A vertical smoker helps to bring out the best BBQ flavor from your meat, or even fish. It provides a healthier way to enjoy your food as against to grilling. Whether it is a sticky rib or a juicy chicken, the best vertical smoker will instantly turn you into an experienced chef!
Looking for a vertical smoker to buy? Read the rest of this guide and we got you covered!
Here Are the Best Vertical Smoker Reviews by Consumer Reports
Here are some of the best products to consider, as well as some of their most exceptional features.
1. Masterbuilt 20070910 Electric Digital Smoker
Read more: Best Masterbuilt Electric Smokers Reviews:
Being an electric digital smoker, this is one product that is effortless to use. There is a digital control panel with buttons in strategic locations. The panel has a clear display to easily monitor the temperature. There is also an RF remote that allows you to easily control the smoker. It has a digital timer that you can set from 0 to 24 hours. Meanwhile, with the auto shut-off feature, you can also be confident about safety when it is used. There is also a side-loading wood chip tray, a patented technology that allows you to put more chips without opening the door.
The smoker has a cooking area of 730 square inches. This 30-inch smoker can hold up to 12 whole chickens, 2 whole turkeys, 4 rib racks, 48 sausages, or 24 burgers. The heating element, on the other hand, is 800 watts. The thermostat can be adjusted from 100 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
It also has 100% insulation, allowing the heat to be retained. Aside from speeding up the smoking, it also allows the unit to save energy.
It comes with a powder-coated steel body that resists external elements that could speed up wear. Inside, there are four smoking racks with adjustable positions, offering plenty of space for your smoking needs.
Lastly, the manufacturer warrants that their smoker is free of defects and problems with craftsmanship within 90 days of purchase.
- Has a computerized thermometer
- Easy to clean
- Manual is vague
- Cord is short
2. Weber 711001 Smokey Mountain Cooker Charcoal Smoker
This 14-inch smoker is an ideal choice if you are looking for portability. Because of its size, it is perfect for camping and tailgating. The weight is only 23 pounds. Nonetheless, it is also the reason why the capacity is quite limited compared to bigger alternatives. The main cooking area is 286 square inches, which is good enough for approximately 11 burger patties.
As for the construction, it comes with plated steel cooking grates, rust-resistant metal legs, porcelain-enameled water pan, glass-reinforced nylon, and aluminum fuel door. Most of the parts are rust-resistant to guarantee durability, even if they are used outdoors. There is also a built-in thermometer for ease of monitoring of the temperature.
This charcoal grill is also known for its superior airflow to provide constant temperature. Meanwhile, there are also multiple vents. The sealed design, on the other hand, makes it possible to save charcoal.
If you are on a budget, the affordable price of this model will surely be appreciated. Despite being easy on the wallet, it is made by a trusted smoker brand.
- Designed with multiple vents
- Effortless to assemble
- Compact and portable
- Door is quite flimsy
- Seals can be penetrated by water
3. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker
With a total cooking area of 1,176 square inches, this is one of the largest vertical smokers you can find. In one smoking, it can hold up to 150 pounds of meat. There are six cooking grates, each with a capacity of 25 pounds. Each grate can also be adjusted based on the size and weight of the meat that it will hold.
To easily monitor the process of smoking, the unit also comes with a built-in thermometer. Meanwhile, with the 15,000 BTU cast iron burner, it is powerful enough for a wide array of smoking applications. There is also porcelain enameled steel wood chip box that is easy to fill.
The unit is heavy at a weight of 57 pounds. There are handles on the side that will make it easy to carry the smoker.
The unit also comes with a cover to protect it from external elements like rain and dust. The cover is made of PVC with 600 Denier polyester lining. It is heavy-duty and water-resistant.
It comes with a one-year warranty from the manufacturer.
- Durable construction
- Comes with a premium cover
- Effectively minimizes heat loss
- Not for windy conditions
4. Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
With 725 square inches of cooking area, this is another perfect choice if you want a large vertical smoker. Inside, there are four racks that can be adjusted based on the size of the meat. The smoke box is also large, which will allow it to produce up to seven hours of smoke before refilling.
Using this digital electric smoker will be effortless, even if you are a newbie. There is a built-in meat probe that allows monitoring of the temperature. The outcome is that it ensures a perfectly-cooked meat without the need for guesswork.
With the premium insulated double-wall construction of this smoker, it locks in heat and smoke. This speeds up the entire procedure and also allows you to save energy. With its construction, the manufacturer claims that it is ten times more efficient compared to its leading competitors.
