger pellet grills, build quality is immense while the lockable casters and big soft rubber wheels make it really easy to move around. Oh, and final high praise for the assembly process which was an absolute breeze even if it did take two to lift the main carcass onto its legs.
If you’re after an exceptional smoker that also grills, bakes, sears and roasts then this one’s a shoo-in. It’s a cinch to use and it passed all our tests with consummate aplomb. Just be sure to buy a cover for it, especially if you plan to leave it outside.
Check out T3's Weber Smokefire EX4 vs Traeger Ironwood 650 comparison feature.
The best smoker for pros
This is a sensational smoker and the model of choice for professional chefs the world over. In fact, the only reason it isn’t much higher up this list is because it’s expensive with a capital E and made from fragile ceramic that likely won’t survive an accident while assembling it. The addition of optional stands, side tables etc, takes the price to even more eye-watering levels. But put this gorgeous Japanese kamado-style barbie on your patio and your guests will certainly take notice. They’ll also expect the best al fresco banquet they’ve ever experienced. No pressure, then.
Top chefs – and most TV celebrity cooks – love ceramic barbecues like this because they’re able to reach a phenomenal 750˚F (399˚C) and the amazing insulation properties of ceramic means the charcoal will stay hot for up to ten hours. And that makes them perfect for smoking and slow roasting.
The Big Green Egg Large comes with an 18-inch grate but there are another four sizes available, from MiniMax to the huge 2XL, which sports a massive 29-inch grate. Available in any colour, as long as it’s, er, green.
The best budget smoker
The Pit Boss Classic 700 is simplicity personified. Aside from a few digital menus, its interface is mostly comprised of a single knob with temperatures that go up in increments of 25˚F (4˚C) – simply turn the knob to the illustrated number and that’s it. The Classic has a 9.5kg pellet hopper and comes packaged with two ports for optional meat probes.
Pit Boss has nailed steak-searing with an excellent deflector design that is unbelievably simple in structure. Like most pellet grills it has a full-width heat deflector shield mounted at an angle for the excess fats to run safely into a bucket on the side and this system is proven to work very efficiently without issue. Nevertheless, this isn’t just any old deflector plate because a section of it can be slid across to expose the open fire beneath. Since steak only takes a few minutes to cook, the amount of fat it generates will never be enough to cause a fire pot conflagration because most of the fats evaporate immediately.
Needless to say this model produces amazing steaks and tear-apart brisket replete with deep pink smoke rings. It will also produce some of the best ribs you’ve ever tasted and the most succulent roast chicken that even your indoor oven may have trouble beating. And yet it will also perform mundane tasks like grilling chicken legs, burgers and sausages.
If you just want a decent pellet smoker-cum-grill that’s cheap to buy and grills and smokes impeccably well, go grab yourself a Classic.
The best portable smoker
This is our favourite small smoker-cum-barbecue. The wood pellet-powered Ranger is extraordinarily heavy so don’t contemplate carrying it too far unless you have an extra pair of hands to hand. However, it is the perfect sized smoker, griller and slow cooker for balcony, verandah and patio use, and a great option for caravan, RV and campsite use. Just be sure there’s a suitable 120/240v electricity supply to hand.
The Ranger’s interior is divided into two sections: an 8lb pellet hopper on the left and a 184 square inch porcelain grill on the right, with a short auger to deliver the pellets in between. It’s all controlled by a Digital Arc controller that allows you to set the cooking temperature in five-degree increments. Also featured is a handy timer, a ‘keep warm’ function that works brilliantly well and a single port for the supplied meat probe. It also comes with a heavy-duty flat cast iron griddle plate for whipping up camp-side breakfasts.
If you’re a family of four, the new Traeger Ranger might just be the only barbecue you’ll ever need. It really is that good. Read our full Traeger Ranger review.