Do you want to get the most out of every summer? Or prepare healthy food for you and your family? If so, move a smoker or smoker-and-grill combo to the top of your shopping list.
The biggest challenge lies in the fact that there is such an overwhelming selection on the market from which to choose.
To help you out, we’ve compiled this list of the top five offset smokers under $1,000. We’ll start with our top choice and work our way down the list from there.
We reviewed our models in terms of utility, features, performance, and price. To make it onto our list, manufacturers had to offer a quality product with useful features.
How to Pick the Perfect Offset Smokers for Your Needs?
Before we get to our detailed reviews, let’s talk about what features you should consider in an offset smoker. We’ll learn a little more about these ingenious little mechanisms and what constitutes a good one.
Types of Offset Smokers
The field is very narrow here. Offset smokers fall under one of two categories – traditional and reverse-flow offset models.
Traditional smokers are what you’ll see most often. They’re usually slightly less expensive than their offset counterparts, and they operate by using direct heat for cooking your food. As a result, if you’re cooking or smoking something that tends to dry out fast, check on it frequently.
You’ll also need to flip your food at least once during cooking to ensure that it’s adequately cooked throughout.
Reverse Flow Offset Models
Reverse-flow offset smokers are not as intimidating as they sound. The primary difference with these models is they include a steel plate that forms a barrier between your food and the heat. In other words, they cook your food via indirect heat, which is a great way to keep drier cuts of meat moist.
You also do not have to flip meat during cooking. The only downside is that these offset models are pricier, and cooking takes a bit longer.
Can I Use a Smoker Out of the Box?
Most smokers come unassembled. Some companies will assemble them for a fee, but it usually adds significantly to the cost. With the models we chose in our top five, though, assembly is simple. If you know how to handle a wrench or screwdriver, you’re set.
Other than assembly, smokers are ready to use when you get them. If you find that the temperature isn’t even, or if you want your new smoker to operate at maximum efficiency, you can line the seams with silicone for a quick fix.
We’ve chosen some exceptional models here, but many factory-standard thermometers leave a lot to be desired. We usually advise changing them out or using a separate thermometer as a backup.
What are the Most Important Things to Consider?
Read through these features to help you choose the perfect offset smoker for your specific needs:
Always choose an offset smoker that comprises the highest-quality materials that you can afford. Offset smokers take a lot of punishment, so heavy-gauge metal construction is essential. The thinner the metal, the less heat it retains.
Our advice is to opt for a better model with fewer features. It might not have the “Wow” factor, but it will last a lot longer.
Accurate Temperature Gauges
The secret to successful smoking is maintaining an even temperature. And the secret to achieving that is to have a precise temperature gauge. We advise shopping for a more professional-level gauge and swapping out the standard one.
Seals and Dampers
The seals and dampers on an offset smoker control the inflow of air and limit the amount of smoke that escapes. A poorly sealed barrel won’t perform well because heat can escape too easily. Make sure that the manufacturer uses high-quality dampers and seals for the best results.
Always keep in mind that smokers can be dangerous appliances, so you must choose one that is well-built. Pay special attention to the quality of the welds and joints.
If welds get slapped together, they will be weak and vulnerable to snapping. Poorly aligned joints won’t off seal off the interior.
Whether you will keep your smoker where it is protected from weather or not, get a cover for it. If the smoker is outside, the cover provides extra protection against the elements, and if you store it inside, the cover is less critical but still helpful in reducing dust and grime build-up.
Now, let’s get on to our top five picks for offset smokers under $1,000.
Top 5 Best Offset Smoker Under $1,000 Reviews
Coming in first is the Dyna-Glo Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Smoker. We might very well be in love with this one. Want to know why? Read on.
- Overall cooking space is a whopping 1,382 square inches
- Five grilling grates, all finished in chrome
- Smoking section has one grate
- Body comprises heavy-gauge stainless steel and a sturdy build
- Features a built-in smoke-zone temperature setting, so it’s easy to find the right temperature to infuse the meat with smoky goodness
- Cool-touch handle makes it easy to open and close safely
- Features oversized wheels made from steel, so it’s easy to move
- Built-in sausage hooks
If you’re a serious smoker or have a large family, you’ll love the massive amount of cooking space this model offers. This is explicitly designed for heavy use and has multiple cooking surfaces for meat and other dishes. You’ll also find built-in sausage hooks at the top.
