Have you decided on a propane smoker and want to make sure you’re buying the right one?
Great, you’re in the right place!
In this TheGrillingDad.com guide, you’ll learn:
- What to look for in a gas smoker
- How often to add wood chips
- Top 7 best propane smokers (2021 Review)
- And much more!
Diving into the world of smoking is an exciting endeavor because you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
Once you’ve decided to buy a smoker, you’ll have to research its different types and what the benefits of each are.
Since you’re already reading this article, however, it’s safe to assume that you’ve narrowed down your options to buying propane smokers but still don’t know which one to pick.
Am I right?
The market is bombarded with several models of propane smokers, so choosing which model to invest in can be a challenge.
Fortunately, I’ve been able to test several different models for your benefit.
Now you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars finding out which ones are actually worth the money.
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Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
Our top pick is the 40-inch propane smoker from Masterbuilt because they produce the best quality and design when it comes to smokers.
Masterbuilt uses only the highest quality and materials. Its large viewing window reduces the temptation to keep opening the smoker to check on your food, which helps keep the heat inside.
They’ve mastered and patented a thermostat for extremely accurate temperatures throughout the entire cook.
The 4 chrome-coated racks can hold up to 16 chickens, 6 turkeys, 8 racks of ribs, or 8 pork butts. You’ll have plenty of room for everything you’re looking to smoke.
Demand is high for Masterbuilt’s Propane Smokers right now, so get your hands on yours and have them shipped to your doorstep from Amazon today.
Table of Contents
What Should You Look For In A Propane Smoker?
When buying a propane smoker, keep these 3 things in mind:
- Number Of Doors
- Door Leaks
- Smoker Size
1. Number of Doors
If you haven’t used one before you may be wondering why this is important.
Having two doors on your gas smoker means you can add more wood chips without letting any of the smoke or heat out.
2. Door Leaks
With any smoker, you want the heat and smoke to stay inside while you’re smoking, right?
Some cheap gas smokers are slapped together and they add a thing door without a high temp gasket seal.
It’s not a total deal-breaker, as you can add it yourself, but if you don’t want to make modifications to your new smoker, avoid the ones with leaky doors.
3. Smoker Size
If you’re making food for a large group regularly like me, you’ll want to pay close attention to the actual size of the smoker.
Get one that is wide enough to fit the meats you plan to smoke.
How Does A Gas Smoker Work?
Smokers that use propane have a very simple design, which is great.
Let’s take a quick look at how they’re put together.
When looking at the anatomy of a gas smoker, you’ll notice the gas burners are almost always at the bottom with a hose that leads to the propane tank on the outside.
Above the burners is typically a water pan and the wood chip tray. These can be in either order depending on the model.
Finally, above that are the racks your food will sit on while cooking, and a damper or chimney that allows for proper air flow.
Pro Tip >> Keep the top damper or chimney open while smoking to prevent soot buildup on your food.
Now let’s dive into how they work.
The propane is ignited which is going to be the main heat source for your new smoker.
From there, the propane will heat the wood chips that are typically right above the flame. This is how the smoke is created.
Quick Note >> Some models have a designated burner just for wood chips and a separate burner for heating the unit.
The smoke will flow upwards and penetrate the meat adding that amazing smoke flavor. The top damper or chimney will allow the right amount of smoke to escape and keep the air clean and hot.
The water pan is used to help keep the meat moist and to prevent the air inside of the smoker from getting too hot too quickly.
Our Reviews Of The Best 5 Propane Smokers
The newest propane smoker built and manufactured by Masterbuilt is known to be one of the best models on the market today.
The Masterbuilt Propane Smoker has been reconfigured and designed to offer increased and better features than its predecessors.
One of the best features of this model is its thermostatic temperature control. This feature allows us to easily control or regulate the gas flow to the burner.
For someone who is looking for a smoker that provides an extremely accurate temperature when smoking different kinds of meats, the Masterbuilt is a great option.
Aside from giving us more control over how our meats are cooked, the Masterbuilt Propane Smoker also offers space.
This propane smoker has four racks with chrome-coating, giving us a large 792 sq. inches of cooking room. With this space, we can cook large amounts of meat at the same time.
We’re talking up to 16 chickens, 6 turkeys, 8 racks of ribs, or 8 pork butts.
