- #1. Best Vertical Smoker – Dyna-Glo Signature Series Vertical Smoker
- #2. Best Electric Vertical Smoker – Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker
- #3. Best Vertical Gas Smoker – Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker
- Buying Guide: Vertical Smokers
- Vertical Smokers Reviewed
- Charoal Vertical Smokers
- Vertical Gas Smokers
- Electric Vertical Smokers
- FAQs: Vertical Smokers
- Final Words
Vertical smokers are for simmering meat using smoke and heat that arises in the cooking chamber. This effect gives the meat a delicious distinct taste, just as the Korean BBQ grill has its unique taste courtesy of the grill.
There are quite a handful of vertical smokers in the market. Sieving through them with all their specs can be a chore. We’ve sieved through the pile and picked out the best vertical smokers. In the lines that follow, you’ll find our expert opinions and criticisms.
But first, take a look at our favorite vertical smoker.
#1. Best Vertical Smoker – Dyna-Glo Signature Series Vertical Smoker
The Dyna-Glo Vertical Smoker is massive in shape, offering ample cooking space of about 1382 sq. inches.
It’s sturdy and features a heavy-duty steel frame that locks in heat and helps support the meat grilled inside.
For your grilling, you get at least five different cooking grates, all of which are chrome plated. There’s also they stay-cool handles as well as smoke zone indicator on the integrated temperature gauge. The grill is charcoal-powered, although you can also use wood chippings.
#2. Best Electric Vertical Smoker – Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker
If you’re looking for an electric-powered vertical smoker, the Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker should be on your radar.
Forget the analog tag – yes, it doesn’t have the digital display like its newer models, but it’s more compact sized and has double-walled insulation.
Let’s not fail to mention the 1000W cooking element, the grease cup, water tray, integrated temperature gauge, dual door latches, as well as the chrome-plated cooking grates. And with the 544-sq inches of cooking space, you couldn’t have asked for a more affordable electric vertical smoker.
#3. Best Vertical Gas Smoker – Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker
Sitting princely as our top pick of the best vertical gas smoker is the Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker.
It shares similarities with the 43-inch LP gas smoker we reviewed in the article later, even though it is much smaller. This vertical gas smoker features a cast iron burner with 15,000 BTU rating.
The burner is lit by a push-button ignition system and controlled via a dial. You get about 784 sq. inches of cooking space. There are also four adjustable steel racks, and its price is arguably pocket-friendly.
Buying Guide: Vertical Smokers
One of the first things you need to consider when you want to buy a vertical smoker is what type of smoker you want.
Type Of Vertical Smoker
Vertical smokers are powered by gas, electricity, or charcoal. Each of these fuel types has its advantages and disadvantages.
For instance, the gas-powered models need a gas source. You can opt for liquid propane, which will require having an extra gas tank. Also, you hook up to your home’s natural gas supply, which may lead to permanently fixing the smoker – not a good idea in our opinion.
Let’s talk about electricity. It’s a viable fuel source, but it may slightly increase your energy bills, especially if you love smoked meats. For the charcoal-powered models, you’ll need enough charcoal whenever you want to cook. Also, you may have to deal with slow heat-up times and less control over temperature.
All the fuel choices we listed above are good. It’s up to you to make your choice.
Next, consider the cooking space.
If you’re always hosting large gatherings, you should consider a model with an ample cooking space. Bear in mind that a large cooking space often equates to a large-sized smoker. The cooking area should be well-spaced concerning the space between one rack and the other.
A large cooking area will help you cook more at a go, especially when you consider the slow cooking times associated with a smoker. We recommend getting a unit with at least 500 sq. inches of cooking space or more. Most of the units we reviewed in this article have about 700 sq. inches of cooking space.
All the same, choose what suits your needs and, of course, your budget.
The Temperature Range & Gauge
This refers to the temperature range you want on your smoker. It’s not a deal-breaker, especially if you intend to smoke food low and slowly. If you’re going to smoke steak or large poultry, then you should get something with a wide temperature range of up to 500 degrees.
