Electric Vs Propane Smoker: Hunt Down The Best Smokers

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Smoking meat has been a deep-rooted tradition in many cultures. Many believed that smoking meat is a great way to preserve it for a prolonged period.

But then, refrigerators came into being and became instantly popular. Today, the meat is smoked because it enhances the taste of the meat by adding a unique smoky flavor, which I’m sure you are fond of as well

The popularity of smoked meat is increasing with every passing day, which has led to the so many companies manufacturing meat smokers.

The current situation is that you’ll find the traditional charcoal smokers & wood pellet smokers on the market being overtaken by electric smokers, propane smokers, and natural gas smokers.

The popularity of electric and propane smokers is premised upon the ease of use and perfection in smoking the food.

However, which smoker out of electric and propane is better is a question that needs to be answered. Therefore, it’s going to be ELECTRIC VS PROPANE SMOKER today, so pay attention to what follows next.

Electric Smokers

As the name suggests, an electric smoker is the one that operates on electrical power. It consists of a heating element that produces heat and smoke once it receives the electrical power.

Upon heating, the element heats up the wood chips that are placed inside the smoker’s shaft. Those chips produce smoke, which helps cook the food to perfection and leave a smoky flavor to the food.

The functioning of an electric smoker is different from other types of smokers, as it sports a digital panel that helps users manage and control the cooking temperature.

You just need to tell the machine the meat type you are about to smoke and the temperature you want for smoking.

The electric smoker will take care of the rest, as it will make sure that the temperature remains constant throughout the period for which the smoking is to be done.

An electric smoker is basically designed for those who can’t babysit the food and want accurate controls for cooking the food. Let’s go through the pros and cons of the electric smoker.


No need to babysit the food, as the digital control panel will automate the smoking process and performs the majority of the tasks once you set the desired smoke setting.

Electric smokers are easy to understand and use.

Most electric smokers come with an inbuilt thermometer, which helps users keep a track of the temperature of the food so that the food is neither undercooked nor overcooked.

A perfect machine for slow smoking.

Accurate cooking in lesser time.

An electric smoker is usually built from quality materials and is also properly insulated.


In comparison to the gas smoker, you will have to pay more for an electric smoker.

A constant supply of electricity is required for its operation.

The rate at which the food is cooked in an electric smoker is much slower than a gas smoker.

Most electric smokers have a maximum temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you were looking to sear food, then an electric smoker may not be an ideal choice.

Best Electric Smoker for You: Masterbuilt 20070311 40-Inch Top Controller Electric Smoker with Window and RF Controller

Electric Vs Propane Smoker

Propane Smoker

A propane smoker is the one that uses propane as its main source of fuel. The propane gas heats up the heating element inside the smoker, which then, produces smoke.

You will have to moderately babysit your food when cooking in this smoker because if you don’t, then the food may be overcooked and burnt as well.

You need to ensure a sufficient volume of propane fuel because if the fuel runs out in the middle of the cooking session, then you will have to connect another propane tank, which you may have to get from a local store.

A good thing about a propane smoker is its ability to smoke at higher temperatures, i.e., 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it perfect for searing.  

The amount of smoke can be easily increased or decreased by adding the right amount of wood chips.

Let us now discuss some pros and cons of a propane smoker because just like every other man-made machine, it too has got some good points as well as some not so good ones.


A propane smoker is a much more portable than an electric smoker, thanks to its compact size and less weight.

An easy to understand the machine, which can be used even by an amateur.

Propane smokers can reach higher temperatures as compared to electric smokers, i.e., 400 degrees, which makes these smokers ideal for searing, grilling, etc.

You just need to make sure that you have an ample amount of propane gas available to undergo the entire cooking process without any interruption.

A propane smoker is cheaper than an electric smoker, thus becoming a more popular choice for a majority of users.


Babysitting of food is required or else, the food will get burnt.

You need to have a good knowledge about smoking in order to use the machine in the right way.

The absence of certain accessories such as internal thermometer may raise second thoughts in your mind whether to buy this smoker or not.

Insulation of a propane smoker is not as good as you’ll find in an electric smoker. 

Best Propane Smoker for You: Masterbuilt 20050614 Propane Smoker, 44-Inch, Black with Cuisinart Thermometer

Electric Vs Propane Smoker

Differences Between Electric & Propane Smokers

To determine a winner, it is important to judge both types of smokers on different parameters because only then, things will become clearer as to which smoker fares better than the other.

Cost Of Operation

One of the most crucial parameters in my opinion because a machine with high running cost is definitely not a suitable choice.

Surprisingly, both smokers are not expensive to use, but then, it all boils down to which type of smoker burns a lesser hole in your pocket.

Well, in that case, the winner is an electric smoker. I have done all the maths and so, I’ve come to the conclusion that an electric smoker will cost you around $0.15 per hour (roughly), whereas a propane smoker will cost roughly around $0.40-$0.50 per hour. So, it is more economical to use an electric smoker than a propane smoker.


A reliable machine will instill a sense of confidence in the users that they can go a bit casual with the machine without worrying of any undesirable results because the machine is smart enough to produce beyond satisfactory results.

In that case, an electric smoker is definitely more reliable because it has got a digital display with some still have analog dials, so basically, an electric smoker wants users to set the machine and forget it.

But, the whole reliability factor jeopardizes when there is a power cut or rain. As we all know, water and electricity don’t mix, so don’t risk your life and the life of the machine by operating it in the rain.

For cooking large amounts of food and that too at high temperatures, electric smokers will provide incapable, but propane smokers, on the other hand, are ideal for such situations.

Propane smokers are also extremely reliable because you just need to attach a propane barrel to a regulator valve.

Just make sure that the propane tank has enough fuel and you will not find any other issue bugging you during the cooking process. 

Taste & Temperature

It is anything but easy to determine as to which smoker adds a better taste to the food because both do extremely well in this particular aspect.

Moreover, taste is something that varies from person to person, so can’t really judge a winner in that aspect.

If you want to know as to which smoker would smoke ribs better, then I’d say ‘electric smoker’ simply because it is used for low and slow cooking. Whereas, if you like seared meat, then propane smoker is what you should opt for.

When it comes to temperatures, then electric smokers will reach up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, which is good for smoking certain types of meat in a certain way.

Combined with a low operational cost, it becomes possible to run an electric smoker for prolonged periods.

On the other hand, propane smokers can go beyond 250 degrees Fahrenheit, which improves the profile of the smoked food and add a beautiful texture to the food through Maillard reaction.


Both electric and propane smokers have certain advantages over one another. Therefore, deciding a winner will not be a justified move because some users will find using an electric smoker more convenient than a propane smoker and vice-versa.

My job was to present a detailed view of both types of smokers, which I did, so the ball is now in your court.

You have to decide as to which type of smoker suits you the best. Identify the right smoker and make a purchase.