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New electric smoker, Budget $350, for my Father in law for Christmas

bootlogic

Newbie
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Joined Dec 3, 2016
I'm in charge of getting an electric smoker for my father in law for Christmas. I have spent more time than I care to admit researching the options. I have a budget of $350. 

I do not own a smoker and have never smoked meat!  He to my knowledge has not smoked meat but a friend of his recommended getting an electric smoker.  He does not have a smartphone.  Sounds like a very uneducated bunch! :)

The ones I am looking at in that budget range are the:

Masterbuilt gen 2.5  40 inch.  $320 at Sams Club.

Smoke Hollow SmokeTronix $299 on sale at Tractor Supply

Some Bradley Smoker options - not real keen on the puck idea.  Seems like it could add a bit of cost for him but I'm sure they work well.

Some SmokenIt Options but appear to be out of my price range.  Although these seem to be very solid units.

Any other suggestions in that price range?  I'm willing to consider 30'' or 40'' really.  He thinks he might need a bigger one but I think his use will probably be ok with the 30''.

MASTERBUILT

I discovered quickly about needed to feed the Masterbuilt chips pretty often.  Then I learned about the side smoker and then the AMNPS everyone recommends.  Does the Amazn pellet  tray works in the Masterbuilt gen 2.5 40 inch without modification? 

It seems a way of going longer is a must for these smokers.

SMOKETRONIX

Does anyone have any updates or reviews on this SmokeTronix smoker? There are a few reviews here and there but I would like to hear from the forum. 2 of the reviews on HomeDepot's site sound similiar and was wondering if they are legit. One thing in a review that did catch my eye was the internal smoker temp. Quote from review on homedepot site.

"This unit displays the smoker temp not by a temp sensor but by electrical current to the heating element which on a Good day is 40 degrees higher than the smoker. The meat thermometer will give a reading of the smoker temp but cannot be used as a meat probe. Likely Gen X design and wired by people who don't know how an oven works, how to cook and never smoked anything in their life and likely eat at McDonalds would be my guess. THIS HAS BEEN A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT AND VERY FRUSTATING. GRRR"

I did call the company as it is an attractive unit and appears to have a larger tray for chips.  I asked the lady, there are not many reviews out there and wondered what types of problems are happening to the Smoketronix.   She said she gets most the customer service calls (small company) and there haven't been many for that model. (it is new so maybe not many out there).  She did say there was some bluetooth issues, etc.

I would be very grateful for any feedback as I really don't know what I'm doing but am interested myself in using it after researching so much and seeing what comes out of them.

Brent
 

old sarge

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
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Joined Nov 26, 2012
Here is my 5 cents:  While budget is important, I would look at a purchase as an investment in quality and longevity. Forget bells and whistles. Some models of the MES are more reliable than others. So if you are leaning toward the MES, read the posts carefully.  Look at the warranty for each smoker you are considering.  Smokin-it has a 3 year warranty versus the 90 day that comes with many electric smokers. And SI smokers are more expensive, but they are very reliable units built entirely of stainless steel. Compared to SmokinTex and Cookshack, SI smokers are a bargain. Visit manufacturers websites and see what customers have to say if there is a comment section. Call the manufacturer and talk to them; if you have concerns or questions ask the manufacturer.   And good luck.
 

bootlogic

Newbie
3
10
Joined Dec 3, 2016
I totally understand where you are coming from about spending a little more.  My only problem is I am spending the money of several people and that was the budget decided.  I might not be able to move it but I suppose I can try.  
 

old sarge

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
2,496
401
Joined Nov 26, 2012
You have to do what what the majority says. And you have to be comfortable with your decision. I am just as happy with my smoker as those with Masterbuilt and Dmoke Hollow are with theirs. I guess it comes down to reported problems or reliability from the masses and then budget. Have the folks visit various smoker sites then have a discussion. That way all are responsible, for better or worse. Good luck.
 
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