Best Smokers Under $500 to Buy in 2021 – Budget-Friendly

Are you tired of smoking your food on a slapdash smoker ruining it? Time to invest in a reliable smoker. But was it really in your budget? Well, worry no more. Here are 10 of the best smokers under 500.

We listed smokers for under 300 and 200$ but why not spend a little more and buy something better? Well, if you have the money to spend, 500$ is more than enough for a nice gadget. 

You can find a smoke that meets your needs and meets your budget. You will also find a smoking machine with digital controls, Bluetooth connectivity, and a wide variety of other features.

The top 10 products are arranged by features and characteristics so you can easily distinguish them and pick the top product that best matches your desires. You can make the right choice based upon your size, budget, and style wishes.

Best Smoker Under $500 – Reviews & Buying Guide

We’ll head straight to the best smokers under $500.

1. Weber Smokey 18″ Charcoal – Best Smoker under 500

Best Smoker Under $500

With a sleek design and legs made of rust resistant materials, Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker is the best choice. This comes in three different sizes with the most efficient size being the 18-inch.

  • Easy to assemble
  • Seals very tightly
  • Efficient temperature control
  • Perfect airflow system

If you are looking for an ideal smoking solution for your family, the product features dimensions of 21 x 19 x 41 inches. This model has three different sections, the upper, middle, and the lower.

 The top layer contains the open lid, and the middle contains three pieces (one each of the top grill and water pan), while the bottom consists of the firepot and drip tray. Go here for more reviews of barbecue smokehouses.

Despite its relatively low weight, the cooking area is sufficient for grilling a large quantity of meat. The weight is justifiable at 39 pounds.

It provides easy to use and control and allows for accurate temperature measurements within the chamber. In addition, the built-in thermometer lets you keep tabs on the internal temperature.

A series of air vents are efficiently built in to provide full temperature control and a perfect airflow system. Three of these air vents are present at the base of the cabinet, while one is on the lid.

Add enough water to the cigarette before smoking, as adding more water after smoking makes it more difficult. The loose door in the middle could lead to the leaking of heat with smoke, which may reduce its efficiency.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Seals very tightly
  • Efficient temperature control
  • Perfect airflow system

Cons

  • Prone to leaking
  • No wheels

2. Masterbuilt 20060416 – best small smoker

Best Smoker Under $500

There is no other product as small and simple as this for smoking. It is best suited for gatherings that are relatively small, of 14 inches in diameter. 

A trendier product than the average one, it comes in the smaller dimensions of 19 x 21 x 31. Due to its lighter weight, the product only weighs 15.26 pounds, so it is easy to move as long as you don’t use any tires.

  • Size is small
  • Perfect small gatherings
  • Enough cooking area
  • Quite low

A built-in thermometer is built right into the lid, making it a practical solution for foods of relatively smaller size that should not be heated to temperatures exceeding 141 degrees Fahrenheit.

These are good for when you’re on the go and they’re small enough to take on a nice picnic. However, they’re also high maintenance since you have to keep them well fuelled.

The ventilation is compromised by the absence of any airflow dampers, but if you drill some holes near the bottom you can allow some air to pass. This modification can increase its efficiency.

Without the ashtray, this is quite a laborious process, and the charcoal plate must be removed manually. Looking for an offset smoker? Here is a detailed review article on the best offset smokers.

Pros

  • Size is small
  • Perfect small gatherings
  • Enough cooking area
  • Quite low

Cons

  • Single air damper
  • Ventilation is poor
  • Consumes more fuel
  • Malfunctioned thermometer

3. Barton Vertical 18 inch – best electric smoker under 500

Best Smoker Under $500

It is perfect if you want a combination of two kinds of cigarettes. The 18-inch size can accommodate a considerable amount of smoke. The 42 pounds weight is reasonable because of the product’s size.

  • Perfect for every food
  • Easy in use
  • Full temperature control
  • In-built thermometer

 A smoking device is a great way to smoke virtually any type of food, even on a large scale, while using little modifications. It can be used for grilling, barbecuing, roasting, and steaming as well.

There is a large capacity for cooking large quantities of meat as this product has two racks at two heat levels, which provide diverse temperatures. It has two racks at two heat levels.

