How many times have you stared at your smoker in the middle of a barbecue and wished that you could hit the road with it? How many times have you longed to be able to just fire up your grill while you’re on vacation or to share your favorite smoked snacks and culinary delights with your buddies while you’re tailgating before the game?
We’re willing to bet that you’ve probably lost count of the number of times that those thoughts have flashed through your head and been dismissed as idle fantasies and hopeless dreams.
After all, there’s no way that you could load your smoker in the back of your truck without breaking its rear axle or throwing your back out and ending up in the emergency room, is there?
Well, actually there is a way that you can just toss your smoker and everything that you need to host the tailgating or beach-based barbecue of the year into the back of your truck or the trunk of your car.
Almost every grill maker and smoking manufacturer in the United States recently realized, just like the Ford, GMC, and Chevrolet did in the seventies, that size isn’t everything, and that and that the market for smaller and lighter smokers and grills was getting bigger by the day.
Which means that your fantasy of being able to take your smoker on the road with you is now a reality. But in order to make it your reality, you’ll need to equip yourself with the right portable smoker, the one that every time you turn the heat up on it feels like it was custom made just for you.
And that’s where things can get a little complicated, as trying to wade through an endless catalog of pictures and statistics in order to find that perfect portable smoker isn’t exactly easy. That’s where we come in.
Because we know and understand that smoking and grilling should be simple, straightforward, and fun we’ve done all of the hard work for you. We’ve trialed, tested, researched, and reviewed the best portable smokers that any grilling and barbecuing fanatic can lay their hands on and have narrowed the playing field to just eleven choices that are, in our humble opinion as dedicated smokers ourselves, the best of the best.
It’s time to kick the tires, light the fires and smoke up a storm wherever the road takes you…
OUR TOP PICK
Some names in the smoking world are sacred, and right at the top of that list, is the brand that made their name by putting everything on the line and taking the gamble of a lifetime at the Oklahoma State Fair in 1987.
If Joe Davidson hadn’t sold the twelve smokers that he’d saved thousand dollars to make at the Fair, that would have been the end of that. Fate can be kind though, and Joe didn’t just sell his original dozen, he was also swamped with orders for more than a hundred more, and the rest as they say is history.
Made from heavy-duty steel, the Ramblers, and its cast-iron grate ensure that you’ll get a perfect sear on whatever you decide to cook on it, and also allows all of the flavor of the charcoal smoke to rise up through it and imbue every molecule of the meat, fish or vegetables that you’re cooking with its rich, deep flavor.
And the charcoal pan that holds all of the fuel for the Rambler? It’s height-adjustable, so whether you want to grill on the go, or take your time and let the smoke work its magic, with this portable smoker on your side, the choice is yours.
Oklahoma Joe’s believes in keeping things simple and straightforward, and that’s why this grill is so easy to use. The dampers allow you to control the flow of air into, and the heat and amount of smoke inside, the grill, and the temperature gauge on the lid makes sure that you always know just how hot it is at the grill face.
When you’ve finished smoking for the day, the removable ash can (the charcoal pan), is straightforward to pull out, empty, and clean as is the iron gate that you’ll have smoked everything on. There’s no mess, no fuss, just good old-fashioned, flavor-filled barbecue, the way they make it in Oklahoma.
- It’s A Size Thing - At twenty two inches high, and twenty-eight inches wide, the Rambler is small enough to fit in the trunk of any family sedan, and as it weighs just under fifty pounds, it’s no heavier than a small toddler to lift.
And as you’re used to running around after, and lifting your kids up, you’ll have no problem picking the Rambler up by its rubberized, stay-cool handles and taking it with you, wherever you want to go.
- Cooking Space: The all-important question though, is how many burgers and how many wings can you smoke with the Rambler? As it has two hundred and twenty square inches of cooking space, the short answer is, enough to feed your family and your buddies, while the longer answer is six patties and two dozen wings.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous and you have the time, you can even smoke a rub, ready, mouth mastering brisket in the Rambler. Believe us, it’s more than capable of smoking and grilling whatever you want it to whenever you need it to.
- Warranty - This iron and steel workhorse also comes with a two-year warranty, so you’ll have plenty of peace of mind to start smoking with. If anything does go wrong, or you get a little bit stuck, give Joe’s a call and they’ll be more than happy to help out with whatever you need.
- Some Assembly Required - You’ll need to put it together yourself, so if you’re not exactly handy with a wrench, you might ask one of your friends who is to help you out before you can start smoking with the Rambler.
- Keeping It Simple - If you’re looking for a way to reinvent the barbecue wheel with a portable smoker, this isn’t the grill for you. It was made to make grilling and smoking easy. Just light it, put your meat on the rack, close the lid, open the dampers and the Rambler will do the rest.
