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Whether you want a pro-level smoker or want to build your own, you’re probably going to spend more than you want to. That’s why scoring one of the best smokers under $1000 is ideal. Whether you’re going for kebabs or steaks, flavor and moisture won’t be in short supply. Get ready to have the whole neighborhood over, because no one will be able to resist the mouth-watering, smoky flavors wafting over the fence!
So, what did we base our reviews off of? Quite a few factors, actually. First was the cooking area. Obviously, the larger, the better as you save time. The wider the temperature range, the higher we rated the smoker, as well. This gives you more versatility with what you’re cooking, as well as allowing for better precision. The dimensions and weight affected our ratings also, and generally, we preferred the more compact models due to convenience. Obviously, the overall experience and how the food turned out was a huge factor in our reviews.
For the past few weeks, we’ve spent a “rigorous” amount of time testing out various models, to come up with the right products for you. You’ll find below, a user-friendly table comparing each item, then the in-depth reviews, and finally a buying guide to make sure you’re picking the best smoker under $1000 for you and your needs. We know you’re getting hungry, so let’s not waste any more time!
More features: digital elite controller keeping temperature within 20°F, locking caster wheels
From assembly, to maintenance, to actually smoking, the Traeger Grills Elite 34 is made to be simple. The company is known for building high-quality products, and this model is no exception. In fact, we’re willing to say it’s quite possibly the best BBQ smoker under $1000.
If you’re looking for versatility, don’t skip over this one. With 6-in-1 cooking capabilities, you can BBQ, grill, smoke, roast, braise, or bake your way to a happy stomach. We loved that it uses wood pellet to grill, which not only tastes better but makes for a lower cancer risk than charcoal grilling. In addition, it produces less ash and mess.
Rather than having to stand and flip over your food, true convention cooking will cook them all the way through. With a whopping 646 square inches of cooking surface, you can hold up to 6 chickens, 9 racks of ribs, over 30 hot dogs, or 20 hamburgers. That’s…a lot of food! We’d recommend this one if you’re planning on cooking for friends and family at get-togethers or parties for this very reason.
If you’re a beginner in this world, you’ll love how easy and straightforward operation is. Add in wood pellets, press “ON”, turn the dial to “Smoke”, and you’re all set in 10 minutes for takeoff! Even during colder weather, the temperature remains quite consistent, not varying more than 15 degrees. The durable steel construction will ensure it holds up well to rain and other potentially harsh weather, so you’ll have delicious treats no matter what comes your way!
The only potential downside for us was that it lacks a trap to open and drain the pellets if you want to use a different pellet type. Other than that, we absolutely loved it!
More features: Smart Smoke Technology, patented ash cleanout, 11.5 x 16 in searing area
One of the best pellet smokers under $1000, the Camp Chef Woodwind SG 24 Pellet Grill infuses food with a savory wood-grilled taste unmatched by few. Not only that, but they’ve included an array of other features that are sure to improve your grilling experience and take your dishes to a whole new level.
Thanks to the convection design, there’s no need to keep flipping your steaks (unless you want those grill marks on both sides). Heat is always circulating and reaches every part of the interior. Grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and BBQ all of your favorites on one grill. The large temperature range goes from 160 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can do whatever you want. With an enormous 811 square inches of cooking surface area, you’ll be able to feed the entire neighborhood!
The rack also splits in half and slides to the sides, which gives easy, safe access to the grates below. Even more convenient, is that you can remove the smaller racks from the smoker and slide them into your dishwasher. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
We are a bit biased towards pellet grills, due to the fact that they taste a bit better in our opinion, and are also healthier for you. This one is built to last, with thick legs that won’t easily get knocked over in the wind or by your neighbor who’s had one too many Coors. It will also hold up well against cold and rainy weather, so you can keep it outside without worry.
The downside? The sear diffuser gate warped pretty easily.
More features: glass-reinforced nylon handles, built-in lid thermometer
With almost 40 years of experience, Weber is another well-reputable company pushing out products made to last. The iconic design of the Smokey Mountain hasn’t changed much over the years, because it works. Made with porcelain enameled steel, it’s made to retain heat well, while providing a consistent smoke. Not only is it durable, but it’s beautiful, making it an easy conversation piece.
Another excellent unit for the beginner smoker, you’ll be able to get started right away. The charcoal door makes it quick and simple to add in more charcoal while making sure the fire is ideal. The silicone grommet lets you put in a temperature probe to keep tabs on your meal without drilling in unsightly holes or closing the lid on the probe wire. These may seem like small details, but they make a big difference in the user experience.
Want to take things even further? Check out the iGrill 2 App-Connected Thermometers! These let you check on your food through the convenience of your smartphone, so you can hang out and enjoy the party without having to slave over the grill the entire time!
While this was definitely one of our favorites, it wasn’t perfect.
First off, we didn’t enjoy the fact that the lid isn’t hinged. This means you have to lift the lid off entirely, however, you can purchase a hinge if you’d like. In addition, the charcoal door could definitely be a bit more solid rather than leaking some heat and smoke out.
Ultimately though, it’s one of the best budget products out there, and you really do get a lot for your money.