Obviously, the thermometer is fixed to the lid, making it possible to tell if the temperature is okay at any time. The design of a smoker allows for a uniform distribution of heat. 

There are two pairs of air dampers incorporated into the construction of a cooking chamber to achieve maximum temperature control by rotating only one lid of each damper, allowing required heat to radiate while maintaining the temperature within the cooking chamber.

The device does not come with wheels, making it difficult to move. Two people must work together to change the wheels and it is difficult for one person to move it. Regarding the tires, they can be added to the ends of the legs if you want.

Pros

  • Perfect for every food
  • Easy in use
  • Full temperature control
  • In-built thermometer

Cons

  • No tires
  • Difficulty in cleaning

4. Char-Broil Bullet Charcoal Smoker, 16 inches

Char-Broil Bullet

There are 16 inches available and the dimensions are 21.2 x 23 x 37.6 inches. It weighs 42.4 pounds. The porcelain is made strong and durable, but not too thick, as it justifies the price.

  • Door to add fuel
  • Manual temperature control
  • Ash collecting plate
  • Bulk size with robust featuring

Integrated temperature monitoring is achieved with automatic airflow and lid rotation. Ventilation could be adjusted by either manual top and bottom lid rotations or by using the built-in temperature gauge.

It gives you a big cooking area for smoking large quantities of food. The bottom of the smoker has a removable ashtray for easy cleaning. A hinged door to add fuel or flavor is on the bottom. The smoker requires continual fuel and water servings for the perfect outcome.

There is some leakage of heat and smoke from the door, but the seal on the lid isn’t perfect, and there’s also some leakage of heat and smoke from the lid. However, this has minimal effect on the smoker’s efficiency.

Pros

  • Door to add fuel
  • Manual temperature control
  • Ash collecting plate
  • Bulk size with robust featuring

Cons

  • No wheels
  • Lid and door not tight
  • Refueling required regularly

5. Z Grills 2019 Upgraded – Best Pellet Grill under 500

Z Grills 2019 Upgraded

Those seeking natural flavor will appreciate a wood pellet grill. The molded top design is different from that of a traditional barbecue grill. 

There are six ways to cook with this product, including steaming, smoking, grilling, barbecuing, baking and roasting making it a 6-in-1 appliance. Its dimensions are 47 x 20 x 45 inches and can weigh 84 pounds.

  • Sloped grease tray
  • Large cooking space
  • Automatic pallet feeding
  • Perfect temperature maintenance

The heavy-duty electric smoker is very easy to move around because of its wheels and brakes. When cooking, it provides a wide cooking area and a small basket beneath for catching grease or ash. It has electric control which makes keeping the temperature simple.

On the inside, there is an oblique grease plate that lets the grease flow from the smoker into a basket beside it. It operates somewhat like a traditional stove with an ignition system. 

Furthermore, it provides a spacious cooking space regardless of its shape, it is just as spacious inside.

Just by pointing your finger in the right direction, you can adjust the desired temperature immediately to your preference. 

Regardless of temperature, the unit uses the appropriate pallets. The unit is durable yet remarkably affordable.

Pros

  • Sloped grease tray
  • Large cooking space
  • Automatic pallet feeding
  • Perfect temperature maintenance

Cons

  • Not a perfect smoker
  • Heating is not uniform
  • Ignitor malfunctions sooner

6. Americana Stainless Steel – best electric water smoker

Americana Stainless Steel

A flat model reminds us of a chimney, and it’s made of stainless steel, so it has a metallic appearance. 

Also, there are two doors on each grid of the body in addition to what is found in the dimensions of 27 x 21.5 x 34 inches and 9.9 pounds, which is somewhat light.

  • Adjustable in small spaces
  • Durable stainless-steel body
  • Wooden handles
  • Best for slow cooking

There are two cooking levels, two temperatures, and a temperature gauge that lets you keep an eye on the temperature just as you would on a regular smoker. This smoker runs on electricity, so this is meant for indoor grilling. 

Regardless of whether people find the lid of the unit problematic, the lid is designed loosely to allow for better air crossing, and this is to allow for better air crossing. Now you know where you can find your best vertical smoker.

In the middle of the firebox hangs a water pan with a steel rack with doors on each other to see how much coal is left and water is left to replenish the firebox. In this way, no heat is lost through the top while fueling the firebox.

