Electric Smoker vs. Charcoal Smoker

Whenever BBQ lovers and chefs sit down to discuss smokers, charcoal and electric smokers are usually the two contenders in that conversation.

While the electric smoker wins the debate in terms of simplicity and convenience, the charcoal smoker has it for flavor and taste.

This post will compare electric and charcoal smokers and leave you in a better position to make your decision. 

An Overview Of Charcoal Smokers 

Charcoal smokers are the primary meal smokers that use coal to prepare your meals. 

In the hands of an expert, a charcoal smoker brings about delicious meals. However, beginners find it hard to handle the temperature, air vent management, coal heat, and fuel percentage, which can lead to meal disasters. 

Advantages Of Charcoal Smokers

  1. Charcoal smokers are affordable and durable. They can last for many years if you manage them properly. Some good models even come with as much as 10 years warranty duration.
  2. Charcoal smokers have the most intense and appealing flavor, above any other smoker. The fuel from charcoal and wood are richer and smokier than any other smoker.
  3. If your charcoal smoker gets broken or one element malfunctions, you can easily find spare parts and repairers to put it back together at little cost. 
  4. For many persons, the smoking process is fun and engaging, especially for events or cookouts.

Disadvantages Of Charcoal Smokers

  1. It is often difficult to maintain a stable temperature with a charcoal smoker, so you constantly have to monitor the amount of coal alongside the air vent. It is quite stressful for a beginner to handle a charcoal smoker.
  2. It takes a lot of time to get the coal burning, control the temperature, adjust the air vents, and monitor the fuel. It requires lots of attention.
  3. A person with no skills will find it taxing to prepare a good BBQ.

An Overview Of Electric Smokers

Electric smokers are convenient, easy to use, and free of all the tasks associated with charcoal smoking.

Electric smokers have digital temperature controllers that help you to set whatever temperature you need. You only need to plug your smoker into a socket, heat it to the right temperature, and start smoking.

Advantages Of Electric Smokers

  1. Electric smokers are convenient and easy to use. No stress over controlling temperature or charcoal heating. You don’t need to make checks because the thermostat will make the necessary adjustments.
  2. When using electric smokers, you save lots of time because it is a simple process.
  3. You can achieve cold smoking with an electric smoker by setting a lower temperature for your meals.

Disadvantages Of Electric Smokers

  1. Your smoker can only work with electricity and must be stationed near a socket, which limits mobility.
  2. You cannot use your electric smoker in the rain or wet environments because the elements and equipment don’t do well with humidity.

Comparing Charcoal And Electric Smoker

Let us compare charcoal and electric smokers based on several metrics and see how they stand side by side.

Convenience And Speed

The electric smoker is built based on convenience and speed, and we see this in the automated temperature and smoking without multiple checks.

The charcoal smoker isn’t as convenient as the electric smoker, as it takes a lot of time from the preparation to smoking. You also need to keep watching it while smoking.


The charcoal smoker is the uncontested winner when it comes to smoking and flavor. Although it takes time and expertise, meals smoked with charcoals smokers trump all in flavor.

The electric smoker also has good taste and flavor because of the scented food, but it is not the same.

Temperature Control 

The electric smoker has a digital controller that allows setting a temperature that can be maintained throughout the process. It will also adjust automatically when necessary.

When using a charcoal smoker, you need to watch the temperature, adjust the vent, fuel, and heat throughout your cooking.

Price And Warranty

Both electric and charcoal smokers are similar in price. However, the durability and warranty are where they differ. Many charcoal smokers have about 10 years warranty, while most electric smokers have an average of 2 1/2 years.

 The shorter durability for electric smokers implies that you could begin facing malfunctions every few years, especially with the digital controllers. Charcoal smokers might face minor issues, but they are easy to fix.

Management And Cleaning 

It is easier to clean the electric smokers because you don’t have the ashes left behind after smoking with charcoal. Charcoal smokers need a lot more cleaning.

Electric smokers are great for beginners because they are easy to manage. Charcoal smokers take a lot of practice and expertise, making it best for experts.

So, What Is The Best Smoker Between Charcoal And Electric Smoker?

This decision is yours to make based on what you need!

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