Anyone and everyone involved in the grilling world knows the name, Weber. They’ve patented more designs and been responsible for more innovations that either they or we would care to remember. But smokers?
That’s slightly less familiar territory for them, or at least it was until they unleashed their Smokey Mountain Cooker on the backyard scene.
Rather than adopting a one size fits all approach, Weber decided to unleash fourteen, eighteen, and twenty two-inch versions of their cooker at the same time, and while we’re more than a little taken with the twenty-two version, it isn’t exactly easy to load into the back of a truck and head to the beach with.
But the fourteen-inch version is, which means that it falls well within any and all portable parameters.
Just over fourteen inches wide (the measurement actually refers to the size of the cooking grate) and thirty once inches high, this charcoal powered smoker is another simple to use and even simpler to clean smoker that’s designed to do all the labor-intensive smoking work for you.
Its high domed lid that’s equipped with a stay-cool handle and thermometer so you can easily keep track of how hot things are getting inside the cooker, allows the smoke and heat from the charcoal to circulate throughout, and add a little extra flavor to whatever it is that you’re cooking.
While we appreciate its sleek, retro design and appeal, the Smokey Mountain Cookers’ dual secret weapons are hidden on the inside, as it uses two cooking racks, which means that it packs an impressive two hundred and eighty-six square inches of combined cooking space into its relatively small size.
And it’s easy to open fuel door means that you can keep packing it full of charcoal so it’ll smoke and cook for as long as you want to, and when you’ve finished dazzling your family and friends with your culinary delights, just scoop out the ashes and wipe it down before you pack it up and head home again.
- Dual Racks - Two cooking racks double the cooking area, so you get nearly three hundred square inches of cooking space. That means you can smoke your burgers and brisket at the same time.
- It’s A Weight Thing - The Weber weighs twenty-three pounds. No, we didn’t make a mistake, that's exactly what we said. It weighs just twenty-three pounds.
- Warranty - And best of all? It comes with a ten-year warranty. Okay, so the warranty is a fully inclusive ten-year one as some parts are only guaranteed for five years, but still, it’s an incredibly impressive guarantee, isn’t it?
- It’s Truck Safe But… - The Smokey Mountain Cookers shape makes it kind of difficult to safely carry in the trunk of the average family sedan unless you lie it on its side, and if you haven’t locked the fuel door properly… Well, you can see where we’re going, can’t you? Things could get messy in the trunk of your car with the Weber.
- The Unhinged Issue - The lid isn’t fixed to the cooker, and when you lift it off, you’ll have to hold on to it until you put it back on the Weber, which can make smoking and grilling with the Weber a little awkward.
This flexible and durable helmet is one of the best in today’s market. Built for a range of water sports, this piece of headwear is equipped to keep you looking great and feeling safe.
Whether you’re a beginner tackling your first wave or a professional looking to play hard, this helmet will provide you with the reliable protection you need.
From a brand known for their recognizable and unique style, this model comes in four finishes, including a ‘satin orange’ which will not only ensure you stand out but can be extremely useful in terms of lifeguard visibility with there are ultra-crowded line-ups.
With its high-density injection-molded ABS shell and its soft, quick-absorbing EVA liner, the helmet provides not only effective protection but comfort around the top of the neck and the ears.
For further comfort, the straps of the helmet are made of a soft, nylon, webbed material rather than the harsh plastic that many manufactures tend to use.
This helmet with its durability, ventilation, and practical composition is one that is known for its mass appeal amongst surfers and water enthusiasts worldwide. If you are looking for a high-standard, substantial value for money model, you will not regret choosing the Pro-Tec Ace Water helmet.
- Light and comfortable fit
- Closed-cell padding which prevents water build-up
- Safety Standard Certification verified
- Equipped with 15 open vent holes
- Universal and built for a range of water sports
- Non-adjustable straps
Roll up, roll up and prepare to be amazed and dazzled by the technological miracle known as the Davy Crockett and the smoking and grilling miracles that this innocuous pellet smoker can help you to achieve.
Fully WiFi-enabled, you’ll be able to control every aspect of the smoking and grilling process from your smartphone while powering the grill from the twelve-volt socket inside your truck. It is, as we’ve already said, a portable smoking sensation.
Moving away from charcoal and into the realm of the slightly more versatile pellet, the Davy Crockett is s stainless steel smoker that’ll let you turn the heat that it cooks with up to five hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit or down to one hundred and fifty if you want to smoke really long and really slow.
