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The Best Electric Smoker Under $300 (2024)

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Buying a smoker can be downright hard. The vast number of brands and options for today’s smokers can be a whirlwind. This can cause a lot of anxiety or buyer’s remorse. We are here to help you make the decision easy with this buying guide for the Best Electric smoker under $300.

Double Smoked Ham cooked on the orion cooker.
Double Smoked Ham Cooked on the Orion Cooker

The Rise of Electric Smokers in the Art of Meat Smoking

Smoking meat has been a technique for curing and preserving food for centuries. The traditional way of using wood in a pit is fun and is a traditional method. There have been lots of memories made around a smoke pit. There is nothing like watching and maintaining the fire at the perfect temperature.

It is hard to replace the feeling and comradery of cooking on a wood-fired smoker. I get that.

The fact of the matter is that some people may be just getting into smoking meat. Maybe they do not have the time to sit around and maintain a fire and hot coals to get that delicious smoke flavor in the meat or food they are cooking.

This is where the Electric Smoker Comes into play.

Not to mention sometimes you just want great-tasting food during the week and don’t have time to sit and tend a fire and the smoke. I love smoking chicken for instance.

Take this Roasted Whole Chicken Breast Recipe that I cook in the oven. Instead of baking it in the oven, smoke it in the smoker. The cooking time would take a few hours longer. The benefits of having smoked Cajun chicken during the week for supper would be awesome.

Cajun Roasted Whole Chicken Breast Recipe
Cajun Roasted whole chicken breast recipe. Step by Step on how to make this recipe.

Having an electric smoker would allow this to happen whereas a wood fire smoker would not be possible.

Electric smokers are also a great way to make smoked beef jerky or Venison Jerky. The Electric smoker will have a low enough temperature to act as a dehydrator with the added benefit of the smoke flavor.

Try this Smoked Beef Jerky Marinade if you decide to make beef jerky. You will not regret it as it is the best thing ever.

Smoked Beef Jerky from Southern Food Junkie
Smoked Beef Jerky Made on a Gas Smoker using the Smoked Beef Jerky Marinade

Benefits of Using an Electric Smoker

There are many benefits of using an electric smoker. For me, the biggest benefit of using an electric smoker has to be the ease of use. There is not much of a learning curve when it comes to using an electric smoker.

Electric Smokers are Simple To Use

All you have to do is plug it in and add your wood chips or wood pellets. Set the temperature control and off you go. This is much different than using charcoal smokers such as the Weber Smokey Mountain or offset smokers. With those smokers, charcoal or wood coals have to be added periodically to maintain the heat.

Infographic showing the parts of a electric smoker.

With the digital control panel, the electric smoker takes care of the temperature control itself.

Features That Make Electric Smokers Easy To Use

Some electric smokers even have temperature probes. The Probes are used to tell the internal temperature of the meat you are cooking. These probes hook up to the digital control panel and can relay the information to you via Bluetooth on your phone.

Picture of the features of a Digital Controler on the cuisinart CPG-256.
See the probe port that allows for a Temperature Probe? Image © Cuisinart.

Talk about the best electric smoker! Most of these are higher-end ones that we will not cover today. This picture is actually from the unit that is our Honorable mention pick down below.

I do think it is important to know how far these electric smokers have come. Even still, you can find the best electric smoker under $300 with nice features.

Ease of Cleanup

Another great benefit of using an electric smoker is how easy it is to clean up. Now granted you still are smoking meat so there are going to be drippings and such. There will not be a huge mess of ashes to clean up though.

The only ashes that will exist are what is inside your wood chip tray. Both of these will have the ashes contained and this makes cleaning up a breeze.

Reliability

The last benefit that I will go over is the reliability of an electric smoker. If you are using fire, again you have to maintain that.

If you are using propane or gas smokers, you have to make sure you have enough gas to get you through the cooking process. With electricity, bearing an electric outage, you normally do not have to worry about running out of it.

This is why I think that electric smokers are the best smokers for novices and seasoned professionals alike. Even if you run a food business, you have so many other things going such as prepping food.

With electric smokers, there is no need to worry about maintaining a fire to get coals for a traditional wood smoker.

Other Reasons You May Like an Electric Smoker

  • Simple operations: The basic electric smokers just have an analog turn dial that you turn to the temperature you want. More expensive models may have a digital control with a remote control or the ability to control from your smartphone. They are as simple as it comes to control.
  • Easy to keep regulated: Digital smokers have controls that will stay at a certain temperature.
  • Electric Verticle Smokers Have Multiple Racks: Multiple racks with lots of square inches of cooking space. This allows for a large capacity of food to be smoked.
  • Low and High-Temperature Range: Allows for hot or cold smoking of food Items. Smoke chicken and pork butts to cold-smoking cheese and fish.
  • Water Pan and/or Drip Pan: Catches the juices as they drip. Water or juice can be added to the pan to help keep the meat moist
  • Wood Chip Tray: to hold wood chips in a Pellet hopper.
  • Great price point: Electric smokers are some of the most reasonable smokers that you can buy. They offer the best value or bang for your buck.

The Best Electric Smoker Under $300: What Can Get You?

