The Electric smoker vs Propane smoker vs Charcoal smoker

The Electric smoker vs Propane smoker vs Charcoal smoker

Few things turn on the party like an outdoor smoker. With the mouth-watering smell of food, the meat, the drinks; it’s hard not to have a good time. With just a smoker, the stage could be set for an unforgettable party.

Let’s look at the features, benefits, pros, and cons of the Electric smoker vs Propane smoker vs Charcoal smoker which make them stand out in outdoor cooking. The actual products we will be talking about are the Masterbuilt 20077515 Front Controller Electric Smoker with Window and RF Controller, 30-Inch, The Masterbuilt 20050614 Propane Smoker, 44-Inch, Black and The Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker, Black

The Masterbuilt 20077515 Front Controller Electric Smoker

This electric smoker can take up to 700 square inches of cooking space and comes with a blue led display to read the temperature. It has radio frequency and RF remote control which is there to adjust temperature, time, and internal light.

The meat probe is in-built and internal lights help you see clearly the cooking process.

The Masterbuilt 20050614 Propane Smoker

This product is designed with a removable pan which allows extra moisture to be added. It comes with a thermostat and a viewing window for seeing the cooking. The push button and gas controls are also part of the cooker.

The two doors make it easy to fix food. The stainless steel ensures that it will last long.

The Smokey Mountain Cooker 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker

The smoker has two cooking grates and also a nylon handle. It has a vent and fuel door. It has a bowl, lid and water pans. The cooking areas are 18.5 inch in diameter


Definition and Functionality

There is a clear distinction between an Electric smoker vs Propane smoker vs Charcoal smoker so read on to find out how each of these products is defined.

The Masterbuilt 20077515 Front Controller Electric Smoker

It can be used in the kitchen and/or backyard. You can use it to cook all types of food including vegetables, chicken, and beef. The digital display will give you the information during the cooking process.

The blue led from display makes sure that you read the cooking time and temperature. You can use the RF remote control, front dip pan as well as the wood chip loading system. After cooking, you can also easily clean it.


The Masterbuilt 20050614 Propane Smoker

The two doors which are built on this cooker are used to load food and the viewing window enables you to view the food when cooking. The cooking space is big and coated with 6 chrome.

There is a separate door for wood and water below the door of the smoking chamber and allows you to add wood and water without opening the cooking chamber. The thermostat, door thermometer and adjustable damper ease your cooking.

Further, the viewing window helps you to see the food inside without opening the doors. The wide stance legs give this cooker the stability.

The Smokey Mountain Cooker 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker

The grates are made of plated steel and are heavy, therefore, allowing extensive cooking. Once the meat is inside the smoker, the water pan automates the addition of steam.

The built-in thermometer ensures that you can be checking the temperature. It’s easy to clean after cooking and can use only a grill brush.

Compare features

The Masterbuilt 20077515 Front Controller

The electric smoker comes with a 730 square of cooking space and 4 chrome-coated racks. The heating element is 800 watt and has foam to insulate it. It features a blue led display for easy reading of temperatures and cooking time.

It has the RF remote control and monitors and comes with a handle and rear wheels to move it easily. It has a front access dip pan and wood chip loading system which makes it easier to load wood.

The The Masterbuilt 20050614

The product has a 2,000 square inches capacity of cooking space on its 4 chrome smoking racks. The double doors come with a viewing window so as to see inside. It comes with a thermostat for observing the cooking temperature.

There are two stainless steel burners with a push button. It also has the wood chip tray and water pan. Lastly, it comes with a regulator and hose.

The Black and The Weber 721001

This charcoal smoker comes with a handle and 2 nickel-plated cooking grates. It also has a water pan, built-in thermometer to check the cooking temperature.

In addition, there are individual vents on bowl and lid as well as a storage cover.

Compare Benefits

The Masterbuilt 20077515 Front Controller Electric Smoker

The blue led assists easy viewing even when you are doing your cooking in the sun. The radio frequency remote enables you to turn it on and off. The RF remote can adjust the temperature and the in-built meat probe allows you to observe the temperature.

In addition, the internal lights helps you see the food inside and their cooking progress. The lockable doors and inner lining keep the heat and flavor inside giving your food the optimum taste. The wood chip loading system allows easier smoke control.

The Masterbuilt 20050614 Propane Smoker

There is enough room to accommodate enough food. The removable water pan helps add extra moisture to the food. The thermostat reads the temperature and controls it. Furthermore, there is a viewing window which allows you see the food without opening the door.

Lastly, there is an easy to push button and gas controls to make the cooking simple.

The Black and The Weber 721001

The cooking space is designed for a small group cooking like a family. The nickel-plated cooking grates gives it long durability whereas the built-in thermometer is easy to use and can monitor the temperature when cooking.

