Which is the Best Vertical Pellet Smoker Today?
Everyone wants to have the best vertical pellet smoker today. Whether you’re a housewife, a homeowner, a restaurant manager, or a hotel chef, we will need the help of a food smoker to cater not only to satisfy our whims with delicious food but also to satisfy other people’s cravings for smoked food. Smoking food has been a practice since the dawn of the century. Used previously to preserve food and becoming a practice to smoke food with the discovery of the best woods for smoking, smoking food is now an ordinary practice for almost every household whether in the cities or rural communities.
But why choose the best vertical smoker when there are so many types of smokers out there like the horizontal pellet smokers which undeniably are more versatile than the vertical types? To answer this, you must know the difference between vertical and horizontal smokers and maybe this will help you choose which of them could provide you a better tool for smoking your food.
To begin with, the vertical pellet smoker and the horizontal pellet smoker are both designed to smoke food efficiently though their obvious physical difference is their shapes. The vertical pellet smoker is designed like a cabinet or standing upright. This smoking tool is mainly used for smoking any type of meat or for some kinds of food like cheese, fish, veggies and so on. The horizontal pellet smoker can also smoke these kinds of food but the main design of this smoker is built horizontally like a drum or a half-drum or barrel-shaped.
Best Vertical Smoker Vs Best Horizontal Smoker
When it comes to versatility, we can say that the horizontal pellet smoker is the winner. It can grill, barbecue and smoke foods all in one unit. The vertical pellet smoker, as we have said, can only do one thing and that is to smoke food only. So does it mean we leave off the vertical pellet smoker and buy the horizontal pellet smoker instead? Not quite. Because although the vertical pellet smoker can only smoke food and is not able to grill or barbecue, just by the look of its design, you can see that it’s more efficient in smoking food as the smoke tend to circulate better and stay longer on food.
Horizontal pellet smokers have designs that are wider and have exhausts that directly release the smoke outside the unit, unlike the vertical pellet smokers that are built to keep smoke better. So in terms of producing smoked food with flavorful smokey taste, we still go with the best vertical pellet smoker.
Also, one of the best assets of vertical smokers compared to horizontal smokers is their heat source that makes them more effective in smoking food. The pellets of the vertical smokers are at the bottom of the unit so the smoke and the heat tend to go upward so cooking and smoking the food is more efficient. With the horizontal pellet smoker, the pellets are being burned in another chamber and the heat and smoke are not directly hitting the food. This is why the food tastes smokier and better with the vertical pellet smokers.
Vertical Vs Traditional Smoker
When it comes to traditional smokers, there are a lot of them with different names and have slight differences in their designs and choice of wood for fuel. There are the barrel smokers, pipe smokers, stick burners, and side firebox smokers. All of these use wood in many different forms. But what are these forms of woods? There are wood chunks, wood chips, wood pellets and also charcoal. The mechanism of the traditional smokers is very recognizable with their firebox which is where the wood fuel is dumped.
This box filters the heat and smoke and lets the smoke go through to a bigger, interconnected cooking chamber where the food sits. Most of these smokers also have chimneys so when the smoke enters the meat chamber it also goes out directly into the chimney. Although you can control the release of smoke through the chimney, the traditional smokers are built to be heavy smokers so you still have to release some of the smoke so as not to over smoke the food while you are cooking it. With the best vertical smoker, it keeps its smoke slowly and it’s up to you to control the opening of the exhaust.
Fortunately, there came the offset smokers with reverse smoke flow designs and having baffle plates. These plates are made of thick steel with holes and they sit below the cooking racks right in the main chamber. Their purpose is to serve as heat sinks to distribute the heat evenly throughout the whole cooking chamber and to filter smoke slowly so that the food gets exposed even more without the need to manually turn the food. So if you are into grilling, barbecuing, and smoking food, the offset smoker with a reverse smoke design is better than the traditional smokers. But if it comes to using pellets and smoking, the vertical pellet smoker is still more efficient than an offset smoker even with a reverse smoke capability.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Vertical
All manufacturers of smoking machines are perfectionists when it comes to their products, especially with their pellet smoking machines. However, no food smoker of any kind can be perfect if compared to other smoking tools. Yet, there are so many advantages you can get from the best vertical pellet smoker machines and very little of their disadvantages. So here are what we have found about their pros and cons.
