Electric Smoker vs Charcoal Smoker | Ultimate Comparison

When it comes to smoking meat, most people would have to choose between electric vs charcoal smokers. If you’re unsure, likely, you don’t like the fact that an electric smoker won’t give you the same smoky flavor as a charcoal smoker. The other issue is most definitely related to your preference for smoked meat. Some like to buy coal, and some want to buy electric smokers!

It’s a well-known debate, and we’ll discuss it in the hopes of assisting you in making the call. If you’re new to this and are debating about an electric or charcoal smoker but aren’t sure which one to go for, this article is for you.

The Homester will go through the details and show you the in-depth comparison of electric smokers vs. charcoal smokers. As a bonus, we’ll show you how to get the elusive charcoal flavor on an electric smoker.

Basic Introduction of Charcoal Smoker:101

Charcoal Smoker: sounds familiar, right? Yes, of course! It’s a vital instrument for traditional BBQ lovers.

They use charcoal as fuel to keep the fire burning, as the name suggests. Charcoal smokers sometimes contend that it is difficult to replicate the authentic smoke taste from any other variation.

Every BBQ enthusiast adores the signature smoky taste of beef, which can only be found in a smoker where the heat source is charcoal or wood.

Unfortunately, many beginners find it challenging to use a charcoal smoker. Smoking is about more than just keeping the charcoal going and putting the meat on the grates; it’s about being able to build and then sustain optimum conditions within the smoker.

Temperature management in a charcoal smoker blends a couple of different tasks. You should be aware that nothing happens immediately after smoking in such a smoker.

An alteration in settings or air vent modification takes time to show results. This is why this style of a smoker is difficult for beginners, while in the hands of a seasoned pitmaster, it produces meat that many people have never eaten before.

Positive Sides of Charcoal Smoker


It is pointless to compare it to other varieties of smokers where the fuel is anything other than charcoal or wood.

Cooking With Fun

We realize that many people like the whole smoking experience. We are cooking the beef, moving on to lighting the charcoal, tuning the air vents, petrol, and finally, temperature control. All of this takes a long time and gives the impression of being a part of the smoking journey from start to finish.

Reliability and Quality 

When one of the items breaks, it usually is not a big deal. Unless there is an emergency, you can quit smoking or deal with the problem on your own. Spare parts are inexpensive and widely available, and most malfunctions are easy enough for most people to handle at home using only standard equipment.

Price, Warranty, and Durability

There are no electronics or complex components in a charcoal smoker. For a reasonable price, you will purchase a high-quality, long-lasting charcoal smoker that will serve you for several years. The best models from the leading manufacturers are protected with warranties lasting up to ten years, reinforcing my words.

Drawbacks of Charcoal Smoker

Temperature Management

Smoking necessitates the proper temperature, which is difficult to control for long periods. If you add too much charcoal, the temperature will rise dramatically, and you will have difficulty stabilizing it. Temperature control is accomplished by using air vents, but contrary to common opinion, controlling them is not as easy as it seems. It needs some practice to understand how air vents function.

Requires More Skills to Maintain

It might sound silly to experienced meat smokers, but certain aspects may seem especially difficult to beginners. The effects of smoking are entirely dependent on you, and if you’ve never used this kind of smoker before, it would be difficult for you to achieve better BBQ without prior knowledge.

The passage of time

You are starting the charcoal, tuning the air vents, and monitoring the temperature and fuel now and then. Much of this takes a lot of time and demands your total commitment to ensure that everything goes as planned. 

Drawbacks of Charcoal Smoker


Electric Smokers 101: Basic Introduction

A very simple and compact smoker that is ideal for beginners or any food lovers. Do you dislike all of the activities associated with a charcoal smoker? Then you look at the electric smoker.

You don’t have to be concerned with allowing the charcoal to burn or controlling the temperature. An electric smoker is outfitted with a digital controller that allows you to set a specific temperature. All you have to do is plug it in, turn it on, and you’ll be able to start smoking soon after the smoker hits the proper temperature.

Since an electric smoker does not demand your concentration, it is ideal for smoking for extended periods.

You don’t have to be concerned with the diesel as long as the utility provider is not experiencing a power outage. On the other hand, it has a minor disadvantage when considering a location for your smoker; you must think about whether it has access to electricity.

On the other hand, when it comes to the most critical aspect of smoking ( taste ), I must confess that the meat is delicious.

Positive Sides of Electric Smoker

Convenience & Protection

One cannot deny that an electric smoker is exceptionally convenient.

You plug in the smoker, refill the bottle with water and wood chips, set the temperature, and then start smoking. It would help if you left the smoker unattended for a few hours without worry; the thermostat can maintain a constant temperature without your interference.

The advantages of speed and ease

It takes a dozen minutes for the smoker to hit the proper smoking temperature from the moment it is turned on. You will save time, and you will not have to do any of the things that other forms of smokers do. Aside from usability, another significant benefit of this style of smoker is its ease of use, which is why I think it is an excellent option for beginners who have never smoked before.

Offer Cold Smoking

Another benefit of electric smokers is that they can be adjusted to a low temperature (around 160 degrees F, depending on the model). 

Drawbacks of Electric Smoker 

Humidity is not a Friend of Electrics.

An electric smoker contains a plethora of intricate components that are inextricably linked to one another. Since none of them likes humidity, they must stop smoking in the rain.

