is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases . Learn more

Is An Electric Smoker Better Than A Propane Smoker?

This topic is something that BBQ enthusiasts have been debating for a while. Of course, some people will say that both of them are worse than charcoal, but this method needs lots of time.

That is why we put this article together to get rid of this discussion once and for all.

Is An Electric Smoker Better Than A Propane Smoker?

Before delving into this question, we must first know exactly how electric and propane smokers work.

An Overview On Electric Smokers

As you can easily guess based on the name, an electric smoker cooks food with electricity-generated heat. They usually have vents, which help tremendously in controlling the temperature.

Electric smokers are limited by their power cable.

However, the bulk of their work is always done by heating elements. With this in mind, it’s best if you can wait a little bit after starting the smoker. If the element can heat up properly before you cook, the result will be much more different.

That is why they are, at the end of the day, more akin to ovens with a slow and low nature. We do want to note that they let you add wood chips during the smoking process. As such, it is much easier for you to impose a coveted smoky taste for the food.

The Pros Of Using Electric Smokers

First of all, it is really easy to control the temperature using these smokers.

This case is especially true if you use the more modern units. All you need to do is turn your smoker’s dial, and the temperature will be adjusted accordingly. The cheaper models still allow you to choose between low, medium, and high.

These smokers provide a level of convenience like no other. It is not at all an overstatement to say that they are set-and-forget. There is nothing for you to do after you have set the temperature.

They have some of the best safety features that we have seen. In addition, they do not deal with any combustible material, especially gas.

Most electric smokers are widely accepted in all kinds of apartment blocks. On the other hand, charcoal or gas smokers are automatic rejections.

You can easily convert them into cold smokers with some tinkering here and there. As a result, smoking more delicate foods like fish is no longer a challenge. It is also much easier to dehydrate foods.

The Cons Of Using Electric Smokers

You simply cannot expect the same level of heat output as that of propane gas from these smokers.

These smokers require at least one power outlet placed in convenient locations to be usable. That is why it is completely impossible for you to take them along on a camping trip.

Getting a nice smoke ring is a huge challenge if you use these smokers. Even though the flavor is still there, your woods will not burn hot enough for the formation of a smoke ring.

An Overview On Propane Smokers

For the question: Is an electric smoker better than a propane smoker?, an examination of propane is a must. Most propane smokers have propane tanks as their main heat source. Of course, there are those that use natural gas, but the number is unnoticeable.

The usage of propane gas gives you a level of control over how much heat there is. After all, you only need to crank the gas up to get some impressive levels of heat.

Propane smokers produce better smoker rings.

The nature of propane gas also means that the speed these smokers reach the desired temperature is impressive.

They usually have a gas burner fixed at the bottom and some shelves above it. You can add wood chips to these shelves to enhance the smoke flavor.

A popular opinion is that gas smokers are close replicas of charcoal smokers, both in the results available and the cooking process. You will see gas smokers more in commercialized BBQ restaurants, though.

The Pros Of Using Propane Smokers

It is incredibly easy to position these devices, as they are not bounded by power outlets. Also, they are not complicated machines, so you can easily fix them up if something goes wrong.

They are much cheaper than electric smokers. You can easily find a high-quality one with half the price of a similar electric smoker.

The Cons Of Using Propane Smokers

You may need to babysit them in order to keep their temperature level in check due to their tendency of running too hot. The main reason for this issue is that they do not have proper insulation.

You should not expect any cool add-ons like Bluetooth connectivity like you would with electric smokers.


So, is an electric smoker better than a propane smoker? It depends.

If you are in need of a unit capable of quickly smoking your foods, then propane is the way to go. Also, the result will not be that different from the proper charcoal smoking methods. The trade-off is that you must be careful all the time, as accidents are more likely to happen.

Electric smokers, on the other hand, are perfect for smoking some delicate proteins. They also require no micromanagement. However, the quality of the meat will suffer a little bit.

Scroll to Top