Gas vs. Elecrtic Smoker! Finding The Best Choice For You

Smoking was an ancient method practiced by our forefathers for purposes of food preservation. After hunting, killing and skinning some wild animal, they would set up a fire and smoke the animal so that it can be preserved for the winter season.

However, smoking didn’t stop with our forefathers, over the years the methods and reasons of smoking have evolved but the practice has very much survived. Nowadays, people smoke their meat for flavoring and taste enhancement with preservation as an added advantage. Additionally, the method of smoking has also changed with modern use of sophisticated smoking appliances.

Smokers come in varying sizes from the very small family size smokers, to the very big ones commonly used in restaurants; they are also powered differently some are electric while others are fuelled by gas.

In this article, I will help you uncover the similarities and unique difference between an electric smoker vs. a gas smoker with the aim of helping you identify the best choice for you.

Electric vs. Gas Smokers

Traditional smoking methods employed the use of either charcoal or wood, to get the desired result you had to persevere through choking smoke, longer smoking times and some minor burns and bruises here and there. Though the food would come out deliciously tasty, the whole process was a nightmare for many.

Then came the age of electric and gas smokers, completely revolutionizing the smoking process ever since. Let us dig deeper between this two smoker types.

Electric Smokers

As the name suggest, electric smokers are powered by electricity. Electric smokers are relatively new compared to the other types of smokers available on the market. They are LOVED because of their ease of use; you can set it up and get on with your other errands no need to stand-by it like with a charcoal smoker.​

Gas Smokers

Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP 36" Vertical LP Gas Smoker

Via amazon.com

Gas smokers are similar to electric smokers when it comes to just how easy they are to use. They are commonly used in barbecue restaurants. Gas smokers are so easy to operate you don’t need a 15-page manual to know how to smoke some ribs on a gasser.​

Common Features Of Electric And Gas Smokers

Whether electric or gas powered, modern smokers have some basic features. Some of the common ones include:

  • Heat Source/Fuel Type such as Gas, Electricity, Charcoal, Wood, Pellets etc.
  • Dampers.
  • Smoke Chamber.
  • Thermostat.
  • Firebox.
  • Water and drip pans.

Similarities

Electric and Gas smokers share some similarities. Here are a few:

  • Simplicity: Both are very simple to operate.
  • Easy to use.
  • They are fast.
  • Temperature controls.
  • Environmentally friendly.
  • Most are vertical (upright).

Differences

  • Cost: Electric smokers are much more expensive compared to gas smokers.
  • Taste: Gas smokers produce superior tastes and flavors to electric smokers.
  • Temperatures: Electric smokers’ have lower temperatures (up to 275-degrees F) as opposed to gas smokers (up to 550-degree F).
  • Size: Electric smokers are more suited for small portions while gas smokers have bigger interiors making them ideal for large volumes of barbecue, ribs, stake etc...
  • Electric smokers come with insulated double wall cabinet and digital controllers, Propane smokers have relatively thin walls in comparison making them more prone to outside weather interference such as excessive wind.
  • Portability: Propane smokers are more portable compared to electric smokers.

An In-depth Comparison Electric vs. Gas Smokers

Electric Smokers

Electric smokers come in different shapes and sizes. They need very little wood to provide that smoky flavor.

Key Features

  • Temperature controls mechanism.
  • Powered by electricity.
  • Automatic timers.
  • Have inbuilt ventilation for temperatures moderation.

Pros

  • Super easy to use.
  • Energy efficient.
  • Self-regulated.
  • Fairly cheap to operate.
  • They make cooking and cleaning process less strenuous.

Cons

  • Electric smokers are expensive compared to the other models of smokers currently in the market.
  • Some electric smoked meals are not as tasty and juicy as charcoal, wood or even gas smoked meals.
  • Some might demand a lot energy use.
  • If you want your ribs with a deep flavor then you might want to consider other alternatives, electrics just don’t make the cut here.

Ideal Users

Now, I’ve let you in on the key features, pros and cons of an electric smoker. It’s time to establish the ideal users.

First, if you are living in an apartment building with no backyard space it doesn’t mean you have to visit the local barbecue every weekend for a delightful taste of your favorite rib. With an electric cooker, you can set-up your ribs and crack a bottle of beer as you wait.

Second, if you are the type of person who just don’t like the hassle involved in setting up a charcoal smoker and cleaning up ashes afterwards then this is the smoker for you.

However, if you don’t have 10 to 20 amps to spare on your power outlet then this is not the right fit for you.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a smoker that is simple and easy to use, get an electric smoker.


Gas Smokers

Gas fuelled smokers produce a lot of clean heat, to give your ribs the smoke flavor, gas smokers come with trays for wood chips or chunks. Home smokers use propane tanks with the only exception being the natural gas friendly Camp Chef.

Key Features

  • Propane use.
  • Temperature control features.
  • Automatic timers.
  • Aluminum burners.
  • Lightweight and portable.

Pros

  • Super simple and convenient to use.
  • They are affordable.
  • They cook super-fast.
  • Barbecue smoked with a gas smoker has a tasty flavor.

Cons

  • Most are too narrow except for the Camp Chef 24” Smoker.
  • They are not stand-alone units meaning you’ll need to invest in an accompanying gas tank.
  • It is not unlikely for the gas to run out in the middle of a cooking session.

Ideal Users

If you need a smoker that is convenient and versatile for indoor and outdoor use then the gas smoker is your best option.

Final Thoughts

Gas smokers are an advancement from the wood and charcoal smokers. The thing I love the most with the gas smokers is that they are lightweight and portable like this Masterbuilt Portable Gas Smoker meaning that they can be used in almost all outdoor settings whether a family picnic or camping retreat.​

Final Verdict: Which Is The Best Option?

As I always say, before buying any appliance, ask yourself a few QUESTIONS. What feature is most important based on my needs? How much am I willing to spend? What are the related costs involved?

Here are the answers:

What feature is MOST IMPORTANT for a smoker?

Size. You don’t want to invest in a single door smoker when you have a big family or on a dual door smoker when you are alone.

How much are you willing to spend?

We all want quality appliances at affordable prices. If cost and quality are your main considerations, then the gas smoker is the absolute best for your buck.

What are the related costs involved?

It isn’t so hard to discern which the best option is when it comes to related costs involved. For an electric smoker there is the monthly utility bill to consider.

Evidently, the gas smoker is the superior option, apart from the cost; meals prepared by a gas smoker taste better and have the best flavor.

Megan Ann
 

I’m Megan Ann, mama to 2 and wife to James F. Core. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. I try to write useful and informative articles to help you as much as I can with my knowledge. Thank you for reading.

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