Electric Smoker vs Pellet Smoker? This is a question that many people have when it comes to smoker smokers. Both electric and pellet smokers have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it can be hard to decide which one is the best for you.

Grill restaurant kitchen. Closeup of chef cooking poultry, beef and pork meat, ribs in BBQ smoker.

Electric smokers are cheaper to buy than pellet smokers, and they are also easier to use. All you need to do is plug it in, add wood chips to the tray, and set the control panel. Electric smokers are cheaper for beginners because they are easier to use, but also more expensive for advanced users because they don’t have very much control over the heat or smoke.

Pellet smokers allow you to change things like temperature and smoke levels with more precision, so they are better for advanced users. Pellet smokers are also more expensive than electric smokers, but they last longer and produce better-tasting food.

So, which one is the best for you? If you are a beginner, electric smoker is the best option. If you are an advanced user, pellet smoker is the better option.

Both are very popular for their ease of use and low maintenance. These two types of smokers have many similarities but there are also some key differences. Which type of smoker should you get? This article will go over the pros and cons of Electric smoker vs Pellet smoker so you can decide which is best for you! Read on to learn more.


To start off with, let’s go over the similarities of these two types of smokers.

Both types are electric-powered. This makes it very easy to use and you don’t have to worry about tending it throughout the day. Electric smokers also come with a digital timer that allows you to control how long your meat is smoked. Both types of smokers require almost zero maintenance. With both an electric smoker and a pellet smoker, all you need to do is make sure the machine is clean from time to time and oil the grills every once in a while. It’s as simple as that!

Now, let’s take a look at some key differences between Electric Smoker vs Pellet Smoker:

While both types can cook up to very high temperatures, an electric smoker can’t go higher than 275 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also harder to maintain temperature control on an electric smoker since it doesn’t have a dedicated igniter as pellet smokers do. Pellet smokers are more expensive overall but they are typically worth the extra money due to their automatic temperature control which is much easier to maintain. Electric smokers are usually cheaper overall but some models can be quite expensive for what you’re getting.

Pellet smokers also give you the option of using different types of pellets with varying flavors depending on your preference on a day-to-day basis. They use wood chips instead which would need to be replaced daily if not more often throughout the day.

What is an electric smoker?

Smoking meat outside – a whole raw chicken with spices sits on the top rack of an open barrel electric smoker with a slab of meat underneath while a little dog looks on

An electric smoker is a type of smoker that uses electricity to heat up the metal in order to smoke your food. The food is put on racks inside the smoker so it can cook properly. It has insulation, which traps the flavor and helps retain moisture for delicious smoked flavor every time.

The Pros of an Electric Smoker

  1. They are very easy to use. Just plug it in and you are good to go! You don’t have to do much work once you’ve got your ingredients loaded inside.
  2. Due to their ease of use, they are great for beginners who may not want or need another hobby indoors! These smokers will allow them to create mouthwatering dishes without spending countless hours learning how to use the smoker.
  3. These smokers are great for parties! The ease of use makes them perfect for entertaining guests. Your friends will be amazed at the delicious food that can come from an electric smoker.
  4. Electric smokers are cheaper than other types because they don’t require wood chips, charcoal, or gas to operate.

The Cons of an Electric Smoker

  1. You must use wood pellets instead of real wood chunks or logs in your electric smoker. You won’t get as authentic of a smoking flavor with these smokers as you would with others, but if you want something simple and easy, these may still appeal to you!
  2. They do take longer to cook food than other models do. If you’re someone who likes their food done quicker, an electric smoker may not be for you.
  3. You can’t use these indoors because they produce fumes which could irritate your eyes and throat. If you want to smoke food inside, then this type of smoker isn’t for you.

What is a pellet smoker?

A pellet smoker is a type of smoker that uses wood pellets instead of charcoal or gas to cook with. The grill has a hopper so you can fill it up with the pellets and it will automatically feed the pellets into the heating element as needed throughout cooking time. This is much more convenient than other types of smokers because you don’t have to constantly adjust the heat every time there’s too little fuel!

The Pros of a Pellet Smoker

  1. Pellet smokers are versatile, so you can cook just about anything on them! They have precise temperature controls, so you can customize the type of flavor you want for your food.
  2. You never run out of fuel when using pellets, which is convenient if you are hosting an event or party. You won’t have to make any last-minute trips to the store if you already have the pellets in storage!
  3. These smokers are relatively inexpensive compared to other types of smokers that do the same thing. The value for money is pretty good with these!
  4. Pellet smokers let off less smoke than most others, making them suitable for indoor use as well as outdoor.

