The Best Propane Smoker: Buyer’s Guide 2020

Are you searching for the best buy propane gas smokers on the market?

Smoking meat is an excellent method of cooking, but getting a smoker up and running can be a time-consuming job. But naturally, times change, and progress makes life a lot easier.

This comprehensive guide to the propane gas smoker market looks at the best-loved models available right now. Each of our carefully selected gas smoker picks reduces set up time and are all very simple to operate.

 We are confident that our top ten natural gas smoking devices represent the best value for money and are very efficient.

Our gas smoker guide examines the vital issues of build quality, ease of use, cooking area, the prices, safety, and replacement part availability.

 We also look at how to get the best out of the smoker you buy. And explain how to infuse your meat with smoky flavors without the use of messy charcoal.

Here, then, are our top ten gas smoker buys for 2020.

1: The Masterbuilt 20050211 Black Propane Smoker

If you are planning on cooking for large numbers of people, this is the one to purchase for sure. You can easily cook almost 100 lbs. of meat on this bad boy smoker, thanks to its 40-inch wide bodywork and four chrome-plated smoking grids inside. We give this smoker a big thumbs up for its size and ability to cater for large numbers, making it ideal for tailgate parties or camping.

This smoker can cook for so many because it has four burners (stainless steel), providing heat for swift cooking. Other notable features are an industry-standard regulator and valve fitted to control gas flow and push-button gas ignition. So, you have safety and low-cost replacement parts taken care of straight away.

Integrated porcelain sealed tray for the wood you wish to smoke enables a fantastic selection of different woods with which to smoke your food and infuse it with flavor and aroma. The versatility of the smoke type is up to you and what foodstuffs you wish to cook.

Another well thought out feature of the Masterbuilt 20050211 is its in-built water tray. The water tray takes away a lot of the guesswork that is typically involved in ensuring your food receives sufficient moisture during the smoking process. There is no need to worry over choosing the correct water pan for your set up either.

More crucially, though, the Masterbuilt 20050211 has an integral temperature gauge to help you ensure you have precisely the right temperature, a vital factor in smoking meat and other foodstuffs. Instead of putting your trust in thermometers and instinct, the in-built temperature readout ensures you have a high level of accuracy and success.

We also approve of this gas smoker because of its classic black powder coating and no-nonsense design ethic.

  • Acres of cooking area
  • Easy to heat
  • Solid steel construction
  • Not the cheapest around
  • Questionable wood burning tray build quality

2: The Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP

This 36-inch Dyna-Glo model is a perfect size and is easy to maneuver and store when not in use. It has a robust build quality and will most likely prove to be durable for a good number of years’ service. 

Electronic ignition makes the Dyna-Glo a breeze to get up and running with a single button push. While this is a relatively high-tech approach to lighting a smoker, it comes with one major drawback to bear in mind: you can’t light the smoker with a match. So if you are planning to use this smoker at tailgating parties, when the power is out, or in the wilds when you go camping, be sure to have a backup means of producing the necessary electricity.

On the plus side, this smoker offers a generous 800-inches cooking space. This amount of space is almost industrial catering size, so you could have a little side hustle at weekends firing up this baby to sell your smoked delicacies. Even if you simply plan to cook for family and friends, the Dyna-Glo DGY784BDP ticks all the boxes in terms of price point, cooking area, and durability.

Its thoughtful twin door design helps greatly with temperature control as it reduces disruption to the cooking process when replenishing the wood. An integral wood burning box and a large volume water tray are nice quality touches that make the cook’s life a lot easier.

The look and feel of the Dyna-Glo model certainly suggest it is built to last. A coating of porcelain enamel, in particular, will help prevent heat damage and ensure many happy hours of carefree smoking.

But this gas smoker model’s party trick is its temperature sensing system. Sensors not only provide a clear and accurate temperature reading, but they also work out the optimum smoke volume required for whatever foodstuffs are being cooked.

  • Anti-corrosion properties
  • Generous cooking area
  • Clear temperature system
  • Big smoke tray
  • Inadequate door seals
  • Slow heat build-up

3: Cuisinart Vertical Propane Smoker

Talking of party tricks, the Cuisinart COS-244 has a pretty neat feat: it converts into a table! How cool is that?

Its smart vent design enables this smoker to be used by two people sitting, for example, at a dinner table without causing any problems or needing any extra space.

Able to cook for 6-8 diners, the Cuisinart features four spacious cooking racks of 14 inches by 14 inches. All the shelves are removable to offer greater flexibility and the ability to grill larger meat joints, for instance.

Its petiteness and ease of mobility with handles on each side earns this smoker a nod of approval from us. Its reliable build quality ensures it is simple and safe to move about without problems.