The water pan adds moisture without you bothering to add water to maintain the moisture content. This helps the meat to be moist and tender. The vents allow proper ventilation.

Our next analysis of the Electric Smoker vs Propane Smoker vs Charcoal Smoker wil be done through the comparison chart


  The Electric Smoker


The Propane Smoker


The Charcoal Smoker


Origin China China China
Cooking space



730 sq inches 2,000 sq inches 481 square inches
Material Stainless steel Stainless steel Stainless Steel
color Stainless Black Black
dimensions 19.7 x 20.3 x 32.1 inches 56.02 x 22.75 x 30.7 inches 41 x 19 x 21 inches
weight 53.4 pounds 89.28 pounds 39.07 pounds

Comparison chart

Compare Reviews

The Masterbuilt 20077515

The racks are adjustable and are simple to clean. The design is good and it’s easy to use as well.

Most reviewers also agree that it keeps the heat well. The size is right for small or big group of people.


  • It has a nice design
  • Easy to assemble
  • It keeps the heat and smoke nicely


  • The heating elements are not durable.
  • Not easy to clean.

Verdict – The design is very good and it is easy to assemble. It also keeps the temperature well as well as the smoke giving the meat the desirable taste.

The Masterbuilt 20050614

There are 2 doors that are used during cooking, making the process smooth and easy.

Most reviewers also agree that the space especially at the bottom of the legs is fairly reasonable.


  • Easy to assemble
  • It has two doors
  • Maintains low temperature
  • Enough cooking space
  • Easy to clean


  • You have to open the door to check your cooking flame
  • The temperature has to be controlled
  • Racks not too wide
  • Has no drip pan
  • Chip tray design is bad

Verdict – The two doors make it easy to cook and it maintains low temperatures. There is also enough space and it is easy to clean.

The Weber 721001

It is easy to assemble and good for use in a family. According to various user reviews, it is spacious enough.


  • Easy to assemble
  • Spacious
  • Easy to clean
  • It’s flexible to use
  • Easy to clean
  • Maintains temperature well


  • No side handles which makes it difficult to handle
  • Small cooking space

Verdict – The charcoal smoker properly maintains the temperature levels and it’s spacious. Furthermore, it’s easy to clean after using it.


What is better an electric smoker or a charcoal smoker?

In this category, there is a very clear winner — electric. If you ignore the cost of wood chips (that’ll be about the same no matter what type of smoker you buy), the per hour cost to run a charcoal smoker is many, many times higher than an electric. Like 10 times, at least. (The full answer)

What kind of smoker should a beginner get?

1. The best smoker for beginners – Weber Smokey Mountain. Read our full Weber Smokey Mountain review or see our guide to the best charcoal smokers for more options. It’s hard to beat the combination of price, and flavor of food produced on a charcoal smoker. (More…)

What is the difference between an electric and charcoal smoker?

Electric smokers rely on electricity to smoke meat. Charcoal smokers rely on charcoal burning, adjusting air vents, upkeeping the heat source, and temperature control. So, it’s safe to say an electric smoker wins the battle of convenience and ease of use. (Source)

Is wood smoker better than charcoal?

Wood can also burn faster than charcoal, so you’ll have to replenish your chips more often. Slow to Heat: Flavor-packed BBQ comes at a price—it can take longer for the wood chips to heat up and longer for the food to cook, making it less practical for those who are hosting barbecues or want food prepared quickly. (Full answer)

Are electric smokers worth the money?

Electric smokers are more affordable than most other types of smokers. And I’m not talking in terms of initial price tag alone, I’m talking about long-term value for money. Both electric smokers and pellet grills offer “set and forget” convenience, but for a good pellet grill, you can expend to pay between $500-1200. (See more)

How often do you add wood chips to an electric smoker?

To use wood chips, you can add them to your Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. Usually, these chips last for around 4 to 5 hours, so you need to add them every four hours. (Click here)

Is gas or electric smoker better?

Electric smokers are not as versatile as gas owing to the lower temperature range they operate within (a feature that makes them excellent for cold smoking). Gas smokers can reach higher temperatures and are far more portable – which makes them a versatile option. (Reference)

What does a smoke ring on meat indicate?

The smoke ring is already within the meat in the form of myoglobin. It’s the protein that makes raw meat red or pink. As the meat cooks, myoglobin turns brown, but if enough nitric oxide (NO) from the wood smoke condenses on your meat, it will bind with the still-red myoglobin and allow it to hold onto its color. (More…)

Are propane smokers good?

Propane smokers are great for people who want speed and convenience at an affordable cost. They can cook delicious food without a lot of expensive bells and whistles (like WiFi) you find on pellet grills. If you are put off by the thought of spending 16 hours slaving over charcoal then gas could be the way to go. (See more)

Do you need charcoal for an electric smoker?