We can cook from as low as 180 to as high as 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range allows us to cook meat low and slow and still get the perfect crispy skin when we cook chicken.
It also has a window on the door, so we can conveniently look at our food without opening anything.
It also comes with a built-in sensor that automatically cuts off the gas flow when it detects that the flame has been extinguished.
One more note — this thing is built to last. The high-quality materials make it feel like it can withstand the test of time.
- Thermostatic control: It has a patented thermostat attached to the rear to easily communicate to its burner system. This feature provides more stable and accurate temperatures when cooking.
- Fuel gauge and LP tank connector: The fuel gauge ensures that we don’t run out of propane while cooking. The LP gas tank is attached to the side of the smoker, making it easier for us to maneuver the smoker when cooking.
- Two-door access: Masterbuilt gives us two-door access, which means we can conveniently open the lower door to access the chip tray and not worry about disturbing our food. The chip tray of this propane smoker is connected to the door and is simple to refill.
- Extremely Accurate Temperatures
- Fuel Guage To Prevent Guesswork
- Convenient 2 Door Access
- It comes with a warranty, which is nice, but it is limited. Luckily, I’ve never had to use it with Masterbuilt products.
If you’re on a tight budget, the Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker is an excellent option.
This propane smoker provides a great range of features and comes with a reasonable price tag.
The Dyna-Glo Propane Smoker gives us four adjustable steel wheel racks and a large cooking capacity of 784 sq. inches.
It also has a double door system where we can easily access our wood chips without having to open or disturb the cooking chamber.
With this feature, our meats can continue to cook regardless of how often we put wood chips in the smoker.
The temperature controller is a very nice feature, which makes grilling with consistent temps possible.
Even with its low price tag, we can still enjoy an electronic ignition button, a control dial, and a 15,000 BTU burner from the Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker.
- Spacious smoker box: Cooking large pieces of meat can be inconvenient, especially if our propane smoker is too small to fit everything at once. With the Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker, we don’t have to worry about this problem because it actually has a large smoker box. This will enable us to cook large chunks of meat at one time, saving us time and energy during the process.
- Easy access to chip tray: Thanks to its two-door design, we can easily refill wood chips in the Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical LP Gas Smoker even during a smoking session.
- Spacious Smoker Box
- Easy Access Chip Tray
- 4 Adjustable Racks
- It struggles to keep up temps in cold weather
While some people focus on the power of the smoker, others are paying more attention to its aesthetics.
If you’re like me, looking for a propane smoker that provides power and looks appealing, the Broil King Vertical Natural Gas Cabinet Smoker is one of the best options today.
For starters, the Broil King Vertical Natural Gas Cabinet Smoker uses a stainless steel gas burner, allowing us to use the smoker for a lifetime and not worry about rust or corrosion.
With its 770 sq. inches of cooking space, we can also finally cook large amounts of meat at one time.
When it comes to appeal, the Broil King Vertical Natural Gas Cabinet Smoker is second to none.
Its overall design is clean and requires little assembly, which means that we don’t have to tire ourselves out just to start using it.
The Broil King Vertical Natural Gas Cabinet Smoker also comes in a black finish that will look good when placed along with other outdoor cooking appliances and furniture.
Another reason why we should consider investing in the Broil King Vertical Natural Gas Cabinet Smoker is its ease of use.
If you don’t have much experience using a propane smoker, the Broil King Vertical Natural Gas Cabinet Smoker is certainly a great buy because it’s also easy to maintain.
We can simply wipe out the smoker using a cleaning brush or paper towels to get rid of any stubborn particles.
- Excellent construction quality: The construction quality of the Broil King Vertical Natural Gas Cabinet Smoker is superior as it comes with insulated panels and a full steel design. The construction of the Broil King Vertical Natural Gas Cabinet Smoker also allows smoke and heat to be kept inside, making it more energy-efficient and economical to use.
- Attractive finish: The Broil King Vertical Natural Gas Cabinet Smoker has a black finish that makes any outdoor kitchen look sleeker and more polished.
- Can be used with wood chips and charcoal: The primary fuel source is propane, but the chip tray is large enough to add in some charcoal to get that unique charcoal and wood taste without using a charcoal grill.
- Excellent Construction Quality
- Attractive Finish
- Can Even Use Charcoal
- There’s no timer or digital settings that you’d expect as a high-end model.
