Electric Smoker vs Gas Smoker: Which One is Better for BBQ?

Electric Smoker vs Gas Smoker: Which One is Better for BBQ?

Human beings have practiced smoking for as long as man has lived. With progress in time, newer and better smoking techniques have emerged through innovation and invention. The latest smoking techniques have been a result of emergency and development of modern technology. You are going to know electric smoker vs gas smoker: which is better a gas smoker or an electric smoker?

Electric and gas smokers represent relatively new and latest smoking techniques. However, there is a considerable difference in the use of both electric smokers and gas smokers. While one type of smoker may be good in a particular aspect, another type may outdo the other in a different aspect.


It is important to have a complete understanding of both strengths and weaknesses of both types of smokers. In determining a better electric smoker, we first looked at major characteristics that define them. Then we moved on to analyze the pros and cons of both electric and gas smokers.

We have made it easier for you to compare and contrast between both smokers. In the end, you will be able to make a sound decision while purchasing one. Between the two, you need to ensure that your choice increases utility based on what you are really looking for.

What is an Electric Smoker?

Electric smoker is a relatively new type of smoker that relies in the thermal energy as the main source of power. It has internal heating element that is powered by electricity to produce heat. The heat produced in turn heats up the chosen type of wood chips to produce smoke.

A number of salient features distinguish electric smokers from other types of smokers. Majorly, it is made unique by its digital panel control. This panel has options for temperature adjustment as well as the specific type of meat being smoked. 

Therefore, electric smokers use electric power to produce heat through an internal heating element.

Once you have access to an electric smoker, simply use the push button to switch it on. The heating element will heat up automatically. Adding four cups of your preferred wood chips is enough to take you for five hours of continuous smoking.

This makes an electric smoker convenient because it does not necessarily require your presence to monitor the smoking process. Despite its range of advantages, an electric smoker also has a few bottlenecks. Read through the pros and cons of electric smoker below to discover more.

Electric Smoker Pros and Cons

Pros of Electric Smoker:

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    The digital control panel optimizes on its automation thus performs most tasks on its own.
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    Little technical expertise is required to use. By simply pressing the button, you get your work done. Regular users as well as beginners can benefit from this smoker.
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    More elements such as internal thermometer make it more convenient over gas smoker.
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    An electric smoker is generally nice for slow smoking over gas smoker.
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    It is professionally designed thus a modern kitchen equipment.
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    Good for busy professionals and students since it saves time and allows for multitasking.
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    Most electric smokers are fully insulated thus, safer for handling and use as compared to gas smokers.
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    Provides ample cooking space for a wide range of foods.

Cons of Electric Smoker:

  • Electric smoker is relatively expensive compared to gas smokers.
  • Electric smoker produces lower quality smoked food compared to gas smoker.
  • The smaller size of gas smoker makes it perfect.
  • Without electricity, it becomes difficult to use an electric smoker since it is the only source of power.
  • Electric smoker cooker at a relatively slower rate compared to gas smoker.
  • Temperature range of electric smoker is narrower compared to has smoker. Most electric smokers allow for at most 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is a Gas Smoker?

Gas smoker is powered by propane or natural gas as the primary source of heat. The heat generated by the heating element is used to produce smoke that is essential for smoking. Throughout the smoking process, you become a companion to your smoker because you will have to be there.

Your task is to keep on monitoring and regulating the heat to achieve consistent smoking temperatures. Using gas smokers, you can achieve higher temperatures that go up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Throughout the smoking process, you can increase or reduce the smoke depending on the type of wood chips you are using. However, as a typical human invention, a gas smoker has both strengths and weaknesses. Read on to find out what they are.