When looking at Electric Smokers, $300 is not a lot of money. These will be basic entry-level smokers. Do not let this stop you from buying one of these. They are still really good smokers that will get the job done.

Images © Masterbuilt | Char-Broil | Cuisinart

You will not find many of the bells and whistles on these units. Nor will you find stainless steel units that are built to last forever in this price range. These entry-level smokers are still a good choice and still hold their own. They will last many many years if they are taken well care of.

Our Top Pick: Masterbuilt mb20071117 Digital Electric Smoker

The Masterbuilt mb2007117 is our pick for the best electric smoker under $300. This Electric smoker is not only one of the best prices, but it also has great reviews on all the sites that sell it.

It is fully insulated and best of all you can add chips without opening the door. These are the reason we chose this electric smoker as our top pick. This one is a great choice and you cannot go wrong with it.

Specifications of the Masterbuilt mb20071117
Image © Masterbuilt

Let’s Break it Down:

This Masterbuilt smoker is a digital electric smoker. It has all digital controls that are located at the top of the smoker. This smoker has a maximum temperature of 275 degrees F. and can hold 2 whole turkeys, 4 pork butts, 4 racks of ribs, or 6 chickens.

There is plenty of room to smoke enough meat or food for a huge party. You should never run out of this electric smoker.

To make things easy, this Masterbuilt digital electric smoker has a side wood chip loading system. This lets you load the chips from the side. No need to open the door and risk losing all the heat when it is time to add more wood chips. This is one of the most important features of this smoker in my opinion.

The body and door are fully insulated to help hold in heat. This allows the unit to keep a consistent temperature throughout the whole smoke.

Runnerup: Masterbuilt 30-inch Digital Electric Smoker

The Masterbuilt 30-inch Digital Smoker is our Runner-up in this buyer’s guide. You can’t go wrong with this smoker. While we love the looks and features of this smoker.

The smoker has a patented wood chip loader that you can access from the outside without opening the door up. I love this feature as it doesn’t require the door to be opened which can drop the heat on the unit.

Let’s Break It Down

This vertical digital electric smoker offers 710 square inches of cooking space, providing ample room for your smoking needs. Its digital controls make it effortless to set cooking time and temperature, with a maximum temperature of up to 275°F.

Featuring a patented side woodchip loader, this smoker allows you to continuously add wood-fired smoked flavor without opening the door, ensuring enhanced low and slow-cooked dishes. Equipped with four chrome-coated smoking racks, it accommodates up to 7 chickens, 2 turkeys, 4 pork butts, or 4 racks of ribs in its spacious vertical design.

For added convenience, it includes a removable water bowl to infuse moisture and catch food drippings, along with a rear grease tray for easy cleanup. An adjustable air damper provides control over smoke levels, while a lockable door latch retains heat and smoke inside the fully insulated smoker. Plus, the convenient window allows you to monitor food throughout the smoking process.

Most Affordable: Cuisinart COS-330 Verticle Smoker

The Cuisinart COS-330 is your basic run-of-the-mill analog smoker. It is basic but it gets the job done. Sometimes the simpler the unit, the better and more reliable they are. This smoker doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the other two smokers on this list. Do not let that fool you, it is still a great unit to get you started in the world of smoking meat.

Specifications of the Cuisinart COS-330 Electric verticle smoker.
Image © Cuisinart

Let’s Break It Down

The Cuisinart Verticle Smoker has over 500 square inches of cooking space. While this is not quite as much as the other two, you still have plenty of room to cook what you need.

It has three removable smoking shelves that are easy to take out for cleaning. They are adjustable to make room for whatever you are smoking. This unit has a 1500-watt heating element.

This unit has a built-in thermometer but I am going, to be honest with you. It is best to have your thermometer from a reputable company like Thermoworks.

The built-in thermometer on most units, especially the cheaper ones, is not that accurate. Try something like the Dot by Thermoworks or the Smoke by Thermoworks for a better-upgraded option. There are some cheaper options on Amazon as well.

Honorable Mention: Portable Pellet Smoker Option We Love:

Cuisinart CPG-256 Portable Wood Pellet Grill

Venture into the world of Pellet smokers with this portable Wood pellet grill. The compact size of this smoker allows it to be portable. You can easily move it around. Take this smoker camping in the RV or tailgating. Just make sure you have a small generator to power it.

This grill retails for $349.00 but you can often find it on sale for under $300.00. At the time of writing this, this smoker was $252.99 on Amazon. What a deal!

Specifications for Cuisinart CPG-256 Wood Pellet Smoker.
Image © Cuisinart

As you can see here, there are many options to choose from. All three will help you stay under budget when it comes time to buy an Electric Smoker. Take a closer look at some of these smokers and see what you think. Most of these are verticle-designed so they don’t take up much room. They still do the same job as the more expensive smokers. Although there is no perfect smoker out there, I feel like for under $300 bucks one of these picks will do a fantastic job.

Picture created for Pintrest showing the best electric smoker under $300.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. We truly appreciate it. If you have a comment or question, please leave it below.

-Ronnie | Let’s Get Food Junked

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