Electric vs Charcoal Smoker

Craving for juicy and smoky-flavored steak is common among-st foodies. It can be strenuous to go out and get a well-smoked dish whenever you crave it. Why not get a smoker and make your smoked dishes at home?

 A smoker is the most popular apparatus for juicy meats, barbecues, and steak recipes.

 Are you looking to buy a smoker? Well, there are two types of smokers that dominate the cooking scene- Charcoal and electric smokers. These smokers have their pros and cons, and different features.

 Wondering which smoker will suit you best? Let’s take a ride and find out.

What is an electric smoker?

An electric smoker is powered by electricity, rather than natural resources such as charcoal and gas. The electric smokers used metal rods as their way of generating heat to cook up the meat. Wood chips or a piece of wood is used to generate smoke in an electric smoker.

What is a charcoal smoker?

 Charcoal smokers, just like their name, use charcoal as their fuel. The charcoal heats up the wet wood chips to generate smoke for a steady flow of smoke.

Comparison between charcoal and electric smoker

Now you know what an electric smoker is, and what a charcoal smoker is. Now let’s look at what features are prominent in a charcoal smoker and the ones prominent in an electric smoker. Let’s dive in right away!

  1. Temperature

Most electric smokers will generate heat up to 275F, which is often the maximum for most brands. Charcoal smokers can hit 350F. For the lower range, electric smokers usually have a lower temperature side of 11F, while the charcoal smokers have a temperature of around 125F.

 So for cooking in higher temperatures, charcoal smokers carry the day. For slow and low cooking, electric smokers win.

  1. Inner cooking space

There are times that we just want to have a lot of steaks, probably for the guests or just a feast for the family. Electric smokers have more cooking space than charcoal smokers. Electric smokers have more racks, and the cooking space is often something between 700 and 1000 square inches. Charcoal smokers will often have something between 350 square inches to around 600 square inches. So in terms of inner cooking space, electric cookers are unbeaten.

  1. Cleaning-Up

Cleaning up the ashes and the drips from the smoked food is usually hectic. We are often tempted to postpone the task because it is just so annoying. The solution to this is getting a smoker that makes cleaning easier.

In terms of cleaning, electric smokers take the day home. Electric smokers come with a drip tray that collects residues from the drips and ash. Furthermore, with electric smokers, there is no accumulation of ash-like in charcoal smokers. Nobody loves to clear the sooty sides of charcoal smokers.

  1. Portability

Imagine smoking your steak or briskets over a bonfire or a campsite? How about smoking it in the yard while chilling out with your guests? Sounds like an enticing idea? I know.

If you are looking for a portable smoker that you can carry to your outdoor events, then a charcoal smoker it is. You don’t need to have electricity at the campsite to smoke your meat. You can, therefore, use it with ease if you cannot access electricity.

Besides the electricity factor, most charcoal smokers come with handles and wheels. You can easily carry them around.

  1. Cooking ease

Constantly checking the smoker to ensure the smoking is progressing well can be quite hectic. We want to engage in other tasks and not sit around for 10 hours. How about we watch TV? Put a house in order or engage our guests while the meat smokes?

 If you are what I’d call a ‘lazy smoker,’ you better go for an electric cooker.

An electric cooker does not need constant monitoring like a charcoal smoker. With charcoal smokers, you need to stay around and ensure the charcoal is still on. You have to keep adding the charcoal and ensure that it is heating up.

Controlling the temperatures and texture of the food in a charcoal smoker is quite involving and challenging. So if you are an amateur, you may want to go for an electric smoker thanks to its digital control that makes regulation easier.

 An electric smoker gives a charcoal smoker a run for its money when it comes to cooking ease.

  1. Affordability

There are two sides to this coin. Purchasing an electric smoker is more expensive than purchasing a charcoal smoker. However, the cost of fueling the charcoal cooler will eventually make a charcoal cooler more expensive.

So, it is entirely up to you. Do you want to purchase a charcoal cooler cheaply and spend loads of cash to fuel it? Or do you want to purchase an electric cooker and spend less on fueling it?

  1. The flavor of the smoked food

Veterans in smoking food will say that charcoal smokers give an enticing and exotic flavor to the meat. Most of them will argue that an electric smoker will never get anything close to the charcoal smoker when it comes to the flavor of food. However, a lot of people out there are not capable of differentiating a charcoal smoked steak from an electric smoked steak.


Both charcoal and electric smokers have their strengths and weaknesses. None is better than the other; it’s just a matter of preference. So, it is all up to you to decide your cooking needs. Weigh the factors discussed above and settle for what works best for you.

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