Propane Smoker vs Electric Smoker - Which Type is The Best For You?

Propane Smoker vs Electric smoker

So, you want to buy a smoker. Can’t fault you there. If you want amazingly delicious smoked meats, your all-purpose grill just won’t do. You’re going to need a specialized smoker. There are three kinds of smokers in the market – charcoal, electric, and propane/gas. While most bbq experts like going traditional, not all outdoor chefs like messing around with charcoal. In that case, the choice is down to propane and electric. The question then is, which type of smoker is best for you?

Gas smokers are extremely convenient, especially if you want to do away with the mess you get from charcoal. Smokers fueled by propane are typically quick to heat up and can easily maintain your desired temperature. You can use wood chips or pellets to add more flavor. Plus, most gas smokers are portable which means you can enjoy deliciously smoked meat on your travels. Another advantage to using a gas smoker is reliability. The mechanics of such a smoker is pretty simple. You’ve got a smoker box, a burner, and a regulator. Not much can go wrong. If it does, repairing it won’t be that much of a hassle. Moreover, among all other types of smokers, a propane smoker is the one that is able to achieve results much closer to a traditional charcoal smoker. However, just like charcoal, you need to make sure you have enough fuel to sustain your cookout. It’s easy to run out of gas when you’re doing some low and slow cooking. Also, propane smokers tend to run hot. Too hot, at times, which means you need to keep a close eye on your smoker to make sure it maintains a consistent temperature. So, if you don’t mind babysitting your smoker now and then, then this is the smoker for you.

Electric smokers, on the other hand, are the easiest to use. All you need to do is plug the grill in, set your desired temperature, and binge on your favorite shows while you wait for the meat to finish cooking. You don’t need to really adjust any vents to control temperature. You don’t need to clean up any ash. There’s no fuel level to monitor. This is the true set-it-and-forget-it type of grill. Compared to a propane smoker, an electric smoker is considered much safer. It’s the perfect choice if you live in an apartment block or condominium where charcoal and gas grills are not allowed. Plus, there’s no added cost of fuel which makes it the more cost-effective choice. The biggest advantage of an electric smoker is maintaining low heat. A propane smoker can crank up the heat, reaching the 350-400F range. An electric smoker, on the other hand, can run all day at a low temp like 225F which is perfect for smoking ribs or 160F for cooking beef jerky. So, what are the drawbacks? As we’ve already mentioned, propane smokers can reach really high temperatures. Electric smokers, however, cannot. Also, because these units run on electricity, you’re going to need to place it near a power outlet. If you’re going to use an extension cord, you’re going to need a heavy duty one. Plus, the taste isn’t going to be the best. Moreover, electric smokers feature electronic panels which can be a hassle to repair if something goes wrong. All that being said, you can’t go wrong with an electric smoker. Just make sure you get a good one.

Comparison 1: Smoke Hollow 44241GW 44-Inch 2-Door Propane Gas Smoker vs  Smoke Hollow ES230B Digital Electric Smoker

Smoke Hollow 44241GW 44-Inch 2-Door Propane Gas Smoker with Window
Price: $381.15
  • Sales Rank is 25357
  • Department: Lawn & Patio
  • Weight: 11300 Hundredths Pounds

Our Summary Score: 8.8 points

Main Features

  • 6.5 cubic feet of cooking area capacity to easily handle enough food for largest gatherings
  • 7 cooking grids: 4-standard cooking grids, 2-jerky grids, 1-rib rack 1-sausage Hanger
  • Dual door design with tempered glass viewing window.2 porcelain coated wood chip pans with lids.Temperature gauge.Easy adjustable smoke stack
  • Dual stainless Steel burners Operated independently operated for optimum performance and temperature control
  • Large porcelain coated water pan.Handles on the side for easy carry
Smoke Hollow ES230B Digital Electric Smoker
Price: $159.99
  • Sales Rank is 2584
  • Department: Lawn & Patio
  • Weight:

Our Summary Score: 8.6 points

Main Features

  • Exterior: 33.5 in. (H) x 18.2 in. (W) x 18.7 in. (L) Interior: 26.2 in. (H) x 14.8 in. (W) x 12.8 in. (L)
  • Digital panel controls on/off, temperature, and time
  • Three chrome-coated smoking racks
  • Integrated thermostat temperature control for even, consistent smoking
  • Fully-insulated smoker body
  • 800 watt heating element for even, consistent smoking
  • Adjustable Air damper for smoke control
  • Removable drip pan for easy clean-up
  • Removable water bowl - add moisture and flavor

Smoke Hollow offers two kinds of smokers – a propane smoker and an electric smoker. The Smoke Hollow 44241GW is a 44-inch propane smoker that features 6.5 cubic feet of cooking space and 7 cooking grids. It comes with 2 12,000 BTU stainless steel burners that are independently controlled and allows the smoker to reach a wide range of temperatures. One of the best things about this smoker is the fact that the water and smoker pans have a large capacity. You don’t need to constantly refill them for long cooking sessions. Plus, the tempered glass viewing window lets you However, this is a huge smoker; it stands 5 feet high which means that you need a lot of space to store this smoker. In comparison, the Smoke Hollow ES230B Digital Electric Smoker is a much smaller unit. It only comes with 3 racks though you can easily fit 9 chickens or 2 turkeys at a single cooking session. It also features a fully-insulated body, a digital panel, and an adjustable air damper for accurate temperature control. This unit is a great little smoker for a great price. So, which one is best? Well, for those who love to entertain hordes of people, the propane smoker works best. But for a regular-sized family, you can’t go wrong with the electric smoker from Smoke Hollow.