Another budget-friendly propane smoker we can invest in today is the Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36″ Propane Smoker.
This brand is known for creating high-quality yet affordable kitchen appliances and their propane smoker is an excellent example.
In fact, this brand is one of the most popular when it comes to propane smokers.
The Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36″ Propane Smoker is a great buy for budget-conscious individuals because it has four 14×14 removable stainless grills and gives us 784 sq. inches of cooking area.
The overall design of it shares features with some of the other vertical cabinet-style smokers presented in this article.
With this gas smoker, we can still get a two-door design that can be used to access the wood chips tray even during cooking.
Unlike the other propane smokers in this article, it stands out because it comes with a 3-year warranty. This will surely give us the best bang for our buck.
- Made from high-quality materials: Even though it’s cheaper than other propane smokers, the Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36″ Propane Smoker is made from high-quality materials. This ensures the durability of the propane smoker regardless of how often we use it.
- Tight seal: The twist-lock door of the Cuisinart COS-244 Vertical 36″ Propane Smoker is solidly built, which means that smoke and heat can stay inside the smoker for longer periods and cook our meats faster.
- High-Quality Build
- Extremely Tight Seal
- 3 Year Warranty
- The chip and water tray design can block some heat and cause some chips not to ignite fully.
For individuals who aren’t fans of traveling and only plan to use their propane smokers in their homes or outdoor kitchens, the Smoke Hollow 44 Inch Vertical Gas Smoker is a great option.
This propane smoker is known for its power and size.
It is a 44-inch vertical smoker that offers seven cubic feet of cooking space.
Unlike the other propane smokers in this article, the Smoke Hollow 44 Inch Vertical Gas Smoker has five removable racks.
With this size, we can easily cook huge quantities of meat and other types of food altogether.
We’re talking smoking up to 20 chickens, 4 turkeys, 8 racks of ribs, or 16 pork butts.
The Smoke Hollow 44 Inch Vertical Gas Smoker also comes with a lot of power.
This propane smoker has two standard grids, one combination of grid and rib rack, and two jerky-style grids. These features will make it easier for us to cook our meats in different styles.
Since the Smoke Hollow 44 Inch Vertical Gas Smoker is both powerful and huge, we can expect that it’ll also use a decent amount of propane.
This is one of the reasons why the Smoke Hollow 44 Inch Vertical Gas Smoker is ideal for cooking meats in large quantities.
We don’t want to spend a lot of money buying propane gas and then only use it to smoke the occasional pork chop, right?
When it comes to its construction, it is a weighty and sturdy model.
- Dual chip trays: Even though the Smoke Hollow 44 Inch Vertical Gas Smoker has just one door, it has two wood chip trays that can be accessed without having to open the main chamber. This feature prevents temperature loss and allows the smoking process to continue regardless of how often we want to access the wood chip tray.
- High-quality construction: The Smoke Hollow 44 Inch Vertical Gas Smoker is enormous compared to other propane smokers on the market today. Its grates are chrome-plated, and its cabinets are built from welded steel.
- Dual Chip Trays
- High-Quality Construction
- Adjustable Air Dampers
- The door leaks some smoke, which means it’s using even more propane. A couple of modifications can fix this, though.
How Often Do You Add Wood Chips to a Propane Smoker?
When using a propane smoker, you’ll add wood chips at the beginning of your smoke and then every five to six hours afterward.
For short cooks, you may not have to re-add wood chips during the smoke.
How Long Does a 20lb Propane Tank Last on a Smoker?
When using your gas smoker and a 20-pound propane tank, you can expect it to last between 18 and 20 hours assuming you’re using a medium-sized smoker on high heat.
How Hot Does a Propane Smoker Get?
Most propane smokers will get as hot as 450ºF which is as hot as you’ll ever need for smoking meats.
Final Thoughts On Gas Smokers
As with any type of grilling and smoking, I cannot stress safety enough.
Some safety tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t bring your smoker indoors
- Keep the door open while igniting the flame
- Disconnect the propane tank when it’s not in use
- Don’t put your smoker cover on until it’s completely cool
Other pro tips:
- Keep an extra, full propane tank around in case you run out during a long smoke
- Add some vertical rib racks if you need more space while smoking ribs
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with adding different wood chips or even small pieces of charcoal
- It’s better to smoke longer at a low temp than to go hot and fast (in most cases)