More features: internal temperature sensor with digital controls
If you thought a 6-in-1 was really something special, check out the 8-in-1 ZGrills ZPG-7002B. The wood fire pellet grill lets you grill (obviously), smoke, bake, roast, sear, braise, BBQ, and chargrill to your heart’s content. Using an upgraded temperature control system, you can set it anywhere from 180 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit to cook all of your dinner the way you want. Like the others, you don’t have to sit staring at the grill. You can go and enjoy the company of your guests and let your smoker do the work!
The electronic auto-start ignition, digital temp control, LED temp readouts, and more make it great whether you’re an absolute beginner or seasoned pro. The waste oil collector makes cleanup easy, and more importantly, safe. The locking caster wheels mean that you can simply move the grill from place to place without having to lug it or drag it around the yard.
With a grilling surface area of 700 square inches, it’s not the largest but it’s definitely up there. You’ll be able to feed at least 10 people at once, if not more. Fan-forced convection cooking always makes sure heat is circulated perfectly, eliminating the need for a rotisserie, as well as making your cooking abilities more versatile.
The only real “con” for us was the fact that the pellet hopper made it a bit difficult to change out pellets. To do so, you must remove them by hand and the grate makes it hard to get all of them.
What are its best features?
Convection cooking eliminates the need for rotisserie
More features: reverse flow for even heat and smoke, cool-touch handles
This guy named Joe, from Oklahoma, offers 6 different models here, but our personal favorite was the Highland Reverse Flow. The name comes from the included “reverse flow technology”, which essentially pushes the smoke around to flow over the meat and back again, before coming out through the chimney. What this does is give the food even smoking and temperature. This best offset smoker under $1000 is also a great option if you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck.
While it’s excellent for just about any experience level, we really liked it for the fact that it’s a high-quality entry-level product. If you’re looking to enter the smoking world but are feeling a bit intimidated, pick this one up. It’s visually attractive and looks and operates like the beast it is.
The entire unit is made of steel, including the wheels. While this definitely makes for a sturdy smoker, it makes for a heavy one, too – up to almost 200 pounds, in fact. While it includes heavy-duty rollers, it’s not going to be all that simple moving it around. Assembly is also pretty grueling when you compare it to the others on our list, and will take around an hour with two people.
Overall, if you’re looking for a good budget product that’s going to give you a nice smoky taste with consistent heat, then don’t skip the Oklahoma Joe. However, know that you will probably want to put some more money into it if you want it to be “perfect”.
More features: push-button ignition, 15,400 BTU, built-in temperature gauge
If there ever comes a time where you have to feed a small village of people or…let’s say an army of hungry friends, there aren’t too many options out there. What is available, however, is the Masterbuilt GS40 Propane Smoker. We’ll admit that the other products on our list were pretty generous in grilling space, but when you compare them to the insane 1,300 square inches of space this beauty features, it’s practically nothing. With four chrome-coated smoking racks to smoke up to 100 pounds of food, you’ll practically be your own restaurant!
With a push-button ignition and gas controls, no matter what your experience level is, you can operate it without worry. You’ll be able to get it started in just seconds, thanks to the convenience built in. The legs add height to make cooking nice and easy, without having to bend down, causing discomfort in your back and neck. A built-in temperature gauge makes sure that you always know how your food is being cooked, and to adjust accordingly. The temperature stayed very consistent throughout, even in cold weather.
Food is always perfectly smoky and juicy, thanks to the adjustable air damper and water bowl to keep your eats packed with flavor. The only thing we felt wasn’t great here, was the assembly process, which was a bit daunting. However, once that’s done with, you’ll have an amazing smoker for all to enjoy!
More features: 800W heating element with full foam insulation, handle and rear wheels, remote control
The high-class Masterbuilt 30-Inch Electric Smoker is one of the best electric smokers under $1000 available today. It lets you use wood chips, pellets, or similar products to keep the meet smoky and packed with juiciness. The great thing about the electric models is that you don’t ever need to worry about running out of fuel. With over 700 square inches of cooking space, you’ll easily be able to smoke whole racks of ribs, chickens, and turkeys.
This smoker is ideal if you live in an apartment that doesn’t have a backyard or a balcony large enough to keep one outdoors. While putting it in your office may sound a bit dangerous, it is possible.
Integrated controls on the front of the unit let you change up the smoke amount, temperature, and even shut-off time. Just set up the automatic timer, and you’re ready to go about with your day while your delicious meat smokes. The included temperature probe even checks temps from inside the machine! No need to babysit and keep checking up on it to see how it’s doing, because it’ll come out nice and juicy on its own. The blue LED display makes reading out stats easy, and if you’re in direct sunlight, you’ll still be able to clearly make out what it says. The front window and internal light will let you see your masterpiece as it’s being cooked, too.
As the power cord is over 5 feet long, you’ll have quite a bit of versatility in where you place it. In fact, you can even pack it up and take it along for a camping trip! A handle and rear wheels make taking it with you easy.
The difficult part here is knowing when to keep it inside. It’s not going to hold up to harsh weather conditions as well as the others on our list.
