If you love your meat, have you ever wondered what makes a steak so tantalizing to our taste buds? The answer to this whole conundrum lies in the flavor. There is nothing better than a smoked barbecued steak that adds a whole new dimension to the experience. It also establishes a romance with best charcoal smokers that can hold a steady temperature for hours without attention. The charcoal smoker can tenderizes the meat while infusing a unique smoky flavor.
We have made here easy for you to choose a suitable charcoal smoker. Here we have given a list of best charcoal smokers available in the market. Along with that, you’ll get important considerations for choosing the appropriate charcoal smoker.
Best Charcoal Smokers – Our Picks
Weber Smokey Mountain 18-inch Charcoal Smoker
|1. 481 Sq. inches cooking capacity.
2. 2 Nickel-plated grates.
3. 39.1 lbs. item weight
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Barrel House Cooker Smoker 18C
|1. 275°F – 310° F temperature range.
2. 44 lbs. product weight.
3. 20 gauge metal barrel
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Char-Grill Akorn Kamado Charcoal Smoker
|1. 447 Sq. inches cooking space
2. 200°F – 700°F temperature range.
3. 97 lbs. product weight
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Realcook Vertical 17-inch Steel Charcoal Smoker
|1. 453 Sq. inches cooking space
2. 2-piece cooking grids
3. 55 lbs. product weight
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Best Cabinet Charcoal Smoker
Dyna-Glo 36ʺ Vertical Charcoal Smoker
|1. 784 Sq. inches cooking space
2. 4 cooking grates
3. 56 lbs. product weight
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Best Offset Smoker
Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker
|1. 900 Sq. inches cooking space
2. 4 removable baffles
3. 180.8 lbs. product weight
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Char-Broil 20ʺ Bullet Charcoal Smoker
|1. 570 Sq. inches cooking space
2. 2 chamber-lift handles
3. 27 lbs. product weight
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Masterbuilt Charcoal Bullet Smoker
|1. 395.5 Sq. inches cooking space
2. 2 porcelain coated racks
3. 15.26 lbs. product weight
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Broil King 923610 Vertical Charcoal Smoker
|1. 770 Sq. inches cooking space
2. 70 lbs. product weight
3. 4 adjustable steel cooking grids
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Best Charcoal Smokers – Product Descriptions
1. Weber Smokey Mountain 18-inch Charcoal Smoker – Best Overall
This Weber charcoal smoker have a massive following among smoked meat lovers. It is also known as “Weber Bullet” in the charcoal smoking world. This smoker was first introduced in 1981, throughout the years it has experienced numerous improvements. Now, you have a fully modernized equipment that works best for your food. Weber Smokey Mountain uses charcoal and wood chunks to generate heat and smoke.
A charcoal smoker’s main job is to maintain temperature and produce sufficient smoke. Smokey Mountain is perfect on both these aspects as it has vents to control the air flow and temperature and a large water pan to absorb heat and releasing it slowly. It is a good vertical smoker that is very easy to set up, even a beginner can do this without having an issue.
Weber Smokey Mountain is available in 3 sizes, i.e. 14.5ʺ, 18.5ʺ, and 22.5ʺ. To our experience, we have found the 18-inch model perfect w.r.t. every aspect. It has a small footprint with the ability to hold steady temperature for hours. It is manufactured from powder-coated steel that withstand heat and weather, all other things like legs, vents, and grates are made of aluminum.
- 39.1 lbs. product weight
- Powder-coated steel construction
- Thermometer and water pan included
- 2 Nickel-plated grates
- 481 Sq. inches capacity
- Space-saving design
- Easy smoker setup
- Good construction quality
- Large cooking space
- Maintains temperature easily
- Slightly unclear assembly instructions
- Cheap aluminum side door
2. Barrel House Cooker Smoker 18C
This is the newest version of the smoker released by Barrel House. It is a barrel standing straight up so you don’t need a firebox as the coal rests at the bottom of it. The heat circulation around the meat is fantastic along with smoke due to some strategic placed holes around the top of it. It allows you adopt multiple cooking options like hanging your meat via H-frame hanger and placing a full grate in the middle section.
Barrel House Cooker Smoker 18C requires a bit of assembly which will take around 15 – 20 minutes. It has a thermometer that has a metal bracket serving as a lid cheat. It can cook easily between 275°F – 310° F range. You can easily add more coals once the coal is burnt out. If you are going to cool longer than open the damper a little to bring in more air and create more heat.