Gas Smoker Pros and Cons

Pros of Gas Smoker:

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    With the gas smoker, you have an excellent opportunity to achieve the highest temperature ideal for any protein you are smoking.
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    Gas smoker is more flexible compared to electric smoker. Its small size allows for portability. Therefore, mobile professional chefs would prefer it to an electric one.
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    Although it is involving on the size of the user, the actual usage is neither technical nor complicated. You just have to learn a few tips and you are ready to go.
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    It cooks so fast that it saves on your time especially if you have to travel. This is an advantage over electric smoker with which you have to wait for a long time to have your food ready.
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    Gas smoker can be used anywhere and at any time even if there is no electricity.
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    Gas smoker is generally cheaper compared to electric smoker.

Cons of Gas Smoker:

  • Requires much attention. Gas smoker will require you to be always there regulating the smoking process. It lacks the essential element of automation which makes it less convenient compared to electric smoker.
  • You need to have substantial mastery of knowledge of its operation if you have to get much out of gas smoker.
  • Lacks latest important features such as internal food thermometer thus falls short of modern technological needs. Gas smokers are relatively low tech.
  • The cooking or smoking capacity is limited due to smaller size.
  • Most gas smokers are not as insulated as electric smokers thus difficult to handle while using, especially for the beginners.

Difference Between Electric and Gas Smoker

The following comparison is enables you to come up with an informed choice on whether to purchase gas or electric smoker. First, it is important to consider your needs, then think of a smoker with more benefits. 

We will also give our final verdict of the kind of smoker that is generally better. Read on to discover more.

Ease of use and convenience:

Generally, electric smokers are easier to use compared to gas smokers. Additionally, they are more convenient compared to gas smoker. In electric smoker, Elements such as digital LED displays and integrated food meat thermometer are systematically included for your convenience.


The heating element of an electric smoker is safety designed within the unit. This significantly reduces incidences of accidents because the user is not directly exposed to the heating element. The propane line of a gas smoker should not be left unattended for long. It has to be monitored every now and then.


The price of an enhanced electric smoker roughly ranges from $200 to $400. Although you can get some at a lower or higher price, this is the selling price of most of them. When you need a gas smoker, you will only have to spend around $150.

Quality of food smoked:

Having a gas smoker allows you to experience the highest smoking temperatures which you electric smokers might not achieve. Electric smokers on the other hand, have lower temperature ranges compared to gas smokers. This limits you from achieving the extent of smoking you might require.

Size and design:

Many electric smokers have four racks with ample smoking space. The area around an electric smoker is bigger and it is in enclosed form. On the other hand, the gas smoker has a much smaller table top area which often remains open.

Which Smoker is Better Electric or Gas Smoker?

Our own analysis in regard to customer needs has brought us to a rational conclusion. Buying electric smoker increases user-utility and convenience. Despite its pros, gas smokers generally fall short of customer needs.

Basically, nearly all of us are seeking conformity with modern technology. We are not just for the ends but means as well. Based on the above identified features, electric smokers are good for both the process and the end results. On the other hand, gas smokers are only good for the end results and not the process.

For these reasons, it is rational to rule out that electric smoker is generally better than gas smoker.

Final Words:

The above guidelines have outlined different aspects that comprise strengths and weaknesses of both types of smokers. The basis for your choice entirely depends on your specific needs, convenience and financial position. If you are in need of a smoker that smokes within the shortest period of time, electric smoker is good for you.

Conversely, if you need an appliance that is fully enhanced, electric smokers utilize high levels of automation. Although gas smokers generally produce better quality of smoked meat, the difference when electric smoker is used is very slight.

Therefore, if your priorities are safety, convenience and conformity to modern technology, go for an electric smoker. However, if all you need is the ultimate quality of smoked meat regardless of the process, consider the gas smoker.

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Theresa Lori

Hi, I'm Theresa. My passion for grilling delicacy gradually built during the time I was living with my parents. My family members especially my mother was a great fan of grilled dishes to and from the love of food. I started preparing smoked food with my mom. This bonding helped me to know more and more about to smoke, grill what always I share on SmokeGears.com. So, in two words you can call me a BBQ lover.

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