Propane vs Electric Smoker

Propane vs Electric Smoker

Charcoal smokers are the traditional type of smokers but due to the advancement of cooking technology, comes the more advanced smokers which brings us to our topic of propane vs electric smoker and which of these is better? So what are these propane smokers and electric smokers? How do they work? And what are their advantages over the other as well as their cons? The answer to these questions will be further discussed to help you choose which type could fit your needs and convenience.
People talk about the gas vs electric smoker because a lot of discussions these days are going on on the web about their pros and cons. To begin with, both electric and gas smokers are very easy to use and can enhance the taste of your food. They are also both affordable and can easily fit anyone’s budget that you can even buy one reliable model under the $200 price tag. But with regards to their fuel sources and smoking and cooking capability, these are the factors that could influence your choice.
propane vs electric smoker

Another thing that makes electric or propane smokers more popular is their versatility. You can use them outdoors and indoor and there are also portable smokers that you can use in your kitchen. Moreover, any of the large type smokers can be used inside the garage or in your shed so you can smoke your food even if it’s cold outside. But to further emphasize the significance of your smoker you must know how to choose the right kind of wood for smoking. All wood types that are for sale whether it is in pellet, chunks or chips forms are good but each can favorably match the type of meat you will be smoking

Best Wood for Smoking Ribs

Gas Vs. Electric Smoker Overview

In essence, though electric and charcoal smokers have different fuel sources they work on the same principle of slow cooking through smoking and low heat. Electric smokers obviously need electricity to heat up its elements and burn the wood slowly so that smoke is produced and blended with the meat. Propane smokers which are also called “gas smokers” use propane gas to slowly burn wood chunks, or wood chips to produce smoke. Both of these smokers also have their covers and exhausts to keep the smoke and control the build-up of heat inside them.

Electric Smoker vs. Charcoal

When it comes to features, the electric smokers have their heating control set up outside their chambers. So once you set the temperature , the heating elements will not go beyond the set range and will maintain the temperature . You can then leave your smoker to do its work without the need to monitor your meat. Especially if your electric smoker has a timer, it can automatically shut its heating system to prevent your food from getting overcooked. Electric smokers are available in small sizes (tabletop models), medium size and cabinet types for garage or outdoor smoking.

Steak on pellet grill

Gas smokers are mainly available in large versions though there are also some that are for tabletop use. Their large sizes are best for in the shed or for outdoor smoking. They can also reach higher temperatures so if you need to smoke thick meat like briskets or a lot of ribs, you can smoke and cook it faster compared to the electric smokers. However, this is the weakness of gas smokers. Because they don’t have a built-in temperature control system, you can’t leave them alone for long so constant monitoring with your food is necessary. If you are wondering about propane vs electric smoker in terms of user’s convenience, both have their pros and cons.

propane vs electric smoker

Electric or Propane Smoker Advantages &Disadvantages

Basically, there are no negative things that we can say about these two types of smokers. But if we talk about gas vs electric smoker in terms of users’ convenience, we may see some of their advantages over the other and a few of their disadvantages as well. So here we specify their pros and cons to, maybe, help you choose which of these could work best for you.

Best Wood for Smoking Turkey

Electric Smokers Pros:

You can set their temperature pretty easily most especially with the more expensive units. You only need to dial the settings and set the timer. And while the cheaper models only allow you to choose from low to medium to high settings, the high-end units have temperature settings in Fahrenheit. 

They don’t need constant monitoring with your smoking time. Once the temperature setting is set up, you can get back to the smoker after the timer has switched the smoker off. 

Very safe to use as there are no materials in it that can possibly burn or break. The front glass of electric smokers are generally made to be heat and fire-resistant.  


Electric Smoker vs. Charcoal

Living in apartment blocks without much space to smoke your food or if using charcoal which can produce a lot of smoke, the electric smoker is a better choice. 

You can convert them into cold smokers by using a cold smoker attachment into the unit. This allows you to smoke your food so that the wood best for smoking meat would be infused into the meat even without the heat. Cold smoking is best for smoking delicate food items such as fish.

You can set them to low settings if you want to dehydrate your food and make it more delicious with the sweet flavor from the wood smoke. 

Comparison of propane vs electric smoker in terms of being user friendly, the electric smokers are the better options and best for beginners.


Accordingly, propane smokers can provide more heat than the electric types which can make smoking faster. 

Not very mobile as it has limited access to the power source which is electricity. Simply, the electric smoker models are not for outdoor types. 

It would be difficult to achieve that smoke ring on your brisket, for example. A smoke ring is a circle that you’ll see on the edge of the thick meat when you slice it and this indicates that the smoky flavor from the wood has penetrated the meat’s thick layer.

Repairing the digital temperature set as well as the heating element of electric smokers can be costly, unlike charcoal smokers that do not have parts that can be easily damaged.   

propane vs electric smoker

Propane Smokers Pros:

You can take a gas smoker anywhere outdoors and all you need is gas and the best wood you want for smoking your meat.  

The propane smokers are also very simple to use. Some of their parts may break over time but these are not difficult to repair. 

