Best Budget Smokers-7 Top Choices

Best Budget Smokers: 7 Top Choices

Barbecuing meats is a great way to draw out their rich and exciting flavors, while also enjoying cooking and eating in the outside air! There are several types of barbecues available, each of which offers a different flavor.

However, what is widely considered to be one of the best types available are smoker grills. These types slowly cook meats at low temperatures using just smoke! This lends meats a rich taste and tender texture that other grills cannot achieve.

However, because smoker grills can achieve such great results, they often tend to cost far more than your average grill, due to their more complex designs.

If you want amazing results from a smoker grill, then you need to know how to operate it. So how are you supposed to know which one to buy? And how do you know you are ready to handle it?

Luckily, there is a very wide range of budget smokers that you can buy to get started in smoking all kinds of meats! 

Read on below as we explore 7 of the best budget smokers worth your attention. And don’t forget to check out our dedicated buyer’s guide, created to tell you all you need to know when choosing your smoker grill.

OUR TOP PICK

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker

Specs for the Dyna-Glo:

  • Power Source: Charcoal.
  • Color: Black.
  • Weight: 57 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 20.2 x 34.52 x 47.03 inches.
  • Cooking Area (Square Inches): 1,176.
  • Barbeque Material: Steel.
  • Grate Material: Steel.
  • Model Name: DGO1176BDC-D.

This smoker grill looks like something straight out of a steampunk world! Complete with a tall jet-black design, this grill provides you with excellent and versatile smoke grilling. 

Powered by charcoal, and featuring a six-layer stack of grill shelves, this smoker is perfect for hosting large get-togethers and cooking for your whole family. 

The simple and effective design of this smoker grill makes it easy to use, to cook large amounts of food in one go without the hassle of finding space. Charcoal burns within the small compartment on the right side of the device, which releases the smoke into the main chamber.

This smoke rises up and evenly distributes heat to everything inside, deeply cooking the ingredients, and slowly drawing out their rich flavors, without risk of over-cooking or burning the food.

Your food will come out with a rich and smoky flavor, thanks to the charcoal, which makes it perfect for those looking to achieve that specific, but very loved barbecue taste. 

Each grill shelf can easily be removed, by sliding the shelf out from the structure. This makes it far easier to remove the food once it’s cooked, without risking burning yourself. Removable grill shelves also make it much easier to keep on top of maintenance and cleaning.

If a grill shelf becomes particularly dirty, then you can easily remove it and clean it, without having to interrupt the whole cooking process. This further helps to make this a great smoker grill for large get-togethers! 

While this grill does offer easy maintenance options, thanks to its removable shelves, it also allows for a more simple and efficient barbecuing experience. Instead of having to hang around and carefully check every single item on the grill, as you might with a regular barbecue, this grill ensures that your ingredients do not burn!

This grill makes use of the natural process of rising heat, to make sure that every ingredient, even those at the very top, receives the necessary heat to cook.

Using smoke also means that the ingredients cook slowly, which allows you to close its door and spend valuable time with your guests or family.

Ease of use is further complemented by the inclusion of a built-in thermometer, that allows you to accurately gauge the temperature of your ingredients without even having to open the door!

Keeping the grill fully fueled is also made simple, thanks to its charcoal chamber, which features an ash pan that simply slides out of the chamber for quick disposal of ashes without needing to interrupt your cooking process.

The charcoal chamber also features a sturdy steel basket to deposit extra coal, to keep your grill cooking for long periods, and to draw out flavors from a massive number of ingredients.

Pros:

  • The simple but effective design makes use of the rising nature of heat to evenly cook all ingredients, no matter their placement.
  • Cooks slowly, to draw out natural flavors, while also requiring low maintenance, allowing you to spend more time with your guests or family.
  • A built-in thermometer makes it easy to keep ingredients from burning, without even needing to open the grill door.

Cons:

  • The charcoal chamber has limited space, which means it may need to be refilled more often.
  • Grill shelves are not made from stainless steel, so users should be careful not to exceed extreme temperatures, to avoid risking melting or otherwise damaging the shelves. 

EDITORS CHOICE

Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite

Specs for the Char-Griller:

  • Power Source: Charcoal.
  • Color: Graphite.
  • Weight: 97 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 45 x 31 x47 inches.
  • Cooking Area (Square Inches): 447.
  • Barbeque Material: Steel.
  • Grate Material: Steel.
  • Model Name: E16620.

Very true to its name, this grill features an acorn-shaped grill, with two small shelves on both sides of it that almost look a bit like wings! This smoker grill is perfect for those who are looking to occasionally make use of their grill but want to be able to easily store it in between uses.

This grill is supported by three wheels at its bottom, which allow for easy transportation so that you can find the perfect place to set it up to begin cooking. If you have extra tools that you use alongside your grill, such as tongs, spatulas, or grill brushes, then this grill also has a multitude of extra storage features.