Having an integrated temperature gauge on your vertical smoker is a quick way to keep your eyes on the temperature of your cooking. It’s not a must-have, apparently, but it can save you the stress of going to fetch a thermometer every time you want to check on the food’s temperature.
Weight & Dimensions
Vertical smokers are made from thick materials or light materials like aluminum. The latter may not smoke as well as the heavier units, but it is lightweight. This makes it a good choice for someone looking for a lightweight vertical smoker.
Dimensions and weight are essential since you’ll need ample space to put the grill down, and you might want to consider moving it if the need arises. We recommend keeping the smoker in one spot and covered with a thick cloth/tarp when not in use.
If you must get a smoker that needs to be moved, buy one with wheels; they make movement a lot easier. Get extra hands if necessary – a vertical smoker can weigh as much as a hundred pounds.
As mentioned earlier, the materials used for construction often determine the weight, durability, and heat retention abilities of the smoker. If you intend to use the smoker daily, you should consider getting something with thicker construction.
Budget & Warranty
Vertical smokers are affordable, no doubt, but they don’t come cheap. The higher the quality and the features it comes with, the more it will cost. Also, the larger the cooking space, the more the smoker will cost.
Spending a significant amount on a vertical smoker is in no way a small feat. Therefore, it’s important to keep your eyes peeled for warranty information.
Vertical Smokers Reviewed
We assembled ten of the best vertical smokers in this review list. Here’s our expert opinion on them.
#1. Best Vertical Smoker – Dyna-Glo Signature Series Vertical Smoker
Cooking Space: 1382 sq. inches
Features: Ample cooking area, a stainless steel body, a spring lid, an integrated temperature gauge, sturdy wheels, a removable charcoal tray, chrome-enameled grates, hanging hooks for sausages, and grease pans.
We start our journey into the world of vertical smokers at the Dyna-Glo Signature Series Vertical Smoker’s feet. It’s significant in size and offers ample cooking space on the five cooking racks; we’ll get to that in a bit. And judging by looks and feel, the overall build quality of the smoker is good.
The Dyna-Glo Signature Series Vertical Smoker is designed to cater to people who have significant smoking needs. Owing to its massive size, the smoker has a large cooking area. The cooking area consists of an offset firebox that doubles as a side grill, the main cooking area with five grates, and even sausage hooks.
A close look at the cooking grates, and you’ll realize they’re made from quality stainless steel materials. The total cooking area offered by this vertical smoker is about 1382 sq. inches. It’s arguably one of the largest on the market, although we’ve come across grills that offer almost 2500 sq. inches of cooking space.
The body of this Dyna-Glo Signature Series Vertical Smoker is made from top-notch steel materials. It’s somewhat thinner than what we’ve seen on some other vertical smokers. Nevertheless, it’s sturdy and will keep the heat locked in while you’re cooking.
Concerning fuel source, this vertical smoker is charcoal-powered. It sports a removable charcoal tray that makes it easy to add more charcoal when cooking without having to stop cooking. There’s also a removable grease pan that traps as much grease as possible when you’re cooking.
Other notable features present on this vertical smoker include the spring lid, integrated temperature gauge with smoke zone indicator, hanging hooks for hanging sausage, and wheels for smooth movement. For a vertical smoker that weighs more than a hundred pounds, the wheels are a blessing.
Assembly isn’t a piece of cake and can take over an hour to get done. Again, the integrated thermometer isn’t excellent, and we recommend getting a better one to that effect.
Charoal Vertical Smokers
The vertical smokers you’ll find in this section are all charcoal-powered.
Cooking Space: 784 sq. inches
Features: Four cooking grates, a removable ash pan, charcoal grates, integrated temperature gauge with smoke zone indicator, sizable cooking space, a porcelain-enameled chamber for holding wood, wood chip box, side dampers, and double door design.
This is the more compact charcoal-powered vertical smoker from Dyna Glo. It is made of quality steel materials. This smoker has about half the cooking area of our top pick, the Dyna-Glo Signature Series Vertical Smoker. Its total cooking area is approximately 784 sq. inches, and there’s no side firebox.
The cooking area is made up of 4 cooking grates, all made from high-quality stainless steel material. They are well spaced out to allow for the insertion of different sizes of meat into the smoker.
