Out of all the ways you can smoke meat, charcoal smoking remains the best option when you want to achieve that unmistakable mouth-watering smoky flavor that reminds you of home.
To find the best charcoal smoker, we will help you get informed on the latest brands, types, properties, and features that will appeal to your needs.
Get ready for the smoking season and check out our top recommendations for charcoal smokers reviewed below.
Best Charcoal Smokers Reviewed
We have rounded up a list of our favorite charcoal smokers. Read on to find out what makes these charcoal smokers worth the money! We’ve also listed the charcoal grills’ strong and weak points, to give you complete info about the user experience.
|Product name||Cooking space||Dimensions (inches)||Warranty|
|Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker||726 sq. in||49 x 23 x 24||10 years|
|Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package||30 gallons||21 x 21 x 31||1 year|
|Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical Charcoal Smoker||510 sq. in||22 x 24 x 43||3 years|
|Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker||1890 sq. in||21 x 43 x 50||1 year|
|Char-Broil Offset Smoker||895 sq. in||62 x 46 x 23||1 year|
|Oklahoma Joe's Highland Reverse Flow Smoker||900 sq. in||34 x 57 x 53||2 years|
|Broil King 958050 Offset Smoker||955 sq. in||53 x 26 x 60||5 years|
|Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker||1382 sq. in||46 x 25 x 59||1 year|
|Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker||447 sq. in||27 x 25 x 22||1 year|
|Royal Gourmet CC1830F Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker||800 sq. in||45 x 27 x 48||1 year|
1. Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker – Best Overall Charcoal Smoker
Weber’s selection of grill/smokers is supreme; everyone who has an interest in backyard cooking knows that by now.
The Weber Smokey Mountain 22″ Cooker provides adequate food for 6-8 people. Its 726 square inches of two heavy gauge plated steel cooking grates would not disappoint. If you’re a fan of all-day smoking, its extra-large water pan is excellent at heat retention.
These features scream perfect for hosting a small family gathering or a dinner with friends.
Just like your mobile phone and tablet, it keeps up-to-date with technology with apps. It has iGrill 2, an app-connected thermometer. Monitoring food for the duration of cooking has never been as easy as pushing a button! The iGrill 2 alerts you once it reaches the ideal temperature to serve.
The silicone temperature grommet of this Smokey Mountain charcoal smoker makes keeping an eye on internal temperature a breeze. Aside from the built-in lid thermometer, another essential tool in smoking. Temperature control is made possible by adjusting the dampers.
To ensure protection against rust and good heat conservation, this charcoal smoker’s lid, bowl, water pan, and center are all porcelain-enameled.
Other rust-resistant parts include aluminum dampers and metal legs. Additionally, thanks to its fuel door, the addition of charcoal or wood need not be complicated.
2. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package – Smoker with Unique Vertical Design
Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package is a different kind of smoker. It is a 30-gallon, 18-gauge steel drum with a lid, two steel bars, and eight stainless steel hooks instead of your usual smoker grates on fire. It is a charcoal smoker made specifically for vertical cooking.
This vertical smoker is best for multiple thick, and long pieces of meat in which being placed flat on a surface just don’t suffice. Its design allows for more space in situations like that. Imagine producing eight large barbequed beef ribs in one grilling session!
The meat hanged in an enclosed space means eschews the need for water pans. Rightly so, due to the meat already soaking with adequate moisture from its flavorful juices. Also, it means there is less risk of burning the meat’s surface due to its lack of direct contact with a hot metal surface.
What’s nice about this enormous pit barrel is that it still comes with a standard cooking grate. You can attach these grates whenever you feel like smoking vegetables or other smaller food.
Included is a charcoal basket that can hold the perfect amount of charcoal to get that smoke going.
3. Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical Charcoal Smoker
Aptly named, Cuisinart COS-118 Vertical Charcoal Smoker truly is a work of art. Like the Pit Barrel, this is also a vertical smoker.