Components that are enamel treated makes them resistant to high heat temperature damage without comprising this gas smoker’s ability to build up heat. Similarly, this protection means the Dyna-Glo never gets too hot to handle. Though, the caveat here is always wearing oven-proof mittens while cooking.

A propane gas hose and industry-standard valve makes for safety and savings as these are two extra parts that come included in the cost, unlike some other models.

  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Wide cooking area
  • Easy read temperature gauge
  • Generous size smoker box
  • Inadequate door seals
  • Slow heat build-up
  • Lacks a tray for wood

4: Camp Chef Propane Smoker

A mere 24 inches wide, this Camp Chef smoker is ideal for when you are pressed for space. You could almost use this in a confined space, for example, as a mini-smoker that can be placed on a table.

As a compact smoker, this particular smoker model is head of its class in the marketplace today. Push-button ignition makes it easy to light while the easy to adjust dampers allow reasonable heat control.

For an entry-level gas smoker, you can’t go far wrong with this Camp Chef as it is the complete package and comes with handy user tips and hints, as well as recipes to help make some great tasting food. For college students, this would make an ideal gift.

This smoker is unlikely the most competitively priced budget option; nevertheless, it is an excellent choice for its superior build quality alone. Two smoker racks plus a jerky rack provide enough cooking space to cater for a small dinner party of friends. We also like the built-in water pan and the wood-burning box to help get those exquisite smoked aromas flowing nicely.

We are also impressed by the three air dampers that help ensure optimized heat control. Typically, you would get a single damper or maybe two, so hats off to Camp Chef for their three, which are located at the sides and the top of the smoker.

  • Easy to assemble
  • Good temperature control
  • Great build quality
  • Space-saving
  • Smoke leaks from the doors
  • Unsatisfactory air damper closure

5: Char-Broil Vertical 

If you are in the market for a sub $200 gas smoker, look no further. This one is a top ranker in this segment of the market.

For big families, this is the one to go for, for sure. It’s robust and offers almost six hundred inches of cooking space to ensure no one goes hungry. Definitely, on the large side, this gas smoker contains three grates for cooking, so it is easy to keep the food flowing for your  party and having no unnecessary delays.

The three racks are chrome-coated for long life service and are supplied with cool-touch handles to make your cooking as safe as possible. While it is possible to peek inside without hand protection, we recommend using oven gloves to guarantee maximum safety.

Very competitively priced, this Char-Broil smoker includes a water pan and wood-burning box.  Both of which simplify the cooking and optimize the moisture and smoke levels to ensure success every time.

Despite the low price, Char-Broil does not skimp on temperature control, a critical factor in the cooking process. This gas smoker model comprises an easy to adjust top vent for uncomplicated heat control. Meanwhile, the upper rack can be deployed for when you need to keep food warm.

Also included in the price is a proper LPG regulator. This inclusion means you can unbox and cook straight away as there’s no need to hunt down a gas regulator and wondering if it is suitable and safe to use.

Twin door partitions are fitted as standard on this model. One is designed for the smoke burning, while the second door is for cooking access. The result is a reliable and constant heat during the entire cooking process.

Maybe not the best for build quality, but you can overlook that when you are looking for a bargain buy on a small budget.

  • Great price and frugal gas consumption
  • Easy clean
  • Consistent food cooking
  • Lightweight and easy to move around
  • Inferior moisture tray and wood-burning box
  • Below average temperature control

6: Smoke Hollow 38202G 

Another competitor in the entry-level market segment, this model from Smoke Hollow, is cutting a niche in this highly competitive part of the marketplace. When all is said and done, this steel design smoker is the one to buy.

From the outset, the design ethos was durability and robustness, which made this smoker an excellent purchase in terms of price. And you will also be pleased to hear that it’s easy to use as well, even more so when there is a sausage fan in your life. 

Smoke Hollow has distinguished this model from the herd by adding sausage hangers to the design. Most other gas smokers will be found wanting in this department. But Smoke Hollow has introduced this unique sausage cooking feature to expand its capabilities. Nice touch, guys.

Other features you should be aware of include easy start ignition for easy lighting and a temperature gauge located on the exterior to make temperature checking a lot more comfortable compared to an inside indicator.

Four cooking racks accompany the much-vaunted sausage hangers with multiple level adjustments that make for versatile cooking no matter what is on the menu.

Another critical feature to help guarantee above-average heat and airflow are this propane smoker’s top and bottom air dampers.

While maybe not least inexpensive on the market, we are convinced this smoker represents excellent value for money given the features it includes.

  • Lightweight for increased movement
  • Generous area for cooking
  • Separate chambers for food and smoke
  • Poor door seals

7:  Smoke Hollow 38205GW 

The notable and handiest feature of this propane smoker is its window. This window enables you to observe your food as it cooks without having to open a door and release precious heat and smoke.