The answer is yes; you can add coal to an electric smoker. Most electric smokers have an internal tray for storing wood chips, but you can also place charcoal on this tray. The electric smoker’s purpose is to add flavor to the food and increase the hygiene and cooking process effectiveness. (Full answer)

Do electric smokers use a lot of electricity?

No. For the bulk of electric smokers on the market, most tend to use an average of 800 watts of energy per hour. If you smoke meat for 6 hours, multiply that by 800 to equal 4,800. (More info)

Do electric smokers produce a lot of smoke?

Do Electric Smokers Produce A Lot Of Smoke? Out of all smoker fuel types, electric smokers do tend to produce the least amount of smoke. This is because it’s the only heating source that works without a flame or combustion present, unlike gas, charcoal, or pellet smokers. (Reference)

Are charcoal or propane smokers better?

Both are capable of delivering good results. If you’re new to smoking, your first efforts with gas will almost certainly be better than your first with charcoal just because it’s harder to mess up. Once you get the hang of it, though, charcoal smokers can create killer smoked meat. (Full article)

What’s better charcoal or propane smoker?

If you want the best smoky flavor at all costs, then you’ll want a charcoal meat smoker. If you mainly want convenience, but you’d like better flavor than the electric offers, get a propane smoker. If you want a great balance of convenience and flavor, you’ll be happy with a wood pellet meat smoker. (Full article)

Why do we use charcoal instead of wood?

Charcoal burns hotter than wood. This is because there’s less moisture in it. Wood has an energy value of between 14 & 18MJ/kg when burned, whereas charcoal has a value of 29MJ/kg, so it packs a punch and burns hotter and longer. Charcoal doesn’t give off smoke. (Click here)

Should I soak wood chips for electric smoker?

Soaking wood chips isn’t necessary when using an electric smoker, or any other type of smoker. The wood chips are there to provide not only the smoke but different blends of flavoring to accompany the natural flavor of the food, and they do so without the need of being soaked beforehand. (See more)

What should I look for when buying an electric smoker?

The better electric smokers will have an “easy access” loading port or tray that allows you to add in your wood chips even if the smoker is hot. Not having to wait for your electric smoker to cool down, or grab a pair of heat resistant gloves to ensure you don’t get burned, is a huge plus. (Source)

Are electric smokers just ovens?

The electric smoker should have a large enough chip box for the wood chips, and you should be able to cook meat with it for up to 8 hours. You can also use an electric smoker as an oven without wood chips. It doubles as a second oven and warming oven. There is no need to add wood chips. (More info)

How open should vent be on electric smoker?

As a rule of thumb, it is best to leave the vent fully open while you are applying smoke to your meat. By leaving the vent completely open, you avoid the risk of creosote building up on your meat. (Source)

Do you leave the vent open on an electric smoker?

It should always be kept opened during the initial stages when you are going to preheat your electric smoker, to let maximum oxygen and enter the smoker and work on the fuel. Once the temperature rises you can definitely close the bottom vent and leave the top vent open. (Full article)

How long does it take to smoke meat in an electric smoker?

To figure out how long you need to smoke your meat, you have to take three factors into consideration: the type of meat, the thickness of the meat, and the temperature of the smoker. On average, you will need 6 to 8 hours, but brisket can take up to 22 hours. (Full answer)

Is propane better than electric?

It’s a fact! Propane heat is more economical and more efficient than electric heat. Virtually anything in your house, restaurant or building that can run on electricity can run on propane. However, the cost of a propane fueled home is actually less than the cost of a home with electric heat. (Read more)

Can propane smokers use winter?

Gas smokers are the best ones to be used in winters compared to electric or charcoal smokers. The gas flows easily in the winter weather making these smokers ideal for these conditions. (More…)

Does a propane smoker use a lot of propane?

Averagely, when smoking on a medium-sized smoker with the heat set to high, a smoker will burn 1 – 2 pounds of fuel for a cooking session. (The full answer)

Why is brisket pink?

Today’s corned beef is now brined or cured using a salt water or sodium nitrite mixture, which fixes the pigment in the meat and causes it to be pink in color. That’s why corned beef remains pink after cooking, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. (Full answer)

Why does smoked meat look pink?

As we smoke our chicken at a lower temperature for a much longer period of time, the myoglobin doesn’t fully break down. This creates a pink tinge to the meat – the same reaction that causes the smoke ring you see on our brisket and ribs. This doesn’t mean it’s undercooked, just that it’s been smoked. (Full answer)

Is smoked chicken pink?

Smoked poultry, commercially prepared, is usually pink because it is prepared with natural smoke and liquid smoke flavor. Federal regulations require all processed poultry to be cooked to at least 165 °F (71.1° C) instantly, or to an equivalent level of safety attained by this minimum temperature requirement. (More info)

How often do you add wood chips to a propane smoker?