Comparison 2:  Pit Boss Grills 77435 Vertical Lp Gas Smoker vs Char-Broil 19202101 Deluxe Black Digital Electric Smoker

Pit Boss Grills 77435 Vertical Lp Gas Smoker
Price: --
  • Sales Rank is 32970
  • Department: Lawn & Patio
  • Weight: 5200 Hundredths Pounds

Our Summary Score: 9.0 points

Main Features

  • Dual valve/dual burner system provides 100-350 temperature range
  • Three porcelain coated cooking grids, 676 sq in
  • Stainless Steel burners - 13, 500 BTU total
  • External access to wood chip drawer and grease tray
  • Large viewing window with high temperature door seal
Char-Broil 19202101 Deluxe Black Digital Electric Smoker, 725 Square Inch
Price: $249.99
  • Sales Rank is 2242
  • Department: Lawn & Patio
  • Weight:

Our Summary Score: 8.4 points

Main Features

The Pit Boss Vertical LP Gas Smoker is undeniably one of the coolest looking gas smokers we’ve ever come across. But looks aren’t everything in the world of grills. Fortunately, it has a lot more than just looks going for it. This baby has a dual valve burner system – one 3,500 BTU stainless steel burner for the wood chips and one 10,000 BTU stainless steel burner for the cooking chamber with a temperature range of 100 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It features 4 porcelain coated cooking racks that provide 884 square inches of cooking space – all of which you can clearly see from the front window. Plus, there’s an oversized front load wood chip tray plus rear wheels and a handle for mobility. The Char-Broil 19202101 Deluxe Black Digital Electric Smoker also features a lot of cooking space – 4 adjustable racks with 725 square inches of cooking space. You also get a smoker box for the wood, a sliding grease tray, and a meat probe. Plus, this unit comes with a remote control as well as built-in wheels for portability. However, it can only reach up to 275 degrees Fahrenheit and it even struggles to maintain that. With this smoker, you’re limited to low and slow cooking. Also, this smoker tends to run through its fuel pretty quickly which means refilling the wood tray more frequently. While this electric unit is easy to use and does produce delicious pulled pork ribs, we’d have to say that the Pit Boss grill is a better choice all around.

Comparison 3:  Masterbuilt MB20052318 MPS 230S Propane Smoker vs  Masterbuilt 20071117 30″ Digital Electric Smoker

Masterbuilt MB20052318 MPS 230S Propane Smoker, Black
Price: $246.89
  • Sales Rank is 61891
  • Department: Lawn & Patio
  • Weight: 5604 Hundredths Pounds

Our Summary Score: 8.7 points

Main Features

  • Four chrome-coated smoking racks
  • Built-in temperature gauge
  • Push-button ignition lights burner quickly and easily
  • Patented porcelain-coated flame disk bowl allows flame to reach wood chips while shielding burner from grease
  • 15,400 BTU stainless-steel burner
Masterbuilt 20071117 30" Digital Electric Smoker
Price: $239.98
  • Sales Rank is 9839
  • Department: Lawn & Patio
  • Weight: 3934 Hundredths Pounds

Our Summary Score: 9.0 points

Main Features

  • Digital panel controls on/off, temperature, and time
  • Four chrome-coated smoking racks. Adjustable air damper for smoke control
  • Patented side wood chip loading system - add wood chips without opening the smoker door
  • Integrated thermostat temperature control for even, consistent smoking
  • Fully-insulated smoker body

So, both of these smokers are from Masterbuilt, one of the leading manufacturers in the world of smokers. Right off the bat, we gotta say these are two serious smokers. But there can be only one, so here goes. Now, the Masterbuilt MB20052318 MPS 230S Propane Smoker is an entry level propane smoker that features 4 chrome-coated smoking racks, a built-in temperature gauge, a 15,400 BTU stainless steel burner, and a push-button ignition. The smoker even has legs placing it slightly higher, so you won’t have to stoop so low just to get your meat in and out of the box. The main drawback of this smoker is the temperature sensor. It’s placed near the third rack, limiting the amount of food you can cook on that rack. The Masterbuilt 20071117 30″ Digital Electric Smoker also offers 4 racks and a built-in thermometer. Unlike the MPS 230S Propane Smoker, this one has a side wood chip loader. It also comes with a digital control panel that is intuitive; even beginners won’t have a hard time setting the temperature and the timer on this unit. The body of the smoker is pretty well-insulated, enabling the unit to keep consistent temps all throughout your cooking session. Overall, if it’s convenience and ease-of-use you’re looking for, we have to say that the electric smoker is, hands down, the better choice.