It is a high-quality smoker barrel that only take 18-inch of space in your house. You get hot and fast cooking with a juicy and flavorful barbecue in 40% less time than traditional smokers. It gives you a good capacity for smoking foods, you can hand 8 racks of ribs, 4 chickens, a 15 lbs. brisket, or a 30 lbs. turkey easily. Food cooks evenly from top to bottom and doesn’t fall off when properly hooked.
- 44 lbs. product weight
- 6+ hours steady cooking
- 275°F – 310° F temperature range
- 40% fast cooking than traditional smoker
- 20 gauge metal barrel
- 18-inches cooking space
- Coal basket can be used
- Easy and fast cooking
- Less assembly time
- Elevation based settings
- No side rack
3. Char-Grill Akorn Kamado Charcoal Smoker
Kamado smokers are an excellent breed of charcoal smokers and grills. It has a reputation of a mass-produced product but still hits the cost to value sweet spot. The typical Kamado cookers are a bit costly so the manufacturer has made this unit affordable. He has replaced the costly heavy-duty ceramic with a lighter and durable wall insulated 22 gauge steel which is a more durable material.
The exterior finish of this charcoal smoker and grill is finished in powder coated steel while the interior uses porcelain coated steel. It has a primary cooking space of 314 Sq. inches with a 133 Sq. inches warming rack. So, combined, you get a 447 Sq. inches of cooking surface to play with. It can easily maintain cooking temperatures ranging from 200°F – 700°F.
Akorn Kamado Charcoal Smoker and Grill features an easy temperature control system. There are adjustable dampers at the top and bottom for maintaining even air flow into and out of the smoker. It is a fuel efficient smoker so it burns less charcoal when cooking. You won’t face any portability issues by virtue of two large 8ʺ front wheels and a rear locking caster wheels for easy movements. You can also try the kamado joe accessories with this charcoal smoker for great results.
- 97 lbs. product weight
- 447 Sq. inches cooking space
- 200°F – 700°F temperature range
- Features a locking lid and metals shelves
- 22 gauge steel construction
- Great price to performance ratio
- Easy to assemble
- Leak-free cooking
- Quality cast iron cooking grates
- Everything fits well
- Gaskets quality can be improved
4. Realcook Vertical 17-inch Steel Charcoal Smoker
The Realcook Vertical 17-inch Charcoal Smoker takes the concept of smoker and breaks it down into its constituent parts. It means you get to use it as a fire pit, a direct heat grill, or a double chambered charcoal smoker. It has a height of 41ʺ when fully assembled. It allows you to reload charcoal and wood in the lower fire chamber without loss of heat or smoke in the primary cooking chamber.
The assembly of this charcoal bbq smoker is pretty easy. You can put it together completely in about 30 minutes. There are locking clasps to help holding all the sections firmly together and keeping the heat inside. It has a total cooking area of 453 Sq. inches which is large enough to make pretty much anything you want. It also includes sausage hooks that easily attach to the underside of the lid.
Realcook 17-inch charcoal smoker can be transformed into a direct heat charcoal grill or even a fire pit. The heat resistant handles are nice for the times when you want to use this vertical charcoal smoker as a portable grill. The grates are made from chrome plated steel which makes it very easy to clean. With crossbars and 4 hangers inside the lid, you can smoke different sizes and shapes of meat.
- 55 lbs. product weight
- 2-piece cooking grids
- 453 Sq. inches cooking space
- 2 access door
- 4 hooks inside the lid
- Easy to install
- Easy to clean
- Built-in lid thermometer
- Latch locking system
- Heat resistant handles
- Check for coating peels
5. Dyna-Glo 36ʺ Vertical Charcoal Smoker – Best Cabinet Charcoal Smoker
With this Dyna-Glo vertical smoker, you can smoke your favorite foods as it ideal for capturing maximum smoky flavor. It is a rare example of an affordable charcoal cabinet smoker considering all its features. It has an unusual trendy style for a vertical charcoal smoker which is usually found in electric and gas smokers. It racks feel sturdy and well made.
Dyna-Glo Vertical Charcoal Smoker has 4 height-adjustable cooking grates with a total of 784 Sq. inches cooking space to accommodate different type of foods. The main advantage of this style of smoker is the easy accessibility of food. Unlike many other smokers where you have to remove grill racks to have food access, you can easily access all 4 racks of food here in this charcoal smoker.
