If you are thinking about buying a charcoal smoker, you certainly aren’t alone. This type of smoker is the most popular of the options out there, and there are many solid reasons for that fact. Wood charcoal gives the most authentic and smoky flavor, which is the whole point of having a smoker in the first place.
You might be wondering which smoker is right for you, and we can give you some guidance there.
Features You Need
You may have specific requirements about what you want to get out of your next smoker. However, there are a few things that tend to be standard, so start looking there. Ensure that your smoker comes with a thermometer or you are okay buying one on the side. If the smoker is rather large, make sure it has wheels so you can more easily move it around. There should also be an easy way to get to the wood chip box and water bowl, in case you need to refill either during the cooking process.
Horizontal or Vertical
Another huge question, do you want a vertical or horizontal grill/smoker? They will appeal to specific groups. The vertical type takes up less space and has super air circulation. More smoke gets to the meat because of the design. However, the horizontal is heavier, more stable, and often can cook more meat at once. So what’s more important to you?
All of the below smokers are from a group of the best out there, and many will likely meet your needs. Keep an eye out for the things that most matter to you, and you’ll likely be on your way to an exciting new piece of cooking equipment soon.
1. Char-Griller Smoker 2137 Outlaw
Need lots of space for ribs, burgers, or smoked chicken? The Outlaw, by Char-Griller, is an outstanding option for you. The cooking space clocks in at 1000 square inches. It offers a barrel style that can cook hot or cook slow and give you just what you want at your next barbecue with friends. This unit is constructed out of thick steel and features double grates, which makes it durable, to boot.
Now, some smoker/grill combos are better at one of those two cooking styles than the other, which is often fine. However, if you want fantastic performance when cooking and when smoking, this model will suit you just fine. Just be sure you purchase the option with a firebox, or you’ll only get the benefits of grilling.
The price is pretty reasonable on this grill, and the adjustable grate makes it easy to smoke or cook any food you want. Honestly, if you care about price and performance, this is an ideal option. You can certainly make tons of food for the family, whether you prefer grilling hotdogs or smoking whole turkeys.
|Char-Griller 2137 Outlaw||Specs|
|Dimensions||50 x 29 x 49 inches|
|Cooking Space||1063 Square Inch|
2. PK Grill and Smoker Original PK99740
The PK Grill Original Smoker comes from a company that has been around since the 1950s. This grill brings back that ’50s style for those who long for a little nostalgia while grilling burgers for the family and enjoying a tall glass of beer. It also has a durable construction and is made from recycled aluminum, so there is no worry of rust.
Assembly on this smoker is very easy. It comes with an assembly sheet and can be constructed in about 15 minutes. After that part is done, cooking on the unit is a breeze. The hardest part is noted to be getting the vents adjusted correctly, so expect to spend a few moments on that.
The size of this grill is relatively small and is best utilized by individuals who plan to cook for small groups of friends or family. That said, the size does make it easy to move so if you enjoy hanging out in nature or going to football games, the PK will suit you nearly perfectly.
|PK Grill and Smoker Original PK99740||Specs|
|Dimensions||35.5 x 35 x 16 inches|
|Material Type||Stainless steel|
3. Char-Griller 26720 Charcoal Smoker
If you dig the look of egg-shaped grills, it’s time to meet the 26720 Akorn Kamado Kooker from Char-Griller. It has that style, along with the versatility of using it for a grill or a lean, mean smoking machine. It is constructed from steel and has triple walled insulation to keep heat and smoke inside, where it should be.
You may wonder about temperature control, as that can have a huge effect on how food comes out smelling and tasting. This little grill can go up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, which is enough heat for pretty much anything you want to cook. Fish, jerky, beef, and shrimp will all be great – and steak can be seared to literal perfection.
The durability behind the 26720 is quite good, as mentioned above. If something doesn’t seem to be working right, the manufacturer has a great customer service team who will help you out. The materials are truly quality, and this option will be long-lasting.
|Dimensions||28.7 x 24.8 x 21.6 in|
|Material Type||Cast Iron|
|Cooking Space||447 square inches|
4. Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker DGO1176DC-D
Dyna-Glo brings a vertical offset type smoker into the world, which is a great option for heating. The vertical offset lets heat and smoke more easily go up the chimney, where they both belong. In addition, the design looks quite nice and you’re likely to have compliments thrown your way at cookouts and barbecues you cater for.
This smoker comes with a total of six chrome plated adjustable racks which can hold 25 pounds each. This means you can stuff this bad boy with 150 pounds of meat and cook it all at once. There aren’t a lot of value priced smokers that can say that, but Dyna-Glo does it quite well.
The firebox in this unit has a rotary air intake damper, which is connected to the smoke cabinet. Inside that firebox is a coated steel box for charcoal, with a steel rod grate at the bottom, under which is an ash tray for easy cleanup.
|Dyna-Glo Smoker DGO1176DC-D||Specs|
|Dimensions||20.2 x 34.5 x 47 inches|
|Material Type||Cast iron, Steel|
|Cooking Space||1176 sq. in|
5. Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker Charcoal Smoker
You may want to slow cook your meat, however, getting your smoker up to temperature can seem to take forever. Weber changes that with 721001 which jumps up to temperature quickly and then stays right where you want it. It also offers a large water pan so that you won’t find yourself constantly refilling it. You can start it up, throw some T-bones on, and enjoy the company of those with you.