Fuel and Energy Efficient. The best vertical smoker would always be fuel-efficient because woods are replaceable and its smoke doesn’t produce toxic gas. If you are an environment-conscious person, you may prefer to use organic fuels such as wood fuels. Wood chunks, wood chips or wood pellets are made from pure wood sawdust that come from wood milling companies and machines compacted without binding materials. A vertical pellet smoker is also energy efficient because of its compact upright design that allows the heat and smoke to go directly into the food thus no heat energy is wasted.
Ease of Use. Some people argue that horizontal pellet smokers are easier to use because the meat is easier to turn during grilling and smoking. However, we dare to say that the best vertical smoker is also very much easy to use considering that once you loaded up the wood pellets and set the temperature and timer on, you can come back to your food once it’s cooked.
So if your vertical smoker has temperature control and a timer, we will go with it. Also, there’s no need to turn your meat with a vertical smoker because most of the affordable units today have thermometer probes and glass windows that will let you know how your meat is doing.
Portability and User’s Convenience. Imagine their design and you’ll know which among the vertical and horizontal smokers can take more space. A vertical pellet smoker is designed upright which means you can install it in a corner and it won’t restrict your movements. And unlike traditional horizontal smokers, most of the best vertical pellet smoker units today have wheels so mobility is a great factor why these smokers are more portable and more convenient to use.
Lasts Longer. A vertical pellet smoker compared to the durability of the horizontal type, we could say that the former are generally tougher and can last longer. Why? Most horizontal pellet smokers are used for grilling, roasting, smoking and also baking bread. Yes, these smokers are very good with their versatility but this also means they have more moving parts, wires and connectors and these parts may one day break down due to constant use.
Options for Digital Technology. The best vertical pellet smoker units today that depend on electricity, especially the branded ones are already featured with the latest digital technology required for smoking food. Such are the temperature controls, thermometer meat probes, timers and remote controls. Some also have up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit heating/cooking capacity. So all you need is to load up your food and the right amount of wood pellets and set the machine up and you won’t worry about your food. However, many master smokers suggest that to get a better taste with your meat, you have to know the type of wood for smoking meat that is appropriate with your meat and also use tenderizing seasoning to get excellent food results.
More Affordable. Generally speaking, the vertical pellet smoker units are more affordable than the horizontal types if both of them use the same fuel source. Most horizontal or offset types of pellet smokers are made of thick iron or steel and are more insulated; they have more moving parts that make them costlier to build.
Only for Smoking Food. It’s no doubt that even the best vertical smoker can only have one function and that is to smoke food only. Regardless of fuel use like charcoal or gas, a vertical smoker can only be used for smoking food. Moreover, compared to the horizontal or offset type of smokers/grillers/roasters, the vertical pellet smokers will always produce the best tasting smoked food that can hardly be matched by some traditional smokers.
Refueling problem. If your vertical pellet smoker is not designed to be a dual door, it will be a hassle in resupplying your wood pellet because you need to open the front door to get to the bottom for the pellets container. This is why you must always check the design of the smoker on the location of the wood containment.
Meat accommodation. Sometimes you may want to smoke a large cut of meat but the dimension of your racks may not be large enough to contain it especially with some of the smaller models of the vertical pellet smoker units and this is where the aspect of food accommodation can become an issue. Unlike with the horizontal smokers that have wide, rectangular racks, smoking beef ribs or large cuts of tuna fish is not a problem.
Best Vertical Pellet Smoker Reviews
PIT BOSS Vertical Pellet Smoker, Copper
We looked around and cannot find other suitable products that best fit the best vertical pellet smoker so we settled again for a Pit Boss. This 3.5 cubic feet unit fits our quality standards accordingly. Its body is also coated with a copper finish for a handsome look. So what’s so special about this unit? First, it got a meat probe that you’ll get to see the internal temperature of the meat through its digital LED display with precision. Second, with a porcelain coated water and heat deflector, this helps the heat to be distributed properly inside the unit.
Third, for its pellet capacity, its rear hopper is capable of up to 40 pounds which tested to last for 24 hours of continuous smoking. Fourth, just like the Pit Boss we have shown you above, this smaller unit also has a programmable 150-450 temperature range and also featured an auto-start 300-watt igniter and auto shut-off capability.
