I've lurked on the forums before and am still very new with smoking. My experience is mostly from using propane grills and rigging to smoke, but I grew frustrated with temperature control and losing too much smoke from too much venting, and also having to keep changing my chips. Stuff I did like butts, one brisket, and some ribs ended up okay but I basically felt like I was using a lot of chips and wasting time not getting much of a penetrating flavor. To that end I've decided to invest in both a dedicated electric smoker and some of the A-MAZE-N stuff I've seen you guys raving about.
I've been searching, browsing, and creeping browsing boards trying to choose a smoker under/around $300. I was close to pulling the trigger on a MES until reading about the problems with the newer generation, so I began also looking at other options like the SmokinIt 1 and 2, and others. Quick question here- are the 800 watt heating element of MES30 and 350 watt element of Smokin It 1 considered to be woefully under powered? Is there a minimum wattage size heating element should I be looking for in a smaller smoker, or does it really depend on the size of the box and the 800 W and 350 W are fine for those smaller boxes? Thanks!