Four sizable chrome food racks make this model an ideal size for cooking for party guests. The shelves are adjustable, helping to prevent food cooking too quickly or too slowly.

Some criticism has been made that this smoker tends to overheat. Still, careful control of the vents and attention can prevent this from happening.

This mid-priced smoker also wins with its twin door arrangement that divides the heating section from that used by the food. This feature helps with heat control but not at the expense of cooking efficiency.

The doors also have sturdy latches and a spring system that makes for a safe and tight door seal. The package is rounded off by a generously-sized water tray and wood-burning box both of which are porcelain enamel-coated for durability.

The smoker is well packed for shipping to avoid damage.

  • Above-average heat control
  • Observation window
  • Decent size cooking area
  • Erratic temperature gauge
  • Leaks cooking juices
  • Difficult to source from new

8: Weston Outdoor

This 36-inch Weston smoker is a contender in a hotly contested market segment. It comes with several excellent features at a competitive price.

It is constructed almost exclusively from stainless steel. With this type of fabrication involved, you can be sure this Weston will be hard-wearing and not prone to typical weather damage if left outside. This smoker features a porcelain enamel coated integral water tray. The wood-burning box, meanwhile, has a base made of cast-iron that retains heat better.

This Weston model is one to consider if you like your food to have plenty of elbow room while cooking. Its four chrome-plated moveable food grids mean there’s plenty of space available to prepare almost 14 lbs of food. Two hooks for sausages are a nice feature that will please the sausage fans in your life.

Secure door closures help to retain the smoke as well as the heat, enabling easy and safe access to the food during cooking. Again, the best policy here is always to wear hand protectors as the door can get prohibitively hot to the touch.

Despite its 36-inch size, this Weston smoker is surprisingly lightweight. It is easy to move around, too, thanks to the heavy-duty handles for carrying. The design also includes an external gauge with easy read temperatures.

At a generous 36-inches, this smoker is lightweight while sturdy handles make this model easy to move. A gauge fitted on the outside of the model makes it simple to check on the temperature.

  • Can handle big food portions
  • Durable
  • Easy temperature checking
  • Pleasing design finish
  • Inferior legs
  • Not the tallest around

Our Pick of the Propane Smoker Bunch

As you can see, we have reviewed several excellent gas smokers, and coming up with a recommendation was no mean task.

Our pick of sub-$200 gas smokers used the following criteria: size, features, and cooking space.

Emerging on top, though, as our top pick was the awesome Masterbuilt 20050211. At a mighty 1,300 plus inches of cooking space coupled with its competitive price point, the Masterbuilt is a great bargain and excellent for party catering.

Despite its size, the Masterbuilt 20050211 with its lightweight design is easily mobile. You are not restricted to just one place.

This model can be moved to cook anywhere you please when entertaining at a venue of your choice.

This winner is easy to light and get heat-building thanks to its push-button ignition and burners, rated at over 15,000 BTU, which are easy to regulate for the optimum temperature.

For all of these reasons, for the money, we vote it the best.

If you are still not convinced that you need a propane smoker in your life, read on and find out more in our buyer’s guide to gas smokers.

Best Propane Smoker Buyer’s Guide

If you have hungry mouths to feed, you probably don’t want to be taking ages with grilling.

Grilling is amazing, however, today it’s no longer the only way thanks to modern technology, which can match old school grilling, only achieving the identical result a lot faster.

Propane gas smokers have themselves revolutionized the ancient art of smoking by taking the wait out of the equation. A modern gas smoker can save one or even two hours to cook.

This means you can marinate your meat and other food for longer before having to start cooking. Or, conversely, saving you time when attending to prior work commitments, etc. to contend with before getting dinner ready. Either way, it is a time-saver.

Is bigger better with gas-fired smokers?

This depends on your circumstances. Gas smokers come in a variety of sizes, so it’s essential to consider how much space you have available. But you can usually find a suitable smoker no matter how little space you have.

This space-saving feature is because most gas smokers are vertically designed, so they need more height than width. Consider the height if you wish to store your smoker indoors when it is not in use or during the winter.

There are not many more hidden extra expenses with a gas meat smoker. Your only outlay will be for a propane bottle. These usually are quite compact, so they will not require much additional space. Your garden or backyard will not, then, become cluttered if you purchase a vertical natural gas smoker.

Are gas smokers tastefully designed?

A gas meat smoker is pleasing to the eye, so you won’t have to worry about any eyesores lurking outside your home. Smokers were built to be classic and unobtrusive. The majority of propane smokers are well finished and have contemporary colors that exude class and sophistication in any backyard.