Beneath the cooking area, you’ll find the charcoal chambers. This chamber is coated with porcelain and is designed to hold either wood or charcoal fuel. Just above it, you’ll find the woodchip box that contains wood chips for adding a smokey flavor to your meals.
One of the cool things about the design of this vertical smoker is the double door design. This double door design allows you to add more fuel while the food is cooking without opening the cooking chamber. Without this feature, heat loss is bound to occur.
Also, you’ll find air dampeners to the top and sides of the vertical smoker. Both help to increase airflow in and out of the smoker, thus leading to improved temperature controls. There is an integrated temperature gauge on the smoker’s body, and it has a smoke-zone indicator.
Other features worth mentioning are the sturdy handles, the charcoal grates, and firm legs. Unfortunately, there are no wheels on this unit to help move it from one point to the other. This vertical smoker is compatible with the Dyna Glo Smoker Cover. However, it doesn’t come with it.
The walls of the unit are a bit thin compared to the thick walls we expected on it. As for the rails, they seem somewhat flimsy, although you’ll get used to it and find out that they’re okay. These are our only complaints.
Cooking Space: 1890 sq. inches
Features: Large cooking area, six cooking grates, side firebox, an integrated temperature gauge, a charcoal chamber/wood tray, smokestack flue, a removable grease pan, ashtray, heavy-gauge steel body, and sturdy legs.
This Dyna-Glo D Wide Body Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker is a combination of a vertical and an offset smoker. The result is a massive yet affordable vertical offset smoker with the excellent build quality and a large cooking area.
Concerning the cooking area, it measures about 1890 sq. inches or twice the cooking area of the Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, which we looked at later in this article. The cooking area accommodates six spacious and adjustable cooking racks made of stainless steel.
This vertical smoker is charcoal-powered. It features an offset box with a charcoal chamber. The charcoal chamber is a simple porcelain-enameled box that holds the wood and charcoal for cooking. It burns here, and the heat and smoke are transferred to the main cooking area where it circulates to get your meat done effortlessly.
One of the benefits of having this design is that it reduces the frequency of opening the sturdy doors to the main cooking area. Thus, heat loss is reduced.
The side firebox on this vertical smoker is unlike the one on the Dyna-Glo Signature Series Vertical Smoker. It cannot be used for grilling. Nevertheless, the cooking space is more than enough for this smoker.
Other notable features include the removable grease pan and ashtray. They both do a great job of capturing the debris that may impede the smooth burning of the fire and make it easy to dispose and clean up.
There is also a smoke flue to the top of the cooking area. It helps regulate the cooking temperature while the integrated temperature gauge with its smoke zone indicator lets you keep an eye on your food’s heat.
The only shortcoming of this vertical smoker is that there are gaps around the body that allow for heat loss. Sealing these gaps will improve temperature control and minimize heat loss.
Cooking Space: 969 sq. inches
Fuel: Wood, Charcoal
Features: Available in two sizes, bottom vent with dampener, ash collector, latch lock system, integrated thermometer, ample cooking space, two cooking racks and hanging racks, easy to assemble and disassemble, and dual door design.
The RealCook Vertical Charcoal Smoker sports an exciting and awe-inspiring design that allows it to split into four different grilling equipment. It is shaped like a barrel. The bottom part with the vent can be used as a standalone fire pit and grill.
On the other hand, you can add the next part to form a BBQ grill by merely crossing one of the grates over it, leaving you with two grills. And lastly, the full setup creates the smoker. The smoker is charcoal-powered, and so are all the grills derived from it.
As mentioned earlier, this cookware measures 20-inches and offers ample cooking space –about 969 sq. inches or 200 sq. inches more than the cooking space on the Dyna-Glo D 36″ Vertical Charcoal Smoker.
There’s the double door design, although the doors are somewhat small in our opinion. These doors allow you to access the charcoal box without having to stop cooking your meals. To the top of the smoker, you’ll find an integrated temperature gauge and the air vent. The other air vent is situated to the bottom of the smoker, where you’ll also find an ash collector.
