Pros: Large cooking area, easy on the wallet
Cons: Lots of mods needed to work effectively, thin gauge metal, bottom shelf cannot hold much weight, poor grease managment
This smoker was my first smoker when I started several years ago. I got interested in smoking after having Thanksgiving at a colleague's house where he served Turkey cooked on his Treager. I loved the taste and wanted to dip my toe in the smoky waters. I was not about to drop over a thousand on a Treager to start out. After shopping around (and not at the time knowing there are a lot of great smokers not in the big box retail market) I went with the Smokin' pro.
Out of the box I had very inconsistent temperatures across the smoker, inadequate space for the charcoal or wood to burn before ash became an issue, and a difficult time controlling the heat level. I'll give the smoker the benefit of the doubt that my inexperience was likely the primary cause of heat control.
To get the smoker workable, I found the following mods to be mandatory (searching on SMF will find several member's implementations of these mods):
1. Extend the smoke chimney to grate level
2. Create a heat distribution plate, or flip the charcoal tray inside the main chamber and slide all the way over above the firebox opening.
3. Create a charcoal basket and support structure so that there is room for ash underneath it.
The mods above and some experience yielded about 3 years of operation in which I was very happy with the product and the quality of the foods it produced. I had to repaint the firebox after every other cook, and repaint the cooking chamber lid once or twice a year to keep the rust away. After about 3 years, it started to consistently leak grease out of both ends of the smoker. I could have re-sealed it but it was a little worse for wear and decided it was time to move on.
In summary, this is a budget smoker that doesn't kill the checkbook. You can't expect it to perform like an insulated unit or a thick-gauge built-like-a-tank model so comparing this smoker to them isn't a fair comparison. You will have some work to do, both in modding it to work properly, as well as maintaining it as it starts to loosen up and fall apart. If you are willing to do the work, you can get some great food out of this budget stick/charcoal burner.