I bought a Char Broil side smoker last fall, and have had many great smoked meats from it. But there are some important things you need to know about it.
First, it is not really ready to go out-of-the-box. It will need the following modifications:
The metal is fairly thin, and unless you live in a very warm climate, you will notice that it does not retain or distribute heat or smoke well. You will need to cut and mount a baffle of sorts inside the larger smokebox to direct the heat downward towards the bottom. From there, you will need "tuning plates" placed along the smokebox a few inches from the bottom to help distribute the heat and smoke evenly throughout. I used 3 cheap cookie sheets with holes drilled in them that get progressively larger as you get farther away from the firebox end. The baffle should direct the heat & smoke under these. I also used a piece of sheet metal to cover the larger hole on the far side.
The chimney is set in the wrong place and allows too much heat to escape too quickly. You can fix this by attaching aluminum hose to the inside of the chimney and bringing the other side down along the side until it sets near the grate. That forces the heat down to the meat before it can escape. Or, instead of hose, you can do what I did. Buy a large can of Sapporo beer. Drink the beer and then remove both ends. Wedge the smaller end up into the chimney from inside. Presto, you're done, and you got some beer out of it.
Many of the lids on the fireboxes will leak. You can fix this by making a gasket out of "big green egg" felt gasket, or get some high-temp gasket seal at you local auto parts store and run a thick bead around the edge of the lid. Spray some Pam cooking spray on a piece of plastic wrap and layer this over the seal, oily side touching the bead. Then press the lid closed so it squishes the gasket bead into a good seal. Open the lid, remove the plastic wrap, and let cure 24 hours or more.
Now you have the problem of heat retention. I added thin ceramic bricks along the bottom and sides of mine. Some people use foil wrapped clay bricks. When I'm smoking, I throw a folded welding blanket on top of the smokebox to keep heat inside. For the firebox, I made a basket of expanded sheet metal to hold the charcoal in, so the coals stay above the ashes and don't smother. You need good airflow to keep the temps steady.
Lastly, put in a thermometer on both ends of the smokebox, just above the grate, so you can get a better idea of what's going on inside.
Hope this helps.