Are you looking to combine the bold flavor of a smoker with the ease of use of a gas grill? A propane smoker may be just what you’re looking for. Cooking low-n-slow on a propane smoker produces food that unquestionably moist, coupled with a rich, smoky flavor. Although cooking on a propane smoker is a slow and steady process, the results are worth it. The unparalleled flavor of smoked ribs, brisket, beef, or chicken is the thing that you will never be able to forget in life.
The best propane smokers are packed with features designed to not only enhance your smoking experience but also make your life easier. If you’ve decided you have to have a propane smoker, this buyer’s guide will help narrow down your choices and let you know what features are necessary for a propane smoker to be a great propane smoker. We also review some of the top-rated propane smokers on the market that we think you should consider first.
- What’s the best propane grill you can buy?
- Choosing the best Weber grill
- Best flat top grills on the market
The Best Propane Smokers To Buy
Our Top Picks
After many hours of researching and reading user’s reviews, we’ve decided that the Smoke Hollow 38202G 38-Inch 2-Door Propane Gas Smoker is our pick as the best propane smoker for most people. No propane smoker matches its combination of exceptional performance, usability, durability, and value. Its overall compact size suits almost any patio or deck, but its smoking space is big enough for smoke cooking for a family or a larger group with more people.
Smoking space is enough for several butts or racks of ribs, with all the meat easily accessible at the same time. It has separate doors for tending the chip pan and water pan, so that you don’t have to open the cooking chamber and let the heat and smoke out, the upper and lower vent controls on this propane smoker make it easier to manage internal heat and moisture, and a push-button electronic igniter for lighting the burner quickly.
The thing we love most from the Smoke Hollow 38202G is that even though this gas smoker has an affordable price, it’s well built and features a cast brass burner. Cast brass burners are solid and very durable. It’s the least common material used and only available on several distinct models of expensive propane smokers. Cast brass burners last longer than stainless steel burners and carry longer warranties.
If you need a bit more room on your gas smoker, or you don’t like to cut your ribs down to fit the smoker – regular rib racks fit just right side-to-side in the 40-inch smoker, get the Masterbuilt GS40 40-Inch Propane Smoker. Though it’s just a few inches wider than the Smoke Hollow 38202G overall, it offers 10 percent more smoking area. This propane smoker is enough to smoke up to 20 chickens, 4 turkeys, 8 racks of ribs, or 16 pork butts – enough room to smoke all of your favorite food.
The fact that not only is the Masterbuilt GS40 one of the best propane smokers available, it’s one of the Masterbuilt’s top-selling gas smokers. Many owners love this inexpensive BBQ smoker. The quality of it is way higher than other similar-sized propane smokers at the same price.
Why Should I Buy a Propane Smoker?
If you’re considering a propane smoker for the first time, you’d likely want to answer these important questions: why are propane smokers such a great choice for barbequing? Why is a propane smoker better than a charcoal, electric, and pellet smoker? We will help you answer these questions before going to the next section where we review some of the best propane smokers available on the market.
Smoker purists will claim that a wood pellet smoker is the only way to get the best flavor, but don’t let that deter you. Many blind tests have been done and even the most hardened grillmasters have trouble noticing the difference. Propane offers a flavor that’s on par with the best wood pellet smokers on the market but without the headache of trying to be a temperature guru.
Some of the tastiest meats for smoking include beef brisket, pork shoulder, pork sausage, ribs, whole hens, salmon, and lamb leg. Propane is perfect for these meats is much quicker to get to temperature than alternate fuel sources.
We love the flavor of meat from propane smokers, but it is a tiny bit different than the taste of meat from charcoal smokers, and to our taste, much better than the flavor from electric smokers. Most “meat geeks” agree: smoked meat tastes better than meat cooked on a gas grill.
The smoke ring, that juicy pink strip of meat underneath the skin, is a visual testament to the beauty of a smoker. Smoked meats will often possess a more pronounced (and thus tastier) smoke ring than those cooked on a gas grill.
A propane smoker is much better than an electric and charcoal smoker when it comes to versatility.
Since an electric smoker needs to be plugged into an outlet, it isn’t as portable as propane smokers. Unlike electric smokers, gas/propane smokers don’t need electricity to work. You never have to worry about losing electricity and spoiling your meat. And since you don’t have to plug a propane smoker in, it’s very portable. This makes taking your smoker over to a friend’s house or a park for a cookout as easy as bringing along a portable grill.
Also, with a charcoal smoker, you’ll have to start, stoke, watch, and dispose of your charcoal, just like you would with a charcoal grill. This may take you a lot of time to start cooking. With a propane smoker, all you need to cook is a small amount of wood and a tank of propane – you can start cooking in just a few minutes.
Most gas smokers only use propane. The Camp Chef units, including the Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18″ and Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24”, are the only ones that are natural gas friendly (you need to buy the Camp Chef Natural Gas Conversion Kit). You may be able to adopt another brand to run on natural gas, but this must be done by a professional unless your goal is to be charred on the outside and rare in the center. If you’re looking for the best propane smoker that can be converted to natural gas, the Camp Chef smokers are good options to buy.
