7 Best Vertical Smokers Of 2021

Vertical smokers hold a height advantage when it comes to smoking meat. Given that heat rises, it’s pretty easy to see why these smokers are so popular. 

If you wonder how you can pick the best vertical smokers, this list contains various smokers that you can use for your household. All of them are vertical, so don’t expect them to take ample space. This list also contains everything from electric to pellet smokers.

Check out my suggestions below.

Top 7 Vertical Smokers Comparison Table

PictureVertical Smoker ListWhy I Like ItWeight (pounds)Rating (1-5)
Bradley Smoker Digital 6 Rack SmokerBest overall in terms of quality60.54.1
Dyna-Glo Bluetooth Electric SmokerIncredible technology features73.83.9
Realcook Charcoal BBQ Smoker GrillBest flexible smoker35.24.4
LANDMANN MCO Smoky Mountain Electric SmokerMost cost-effective options334.4
Giantex Vertical Charcoal SmokerBest for beginners33.54.1
Masterbuilt Propane SmokerMost trusted brands 75.94.1

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Best Overall

Bradley Smoker BTDS108P Digital 6 Rack Smoker

With a focus on quality, Bradley Smoker is well-built and easy to use. It has an automatic wood chips feeder which means no refill is required for up to 8 hours.

The Highest Quality Material

The Bradley Smoker BTDS108P Digital 6 Rack Smoker is my vote for the best overall smoker. The reason for this comes from a focus on the quality of design. The material of the smoker is stainless steel with a powder coating on the interior. As a result, it seals well and is easy to maintain temperature.

Also, a thoughtful design means that wood chips are quickly loaded along the left side. That means the system will typically handle an entire eight-hour smoking process with less time worrying about wood level. Most of the time, you come back to reload the water in this electric smoker.

Easy To Use, Easy To Clean

The powder coating makes it pretty easy to clean. The wood chip loader on the side makes it just as easy to use. Please wait for it to cool down and use that time to wipe out the inside.

With four separate cooking grates, you can easily remove them for cleaning. This also allows you to control the height of items, as this cooker is very adjustable with the cooking rack. 

Tested For Quality

The internal temperature is effortless to handle. Combine that with quality and thoughtful design, and you can easily see why this is one of the most popular smokers on this list.

Pros
  • A powder epoxy stainless steel construction ensures long lastingness
  • Full digital controls so you can easily see the temperature, time, and smoke level
  • Controllable up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Easy to load wood chips along the side
  • Requires separate purchase of a meat thermometer
Cons
  • No window to see inside of the unit
  • No built-in meat thermometer

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Best Tech Features

Dyna-Glo DGU732SDE-D Bluetooth Electric Smoker

With ample internal space, Dyna-Glo is great for feeding a small army. With a built-in digital thermometer, you can check the meat without having to open the smoker.

Easy to Check Meat Temperature

As a Bluetooth digital electric smoker, the Dyna-Glo DGU732SDE-D Bluetooth Electric Smoker holds a unique slot on this list. With an affordable price given the Bluetooth features, this smoker is an excellent option for those who prefer convenience.

The included digital thermometers mean you don’t have to open the smoker to check the meat, allowing consistency.

Amazing Internal Space

At 732 square inches, this smoker can hold a considerable amount of food. That means if you want to throw a party, this smoker will be able to handle it. There are larger smokers out there, so you might look elsewhere if you need something to feed a small army.

A Little Bit More to Fret Over

The bottom drawer does not have the auto-load feature that the Bradley smoker we mentioned earlier has. As a result, it is slightly less convenient, meaning you will have to track things a bit more closely. 

Thankfully, you won’t have to disturb the meat to load up the chips. While it does require a bit more attention, it is far from what we would call inconvenient.

Pros
  • 732 square inches of cooking space
  • Digital thermostat and control panel display
  • Integrated meat thermometer makes it easy to track temperatures
  • Bluetooth range of 30 feet
  • Great if you plan on throwing a party
Cons
  • Requires more regular checkups due to lack of offset loader
  • 1000 watts means that it isn’t great for higher temperatures

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Most Flexible Smoker

Realcook Charcoal BBQ Smoker Grill

As a flexible smoker, Realcook is both a smoker and a grill. With a bottom vent, it can maintain a steady temperature.