Its eight-pound hopper when fully loaded with pellets will give you between four and five hours of controlled smoking time, and thanks to it being fitted with the Green Mountains patented SenseMate, it will control and regulate the temperature it smokes at to ensure an even cook every single time you fire it up.
Even though it’s loaded with the sort of technology that drags grilling out of the stone age and into the digital one, what we really love about the Davy Crockett is the effortless way that its legs can be transformed into carrying handles, which allows it to easily fit in the trunk of just about any family car. It makes portable smokers a practical reality.
- Hopper Size And Cooking Space - Its eight-pound hopper (which incidentally is easy to fill and simple to clean afterward) will provide up to five hours of smoking time, and two hundred and twenty square inches of cooking space provides enough room to feed even the hungriest family.
- WiFi Calling - And controlling the heat and smoke couldn’t be easier thanks to the Green Mountain app which connects straight to the grill as soon as it’s switched on and allows you to cook, grill, and smoke whatever you want using your smartphone.
- Warranty - The Davy Crockett comes with a comprehensive two-year warranty that covers just about every eventuality. If it does give up the smoking ghost (which it won’t) in that time, Green Mountain will either refund you or fix or replace your grill.
- The Technological Burden - It might be a digital blessing, but all of the technology that the Davy Crockett packs come at a price, And the cost is its weight, at nearly sixty pounds it isn’t exactly easy to carry (even though it’s been designed to be) and you’ll need a little assistance to get it to wherever it, and you are going.
Just when you think you’ve seen everything that the smoking word has to offer, something else comes along to surprise you from out of nowhere. That’s almost exactly what happened when we stumbled across this “ultimate eight in one portable grill” (Asmoke’s words not ours), which made us rethink everything that we thought we knew about portable smokers.
Designed to take a deep breath, smoke, grill, bake, barbecue, braise, roast, sear, and broil, this PID-controlled fully portable cooking machine allows you to take your kitchen on the road with you.
Fill the hopper, switch it on, set the temperature, and stand back and let Asmoke show you how to smoke in the twenty-first century with their electric grill, which runs off any 120V outlet. As long as you can plug it in, the Asmoke will grill and smoke for as long as you want it to.
With two hundred and fifty-six square inches of cooking space and an easily refillable five-pound hopper, the Asmoke has been designed to make every amateur griller and smoker’s life easier than it’s ever been.
If you’re looking for an easy, affordable way to brighten up your camping trips and tailgating parties, then Asmoke has the simple solution to your grilling problem.
- Eight In One - If you’re looking for an easy way to turn any vacation or party into a culinary soiree to remember, then the eight in one (you don’t really want us to repeat all eight all do you? No, we didn’t think you did) versatility of the Asmoke is the simplest way to do just that.
- All The Way Up To Five Hundred - It’ll turn the temperature that you grill, smoke, bake, braise, roast or barbecue all the way up to five hundred degrees Fahrenheit.
- Five-Year Warranty - And Asmoke are so confident that their smoker will do exactly what they say they will, that they’ve given it a limited five-year warranty. If it fails due to design or build error, then they’ll refund your money or replace your smoker. The choice is yours…
- Temperature Fluctuations - The temperature can fluctuate, which means that you might need to keep an eye on the smoker, to make sure that it’s behaving as it should. It might not be an ideal machine for first-time smokers and grillers to get up to speed with and needs a more experienced hand at the controls.
There was a time when smokers had to choose between propane and charcoal, and Masterbuilt’s propane smoker drifts back to those halcyon days by clinging rigidly to the fuel of yesterday to smoke the vacation treats of tomorrow.
If you’re not a tech-savvy internet obsessive, then the Masterbuilt way (load the shelves, close the door, hit the ignition switch, and set the temperature), could be the answer to your prayers in a world that revels in trying to make everything as unnecessarily complicated as it can.
The two cooking shelves that slide in out of the smoker have more than three hundred square inches of cooking space, and as the legs can easily be folded and there’s no devastatingly complex internal wiring to worry about, the smoker can be laid in its back in either the bed of your truck or the trunk of your car. It’s an analog smoker for the digital age that does exactly what you need, and want it to and nothing else.
- Light It Up, Let It Smoke - As soon as the propane cylinder is hooked up to the smoker, it’s ready to go. Load the shelves, close the door, switch it on and set the temperature. And then two or three hours later (depending on how low and how slow you want to cook), you’ll have a feast fit a tailgating queen or a campsite king.
- Warranty - Okay, so it only has a twelve-month warranty, but that should be more than enough to start you on the path to smoking perfection, and if you’re anything like us, by the time that year is up, you’ll already be thinking about upgrading your smoker.
