Propane vs Electric Smoker: Which Type of Smoker is better?

 Thinking of buying a smoker but you are not sure which one to choose between a propane and electric smoker? This article outlines the pros and cons of each smoker to help you choose the best one for you.

In the past, people used smoking as the only method of preparing food. These days, technology has improved the ancient smoking. The latest smoking practice and technology have transformed the practice of smoking food.

Nevertheless, as the smoking methods continue to be transformed and new technologies being introduced, the market continues to be saturated with a variety of smokers which serve multiple purposes.

There are electric smokers, propane smokers, charcoal smokers, and many other types. All of these types of smokers have their good and bad sides, so you need to decide which one best suits your needs.

Sometimes it’s important to read through every fine detail about a particular appliance so that you can get the best one for your needs.

For instance, websites such Cooking Detective and many others out there have plenty of healthy recipes and kitchen productreviews for products including kitchen utensils, kitchenware, the latest kitchen gadgets, dinnerware, and many others. Once you have read the reviews you can then decide which one to buy.

We understand it can be challenging to choose the best smoker and so we took it upon us to simplify the selection process for you.

In this article, we will outline the pros and cons of each smoker (propane and electric) to help you decide which of these will serve your needs.

Electric Smoker

When food is smoked it brings out the rich flavor. Smoked food is tender and moist and that’s why most people prefer smoking than other methods. An electric smoker uses electricity to cook food.

It works the same way as a propane smoker but with this smoker, you place your food, set the right temperature and leave the smoker to do the smoking. You don’t need to supervise the cooking yourself.

You just need to learn how to use the temperature control and other features such as the programmable timers, thermostats, and heating elements. The fact that this smoker uses electricity makes it unsuitable for places without electricity.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of an electric smoker.

Pros and Cons of an Electric Smoker


  • An electric smoker is spacious to smoke large pieces of meat. Some electric smokers come with chambers with sizes of between 530 to 730 square inches.
  • An electric smoker is easy to use. Some have wireless connectivity to remote controls or apps.
  • Electric smokers are easy to carry around. They are made with lightweight materials
  • An electric smoker is safe to use. Most of them come with temperature controls. You can set your temperature and walk away.
  • An electric smoker is designed using durable materials.


  • An electric smoker is costly
  • It occupies more space
  • It does not produce more heat compared to a propane smoker
  • Repairs are sometimes complex due to the technological features an electric smoker has
  • it’s slow in cooking food compared to a propane smoker.

Propane Smoker

Some propane smokers use natural gas while others use propane tanks as a source of energy.

A propane smoker also offers control over the heat. This type of smoker reaches high temperatures faster than electric smokers. A propane smoker is designed with a burner at the bottom and you can also add wood chips when smoking food.

Propane smokers look similar to charcoal smokers in the way they smoke food. The results also replicate the charcoal smoker. Usually, propane or gas smokers are used in commercial restaurants.

Unfortunately, a propane smoker may not produce good results in the windy or cold weather condition. Also, some propane smokers are small to accommodate large pieces of meat. That means you will need to reduce in sizes the smoker can accommodate.

Pros and Cons of a Propane Smoker


  • It’s easy to smoke food with a propane smoker. You just need to follow the instructions that come with the kitchen appliance and you will learn how to work with it.
  • You can use a propane smoker anywhere you want due to its portability. That means if you are planning to go camping, a propane smoker would be the best option for you.
  • It takes less time to smoke food. The electric smoker must warm up before smoking but a propane smoker does not need to.
  • Most propane smokers come with temperature regulation mechanisms.
  • A propane smoker can be used in places where an electric smoker cannot. For instance, in places without electricity, an electric smoker can’t be used while a propane gas can.
  • You can get a good propane smoker at a relatively affordable price
  • A propane smoker gets results that replicate those you can get from traditional smoking


  • You will need to supervise the smoking because most propane smokers don’t come with automation benefits. The electric smokers beat propane smokers hands down in this since they come with temperature regulation controls and you do not need to be present throughout the smoking.
  • Propane smokers have a learning curve for you to know how to use it and get the best results
  • Propane smokers do not come with technological features like those you can get on electric smokers
  • A propane smoker does not accommodate large pieces of meat
  • Propane smokers lack insulation so you have to be careful when smoking food.

Let’s compare the two head to head- Electric Smoker Vs Propane Smoker

The choice between an electric smoker and a propane smoker boils down to the results you want to get.

For instance, if you are looking to get more delicate smoked fish or dry foods like jerky, then an electric smoker would be the best option for you.

On the other hand, if you are looking to get the flavor and test that replicates that of a charcoal smoker, then a propane smoker would make the best option for you.

But if you are still not convinced, have a look at these factors to help you in making your final decision.

Ease of Use

Electric smokers

are easy to use. You do not need to supervise the smoking since they come with temperature controls so you just place your food, set the right temperature and the smoker will do the rest without your presence.

Well, although you do not need to attend classes on how to use a propane smoker, you will need to learn how to use it the right way for you to get good results. Also, you will need to supervise the cooking since the temperatures can go down or go too high.


You can get a good propane smoker at a relatively affordable price. You just need to watch that you do not sacrifice quality forthe price.

Similarly, you can get affordable electric smokers if you don’t want the latest technology features. If you want one with the latest features, then you will have to spend quite some good money.


When it comes to reliability, electric smokers beat propane smokers hands down in that most of them are well constructed, easy to use and versatile. Provided you have electricity, you are good to smoke your favorite food with an electric smoker.

Propane smokers, on the other hand, are less reliable, especially if you buy a low-quality one. However, they are easy to repair compared to electric smokers.

Final Thoughts

There you have it. We have covered almost all the basic things about each smoker; the decision comes down to what results you want and what you think is a convenient smoker for you. If you want a smoker that does the cooking fast, then rule out an electric smoker.

On the other hand, if you want a smoker you can cook food for a large group, one that does not require your supervision, then an electric smoker would make the best option for you.

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