Ease of Use
It is much easier to control the temperature of a gasser than a charcoal or wood fueled smoker. For example with a wood smoker, you’re constantly having to adjust the temperature by adding wood (both logs and chips) to the existing flames or removing it if it’s too hot. With a propane smoker you’re only dealing with wood chips as a smoking/flavoring agent. The temperature will remain constant so long as the propane is properly fueling the unit and your only task will be to ensure that the wood chips are properly smoking the meat, occasionally adding more chips to keep the smoke up.
The perfect temperature for cooking meats and vegetables is typically between 225 degrees and 250 degrees. With a propane smoker the simple controls allow you to adjust the temperature all the way up to 450 degrees, making them perfect for switching from smoking to grilling.
Most propane smokers work with the push of a button and the dial of a knob. Push-button ignition lights the flame quickly, and arrows or knobs are used to adjust the temperature setting. Some models have two doors. A small one at the bottom so you can check the flame and add wood and water. The main door provides access to the cooking chamber. The two-door feature was really impressed us, it was a very useful as it allowed us to add wood chips without losing that precious heat and smoke.
Review: The Best Propane Smokers To Buy
1. Smoke Hollow 38202G 38-Inch 2-Door Propane Gas Smoker Reviews – Best Propane Smoker Overall
The Smoke Hollow 38202G 38-Inch 2-Door Propane Gas Smoker is one of the top-rated gas smokers on Amazon.com and is our pick as the best propane smoker for most people. It offers an unrivaled combination of top-notch smoking performance, a versatile design, an extremely durable cast brass burner, and an affordable price. Its overall compact size (27″ wide x 18.5″ deep x 47″ tall) suits almost any patio or deck, but its smoking space (smoking cabinet capacity of 3.4 cubic feet) is big enough for smoke cooking for a family or a larger group with more people. Smoking space is enough for several butts or racks of ribs, with all the meat easily accessible at the same time.
The Smoke Hollow 38202G can easily accommodate meals for a large group, and it has separate doors for tending the chip pan and water pan, so that you don’t have to open the cooking chamber and let the heat and smoke out, the upper and lower vent controls on this propane smoker make it easier to control the temperature. Once you get it to the right temperature, it will stay there for a long time.
This smoker comes four chrome-plated cooking grates that can be adjusted; this allows you to smoke a variety of foods at different temperatures. The makers of this unit thought of everything when it comes to smoking; they even included a sausage rack inside of the cooking chamber. Another useful feature is a push-button electronic igniter for lighting the burner quickly.
The thing we love most from the Smoke Hollow 38202G is that even though this gas smoker has an affordable price, it’s well built and features a 20,000 BTU cast brass burner. Cass brass burners are solid and very durable. It’s the least common material used and only available on several distinct models of expensive propane smokers. Cass brass burners last longer than stainless steel burners and carry longer warranties. Cast brass burners also give the user ultimate control and increase the low to high-temperature range.
Overall, we pick the Smoke Hollow 38202G as the best propane smoker because we think it has a perfect size for most people, it offers several clever, life-improving design elements that we love. And on top of that, at its current price, everyone can afford it.
If you need a bit more room on your gas smoker, or you don’t like to cut your ribs down to fit the smoker – regular full racks of ribs fit just right side-to-side in the 40-inch smoker, get the Masterbuilt GS40 40-Inch Propane Smoker. With the dimensions of the actual cooking chamber are 24” wide x 16” deep x 33” tall, this smoker has the largest cooking capacity of any smoker at the same price we’ve ever seen . With four adjustable stainless steel racks, the Masterbuilt GS40 is enough to smoke up to 20 chickens, 4 turkeys, 8 racks of ribs, or 16 pork butts – enough room to smoke all of your favorite food.
Unlike our top-pick that has cast metal burners, the Masterbuilt GS40 uses a 15,400 BTU stainless steel burner. Stainless steel burners aren’t as durable as cast brass burners but they can easily last up to 5 years or more. The burner’s flame is easily adjustable using a simple knob. The smoker holds a constant temperature for several hours. Because it’s not insulated, the internal temperature can be affected by outside weather conditions. This happens to most inexpensive propane smokers. But don’t worry, this really doesn’t impact food quality, just fuel efficiency.
Thus far, we’ve cooked spare ribs, meat loaf, wings and chicken quarters on the Masterbuilt GS40 gas propane smoker. Whether smoking at low or high temperatures, the results have been stellar. We couldn’t be happier with the ease of use and consistent quality of the food. The most important features to us are the large cooking capacity and consistent temperatures. At such a low price, we don’t think you could find any gas smoker that is larger and better than this one. This is one of the best propane smokers for the money that you can buy.
3. Smoke Hollow PS4415 Pro Series Propane Smoker Reviews
The Smoke Hollow PS4415 Pro Series is the best propane smoker for you if you plan to smoke a serious amount of food. With over 6.5 cubic feet of capacity, this gas smoker can easily handle enough food for large gatherings with plenty of room to accommodate different items from meats to veggies. It is even roomy enough to accommodate up to 7 chickens at the same time. It also comes with five cooking grids (two standard grids, two jerky style grids and one combination cooking grid/rib rack) for different types of smoking.