Incredibly Flexible

Vertical smokers like the Realcook Charcoal BBQ Smoker Grill prioritize the ability to do almost anything. You can convert it into one grill, two grills, or a tall smoker. Whatever you plan on using it for, this one can bake, braise, smoke, and roast food with the best of them.

Bottom Vent Design

The bottom vent design on this ensures that you can release the heat at whatever level you need. It also provides that as this smoker ages, it isn’t going to remove too much heat. At a substantial capacity of 650 square inches, that means you won’t have the same issues that other top-vent smokers generally have with a quicker heat release up top.

Built-in Temperature Readings

The negative side of having a bottom-mounted vent means that the temperature up top can be a bit high. With this in mind, it might take a bit of getting used to comparing it to other vertical smokers. Overall, this still holds a firm title as one of the best smokers available.

Pros
  • Great versatility to be used as a grill, fire pit, or a smoker
  • Material is a combination of a porcelain coat with stainless steel parts
  • has an impressive 636 square inches of cooking surface
  • It only has two cooking racks, making it less flexible than other options
  • Two access doors for multiple cooking chambers
Cons
  • The bottomless design makes temperature control somewhat difficult
  • Somewhat tedious assembly

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Best Budget

LANDMANN MCO 32954 Smoky Mountain Electric Smoker

A smoker on the budget but still providing quality, a viewing window, and easy to clean. With space efficiency in mind, it includes a combo tray for wood chip box, water pan, and grease pan.

Most available smokers are somewhere in the $300 to $400 range. LANDMANN MCO understands that this might be a problem, so it has released a line of smokers below the $200 price range. Despite this limit, you wouldn’t be able to tell it based on the quality of this item. 

The design is not digital, so the LANDMANN MCO 32954 Smoky Mountain Electric Smoker is based on an older method of a charcoal smoker. It also cannot be converted into a grill like some other items on this list.

Regardless, it wins when it comes to the quality of thoughtful construction. You can also look inside with the convenient available window. 

With 1500 watts, this has more than enough cooking power to compete with the most expensive options. However, that control is through a dial on alongside this corded-electric smoker. As a result, you feel as though you have loose control of the temperature.

Pros
  • Includes easy to clean grease pan and water pan and wood chip tray (three-in-one)
  • Three chrome-plated cooking grates
  • The non-insulated cooking chamber allows for avoidance of over smoked products
  • Adjustable feet make it easy to level on uneven flooring
Cons
  • Temperature adjustment uses an old-fashioned dial design
  • A reasonably small wood chip tray creates a need for regular checks
  • The non-digital thermostat is inaccurate
  • Sometimes has door sealant issues

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Best Beginner Smoker

Giantex Vertical Charcoal Smoker

No frills smoker with ample cooking space, built-in thermometer, and iron construction. It is sturdy and easy to maneuver with the side handles.

You get the feeling that Giantex is a company that is named for producing big smokers. With a double-door feature and a sizable charcoal basin, their vertical charcoal offering significantly contributes to simple smokers. Just don’t expect it to do anything unique with technology, so no digital scale.

Giantex Vertical Charcoal Smoker is incredibly simple when compared to others who look like they try too hard. If you always thought new smoker designs have ever done too much, Giantex might be what you want.

Despite what the advertisements may make you believe, there are smokers with a much larger capacity. Still, this one will easily handle your large family or a small block party.

Pros
  • Has two grill settings for ample cooking space
  • The thermometer is right upfront
  • Easy to add more wood chips to produce more smoke
  • Temperature resistant iron construction
Cons
  • No viewing window
  • Temp gauge can be significantly off
  • It has some fixable design flaws

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Most Trusted Brands

Masterbuilt MB20050716 Propane Smoker

With its sleek design, Masterbuilt is a trusted smoker. It has a safety shut-off valve giving you a safe smoking experience every time.