There are no issues related to assembly of this charcoal smoker as it is very straightforward. The main box is already assembled so less fiddling with bolts required. It has nice temperature controls but you will encounter a bit of smoke leakage. If you want to go for a cabinet style charcoal smoker than you have got the ultimate choice.
- Vertical style door
- Wide range of temperature controls
- 4 cooking grates
- 784 Sq. inches cooking space
- 56 lbs. product weight
- Removable ash pan
- Stainless temperature gauge
- Porcelain enameled charcoal chamber
- Straightforward product assembly
- Quality and affordable choice
- Wooden box quality can be improved
6. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker – Best Offset Smoker
Offset smokers are also known as stick burners or wood burning smokers. It is where normally the people starts looking when searching for a suitable smoker. This Reverse Flow Smoker offers enhances performance and versatility. It is also a convenient and durable product made from high-temperature, heavy-gauge steel, and equipped with a large charcoal basket. It features optional smokestack locations to let you switch between reverse flow smoking and traditional offset smoking.
Oklahoma Joe’s offset smoker has a common perception that it uses wood as a primary fuel but charcoal still forms the base of your fire. This offset smoker is amongst the few exceptions that you can buy it under a $1000. A reverse flow design means the smoke is directed to the far side of the cooking chamber before it travels across the food and exit the chimney.
It offers you 619 Sq. inches cooking area in the main chamber, and 281 Sq. inches cooking space in the firebox chamber which you could use for searing. This efficient smoking mechanism gives you a more even result when cooking. This way, you can save some bucks and get the conventional design where the chimney is on the far side.
- 180.8 lbs. product weight
- 900 Sq. inches cooking space
- Large stainless steel fuel basket
- 4 removable baffles
- Clean-out door
- Reverse flow design
- Heavy-duty construction
- Optional smokestack locations
- Easy ash removal
- Porcelain coated cooking grates
- Need to make more airtight
7. Char-Broil 20ʺ Bullet Charcoal Smoker
This Bullet Charcoal Smoker have tried to add some innovation into the whole smoking process. Its lower damper is operated via an easy to slide handle. There is no formal water pan in this smoker, rather the drippings pan pulls double duty for sessions where you want to have some extra steam into it. It is a durable and high-quality product that delivers super smoking performance at an amazing value.
There is an innovative airflow control system that simplifies settings and maintaining cook temperatures. There are no issues of rust as it features a durable porcelain coated steel body. The removable ash pan system of this bullet charcoal smoker neatly collects the ash from hours of cooking, making cleaning process very easy. Packed with such features, this bullet smoker provides exceptional performance without breaking the bank.
Char-Broil Bullet Charcoal Smoker has a cooking area of 570 Sq. inches. It has 2 porcelain coated grates that are easy to clean and sticking free. The lid mountain temperature range is easy to read and allows quick and easy temperature monitoring. High-quality fire access doors enables you to manage your smoke flow throughout the cooking process.
- 570 Sq. inches cooking space
- 27 lbs. product weight
- 1-year complete product warranty
- 2 porcelain coated cooking grates
- 2 chamber-lift handles
- Conveniently accessible height
- Fire access doors
- Easy to clean
- Innovative airflow control system
- Exceptional performance
- Thermometer should be more accurate
8. Masterbuilt Charcoal Bullet Smoker
Masterbuilt Charcoal Bullet Smoker is the choice for you if you are new to smoking, or only use the smoker a couple of times a month. It is a great option for those who are on budget, you can also turn it into the best option after some modifications. It can also deliver moist smoke that imparts superior flavor as it creates succulent meat.
This unit offers 395.4 Sq. inches of cooking space so, not a big smoker at all but extremely convenient to use. You do need to make some adjustments to the charcoal tray as there is nowhere for the ash to fall. An easy fix can be applied which is placing a grate in the charcoal pan. If you want more airflow than you can drill a hole in the bottom of the charcoal pan.
Another modification you can apply is the addition of some legs. This will make the unit sit a little higher off the ground making life easier for you. You need to get a thermometer for this smoker other than the one that comes with the unit which isn’t that much accurate. It is constructed from quality materials having porcelain coated cooking grates, water pan, woodchip tray, and a drippings pan.