Upon opening the smoker, you’ll realize that it has just two cooking grates and four hanging hooks. That’s more than enough to get your meat smoking hot and be able to feed a sizable audience.
There’s a bottom pan made of porcelain-coated materials. Its design allows it to capture smoke and combines it with moisture to create smoke in the cooking chamber. This smoke, in turn, infuses your meals with a smokey flavor.
If you’re looking for a multipurpose vertical smoker that easily converts to a grill or a fire pit, this Realcook 20″ Vertical Charcoal Smoker should be your number one priority. Did we even mention that it weighs about 37 lbs and is darn easy to assemble?
The only misgivings we have about this smoker is that it is made of somewhat flimsy steel materials. This poor build quality may impede on the smoker’s ability to hold heat firmly.
Vertical Gas Smokers
In this section, you’ll find gas-powered vertical smokers.
#5. Best Vertical Gas Smoker – Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker
Cooking Space: 1235 sq. inches
Fuel: LP Gas
Features: Large cooking space, adjustable steel wire racks, push-button ignition, a powerful 15,000 BTU burner, steel porcelain-coated wood chip box, control dial for temperature controls, LP gas-powered, integrated temperature gauge, double door design, and 1-year limited warranty.
The Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker is our top pick for gas-powered vertical smokers. It is compact-sized, firm, and affordable for anyone looking forward to smoking meat with a vertical gas smoker.
On close observation, you’ll realize it’s the gas variant of the charcoal-powered Dyna-Glo D 36″ Vertical Charcoal Smoker. This gas-powered variant has almost the same physical features as the charcoal powered variant.
Judging by looks and the unit’s feel, we think the build quality is sturdy, thanks to the reasonably thick steel walls. For the cooking area, you get about 784 sq. inches of cooking space – half of the cooking space offered by the Dyna-Glo Signature Series Vertical Smoker.
The cooking space is home to four stainless steel racks. These stainless steel racks are adjustable, thus allowing for multiple positions for your food. Let’s not fail to mention the porcelain-enameled wood chip box and the steel water bowl. Both help to add flavor to the food you’re smoking.
Regarding heat source, this vertical smoker is powered by LP gas. It features a powerful 15,000 BTU burner that gives off the heat for smoking. This burner ignites via the push-button ignition. And the temperature is then controlled via the large control dial to the front of the smoker.
There’s a double door design that minimizes heat loss when smoking your food. To the top of the upper door, you’ll find the integrated temperature gauge to keep an eye on the temperature of the food you’re grilling. And just beneath the lower door, there’s the temperature control knob.
The Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker isn’t lightweight, but one person can move it around. Don’t try moving it down the stairs alone.
Cooking Space: 784 sq. inches
Fuel: LP Gas
Features: Large cooking area, two 20,000 BTU burner, four cooking grates, sturdy steel frame, dampeners, integrated temperature gauge, wood chip box, water bowl, sausage hooks, door seals, and rib racks.
If you’re looking for a vertical gas smoker larger than the 36-inch model we just reviewed, you should view this Dyna-Glo D 43″ Wide Body LP Gas Smoker. It has three times the cooking space of the Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker, which happens to be our top pick for the best electric vertical smoker.
The cooking space on this smoker is about 1904 sq. inches spread across four cooking grates. Dyna-Glo includes rib racks in the smoker, and it is a helpful addition for anyone looking to smoke ribs properly. Also, you’ll find sausage hooks hanging off the top for smoking your sausages without having to cramp your meat up.
As you already know, the smoker draws its power from LP gas. It dons two powerful burners with a combined BTU capacity of about 20,000 BTU. These burners ignite at the push of the ignition button, and you easily control them using the two control knobs on the lower half of the grill.
Compared with the smaller Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker, there’s not much difference save for the dual temperature control knobs and size. This smoker has the porcelain-enameled wood chip box and water bowl. Lest we forget, the wood chip box is made of steel but coated with porcelain to enhance durability.
If you’ve ever used a smoker that leaks, you’ll know it’s crucial to have seals, especially at the door. This Dyna-Glo D 43″ Wide Body LP Gas Smoker has door seals that snuggle tightly to the smoker’s body, thus minimizing heat loss.
