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Are you looking for a new way to grill out? If so, think about getting a smoker.

Some smokers operate on electricity while others run on propane.

Check out some facts on smokers including what they are as well as a comparison of an electric vs. propane smoker.

What is a smoker?

A smoker is a special type of heating unit that infuses meat, fish and more with a smoky flavor while cooking it.

It can take a few hours or an entire day to smoke an item of meat depending on the recipe and how you want it to taste.

Electric vs. Propane Smoker: How do they compare?


If you want a smoker you can move around your patio or deck with ease, then a propane smoker would be preferable to an electric model.

However, if you plan to keep your smoker in the same area (near an electrical outlet), then an electric smoker would be more convenient.


Both electric and propane smokers are able to reach the high temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit to cook meat.

But a propane smoker can reach higher temperatures than an electric one.

If you’re looking for a smoker that can smoke, grill and sear meat with ease, then a propane smoker is a better option.

Precise cooking

If you’re looking for a smoker that allows you to set a specific temperature and leave your meat to smoke, then an electric model is a wise choice.

In fact, many people who have never owned a smoker before go with an electric model because of its ease of use.

Alternatively, you have to check on the temperature of a propane smoker and make adjustments to the heat level throughout the cooking time as opposed to just setting it and forgetting it.

Cooking time

A propane smoker can reach high temperatures very quickly so you can start your cooking right away.

With an electric smoker, you have to wait until the proper temperature is reached before starting the cooking process.

So, you’d have to figure out whether you want to wait or prefer to start cooking right away.

Weighing the costs

Electric smokers are usually more expensive to purchase than propane smokers.

Electric smokers have a variety of parts to the unit that make it more costly than a propane model.

When it comes to operating costs, it’s more expensive to operate a propane smoker.

You need to purchase propane when it runs out which can add up especially if you like to use your smoker on a regular basis.

Alternatively, an electric smoker runs on electricity and probably won’t cause a notable increase in your electric bill.

If your electric smoker needs a repair, it can cost more to get the job done than a repair on a propane smoker.

This is because there are more parts involved in the design of an electric smoker.

Conditions of operation

If your electric power goes out, you won’t be able to use your electric smoker.

But, if you have a propane smoker, it doesn’t matter if the power is on or not. The party can go on as planned!

Impact of weather

You can operate your propane smoker safely even if it’s raining or windy outside.

But an electric smoker can be tricky to operate in inclement weather.

So, if you’re looking for a smoker you can operate no matter the weather, then a propane smoker is a good choice.


The design of a propane smoker is less insulated than an electric smoker.

So, no matter which smoker you have, make sure you store it in a place where it has cover.

Or purchase a physical cover to put over it for protection while it’s not in use.

Cold smoking

Cold smoking is done at a very low heat. If you’re interested in cold smoking fish or other meats, then an electric smoker would be your best option.

A propane smoker is known for achieving really high temps. This makes it a poor choice as a device for cold smoking items.

Cleaning your smoker

Both of these types of smokers are easy to clean! They don’t use charcoal, so they don’t produce dust and ashes that need to be swept out.

Keeping the racks clean and sweeping out wood chips if you use them are the only two cleaning tasks related to these smokers.

Adding wood chips to your smoker adds even more flavor to whatever you’re preparing.


Your choice of smoker may have something to do with where you plan to use it.

For instance, if you want a smoker you can take along on a camping trip where you won’t have a power source, then a propane smoker is the way to go.

Size and shape

There are a variety of size and shape options available for both types of smokers.

So, if you have a smaller patio, you are likely to find a smaller smoker in either type that will work for you.

Or, if you want a full-size smoker that has its own designated spot on your enormous patio or deck, you’ll definitely be able to find one that suits your preferences.

Environmental impact

If you want the smoker that makes the lowest environmental impact then a propane smoker is preferable.

It does take energy to move propane so it’s available to buy.

But the operation of a properly working propane smoker doesn’t produce emissions that harm the environment.

Safety of the device

Both of these types of smokers are safe to use. Although they should both be monitored, an electric smoker can be set and left alone to cook with very little interference.


Both types of smokers produce meats that are smoky and flavorful. There’s not much difference in this category when comparing them.

What to cook in an Electric Smoker?

Some of the basic items you can cook in your electric smoker include bacon, chicken, turkey, ham, and lobster tails.

You can even cook macaroni and cheese in your electric smoker for the vegetarians in your family.

If you want to try cold smoking with your electric smoker there are several items to consider. You can cold smoke cheese, salmon, shrimp, and eggs just for a start!

What to cook in a Propane Smoker?

Pork shoulder, barbecued ribs, brisket, tuna, chicken, sea bass and salmon are just a few of the items you can cook in your propane smoker.

So, as you see, both types of smokers have their advantages.

Your choice depends largely on what you plan to cook, your budget for the smoker and its maintenance as well as your skill level when it comes to operating a smoker.

Taking a little time to weigh your options can help you to end up with a smoker that satisfies all of your cooking needs and preferences.

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