And lastly, it’s cooking space is also amazing at 901 square inches and with 4 rack capacities that are also porcelain-coated and capable of being loaded with four turkeys. So you can imagine how much food you can cook and smoke with this best vertical smoker at one time. This unit is also double-walled with blanket insulation to protect the internal temperature even during winter.
Double-walled and blanket insulated
901 square inch cooking space
4 rack capacities (porcelain-coated)
Programmable temperature range of 150 – 450 degrees Fahrenheit
40-pound pellet hopper capacity
Size: 3.5 cubic feet
300-watt igniter and auto shut-off feature
Not advisable to set the heat up to 450 degrees or the digital LED control may be affected
Louisiana Grills Vertical Pellet Smoker
This best vertical smoker is built with toughness in mind. With a body that is made of heavy-gauge steel and black powder-coated, this unit is built to be rust-resistant and very durable. With double-wall insulation and a large viewing window, so you can see what’s going on with your food, the wall itself prevents the smoke from escaping thus maintaining the heat inside. For its grates, these are also porcelain-enameled so that these can distribute heat evenly as well as cleaning these would be a breeze.
And would you believe that this pellet smoker has a 2059 square inch cooking space and 6 cooking grates that you can smoke a variety of foods for many people at one time? Cooking so much food with this unit is a breeze and you don’t need to refill it with pellets regularly because it has a 60-pound pellet hopper so you can smoke your food continuously for up to 35 hours.
For the temperature control, its LED control panel will let you control and range your heating from 100 to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. And at the highest range, it can reach up to 40000 BTUs which is more than enough to tenderize your meat. With its internal meat probe, this will show you on the LED screen what’s the temperature inside so with a glance, you know that your food is cooking properly at a certain temperature. For mobility, this is not a problem either with this vertical pellet smoker because it has its durable caster wheels with locks for safety.
2059 square inch cooking space
6 level grates for maximum smoking capacity
Locking caster wheels
Dual meat probes for easy and efficient temperature reading
Wide temperature range
Large pellet hopper capacity
Durable and stable construction
Taking out the grease pan can be difficult
Pit Boss Grills 5.5 Pellet Smoker, 1548 sq. in Cooking Space
This smoking machine is known by many to be one of the best vertical pellet smoker units that were produced by Pit Boss. With a 1548 square-inch cooking space, it comes with a porcelain-coated water pan and a heat deflector to direct the heat right into the meat to cook it slowly. Featured with a digital LED readout that can read accurately the internal temperature and with a meat probe, you can be sure that your meat will be fully cooked once you take it out. It can even be programmed to reach temperatures from 150 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit so if your cooking from the leanest meat to the thickest brisket, there’s no problem with this model smoker.
Some purchasers of this unit also love its auto-start 300-watt igniter and auto shut that will automatically ignite the rod once you turn the machine on and shut its system down whenever it reaches its timed smoking. You also don’t have to load pellets into it from time to time because it has a 40-pound hopper capacity that can cook a lot of meat in just one loading. And to top it all, its pellet hopper is located on the rear of the unit so no need to open any door when reloading pellets.
For the racks, these are also porcelain-coated so that the heat can be evenly distributed all over the internal structure of the unit as well as on the meat. If you are also concerned about how much ash is produced after your smoking process, the manufacturer says that it’s just about 1% of the raw ash which is amazing. With a fully programmable digital controller, you can set everything up pretty easily with this vertical smoker. For durability, this unit is also double-walled and constructed with blanket insulation to keep heat inside it even in the coldest weather.
Hopper with a 40-pound capacity
Temperature range: 150-450 degrees Fahrenheit
1548 sq inch cooking space
With 5 racks coated with porcelain for proper heat distribution
User-friendly with its thermostat control and timer on an LED display
Elegantly styled with a chimney and front glass
Heavily constructed and made of tough steel
With wheels for easy mobility
Choosing the best vertical smoker today can be quite confusing especially with the introduction of the better-modernized versions of the more popular brands like Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills. But if you will be looking for the best vertical smoker to maintain and use easily, we do recommend the pellet type smokers. These smoking machines don’t produce much ash and their pellets are almost available in many grocery stores and there is a lot of wood to choose from.
For the units we have shown you above, some of these are quite expensive but people love them because of their efficiency and dependability in smoking food. So at most, these don’t only serve as very useful and trendy smoking machines but can also be your good investment to cater to your taste buds.
Are you also interested to know about the best pellets for smoking your meat? We will see you in our other article then and will tell you more about it.