Who doesn't like the delicious smoke flavor of a perfectly cooked steak? By choosing your next smoker, you are one step away from entering the world of bbq and becoming the next grill master.
With the glorification of barbecue becoming more intense across the globe, people want to be able to eat barbecue anytime and anywhere. And with manufacturers producing more to meet the increased demand, this has only resulted in hundreds of smokers offered at prices ranging from affordable to extravagant.
The lack of knowledge on what features to look for makes it harder for consumers to make a good choice. If you find yourself dreaming of replacing an out-of shape smoker or purchasing one for the first time, be sure to check out our list of 5 best smokers under 300 dollars. We have make sure to include only the highest quality and the most sold products on the market today.
Note: Are you in a hurry? You can choose to read our Quick Product Consideration List and Comparison Table or jump directly to the Conclusion for the clear winner of this round-up.
Table of Contents
- 1 Quick Consideration List
- 2 Our Top Picks for Smokers Under 300$
- 3 Quick Comparison Table
- 4 Reviews of the Best Smokers Under 300 Dollars
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 How to Choose a Good Smoker under $300
- 7 How to Choose the Best Smoker for the Money?
In a Rush? Here's Our Winner!
Quick Consideration List
Quick Comparison Table
730 Square Inches
34 x 20 x 17
481 Square Inches
41 x 19 x 21
717 Square Inches
43.5 x 21 x 21
3.4 Cubic Feet
47 x 19 x 28
50 Pounds of Meat/Fish
24.5 x 18 x 12
Reviews of the Best Smokers Under 300 Dollars
Masterbuilt 30" Digital - Best Electric Smoker Under $300
With an average rating of 4.4/5 from more than 4000 customers, it’s easy to understand why this Masterbuilt product is a favorite for many.
This is a low cost product from Masterbuilt, a company known for its innovative and quality cooking products. It features a push-button digital control panel. This combined with the 24-hour timer that has automatic shutoff allows for more convenience when barbecuing and cooking.
The temperature is controlled by a thermostat while the insulation allows for energy-efficient cooking. There is a side tray that you can use for loading wood and the interior has four racks that can be used for smoking chicken, turkey, vegetables, beef brisket etc. The drip pan is a welcome feature that makes it easy to clean up after cooking. You also get a real mounted grease pan with this smoker.
The product offers up to 1.7 cubic feet of cooking space, and the integrated features make this an easy-to-use model. The temperatures can be set from 100 to 275 degrees. A side loading wood chip holder eliminates the need to open the door. You get a water pan that you can add spices and water to give the food some flavor or simply keep whatever is cooking moist.
Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker - Best Charcoal Smoker Under 300
A good smoker should maintain slow and steady heat for a long time. This allows the tough fibers in meats to break down slowly and become tender. The Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker has the features to make that happen.
It has 2 nickel-plated grates, about 18-inch-wide each, for a total of 481 square inches of cooking capacity. This smoker can reach a temperature range of 200-250 degrees Fahrenheit and it comes with a pan that holds enough water to smoke for up to three hours.
Many consumers loved that refilling the pan during the smoking process is very easy. The built-in temperature gauge is a convenient feature that makes monitoring your food's temperature a much easier task.
Another notable feature of this product is the two-level grill inside the unit. It offers plenty of surface for you to cook larger pieces of meat, such as beef roast, rack of pork etc. The large door makes for easy access and as such, adding charcoal or chips of wood never interferes with the cooking. A heat resistant nylon handle allows for easy handling when cooking while use of porcelain-enameled steel in construction provides added durability.
Not many cooking smokers are easy to use or designed to make improve your skills. This Weber product is one of the few smokers that deliver on the above. It is easy to master, produces professional quality food and highly rated by more than 1000 customers. What’s even better is that you can choose to get a smaller 14-inch or a bigger 22-inch version of this smoker.
Masterbuilt GS30D - Best Propane Smoker Under $300
The Masterbuilt GS30D is a great backyard appliance for the price. It weighs 70 pounds and though it’s not easy to move around, it’s a stable smoker that will serve you for a long time to come.