It is powered by electric energy – using almost 1500 watts of electricity. Hence you can plug it into any switch in your home to begin smoking. It fits well indoors and not ideal for outside due to its basic structure.

Pros

  • Adjustable in small spaces
  • Durable stainless-steel body
  • Wooden handles
  • Best for slow cooking

Cons

  • The lid doesn’t fit
  • No heat controlling

7. Char-Broil 19202089 – Barrel Drum Smoker

Char-Broil 19202089

Its distinctive design makes the smoker different from others. The porcelain coating on the steel base makes it impervious to the elements and extremely durable. Dimensions of this smoker are 30.3 x 25.4 x 43.3 inches and weighing quite a considerable 136.6 pounds.

  • Efficiently retains temperatures
  • Less fuel consumption
  • Large steel wheels
  • Water-pan not needed

Additionally, its high size permits smoking large quantities at a time, and it has a huge coal basket that allows storage of large amounts during longer periods.

Despite this, the ashtray can be removed, making removal and cleaning effortless, and holes are punched all around so that smoke is spread evenly. It takes less fuel and continues to work for longer periods without interfering.

The airflow system is quite different and chimney-like, so you can move almost anywhere. The damper on the top prevents it from blowing out. The product has large wheels so you can easily move it.

There is an integrated thermostat designed for easy temperature monitoring. The dampers in the vents are noticeably different than the ones used by other brands and the lids on both make it easy to control and observe the high temperature inside.

The amount of coal that needs to be burned is much less and for a longer time; thus there is no need to continuously add burning materials. This attribute makes gas stoves even more budget-friendly.

Pros

  • Efficiently retains temperatures
  • Less fuel consumption
  • Large steel wheels
  • Water-pan not needed

Cons

  • Misfittings at joints
  • Grease leaking
  • Thermostat not accurate

8. Char-Broil Vertical – Best Propane Gas Smoker

Char-Broil Vertical

Despite the simple appearance of this smoker, which resembles a small refrigerator, it’s a great starter unit since it’s straightforward. Its dimensions are 19.5 x 21.5 x 45.5 inches. It weighs approximately 25 pounds.

  • Burning material versatile
  • Slide-out water tray
  • Quick to use
  • Usable anywhere

Since propane is simple to turn on, you can use it anywhere, besides at a picnic or while on your travels. Moreover, all you need is a propane unit that you can take along with you.

It is less maintenance-friendly than electric smoke aerators and doesn’t need a fixed energy source, to begin with. The ignition is just like a standard burner. Once lit, it takes no effort to keep the fire going.

The bottom section of the cooking chamber includes a separate drawer to hold wood chips and water. You can remove the drawer and add wood chips or water while remaining within the cooking chamber, which makes it more efficient. The propane burner enables the temperature to be maintained effectively.

Both the upper cooking chamber and the coal drawer below have different temperatures that can be easily monitored at the same time. Three racks are set so that three types of foods can be cooked at different temperatures at a time.

This is also one of the most versatile burners since you can use it to burn all sorts of materials, including chunks of wood, chips of wood, or wood pallets as its burning material. However, the smoker will not function properly without the water pan.

Pros

  • Burning material versatile
  • Slide-out water tray
  • Quick to use
  • Usable anywhere

Cons

  • Complex setup
  • Inefficient heat control

9. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D – Charcoal Offset Smoker Under 500

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D

The product is like a small refrigerator with six racks at different levels, allowing you to cook food depending on the temperature requirement. 

A relatively heavier version with a weight of 76.8 pounds measures 20.2x 34.5x 47 inches.

  • Six racks
  • Oblique bottom
  • Good air-adjustment
  • Alterable chimney 

The top of the smoker has a small chimney that simultaneously controls the quantity of smoke and the temperature. The chimney is easily adjustable so it can be adjusted according to your preference by just rotating it in a particular direction. 

You can monitor the temperature at the door of the smoker from the inbuilt thermostat.

A small, smaller flame box is attached to the main cooking chamber, between the firebox and the roof. A metal plate is between the flame box and the firebox roof.