On both sides of the grill are two sets of small hooks, which make it easy to hang small tools for quick and easy access. These hooks are installed just under two small but sturdy shelves, allowing you extra space while you cook your ingredients on the main grill. 

While this grill may be on the slightly smaller side, it more than makes up for its small stature with a plethora of cooking benefits.

First, let’s discuss its acorn shape. This grill features a 20-inch diameter cooking surface that can grill and cook more than 27 burgers at once! This cooking size can be expanded slightly thanks to its included removable warming rack.

This warming rack can be attached at the back of the grilling surface to create an extra shelf within the grill that can be used to slowly warm certain ingredients, without risking burning them on the main grill.

This makes the grill perfect for cooking for people with different dietary needs so that each piece of food can be cooked evenly, and everyone gets delicious results!

You can even further control the heat of your grill by using the built-in dual dampers which allow you to control the airflow.

Coal is the fuel of choice for this grill. The coal is stored just under the grilling surface, a wide basin that creates the acorn shape. This coal basin is created to maximize heat efficiency, by trapping in heat and cycling it around the entire grill to evenly cook everything within it.

The Akorn grill features a triple-walled construction which is built to hold on to high temperatures without leaking.

The ashes created from burning coal can easily be disposed of, thanks to a built-in easy-dump ash pan, which can be removed without hassle which saves you from interrupting your cooking time. 

Pros:

  • Easy to transport and store, which makes it perfect for families, or those who may use a smoker grill infrequently.
  • A plethora of extra storage options, such as hooks for storing grill brushes, tongs, and spatulas.
  • Retains heat thanks to its shape, and allows for temperature control, through the use of dual dampers.

Cons:

  • The ash pan can be occasionally difficult to reattach, which could become dangerous. 
  • A few users have noted durability issues with the lid hinge, which can feel loose.

BEST VALUE

Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker

Specs for the Weber 14-inch:

  • Power Source: Charcoal.
  • Color: Black.
  • Weight: 23 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 31.4 x 14.75 x 14.75 inches.
  • Cooking Area (Square Inches): 286.
  • Barbeque Material: Steel.
  • Grate Material: Steel.
  • Model Name: 711001.

This pill-shaped smoker grill is built to be easy and simple for transportation, assembly, and frequent use.

The Weber 14-inch grill comes packaged with a number of extra features, such as a cover, to be used when storing the device, to prevent it from becoming damaged or tarnished during harsh weather conditions, and also to make transportation easier.

This grill is perfect for those who want a quick and simple grilling solution when out and about, especially when camping!

With a small stature, this grill is built to be discreet while getting to work at slowly cooking meats and other ingredients. It features a 14-inch cooking surface, which can fit up to two racks of ribs, or numerous burgers.

This means that, even if you are camping with multiple people, everyone will be satisfied with it.

Using smoke to cook ingredients means that the cooker is easy to use, with low maintenance necessary to keep it working optimally. This allows you to enjoy your camping experience knowing that you will get tender and flavorsome meats with minimal effort needed.

This grill needs to be assembled before use, but this can be done easily, with its packaged-in instructions, or even its 3D instructions that can be accessed online, which helps to eliminate the stress of working out which pieces go where!

The need for assembly is also beneficial as the device can easily be disassembled between uses, in case you only need to use it occasionally or want to be able to transport or store it without hassle. 

A charcoal chamber also comes as standard with this grill, to burn away charcoal and create that rich and warm smoke that cooks your meat to perfection. The chamber is accessible through a silver fuel door, which gleams against the jet-black design of the grill.

This door opens just enough to allow you to deposit more charcoal easily, without risking burning yourself, or allowing hot embers to escape.

The ashes created from burning charcoal are easy to dispose of, thanks to a built-in ash pan, to make maintenance easier, and to save you more time to spend in the great outdoors!

Pros:

  • Easy to transport and disassemble, which makes it perfect for camping, or easy storage.
  • Jet-black pill design is stylish and discreet while remaining functional.
  • Able to handle a good amount of meat, thanks to two grilling shelves. Smoke cooking means that all ingredients are evenly cooked.

Cons:

  • Assembly is required for first use, which could potentially prove challenging for some users.
  • The lid does not have an attached hinge, meaning you must fully remove it and place it elsewhere when checking on or cooking meats. 

RUNNER UP

Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker

Specs for the Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker:

  • Power Source: Electricity. Wood.
  • Color: Black.
  • Weight: 49.5 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 15 x 20.7 x 33.5 inches.
  • Cooking Area (Square Inches): 544.
  • Barbeque Material: Steel.
  • Grate Material: Steel.
  • Model Name: 18202077.