Its vertical design helps facilitate more effective cooking since the smoke moves from the bottom to the top, infusing the meat with the succulent barbeque flavor. A vertical design also means that the unit doesn’t take up much space in your backyard.
Another impressive feature of this smoker is the two-door design. The lower door allows you to easily access the water pan and chip tray, while ensuring minimal loss of heat. You have the option to use one of three methods to regulate the temperature. You can use the dial on the front, vent in the back or the valve that regulates flow of propane from the tank.
We love the push button igniter as it provides convenience and the insulated doors since they ensure minimal loss of heat. Its unique design is very energy efficient and it averages 24-hours of smoking time on a full tank of propane.
Assembling this unit is easy and takes less than an hour to complete, thanks to the instruction manual provided. It is robust and all of the components, with the possible exception of the chip tray, are made from durable materials.
This is a great smoker for individuals who love smoking meats without limitations.
The unit has a 3.4 cubic feet smoking cabinet that allows you to smoke multiple racks of pork shoulders or ribs at a time. A two door design makes it easy for you to add chip and water without interfering with the food cooking above. The smoker comes with four adjustable and chrome-plated grill plates and a sausage rack in the cooking chamber. This makes it easy to cook a variety of foods at different temperatures.
This 38-inch smoker uses propane gas and reaches maximum temperature within a few minutes. It has a heating capacity of 20,000 BTUs. The interior of the unit features a cast brass gas burner that eliminates the need for you to babysit the smoker while waiting for it to heat up. The materials to construct this unit are durable and guarantee that you will enjoy professional-quality food for a long time to come.
There are upper and lower vents, which do a great job of maintaining the temperature. The built-in temperature helps with heat control as well. This is a versatile unit that amateurs will love for its ease of use. You need to put it together when it first arrives, but this process takes as less than an hour. In addition, it doesn’t use a lot of gas and lasts for more than 30 hours of continuous cooking time on one tank of gas.
As a lover of smoked foods, a regular-sized smoker may not leave you with enough room to cook all the food you want to. If you are on the market for a large capacity smoker, the Smokehouse Products Big Chief may just be what you are looking for.
It is the biggest product from Smokehouse and comes with plenty of useful features. Such include a 450 watt element and five grills, making it a great appliance for cooking poultry, fish, pork and other kinds of meat.
The unit is constructed using embossed aluminum, which is normal for other smokers in the Smokehouse family. This allows for durability and longevity.
It is provided with a recipe booklet as well as a 1.75 pound bag of hickory flavor wood fuel. You also get a dishwasher-safe drip pan, maximum capacity flavor pan and chrome-plated grills that are easy to slide for added cooking convenience. Perhaps the best thing about this unit is that it doesn’t require assembly when it arrives at your doorstep. It is certainly one of the best electric smokers on the market.
Picking your next smoker, especially when you are on a budget, can be a very difficult task. You have to make sure that you do the right choice based on your needs and preferences and don't end up spending your money on unnecessary features.
After reviewing all the products featured in this list, we decided that the best smoker under $300 is the Masterbuilt 20070910. It offers the best feature combination for the price. This includes ample cooking space, easy temperature control and durable construction. You have the freedom to cook almost any kind of meat with this unit and for as long as you want, thanks to its electric powered system. The positive reviews were also a contributing factor for this product which means that it is tested by a lot of customers and it has successfully fulfilled their needs.
As a runner-up for the best propane gas smoker under $300, we decided to go with the Masterbuilt GS30D. It has plenty of cooking space, is easy to use, is packed with tons of useful features and comes with a very affordable price for everyone.
How to Choose a Good Smoker under $300
With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the right model which fits your needs and preferences.
Here it is a short guide to help you how to choose a good model for under $300.
Analyze Your Budget
Even though we have set a $300 budget, you can choose to not spend all of it. There are some models which are priced a bit lower than that and offer a decent cooking performance for the average family.
