Electric vs Gas Smoker: Which One Will Make You a BBQ Legend?


Are you considering buying a smoker for your backyard barbecues but can’t decide between an electric or gas smoker? Well, you’re not alone. With so many options on the market, choosing the best one for your needs can be overwhelming.

As someone who loves to grill and smoke meats, I’ve done my fair share of research and testing, and I’m here to share my thoughts on the electric vs. gas smoker debate.

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each type of smoker and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision. So, whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a beginner, please sit back, relax, and let’s dive into smoking!

What is an Electric Smoker?

Let’s start with electric smokers. I find these to be the easiest type of smoker to use. You plug it in, set the temperature, and let it do its thing. Electric smokers also offer consistent temperature control, so you don’t have to constantly monitor the heat or adjust.

Another advantage of electric smokers is that you don’t need to worry about buying fuel or running out of it mid-smoke. This can be a big plus if you value convenience and simplicity.

However, electric smokers do have their downsides. One of the biggest drawbacks is that they produce a limited flavor profile compared to other smokers, such as charcoal or wood. Electric smokers don’t use real wood or charcoal but rely on wood chips or pellets to generate smoke.

Electric smokers also require a power source, so you’ll need access to electricity wherever you use it.

Lastly, if you value the traditional smoking experience, an electric smoker may not be for you. Many enjoy building and tending to a fire; electric smokers can’t replicate that.

Electric smokers are a great option for beginners prioritizing ease of use and consistency. However, if you’re looking for a more authentic smoking experience or a more comprehensive range of flavor options, you may want to consider a different type of smoker.

If you want to purchase an electric smoker, check out my guide on the Best Electric Smokers.

What is a Gas Smoker?

Next up, let’s talk about gas smokers. These smokers use propane or natural gas as fuel, which gives you a lot of versatility in cooking. Gas smokers can reach higher temperatures than electric or charcoal smokers, which can be a plus if you want to cook meats quickly or achieve a crispy exterior.

Another advantage of gas smokers is that they can produce a more traditional smoky flavor. You can add wood chips or chunks directly to the smoker, which allows the smoke to infuse the meat and create a rich, smoky flavor profile.

However, gas smokers can be more difficult to use than electric smokers. They require a bit of setup, including connecting the propane tank or gas line, and you’ll need to monitor the temperature regularly to ensure it stays consistent. Temperature fluctuations can be challenging for gas smokers, particularly when cooking in colder weather.

Additionally, gas smokers can be more expensive to operate than electric smokers since you’ll need to purchase propane or natural gas. However, the cost difference may not be significant depending on how often you use the smoker.

Gas smokers are a great option if you’re looking for versatility in your cooking and a more authentic smoky flavor. However, an electric smoker may be a better choice if you’re a beginner or prioritize ease of use. It’s about personal preference and what works best for your needs.

If you want to purchase a gas smoker, check out my guide on the Best Propane Smokers.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Electric and Gas Smokers

When choosing between electric and gas smokers, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost, the budget will likely play a big role in your decision. Electric smokers are generally less expensive upfront but more costly to operate if you use them frequently.

On the other hand, gas smokers may require a larger initial investment, but the ongoing fuel cost is often lower.

Another important factor to consider is a personal preference. If you enjoy a hands-on approach to smoking and value the traditional smoking experience, a gas smoker might be the way to go. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a no-fuss, easy-to-use option, an electric smoker might be a better fit.

Cooking needs should also be taken into account. If you plan on smoking large cuts of meat or cooking for a crowd, you’ll want to choose a smoker with a large cooking capacity. Additionally, if you want a smoky flavor profile, you may choose a smoker that can accommodate natural wood or charcoal.

Lastly, convenience is another important factor to consider. If you’re short on time or want a hassle-free smoking experience, an electric smoker might be the way to go. A gas smoker might be a better fit if you’re willing to put in extra effort for a more authentic smoking experience.

Ultimately, whether to choose an electric or gas smoker comes down to personal preference, budget, cooking needs, and convenience. Take the time to consider these factors carefully, and you’ll surely choose a smoker you’ll love using for years to come.

Related: Can An Electric Smoker Be Used As A Dehydrator?


So, which type of smoker is the best: electric or gas? As with many things in life, the answer is that it depends on your personal preferences and needs. Both types of smokers have their advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately the right choice will come down to what works best for you.

An electric smoker might be the way to go if you value ease of use, consistency, and affordability. On the other hand, if you prioritize versatility, flavor, and the traditional smoking experience, a gas smoker might be a better fit.

Ultimately, the key is to do your research, consider your budget and cooking needs, and choose a smoker that will allow you to create delicious, flavorful meals that you’ll love sharing with family and friends.

Whether you opt for an electric or gas smoker, you’ll surely enjoy the unique flavor and experience of smoking.

Bobby Johnson

When he's not writing about barbecue, you can find Bobby smoking meat for friends and family. He's been a backyard pitmaster for roughly half his life, and has worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands-on guide to teach them BBQ, but that's what Bobby hopes to do with Electric Smoker HQ. He wants to help people create amazing food that they can be proud of.