Masterbuilt is on the top of a variety of lists for the best smokers. The reason? Masterbuilt has been doing it for quite a while. With their sleek and thoughtful designs, it is easy to see why it has continued to dominate lists. 

The reason that the Masterbuilt MB20050716 Propane Smoker doesn’t have a higher point on this list is twofold: First, propane fuel sources do offer the option of wood chips, but they are reliant on a fuel source that is harder to acquire. Second, Masterbuit has a lot of negative user reviews due to a lack of response. 

There is no doubt that Masterbuilt creates a fantastic product. But it isn’t quite up to the best of the best. Overall, it’s excellent for those who are looking for a trusted brand.

Pros
  • A sleek design makes this smoker stand out
  • Includes safety valve that shuts off if the flame is extinguished
  • Masterbuilt is one of the biggest producers of trusted smokers
  • Propane allows for easy distribution of heat
Cons
  • Propane is one of the more inconvenient heat sources
  • Assembly can be somewhat tedious, instructions are unclear at some points
  • The thermostat is typically off

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Vertical or Horizontal Smoker Better?

A vertical smoker has two different significant advantages over other kinds of smokers:

  • First, a vertical smoke typically holds a great deal more meat than other standard smokers. For example, off-set grill sized smokers are much larger but contain less cooking surface due to its style choice.
  • Second, heat rises in vertical smokers. That means they are typically better at building up to larger temperatures, especially on the smoker’s higher spots. 

Are Vertical Pellet Smokers Any Good?

Wood pellets are particularly good at providing a change in flavor from wood —different wood pellets for other recipes. For instance, hickory wood is good at enhancing the flavor of sweeter foods.

Be sure to check out my smoked turkey recipe if you want some ideas on what to make with your smoker.

How Often Do You Load Wood Chips in a Vertical Smoker?

The number one digital option automatically loads wood chunks every so often to keep the levels up. As a result, some of the options here vary for the number of wood chips they require. 

Regardless of them being pellets or chips, a single cup will last up to four or five hours. If you have a larger container, some people combine charcoal and wood to make everything last a bit longer. 

Can You Grill in a Vertical Smoker?

You can only grill in a vertical smoker if it reaches up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This opens up the same temperature levels that one would expect in a grill.

What if My Wood Pellet / Wood Chip Container is Smoking?

That means there is probably too much ash located in your wood pellet container. At this point, you should stop smoking and see about cleaning out your vertical smoker.

Check to see if there is any ash blockage or you have too much wood. Either way, there should be plenty of room for airflow.

How do You Keep Meat Moist While Smoking?

If you are afraid your meat may dry out during the smoking process, you can do one of three things:

  • Brining your food applies soaks your food in a flavor combination so that the inside of it may retain moisture. It would help if you still had the exterior entirely dry to get the crispy outside.
  • water tray is included with many electric smokers to account for dry surfaces. Just be sure that you stop filling it with water as you reach the end if you are looking for a crispy outside. 
  • Covering your meat in tin foil allows you to retain the juices in a metal container. Some people only do this for a couple of hours of a smoking session. Also, this is more common with ribs and brisket.

What If My Smoker Isn’t Working?

At this point, you will want to check if your smoker is under warranty. Some purchases on third-party websites will not be under warranty, so buy from accredited websites if you can. You will possibly need proof of the warranty. 

If it isn’t under warranty, you can contact the manufacturer to see if they offer service options. They may connect you with a local retailer.

If you need some help diagnosing your smoker, check out this video:

Conclusion

As a reminder, the Bradley Smoker BTDS108P Digital 6 Rack Smoker is my selection for the best vertical smoker. The reason I chose this as my favorite smoker comes from its focus on build quality. With a stainless steel epoxy coating, the longevity of this item is incredibly impressive. Include a digital reader with an easy wood loading feature, and you have an amazing combination of convenience and quality.

If you feel like you want something with a bit more smart features or you want something a bit simpler, I’ve got a vertical smoker here for any occasion. Whatever you need, any smoker on this list will be able to help you get started.