Best propane smoker

Grilling & Outdoor Cooking

Do not open the door of your smoker in the middle of cooking. This will release smoke and heat, negatively affecting the cooking process.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which propane smoker is best?

Smoking is one of the most tried and true methods of cooking available, especially for serving up large amounts of tender, succulent meats like ribs and brisket. Don’t think they’re only for meat though, as anything can be smoked to impart the same delicious flavor. The best propane smoker is the Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow Propane Smoker. This beast of a machine has four individual smoking racks and the 15,400 BTU burner is powerful and efficient.

What to know before you buy a propane smoker

British thermal units

British thermal units, or BTUs, are the measurement of how much heat a given burner can produce. More BTUs aren’t necessarily always better, as smaller propane smokers require fewer BTUs and propane smokers which use a cold smoking method require drastically fewer BTUs. Averaged-sized propane smokers of medium to high quality have between 10,000 and 20,000 BTUs.


Just like an oven, propane smokers need to remain sealed to ensure even heat distribution. Unlike ovens, they require “refueling” in the form of adding wood chips and/or water during the cooking process, which can release heat and drop the temperature. Two-door propane smokers get around this problem by having a smaller, individually hinged door on the bottom of the propane smoker to allow you to refuel while limiting the amount of heat and smoke that escapes.

Hot vs. cold smoking

While the most common smoking method is hot smoking, some foods are too susceptible to heat and need to be smoked at much lower temperatures. Hot smoking is typically accomplished between temperatures of 165 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit, while cold smoking works best between temperatures of 90 and 120 degrees.

What to look for in a quality propane smoker

One-touch ignition

Gone are the days when you needed to use ignitable fluids and matches to start up a smoker. Many propane smokers instead include a one-touch ignition button that can quickly and easily ignite your chosen fuel source.


Every propane smoker has a large, central rack strong enough to hold the heavyweights of commonly smoked meats like poultry, ribs or brisket. Many propane smokers will also include smaller racks meant to either hold foods or hang them. Popular uses for these smaller racks include smoking sausages, cheeses, fish and vegetables.

How much you can expect to spend on a propane smoker

Propane smokers can be an excellent addition to your cooking repertoire. Mid-tier options generally cost $150–$200, but if you know you’ll be smoking regularly, it’s wise to spend $250 or more for a high-quality, long-lasting propane smoker.

Propane smoker FAQ

How long does it take to use a full tank of propane?

A. How long it takes to empty a full tank of propane when using a smoker varies enough based on the factors of your specific smoker and the temperatures of both your cooking setting and the air around the smoker.. Follow these steps: measure the weight of your propane tank before cooking, then again after your cooking has ceased. Take the difference in weight and divide by the length of your cook. Finish with the appropriate conversions and the result will be how many pounds of propane you use an hour. For comparison, the average tank weighs 17 pounds and contains 4.8 pounds of propane.

Why should I buy a propane smoker instead of a wood/charcoal or electric smoker?

A. Propane smokers are a good middle option between wood/charcoal smokers and electric smokers. Their flavor isn’t as rich as wood/charcoal smokers but is superior to electric smokers. They are also easier to use than wood/charcoal. 

What’s the best propane smoker to buy?

Top propane smoker

Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow Propane Smoker

Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow Propane Smoker

What you need to know: This best of the best propane smoker is large enough to feed plenty and efficient enough not to waste your propane.

What you’ll love: Four smoking racks allow for plenty of food to be smoked at once.

What you should consider: The paint on the inside often needs to be replaced before or after the first real use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top propane smoker for the money

Cuisinart Vertical 36” Propane Smoker

Cuisinart Vertical 36-Inch Propane Smoker

What you need to know: This is a great, lower-cost propane smoker option.

What you’ll love: Don’t let the size fool you, this smaller option can still smoke plenty of meat at once.

What you should consider: This propane smoker requires assembly.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Dyna-Glo 36” Vertical Propane Smoker

Dyna-Glo 36-Inch Vertical Propane Smoker

What you need to know: Dyna-Glo’s smoker is large enough for most people and runs very reliably. 

What you’ll love: The push-button ignition makes starting this propane smoker up easy and the four included racks are easily adjustable.

What you should consider: Some of the smoke may leak out from cracks in the door.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

Most Popular