The Cons of a Pellet Smoker

  1. They require more time and effort to clean. You’ll have to clean out the hopper in between uses, in addition to wiping down the exterior of the smoker every once in a while. This is actually very easy when you get used to it! It’s not much different from cleaning your grill at home.
  2. The cooking times are longer with pellet smokers than with others, but this isn’t too bad if you’re busy doing other things during the day.
  3. Pellets add a bit of expense to your overall smoking costs, but they produce less smoke compared to charcoal or gas so you won’t have to pay as attention while food cooks.

Electric Smoker vs Pellet Smoker

Cooking Capabilities

Electric smokers are less expensive than other types of smokers, but they don’t offer the same cooking capabilities. It’s fine to use these types of smokers for parties or late-night events, but you won’t be able to cook as much food at once.

Pellet smokers offer a great cooking versatility and you can cook just about anything on them. They have precise temperature controls which allow you to customize the flavor of your food.

Difference in Flavor

The flavor of Pellet smoker?

The flavor is also different with pellet smokers, there are more wood-like flavors to it. If you want something closer to real wood fire cooking, then this is the one for you!

Pellet smokers have less smoke than charcoal or gas smokers so there’s no need to be wary about the fumes. You’ll only have to pay attention when food is being cooked because pellets do produce a bit of smoke.

The type of wood pellets (Alder, apple, hickory, maple, mesquite…etc.) will slightly affect the taste of your food. You can experiment with various types until you find one you like best!

The flavor of Electric smoker?

The flavor of Electric Smoker vs Pellet Smoker is not exactly like wood-fired or charcoal-grilled food, but if you are looking for smoky flavors then it may be worth your while. Some people complain that the flavors can come off as bland and don’t pack a punch like other types of smokers.

If you decide to buy an electric smoker, I recommend getting one with an adjustable temperature setting because this will give you more control over how your meat cooks!

Amount of Time to Cook

Using a pellet smoker takes longer than using electric or gas smokers. This does depend on the type of food being cooked, but more foods will take longer with pellet smokers compared to others. If you are looking for speedier cooking times then it’s best not to look at this type of smoker!

Amount of Effort Needed

Pellet smokers need more time and effort than other types of smokers so if you are looking for something more convenient then it may be in your best interest to look elsewhere. The cleanup between uses is similar in complexity to an outdoor grill, so there isn’t too much difference in terms of cleanup when compared to other types. You’ll have to clean out the hopper after each use too which can be a bit of a nuisance.

The difference in Heat Distribution between Electric Smoker vs Pellet Smoker?

Because they are so new, electric smokers have become very popular since their first introduction to consumers. They are great if you are low on space because you do not need any ventilation for them unlike most other types of smokers!

However, the heat distribution is uneven (not good) and since heat rises it will cook your meats upwards rather than downwards as it should. Hot air is circulated around by fans, making this type of smoker more efficient than others. You’ll still end up with evenly cooked meat though!

Another preference when choosing between electric smokers would be the ability to control the temperature (which means they will come at an added cost Electric smokers don’t always come with temperature controls, but you can purchase them aftermarket if needed.

However, they are the most convenient to use and you’ll spend less time checking on your food compared to other types of smokers!

Temperature Range

Using an electric smoker will give you more range when adjusting the heat that is generated. It’s perfect if you like to cook low and slow because these types of smokers do not produce as much heat (less than 250F). If you want to crank up the heat then it will take some time for your meat to be cooked all the way through.

Cost of electric smoker vs pellet smoker?

Both of these smoker types come in a variety of prices depending on the brand and model you buy. So, it really depends on what your needs are! Pellet smokers have been around longer so they tend to be more expensive than electric smokers.

If you want something that is more reliable then get an electric smoker because pellet smokers do not want to work all the time, especially if you go for a cheap one. Pellet smokers can also become pretty costly when buying pellets every now and again making them less cost-efficient than other types of smokers.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Since this type of smoker does not use direct flame, you will have to clean it a lot less than other types. They also require very little maintenance because the parts are so solid and long-lasting.

Electric smokers do not need much cleaning either since there is no fire involved in cooking food! It’s good if you want to save time on cleaning after cooking, but you’ll also need to spend some extra time checking the hopper for pellet refills.

Pellet Smoker or Electric Smoker? What’s right for me?

Smoke coming out of a smokestack of a small black smoker grill or barbecue, loaded with chicken meat and vegetables.

It’s a difficult choice to make considering how each type has its own pros and cons. You’ll have to ask yourself a few simple questions to figure out which type of smoker is best for your needs. Some people have told me they enjoy using pellet smokers because it’s very rewarding, especially since you can control the heat by adjusting vents!