If you’re a total beginner when it comes to using smoker grills, then this is the best one for you. This grill features a small and simple box design.

At only 34 inches tall, this smoker is compact and easy to store or transport from place to place. The device comes with solid metal handles built into the side so that you can easily port the item around without straining. 

Fueling this smoker grill is also far easier than others, thanks to being powered by electricity, plugged into a power supply by a short socket. Smoke is created by slowly heating small chips of wood, within the base of the device, which creates an aromatic and smoky taste within anything you cook on the device.

No matter how many people you are cooking for, this device is built to cook massive loads, thanks to three cooking grates stacked above one another. Each grate receives the same amount of heat, thanks to the smoke-cooking process, which slowly circulates heat around the smoker, so you won’t end up with any burnt patties! 

Each element within this cooker can be removed, such as the cooking grates, the wood chip trays, and the grease cups. These individual pieces can then be easily washed with simple soapy water, and then thoroughly dried before reuse. 

Safety is also not a concern with this smoker. The built-in thermometer in the door makes it simple to track the temperature of the inside so that you can make sure that your ingredients aren’t burning without even needing to open the door. The device is double insulated, with a thick outer structure, to make sure that nothing on the outside might burn.

It also features two exhaust ports on both the left and right sides, so that excess smoke can escape, without risking heating up too much. Each element of the device is built to withstand high temperatures, with high-quality materials throughout. 

Pros:

  • Small and easy to transport, which makes it perfect for a wide range of events, get-togethers, or locations.
  • A simple power source makes this a great beginner smoker to experiment in the exciting world of smokers. 
  • Strong and sturdy build throughout its many elements, which can each be individually removed for cleaning, or to create extra space for larger ingredients.

Cons:

  • Some assembly may be required when first receiving the item, but instructions are packaged in with the smoker.
  • The smoker is packaged with only three grill grates, despite having shelf space for four. If you want to use four grilling grates then you will need to purchase an extra one of your own.

RUNNER UP

Char-Broil Vertical Liquid Propane Gas Smoker

Specs for the Char-Broil Vertical Liquid Propane Gas Smoker:

  • Power Source: Propane.
  • Color: Black.
  • Weight: 25 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 19.5 x 21.5 x 45.5 inches.
  • Cooking Area (Square Inches): 595.
  • Barbeque Material: Steel.
  • Grate Material: Steel.
  • Model Name: 12701705P1.

Another smoker from the ever-popular Char-Broil is this Vertical smoker which is powered by propane gas. This smoker operates by taking liquid-based propane gas and then heating it to create a thick and hot smoke that slowly tenderizes and cooks whatever you put inside of it.

Its tall structure makes it perfect for this smoking method of cooking, where-in heat rises slowly and then circulates throughout the device. The tall height also means that the device has a smaller footprint, due to not needing to be as wide, so it can be more easily stored and placed in many positions for use.

At 45 inches tall, this is a perfect beginners smoker device for those looking to explore smoking meats and other ingredients without any complicated setup.

The device has a large capacity, with three grill grates that slide into the structure, through the use of six rails. This way, if you wanted, you could buy extra grill grates to place in the machine to maximize your patty smoking capabilities! 

Propane gas is also incredibly beneficial for the control it allows you to have over the temperature of the device. Gas can more consistently provide the same temperature for long periods, and this temperature can be controlled easily through the use of silver switches on the bottom of the device.

The gas burns away at wood chips that then create a plume of smoke that is perfect for cooking food and embedding its rich flavors into ingredients.

These wood chips are placed in the chip pan, which also simply collects the ashes, for easy disposal and refilling. With its large chip pan, you will be able to make the most out of your wood to create heat without having to refill it too frequently. 

The Char-Broil Vertical Smoker has a strong and durable door that seals in the important heat without leakage, which cooks your food better, and keeps you far safer.

Every element of the wider package is built from high-quality materials that are built to withstand intense conditions but also built to be easy to clean and store without hassle. Each element can be individually removed, such as the grill grates, so if you need to clean something while still cooking, this is made easy and simple.

Pros:

  • A tall but thin structure makes the machine efficient, while also being compact enough for storage, or use in multiple contexts. 
  • Easy temperature control and maintenance thanks to propane gas fuel system, and easy-to-understand controls towards the bottom of the device. 
  • Multiple grill grates can be moved about freely within the device to add or remove shelves as your needs dictate.

Cons:

  • Ingredients will need to be checked on frequently to ensure that they are evenly cooked.
  • Wood chips and water take up the same tray, which means that you may need to buy two separate trays to use both at the same time.

RUNNER UP

Smoke Hollow TC3718SB Gas-Charcoal-Smoker Combination Grill with Side Burner

Specs for the Smoke Hollow TC3718SB:

  • Power Source: Propane.
  • Color: Black.
  • Weight: 160 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 23.66 x 68.31 x 46.26 inches.
  • Barbeque Material: Steel.
  • Grate Material: Steel.
  • Model Name: TC3718SB.

