If you’re an avid hunter, fisher, or just serious about smoking your food, you need a reliable smoker. Spending a little more on a quality model is a smart investment. The capital outlay may be higher, but you’ll get a lot more value for your money.
Considering that you’re clearly interested in high-end models, though, you want to know you’re making the right choice. That’s why we compiled this list. We’ll go through what to look for in an ideal smoker first. Then we’ll lay out our pick for the best electric smoker under $1,000.
How to Pick the Perfect Electric Smoker Under $1,000 For Your Needs
Electric smokers are not a traditional way to smoke meat. They are, however, a far more convenient way. They’re most cost-effective to run and easier to clean up. If you love the smell of a traditional smoked meal, they come pretty close.
They’re an ideal option for beginners and those who are busy. Electric models can be programmed to the perfect temperature. That cuts out the guesswork and ensures your results every time.
Electric options are generally safer too. There are no open flames, and most have cut-off switches when they’re set too high.
That’s not to say that any old electric smoker will do. It’s essential to do your research upfront to find the perfect fit for your needs. Here’s what you need to think about.
In this case, bigger is not necessarily better. How much meat will you smoke at once? It’s not very efficient to fire up a huge smoker for a couple of racks of ribs. For the average family, a thirty-pound smoker is ordinarily sufficient.
If you want a monster of a machine, ask yourself, “Will I really use this?” How often do you have 100 pounds of meat to smoke? Unless you’re a hunter, farmer, or small business owner, probably not often.
Common sense might say, get the bigger model to save yourself replacing it later. It’s sound in theory, but in practice, all you’re doing is wasting money. Whether you’re firing up the smoker for two or six sets of ribs, you’ll use the same amount of electricity and wood chips.
Instead, see how things go with a smaller model first. Perhaps you’ll decide that you want something bigger later. That’s fine – keep the smaller model as a backup or for travel.
Buying the cheapest smoker you can find is poor economy. The savings you make upfront are soon lost due to an increase in energy expenditure. Cheaper models are made from lower quality, thinner steel. They have little to no insulation.
So, while they might work after a fashion, the results will be disappointing. Do you blow the budget on a state-of-the-art model? That’s not necessary either. You’ll notice that our choices below all come in under $1,000. They’re all great alternatives to spending a fortune here.
We’re the first to admit that our eyes light up at the thought of extra features. Who doesn’t want to play around with a ton of buttons and settings? But let’s face facts – smoking is not all about snazzy features.
You need a reliable machine that produces reliable results. You need to set the temperature and maybe the timer. Anything else is just gravy. Spend more money for higher quality, not features that are novelties.
Start with a company that has a good reputation. We’re dealing with an appliance that can become dangerous. It’s better to stick to companies that take safety seriously. If a company doesn’t give a warranty against defects for at least a year, move on.
The placement of the smoker is also essential. You need to place it in a relatively sheltered position. You also need it away from anything that might ignite easily. Electric models are safer, but they still get very hot.
Find a low-traffic area that’s out of the way of pets and kids.
Also, spare a thought for how easy the smoker is to use and clean. If these tasks are too much work, you’re not going to use the smoker. At the least look for:
- A grease tray. This is something that you can jerry-rig if need be. It’s a lot easier, though, to have it in place with your purchase.
- Removable racks. The grease can build up in several knocks and crannies inside. If you can remove the racks, you’re able to clean the inside of the machine a lot more easily the cleaning tools will be able to reach those hard-to-reach spots.
Do you need to add more chips throughout the cooking time? If so, you’ll want this to be as quick and non-disruptive as possible. A separate drawer for the wood chips is ideal here.
The Climate in Your Area
Smokers can be tricky. If the weather is too windy or cold, they might not be able to get up to temperature. Plan ahead for this if you live in an icy region – get a smoker with a stronger element.
