Recently a neighbor of mine asked for advice about what kind and brand of smoker she should get for her husband. Having been a while since purchasing one I had to do some research. I bought a Brinkmann Smoke n' Pit Pro horizontal about 22 years ago (at about $200) and then constructed my own when that wore out. So not having bought one in many years I started to look up what was out there. I found what my senses picked up caruzin' through Home Depot, Lowes, etc..., and that is they do not seem to be making them with the same quality as when I bought mine. The biggest difference I see is that the gauge of the steel is really thin, which does not seem to me a quality product any longer because the thinner steel leads to wearing out faster, but more importantly will not retain heat and be subject to variations in temperature where the steel has flaws. I can't seem to find any horizontal smokers on any web sites that are inexpensive like mine.
My main question is, has the quality of smokers changed for the worse at around the $200 price point? Second, are these thinner grade steel horizontal smokers worth it? Third, are there any recommendations for higher quality horizontal smokers at up to about $400 to $500?
I did find a smoke house for about $370. It is made by The Sausage Maker (TSM) company, and seems to be electric but I am not sure. It says it is digital and can't tell. Any advice on this one? Would it be better than the thin steel horizontal smokers?