This makes them awesome if you are cooking with low heat and want to keep it that way for a long time. Pellets give off more smoke that creates awesome flavors from your meats, but if you aren’t into smoky tastes then electric smokers may be better suited for you.

Electric smokers make this less complicated because they don’t require pellets, so there will be no need for added costs! You’ll spend less money on gas or electricity making this type of smoker great in terms of cost-efficiency.

Electric smokers are usually the most convenient because there is no need to check on your food as much as you do with other types (except for pellet smokers) however, they won’t produce as much smoke as a traditional smoker would.

If you aren’t too picky and want something that will give you good-tasting meats then an electric smoker may be best suited for you! Keep in mind that electric and pellet smokers don’t cook as well or at the same pace like traditional smokers do. They also don’t always produce enough heat so if you plan cooking low and slow this might not be your best option. Pellets can become costly depending on how often you use them, but electric models require very little maintenance.

The main difference between the Electric Smoker vs Pellet Smoker is that an electric model doesn’t produce very much heat compared to a traditional one. For this reason, you will have less control over how your food cooks/burns even if you have temperature controls! This can be annoying especially if you are using them for long periods of time.

Electric smokers use electricity to power fans which circulate hot air inside. This helps cook meats evenly because it brings the temperature all around the meat so there are no cold spots. These properties make them great for long smoking sessions because they are very consistent when cooking meat. You will know what to expect throughout the entire process!

With other types of smokers, pellet or wood smokers, it’s very hard to maintain constant temperatures so you will have to check on your meat every 15-30 mins. This is especially difficult when cooking low and slow because it takes a while for this type of cook to be finished (over 8hrs).

Why use an electric smoker?

Electric smokers give you great tasting meat! They are very consistent at maintaining temperatures making them the best choice if you plan on doing long smoking sessions. If you like well-cooked meats that taste great then this might be what you need. You can do longer smokes and expect good results because they won’t run out of fuel/produce extra heat as other types would.

It’s perfect for beginners who want something that does all the work for them, but watches out! They aren’t very convenient because you will have to babysit them, making them a hassle if you want something that is more hands-off.

Electric smokers can be used indoors! Many people enjoy using electric models because they are cheaper and easier to transport due to its lightweight materials. They also require less space since their frames aren’t as big as other types of smokers.

They can cook foods faster than traditional smokers would, but keep in mind that the food may not taste as good or be very juicy! If your main goal is to find a smoker that cooks meat evenly and quickly then this might fit your needs perfectly! You’ll spend less time on preparation and won’t need many tools besides the electronic elements on this type of smoker. Keep in mind, however, that this isn’t always the case.

Why use a pellet smoker?

Using a pellet smoker provides you with good-tasting food! Pellet smokers are known to cook meats that are very flavorful and juicy without any added seasonings. This is because the pellets they use give off special flavors like cherry, maple, hickory, or Applewood.

You can expect your meat to be evenly cooked at all times when using this type of smoker. These properties make them great for longer smoking sessions because the temperature stays consistent throughout the entire process so there won’t be any cold spots while cooking.

If you don’t have much experience using traditional smokers then using a pellet model might be the best choice for you! You’ll have more time to focus on other things while it cooks your food which makes them ideal if you plan on doing long smokes.

The main downside to this type when compare Electric Smoker vs Pellet Smoker is the price tag! They aren’t as cheap as electric smokers but they are still cheaper than models that use wood or charcoal. You’ll also have more time invested in preparation if you want good-tasting food with a pellet model because you will need to buy pellets before cooking your first meat.

They can be used indoors! Pellet smokers are easier to transport and move around since their frames aren’t as heavy or bulky, making them a great choice for those who want something that they can easily store away when it’s not being used.

The best thing about using a pellet smoker is how easy they are to start up and maintain throughout the entire smoking process so if you’re just starting out then this is probably your best bet!

What to consider?

When choosing between Electric Smoker vs Pellet Smoker, you’ll have to decide which one fits more with your needs. If you like well-cooked meat that doesn’t need seasonings or sauce on it then I would recommend using an electric smoker.

If on the other hand, you enjoy experimenting with different flavors and want something that can produce great tasting food while still being easy enough for beginners to use then the pellet model might be better suited for you. Keep in mind that both of these smokers are very versatile so they can be used by anyone regardless of their experience level!

If you don’t want any work when it comes to smoking but at the same time want to spend less time on preparation then you might want to check out the tips below. You’ll find a lot of helpful tips and tricks that will be beneficial for both beginner and veteran smokers.