Top 5 Electric Smoker Under $1,000 Reviews
- A massive 1,830 square inches of cooking space
- Five repositionable racks, coated with porcelain for easy cleaning
- Porcelain-coated water pan
- Heat deflector
- Hopper with a 40-pound capacity – the smoker will run for 24 hours
- Clear, digital LED display allows you to check temperatures and program settings
- Meat probe
- Temperature range of between 150°F to 450°F
- 300-watt igniter that starts and stops automatically as necessary
The Pit Boss Grills 5.5 Pellet Smoker comes in first with a strong lead. This is a monster smoker with 1,830 square inches of space. Cook your meal and your side dishes all at once, or use it for a mammoth smoking session. It’s all up to you.
It works equally well with meat as it does with veggies, so it’s great for the beginner and the more advanced smoker. It smokes meats to perfection. The wide temperature range makes it the perfect companion for the smoker who loves to try anything.
Another thing that we love about this model is its big hopper. Forty pounds of wood chips go a long way. On lower temperatures, you can run the smoker safely for 24 hours. Because this is an electric model, you can easily set it and forget it. Its auto-shutoff feature prevents it from overheating.
The pellets are loaded from the front, but you won’t have to top them up often thanks to the capacity of the hopper.
Cleanup is simple thanks to the porcelain coating on the racks and water tray. We would have liked them to include a grease tray, but that’s not a dealbreaker. It’s simple enough to put an aluminum tray or foil at the bottom to catch the grease.
What’s most surprising about this smoker? The price – considering what you’re getting, this coming in under $1,000 makes it a steal.
- 1,200 square inches of cooking surface overall
- 1,200 watts of heating power
- Made from high-grade stainless steel
- Four repositionable shelves
- Four durable wheels and side handles so that you can move it easily
- Temperature ranges between 100°F and 250°F
- Has insulation made from fiberglass to retain heat better
- Can be used in a restaurant – NSF certified
You might feel that the Smokin-In Model #3 looks like something straight out of a hotel kitchen. You’re not far wrong. It was initially designed for professional use. While it’s available to home chefs as well, it’s a popular choice with small kitchens.
The look is very utilitarian, but that’s not a bad thing. The insulated walls and door retain heat and smoke exceptionally well. That’s thanks to the fiberglass insulation. Fiberglass is an excellent insulator. The machine doesn’t take long to get to temperature.
The stainless-steel exterior is somewhat unusual in the home chef market. It’s also immensely practical. It’s easy to clean, robust, and durable—and there’s no need to worry about paint peeling off. The wheels are made from tough rubber and durable casters.
The recessed side handles help maintain the streamlined look. They also make it easier to move the smoker around.
The capacity isn’t quite as large as the Pit Boss Grills model, but it’s more than sufficient for most people. You’ll easily be able to feed an army of people with this little monster.
Just one tip here – play around with the number of smoke chips that you use. The directions suggest using fewer chips. See how you feel about the taste. For us, adding more chips gave us more of the smoky flavor that we loved, but that’s just a matter of personal taste.
Cookshack is one brand that you can never go wrong with. They produce high-quality items that last well. We know because our neighbor has one. When he purchased his Cookshack smoker, it was considered pricey, but considering that it’s still going strong thirty years later, he made a wise decision.
The company hasn’t really had a significant redesign of this model, and, quite frankly, we agree with Cookshack – if it isn’t broken, why fix it?
Is the Cookshack Electric Smoker Oven Model SM009-2 the best to get? From a durability standpoint, it’s unquestionably one of the best options. Unfortunately for us, we’re just a little unhappy with its capacity.
You’ll be able to smoke a turkey comfortably, but that’s about as big a cut as you can safely fit in. If you’re making food for the average-sized family, that’s plenty of space. For us, though, we’d prefer a bit more room.
Aside from that, there’s a lot to love about this model. For starters, it’s simple to operate. Just soak and load the chips and the meat. Then set the temperature, and you’re done.