Meanwhile, with the full-sized glass window, you can easily monitor the process. There is no need to open the door, and hence, smoke and heat will not be able to escape.
On the top of the smoker, there is an LCD display that shows the temperature. There are convenient buttons on the side to input the desired functions. There is also a remote control, as well as a removable temperature gauge.
Lastly, there is a warming feature to keep the food hot while it is inside the smoker.
- Large smoking capacity
- Has a built-in meat probe
- Versatile functions
- Problems with temperature calibration
- Remote has limited distance
5. Dyna-Glo DGW1235BDP-D Wide Body LP Gas Smoker
With a cooking area of 1,235 square inches, this is another recommended option for a large vertical smoker. There are four adjustable cooking grates, each with a maximum capacity of 25 pounds. There are also pre-installed hooks, which will come handy if you will use it for smoking sausages.
The unit comes with a 20,000 BTU cast iron burner, which is one of the reasons why it is powerful. It has the ability to maintain constant temperature regardless of the external conditions. It is constructed with a double door, which will keep the heat inside to minimize temperature fluctuations.
To be user-friendly, it comes with an electro-pulse ignition system. This allows you to easily fire up the ignition and start smoking. There is also a built-in thermometer to easily monitor the heat in your meat. The gauge is easy to read and there is a Smoke Zone for identifying the right temperature for the meat.
The smoker is made of heavy-duty steel. Despite this, there are still some complaints with regards to how it can be easily prone to warping. It would be best to purchase a cover to protect it from external elements.
- Powerful performance
- Large cooking area
- Built-in thermometer
- Lid of the chip pan fits poorly
- Can be easily prone to warping
6. Smoke Hollow 30162EW Electric Smoker
This 1,500-watt electric smoker may not be as powerful as the premium models, but it is good enough for many casual users. It has a height of three inches and comes with three cooking grids, which can accommodate even a whole meat or turkey.
With regards to the construction, there are four sturdy legs that keep the smoker stable. There is a transparent glass window that prevents the opening of the door. There is also an ergonomic handle. Plus, it comes with a built-in temperature gauge to easily monitor the heat inside the smoker.
Given the double-walled construction of the smoker, it is also excellent in terms of efficiency. The heat will not escape because of the insulation. The proper smoking temperature can be retained, which saves time and energy.
- Has accurate temperature readings
- Built-in window
- Not as durable as higher-end options
- Smoke can leak
7. Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical Propane Smoker
Despite being made by a reliable brand, this is an affordable smoker. The height is 36 inches and inside, there are four shelves made of stainless steel. Each shelf has dimensions of 14×14 inches. In total, the cooking area is 784 square inches. It has a 40-inch hose regulator.
The unit is powered by propane gas. To use, start by turning the knob of the propane tank and follow it up by turning the control knob of the smoker. The gas supply is adjustable, allowing you to select the level of heat. There is also a rear vent, which you can open or close to control the heat inside the smoking cabinet. In front, there is a built-in thermometer.
The smoker comes with two doors for easy access to whatever you are smoking. There is no need to open all doors, making sure that heat and smoke will not be able to escape.
For beginners, there is a recipe book with tips and tricks to make the most out of the vertical smoker.
- Doors may not properly seal
- Can be prone to gas leaks
What is a Vertical Smoker?
Also known as a water or bullet smoker, it is split into three main areas. On the bottom, there is a pan that serves as the heat source. It can either be charcoal, propane, or electricity. Above it is the water pan. On the top is a cooking chamber. However, this will differ depending on the specific type of the vertical smoker that you have.
Vertical smokers are known for being space-efficient compared to horizontal smokers. Because of the vertical design, there is no need to have the luxury of space to be able to do it. Most of them are also portable, making it possible to take them outdoors, such as when camping. In most cases, they weigh less than 50 pounds.
Another benefit of a vertical smoker is that it is easy to clean. A brush, garden hose, and degreaser are all that you will need for its cleaning and maintenance.
However, one of the notable drawbacks of a vertical smoker is that the temperature control is limited, as well as the capacity.
Vertical Smoker vs Horizontal Smoker
One of the key differences between the two is the design and the amount of space that they consume. Obviously, the vertical smoker is the one that is more space-efficient as it stands in an upright position.
The position of the smoke chamber is also different. In the case of a vertical smoker, the smoke chamber is below the cooking surface. Meanwhile, in a horizontal smoker, the smoke chamber is usually mounted on the side.
When it comes to capacity, horizontal smokers are generally able to hold more meat at once compared to a vertical smoker.