Also, the smoker has dual doors. On the upper door covering the main cooking area, you’ll find the integrated temperature gauge with its smoke zone indicator. Overall, we’re impressed with the smoker’s build-quality, and we don’t have any concerns with the unit.
But bear in mind that it’s pretty heavy and wide. And unlike the smaller 36-inch version, you’ll need an extra hand to move it around since it has no wheels. The handles are quite sturdy and firm and stay cool as the door handles even when you’re smoking your meat.
Electric Vertical Smokers
In this section, you’ll find electrically-powered vertical smokers.
#7. Best Electric Vertical Smoker – Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker
Cooking Space: 544 sq. inches
Features: Compact-sized, moderate cooking space, integrated temperature gauge, grease pan, and wood chip tray, dual door latches, insulated walls, chrome-coated cooking grates, and a 1000W heating element.
If you don’t mind adding a few bucks to your home’s energy bill, you should look at these electric smokers. They’re known to be slow cookers, hence the concern with the energy bill, which often increases slightly, except for constant users.
This Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker sounds like it’s an outdated piece of equipment. However, the reverse is the case. It shares a ton of similarities with the updated model and bears the analog name because it’s missing the digital display on the newer models.
It offers ample cooking space measuring about 544 sq. inches. This cooking space is home to three chrome-enameled cooking grates. To the sides of the cooking area are the insulated walls. They are somewhat thick and sturdy.
This Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker doesn’t have the dual door design. With only one door, you may deal with occasional heat loss. However, the doors are sealed and have secure latches to minimize heat loss.
To the top of the door, you’ll find the integrated temperature gauge. It has a smoke zone indicator. Upon opening the door, you behold the cooking space and the heating element. This heating element connects to the outside via the power cord. This heating element is rated 1000W.
There’s a water tray, a grease-pan, and a wood chip tray, all of which combine to help flavor your food without any extra efforts. The grease pan also helps to keep the floor of this vertical smoker as clean as possible.
Like we mentioned earlier, this vertical smoker is compact-sized, but it’s not lightweight. At 50 lbs, you may need an extra hand to move it around. The handles are sturdy, but there are no wheels. Again, we recommend having a power outlet close to space where you intend to keep this smoker – you probably know that by now.
Cooking Space: 730 sq. inches
Features: Digital display and control panel, four chrome-plated cooking racks, wood chip box, insulated body design, ample cooking space, dampeners, grease tray, optional wheel kit, and thermostat temperature control.
The next three electric vertical smokers you’ll see on this page are from the Masterbuilt brand. They left no stone unturned to make this Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker, which in our opinion, shares a few design similarities with the Char-Broil Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker.
Upon having a close look at this vertical smoker, you’ll realize it has thick walls and is adequately insulated. While it may not be the thickest on the market, it has excellent heat retention ability.
One of the unique selling points of this electric vertical smoker is the digital control panel. It sports a digital control panel on the top in a spot that is easy to access. This display panel provides you with controls for setting temperature and a host of other things.
The cooking area is quite decent. It measures about 730 sq. inches almost the same as that of the Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow Digital Electric Smoker and is large enough to accommodate four chrome-plated cooking racks. There are no sausage hooks in this unit, sorry.
To the smoker’s sides, you’ll find a small wood chip tray that helps to flavor your cooking. You can access it without opening the main door and losing heat. Regarding heat loss, the door is sealed properly, and in conjunction with the insulated body, the unit can retain its heat.
There’s no integrated temperature gauge on the body, as we’ve seen on many vertical smokers. However, this smoker has its unique thermostat-temperature control system. You’ll also find dampeners that control the smoke and improve airflow into the unit while the grease-pan captures the grease from your cooking and helps keep your smoker clean.
Concerning weight, the Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric Smoker is decently heavy. It weighs about 46 lbs and doesn’t have any wheels for movement. However, you can fit it with aftermarket wheels from the store to get moving, or you ask for an extra hand.
Cooking Space: 972 sq. inches
Features: Digital control panel, wood chip tray, electrically powered, viewing window, ample cooking space, chrome-plated cooking racks, sturdy handles and wheel kit, and replaceable heating element.