Two 18″ stainless steel racks that you can layer give you 510 square inches of cooking space. The arrangement keeps you from wasting standing lawn space. It relies on the top and bottom vent for its casually adjustable dual air vent system.
The porcelain enamel water bowl and the latching base are also nice features that come with this unit.
The vertically hinged door to access water bowl and charcoal grate can make all the difference in ease of minor adjustments in the middle of your cooking.
4. Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC-D Wide Body – Best Cabinet Charcoal Smoker
With 1,890 square inches of cooking area, Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC-D Wide Body Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker’s grilling capacity will not disappoint.
If you like to invite guests frequently, you’ll be delighted with this charcoal smoker’s cooking space. Its six height-adjustable cooking grates can hold 25 lbs. of food each.
The porcelain-enameled charcoal chamber maintains efficient tight stacking of charcoal briquettes. Together, they enhance burning power. The pre-installed hi-temp rope seal helps keep in the heat to minimize the waste of energy. Together, these features perfectly execute slow cooking by indirect heat.
Another useful property is the ash pan. It handles a substantial amount of ash. Instead of cleaning up your charcoal waste repeatedly, you only need to get rid of ash after cooking.
The stainless temperature gauge with its “Smoke Zone” feature is a good guide to the perfect serving temp. Other cooking options presented by this unit are the chrome-plated rib rack and sausage hooks.
5. Char-Broil Offset Smoker
Char-Broil Offset Smoker, 40″ is just the right size for a big household. It offers 739 square inches of primary cooking surface and 275 square inches of secondary space. Together, they make an astounding 895 square inches.
When it comes to temperature maintenance, its three-piece smoking chamber is impressive. It works by reducing air draft with the help of its topnotch quality construction.
The Char-Broil compares to Dyna-Glo Wide Body, the previously mentioned smoker, in their ease of cleanup. Like the Dyna-Glo Wide Body, you can spend less time worrying about frequent cleanups and enjoying cooking. Its porcelain-coated cooking grates and firebox ash door facilitates the simple removal of ash.
Also, three charcoal grates are included for the smoker to act as a charcoal grill whenever you like.
6. Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker – Best Offset Smoker
Enjoy restaurant-grade smoked meat anytime with Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker. First of all, its optional smokestack locations let you choose between reverse flow smoking and traditional offset smoking.
Four baffles kept in place under porcelain-coated wire grates provide even heat and smoke throughout the cooking chamber. They work by acting as a guide. Together, they help you create an exceptional smoky flavor that drives BBQ fans crazy.
This smoker has a decent cooking space size of 900 square inches, with 619 square inches for the main chamber and 281 for the firebox chamber. Space makes it a safe choice for generous amounts of food.
The unit also equips cool-touch handles, so there’s no worry about burning your fingers. Its professional temperature gauge lets you check accurately if your food is cooked to perfection.
The large charcoal basket of Oklahoma Joe’s Smoker, aids in a more efficient burn, a trouble-free tending, and a quick cleanup. Its large, wagon-style wheels make transportation hassle-free.
Aside from all that, the warming area on the firebox adds to its versatility. The bottom shelf is another nice thoughtful addition to the entire smoker unit.
7. Broil King 958050 Offset Smoker
Here’s another favorite, Broil King 958050 Offset Smoker. Rightly so, because this one has a lot of features. Let’s start with its 955 square inches of total cooking space: 625 that allows for the primary cooking space. That can fit enough food for a small group of friends.
Broil King 958050 Offset Smoker also comes with a bottle opener of durable chrome-plated steel. Perfect for cracking open a cold one with the boys on game night!
The heavy-duty cast-iron cooking grids hold an absurd amount of heat to perfectly sear-mark your food. Other than that, V-shaped channels guide excess grease to fall into a drip tray.
Two dual-purpose smoke charcoal trays in the larger cooking chamber and charcoal grids in the smaller one are easy-access. That way, you can add charcoal and wood chips whenever you need to. If you open the side door, you will find removable ashtrays that make cleanup quick and easy.