You can reposition the grates on this smoker to accommodate more substantial cuts of meat. The grates also are easy to clean, and they ensure that meat cooks evenly. The drip tray in the bottom prevents flare-ups as it catches fat before it reaches the coals.
We would have guessed that this design would result in hot and cold spots. But we would have been wrong! If you’re willing to play around a little, it’s easy to maintain the perfect temperature.
The price is impressive, too, especially when you consider the amount of meat that you can cook at one time.
If we could change one thing, it would be to include a cover. At this price point, we hoped that it would automatically be included. But that’s not a huge deal, as you can purchase one separately. All told, this smoker gives you excellent value for your money.
Nipping on Dyna-Glo’s heels for the top spot is the Oklahoma Joe Charcoal and Gas Smoker Combo. It was a close contest, but in the end, we went with the Dyna-Glo model because of its smaller footprint.
- Overall cooking space of 1,060 square inches
- Primary cooking surface measures 750 square inches
- Smoker space is 310 square inches
- Features a total of six grates
- Three burners in the gas grilling area, with a combined output of 12,000 BTUs.
- Another 12,000 BTU side burner that operates on gas and is useful for times you’re cooking something small.
What’s not to love here? This grill-smoker combo comprises high-gauge, powder-coated stainless steel. It’s huge and will be more than adequate for large family gatherings.
The base contains a secure storage spot for your gas canister. The manufacturer incorporated extra storage space by building a shelf on the base, and it offers plenty of room for spices and other sundries.
This charcoal and gas smoker combo is a high-performance model. It will cook evenly and infuse your meat with a mouthwatering smoky flavor, sealing in the smoke well and retaining heat for a long time. As a bonus, it’s also easy to clean!
Interestingly enough, the thermometer is highly accurate. That’s not always the case with factory-standard thermometers.
We did take off points for two reasons: First, the paint finish is relatively easy to chip or scratch. We recommend keeping it in a low-traffic area and covering it when you’re not using it.
Second, some parts of this griller-smoker might be prone to rusting. Fortunately, you can help avoid this by cleaning the smoker-grill after use and letting it dry thoroughly before storing it.
Whenever possible, store it somewhere that it isn’t exposed to the elements. If that’s not possible, a well-fitted cover is essential to protect it from rust and premature aging.
What makes this Traeger Grills Tailgater special? It’s easy to transport, so you can take it with you camping or picnicking!
- 300 square inches of cooking space to accommodate as many as 12 burger patties at a time
- Works wonders with the wood pellets that made Traeger a household name
- Highly versatile – smokes, grills, bakes, braises, or roasts foods
- Easy to transport, thanks to its foldable legs
- Multi-position thermostat control
This Traeger comes in as our favorite portable model. It is smaller than others on our list, but you can still cook a fair amount of meat on it at one time. It’s ideal for the needs of most casual smokers and is perfect for a small family barbecue.
The temperature controller makes this one close to a set-and-forget option. It will keep the temperature accurate to within 20 degrees of your setting. And it doesn’t take long to get the hang of getting the perfect temperature.
The LCD screen makes it simple to take temperature readings, too.
Traeger was the first company to make wood pellets, and we think its pellets are the best. They are pure hardwood, and nothing else. The pellets last well and create a delicious, smoky flavor in the meat.
The auto-start ignition also makes lighting the grill a breeze.
The foldable legs make this an ideal companion for tailgating and camping. Word to the wise, though, the grill weighs about 60 pounds, so you might need someone to help you load and unload it.
Overall, this model performs well, and the porcelain-coated grates are easy to wipe down when you finish cooking.
