Are you in the market for a new backyard smoker? Whether you’ve been backyard smoking for decades and need an upgrade, or you’re wanting to try your hand at it for the first time, this list of the best backyard smokers will be sure to point you in the right direction.
Our Top Picks
Traeger Pro Series 575
Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker
Realcook Steel Charcoal Smoker
Masterbuilt 40-inch Digital Electric Smoker
Masterbuilt 30-inch Analog Electric Smoker
Traeger Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker Pro Series 575
Traeger is a well-known, innovative brand, that has been loved by many since its inception in the late-1980s. Their goal is to eliminate the need for ever using gas or charcoal again with pellet grills and smokers.
The Traeger Grills Pro Series 575 uses WiFIRE technology to connect your hybrid grill and smoker to your home WiFi network. So you can control it from anywhere.
This model is truly a jack-of-all-trades, offering cooks the ability to grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and barbecue all on the same grill.
- Next-level temperature control with a maximum of 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Hybrid model: 6-in-1 versatility to grill, smoke, bake, roast, and braise on the same grill
- 575 square inches of grilling space
- All-terrain wheels for easy moving around the yard
- Included meat probe for meat monitoring
- Hopper cleanout for easily swapping pellets and cleaning the grill
- Pellets come in different flavors to enhance taste based on your preferences
- Being able to control from anywhere is a huge perk, especially on those cold winter nights you want to smoke a delicious meal overnight without going outside in the frigid temperatures
- Heavy-duty material to protect your grill from rain, snow, and sun
- All Traeger products come with a three-year warranty
- Traeger is a trusted brand with top-of-the-line customer service
- Set-up instructions are easy to follow, and expert assembly is free from Amazon in select areas
- Cover and pellets are sold separately
Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker
The Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker is one of the best backyard charcoal smokers on the market. It’s also a favorite of professional barbecue competitors.
Offered in three different sizes to suit your needs, the meat cooked in this smoker will excite your senses. , To give you insight into the actual size of these smokers, the 18-inch can cook a whole ham and a turkey at the same time.
Pro tip: Add seasoning to the cooking grates before using them for extra flavor.
- 14-inch, 18-inch, and 22-inch diameter options are available
- Charcoal power source
- Porcelain-enabled lid, bowl, and center section hold heat and won’t rust or peel
- Two cooking grates
- Reaches 190 degrees Fahrenheit
- 3D Assembly instructions are available through a free phone app
- Includes water pan, thermometer, individuals vents on bowl and lid, and a heat-resistant nylon handle
- Easy to use
- Simple assembly, plus expert assembly is available for free for the 18-inch smoker in select areas and can be added for a fee for the 14-inch smoker
- It’s easy to upgrade the parts if desired
- Temperature is controlled easily by adjusting valves
- The access door is a bit flimsy, but it can be upgraded
- The 22-inch smoker does not appear to come with expert assembly from Amazon
- Charcoal requires regular monitoring
Realcook Steel Charcoal Smoker
For the cost, the Realcook Vertical Charcoal Outdoor Smoker is a great quality backyard smoker for buyers on a budget.
Two access doors are included—one for the fuel and one for the second rack, making these areas easily accessible. Also included are a crossbar and four hangers inside the lid, so you can cook different shapes and sizes of meat.
It’s also versatile. You can use it to grill, roast, braise, bake, steam, or roast.
- Build-in thermometer
- Charcoal power source
- Two cooking grids provided
- 453 square inches of cooking space
- Latch locking system for stability
- Great for budgets
- Easy to take apart for transport and cleaning
- Considered a great entry-level charcoal smoker
- Assembly sounds difficult, and expert assembly is not available for this smoker
- Needs to be watched for temperature changes like all charcoal smokers
Masterbuilt 40-inch Digital Electric Smoker (MB20072918)
Masterbuilt has become a leading name in electric smokers. This 40-inch digital electric smoker feature precise set-and-forget temperature controls. The large capacity of this smoker will allow you smoke as many as 16 chickens or 8 pork shoulders at once!
Masterbuilt 30-inch Analog Electric Smoker (MB20077618)
Coming in at a very economical price, this 30-inch Masterbuilt analog electric smoker is an ideal beginning smoker. With just two racks and a smaller 30-inch frame, this smoker can handle 4 chickens to two pork shoulders. But if you ask me, that sounds like a great afternoon in the backyard with my closest friends!
Traeger Grills Pro Series 22
The Pro Series 22 is considered a best-for-budget option from Traeger, though you’ll notice this smoker is still more expensive than most of the best backyard smokers on this list. That’s because Traeger is a top-notch brand, and you’re paying for trust and quality.