Its adjustable Roto-Draft dampers are another reason to love this offset smoker. These dampers are heavy-duty cast aluminum coated with chrome. They work by allowing airflow control in every part of the chambers, which is super useful in precise cooking.
Furthermore, the durable front shelf provides enough space for food preparation. It comes with four tool hooks to assist you in handling your grilling tools.
Accu-Temp is their version of a built-in thermometer with a chrome bezel. It is a great help in keeping an eye on the temperature.
Ultimately, the lower shelf offers additional storage space.
8. Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Smoker
Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker impacts your outdoor hobby. It has five 17″ chrome-plated cooking grates with a total of 1382 square inches. The offset cooking space measures 284 square inches, so this Dyna-Glo smoker is great for a lot of food!
Heavy gauge steel construction means that this unit is durable. Its heavy gauge smoking chamber includes pre-installed chrome-plated sausage hooks. Its steel grates are chrome-plated, which means that they can withstand any weight of the food. This Dyna-Glo smoker is perfect if you like your huge slabs of protein.
One of its features includes a temperature gauge that makes use of a smoke zone. It’s an indicator of the optimal temperature for that pure smoky flavor.
The manufacturers of this charcoal smoker added a nice touch, that is, their cool-to-touch handles. Stay safe and say goodbye to burnt hands.
The offset firebox can also double as a grill. It has porcelain-coated steel cooking plates, which are just what you need if you are craving for seared goodness. Said firebox includes a side tray that makes access to coals and cleanup trouble-free.
9. Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker – Best Budget Charcoal Kamado Smoker
Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker is a small one. It has 447 square inches of space.
Its main cooking surface of cast iron measures 314 square inches. Meanwhile, its removable warming rack has 133 square inches- enough to help you get all the space you need for a small amount of food. A plus is that it will never be too bulky.
This Kamado smoker has triple-walled insulation. Kamado or egg-shaped smokers, the most famous ones coming from Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe, are known to keep their heat inside excellently. The Akorn Kamado Grills help majorly in heat retention from 200-700 degrees Fahrenheit. That way, you can opt for an extremely hot sear or a slow, thorough roast, but you’ll feel satisfied.
Let’s talk about this barbecue grill and smoker’s durability and build quality: constructed with triple-walled 22 gauge steel, this unit is as strong and long-lasting as they come.
Top and bottom adjustable dampers enable even airflow to and from the grill while cooking; it is a critical element that allows you to control the temperature. You have the Kamado style to thank for its outstanding fuel efficiency. Who doesn’t want to save up on charcoal?
Other things to love about this built-to-last smoker are its powder-coated steel exterior finish and porcelain-coated steel interior.
A built-in stainless heat gauge and large 8” front wheels with locking rear caster are bonuses we didn’t expect from a simple BBQ grill and smoker. It also has an easy dump ash pan so you can have an easy cleanup time.
10. Royal Gourmet CC1830F Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker
Royal Gourmet CC1830F Charcoal Grill with Offset Smoker promises to take care of your BBQ needs. With 438 square inches of main chamber cooking space, 179 square inches of chrome warming rack, and 183 square inches of porcelain steel cooking grates, it satisfies a small gathering and leaves them wanting more. All that space totals 800 square inches.
Its porcelain wire cooking grates ¼” in diameter are rust-resistant, durable, and easy to clean. These grates provide 438 square inches of cooking space that’s good at heat retention. It’s key to locking in juices and achieving tender meat.
The inclusion of 179 square inches of Swing-away warming rack makes a decent secondary cooking area.
To control the temperature, all you need is to adjust the air vents or lift the two-level charcoal pan’s handles. There’s an Easy-to-Read thermometer that lets you monitor the temperature without a hitch.
Since it will be heated countless times in its lifetime, the whole thing is coated with heat-resistant black process paint so that you won’t have chunks of paint in the cooking chamber. When it’s time to assemble this unit, just pay attention to the steps you need to take to protect the parts. That’s if you want to ensure longevity.
Lastly, it comes with front and bottom storage racks and wheels for convenience.
