Your style of cooking has a deciding impact on choosing a new smoker. You care about convenience, effectiveness and as little responsibilities as possible?
Then go for a vertical smoker.
Depending on the type of smoker, the vertical versions are available in different sizes. Compared to their horizontal counterparts, they offer a little more space, and sometimes less of it. What is for certain, though, is that they’re characterized by a much easier temperature control than the horizontal versions.
How to choose the best vertical smoker?
In this guide, I have prepared what I believe to be several best options on the market for everyone’s budget. I have also prepared some tips that will certainly come in handy for you when shopping.
The Best Vertical Smokers for 2020
Below you will find several of my favorite options among the most popular types of smokers. Analyze the type of fuel in terms of matching your cooking style and pick the right model.
1. Best Vertical Pellet Smoker: Pit Boss Vertical 5 Series
Most pellet smokers are available in a horizontal version, which might make this suggestion a huge surprise to those who haven’t seen such grill before.
Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smoker is an interesting alternative that offers a whole lot of space and an interesting style. I have to admit that I really like its style and design, it is strongly reminiscent of electric smokers.
You might be wondering where is the pellet container located. At first glance, it is invisible because it’s located in the back of the grill and can fit up to 40lb of pellets.
It has much more space available which allows you to fit a whole lot of meat in there. Inside you will find as many as 5 cooking grids that provide a total of 1830 square inches of cooking area.
The fairly simple controller offers several different settings within a range of 150 to 450 degrees F.
Located at the very bottom is a water tank that helps maintain an even heat over the entire area. In practice, everything works well, but one can notice fairly frequent temperature fluctuations.
Those fluctuations aren’t really high enough to ruin your cooking, but it’s something to keep an eye on. The differences are actually close to those when cooking manually on a wood smoker but pellet smokers are something you expect better stability from.
With those minor downsides aside, though, I can say with confidence that it is a very good option. The fans of pellet smokers are certainly going to appreciate the huge cooking area as well as the design and ease of use.
2. Best Vertical Charcoal Smoker: Weber Smokey Mountain 18-inch
The most effective and easiest to use charcoal smoker for everyone to smoke on, beginners and very experienced cooks alike.
There are plenty of advantages that contribute to Weber Smokey Mountain being considered the leader in its category, I’ll try to list the most important ones.
First and foremost, the vertical construction, which guarantees much better heat control when cooking on charcoal.
The phenomenal quality of workmanship that the best Weber models are famous for. It is confirmed by the 10 year warranty, although in practice I am sure that in good hands it can last much longer.
WSM is available in several sizes, but I chose the most universal ones – the 18 inch, which offers 481 square inches of cooking area. Depending on your own needs, however, you can easily buy a smaller or bigger model.
Thanks to its great construction, it is incredibly easy at maintaining a fixed, stable temperature over many hours.
In the lower half, right above the charcoal container, there’s a water bowl that helps stabilize the temperature over the entire area.
It gets thumbs up from me for the easy access to the charcoal container during cooking, all you have to do is open the aluminum door in the center.
It gets thumbs down, though, for the smoke leaks around the aluminum door, even though I’m not personally bothered by it, I know that plenty of people solve this problem by simply sealing the door.
The evidence of how great this model is can be this model’s presence in many prestigious competitions.
3. Masterbuilt 30-inch Vertical Electric Smoker
For those looking for an vertical electric smoker, this is the best option.
Masterbuilt 30-inch digital electric smoker is a great option for those who are beginners at smoking meat. It has all the essentials, huge capacity, good quality of workmanship and affordable price.
The entire construction was mainly built of steel with plastic finishings. Good insulation and heating element make it hassle-free to maintain a stable temperature.
The digital controller makes it possible to set a temperature within a range of 100 to 275 degrees F.
It doesn’t come with any extra gadgets such as a remote for example, which makes it much cheaper, thus making it possible to smoke delicious meat just as easily and conveniently.
You don’t need a front glass either, especially since you wouldn’t see a thing through it after just a few minutes due to all the smoke, anyway.
As of now, it is my favorite electric smoker, which you can find out about in many of my other buying guides, for example here.
Big thumbs up for the wood chip tray system, which makes it possible to refill wood chips without opening the door.
As one of the few manufacturers, Masterbuilt offers a separately sold cold smoking kit. If you want to smoke more than just meat, it is a great solution.
One downside might be slightly too little space (730 square inches) but it is possible to simply buy a bigger model. Another important downside is only 90 days of warranty.
4. Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Smoker
There aren’t many vertical offset smokers on the market, but I was able to still find a great option.
Dynga-Glo Vertical Offset Smoker is a great choice for beginners due to a much lower price.
Most competitive models are available at much higher prices and in bigger sizes, which makes it an even more interesting offer.
It has 784 square inches of cooking area.The construction with a double door allows to eliminate the problem of heat loss when adding charcoal/wood chips.
A separate firebox makes it possible to refill the fuel without opening the door in the main chamber.
The charcoal container also makes it possible to conveniently cook with large chunks of wood. Located right below it is a removable ash tray which makes cleaning very simple.
The well-designed construction and all the features make it simply an effective and easy to use offset smoker available at a reasonable price.
I like the design and I appreciate the good quality for this kind of money.
It is one of the few vertical offset smokers on the market and at the same time one of the best made. The horizontal versions are way more popular but in most cases they are also way more expensive which you can read about also in my guide to the best offset smokers.
Don’t know where to start? Below I present several key tips to keep in mind. More in detail on each type of smoker can also be learned in my separate, dedicated guides to each type.
What to look for in a Vertical Smoker
Budget – The diverse offer makes the price range very huge. Specify your budget right at the start and it will be much easier for you to find something interesting.
Size – Analyze how much meat you smoke and much space you have available in your backyard. Not all types of smokers offer a whole lot of space, so compare them to make the best choice possible.
Type of fuel – Carefully analyze what type of fuel will be the best for you. Make sure to read my other guides on the website so that you can know each of them much better. There is really a whole lot of differences and there’s no way to explain them in two or three sentences.
Temperature control – You want to have the greatest convenience possible? Check out smokers that offer very easy temperature control or even those where you don’t have to worry about a thing. A good option for those who don’t like all that hassle around air vent and fuel control, or for beginners.
Features – You want functionality and gadgets? They improve the convenience and versatility, but not the food’s flavor. On top of that, they have a huge impact on the final price, which is why you should think your choice over carefully, especially if you have a limited budget.
Warranty – Not all types of smokers are quite as durable, some of them are way more prone to malfunctions. Regardless of how much you spend, find out what type of warranty is offered by the top brands so that you are protected as much as possible in the event of problems.