Just about every small electric smoker is made for home use. They’re perfect if you want to smoke a chicken or two but won’t cut it if you’re feeding a horde of people. They’re a great complement to your home grill, without the hassle of having to fiddle with charcoal or fire.
What is a Small Electric Smoker?
Your typical small electric smoker will be fine when you’re dealing with a party of about five or six people – the big advantage being that they are small and more cost-effective to run. If you have limited space outdoors, but would like to smoke your food, they’re ideal.
What classifies a smoker as small in this case? Any electric model that is under 30 inches tall will fall into this category. They might or might not come with wheels, but most will have handles. Moving them is pretty simple.
The shape and size mean that you’ll have fewer options regarding rack space, which might be annoying if you have a lot of food to prepare.
Concerning design, these are just like their bigger brothers. They’re also a lot easier to lay your hands on than the typical model.
Which Models are the Best?
Let’s have a look at some of the best options out there. We based our choices on utility, popularity, quality, and price. We’ve only chosen models that last well and that work well.
Masterbuilt 30” Smoker
Masterbuilt is a well-known brand in this market, so it’s no surprise that one of their models is included in this list. It’s a pared down version of their bigger models. The controls are all manual, and there is no Bluetooth or remote-control options with this one.
You get three racks to cook on. All you have to do is plug it in, choose the temperature you need, and start smoking. It may be small, but it still handles the toughest pieces of meat.
We like the fact that the temperature gauge is simple to read, but we still advise buying a meat probe as well. The temperature gauge works fine, but you’ll get better results with a good-quality thermometer.
The machine is sturdily constructed and should last well.
Little Chief Smoker
This is a tried and tested design that has been on the market for almost half a century. The company believes in sticking with a winning design – it hasn’t changed much since it was first designed.
You get four adjustable racks and can cook up to 25 pounds of food, which is more than enough for most people. The heating element could be more effective – it works well on smaller cuts of meat. If you want to cook more substantial cuts, it’s best to look elsewhere.
With a pork butt, for example, you can get it started in the smoker but will need to put it into the oven afterward. It’s meant more for prepping cheese, jerky or fish.
What we love about this model is that you can either load it from the top or the front. This is the most convenient feature here.
This is a good buy when it comes to smaller cuts of meat that require a lower cooking temperature. If you want to try high heat cooking, though, keep looking.
On the bright side, this is a very compact model, making it ideal for those with limited space.
This is a step above the other models because of the incorporation of SmartChef tech. If you love gadgets, you’ll love this option. You’ll need to download the app to get this feature working. For the price, and size, this is an unusual feature, but one that we love.
The app allows you to:
- Set the timer
- Turn it on or off
- Set the temperature
- Also, you can check how much longer it will be until the food is done
It also features a notification system that will remind you that you have food in the smoker. Just find a recipe online and plug the figures in quickly and easily.
The app could use some work – it works great with an iPhone, but less well with an Android operating system. Overall, though, that’s something that we can live with.
Smokin-it Small Smoker
Smokin-it has kept things simple by keeping to the same design for all their models. The only real differentiation is in size. The one we’re interested in is Model 1. With its 400 watt element, it’s got more punch than the Little Chief option.
It can take up to 22 pounds of food and has three cooking racks for you to use.
Aesthetically, it looks great. It’s nicely compact and has stainless steel on the outside. This makes it easier to blend with any décor.
It’s easy to move this model around because it does have wheels. If you need something more mobile, this is a good bet.
Meco Small Electric Smoker
When good looks were handed out, this model was first in line. It looks more like a stainless steel R2D2 than a smoker. That’s something that we love about it.
More importantly, perhaps, is that it performs very well too. It’s got a powerful heating element that will make short work of most meats.
It does use a lot of water throughout the smoking process, but this is a good thing. It means that your meat won’t dry out in a hurry.
With just two racks and a smaller capacity than the other models, this won’t win prizes regarding size. Considering how great it looks, though, who cares?
Wrapping it Up
A small smoker is an ideal choice if you have a smaller family or very little space. Whether or not it will be a good choice for you will depend on how much smoking you want to do. If you’re going to smoke six chickens at a time, these won’t be your best option.
So, if you’re prepping for a big family reunion, there are better options out there. If you need something for day to day use, however, these models might prove ideal for you.