Types of Charcoal Smokers in the Market
Charcoal smokers come in plenty of different types, each with unique characteristics. If you’re curious about which charcoal smoker is the best for your taste, check out the following!
1. Bullet smoker
Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker is one bullet smoker from this list.
As the name suggests, this looks like a bullet when viewed from afar. It has a tubular body with a dome cover. This type of charcoal smoker comes with water pans that support in heat maintenance and the addition of moisture.
The striking downside that this charcoal smoker has is the difficult-to-reach lowermost area where the charcoal, water pan, and the bottom cooking grate are.
2. Offset smoker
The last item in our list, the Royal Gourmet, has an offset smoker.
This type of charcoal smoker has a firebox attached to its side: that is the allocated space where charcoal and wood can burn. You can smoke meat horizontally on its main cooking chamber, which comes complete with shelves. You want to have this style of the smoker when you have a large space in your yard. They hold massive food capacity, and this smoker’s design resembles that of pellet smokers.
The drawback is the heat flow: naturally, air travels upward instead of laterally. As a result, the heat distribution in this type of smoker skews one side.
3. Drum smoker
Compared to other types of charcoal smokers, this one maximizes the space it’s been given. This charcoal smoker is barrel or drum-shaped and made with steel. It comes with hooks so that meat can be hanged instead of laid out flat on cooking grates.
You can prefer this build of a charcoal smoker if you gravitate towards huge, thick, long pieces of meat that take forever to heat evenly. One example of a drum smoker is the Pit Barrel Cooker.
4. Cabinet smoker
In cabinet charcoal smokers, the door is located in front so you can easily open and close them. This one grants the easiest entrance and exit of the water pan and additional charcoal.
All the heat stays there by the insulation system that the charcoal smoker entails. The construction of this smoker would remind you of propane smokers.
The Dyna-Glo is one cabinet smoker that you can get.
5. Kamado smoker
A Kamado smoker is small and shaped like an egg. This type of smoker works beautifully because of good insulation, so you don’t have to worry about cooking at a high temperature despite cold weather.
The Akorn cooker is one Kamado style cooker. These egg-shaped grills are the most portable options when it comes to charcoal smoking.
What Makes a Charcoal Smoker Better than other type of Smokers?
The biggest feature that stands out for a charcoal smoker is the unique smoky flavor it brings to your food. That distinct taste and smell of freshly charcoal-smoked meat that blitzes your senses on the first bite are simply unmatched.
However, others who don’t want to exert elbow grease in making their food rely on an electric smoker to fulfill their needs.
That is not to say that you can just as effortlessly get the job done with a charcoal smoker. But at least you’ll enjoy the process and cooking experience by concentrating on the fundamental aspects of cuisine.
Here are some ways that a charcoal smoker is just as good, if not better than other smokers:
Has anyone had anything bad to say about the undeniable smoky, tasty quality that only charcoal smoking can give? Surely it has become the ultimate taste of summer and outdoors for a lot of people.
Charcoal smoke brings out the best in your food. The juicy tender texture, thanks to the slow and gentle cooking. The perfect cook by the intense heat it generates. The unbeatable aroma granted by the rich smoke that contains byproducts of burning charcoal.
Not only will a charcoal smoker give you delicious-tasting food, but it also has a simplified cleanup after every session. Every charcoal smoker has a removable ashtray that does all the disposal work for you.
Furthermore, since its parts are basic, foolproof, and straightforward to operate, it is less prone to damage than its techy counterpart. This factor will guarantee its longevity, which means you won’t be breaking the bank looking for replacement parts often.
A charcoal smoker can reach high temperatures, giving your meat a crunchy external layer.
The air vents help a ton in regulating the temperature to avoid overcooking. You can maintain a steady temperature throughout your cooking to nail down that delicious flavor.
Since charcoal smoking is an outdoor activity, its social aspect is why families and friends look forward to it from time to time.
Every detail in the process gives you something to focus on and talk about! In doing so, the center of attention would do wonders to your self-esteem and make you feel like an expert when you get it right. It can be a fun learning experience.