The Masterbuilt MES Digital Electric Smoker is a tad larger than its distant cousin that we reviewed above. It shares the same digital control panel as the other but has a viewing window, which is missing on most vertical smokers. The presence of the viewing window eliminates a dual door setup but still helps minimize heat loss as you’re able to see how your food is doing.
This vertical smoker is compact-sized, yet it offers ample cooking space measuring about 972 sq. inches and spread over four cooking racks. The cooking racks are all chrome-plated and are top-notch in quality. As for fuel source, all you need to do is hook up the smoker to a power outlet, set the temperatures, add the wood chip if you want, and let the heating element do its job.
Placed side by side with the Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker, it has more cooking space but a heating element that provides almost the same power. Both have provisions for adding wood chips to the mix and flavoring the food.
The Masterbuilt MB20071619 Mes Digital Electric Smoker has a sturdy frame, but the body isn’t as insulated as we expected. Nevertheless, it’s able to hold temperatures for long. Concerning temperatures, you can easily set your desired temperatures via the display panel on the smoker.
One of the unique selling points of this vertical smoker is that it has a user-replaceable heating element. The heating element is known to give way after some time, but it’s easy to swap out, and the replacement is readily available in the market.
Weight-wise, this vertical smoker is quite heavy. It weighs about 65 lbs and needs extra hands to move it. However, you can purchase a wheel kit to aid movement.
Cooking Space: 730 sq. inches
Features: Digital control panel, three chrome-plated cooking racks, insulated body, 800W heating element, integrated thermostat, air dampers, drip pan, water bowl, and wood chip tray.
The Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow Digital Electric Smoker has almost the same characteristics as the other Masterbuilt Digital Vertical Smokers. It’s compact-sized, has ample cooking space, and a ton of features to make your meal as delicious as possible.
This vertical smoker has a sizeable cooking space measuring about 730 sq. inches and spread across three cooking racks. The cooking racks are chrome-plated and are adjustable to accommodate different food sizes when you’re cooking.
Judging by its looks, the Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow Digital Electric Smoker is sturdy and exudes an aura of durability. It features insulated walls. However, a lot is still desired in terms of insulation when compared to similar smokers.
There is an 800W heating element against the 1000W heating element we saw on the closely related models. However, this 800W heating element is capable of handling your smoking needs with little or no hassles.
You’ll also find the digital controls on the top of the smoker a lot helpful to use. And besides, there’s the integrated thermostat that makes temperature controls easy. An adjustable air dampener is present alongside the removable wood chip tray, drip pans, and the water bowl, all of which play a vital role in making tasty smoked meals.
We have just one reservation about this vertical smoker. The heating element often succumbs, an indication that it’s not durable.
FAQs: Vertical Smokers
Should I get a vertical smoker as a beginner?
A vertical smoker can be owned by anybody who can afford it and needs it. As a beginner, if you’re looking to own one, make sure you need it and that a grill cannot suffice in its place.
By doing so, you will save your money for other things you may need.
What’s the difference between a vertical smoker and a BBQ grill?
Physically speaking, a vertical smoker looks different from a grill. And from a functionality perspective, they handle various tasks. The BBQ grill is designed to have the meat sit directly above the heat source, and it cooks faster. On the other hand, the vertical smoker is designed to slowly make use of the smoke and heat to cook food.
Both give their flavors in your food, and they’re both tasty.
Should I use wood or wood chips in my vertical smoker?
This is up to you. Finding both won’t be difficult. Check to see which one your vertical smoker supports.
Is any fuel source better than the other?
As we mentioned in the buying guide, vertical smokers can be powered using different fuel sources. Honestly, no fuel source is better than the other, in our opinion. However, they have their peculiarities and advantages.
Are offset smokers better than vertical smokers?
Certainly not. Both are excellent for cooking food and deliver their flavors into your food.
If you’re looking forward to cold smoking a lot of meat for a large number of people while tending to other things, you should get a vertical smoker and save on space and funds – yes, they tend to cost less than some grills and offset smokers.