Furthermore, a small ash collector is present that facilitates cleanup by collecting all residue. Furthermore, the roof of the firebox can serve as a fire warmer, the heat is caused by the combustion in a smaller fire chamber, which distributes it along with smoke as efficiently as possible.

This is not a mobile model, and it also does not have wheels. It has two strong handles on each side, making transporting it impossible for one person. Two people can, however, pick it up easily together.

It has six racks that allow more space and diverse temperature levels, whereas the racks are adjustable to some extent. The cooking chamber bottom is slanted, allowing grease and moisture to be collected into a small pan, which is removable.

Pros

  • Six racks
  • Oblique bottom
  • Good air-adjustment
  • Alterable chimney

Cons

  • Doesn’t have wheels
  • Smoke leaks
  • Firebox is smaller

10. PIT Boss PBV3P1 – Vertical Pellet Smoker Under 500

PIT Boss PBV3P1

It is interesting to see a smoker with a transparent door. This type of door is often made with glass that can resist high temperatures, however, it may crack. The product is 26 x 22 x 53 inches in diameter. 

It is remarkably light, weighing 97 pounds. Given its size, it provides 901 sq. of cooking surface.

  • Excellent isolation
  • Digital controls
  • LED readouts
  • Four wheels

This smoker works like a grill, but only as a smoker. It has four small tires that facilitate locomotion, and it holds 40 pounds of stuff so it doesn’t need to be fed constantly. 

There is a small palette on the back of the product that makes the removal of burned material very convenient.

Additionally, it works with electricity, but the cord isn’t very long, so you need extension mostly to reach the electricity source. Additionally, it has four racks that give four different levels of heat. 

A small plate beneath helps collect grease. At the back is a big chamber for loading the burning material and can hold a large amount of wood or pallets for burning over a large period.

There’s temperature control on the cooking chamber that can be controlled manually. A digital thermometer and LED make it super easy to monitor the temperature. This heater’s also really precise, so no worries about going over your menu.

Pros

  • Excellent isolation
  • Digital controls
  • LED readouts
  • Four wheels
  • Transparent door

Cons

  • Shorter electric wire
  • Cannot grill
  • May have some leaks

With 500 or less, a good quality smoker is more than likely attainable by just about anyone. To solve your dilemma of what to buy, we selected the top 10 available products. Some of these prices are lower than some big-budget smokers yet provide the same delectable smokey flavor.

Simply put, you can buy the best smoker under $500 easily without having to worry about the quality of food or durability. Feel free to leave comments on whatever appeals to you.

Types Of Smokers To Consider

In order to choose from one of the smokers on our list, it is important you first know what kind of smokers there are and which to choose.

You can either choose from:

Charcoal Smokers: 

The smoker will use the interactive nature of charcoal, similar to the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. You will control the oxygen, the temperature, and the chimney starter. 

Many may argue that it gives one of the finest flavors, but this ultimately depends on the taste of the individual. If you wish for delicious hardened meat, then charcoal is the way to go. However, charcoal is a little more work than that of an electric, gas or pellet smoker.

Gas or Propane Smokers: 

For those looking for a hands-off smokehouse, the Smoke Hollow 44241GW is perfect. It can be set and left to do its own thing so you can get on with other matters. It’s a great choice for parties and large families. 

These smokers generally do not get hot as fast as other smokehouses. It is actually easier to control, the food does not burn so it lasts 15 hours more easily. It does, however, run narrow, so you can not cook a lot of food at one time.

Pellet Smokers: 

Popular nowadays has been the pellet smoker, like the Z GRILLS ZPG-450A. This is also low-maintenance and is a great choice if you’re seeking a smoker that requires very little maintenance. 

With its thermostatic control, you can leave the smoking and grilling to the machine while you enjoy the party. 

Usually, they are a bit more expensive as well, since they do not require manual re-feeding after they run dry. Also, they do not require re-feeding, so you do not need to worry about re-feeding.

Electric Smokers:

If you’re looking for something with a long smoking time and yielding some amazing meat, then you’re probably going to want an electric smoker. 

This makes a cook take longer than 12 hours—which might be considered a disadvantage. However, it performs extremely well for moisture and temperature stability. Since there is no charcoal, an electric smoker requires power and extension cords.

Feature to consider when choosing the best smoker under $500 

Feature to consider when choosing the best smoker under $500

Look closely at the individual features of each smoker before choosing it for your backyard barbecue.

