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The Best Gas Smokers for 2020

If you don’t want to spend a whole day watching a fixed temperature as well as the whole smoking process then you need consider buying a gas smoker.

Smoking doesn’t have to be complicated if you have proper equipment, of course the meat still requires many hours. However gas smoker is more convenient and easier to use as well as allows to save a lot of time.

Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or not, I encourage you to read the whole article. This is a much less popular type of smoker, so I can understand that choosing a new one might be a difficult task. 

I have selected the best gas smokers out of many available on the market to help you pick the option that will meet your needs.

Comparison Table

MODEL

Cooking Space

Size

PRICE

Smoke Hollow 38-Inch Gas Smoker

Best Overall

Smoke Hollow 38-Inch

1120~ total sq. in.

38-inch

masterbuilt 30 inch propane smoker

Runner Up

Masterbuilt 30 inch Black Propane Smoker

717total sq. in.

30-inch

Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18 inch

Budget Pick

Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18

630 sq. in.

18-inch

The 3 Best Gas Smokers 2020 - Top Picks

1. Best Overall Smoke Hollow 38-Inch

Smoke Hollow 38-Inch offers 3.4 Cubic Feet of cooking capacity which is a pretty decent result, together with four chromed stands.

It only comes with one burner, but it’s a very strong one, which makes it great at warming up the entire surface.

A strong burner can achieve a high temperature of about 400 degrees in less than 10 minutes when the weather conditions are right.

Of course smoking usually requires 225-275 degrees F but the ability of Smoke Hollow to reach high temperatures in such short amount of time only shows the power of the burner and that it can handle even unfavorable weather conditions ( low temperature and cold wind ).

If you need more space then check out the bigger version, which comes with two burners.

The entire construction is divided into two parts, the first is the place for food whereas the second contains a huge wood chips container, a water container and the burner. Both parts have separate doors which means you can easily refill the wood chips container when smoking without having to open the upper part.

When it comes to the quality of the entire construction, it is fairly good considering the price but don’t expect miracles here.

What is the situation like when cooking? In my view, it is very good, what is most important is that the temperature is stable when smoking, propane consumption is adequate, and the space is sufficient.

PROS

  • Separate doors for food and fuel
  • Decent quality for the money

CONS

  • Only one burner
  • Little smoke leak

When it comes to the downsides, on the other hand, you should certainly expect smoke leakage through the front door. I recommend placing a gasket on the upper door which improves the situation a lot, but doesn’t eliminate it 100% as a gas smoker cannot be 100% airtight. Proper and safe burning of propane requires enough oxygen which is why a gasket cannot be placed on the lower door where the burner is located.

Another downside is certainly the not very accurate thermometer which is the case with most smokers. I always recommend buying a high-quality smoker thermometer with a probe which doesn’t cost that much while giving very accurate measurements.

2. Runner Up Masterbuilt 30 inch Black Propane Smoker

The version I’m talking about is 30 inch, which contrary to a popular belief gives enough space for smoking, it offers a total of 717 square inches of cooking area on four racks.

Masterbuilt 30 inch only has one burner, which is great at handling this cooking area ( as confirmed by my tests ).

If this much area is not enough for you, the Masterbuilt offer also includes a 40 inch or even 44 inch version.

Masterbuilt 30, just like Smoke Hollow, also comes with a two-part construction, which makes it possible to conveniently refill the wood chips while only opening the lower door when smoking.

On top of being a very good propane smoker available for an affordable price, the best advantage of Masterbuilt smokers is probably their community

Not many manufacturers have such a big group of people focused around their products. It is great news for beginners as thanks to this huge community you can expect help in pretty much every situation. You can find a lot of different guides online, including in video form.

The biggest downside to me in this model is the wood chip tray, which is very poorly designed as it can get the wood on fire, which shouldn’t happen.

Another downside is not having wheels, the smoker is pretty heavy and it’s hard to move it around without wheels. Of course on the other side I am aware that their lack is caused by the low price. I have seen a few guides that showed how to easily and quickly install wheels so think about whether you’re ready for this kind of modifications.

PROS

  • Separate doors for wood chips
  • Big community
  • Stable temperature

CONS

  • No wheels
  • Poor quality of wood chip tray

Masterbuilt 30 inch is a great gas propane smoker for this kind of price that comes with a few downsides but allows to prepare delicious BBQ. I think that in this price range it is one of the best models on the market.

3. Budget Pick Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18

The manufacturer of Camp Chef is well known among people who love BBQ.

It is famous for many great products and this list should certainly include the Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18 model, which is a low budget gas smoker that is great for beginners and those with a limited budget.

A very simple and small-sized construction has a very positive impact on the price, but there’s more.

The smoke vault model comes with everything that’s necessary to properly smoke at an affordable price.

It doesn’t come with wheels which means that mobility is not its strong side, although such a small construction isn’t that heavy ( 63.5 lbs ) which shouldn’t be a problem for two people to carry.

Unlike my two earlier suggestions, the Smoke Vault model only comes with one door without dividing the whole construction into two. Right behind it you will find, starting from the very bottom, such elements as the burner, right above it there a wood chips tray, and then a huge water container.