The smoker heats evenly throughout, with no cold or warm spots. Thanks to the lowest temperature setting, you can smoke more delicate meats like salmon, too.
It’s also a more energy-efficient model. The firebox retains heat well and seals in the smoke. It’s economical when it comes to wood chips too. One load of chips will create smoke for seven to eight hours, even on the higher settings.
You’ll be surprised at how moist the meat remains with this smoker. It might even be difficult to convince guests that it’s cooked throughout. Most meats retain a delicate pink tinge because of the efficiency of the smoker. A quick check of the internal temperature will prove that they’re done.
- 951 square inches of cooking space overall
- Four racks coated in chrome for ease of cleaning
- Digital control panel and thermostat for accurate reads
- Integrated meat thermometer allows you to monitor the internal temperature for doneness without opening the door
- You also get sausage hooks and a rib rack so that you can explore more options
- Activate the cooking light so that you can see exactly what’s going on inside
- The door latches are secure
- The high-temperature, high-quality door seal locks in the smoky goodness
- You get 100 watts of heating power
- Bluetooth phone app control option
It doesn’t get much easier than this. Load up the smoker, set your desired temperature and time, and walk away. The smoker will shut off automatically when it reaches your set temperature.
As always, with Dyna-Glo, the smart design features make a real difference here. The Bluetooth app allows you to step away from the smoker to socialize with friends. You can still keep an eye on how things are going through the app.
This is an excellent option for the enthusiastic home smoker or someone catering for large events. We like that there are sausage hooks that allow you to get even more utility out of this product.
The temperature gauge is reasonably accurate, as well. We like the built-in meat probe because it makes it simple to assess whether or not the meat is done. Cleaning this model is just as simple.
The racks can be soaked in hot soapy water gets rid of grease. The inside can be wiped clean pretty easily. If you want to make things even easier, consider lining the bottom with aluminum foil.
- 593 square inches of cooking space
- Integrated analog controls
- Three repositionable racks coated in porcelain for easy cleaning
- Separate drawer for refilling the wood chips—you don’t have to open the main compartment
- Analog meat thermometer built-in
- A full glass window on the front so that you can see what’s going on inside
- Water pan and wood chip pan are coated in porcelain
- Temperature range of 150°F to 325°F
Pit Boss makes our top five list for the second time. The Pit Boss 77220 2.2 Analog Smoker is smaller than our first choice but makes almost as much impact. Finished in a striking blue, it’ll look good on anyone’s patio.
Are looks important? Not really, but it doesn’t hurt to get something that looks this good. This vertical smoker has a viewing window so that you can monitor what’s going on inside.
The meat thermometer that’s built into the inside makes it easy to gauge whether your meat is done or not.
The range of temperatures that you can set makes this a very versatile piece of equipment. You can cook delicately smoked fish or vegetables or do a full brisket.
This is a set and forget option. Just dial in the temperature that you want and let the machine do the rest. The machine does reach temperature pretty quickly and retains heat well.
Changing out the wood chips is also simple here. The chips are stored in a drawer that you access from the front. Because you don’t have to open the main compartment, topping up the chips has minimal impact on the cooking.
There is space for a turkey in this machine. It’s not the biggest smoker out there, but it’s perfect for the casual enthusiast.
Final Verdict: Best Electric Smoker Under $1,000 For Your Money
The Pit Boss Grills Electric Smoker was the clear winner here. You can cook almost any kind of food, thanks to the variable temperature range. Because of the large hopper, you don’t have to top up the pellets for up to 24 hours.
Worried about the pellets still in the hopper when you’re done? Just hit the purge button, and they’ll be ejected.
Aside from the massive capacity that this machine has, it’s also a very safe option. The auto-shutoff feature prevents the smoker from getting dangerously hot. You can leave it to do its thing in confidence, knowing that it’s safe. Overall, Pit Boss Grills has outdone themselves with this model. Grab it while you can – they’re selling like hotcakes.