The Pro Series 22 may not come with WiFIRE technology, but it is still a solid choice with versatile cooking options similar to the Pro Series 575.
- Easy-to-use digital control panel
- Hybrid pellet grill
- Corded electric power source
- Accommodates 4 chickens, 5 racks of ribs, or 24 burgers
- 6-in-1 versatility
- 450-degree maximum temperature
- No need for charcoal. or gas with this pellet
- Replace your current grilling system with this hybrid grill smoker
- Great for small gatherings or families
- Compactable to allow portability
- All Traeger grills come with a three-year warranty
- Free expert assembly is available in select areas through Amazon
- Trusted brand with excellent customer support
- Steep price when compared to other options outside of the Traeger brand
- The folding shelf, grill cover, pellets, tray, and insulation blanket are sold separately
Dyna-Glo Wide Body Vertical
This Dyna-Glo smoker is a vertical smoker that is the best backyard smoker for buyers hoping to keep some money in their bank accounts. Unlike the Camp Chef Smoke Vault, it uses charcoal as its power source.
- Six height-adjustable cooking grates
- 1890 square inches of total cooking space
- Ability to hold 25 pounds of weight per grater
- Porcelain-enabled steel charcoal chamber to enhance burn efficiency
- Designed to handle large amounts of ash for hours for maintenance-free cooking
- Built-in stainless steel thermometer
- The smokestack includes an adjustable flue for additional flavor and temperature control
- The “Smoke Zone” label indicates the ideal temperature for infusing smoke flavor
- It’s quite a bit wider than most vertical smokers because of how the charcoal is stored, which defeats the purpose of buying a vertical smoker for many—to save space
- Weighs 83 pounds and is not able to be compacted, so this smoker may take a couple of people to move around if needed
Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker
You’re probably familiar with Cuisinart for your kitchen appliances, but did you know they make smokers too? The Cuisinart COS-244 is a vertical propane smoker that is also a great backyard smoker for the more budget-conscious buyer.
- 5.45 square feet of interior, providing plenty of space to cook a variety of meats with several trays of vegetables
- Four 14×14 removable stainless steel shelves, so you can cook whole birds or large slabs of meat
- Racks are dishwasher safe
- Seal-tight twist-lock door and handle
- 40-inch propane hose and regulator
- Tall and skinny like vertical smokers are supposed to be, so this smoker will take up less space in your backyard; it’s perfect for patios
- Built-in thermometer
- Porcelain-enameled steel tray holds wood and water
- Described as a good intro smoker
- Propane is not included
Topics to Review When Buying the Best Backyard Smoker for You
Types of Backyard Smokers
Did you know there are nine different types of backyard smokers? Each one appeals to buyers for different reasons, so before you decide which is the best backyard smoker for your unique needs, you’ll need to become familiar with the nine smokers and their pros and cons.
The nine types of smokers are offset, vertical, propane, electric, pellet, charcoal, kamado, kettle, and cold.
Height and Width
The best backyard smokers come in all shapes and sizes.
If you have a large family or an enormous friend group, you’ll want a larger one so you can cook more at one time. However, if portability is important to you, you’ll probably want to purchase a smaller smoker.
Consider the size of the smoker before purchasing, especially if you’re planning on transporting it to your friend’s backyard smoke-out every Friday night.
The best backyard smokers are made out of steel. You’ll see alloy and stainless steel in product descriptions, typically. Stainless steel is a type of alloy steel that contains a large amount of chromium for extra shine and corrosion resistance.
Most of the best backyard smokers on Amazon come with the option to choose expert assembly. Amazon offers free expert assembly in select areas for some backyard smokers, though others will require an extra fee.
Adding assembly assistance to your order is a great idea for new backyard smoker buyers.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t assemble the product on your own. It’s always a good idea to check the assembly review ratings and reviews to determine if the expert assembly will be worth it in your situation.
Ease of Use
If you’re a smoking pro looking to upgrade your current backyard smoker, ease of use may not be a concern for you. However, if you’re a newbie looking to try your hand at smoked cooking for the first time, pay attention to house difficult the smoker is to use.
You’ll get the most bang for your buck if the product is easy to use because you won’t have to worry about adding stress to your day when your smoked pork cravings hit. Just fire up your smoker and start cooking.
Amazon provides “Ease of Use” ratings based on customers’ reviews.
Cleaning the Backyard Smoker
A big reason—apart from being difficult to use—consumers report not using their cooking appliances is because the parts are difficult to clean. Pay attention to product descriptions and reviews that mention how the smoker is cleaned to determine if it’s a good fit for you.
