ProQ Excel 20 Smoker VS WSM VS Electric?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by brucebenjamin, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. This is sort of an abbreviated repeat of my second post to the Roll Call section. I didn't really receive any replies that answered any of my questions so I figure maybe it's just in the wrong forum.

    I've been planning on building my own electric smoker that would be along the lines of the MES but a bit bigger and hopefully much more durable. Double wall and insulated about 2' wide x 1.5' deep x 3' or 4' tall. I found a couple of very decent looking digital thermostats online and I've even considered using a Smoke Daddy smoke generator. I'm semi-competent at fabricating so I'm not too concerned about that part. But then a few days ago my brother was visiting from out of town and told me about how great his WSM works...

    Dang it! I didn't believe him at first because the ease of use he described sounded too good to be true. I did a little research online and found that everything he said and more was echoed on various websites. Ok, so then I started really giving that WSM a hard look. It's completely different from what I was planning to build but it looks to be almost as set-it-and-forget-it as the electric, it doesn't require an electric cord, and I won't have to hang my head in shame when I discuss my BBQ/Smoking techniques with the old school, hardcore crowd.[​IMG][​IMG] Seriously though, while I believe in using whatever gets the job done, (And I know from experience that an electric does just that) I also would like to start using the more traditional methods. I realize that buying a bullet smoker isn't exactly, "Old school" but at least it's using something akin to real wood and there isn't a propane tank or electric cord attached.

    I'm very impressed with the WSM but the price is pretty steep in my opinion, especially for the 22" model that I'm eyeballing. I'm pretty poor right now and I can't really afford either the 18.5" or 22" WSM's. Is it a sin to bump up my credit card debt for the love of smoked pork, beef and chicken? Oh God I hope not.

    Now for the main part of this post...I came across the ProQ Excel 20 bullet smoker. I read this review: And watched numerous YouTube videos including these two: and (Parts 1 and 2). I even found a killer deal on Ebay for only $199 shipped! According to the two part video comparison between the ProQ and the WSM the ProQ really held it's own. But I've read very little about this smoker on the SMF forum, (Zero actually) and I'm not sure why. Is it just too new? Or do the good folks here know something bad about it and just aren't spilling the beans?

    I did find a review about a different ProQ model, (Frontier) on this forum and it wasn't too favorable. But it's a cheaper and older model and what the reviewer said didn't match what the other info and videos I've seen at all when it comes to the quality of the ProQ Excel 20 model. Still, I'm a little skeptical and I'm hoping someone on this forum can offer some advice based on either first or second hand knowledge of this smoker.

    It appears to be as well built as the WSM. It has several features that are lacking in the WSM that I really like. It's bigger than the 18.5" WSM, (Which is really the only size I can afford) and it's cheaper. It's also expandable with a 3rd level. It's bigger than I would need 90% of the time but I have been known to put out a lot of food on occasion. My theory with a lot of things is that it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. I'm being drawn to this thing like a moth to a flame. Thanks for any and all advice.

  2. mikey

    mikey Smoking Fanatic

    Check out There's a lot of info there as it's geared towards that smoker. Also on youtube there are some videos of the ProQ Excel 20. From what I've seen & read, the wsm is head and shoulders above the ProQ, mainly in quality and ease of operation. You'll get what you pay for, imo.
    On Edit: I seem to recall someone on this forum getting a ProQ Excel and ended up sending it back as his main complaint was how thin the metal was and the parts fit poorly.
  3. I have visited the "Virtualwebberbullet" website and there is a lot of info on the WSM. But finding info on the WSM is relatively easy. Maybe you didn't fully read my post but I did find some Youtube videos and I even posted links. I also mentioned the guy you mentioned sending his ProQ back to the seller on Ebay. As I said it wasn't the same model. It was the, "Frontier" and it's an older model. Regarding seeing anything that says that the WSM is head and shoulders above the ProQ, I've done an extensive Google search, (Hours and hours worth) and I've yet to see one single negative review written about the ProQ Excel 20. In fact, I've seen very little written about it so far at all so if you have any links that show otherwise I'd like to see them. I'm not saying they aren't there but if they are they are well hidden from me. So far the only info I've found about the Excel 20 is pretty much all positive. The links to the 2 videos, (Bullet smoker showdown, parts 1 and 2) are in my previous post. The guy doing the testing is a big Weber fan and was pretty biased towards the WSM at the start of the test. But he seemed to be very fair and in the end he said they were both great smokers and each had their advantages and disadvantages.

    I appreciate you taking the time to answer but I was hoping for some replies from people who either had used one or knew someone who had. I would also like to hear from anyone who can provide links to either positive or negative reviews. It may sound like I'm already sold on the ProQ Excel 20 but I'm not yet. If you can find even one negative review on this smoker I'd appreciate it if you could provide a link. As I said, I've yet to find even one. What I did find said that both smokers seem to be built to about the same standard with a few advantages going to each one.

    The old saying, "You get what you pay for" really doesn't work for me. I'm a woodworker with a shop full of tools. I've found many, many examples of less expensive woodworking tools being, "Head and shoulders" above the more expensive versions of similar tools. The same can be said for countless electronic products, automobiles, kitchen tools, and I'm sure the same would apply to the myriad of BBQ/Smoking appliances out there. What it boils down to for me is research. Sometimes I buy the more expensive product and sometimes I find that a less expensive one is just as good or better. Price alone frequently isn't a factor that directly correlates with superior quality and function. But sometimes it is...Hence the research. If you can, please provide some links. Thanks very much for your help. I do appreciate it.

    If I can buy a smoker that is comparable to the WSM in quality and features and even has some features that I find to be superior to the WSM AND it's less expensive then I'll buy it. The trick is finding out if that's all true before I buy it.


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