Gas Vs Electric Smoker – Which One to Choose?

Last Updated on March 17, 2023 by Amanda P. Brown

Electric smokers aren’t versatile, whereas gas smokers come with more versatility. Electric smokers operate in an inferior temperature range and are hardly portable. On the other hand, Gas smokers can reach high temperatures and are comparably portable. For beginners, an electric smoker is far more accessible.

There are two popular types of smokers: gas and electric. Suppose you are uncertain which one is best for you. You can decide what you want to make and which option best meets your needs.

In this article, you will learn about gas and electric smokers’ definition, their features, advantages, disadvantages, etc. Even a clear comparison table about Gas vs Electric Smoker is ready – that will help you to choose your appropriate smoker. 

What is a Gas Smoker?

Gas Smoker

Gas smokers are outdoor cooking appliances that cook food by smoking and use propane as the heating source. A gas smoker is an LP smoker, vertical propane smoker, and smoke vault. It’s made in various styles and materials, typically steel or cast iron.

A gas smoker has 5 main components: the water pan, gas burner, damper, vent, grill racks, wood chip tray, or smoke box. Moreover, the best gas smoker comprises numerous cooking racks, cooking zones, double doors, smoking racks, warming racks, push-button ignition, and temperature control options.

However, you can use wood chips and charcoal in the gas smoker’s charcoal counterpart. These smokers usually work together with one or multiple gas tanks.

Features of Gas Smoker

  • Enough space for cooking.
  • They produce a cleaner burn. This means that while the fuel is completely burned, it produces less pollution and less ash from the fire.
  • By airflow, you can control the temperature of the gas smoker. 
  • No requirement to observe the fire or increase more fuel. 
  • Generally, these smokers are inexpensive to purchase. 
  • You can use a gas smoker in any weather. But the problem is the weather can affect the smoking process as their insulation isn’t usually well. Good insulation can help reduce the effect of outside temperatures. 
  • However, rain and wind can ruin a good smoke session due to the vents. The vent help regulate the internal temperature. However, a gas smoker goes well for dry and not-so-cold weather. 
  • Electric smokers are great for smoked fish and cheeses or dehydrated foods like jerky.

Advantages of Gas Smokers

  • This smoker is simple to use and produces consistently delicious food. At barbecue restaurants, the gas smoker is the preferable appliance for cooking. 
  •  Don’t worry about cleaning the gas smoker; it doesn’t produce much ash or garbage.
  • Mostly applicable in any climate.
  • Easy to maintain and very portable. 
  • Cost-effective.
  • You can use them in fire-prohibited areas. 
  • Last longer. 
  • Versatile in designs and shapes. 
  • Easy to repair.

Disadvantages of Gas Smokers

  • Gas smokers aren’t well insulated. In cold and windy conditions, the smoker may take longer to get to the smoking temperature. But wearing your gas tank with artificial insulation can fix this problem.
  • Gas smokers don’t have a smartphone or Bluetooth connectivity features. 
  •  Normal gas smokers typically have no way to regulate the heat. You should use it cautiously and preferably while seated in front of it.
  • It also tends to heat up very quickly. The food may be overcooked as there is no automatic monitoring feature.

What is an Electric Smoker?

Electric Smoker

Electric smokers are a specific kind of smoker that use electricity as their primary fuel source. They cook food like an oven. Burner or flame requirements aren’t in this system. That means there is zero potential for flames.

Electric smokers resemble taller versions of those miniature refrigerators. Thus you can stack more than one cooking rack and get enough cooking space. Generally, it consists of 5 major components: a wood chip tray, heating rod, grill rack, water pan, damper, and vent. 

Electric smokers typically come in either stainless steel or cast iron versions. These smokers comprise double doors, individual smoking and warming racks, temperature control system, and other accouterments like automatic preheating, one-touch power buttons, etc. All these make them more versatile and effective smokers. 

Features of Electric Smoker

  • The electric smoker is easy to use and is considered an electrical connection. 
  • Some exclusive electric smokers comprise Bluetooth connectivity features. Thus you can control them by smartphone. 
  • The vents on an electric are minimal. Hence, the wind is not a major issue. Moreover, the ambient temperature is not a big contract because the thermostat adjusts to compensate. 
  • It is best not to use an electric smoker in snowy or rainy weather because electricity and moisture go bad with it. Moreover, you can use gas for damp conditions like snow or rain. 
  • The electric smoker is ideal for roasting, grilling, baking, searing, and smoking meat.

Advantages of Electric Smoker

  •  Electric smokers are among the inexpensive types of smokers.
  • Setting and leaving the temperature alone is a breeze with an electric smoker. If your one has Bluetooth connectivity, controlling it will be easier anywhere in your house.
  • Especially in high-end units, controlling the temperature is easy. You can easily adjust the temperature by rotating the dial. On the contrary, inexpensive models also permit high, medium, and low settings to control temperature. 
  • It has no flammable materials or gasses. It’s the safest option to smoke food.
  • You can use electric smokers indoors and even in areas with fire restrictions.
  • Environmental friendly.
  • Healthy cooking.
  • Easy to clean.
  • They can be easily transformed into cold smokers. They are also suitable for smoking delicious items like fish and can easily be set less than enough to dehydrate foods like jerky.