The ability to move

The need to have it plugged in at all times makes it difficult to walk about easily with the smoker. It would help if you considered where your smoker would be standing, or else you will be unable to use it without fuel.

Electric Smokers

Comparison Table

Charcoal Smoker Electric Smoker
It takes your full attention during the entire cooking process. Among the simple tasks are starting the charcoal, tuning the air vents, and controlling the temperature. The electric smoker wins in this respect; all you have to do is start, pick and finish the temperature.
Nothing relates to the distinct deep smoky taste that charcoal provides – it ranks first among all wood forms. It’s a long way from what a barbecue grill would produce, but it still tastes great. The taste of the food is mildly enhanced thanks to a bowl filled with wood chips that smoke.
Most importantly, it necessitates experience; it is not difficult, but it does necessitate your focus. It primarily entails changing the air vents and the volume of diesel. The heating element and thermostat will keep the temperature constant during the smoking process.
There are several tasks, such as having the charcoal burned or maintaining continuous temperature stability, which is advantageous for others and a disadvantage for others. You don’t have to think about temperature control or fuel consumption from the moment you launch it ( set & forget style smoker).
You can smoke in almost any environmental situation. Unfortunately, because of the electrics, it is strongly recommended against using this kind of smoker in areas where it might be exposed to water (when it is raining or snowing).
Much depends on the kind of charcoal smoker, but for a low price, you can get a high-quality model with a 10-year warranty. You’ll find something suitable for those on a tight budget, but for electric smokers, I’d recommend something in the middle of the price spectrum.
Most vendors have an excellent warranty. Charcoal smokers aren’t subject to breakdowns, and some vendors also have a 10-year warranty. Since the construction of this type of smoker consists of several complex components that can break down even quicker, most vendors only have a few months to 2-3 years of warranties.


Direct Comparison of Charcoal vs. Electric Smokers


The best electric smoker is unquestionably the winner in this category since you need to plug it in, and then set the temperature using a digital controller once it’s turned on and you’re finished. For best performance, I also suggest refilling the wood chips and water containers.

On the other hand, when you look at the charcoal smoker, you have to consider many essential things when smoking. It all begins by correctly tuning the air vents and allowing the charcoal to ignite. The issue here is that, unlike the competitive smoker, the job does not stop right away.

From the beginning of smoking until the finish, you must be vigilant and control the situation.

Variation in Flavor

In this regard, the undisputed winner is the charcoal smoker, the most common among smokers because of this same advantage. There is no debate here; the taste of the food is what matters most, and the end product is all that each of us strives for. You won’t find such vivid and distinct smoke taste in any other kind of smoker; the best flavor comes from smokers who use charcoal/wood as a heat source.

Of course, this does not imply that the food produced by an electric smoker is of poor quality. It’s also delicious, but if we have to equate the two, I’m just saying it as it is. Wood chips positively impact food taste, but they will never be as intense as they should be.

Convenience and speed

These are the characteristics upon which the electric smoker was built. You switch on the smoker, set the temperature, and begin smoking without getting your hands dirty after a dozen minutes or so.

The charcoal smoker was built with the best possible smoking outcomes in mind (intense flavor). It isn’t as easy as an electric smoker because it takes a long time to start and finish the smoking process.

Temperature Level

Charcoal smokers win when it comes to having higher temperatures! Electric ones will usually produce temperatures of up to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Charcoal, on the other hand, can produce heat of up to 350 degrees!

Electric smokers produce 100 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas charcoal smokers produce 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

Difficulty in Cooking

When cooking with a charcoal smoker, you must exert more effort. To properly regulate temperature, texture, and other critical aspects, constant monitoring is needed.

The learning curve for charcoal smoking is much steeper than it is for electric smoking. And a total novice may prepare a tasty dish using an electric smoker. It has a digital control panel to precisely set the temperature, cooking time, and other related parameters.

So, whether you’ve never made a smoky dish or used a smoker before, electric versions would be a lot better choice than charcoal. 

Area for Cooking

Electric smokers are a brilliant option for passionate chefs who enjoy creating big batches of new mouthwatering dishes for others. In general, they have a much bigger cooking area than charcoal grills.

An electric smoker will have cooking areas ranging from 700 to 1000 square inches! The charcoal variants usually have just half of that.

Overall Portability 

You’d imagine that electric cigarettes will be simpler to transport because they’re more reliant on technology. Charcoal smokers, on the other hand, win the round of portability!

The nature of electric smokers is not conducive to easy mobility. Their exterior always lacks a handle to carry or remove. So, if you want to drive it, you’ll have to use a lot of force.

Besides, you can’t take them outside for any outdoor cooking unless you have an electricity provision, such as a long extension cord – which can be a pain.

Wrapping Up

So from the electric smoker vs. charcoal smoker comparison, we can see the fundamental difference. The charcoal will ensure that your visitors have a mouthwatering experience with deep flavors and a rich texture. Thus smokers are also significantly less expensive.

On the other hand, electric smokers give you greater power and accuracy in various critical areas. These appliances allow you to control the temperature and overall cooking time precisely. Furthermore, they save a lot of planning time and switch on quicker than alternatives.

Electric smokers are easier to disinfect, while charcoal smokers are more portable and can be used for outdoor cooking. So, the choice is all yours! Go over all of your culinary priorities and determine which one best matches them.

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