Electric smokers and pellet smokers come in many different shapes, sizes and price points. In order to determine which one is right for you, there are a few things you need to consider. Electric smoker or pellet smoker comparison shows that the electric ones have benefits over the pellets ones as described below:

First of all, size matters! Electric smokers tend to be larger than charcoal/wood pellet grills, so if small-sized devices fit your needs better then go with a traditional wood burner. Electric units can accommodate more food at once whereas the pellet burners will require you to cook multiple batches to feed your entire family due to their smaller cooking surface area. However there are exceptions such as Camp Chef SmokePro’s PG24 pellet smoker which is almost the same size as many electric smokers.

Second, price. Electric smokers are typically less expensive than pellet smokers, but this varies depending on the features offered.

Third, ease of use. Electric smokers are very simple to operate with just a few buttons and no need to manage any kind of fuel or fire. Pellet smokers require you to fill the hopper with pellets, start the fire and then regulate the temperature by opening and closing the damper. Some people find this more difficult than others.

Fourth, cleanup. Electric Smoker vs Pellet Smoker is typically have an easy-to-clean cooking surface with little ash accumulation. Pellet smokers generate a lot of ash that needs to be emptied from the cooking chamber.

Finally, taste. Some people believe that the smoke from a pellet smoker tastes better than electric, but this is really a personal preference.


Do electric pellet smokers use a lot of electricity?

They aren’t as power-hungry as you would think, but it all depends on what your temperature is set at and how often you open the smoker. They use a little bit more energy when compared to pellet smokers, but not enough for it to matter.

Are pellet smokers bad for you?

This type of smoker is only bad for you if you eat a lot of smoked food. It’s a myth that all smoked foods are unhealthy and the thing about using a pellet smoker is that it automatically cooks your food with pellets which makes cooking much healthier since there aren’t any added fats or oils.

Can you use wood chips in an electric smoker?

For the topic of Electric Smoker vs Pellet Smoker, Using wood chips isn’t always possible depending on the model, but some smokers allow this. You should check if this applies to yours before buying other types of smoking material! Some models have small areas designated just for smoking where other electric smokers might require you to add wood chips manually from time to time.

Do you need to soak wood pellets for a smoker?

Not all brands require you to soak their pellets before using them, but it’s a good idea if you have the time because this way they’ll be easier to light and use. Make sure that you read up on the manufacturer’s instructions first to see if soaking them is a must!

How long do electric smokers take to heat?

This depends on how powerful your smoker is and what temperature you’re cooking at. You can expect most models to reach around 140 degrees F within half an hour or less when set at high temperatures ( 225 °F .) It takes longer for it to get up to higher temperatures like 250 °F + but usually not by much unless it’s already very hot outside.

How often do you add wood pellets to a smoker?

This will depend on how powerful your smoker is, but in most cases, you’ll be adding them every 30-60 minutes since they tend to burn up quickly. It usually takes around 5-10 minutes for new pellets to light up but make sure that you do it outside and away from the smoker because of the heat!

How do I know when my meat is finished?

When cooking with traditional smokers, you’ll have to use a thermometer in order to find out when your food is ready. Instead of reading a temperature from a gauge, digital models come with a sensor that reads the internal temperature of the meat so there’s no guesswork involved.

Since electric smokers cook from electrical elements you can simply wait until your machine tells you that your food is done! Keep in mind that every model cooks differently so you might have to experiment a little in order to figure out what food is ready when.

How can I be sure that my electric smoker will last?

Make sure that you take good care of your smoker and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer since if something breaks then it’s on you! You should also check for any damages or problems before buying a second-hand model just to be safe!

Also, most manufacturers offer a warranty so check for this information too since most of them cover parts and even shipping costs. As long as you do not abuse your smoker, chances are high that it’ll last for years without breaking down! I’ve been using my Masterbuilt for about 3 years now and it still works great!

When choosing an electric smoker make sure it’s made from high-quality materials and that the internal components are high grade as well.

These are just a few questions many people ask before buying a new smoker so hopefully, these answers helped I guess? If there’s anything else you want to know then feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try my best to answer!


I hope this article was helpful for those who were wondering which is a better smoker. This topic can be discussed for hours so if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them below!

So, what’s the bottom line? If you’re looking for an easy-to-use smoker that doesn’t require much management and won’t break the bank, then an electric smoker is a good option. If you’re willing to put in a bit more effort to operate and clean up, and you prefer the taste of wood smoke, then a pellet smoker may be right for you.

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