- It’s A Weight Thing - Three hundred square inches of cooking space and it weighs less than twenty-five five pounds. That’s a lot of space for not a lot of weight.
- Build Quality - While we know that it ticks every portable smoker box, we can’t quite get over the fact that it feels… Well, it feels a little flimsy. The shelves don’t fit inside very well and it just feels like it was thrown together to fit a really tight budget.
- The Fuel Issue - If you run out of fuel in a charcoal or pellet smoker you can add more bricks or refill the hopper, but changing a gas bottle can be awkward and time-consuming and ruin the flow of your smoke. Unless you’re absolutely set on propane it might be worth thinking about doing things the digital way.
Traeger invented, patented, and manufactured the first pellet grills and for twenty years they monopolized the market. So it’s hardly surprising that they’d find a way to make their grills lighter, smaller, and more efficient so that they could prove to the world that they weren’t, and aren’t trading on their past glories.
The Tailgater is a leaner, smaller version of Traeger’s popular Ironwood series, and as its name implies it was designed to bring pellet grilling and smoking to Tailgating parties.
Mounted on wheels and legs that can collapse when you need to slide it into the bed of your truck, the Tailgater has three hundred square inches of cooking space, an eight-pound hopper that can, when full, provide around five hours of smoking time and cook at anywhere between one hundred and fifty and four hundred degrees Fahrenheit.
And the temperature that the Tailgater smokes at? That can be raised and lowered to accommodate whatever you’re smoking with a simple twist of a dial on its digital control panel.
The volume of pellets that it’ll burn will depend entirely on the time and temperature that you set on the controls for, but it’ll monitor the pellet flow carefully and find the most efficient way to do what you need it to.
It’s the portable smoker that was made to bridge the gap between the old ways and the digital age and has found a legion of dedicated and devoted tailgating and camping fans. Welcome to the world of tomorrow, welcome to the Traegerhood.
- Easy To Load, Use, And Clean - The Tailgater was designed and made to be easy to load, smoke, and grill with and clean afterward. The simple art of smoking helped Traeger to become one of the biggest names in grilling, and the Tailgater epitomizes that philosophy of simplicity.
- Time And Size - An eight-pound hopper and three hundred square inches of cooking space? That adds up to a perfect smoking combination that’ll satisfy even the heartiest appetites before, and during the game, and after a hard day of adventuring in the worlds of nature.
- Warranty - And it comes with Traegers standard three-year warranty that’ll protect it from every possible grilling calamity that might befall it.
- It’s Not What You’d Call Light - Traeger it would seem, adhere to a slightly different and looser interpretation of the meaning of portable, as the Tailgater weighs just over sixty pounds, and even though it's on wheels it’s not exactly easy to move around.
And it’s back to the world of the Kamado grill for Broil Kings solid, reliable, and exceptionally well made “Keg”. It’s pretty easy to see where this grill got its name, as looks are, apparently, everything in Broil King’s world, but we won’t hold that against them.
And besides, we think this smoker and grill combination looks kind of cool, and the week that we spent smoking and grilling with it was one of the best barbecue-filled vacations that we’ve ever had.
By far the biggest Kamado style grill on our list, the Keg has an incredible four hundred and eighty square inches of combined cooking space, an easy to fill and empty charcoal drawer and as it’s made from ceramic lined steel, was made to use its fuel more efficiently, so you won’t burn through a bag of charcoal at anywhere near the rate that you used to.
With simple to use, rust proof dampers that protect the Keg from the worst that Mother Nature can throw at it, it’s the perfect way to light up any Tailgating party.
The thing is, we were sold on the Keg because of how good it looks and Broil King’s reputation. And the food that it smoked lived up to both and ensured that it more than earned its place at the top of our list. You wanted the best? You got it.
- Two Racks, More Space - It uses the same Kamado idea that other smokers and grills do, and comes with two racks which means that it has far more cooking space than most of the other smokers on our list. And with nearly five hundred square inches of total cooking space to its name, the Keg has almost twice the cooking space of most portable smokers.
- Warranty - Every component on the Keg comes with either a two or ten-year warranty, which means that you can sleep fitfully at night knowing that your portable Broil King smoker won’t let you down.
- The Broil King Affordability Conundrum - It’s a good job that it comes with a fairly substantial warranty as the Keg is reassuringly, and eye wateringly expensive and will empty your bank balance in less time than it takes to grill a perfect steak.
We’re going to level with you. Before we began our mission to find the perfect portable smoker, we hadn’t even heard of Outsunny and if we’re honest, we’re still not sure who they are and what else they make. But they do make a pretty good, simple, and incredibly straightforward portable smoker.