When purchasing the best smoker under $1000, there’s quite a bit to take into consideration. That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to create this handy buying guide for you.
A smoker under $1000: What you should and should not expect
While hundreds of dollars isn’t exactly play money, you’ll find that in smokers over $1000 you’re just going to get more convenience and durability. However, the selections we have on our guide are quite impressive. Expect assembly to take a while.
Features to consider while choosing a smoker
First off, think about the level of experience you have with smoking and how much food you’ll usually be cooking with it. If you’re a beginner, search out a smoker that’s going to have straightforward, easy operation, cleaning, and maintenance, like the Traeger Lil Tex Elite 34. You don’t want to waste food just because you didn’t understand how it worked.
Knowing how much you’ll be cooking is important, so you know how big the grilling surface should be. Also, think about what you’ll be cooking. Obviously, you’ll need a larger and taller area if cooking entire chickens/turkeys or racks of ribs as opposed to just burgers and hot dogs.
Also, think about what kind of smoker it is. What does it operate with? Pellets? Charcoal? Is it electric?
Smoker type and power source
Again, determine what kind of smoker you want. There are vertical, barrel-types, 2-in-1, and grill combos/offsets. What kind of power source will you be using? Charcoal smokers, like the Weber Smokey Mountain, are very interactive, and charcoal does give a good flavor. It’s also the best way to get a great bark/crust, but it requires more attention and isn’t as healthy as say, pellets.
Propane smokers, like the Masterbuilt GS40, are ultra-convenient, as you can simply set it up and walk away. There’s a high amount of temperature control, and it also lasts very long. However, some models are too narrow to accommodate a full rack of ribs or a big brisket.
Pellet smokers have exploded in popularity in recent years, and are another very convenient option. You can easily pick your desired temperature, while the controller manages the rest of the process for you. There’s no need to worry about fire management. You can literally place a brisket in the smoker and walk away. Keep in mind that they’re generally much more expensive.
The wider the temperature range, the greater amount of control you have over your food and how it’s cooked. We all know that if you want true melt-in-your-mouth tenderness, then slow-cooking is the way to go. If you don’t have as much of a range, then this may be difficult for you.
As mentioned above, the cooking area is a huge factor in selecting the best smoker for you. Think about what and how much you’ll be cooking at a time. If you’re just going to be cooking for you and one other person, you’re obviously not going to need something like 1,300 square inches of cooking space.
Number and quality of grates
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the last point. Think about what you’ll be cooking and how you’ll be doing it. The number of grates makes it possible to cook more at one time which will save you time and all-around be more convenient.
Dimensions and weight
How big of an area do you have to keep your smoker in? If you only have a small patio or balcony then you’ll want to opt for a more compact design. Especially if you have a balcony or plan on moving it around, opt for the more lightweight option. If you have a large backyard, then you won’t have to worry quite as much about this. Wheels always make transportation easier, especially if the grill is on the heavy side.
Ease of use
Even if you’re a seasoned pro in the smoking area, having a unit that’s easy to use is never a bad thing. That way you can be sure that you’re going to get a good smoke every time, with a lot of juiciness and flavor. No one wants to waste food, right?
Look for a model that has easily-accessible dials and/or an easy-to-read display so you know what’s going on. Included temperature gauges mean that you can just do your own thing without worrying about temperatures fluctuating.
While warranties obviously vary depending on the manufacturer and model, a 3-year limited warranty is the industry standard, or even minimum. We recommend choosing a smoker that at least provides you with this, so you can get your money’s worth without it breaking down on you or decreasing the quality of the smokes.
Don’t listen to anyone who says that carbon buildup is going to improve the flavor of your food. No one wants to eat built-up grease! So, how do you clean it? Before each time you use it, do a little clean-up to keep it working its best and prevent any off flavors.
If you have scale, try to scrape it off and vacuum it up with a plastic putty knife and (obviously) a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to reach those smaller spaces. Put on some rubber gloves and arm yourself with a wire brush, a scrub brush, steel wool, paper towels, and a garden hose with dish soap. Make sure to clean the probe if you have a built-in thermometer, too. Never get water into the dial area.
With pellet smokers, make sure to never use water on it as they have digital controllers, fans, and more. Always keep these dry. In addition, the pellets cannot get wet as they’re made of sawdust.
Absolutely! In fact, we recommend it! If you’re smoking steak, try pairing it with radicchio as its bitter juiciness contrasts the steak’s richness. Asparagus goes wonderfully with poultry and even seafood.
Cold smoking is done between 68–86 degrees Fahrenheit. The food will have a smoky flavor, but still be very moist. Keep in mind that it does not actually cook the food. Try doing this in the Weber Smokey Mountain or a Masterbuilt!
While each one of these is some of the best smokers under $1000, there were three in particular which really stood out to us. The Traeger was durable, had a large cooking area, and was extremely easy to use. The Camp Chef Woodwind was also convenient and had grates that could be placed in the dishwasher, while providing excellent smoky flavor and moisture. Finally, the Weber Smokey Mountain was very versatile, resilient, and was an excellent budget product. So, which one of these smokers will you be using this season?