One of the biggest drawbacks to gas smokers is that most are thin metal and the doors are loose so they leak heat and smoke. The leak really doesn’t impact food quality but you will have to burn more gasses and wood chips than airtight units. The Smoke Hollow PS4415 Pro Series doesn’t have these problems. The doors latch closed tightly and the dual burner design gives it a much wider range of temperatures. The upper door with large tempered window allows you to check food progress without opening the door.
The Smoke Hollow PS4415 Pro Series is equipped with dual 11,000 BTU’s stainless steel burners, which can be operated independently for optimum performance and temperature control. This design gives this propane smoker a wide temperature range which is easily adjusted once you get the hang of it.
The dual-burner design also allows the smoker to reach high temperature quickly. Once you reach the required heat, you turn off one burner and the other is set according to the desired temperature and everything will work fine. Smoke Hollow claims that shutting off one burner will give you low temps of around 125°F on the top rack for smoking cheese.
Overall, at its current price, we think the Smoke Hollow PS4415 Pro Series is one of the best propane smokers for the person who doesn’t want to make a big investment but does want to make a lot of barbecues.
4. Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36″ Propane Smoker Reviews
The Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36″ Propane Smoker offers quality, performance, and versatility. Since smoke always goes up, the tall and chimney-like design of this model is ideal for maximum smoke capture and efficient natural smoking. Its small footprint makes it a perfect size for patios and barbecue kitchens. It’s easy to set up and includes a 40in. hose and regulator that attaches quickly to a standard propane tank.
This two-door propane smoker features four 14 x 14 inch height-adjustable stainless steel grates offering a total cooking area of 784 square inches. It is an excellent characteristic for this rather compact model. Although it has a compact footprint, it has a generous 5.45 square feet of interior cooking space, which means there is plenty of room to smoke a variety of meats along with several trays of vegetables. One more option that can’t remain unnoticed is porcelain enamel steel tray holds the wood chips and water which is designed to handle extended use at high temperatures.
The Cuisinart COS-244 is cheap, it’s one of the best propane smokers for those who are looking to buy a smoker that will take up less space, easy to use, and won’t break the bank. But if the ribs are too long you’d have to cut it down to fit this smoker.
5. Masterbuilt 20050116 Portable Gas Smoker Reviews – Best Propane Smoker for Outdoor Camping
Perfectly sized for smoking in smaller areas, but still large enough to cook a whole turkey or pork butt, this Masterbuilt 20050116 Portable Gas Smoker features two smoking racks and a collapsible tabletop design that’s ideal for outdoor cooking, tailgating, and RV camping. This smoker weighs only 22.2 lbs and its overall size is 15.91” deep x 23.62 wide x 23.15 tall. It features two chrome-coated racks, a 5,000 BTU stainless steel burner, and a push-button ignition lights burner quickly and easily. The compact design and folding legs make transport and storage easy.
6. Dyna-Glo DGW1904BDP-D 43″ Wide Body LP Gas Smoker Reviews
Dyna-Glo offers some low and moderately-priced gas and charcoal grills and smokers. The DGW1904BDP-D 43″ Wide Body LP Gas Smoker is one of the best propane smokers from Dyna-Glo, it has a good quality for a good price. It’s a large smoker with 4 height adjustable cooking grates provide 784 total square inches of cooking space – you have plenty of room to smoke your favorite food. Each grate can be adjusted to accommodate whatever size and type of food your heart desire.
This gas smoker is built from solid steel. It features dual cast iron burners which provide 15,000 total BTUs. Cast iron burners are highly durable and usually last longer than stainless steel burners but they require more maintenance. Cast iron burners should be oiled and maintained to enjoy full life expectancy. The smoker has a double door design which lets you add wood and water without disturbing foods in the smoke box. The little water bowl and wood chip box are made with heavy gauge, porcelain enameled steel. The push-button electronic ignition emits a rapid pulse for quick and easy lighting.
7. Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24 in. Propane Gas Smoker-SMV24S – Natural Gas Friendly
If you’re looking to buy a propane smoker that can be converted to natural gas when you want, grab the Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24 in. Propane Gas Smoker. This smoker is large so you can smoke many types of food at once. With two 21.5″W x 14″D adjustable smoking racks, 1 jerky smoking rack, it will accommodate slabs of ribs laid flat and there is enough headroom to use rib racks on both shelves for big gatherings. It is even roomy enough to accommodate a full turkey.
Additionally, Smoke Vault’s 18,000 BTU burner can be dialed down to 160⁰ and cranked up to 350⁰ while most BBQ gas smokers have limited cooking temperature range and can’t get down and hold low and slow temps of 225⁰. This is important because it hasn’t been limited and it can hold on to enough heat to hit higher temperatures. As the Camp Chef website says, this smoker can be “used for smoking ribs, fish, and turkeys as well as baking pies and bread”.
While the 24in Vault is a bit more expensive than most gas smokers on the market, it is better built and best of all it’s natural gas friendly. You can find a hundred vertical gassers for less money, but if you really want to buy one of the best propane smokers, this nice smoker is worth considering.