Another perk with this grill is that it’s easy to use. It doesn’t matter if you’re utterly new to smoking techniques or have been doing it for decades, the Weber Smokey Mountain gives you the means to easily make delicious burgers, chicken, or salmon. If you need to raise the temp, just open the vents a bit more, if you want a lower temp, adjust the airflow. It’s that simple!
The final aspect of the Weber that should be considered is the great price. It’s not the least expensive griller on the market, but for what you get, you aren’t going to be disappointed if you choose to bring this great piece of machinery home with you.
|Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain||Specs|
|Dimensions||41 x 19 x 21 inches|
|Cooking Space||481 square inches|
6. Dyna-Glo Vertical Smoker DGX780BDC-D
Dyna-Glo manufactures plenty of cheap and moderately priced grills and smokers that utilize gas or charcoal. They focus on that aspect of the market, rather than going out into other products, such as accessories. This shows that they want to make sure what they do is right and put the time and effort into ensuring it.
The smoker itself is lightweight and can go up to extreme temperatures. You will have no issue searing strip steak, smoking full chickens, or popping a dozen burgers on the grill. It has many chrome plated racks that can hold a heaping amount of food at once, so you will likely never run out of room.
Dyna-Glo takes safety seriously, as well, and offers locking handles on the smokebox and the firebox. All handles are also made of a material that keeps them cool so if a child comes up and grabs one, there will be no crying over a burnt little hand.
|Dyna-Glo Vertical Smoker||Specs|
|Dimensions||21.45 x 20.83 x 49.73 in|
7. Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical Smoker
The Cuisinart 118 is a vertical smoker with a simple setup. Once your box has been delivered by the friendly UPS or FedEx driver, it will likely only take about 30 minutes to have it completey setu p and ready for a plate of chicken breasts to smoke or grill.
You get a decent amount of space for the price with the Cuisinart, and there are two levels of smoking. You can even pick up a few jerky hangers to add more versatility to the device. It also is very newcomer friendly, offering easy and straightforward options for grilling or smoking.
As far as durability and longevity go, this seems like a good choice. It has a body that will easily shed water if it gets rained on. It also has high-quality grates that are simple and easy to clean. For the price, you are certainly getting a unit that you can be proud of.
|Cuisinart Vertical Smoker||Specs|
|Dimensions||25 x 25 x 45 in|
|Cooking Space||510 square inches|
8. Char-Griller 16620 Charcoal Smoker
A traditional kamado style cooker often commands a high price point, but the Char-Griller is the exception to the rule. It gives you what you expect from this design, such as high-temperature ability, fuel efficiency, and great low and slow smoking options. However, it is not going to cost an arm and a leg to bring home to your residence.
You will find that this model has 302 square inches of primary cooking area, as well as a 165 square inch warming rack. The latter is extremely useful if you have a side to heat, or you can warm up some sauces for the ribs in the smoker. It uses a cast iron grate for cooking, as well as a steel construction with a porcelain coated inside.
You may find a learning curve is apparently with this smoker, which is common for those new to kamado-style grills. However, if you take the time to learn how to use it properly, you will find that it can make some great vittles for the whole family.
|Char-Griller Charcoal Smoker||Specs|
|Dimensions||28.7 x 24.8 x 21.6 in|
|Cooking Space||447 square inches|
9. Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Vertical Offset Smoker
The Signature Series by Dyna-Glo is a multiple use smoker and grill with both a charcoal grill and offset smoker. It features five removable grates, along with an ash pan, which makes for quicker and easier maintenance and cleaning.
For those who enjoy sausage, sausage hooks come pre-installed for your use. It also comes with a professional gauge for temperature which ensures you turn it up to the right temperature if you aren’t sure. It has 1382 square instead of cooking area, with 284 of that in the offset grill.
The lid and door are both made from heat resistant material that will save anyone from grabbing a handle and getting a painful burn on their hands. The steel offset retains heat, which allows for searing and grilling at your leisure.
|Dyna-Glo DGSS1382VCS-D Charcoal Smoker||Specs|
|Dimensions||58.8 x 24.9 x 45.5 inches|
|Cooking Space||1,382 total sq in|
10. Char-Griller 1224 Smokin Pro Charcoal Smoker
Char-Griller is our last charcoal smoker on the list, and it’s a doozy. It’s made by a company called A&G Manufacturing, which focuses on making grillwork and wire grills for industrial companies. As such, this cooker comes at a great price and has the quality you want from a professional smoker/grill combination.
Some features that come standard, but aren’t on other smokers, include a charcoal hopper that you can slide out to add more wood or charcoal and an adjustable grate inside the smoker box so you can sear your filet mignon or cheeseburgers to perfection.
This smoker seems to be made from durable materials, with a steel construction and cast-iron grates. It also comes complete with storage rack, wheels, and a temperature gauge to help make an eye on how your next meal is coming along.
|Char-Griller 1224 Smokin Pro||Specs|
|Dimensions||50 x 29 x 62 inches|
|Cooking Space||830 Square Inch|
Each of these smokers brings something new to the table and knowing your preferences will go a long way toward deciding if they are for you. Consider the size you need, whether you are going to be traveling, and what sort of meats you plan to grill or smoke on the device. That will go a long way toward taking you to the golden grill you need in your life.