It uses a single cooking rack that doesn’t come with size specifications, but if we were forced to guess we’d say it was just under one hundred and fifty square inches, which means that you’ll be able to light up four patties or a couple of steaks quite easily.
All you have to do to make it work is fill it with charcoal, place the cooking rack inside, light the fuel, fill the racks, and cook everything the way you would on a grill at home. And that for extra smokey goodness? Close the dome and let the charcoal do what it does best.
We know what you’re thinking. It looks cheap. It looks like it won’t last, and it probably won’t last more than twelve months, but it does what it says it will, and as it weighs less than seven pounds, you just toss it in the trunk of your car before you head to the game and you won’t even notice that it's there.
- Cheap And Cheerful - It won’t hurt your pocketbook, it won’t damage your bank balance, but what it will do is provide an easy way to grill and smoke a burger or a steak or a pre-game party or when you pull up at a campground after a long day on the road.
- It’s Light - At just under seven pounds it’s by far the lightest smoker on our list, which kind of also makes it the most portable
- Cheap And Cheerful - It won’t last, don’t expect it to, but if you’re looking for a reliable, affordable smoker to last the season and not much longer, it’ll tick all the boxes on your list.
There’s something to be said for Char-Griller’s answer to the portable smoker problem, which took the easiest solution and made it work. The Akorn Jr is a smaller, just as reliable version of the Akorn and makes portable smoking and grilling fun and incredibly affordable.
Made it rest on a stable tripod, it’s a simple but effective design that used a single rack above a charcoal filled basin (that doubles up as an easy empty ashcan), and when the domed lid is dropped and the dampers set, it’ll smoke away at the chosen temperature that you can monitor thanks to the thermometer in the aforementioned lid.
How do you fix the portability issue? You just make your best smoker smaller, safe and content in the knowledge that if something isn’t broken, there’s no need to fix it. And that's exactly what Char-Griller did with the Akorn Jr.
- Welcome To The Akorn Mark II - Most smokers we know love the Akorn, and the Jr is just a smaller version of that incredible smoker. Everything that made the Char-Griller smoker legendary, is present and correct in the tiny version, What’s not to love?
- Affordability - Take another look at that price. No, you’re not seeing things. That’s exactly how much it costs. We know, it’d be crazy not to buy it wouldn’t it?
- It’s A Size Thing - If you’re looking to smoke up a bunch of delicious treats for more than a couple of your buddies or your nearest and dearest it might be a tad too small.
Last but not least, it’s the second Traeger smoker on our list, and the one that we think exemplifies the idea of portability and functionality.
How much of that has to do with brand loyalty and knowing that if a smoker wears the Traeger name then it’s going to run smoke rings around the competition is open to debate, but that’s exactly what the Ranger does. It beats the competition hands down.
With just under one hundred and sixty square inches of total cooking space and an eight-pound hopper (we know, we couldn’t believe that Traeger managed to squeeze an eight-pound hopper into the Ranger either), this small but powerful smoker won’t just smoke and it won’t just grill. It’ll also bake, roast, and braise another thing that you can fit into its, admittedly rather small, cooking rack.
Easy to load, easy to use, and made to run off a one hundred and twenty-volt power supply, it won’t feed the entire Traegerhood, but then you wouldn’t want it to, as the Ranger has been made to cater for those smaller trips, the ones that you make with the people that you care about the most. And the only brand you can trust to feed the people you love properly? That would be Traeger.
- Welcome To The Traegerhood - And eight-pound pellet hopper and one hundred and sixty square inches of cooking space? That sounds like the perfect answer to every single vacation smoking, grilling, and barbecuing problem to us.
- Warranty - And it comes with Traegers unshakable three-year warranty. You can smoke a lot of food in thirty-six months, Trust us, we know these things.
- Heavy Is As Heavy Does - For such a relatively small smoker, it weighs a lot. And by a lot, we mean nearly sixty pounds. Which really is a lot for a supposedly portable smoker.
Best Portable Smokers Buying Guide
Which Portable Smoker Is The Right One For Me?
All eleven of the smokers on our list were built to offer an affordable and easy solution to the portable smoker problem, and depending on what matters most to you, whether that’s price or the amount of cooking space each smoker has, there’s a grill on our list for you.
However, if we were in your smoking shoes, there are only two smokers we’d choose. The Traeger Ranger or Oklahoma Joe’s Rambler, both of which offer incredible value for money and will never let you down. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em…
Frequently Asked Question
What Is A Portable Smoker?
A portable smoker is a smaller, lighter version of a smoker that’s been designed to be taken on camping trips and to tailgating parties and can grill, smoke and barbecue whatever you need it to just as well as its bigger heavier counterparts can.