Disadvantages of Electric Smokers

  • The most common hassle of electric smokers is limited portability. Electric smokers need an electrical connection, so you must always plug them into an outlet. 
  • If you want to fire the grill outside, you might fight to find electrical connections. Therefore, you may have to take the extra hassle of arranging a generator or extension cord.
  • Another disadvantage of using an electric smoker is the limited smoky taste. You can cook some tasty, smoky foods in an electric smoker, but the lowest temperature range will take longer to fully utilize your wood chips. 
  • It’s not perfect for long-term outdoor use.
  • Using an electric smoker in adverse or rainy weather is impossible because the electronics or control panels contacting with water may cause a fire. 
  • As it’s an electric appliance, they are likelier to break down than other smokers. Moreover, for the highly technical process of the unit, repairing them can be costly and complicated. 
  • This electric smoker offers comparably lower heat than a propane smoker. 
  • You won’t get smoke rings quickly from this smoker. 

Gas Vs Electric Smoker: Comparison Table

Electric vs Gas smoker

Generally, gas and electric smokers are common smokers. They have some similarities and some dissimilarities. They both are easy to use and better for a decent budget. 

Gas smokers use various fuel sources for cooking food. Electric smokers work with electric power and offer excellent temperature control. They are also not as versatile as gas smokers. 

Gas smokers may reach high temperatures and offer an intense-smoky taste to food. On the other hand, electric smokers operate in a lesser temperature range. 

Gas smokers must be monitored closely because the temperature can easily drift off target. When it comes to electric smokers, it doesn’t have any special requirements. However, The below table will show you the clear differences between them at a glance. 

           Factors      Gas Smoker    Electric Smoker
VersatilityThe gas smoker is versatile (roasts, smokes, and bakes).  The electric smoker is not versatile (smoking and cold smoking only).  
ReliableLess reliable than an electric smoker.   More reliable than a gas smoker.   
Temperature rangeThe gas smoker can reach high temperatures, about 150 °F – 400 °F.  Electric smoker works in the low-temperature range, about 100 °F – 275 °F.  
Quality of Food and its finishingThe quality of the food and its last appearance is quite better.  The quality and its last appearance are good, but the taste intensity is low.  
  Size    Gas smoker size for vertical is 14″, 18″, and 22″. The preferable size is 18 inches.    And for offset, the size will be 20 inches at best.  For an electric smoker, you can pick the same size as a gas smoker. That is 18 to 20 inches.  
 Cooking CapacityComparable (offer greater options).                         Comparable (offer few great options.)  
Weather ConditionsIt is usually suitable for all weather conditions. On the other hand, extra caution is needed when the weather is wet and cold.It is unaffected by wind but isn’t suggested for wet conditions either.  
Relative Cost to purchaseLess costlyMore costly
Relative Running Costs  Its relative running costs are much more expensive, around $0.40/hour.  Its relative running costs are cheaper, around $0.06/hour.   
Cleaning and maintenanceCleaning and maintaining are easy.  Cleaning and maintaining are easy.  
PopularityThe gas smoker is popular.The electric smoker isn’t very popular.
Ease of UseSteeper learning curves; requires “Babysitting”It is very simple to use and doesn’t require much observation.
Electricity DemandNo need for electricity.Power connection required.
Required Space           Minimal           Minimal
Portability            Easier           Difficult
Build          Sturdier            Good

Gas Vs Electric Smoker : Which is Best?

Gas smokers and electric smokers are two popular types of smokers. Picking the best option is challenging. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. So, the finest way to make this decision is to compare the different features between gas and electric smokers depending on your goals, budget, skill level, and needs. 

However, an electric smoker may be the way to go if you are just starting. But they are more costly than smokers who use propane. 

On the contrary, a gas smoker is good for natural smoking flavor, is cheap, has a portable design, and is easy to use. So, which smoker goes well with you depends on your needs and cooking objectives. 

Read More:


Do Gas Smokers Use a Lot of Gas?

No, gas smokers use very little fuel. Because gas smokers are very efficient in fuel usage, they use too little gas than other smokers. For example, a smoker burns (1 – 2 pounds) of fuel per cooking session. Therefore, you can use its wide usage with less fuel expense.

What Kind of Smoker Should a Beginner Get?

Pellet grills, gas, and electric smokers will be easy for a beginner to use because these smokers can keep up a consistent temperature with your little observation and assistance. Also, these smokers do not need to add fuel throughout the smoking process.

Do Electric Smokers Need Seasoning?

Yes, electric smokers need seasonings. When the electric smoker is new, you will need to season it once. Seasoning in an electric smoker also helps to burn off the residue from your manufacturing processes, such as machine dust and oil, to prepare it for cooking. Also, seasoning an electric smoker helps protect and prolong your smoker’s life.

Final Verdict

Finally, through the above article, you can learn about the definition, features, pros, and cons and compare the Gas vs Electric smoker table, which will help you determine which one will be best for you. 

However, if you have no problem with the budget and are a beginner, you can choose an electric smoker. But if you want a smoker within the budget and more intense smoky flavor food, you can select a gas smoker.

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