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Gotta heating element question. Help needed.


Joined Dec 8, 2017
About 3 weeks ago I finished building my electric smoker.
36” high x 24” wide x 18” deep. The heating element I bought from amazon, it’s a 1500 watt with dial thermostat control of low, medium, high with a temp range of 50-450 degrees. I built this smoker for low and slow smoking as I also built a cold smoke generator for it too.

My problem is

After many tests to see the temperature range.
Test 1: set on high and it would not even reach 120 degrees within the 5 hr test.
Test 2: set to medium and the temperature reached about 150 degrees with in 5 hr.
Test 3: set to low and it even got hotter, over 200 degrees.

One day while getting ready to smoke some brisket, I set the dial control therostat in between low and medium. In the 6 hrs, and no mater what I tried, it would not reach above 134 degrees. Gave up and put it in the oven inside.


Can my heating element be wired in a way that I can remove the dial controlled thermostat to allow me to install a thermostat control PID unit? If so, how? If it can’t, where can I buy a direct wired heating element that would work for my needs?
I need temperatures ranging from 100-450 degrees on a 120 volt system.

Thanks for your time and help.

pete mazz

Smoke Blower
Joined Oct 15, 2011
Unless it's very well insulated you'd need ~5000W to reach anywhere near that temp.

1W = 3.4btu and 1.5btu per cubic inch would be minimum
Last edited:


Joined Dec 8, 2017
Unless it's very well insulated you'd need ~5000W to reach anywhere near that temp.

1W = 3.4btu and 1.5btu per cubic inch would be minimum
Thanks for the info, but you’re missing information too.
My smoker heating element reached 237 degrees within 1 hr, the next day it would not reach above 134 degrees with in 6 hrs no matter where the dial was set at. As for now I know that my setup can get up to 237, but with the dial thermostat messed up I’m looking to install a PID thermostat controller.

In the photo is my current heater. How do I remove that thermostat controller and still use the heating element.

Thanks again

dr k

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Mar 22, 2013
Getting that sensor where the food is instead of between the heating element legs will solve the heating problem. It is fine for an electric skillet where the cooking surface is on the same plane with the sensor but for a vertical smoker you'll have issues. Getting to the resistance wire so you can solder a power supply cord is what you need to do being in close proximity to the heat source. I'll have to look at my skillet.

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