Disadvantages of using Charcoal Smoker
There are pros and cons to everything, and our precious charcoal smokers are not an exception. Though undeniable, our love for charcoal smokers includes taking a look at the full picture and still sticking by it. Love doesn’t have to be perfect!
Since charcoal smoking is not as up-to-date with technology as its electric counterpart, it requires a lot of practice to get right. It takes experience, mistakes, and research to hit the mark, but all that hard work is worth it once you master each small element that will give you all the flavor you deserve.
Charcoal smoking can only be done outdoors due to the amount of smoke it produces. Cold or rainy weather poses a challenge. If this is a dealbreaker for you, you might want to opt for a more kitchen-friendly appliance.
Since a charcoal smoker heavily relies on the charcoal to work, this can be troublesome if you can’t be bothered to restock charcoal now and then. Honestly, this one’s a bit of a reach- it is such a small price to pay to get an exquisite taste in your mouth.
How to Choose a Good Charcoal Smoker?
Pay attention to these properties to make sure you come up with a decent choice of a charcoal smoker.
1. Size of the charcoal smoker
Think about your charcoal smoker’s frequency of use. Do you need an enormous amount of space if you are only planning to use it when you feel like it?
Make sure you choose a charcoal smoker appropriate for the lifestyle you have. If inviting a large group of people is a normal occurrence to you, you’re off to a great start with a large charcoal smoker, such as any Dyna-Glo model mentioned above.
Instead of food prepping and repetitive cleanup for multiple batches, you can trust these biggies from our recommendations to save you from that trouble.
However, if you are more of a casual charcoal smoker, the Kamado would suffice for you. After all, it offers excellent insulation.
2. Material and build quality
Build quality should also come into mind when choosing a charcoal smoker. It’s almost intertwined with safety. If the material quickly disintegrates over time, some of its broken-down components make their way into your food.
You will need something long-lasting so that you only buy and assemble a charcoal smoker once.
Also, it would be best if you found something easy to maintain and clean. You can do that by going over the charcoal smoker’s list of features and specifications. Scrutinize and ask customer service for more information; after all, this is a big purchase.
You can never go wrong with any of our listed products, for they all have great build quality.
If you are more of a minimalist, you’ll want a charcoal smoker that can multitask. You’ll also use it repeatedly, which means you get the most out of your money even if you picked a pricey product.
Out of our top picks, the Char-Broil Offset Smoker is a perfect example of this. Aside from smoking, you can also use it for grilling. What’s not to like?
4. Ease of use
Nobody wants a charcoal smoker that only makes their problem worse with complicated assembly and operation. If you consider this aspect, you’re halfway to 100% satisfaction. Our suggestions got so much love for their easy assembly and cooking performance.
5. Cost efficiency
In buying a charcoal smoker, the price is the first thing you think about. But imagine if you paid a very low price for a product that turned out to be disappointing? You might as well have saved your money for a better quality product that you’ll love.
With the items we presented, you’re sure to get more bang for your buck because these will last you a long time.
Additional space, tool hooks, spare parts are seemingly simple things that most people skim over when choosing a charcoal smoker. But, the quality of these accessories determines the manufacturer’s attention to detail.
The warranty of a charcoal smoker is a sign of quality- the company’s willingness to take responsibility if anything is damaged. The warranty will eliminate the inconvenience of having to pay for new parts or attempting to DIY repair.
Out of all the products mentioned in our guide, the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker offers an unbeatable warranty of 10 years.
Remember, a charcoal smoker is one to give you the ultimate burst of flavor unparalleled by any other type of smoker. We hope you get excited (and informed!) about your decision-making in getting a topnotch charcoal smoker.
I spent most of my life fascinated by food, and the outdoors. I can’t think of a more fitting combo that leads to mastering the art of BBQ one day. I ended up decent enough to grill the perfect burger and choose the best equipment after years of improvement. I create this website for outdoor cooking enthusiasts, who are fueled by interest but lacking in help, feel educated when they leave because I see my past clueless self in them.