Then in the cooking part you will find two adjustable racks and one smoking jerky rack. You can configure it any way you please, creating a perfect smoking space for you.

During my tests, the smoke vault 18 model did pretty well when it comes to maintaining temperature, speed and results of smoking.

PROS

  • Good quality
  • Great at maintaining temperature
  • Compact design and lower fuel consumption

CONS

  • No separate doors for fuel and food

The entire smoker has as many as three air vents, two on the sides and one on the very top.

The not very big construction of the smoker has its upsides, mostly the much lower fuel consumption and ease of maintaining stable temperatures. I’d like to remind that those who need more space can get the bigger smoke vault 24 model.

Buyer's Guide

Smoking doesn’t have to be tiring, difficult and time-consuming. It’s a good idea to buy a gas smoker if you want convenient smoking and also great results. When it comes to the flavor then it doesn’t differ much from a charcoal smoker.

Of course the difference in flavor is noticeable, but you can still make great BBQ with both types of smokers. Plenty of restaurants use gas smokers and serve high-quality delicious smoked meat.

The number of gas smokers isn’t that big compared to other types of smokers, but a beginner can still have a huge problem choosing the right model for themselves.

Besides the list of the propane smokers I recommend, I also prepared a few tips that not only will let you get to know this type of smoker better but also make the choice easier when shopping. 

How did I pick the best ones ?

The market of gas smokers isn’t big, which means the selection of potential models for testing wasn’t time-consuming nor difficult to me. I’d just like to remind that I am very experienced with pretty much every type of smoker and grill, so I know very well what to pay attention to.

You should also remember that what is a simple task to me might be a time-consuming and complicated process to most. That’s why I made a general list that features models from the most popular ones to those I hadn’t heard about before. Then I moved on to analyzing all models in every regard ( quality, price, durability, functionality etc ).

That way I eliminated most of potential models and was left with the few that had met my requirements and deserved to be included in the practical tests.

How did I test ?

The best way to check if a particular smoker is good is to test it in practice. I know that when at a store or checking the model you’re interested in at an online store, you don’t have an opportunity to see how it would all look in practice.

It is not rare for a smoker that looks great at the first glance to turn out to be a complete junk. That’s why, in order to avoid that, I took matters in my own hands and decided to run tests of the most popular models so that you can know what to choose.

I had to buy some of the models new, whereas I already owned some of the others in my collection and I knew they were good. Despite that, I got them all running for the tests and decided to smoke the basic pieces of meat ( mostly ribs ).

Therefore, the first step was to start all the smokers and measure how fast each of them reached the temperature of 300 degrees F. After that time, I refilled the water and wood chips containers, stabilized the temperature and started smoking.

At this stage, I could evaluate the quality of workmanship of different elements as well as usefulness. I also monitored smoke leakages, or rather how intense it was since smoke leakages are present in every gas smoker.

Throughout the entire smoking process I had an opportunity to find out which model was a real set & forget style smoker ( just like pellet smoker ), and which of them still required a lot of time to adjust the burner power.

Based on all of that I created the list of what I found to be the best models for demanding people, beginners and those with a limited budget.

What to pay attention to ?

Size – Think about how much meat you smoke and how, a smaller smoker doesn’t make it possible to smoke things like whole ribs, they have to be cut in half. When choosing a bigger model, consider the fact that the bigger a gas smoker the more fuel it will consume ( especially when it has more burners ).

Price – Compare models at similar prices and pay attention to whether they offer a similar quality and features. In many cases a high price is actually caused by popularity of a particular brand, which is something you should pay attention to.

Mobility – You want to have a comfortable smoker that doesn’t take much space and is easy to move around? Search for much smaller models that were designed with mobility in mind, sadly not many models at lower prices were designed with mobility in mind.

Why a Gas Smoker ?

Upsides:

  • Easy to use – First and foremost, it is one of the easiest to use types of smokers. All you have to do is plug in a propane tank and start the burner, then adjust its power in order to reach a specific fixed temperature.
  • Set & Forget style – When it comes to certain cheaper models, you have to make sure for yourself if your smoker can maintain a stable temperature. In most cases all you have to do is set the burner knob accordingly and, depending on the weather conditions, you won’t have to worry anymore about temperature control throughout the entire smoking process.
  • Speed – A huge advantage of propane smokers is also the speed, from the moment of starting them it only takes about a dozen minutes before you can start smoking. Another great news is the fact that you won’t get your hands messy while doing that, all you have to do is start the burner and you’re done.
  • Decent flavor – If I were to compare the results of smoking to an electric smoker for example, then in that case a propane smoker looks much better here. In my view, the flavor of food from a gas smoker doesn’t actually differ that much from a charcoal smoker.

Downsides:

  • Lack of fuel – Propane from a tank sadly runs out which makes it necessary to have a second spare tank lying around. It is especially important when it comes to smoking, which usually takes many hours and it would be very awkward to find an empty tank halfway through smoking without any full one around.
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