I just started smoking last summer and I definitely have the bug. I have a friend that smokes, so I ask for his advice occasionally.
I currently have 2 smokers, but I want a better experience so I want to buy a new one. I currently have a vertical "smoke'n'grill" that I got from Lowes. It was very cheap, and performs that way. I also have an older smoker I bought years ago thats a charbroil. Its a horizontal with firebox and its very heavy. Again, its nothing special, but the heat is much easier to deal with in the firebox, plus its much bigger than the vertical.
My experience in learning was that of struggle...LOL. I struggled the most with maintaining temps. With both smokers, I have to tend to the temp every 30mins or so. Needless to say, it makes for a long day. I am sure part of it is my inexperience, but part has to be the smoker. I have to refill coals/lump at least a few times during a 6-10 hour smoke. I have never done anything big because of the temp/heat struggle. I normally had smoked a couple 4lb chickens along with a small brisket, or something relatively small (5lbs or less). I tried a few pork butts, but they were never great. I did ribs like 2x, but they were a little tuff. Everything I did got better each time.
So here I am not trying to get ready to smoke since the season is getting warmer.
I want a good smoker that will not be such a struggle to maintain temps. As I said, I dont need to cook anything massive, but I do like to have cookouts. My buddy highly suggests the BGE. I looked at it once, but the price of the smoker and all the accessories is a bit scary. I was looking at the Lg or XL BGE. I am still considering, but not 100% sure.
On a side note, I currently live in a townhome with a 12x12 deck on the 2nd level that has no outside stair access. I would prefer to put my smoker on that deck if possible. Currently I have my small vertical on the deck, but the bigger horizontal is too big so its behind my house. Needless to say I have to run a lot when I smoke on that smoker, but its the best one I have right now. Location is a convenience thing for me, not deal breaker.
I am looking for suggestions for the best smoker first and foremost, but am open to any and all advice on smoking or the equipment. I am reading as much as I can, but there's definitely a lot to digest and learn :)
Any suggestions are appreciated!