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Best smoker under $250 propane or electric?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I have been fooling around with my Big Chief electric smoker for a few years now & would like to upgrade to something a little nicer, which holds temperatures better. I am only an occasional smoker, so I don't want to spend too much $......What do some of you favor gas -vs- electric & why & what have some of you chosen that meet the under $250 criteria. Thanks,

post #2 of 18

Smoke Hollow

I shopped around for an additional smoker for at home and in the winter and decided on a gas smoke hollow #5 from Gander Mountain I liked the magnetic latch and how well the door closed, I have used a dozen times and am still very pleased with it. I searched all the local stores until I found one that I liked and I am very happy with it, I think I paid around $129 for it.
post #3 of 18


have a gosm from walmart--cost about $130..convenient to use {propane}, cheap, holds a decent amount..portable to take camping...pleased with results and i am relatively dumb and inexperienced...
post #4 of 18
i have the same kind and i love it it holds temps real good
post #5 of 18
I to have been looking at upgrading...........I have been looking at the masterbuilt electric smokers.....They run $170 to $250 depending on which one you go with, black or stainless steel.......Alot of people here seem to like them.........Just my 2 cents...........
post #6 of 18

Smoke Hollow

I have a electric 16" Smoke Hollow. I had purchased at Meijers for $139.00. I like the fact that I don't need to run out and get propane if I run out. I have had it about a year and the element burn't out after 6 months. It was replaced free of charge. And the cheap temp gage did not register at all a couple weeks ago, I called and 2 days later got it, free of charge. I have just bought a new digi for internal smoker temp. It holds real good. And it is isulated. I used to use charcoal, but find this more conveinient and still get a great flavor. And I can rototill the garden while doing a butt.
post #7 of 18
My recommendation would also be for the GOSM. Being an occasional smoker, you may not want to go with the big block (a little wider than the basic model) but why not? It doesn't cost a lot more and you always have that extra capacity to grow into or just to use when a crowd occasionally drops in. It's easy to maintain, easy to use and produces great results.
post #8 of 18
I purchased a GOSM a couple of months ago and really like it. It keeps temps well unless in very windy cold conditions and it is easy to maintain. I have heard alot of horror stories about the condition of their unit if they had it shipped to them. I am lucky enough to live close to a bass pro, picked mine up in-store and was able to look through the stock and pick out the box that was in the best shape. Had great results so far for a newbie.
post #9 of 18
camp chef smoke vault,as good as they get.itsa propane unit and for our colder temps i like how it holds its own.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
After reading comments & doing further research, I think I would
like to choose an electric model. I have an area for smoking that
is enclosed on 3 sides & is pretty much not affected by wind, so
keeping temperatures should not be a problem. Do the electric units
offer better LOW TEMP heat control, or is it the propane models?
I have kinda been leaning towards the Cabela's, Smoke hollow &
post #11 of 18
I have the gosm and I like it. The propane lasts a long time. I wish I would have gotten the bigger model. I do have a hard time keeping 225. Th knob goes from low to high but I only use the lowest 1/8 of the adjustment. On hight it would go 400+ easy. The stock chip basket does flare up if you have the burner up to high which is easy to do
post #12 of 18
Another vote for the GOSM, I love it. Got it this summer and used it a lot. I got the smaller one and so far it has been fine but I could see if you start doing a lot of meat at once the bigger one would be nice.
post #13 of 18
I have the GOSM. I was told that the electric does not produce a smoke ring, something to do with chemical reactions? I think you can add a piece of charcoal to get a ring. I can get my GOSM down to 150 but I think you can go lower with the electric. I like the GOSM. Hope this helps.
post #14 of 18
If you want to cold smoke just get a few charcoals going and toss em in the chip pan along with some wood. You would have to mod by adding a vent at the bottom and maybe the top.
post #15 of 18
I have a mustang electric and a gas King Kooker. Differences, electric is more convenient, but I have way better temp control on the gasser. There is no way I could get the electric up past probably 240* on a good hot day, when doing anything poultry, I want to go higher. The electric has put out some good q, but I think it will be more of my jerky and sausage smoker. My Kooker was around $298, the advantage with my gasser is that I have a seperate side door to add wood and add to the water pan if I'm using it. I don't lose all of my heat by opening the big front door. The only disadvantage with the kooker is I have to mod the door with some high heat sealant, it doesn't have a really tight seal so I lose some smoke all around the door, it's a cheap easy mod though! If I were you, I'd lean towards something like the wide body GOSM, you already have an electric you can use for your smaller and lower items. BTW, a regular tank of propane last about 5 smokes, including a couple of shoulder smokes that take hours longer!!!
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Great info THANKS & I appreciate it all.......Kinda leaning to the Masterbuilt Electric models. Any con's before I go get one?
post #17 of 18
With an electric unit it is difficult to get a nice crisp bark on anything. If that is what you desire then you may have to fire up the grill to do that part.

Like mentioned before it is tough to get a smoke ring with an electric unit. But smoke rings are for looks you can not taste a difference
This can be solved with a lit briquette mixed in with your wood chips

The convenience of electric is not to be discounted. Truly a set it an forget it.
I used my electric unit for years and still do and has produces great Q.
post #18 of 18
I have the Camp Chef Smoke Vault (LPG) and am quite pleased w it. This being said, Iwould suggest that you go elec for the following reasons: 1) A propane unit is an attractive home for little spiders and other critters that would clog the burner orifices...especially if the thing is seldom used. 2) If you haven't used it for a while, there's no way you will remember how much propane you have on hand. 3)Elec units are desirable during burn-bans, are safer to insulate during cold weather, are safer to rig a wind break....and other weather related problems.
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