Types of Vertical Smokers
One way to classify vertical smokers would be based on their source of power.
Charcoal: This smoker is made of a steel drum with a bowl at the bottom to keep the charcoal. It is a traditional smoking method and is popular because of the flavor it adds to the meat, which will depend on the charcoal that is used. The wood chips will provide an authentic smoked flavor.
Gas: The most common gas smoker on the market is powered by propane. It is great for portability. It also gives out a smoky flavor better compared to an electric smoker. Most models have a built-in temperature gauge and push-button ignition for ease of use.
Electric: This is for those who value convenience. It has no real firepower, but it is the easiest to use from the three. It is equipped with a heating element and a thermostat that automatically controls the functions. This is also good for safety as you can set and forget the smoker. Nonetheless, it needs to be plugged into an outlet, which makes portability an issue.
Essential Considerations when Choosing the Best Vertical Smoker
As you try to narrow down the options, here are the important factors to consider:
Size: How much space is available on the patio or anywhere else you plan to place the smoker? How much meat do you plan to smoke at a time? The answers to these questions will help you pick the size most suitable for your needs.
Ease of Use: Look for features that will make the smoker user-friendly. A built-in thermometer is good to easily monitor the temperature. Even cleaning and maintenance should be effortless. A push-ignition system will also be great.
Temperature Range: A good vertical smoker needs a wide range of temperature that it can reach. For most casual users, a temperature range of 100 to 350 degrees will be enough.
Construction: From the grates to the body of the vertical smoker, see to it that it is made using premium materials that are long-lasting. A smoker with double-walled construction will be great for heat retention.
Portability: If you plan to use the vertical smoker during camping or tailgating, choose one that comes with a lightweight body or wheeled construction. There should also be handles on the side for ease of carrying.
Versatility: Choose a vertical smoker that you can also use for other functions, such as smoking, roasting, and braising, among others.
Warranty: Choose a smoker with an extensive warranty coverage, which will have it covered against defects and problems in workmanship.
Reviews: Learn from the real-life experiences of other people to weigh the pros and cons of the possibilities.
Care and Maintenance for Vertical Smokers
To extend the functional life of the vertical smoker and for the best outcomes, here are some tips:
- Seasoning the grate with cooking oil is important. After coating it with oil, heat the smoker without any meat in it. This will provide a protective barrier that can prevent rust.
- Keep dirt out of the smoker but do not use a steel wool or a stiff brush to clean it. This can cause scratches on the grate. Get rid of ash and grease.
- Watch out for rust and remove it immediately once spotted. Otherwise, it can spread to the rest of the smoker and can pose worse problems. Cover the rusted area with a heat-resistant paint.
- Store the smoker properly. Preferably, have it covered to be protected from dust, dirt, and rain, among other external elements. Keep it in a shaded area.
- Check the ventilation system often and make sure that it is working properly. Get rid of any obstruction.
Tips and Tricks for Smoking Meat
Keep in mind these tips for the best smoked meats:
- It all starts with the right choice of meat. Fresh is always best. Some of the best meats to smoke include beef brisket, pork shoulder, and beef and pork ribs. Choose meats with fatty cuts to make them juicy. Otherwise, they will end up being dry.
- The right choice of wood for smoking is also important. It is responsible for most of the flavor. The choice of wood will depend on the choice of meat. Mesquite is strong and perfect for dark meats. The mild and sweet flavor of maple, meanwhile, is ideal for smoking poultry. On the other hand, the robust flavor of hickory will work best for pork ribs.
- Patience is a virtue, which is why you should go low and slow. Set the heat at a low level. If it is too high, the meat can end up being burnt on the outside and undercooked inside.
- Use the water pan to regulate the heat, which will also keep the meat moist and juicy. The water will also add humidity to prevent the meat from being dry.
- Watch out for the color of the smoke coming out. If it is white, it is all good. On the other hand, if it is black, you have a problem. A black smoke means that you need more ventilation in the vertical smoker. This can cause an unpleasant taste in the meat.
- Avoid peeking at the smoker while it is not yet done. A built-in thermometer is best to monitor the smoking. Opening the door every now and then will affect the heat and smoke level.
- Before putting the meat inside the smoker, use rubs to optimize the flavor. Herbs and spices will make a great choice for natural flavoring.
When choosing the best vertical smoker, keep an eye on the seven products mentioned above. Pay attention not only to price, but also to features, durability, ease of use, and performance, among other things. Do not hesitate to spend more if this is tantamount to having a smoker that delivers unmatched quality!