Getting the best bbq flavor for your meat can be a huge problem. However, with the right meat smoker, you can take a backseat and let the magic happen.
And the best part is? You don’t even have to spend a fortune to get a great product. Yes, you can easily find the best smoker under $500 as long as you pay attention to some crucial details.
So today, we will teach you how to best use your smoker under $500 to get that rich flavor you only get in luxurious and award-winning hotels and restaurants.
Moreover, we’ll highlight the pros and cons of various smoker brands to ensure that you get only a high-quality but cheap smoker that will make you some exceptional and delicious food.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the essentials every smoker under 500 2023 must-have.
Top 7 Best Smokers Under $500: Comparison Chart
|Power Source||Cooking Area||Number of Racks||Max Temperature||Dimensions||Weight|
|Masterbuilt MB20071117||Electric||730 sq. in.||4||275 °F||19.88 x 20.47 x 33.26 inches||45.9 pounds|
|Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC-D||Charcoal/Wood||1890 sq. in.||6||n/a||21 x 43.3 x 50.2 inches||83 pounds|
|Weber 711001||Charcoal||286 sq. in.||2||275 °F||31.4 x 14.75 x 14.75 inches||23 pounds|
|Char-Broil 19202101||Electric||725 sq. in.||4||275 °F||32.5 x 18.1 x 16.5 inches||58.7 pounds|
|Realcook||Charcoal||453 sq. in.||2||325 °F||22 x 17 x 35 inches||18.6 pounds|
|Char-Broil 14101550||Propane||1200 sq. in., 180 sq. in. grilling surface||2||450 °F||23.1 x 23.4 x 36.2 inches||22.7 pounds|
|PIT BOSS 77425 2.5||Propane||884 sq. in.||3||350 °F||21.5 x 23 x 41 inches||48.5 pounds|
Smoker Under $500: What to Expect?
Most people would brush aside the idea of buying a bbq smoker for less than $500. That is because these are considered rather cheap, and we all know how many claims that cheap = inefficient and of lower quality. But such a notion is now nothing more than the relic of the past, a misconception. The truth is that the working mechanism of smokers is the same, and the difference between a $200 and a $3000 unit is merely the material or a few fancy adjustments that drive up its cost.
Considering a Smoker Under 500 Type
When purchasing the smokers that you are interested in, you must consider several factors:
- Fuel is a huge determinant in making this decision as each bbq smoker uses different fuel sources.
- The ease of use is also a big factor in making this decision. Remember – all the best smokers for beginners should be electric. Leave the charcoal smokers for other occasions, when you get a hang of it.
- If you wish to bake something, let’s say pizza, you should consider a smoker with baking features.
- If you already have a grill, you should consider purchasing a standalone smoker.
With that said, let’s now take a look at some of the most popular and best smokers under 500 types:
A Charcoal smoker under 500 is arguably one of the most popular ways of grilling food. And while charcoal briquettes are the primary fuel source, some people add wood chips or lumps to achieve a strong smoky flavor to the meat.
- Achieve higher temperatures, which gives the meat better flavor
- The kettle can also serve as a grill
- Charcoal smokers are relatively cheaper
- Charcoal takes longer to heat up
- Controlling and maintaining desired temperatures can be hard
- Charcoal grills have less food space
- Cleaning up after a charcoal smoker is more cumbersome
Can you get a gas smoker under 500? Of course! Gas grills have been getting more popular in recent times due to their convenience. Compared with other types of smokers, they are easy to start up and help achieve better cooking temperatures. Besides, their ease in temperature control makes them more favorable for outdoor bbq.
- Come in a variety of sizes
- Very easy to use and control the temperature
- Have a small footprint hence take less space in your house
- Can only be used for smoking
- Propane tanks are a safety hazard
- Cheaper units are poorly made and designed
While pellet smokers have been with us for decades, they keep on getting better with the years. The best pellet smoker under 500 has combined the technology of electric and wood smokers to smoke food in a controlled and smoky environment. Nevertheless, you can pick one side of the aisle by settling for the best wood smoker under 500.
- Easy to use. Pellet smokers have an automated system hence does not require babysitting
- Easy to fire up and reach the desired temperature
- Pellet smokers maintain a steady and constant temperature far much easier
- Good pellets smokers are expensive
- The meat smoker can run out of fuel mid-cook, especially when you use it in harsh weather conditions, like rain or snow
The best electric smokers under 300 are great beginner smokers. After all, before you can learn how to build and manage the traditional fire, it is important to familiarize yourself with the smoking process and these are a perfect option for that. But what makes them such popular beginner smokers?
- Simple to use since electric smoker is digital
- Small footprint, therefore takes less space in the house
- Come in different sizes
- Convenient, since you can set your preferences and do other chores
- Electric smokers need protection from harsh weather conditions and rain since they are not waterproof
- The units suffer from heat loss and smoke leaks, which reduce their efficiency
- Can only be used as smokers
What to Look for in Smokers Under 500
Before buying a food smoker, you should keep in mind:
Weight & Portability
While most home smokers ought to be lightweight for easy transportation, you shouldn’t think of weight as a priority. Wheels are a great way to secure this portability and improve the mobility of your smoker.
Size & Capacity
Size and capacity are closely correlated. So if you plan to mostly make meals for a large group, and thus need a lot of food – choose a big size smoker. Meanwhile, if your space is limited and/or you don’t need a lot of food – then a small smoker is a great option. Also do keep in mind that the bigger the device the higher the price will be.
Temperature Range & Settings
A good smoker should have an extensive temperature range. This is more so useful when you are working or cooking meat and sizzle dishes. Your bbq smoker should also have a good temperature gauge to let you monitor or set your temperature as per your preferences.
We recommend a smoker whose fuel box mechanism is kept separate from the cooking chamber to cut on heat loss. You should also ensure that you choose a food smoker that has a good warranty term.
Smoking meat is not dangerous, as long as you’re careful. All the same, you should protect yourself from any kind of accident.
So for your heads up, these safety tips will come in handy:
- Be aware of cancer-causing substances: Cooking meat at high temperatures can result in the release of cancer-causing substances. To reduce this, it is advisable not to overcook foods and maintain lower temperatures.
- Alcohol safety around the grill: always keep the alcohol, away from the bbq area. After all, it is a highly flammable liquid. And obviously, you should not bbq while under the influence.
- Do not use indoors: The grill and smoker should be kept in an open area in case of any fire or accident.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
By the end of our smoker reviews let’s quickly summarize all the essentials of picking the best smokers under 500. First of all, you need to determine what type of smoker you need: carefully weigh in all the pros and cons and go with whichever type suits you best. From that point on, consider the size and what features you need. Keep all this in mind and we’re certain that you will find the best smoker under 500 2023 in no time!
So we wish you good luck, and let us know if you also have some recommendations on how to pick the most suitable smoker!