Because there’ no need for any power source, this type of smoker is ideal for homesteading, or if you are living off the grid or camping or smoking food away from your house. 

Gas smokers are quite a bit cheaper than the electric types and propane gas is widely available.

propane smoker vs electric smoker


Thinking about the gas vs electric smoker which of these need babysitting, unfortunately, the propane smokers tend to get very hot so it’s mostly preferred for meat that requires only a few hours of smoking or has been marinated that made the meat tender. 

 Most of the propane smokers are not well ventilated so some models can have difficulty maintaining their high temperature if used in a cold environment.

propane vs electric smoker

Propane VS Electric Smoker - Reliability, Meat Taste and Cooking Efficiency

When it comes to the value and if you want to invest in producing exquisitely flavored and processed meat, you may think about gas vs electric smoker based on their user’s convenience before making a decision. So here’s what we can say about these two types of smokers. Since it is difficult to find smokers that can match the traditional smokers in terms of meat taste, then we can suggest checking on a branded electric smoker first. Why the electric?

Because the electric smokers take longer to cook the meat, that’s what you need in order to infuse the wood flavor in your meat. According to many smoker enthusiasts,the electric types can produce smoked meats that are closer in taste to the traditional smoker’s. Reliability is also an important consideration when it comes to choosing between an electric or propane smoker. Once the inside temperature is set in the electric smoker as well as the timer, you can expect that the food will be fully cooked and properly smoked.

propane vs electric smoker

Electric smokers will also allow you to cook any kind of food like vegetables, soft meat, or fish with much precision because of its special technical features like temperature control. Moreover, when it comes to environmental cooking conditions, you may prefer gas smokers because these can be used in any type of environment. The food it can produce is also very excellent and if you are smoking meat on an occasion or a party, you don’t want your food to smoke it longer and this is one of the best strengths of the gas smokers – they smoke meat faster. 

propane vs electric smoker

Below, we have reviewed two of the most popular smokers that many people want in their garage, backyard and we have one electric and one gas smoker. These will give you the ideas on which to choose when buying your electric or propane smoker.  

If you love smoking meat with other types of food and in large quantities, we recommend this big 40-inch gas smoker made by Masterbuilt. This brand is very popular in the US because of its efficiency, safety features and durability. It also has pretty amazing features that you cannot find with other ordinary gas smokers such as temperature sensor control to maintain the  temperature setting and a safety valve that will automatically shut down the flow of gas once the flame dies.

Another good feature that we want with this smoker is its fuel tank level gauge that will tell you the amount of gas in your tank so you’ll know when to replace your tank so that there is no interruption with your smoking. This smoking machine is basically packed with a heat capacity of up to 15,750 BTUs and has four chrome-coated racks so you can smoke and cook a lot of foods at the same time. So if you want to invite friends for dinner and they love smoked food, this gas smoker is the way to go.

If your family would like to eat delicious smoked ribs, briskets or chickens on weekends, this smoker has very spacious compartments that you can even load up six whole turkeys in it. Once you set its patented thermostat control, you just leave this smoker by itself and no need to watch over it. The temperature range of this machine ranges from 175 degrees to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. The body is made of stainless steel including the burner. This smoker has a lot of things to offer and there are only a few of these that have the features of an electric smoker. So if you are wondering propane vs electric smoker which to buy, you can now have the high-tech features of an electric smoker with this gas smoker.

Because we are  presenting you a dependable electric smoker with an affordable price, here is the Char-Broil digital model that you can trust and rely on when it comes to flavoring your food with the best wood for smoking. First, it has an insulated, double-wall construction that makes it an ideal smoker for windy and cold days and can lock its heat and smoke efficiently. Second, because technology adds up to the resourcefulness of the high-tech smokers, this smoker has an advanced control panel system with a large blue LED display that lets you set your smoker’s temperature and a timer for shutting its heating off.

Third, it comes with a removable integrated probe that if you stick this in a brisket or turkey, you will hear an alarm once the meat has been cooked. So the actual cooking of your meat can be known efficiently with this probe and no need for guessing. Fourth, because the front panel of this smoker is made up of a full-size glass window, you can see on the racks your meat, fish and vegetables how they are cooking. And lastly, for those who want to know propane vs electric smoker in terms of racks availability, this smoker has 4 adjustable smoking racks that will let you smoke food of different varieties and sizes at the same time.

Compared to most of the digital electronic smokers, this unit has a removable food thermometer and wheels for full mobility. And with full wood chips in the fuel box, this amount can last for up to 8 hours of smoking and no need to resupply the chips. It also has a side access grease tray for easy cleaning. And here’s one great feature that makes it very different from the rest – remote control system. Yes, you can check on the temperature inside your smoker at a certain distance and also adjust the temperature if you want through its remote control gadget that comes with the product.

My Conclusion

People keep searching for smokers because these do not alter the real taste of food while these can make the meat more flavorful especially with the right choice of wood for smoking. This is the reason why we have shown you the propane vs electric smoker and their pros and cons because we know that a lot of you would prefer to use electricity for power sources while some would like to settle on gas as this is cheaper. 

In our next article, we will show you how the electric smoker vs charcoal can fare to one another in terms of pros and cons.

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