As a side note, if you want to know the different benefits that a Traeger wood grill can give you then read this: Renegade Elite vs Pro Series 22
We’re not going to lie – this model caught our attention straight away. If you’re a master griller or smoker, you’re going to love all the adjustments that you can make. The designers also have given you ample storage space and even some handy hooks.
OK, it gets excellent marks for its looks. But does it work well? In short, yes!
- Massive 2,167 square inches of cooking space
- Grilling area of 1,327 square inches
- Smoker surface area is 840 square inches
- Three stainless-steel burners
- Gas grill puts out 36,000 BTUs
- Charcoal grill is adjustable
- Dampers control airflow via adjustable vents
- Smoker placed below is electric
- Wood pan from the smoker is easy to remove and replace
- Smoker has a 1,500-watt electric element
- Grills and warming racks are made from cast iron and coated in porcelain for easy cleaning
- Can opt for offset or cold smoking
- Can grill using liquid gas or charcoal
- Plenty of hooks for storing utensils
- Four durable wheels make moving the grill-smoker easier
The stats on this griller-smoker are excellent. The grills and smoker heat up evenly and retain heat well.
Initially, we didn’t see being able to switch from charcoal to gas as an important feature. But after some careful consideration, we changed our minds.
For us, there’s no substitute for a real-wood or charcoal fire for cooking savory smoked meat. At the same time, the gas burns more cleanly. And if you’re not in the mood for a lengthy clean-up after you cook, the gas feature wins. It turns out that it’s excellent to have multiple options!
The smoker is electric, which can be a significant advantage. You set the temperature to your liking and then just let it do its thing while you do yours!
The Char-Griller Smokin Pro is a good smoker at a reasonable price. It has plenty of space to grill and smoke meat to your heart’s content. The design is as practical as possible.
- A total of 580 square inches of grilling space
- Sidebox gives you an additional 250 square inches of space
- Finally, the smoker provides another 830 square inches of space
- Only works with charcoal
- Well-built out of heavy-gauge steel
- Powder coating protects the steel from the elements
- Grates are made with non-stick cast-iron and are simple to clean
- You can easily access the drawer with the charcoal to add more fuel or empty the ashes
- Bottom of the charcoal tray features a second layer of steel for improved durability
- Includes a handy storage rack
- Built-in temperature gauge
- Two legs have wheels to enable you to move the grill-smoker easily
The non-stick grates on this Char-Griller are something we appreciated. The cast-iron interior of the grate ensures even heat distribution, and the porcelain coating makes cleaning a lot simpler. It also prevents the cast iron from rusting.
Overall, this charcoal grill-smoker performs well and cooks meat nice and evenly. You’ll enjoy plenty of savory, mouthwatering meals from it.
So, why did this model come in at No. 5 on our list? Well, while the steel body is durable, the powder coating, not so much. You need to handle it very carefully to avoid chipping or scratching the surface.
For us, though, that shortfall is more of a cosmetic issue. Still, it is imperative that you get a cover for this model to protect it from the elements and dust.
Another minor issue with the Char-Griller E1224 Smokin’ Pro is that its seals could be tighter. We recommend using silicone to line each of the seams to avoid excessive heat or smoke leakage. While you’ll still have a pleasant experience without it, the silicone will improve your results dramatically.
If you want to see other type of charcoal grills. You may check our review for it.
Final Verdict: Best Offset Smoker for Your Money
As you know, the Dyna-Glo Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Smoker came out as our No. 1 pick. It has a quality build and sturdy construction. It has tons of space but isn’t loaded with features that nobody really needs.
The amount of cooking space initially seems like overkill for a beginner. That said, when the smoking bug bites, you’ll be glad that you sprang for this model with a massive cooking area. This is an offset smoker that will see you through many years of family get-togethers and celebrations.
Despite its massive internal capacity, this smoker’s footprint is relatively small. That’s not to say that you can wheel in and out of the way. But the space-saving design means that you don’t need a huge space to store it.
Finally, this smoker-grill delivers the best value for your money. Frankly, we can’t see the price staying under $1,000 for much longer. So, get in early and take advantage of this outstanding price before Dyna-Glo realizes that it’s worth so much more!