Smoking meat and vegetables is an excellent way of adding flavor to old favorites. And you can do it right on your smoker of choice. Typically, three standard smoking methods are widely applicable across the globe; Charcoal, electric, and Gas.
If you don’t have enough time to fiddle through charcoals, you are definitely left to decide between an electric or a gas smoker. Now the million-dollar question – electric or gas smoker, which is better?
In this article, we will unfold essential facts, pros, and cons of electric and gas smokers as well as compare and contrast their functional features. Armed with the necessary information, you will be in a better position to decide which of these smokers is best for your needs.
Gas Smoker Overview
Out of many smokers, gas and electric shares a lot in common. First, they are both easy to use and available at affordable prices. Roughly, you can find a favorable model even as below $200.
As the name suggests, gas smokers usually use natural or propane gas to fuel their fire.
As a result, you can have more control over heat, as you can crank up the gas and achieve the heat temperature you want.
Gas smokers are also easily portable, making them a versatile option. However, while using a gas smoker, you need to take great caution as these smokers fluctuate temperature relatively fast.
Gas smokers are designed with a gas burner at the bottom together with a shelf above it, which is used to add food chips that enhance food aroma and taste.
Many people who have prior experience with charcoal and gas smokers will equally complement both to have a similar impact on how they cook and the results they deliver. Gas smoker benefits are overwhelming. They are often found in commercial barbecue restaurants.
Gas Smoker: Advantages and Disadvantages
- It is versatile. Therefore, you can position it anywhere, either outside or inside the building, without worrying about the power source.
- Gas smokers are simply designed. This makes repair possible without much hassle.
- You can easily pick up a gas smoker at a fair price than you could on an electric unit.
- Even if the power is out, you can still use your gas power.
- The results you can get from gas smokers are equally similar to those you can achieve from a traditional charcoal smoker than an electric smoker can produce.
- Some gas smokers will require you to babysit to keep checking temperature changes. Gas smokers tend to gain high temperatures rapidly.
- Gas smokers are usually not well insulated. If you are smoking on a windy or cold day, your smoking is more likely to be affected as well as cooking time.
- Comparing this to electric units, these gadgets are low-tech. In most circumstances, you won’t get all the advanced innovation techs, such as Bluetooth connectivity, found on the electric smokers.
Electric Smoker Overview
An electric smoker utilizes electric currents to smoke and cook your food. They are easy to use compared to a gas smoker.
An electric smoker contains a vent, which is crucial in regulating the amount of temperature. However, the bulk of heat regulation is controlled by the heating elements.
Considering the essence of this fact, it is, therefore, crucial to allow some time for the element to heat before you start cooking.
Generally, an electric smoker works with the same principle as ovens; cook slow and low.
With the added advantage of being able to add wood chips, an electric smoker benefits you in many ways, including adding a coveted smoke taste to your food. Below are some of the pros and cons of electric smoker:
Electric Smoker: Advantages and Disadvantages
- Controlling temperature is easy. Through a dial, you can easily adjust the temperatures. Some lower models of electric smokers may only allow basic adjustments such as low, medium, and high.
- It is very convenient. You can set the temperature limits and leave to attend to other duties.
- It is the safest unit of the two options. There are no gases to worry about.
- Some environmental settings regulate and discourage the use of charcoal and gas smokers, which is a rare case with an electric smoker.
- An electric smoker can be converted to a cold smoker easily. They are also best suited for smoking delicate foods such as fish, and they can be adjusted low enough to dehydrate some foods with ease.
- You cannot get the same amount of heat from an electric smoker as you can get from a gas smoker. Generally, it has a low heating capacity.
- You will need a power outlet in the smoking venue. This may limit the versatility of an electric smoker unless you have a back generator.
- You will not likely get a smoking ring when you cook with an electric smoker. Even though you can add wood chips to add flavor to your food, the heat produced by this smoker is not enough to burn the wood.
- Maintenance and repair services can be a bit complicated and expensive for the electric smoker due to their high-tech nature.
General Features of Electric Smoker vs. Gas Smoker
Several factors impact the purchase of specific smokers. Below, we are going to compare some of these factors and how the electric and gas model stack up. Remember, every point is important, and any given may be a deciding factor for buying.
Easy to use
They are both easy to use. However, with an electric smoker, it is convenient and much easier to operate. All you need with an electric smoker is just to plug in the socket to the power outlet, then set the temperature you want using adjusters, and within 20 minutes, you are ready to start smoking.
The taste of food smoked through a gas smoker is equally similar to that of food smoked from traditional charcoal.
The flavor of electric smoke food tastes incredibly good. However, the final taste depends more on the skills of the person smoking.
Gas smokers are designed with a simple controller switch that opens and closes the flow of gas. It has a burner controller knob that requires to be appropriately adjusted so as to achieve the required temperature.