If you were looking to dip your toes in the world of smoke grilling, but also needed to get yourself a brand new and trustworthy grill, then you cannot go wrong with this combination grill. This grill has a wider footprint than other grill devices, but this is made up for with some serious cooking capabilities! 

Within the left compartment of the grill is a propane-based grill, with a deep basin in which to pump propane to then burn away. The curved grill lid then causes the heat to circulate around and evenly cook everything within it.

The compartment on the right features a basic grill, which is fueled by charcoal. This means that, if you are hosting for a lot of people then you can easily balance cooking between the two compartments and keep all of your guests happy!

Each grill also has raised warming racks, so that you can place smaller items to be warmed up without taking up vital grill space. You can easily choose whichever grill fuel you want to use whenever you choose to use it.

This combination grill also has an attached burner on the left-most side, which can be used to create a small body of flame to quickly heat things or bring water to a boil.

Towards the right-most side of the device is the all-important smokebox, wherein wood chips or charcoal can be placed and burnt to create a thick smoke, which then pumps into the grill, and gives everything that mouth-watering smoky taste. 

Pros:

  • Multiple fuel choices in one device make it easy to keep the device powered.
  • Large capacity makes this device perfect for large get-togethers.
  • Curved lids trap in heat.

Cons:

  • Lower quality metal materials.
  • Grease can occasionally leak from the device.

RUNNER UP

Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical 18' Charcoal Smoker

Specs for the Cuisinart COS-118:

  • Power Source: Charcoal.
  • Color: Black.
  • Weight: 37 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 20.5 x 20.5 x 22.8 inches.
  • Cooking Area (Square Inches): 510.
  • Barbeque Material: Steel.
  • Grate Material: Steel.
  • Model Name: COS-118.

From the world-renowned Cuisinart brand is this charcoal smoker grill which features a sleek jet black design that stands atop sturdy silver legs. 

You can get some serious grilling done with this device, thanks to stainless steel 18” racks which provide ample space for smokes to reach ingredients and draw out their natural flavors.

Two of these stainless steel racks can be found within the device, one towards the middle of the grill with door access, and the other towards the top situated just under the roof. This allows you to keep your ingredients nicely separated if you are cooking two very different things. 

The device is light, at only 32 lbs, which makes it easy to reposition or even transport, while still providing the necessary stability to cook for long periods.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and slender build make it easy to store and transport.
  • Dual air vents at the top and bottom of the device.
  • Sturdy design makes it perfect for outdoor use.

Cons:

  • Does require assembly upon first use.
  • The door latch is not fully secure for some users.

Budget Smoker Buyer’s Guide Buying Guide

So, if you’re serious about picking up either your first smoker grill or a new replacement, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when making your choice. Read on to find out what these are!

Best Budget Smokers-7 Top Choices

Cost

If you are looking to get your first smoker grill, then you’ll want to make sure that you are getting the right value for your money. You don’t want to spend too much, just in case smoke grills prove to be too challenging, or you don’t like the end result.

However, you also don’t want to spend too little and receive a grill that is made up of cheap components and does not do the job safely and efficiently. Make sure the grill has everything you need packaged with it, such as instructions, and grill grates, and that they are of high quality.

Ease Of Use

Again, if you are planning on getting your first-ever smoking grill, then you want to make sure you pick one that is not overly complex, and likely to pose a challenge.

Smoke grilling is already a complex process, so you will want a device that can minimize the stress. Many brands give you access to video guides for installing your device and using it efficiently. 

Efficiency

Smoke grills use up a significant amount of fuel, so you want to make sure that they are using your fuel efficiently, and with the best results. Fuel prices can vary from place to place so make sure that you can afford a sensible amount.

You will want a grill that can effectively trap in heat to fully cook your food without having to use an excess of fuel. 

Portability & Storage

You should make sure to consider how often you will be using the device, and what kinds of situations you will use it in. If you are going to be using the device only occasionally, then you will want one that is easy to store. Smoke grills are great for this, as they are usually built taller rather than wider, which makes them easy to stow.

Some smoke grills are built for outdoor use, and can even be taken on the go. If you want to transport yours around, make sure to pick one with a weight that you can carry easily, and preferably one with handles or other methods of movement. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are smoker grill combos worth it?

If you want to be able to cook a large number of food items within a short space of time, then yes, combo grills are very much worth it. If you only need to produce a small amount of food, then it may not be worth the higher price.

What is the easiest meat to smoke?

Smokers can easily cook most items, but they are best at cooking pork, especially pulled pork. They are also great for cooking incredibly rich, juicy and tender chicken.