This applies especially if you are a beginner or this is your first smoker. You may pick a cheap model first and after you learn the basic of how to use it, you can later upgrade to a better and more expensive model. Please have in mind that cheap models don’t offer the greatest cooking performance and have several leaking points, so you better be prepared.
After you get used to how a smoker works and feel a bit more confident, you may invest a bit more on a more expensive model, which will offer you better performance and tons of useful features to make the cooking experience more enjoyable.
Choose the Smoker Type
When it comes to smokers, there are several types available. They usually are referred by their power source, being gas, charcoal, pellet or electric type.
In this guide we have included several models from different sources, so you will have several options to choose from.
Each model has its own advantages and disadvantages, however, for a beginner, we recommend an electric smoker as they are the easiest to use and to start with. They are kind-of set and forget models, where you put the food in, choose the time and the temperature and the device will do the work for you. The main downside of these models is that you need to have an electric outlet near and you cannot move it around the house or take it with you camping.
The pellet models are a combination of charcoal flavor and propane ignition, to offer you a mix experience of both worlds. They are the newcomers to the smoker market and are becoming very popular recently.
Gas/propane models are the most popular as they offer the convenience of gas, high cooking temperatures and are more mobile to move around or take with you camping or on a trip.
Consider the Size and the Features
When choosing your next smoker, it is better to consider the size and the features it comes with.
If you are planning to cook for a big group of people, then better pick a big model, so you don’t have to wait for the food to be cooked.
There are some models which offer different size options, such as the Weber Smokey Mountain, so you can choose which size fits your needs.
Also, you should consider the additional features. Things like digital temperature control, side loading chip tray or other features are always useful as they will help you a lot during the cooking sessions.
How to Choose the Best Smoker for the Money?
When you decide to get a smoker for your backyard cooking, you should consider a few factors, so the initial $300 budget is more than enough to make a smart decision.
Here are a few features and specifications to consider to find the best smoker under $300:
Probably the most important factor and the most common one people consider when looking for the next smoker is the cooking area.
You should have in mind that if you are going to host large parties and gatherings, then you may need a smoker with large cooking area.
A model with standard cooking area will provide enough food for a family of 3 or 4 members. For anything more than that, you should consider picking a model with large cooking space. This way, you will save yourself the headache of cooking multiple rounds to cook all the required food, instead of cooking it all at once.
Most manufacturers label the product’s capacity by comparing it with foods, such as 4 whole chickens or 16 burgers. Take that into consideration as a reference to make a better decision.
Another thing to consider is the cooking performance of the product. Since you are going to cook tons of different meats, you should have a smoker which is capable of providing an even and consistent cooking temperature. Most foods require a cooking temperature of 225 to 250°F or even higher, so any model which is capable of providing such heat, will be good enough.
For maintaining an even temperature, there are a lot of factors which come in play, such as the construction, air intake, sealing etc. So, you should take into consideration those too.
As I said, construction not only does provide you with the needed durability, but it impacts other factors, such as maintaining an even temperature during cooking.
Since smokers are bought to last for years, then you should find a reliable model. Most products featured in this list are made of heavy duty steel materials and mostly have a powder coating for increased protection. The combination of these materials is proven to be very effective and will provide the necessary protection from rust, rain or other elements.
Since smokers are mostly used on weekends or when you have time to sit back and relax, you should take into consideration the portability of the unit.
Some models are heavy and chunky, making it very difficult to move around the house. In these cases, most people create a fixed spot for them, so they don’t have to move them around the house.
We prefer a much simpler approach: Picking a model which is made of lightweight materials and durable at the same time. This way, you can either place it on a fixed place on your backyard or easily move it around the house when needed.
And if you plan to transport it on other places or take it with you when moving, we think that a smoker weighting around 50 pounds or less is ideal for easily carrying anywhere.
If you are newbie at smoking or simple assembling things is not your thing, then you should take into consideration how difficult is to assemble the unit. There are a lot of models which come party assembled or fully assembled, so taking a look into those may be useful if you don’t want to spend 4 or more hours assembling the unit.
Also, an easy to assemble product will also be useful if you do any deep maintaining in the future.