- 15.26 lbs. product weight
- 395.5 Sq. inches cooking space
- 2 porcelain coated racks
- Front-access door
- Porcelain coated charcoal pan
- Key components are porcelain coated
- Designed to be durable
- Built-in lid thermometer
- Affordable option
- Inefficient in cold weather
9. Broil King 923610 Vertical Charcoal Smoker
If you are looking for a vertical charcoal smoker that produce guaranteed great results, you have found one for yourself. Once you brought this smoker out of the box, you will see its value. This charcoal smoker gives you a generous space of 770 Sq. inches so you can feed a large gathering easily. There are 4 fully adjustable cooking racks along with 16 stainless steel metal hooks.
Not only the smoker’s aesthetics are up to the mark but also the construction is high-quality. It has a double-walled construction and a secondary door for easy access to the extra-large stainless steel water bowl and smoker box. These double walls doesn’t require any insulation as they keep heat nicely over long cooks. You won’t be facing any issue while using this vertical charcoal smoker.
You can save yourself some bucks by putting the unit together yourself as it is not a difficult task. The manufacturer even provides you some spare screws just in case you lost any of them. Yes, this product is a bit costly but if you are not fan of DIY modifications, you can take this product right out of the box and have a smoker ready to go.
- 70 lbs. product weight
- 770 Sq. inches cooking space
- 4 adjustable steel cooking grids
- Ace-temp thermometer
- 16 stainless steel meat hooks
- Secondary access door
- Damper technology
- Durable and aesthetically pleasing
- Great value for money
- Pans lack handles
Must Read: Best Charcoal for Smoking 
Best Charcoal Smokers – Buyer’s Guide
Size is one of the most important factors of a best charcoal smoker. You need to be sure what size you want to buy or need. It depends on the number of people you want to cook for. If you want to use your charcoal grill smoker for your family or small gathering only, it is better to have a small-sized charcoal smoker with moderate capacity. If you have to cater plenty of guests or a party, the better choice for you is to have a medium to large-sized charcoal smoker.
Before you set out to buy a smoker, it is a good idea to decide what you can afford to spend. Remember, you can easily swept up into buying a smoker that is loaded with features but over your budget. If you are buying your first charcoal smoker or use it once in a while, you probably would not need any of the extra features. In this instance, you can easily choose a decent and basic charcoal smoker. You also need to consider the running cost of your smoker as charcoal is a little expensive fuel source.
Smokers and their parts are made of different materials but normally you will metallic smokers. Many of them are coated with porcelain further enhancing their durability. You can easily find a smoker with the least incurring problems by looking at their reviews. If your budget doesn’t allow to buy that one, you can also do some modifications on it to upgrade your charcoal smoker.
Portability and size often go hand to hand. Normally, a smoker with large size is more difficult to pack and take it camping due to less portability. Usually, charcoal smokers are camping friendly because you don’t require an electric power source to fire them up. You also don’t need to lug a gas bottle around them either. Heavier barbecues such as kamados are difficult to move from one place to another in your own yard, let alone a camping trip. All in all, smaller smokers are better for your outdoor adventures.
Best Charcoal Smokers – FAQs
1. Is charcoal or wood better for smoking?
You can combine these two without any inconvenience with some practice. It is better to use both charcoal and wood while smoking your food, cooking over indirect heat with charcoal as the heating element and wood providing the flavor.
2. Can I add charcoal while smoking?
Ordinary charcoal briquettes should be used because they burn at the proper temperature for smoking. There’s no need to shell out for boutique lump charcoal; it typically burns too hot for smoking. The best charcoal is the standard-issue stuff. You’ll also want to add some wood chips for a distinctive smoke flavor.
3. What burns hotter, charcoal or wood?
Charcoal burns hotter than wood as it has an energy value of 29MJ/Kg. If the conditions and environment is not efficient like less air supply, it will result in less efficient cooking.
4. How often should you add charcoal in a charcoal smoker?’
It is better to check the temperature of the unit after every 30 minutes. In this way, you can add charcoal every couple of hours and adjust the airflow as needed.
5. How often should you add wood chips in a charcoal smoker?
There is no set rule for adding more chips to your smoker. It is better to change the wood chips after every 5-6 hours of smoking. You can also add one or two cups of chips on top of previously used chips every time.
Backyard barbecue enthusiasts love the best charcoal smokers for many good reasons. You can say that charcoal imparts flavor, there is also another fact that charcoal smoking method results in better bark and smoke ring with unique smoky flavor. So, if the thought of tinkering with air valves, and managing the coals doesn’t fill you with dread, you must choose a suitable and perfect charcoal smoker for you.