Temperatures

The most important thing you need to pay attention to when using a smoker is temperature control, no matter if you are a newbie or a seasoned veteran. Setting the right temperature will help cook the meat within the time allocated for it, and leave your guests not hungry.

Make sure that you get a grill that can be controlled easily by the temperature.

Smoker’s size equals capacity

A larger smoker that has a large capacity is recommended if you have a large family or are planning on cooking a lot in a short amount of time.

There are some smokers that can hold a whole lot of food, like the Masterbuilt 20077515. However, the smaller ones work just as well — they just take longer to cook if you’re planning to cook more food.

You can even find smokers which include a hanging rack that allows you to hang sausages, making it easier to hold food.

Build materials

The design of these smokers will feature steel—however, the type of steel differs from grill to grill. Since most smokers are under $500, they’ll have stainless steel materials generally.

Vents

In order for you to be a hands-on griller, it will be necessary to install those vented openings so that the heat inside and outside of the smoker is regulated. The recommended amount of ventilation is two—one on the top and one on the bottom.

Water pan

It is important to pay attention to the temperature of a water pan when it is hot; this ensures your food will not be burnt.

By letting the water fill the container, it will also help maintain the ideal temperature.

Thermostats

At any given moment, the grill’s thermostat will show the exact temperature that the meat is at. 

If you’re a beginner at grilling, then these thermostats are great hints as to how hot it should be based on what kinds of meat you’re cooking.

Weight

You may also find that the weight holds a problem if you intend to move your grill from the ground to your deck, or if you intend to bolt it down to your deck. So make sure you get the proper weight that agrees with your situation and preference. 

Smokers that have wheels can also be used in transportation, such as the Oklahoma Joe’s Highland Reverse Flow Smoker.

Warranty

Also consider securing a warranty, especially since your friends and family are investing in your home—not only for their good looks but for yours.

 A good smoker in your backyard can greatly enhance your grill out experience, making your house the hottest spot in town (which means you won’t have to drive everywhere).

Don’ts of smoking

Before you test out your new smoker, here are some things you need to remember:

  • Go for the biggest piece of meat in the meat department, whether it is the smallest or the largest – you cannot skimp on quality.
  • Please ensure that you are using the correct fire starter. If the smoker accepts hydrocarbons, do not use charcoal.
  • It’s very easy to get overwhelmed when trying to control everything at the same time. If you see your meat isn’t cooking as it should be, adjust one thing when it comes to your meat cooking temp.
  • It is important not to drink too much while you are overseeing the grill. If you feel you no longer have control, pass the spatula to someone you consider reliable.
  • Make sure you don’t stuff the smoker with too many chunks of wood or close the vents to retain more smoke. You’re already smoking the meat, so if you can reduce that the better.
  • Finally—give it time. It is important to take your time when smoking. Permit the meat to get to the right temperature in a reasonable amount of time. Rushing the process will not produce better results.

FAQ’s

Is it difficult to use and operate the smokers?

The use of a smoker is not difficult. 1. First, you need to set the temperature between 180 to 275 degrees F, as per the food you are smoking. Place the food in the food chamber and cover it with foil and the smoker will do its work for hours. 2.

Are smoking and grilling two different things?

There is some differentiation between grilling and smoking. Smoking is the process of cooking at low temperatures with the smoke of wood or charcoal while applying direct dry heat to produce the crustiness of the food. Grilling requires cooking the food at higher temperatures with direct dry heat.

Is it difficult to clean a smoker?

Some smokers come with easily removed parts and a water pan and waste oil collector that make cleaning the appliance relatively simple. Otherwise, scrubbing may require a considerable amount of time and effort.

Does too much smoke helps for better smoking in wood or charcoal smoker?

No. Too much smoke might result in a blockage of the heat energy transferred from the food to heating sources. This could indicate an unfavorable, bitter and smoky taste.

Is it necessary to add wooden chips while smoking?

To achieve an optimum smoke layer, it is important to add wood chips to smoke as the fuel slowly depletes.

Is it necessary to preheat a smoker?

To start the smoking process, it is necessary to pre-heat the smoker so that it attains the required temperature before placing the meat inside.