Smoker grills are very popular these days. However, choosing the right one can be easier said than done. That’s because a smoker grill can come in all shapes and sizes. They’re also powered by a wide variety of fuels, with prices ranging from under $100 to $1,000 or more.
To choose the right smoker grill for you, it’s a good idea to start by deciding on any must-have features. At the same time, making a decision about fuel type, size, and capacity is a great way to further whittle down the huge range of smoker grills currently on the market.
Most smoker grill buyers will start their search with at least some idea of their preferred fuel type. Traditional smokers and grills are generally fueled by hardwood or charcoal. Alternatively, more modern options use propane or electricity as their fuel source.
Wood and charcoal versions are what many people envision when thinking of a smoker. These provide the most traditional flavor but require careful attention to get the best results. Much more convenient are electric smoker grills. Closer to modern stoves
, they’re easy to regulate, with computer-controlled models even taking care of much of the smoking and grilling process automatically.
Yet, traditionalists continue to argue that electric smokers lack much of the classic flavor on offer from wood and charcoal versions. What’s more, there are several options that use two fuel types, too. Pellet smokers are a good case in point. These are typically powered by electricity but use wood pellets as a secondary source of heat and smoke.
By combining the convenience of electricity with the flavor of more traditional offerings, pellet smokers are an understandably popular choice. Blending the best of both worlds, they’re also an excellent option for newcomers to this approach to cooking. Propane models typically integrate various features found elsewhere and may be preferred where portability is a priority.
Size and Smoking Capacity
Having decided on a fuel type, another important consideration is size and smoking capacity. Thankfully, this is often a straightforward matter. That’s because, except for the very smallest compact smoker grills, most models are plenty big enough for the majority of applications.
Many of the most popular smokers on the market can cook enough to serve anywhere from 10-20 people at a time. Accordingly, unless the plan is to prepare food for a party or multiple families, a regular, off-the-shelf smoker grill is normally adequate.
Of course, where extra capacity is needed, much larger smoker grills are available. Not only are these more costly, but additional consideration is also required in terms of placement and storage. Purely owing to their sheer size, they’ll invariably take up a large amount of space in any setting. For the overwhelming majority of people, a standard-sized unit will almost always suffice.
Features and Versatility
Finally, it’s crucial to make sure that any smoker grill has all of the necessary features for use both now and in the future. A growing number of products offer both smoking and grilling functionality – essential when looking specifically for a smoker grill, rather than just a grill or a smoker.
The most common dual-purpose smoker grills are those that rely on charcoal as their fuel. When shopping in this area, it’s important not to be tempted by the cheapest options. Entry-level charcoal-burning models may promise a combination of smoking and grilling abilities. Yet, at the lower end of the market, the focus will likely be on one or the other.
Across the board, in fact, rarely do significantly less expensive smoker grills handle both applications equally well. With that, they tend not to be up to a standard that many would be satisfied with in a more focused offering, such as a standalone smoker or a product dedicated to grilling only.
Which Smoker Grill Should You Buy?
Die-hard fans of largely traditional smoking and grilling consider the Kamado Joe Classic II
one of the best smoker grills out there. But at $1,299, it’s a decidedly expensive proposition.
For beginners, something like the Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker
may be a better option. Highly rated by buyers, at $349, it’s nearly a quarter of the price of the Kamado Joe Classic II. If even greater value for money is the priority, another similar product that’s been largely well-received is the Char-Broil 16-inch Bullet Smoker
at just $159.
Meanwhile, where convenience is the order of the day, it’s tough to beat the Masterbuilt 40-inch Digital Charcoal Smoker
. Extremely easy to use, this digital smoker grill uses charcoal briquettes and wood pellets for added flavor. It’s also equipped with Bluetooth for a truly modern approach to smoking and grilling.
The Masterbuilt 40-inch Digital Charcoal Smoker is also surprisingly affordable, priced at just $349.99. That’s the same price as the Smokey Mountain Cooker
, which, while a more traditional proposition, packs almost none of the convenience or additional functionality of the Masterbuilt unit.
Smoker Grill Warranty
Whichever smoker grill you choose, it’s advisable to protect your purchase with an extended warranty
. Like any appliance, smoker grills can fail or otherwise go faulty. When this happens, it leaves you without a potentially important piece of kit, especially if you’re regularly grilling and smoking food for your family and friends.
Upsie’s three-year smoker grill warranty
starts at $10.99 for smokers that cost less than $100. Their plans offer a wealth of benefits, including unlimited claims up to the purchase price of the smoker, and an industry-leading $0 deductible. Even for costlier models, like Masterbuilt’s 40-inch Digital Charcoal Smoker, three years of comprehensive coverage costs the equivalent of less than $2.55 per month.
After you purchase your new smoker grill, protect it with Upsie.
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