The best backyard smokers will be easy to clean, so you can use them often!
Frequently Asked Questions About Backyard Smokers
Can a smoker replace a grill?
The simplest answer to this question is, it depends. Some smokers are hybrids, so they include both smoker and grill functions. Hybrid smoker grills can replace your current outdoor grill.
However, smokers and grills function differently. The biggest difference is that smokers cook at a lower temperature than grills, allowing the smoky flavor to permeate the food. Therefore, smokers take much longer to complete the cooking process.
If you’re a busybody without a lot of extra time to spend cooking regularly and only want your backyard smoker for special occasions, then you’re not going to want to let go of your grill just yet.
Bottom line: If you’re wanting your smoker to also have grill functions, purchase a hybrid model.
Does outside weather affect backyard smokers?
Weather is always going to be a factor in how your backyard smoker functions.
It’s always best to check the weather before smoking, but in the event of unexpected rain or snow while smoking, open the vents to offset unanticipated heat loss.
During cold weather, it’s more of a challenge to maintain even the best backyard smoker’s temperature, but that doesn’t mean your winter barbecue is off the table. It might just take a little longer to pull off.
The warmer months will improve the smoker’s ability to control temperature. This will make for a hotter fire. So if you don’t already have a built-in thermometer inside your smoker, you will want to add one.
Wind also impacts temperature control for some types of smokers. If the wind is heavy on a given day and is blowing in the direction of the smoker’s vents, the fuel will burn faster. The best way to mitigate this issue and prevent increasing temperatures is to close the smoker’s vents periodically.
However, if the wind is blowing in the opposite direction, airflow can be inhibited completely causing heat not to flow at all. It’s best to try to place your smoker so the wind blows in correlation with the smoker’s regular airflow.
Which backyard smoker gives you the best flavor?
It’s important to note that everyone’s taste buds are different, and opinions vary vastly on this topic. For example, propane (gas) smokers produce more combustion chemicals, so this means the food will have more flavor.
However, more flavor isn’t always best because some people like to complain that everything cooked on a gas grill tastes like bacon. If you love bacon, a gas smoker might be the answer to this question for you. If you’re not a big bacon lover, then it’s not.
If you like to change up your flavors, you’ll love a pellet smoker because you can easily rotate the pellets for a different flavor every time. The most popular flavors are hickory, cherry, maple, and apple.
The best way to know for sure what type of backyard smoker is going to work best for your taste buds is to read reviews from buyers who mention flavor, or you can ask your buddy who makes the best-smoked pork you’ve ever tasted what type of smoker he’s using.
What is the most straightforward backyard smoker to use and keep clean?
Beginner backyard smoker buyers tend to gravitate toward electric and pellet. Both are similar to kitchen ovens, so the learning curve isn’t steep. Electric smokers, in particular, are best at maintaining lower temperatures which aren’t as easy for other types of smokers.
Electric and pellet are the best backyard smokers for beginners because you don’t have to deal with charcoal, gas, or vents. This makes for an easier cooking experience and clean-up process.
What is an offset smoker, and should I buy one?
If you love playing with fire, then an offset smoker might be for you.
An offset smoker is the best backyard smoker for cooking a high volume of food at once. They’re perfect for preparing smoked meat for a big event like a wedding or graduation.
Offset smokers are designed with a horizontal cooking chamber, coupled with a firebox on the side. Temperature is controlled by maintaining wood or charcoal in the firebox. You also need to adjust the oxygen flow and vents.
Offset smokers typically aren’t going to be a person’s first backyard smoker. They look cool, but they can be a little complicated to figure out for a newbie. People tend to get frustrated with them and give up smoking altogether.
So if you’re new to smoking, it’s best to try out an easier smoker first before leaping to an offset.
But if you’ve been smoking for a while, and are ready to make the leap to a more old-school-styled barbecue, then go for it!
How long should I expect a backyard smoker to last?
The best quality backyard smokers can last anywhere from five to fifteen years, depending on how well it’s cleaned and cared for.
A lower-priced backyard smoker may only last two to four years.
Wrapping up the Best Backyard Smokers
Any of these best backyard smokers will be sure to have your guests asking you which smoker you’re using at your backyard barbecues.
While you’re waiting for your new backyard smoker to arrive, stock up on meat from the best meat markets in Minnesota!
Looking to upgrade your outdoor spaces at home? Then find inspiration for your Minnesota backyard with our landscaping ideas, outdoor furniture suggestions, gardening recommendations, and more!