How often should you add wood chips to your smoker? To get the ideal flavor while smoking meat, add new wood chips to the smoker every 30 to 45 minutes. Two to three handfuls of wood chips will smoke for about 1 hour so adding more chips frequently will keep the smoke going strong and ensure the best flavor. (More…)

Do electric smokers cook faster?

Make sure you have plenty of time. Electric smokers are designed to cook meat at a far lower temperature than a standard charcoal grill or gas grill. To get tender textures and smoke flavor, you must prepare for a long cook—from several hours of smoking for a rack of ribs to a full day for a whole turkey or ham. (Full answer)

Can you use charcoal in a propane smoker?

Masterbuilt Smoker – Using Charcoal In A Propane Smoker

How do you get the charcoal taste in an electric smoker?

Use wood/charcoal chips either in a smoker box or wrapped in aluminum foil, or use liquid smoke as part of your recipe. They are inexpensive, effective, and healthy methods that will enhance the taste of your food. (Click here)

Can you grill with an electric smoker?

Electric grills allow you to grill any time of the year without connecting your grill to a gas tank or purchasing charcoal. This convenience comes at the cost of a lack of smoky flavor from most electric grills, but you can smoke food with your electric grill by using the included smoker box or making your own. (Source)

Can you put charcoal in a electric grill?

Yes, and there are several ways of doing it. Perhaps the most convenient of them all is folding your charcoal/wood chips in a foil so that they are contained together. Other methods involve tossing pieces of charcoal right in the pit of the electric grill while others involve the use of separate wood chip pans. (See more)

Can I use my electric smoker in my garage?

Always operate an electric smoker outdoors whenever possible. The only exception is if you have a very large space such as a garage with a door that can be opened to the width of one whole wall. You must keep the door and any windows fully opened and always be aware of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. (Read more)

Is it safe to use an electric smoker overnight?

You simply can’t leave a smoker unattended and that includes for overnight cooking. So, the first piece of equipment you need is a good alarm clock. Because you’re going to be getting up every couple of hours to check on your fire. For good measures, keep the smoker well away from your house. (Full article)

Can you use aluminum foil in an electric smoker?

If we put the broader health concerns about aluminum leaching into the food aside and just consider its safety in electric smokers, the answer is yes you can use aluminum foil in an electric smoker. (Read more)

Are electric smokers healthy?

Are electric smokers healthy or not Patrick! The short answer is yes, electric smokers are no riskier than other smoking methods and actually do a better job of limiting many of the bad chemicals a charcoal version produces. (Full article)

How do I get more smoke from my Masterbuilt electric smoker?

If you want more smoke, open the vent; this will keep the element on longer; the smoker will not smoke unless the element is full on (takes at least 600degF). Hopes this helps. Smoke it up. I have used my Masterbuilt electric smoker several times. (Read more)

Do electric smokers produce bark?

Once you start smoking the brisket, either in the electric smoker or the other one, the water-soluble ingredients will get dissolved in the smoke as the heat evaporates. This way, the salt and spices will seep down the layers of meat, contributing to the smoke ring and the fine-textured bark. (Click here)

Is an electric smoker better than a pellet smoker?

If you are on a very tight budget and you only ever want to get a very light smoky flavour into your food, you could consider an electric smoker. However, if you want to have the option to get a more intense smoky flavour into your food, then a pellet smoker may be your best option. (Full answer)

What burns hotter wood or charcoal?

Takes long to heat up: Charcoal may burn hotter and longer than wood, but it takes longer to reach the right temperature, usually around 20-25 minutes. (Click here)

Can you mix charcoal and wood?

Yes, You Can Mix Cooking Wood with Charcoal

Just a few pieces of wood can make a big difference in flavor when you cook meat, veggies, bread, or cheese. The best way to mix charcoal and cooking wood is to start by lighting the charcoal. (More info)

What burns longer than wood?

Being far denser than wood, coal burns more steadily and longer. Coal stoves may need attention only twice a day at most, and they may burn more than two days before they need to be resupplied, depending on the stove. (The full answer)


Final Verdict

We have comprehensively looked at the Electric Smoker vs Propane Smoker vs Charcoal Smoker contest and appears each of the products reviewed under individual categories has its own strengths and weaknesses.

These products have demonstrated that they were all perfectly designed. Coming to the final conclusion we can say that the electric smoker is the winner based on its cooking space, size and design. It’s suitable for cooking for both a small and big group.

Megan Ann

I’m Megan Ann, mama to 2 and wife to James F. Core. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. In this blog, I try to write useful and informative articles to help you as much as I can with my knowledge.

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