With electric smokers, each model is equipped with a digital temperature controller, which often contains additional useful features such as timers or plugins.
Without proper adjustments, it is difficult to achieve low temperatures with the gas smoker. However, with an electric smoker, the temperature ranges, and the precise controller enhances cold smoking.
And if the electric smoker doesn’t give the expected results, you can as well purchase a specialized cold smoking kit.
Most gas smokers have a relatively large warranty ranging from a few months to several years. Unfortunately, electric smokers, in most cases, have a shorter warranty duration that usually lasts for one year.
Gas smokers are easy to clean and maintain compared to electric smokers.
Controlling the temperature when using a gas smoker can be challenging, although a gas smoker can easily result in higher temperatures above 300 degrees.
Electric smokers offer more flexible temperature ranges. Most electric units provide a temperature range of 100 to 300 degrees which is ideal for cooking meat and cold smoking.
Baring the fact that gas smoker uses some sort of highly flammable gases, always means there is a risk if you fail to pay attention to safety precautions. We have electric equipment almost around us, which signifies that electric smokers are safer throughout and can be left for several years unattended.
Gas smoker receives a thumb up for its versatility. You can use this type of smoker anywhere as long as you have a steady supply of gas.
An electric smoker can as well be mobile provided you have a generator, or you can use a power cord to deliver electrical current to the smoking bay.
There is a contradiction of whether it is safe to use gas smokers in any type of weather, but you need to take into account that some weather conditions may cause difficulties in maintaining a constant temperature.
Electric smokers are restricted from being used in rainy weather. Everyone is aware that electricity and water are mortal enemies.
Gas Smoker and Electric Smoker Comparison
When it comes to selecting between gas and electric smokers, many people are guided by their values.
If you desire to have delicate dehydrated proteins or smoked foods, then an electric smoker is the best choice for you. But if your wish is to have tastes that are similar to those produced by the traditional charcoal smoker, then gas smokers should be the right choice for you.
However, if yet you are unsure what you need, below are some critical factors that you might consider, which can help you in finalizing your decision.
Price for the Smoker
Comparing the prices of propane vs. electric smoke, the latter is always cheaper; however, it is vital to consider the quality aspect of the equipment.
There are cheaper electric smokers in the market, but if you need the advanced ones with the latest tech, then you will require to dig deeper into your pocket than you would do when buying a standard propane unit.
The winner is Electric Smoker
While it might be categorically difficult to state which unit is less expensive to run as gas and electricity charges are different in various parts of the world, an electric smoker is likely to be more economical.
The winner is Electric Smoker
Ease of Use:
Both gas and electric smokers do not require much learning to know how to use them. However, some people do not know how to use an electric smoker. Besides, others barely know how to use a gas smoker.
Fortunately, while purchasing either of these smokers, there is a manufacturer manual that you get, which contains step by step using procedures.
By considering both smokers, electric smokers are well recognized, for they are easy to use. With a gas smoker, it needs close attention as the temperatures can fluctuate quickly.
The winner is Electric Smoker
Taste of Food:
A gas smoker is well known for producing delicious foods. Also, electric smoker equally produces tasty meals. However, the perception of food taste may rely on several aspects, such as personal decisions, smoking skills, and the type of food smoked.
Bad Weather Consideration:
If you are using an electric smoker to cook your food, the weather is a crucial factor to consider. The presence of water in an electric smoker may initiate electrical charges, and therefore, you should look for a cover to protect you from the downpour.
A gas smoker is less affected by weather, but some weather conditions such as wind or rain may affect the temperature of the smoker.
The winner is Gas Smoker
A gas smoker may not be reliable, more so the lower quality. However, in the event of damage and repair is required, gas smokers are a bit easy to fix. Electric smokers are well designed and easy to use, making them more reliable.
Top Propane and Electric Smoker Brands
Now, with the much-discussed, you are in a better position of choosing between a gas or electric smoker. But before you proceed to the next phase, here are some of the tops brands you would like to consider while making your purchase.
For an electric smoker, check out for:
These are reputable brands, which are prominent for producing quality smoke.
If you have opted for a propane smoker
- Cuisinart Vertical
- Camp Chef
- Smoke Hollow
Are an excellent choice that will barely disappoint.
And if you are on a tight budget, you might check the Camp Chef, which is an excellent gas smoker and often given out on offers.
Having discussed more than enough facts about gas and electric smokers, you are now in a better position to search, question, and conclude every type of smoker.
Those who would wish to have a quick smoker with similar results as a charcoal smoker should look for a gas smoker, but be ready to make regular temperature adjustments and babysit the smoker.
On the other hand, those who would like to smoke more delicate meat and fish with more convenience, then they should check the goodness with an electric smoker model