A propane smoker will give your property a simple yet classy look, especially if you can color coordinate with your existing color scheme. If that’s not possible, play it safe and go for a neutral color that won’t jar on the eye. Even for passers-by, a gas smoker will make a handsome addition to your exterior.

Check the mobility of the gas smoker before you buy

Always check that you can move your prospective purchase around quickly. Mobility is important. You won’t wish to ask three or four party guests to stop enjoying themselves to give you a hand repositioning your smoker. Remember to take into account the gas cylinder too.

Your average smoker should not weigh in at more than 40 lbs. They are primarily designed like small wardrobes for ease of handling. Much more so than your conventional three-in-one smoker grill.

Because they are lightweight yet sturdily-built, moving your smoker around should not be a significant issue. They can be comfortably accommodated on the rear of a pickup or truck.  And the smoker moved with a minimum of fuss from one place to another.

Have a careful think about how you will use your propane smoker and how many people you would typically be cooking for at a party or barbecue with family and friends. These considerations will determine the size of the smoker you need to buy.

Are propane smokers easy to assemble?

If you follow instructions and know how to use a screwdriver, then assembly should not be a problem. Almost all propane smokers will come with brief easy to understand notes on how to build your smoker.

Unlike traditional, bulky smokers, gas smokers are lightweight cabinets in comparison. You only need to fix some screws, and you are almost done. After that, there are cooking racks and dampers to install the water and wood trays. Then you can cook up a storm.

Those who are not comfortable with DIY should seek help with assembly. It’s not a big job.

But I am not a chef!

Gas smokers have been purpose-built to be user-friendly. They are prohibitively expensive for bargain budget users.

The technology is there to help the user, not make life complicated. And because they are fuelled by propane gas, it is easy to get hold of gas cylinders, making them the best overall natural gas smoker bet.

Quick push-button ignition means that propane gas smokers are simple to use. At the same time, adjustable cooking racks and integral temperature gauges help make for cooking success no matter your degree of cooking chops.

What should I look out for when buying a gas smoker?

Go for build quality. Do your homework ahead of time so you can make an informed decision. This page is a great place to learn everything you need to know about buying a gas smoker in 2020.

The past isn’t always a good indication of the present. Brand names ebb and flow, so don’t just go for the label and hope they aren’t resting on their laurels.

The materials to buy include stainless steel bodies, porcelain enamel coated trays, chrome cooking racks, and heat trays with cast-iron bottoms for heat retention. These materials are resistant to corrosion, retain heat, and not prone to undue wear. Plus, a stainless steel smoker looks classy, making them among the most popular choices for rust resistance and good looks.

Take a close look, too, at any welding. This should be proper welds, not just spot welding. You want to be sure the doors won’t fall off after a month of use.

Inspect the legs

As vertical smokers need to be stable, they have four legs to support their weight. Check the legs to ensure they look sturdy.

The propane gas smoker must be well planted and stable. Ensure the smoker has a solid base, don’t compromise because another model is slightly cheaper. A wobbly stance will guarantee disappointment further down the line, and maybe sooner than you think.

Read over the warranty details carefully to ensure the legs are not excluded from the cover. You will be glad you did if you later encounter problems and can report the malfunction and obtain help from the manufacturer.

How about temperature control?

Aim for any in-built temperature gauge to have a range of 50 F and reach around 500 F as cooking is dependent on temperature. If you don’t have an adequate temperature range to work with, you may be disappointed with the results of your culinary efforts.

If there is no temperature gauge, there are plenty on the market that you can use instead. Whatever the circumstances, you will definitely need a way of telling the temperature.

Is bigger always better with gas smokers?

If your dinner parties are for two people, always go large with a smoker. For once word catches on, you can be sure you will be cooking for family and friends, so having the extra capacity will be beneficial.

Propane smokers are built to last, but of more concern than physical size, the real measure is the available cooking area. The supplied user guide will provide a good idea of how many you can cater to, or you can check online too ahead of time.

Are front-loading smokers best?

Nowadays, almost all smokers are front-loading to help users adjust and remove food from the smoker easily. This accessibility is because doors at the front are safer and less messy options than smokers with top access when changing racks during cooking. When it is necessary to move food around inside a smoker, it is much more comfortable with a front door. And you are way less likely to get burnt in the process.

Are gas smoker replacement parts easy to buy?

Stick with models that have ready availability as these are the ones most likely to have replacement parts that are easy to find. This is an important consideration should your smoker get damaged or need repairs further down the line.

Are dual door gas smokers the best option?

In short, yes. Two doors separate the cooking from the fire, and so there’s less interruption to the cooking should you need to add wood or top up the water tray to maintain moisture, etc. Anything that retains heat and airflow is a good thing.

Other smokers will not possess this dual door feature, so kudos to propane smokers for the foresight and thoughtful design.

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