Best Vertical Smokers


Vertical Smokers Reviewed

*We select and review all products independently, based on our opinion and customer feedback. Some links on this page are affiliate links and if you make a purchase we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. You can read more info on our disclaimer page.

Top pick
the vertical Char-Broil grill standing in the backyard

1. Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker

- Fuel Type: propane
- Heat Output: 9,000 - 18,000 BTUs
- Cooking Space: 180 sq in
- Stainless steel construction, two half-shelves, removable grease pan

Our Rating

9.4

Best vertical offset

2. Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker

- Fuel Type: charcoal/wood
- Heat Output: -
- Cooking Space: 1,176 sq in
- Steel construction, porcelain enameled smoker box

Our Rating

9.0

Best electric

3. Masterbuilt Digital Electric Vertical Smoker

- Fuel Type: electric
- Heat Output: -
- Cooking Space: 730 sq in
- Chrome-plated cooking grate, digital control panel

Our Rating

8.7

Best charcoal

4. Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker & Charcoal Vertical Smoker

- Fuel Type: Charcoal
- Heat Output: -
- Cooking Space: 286 sq in
- Steel-plated cooking grate

Our Rating

9.5

Best kamado style

5. Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Grill & Smoker

- Fuel Type: charcoal
- Heat Output: -
- Cooking Space: 153 sq in
- Cast iron cooking grate, stainless steel heat guage

Our Rating

9.2

#6

6. Dyna-Glo Vertical LP Gas Smoker

- Fuel Type: propane
- Heat Output: 15,000 BTUs
- Cooking Space: 784 sq in
- 4 height adjustable cooking grates

Our Rating

8.3

#7

7. Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Vertical Smoker

- Fuel Type: electric
- Heat Output: 1500 watts
- Cooking Space: 548 sq in
- Removable chrome racks, built-in thermometer on the front door

Our Rating

8.8

#8

8. Pit Boss Vertical LP Gas Smoker

- Fuel Type: gas
- Heat Output: 12,500 BTUs
- Cooking Space: 884 sq in
- Porcelain - coated cooking grates

Our Rating

8.7

#9

9. Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker

- Fuel Type: electric
- Heat Output: 1200 watts
- Cooking Space: 544 sq in
- Chrome-plated cooking racks, front-loading wood chip tray

Our Rating

9.0

#10

10. Pit Boss Grills Vertical Pellet Smoker

- Fuel Type: wood pellets
- Heat Output: -
- Cooking Space: 1830 sq in
- Porcelain-coated cooking racks

Our Rating

8.0

#11
the Camp Chef Smoke Vault resting under shadow in the yard

11. Camp Chef Smoke Vault Vertical Smoker

- Fuel Type: gas
- Heat Output: 18,000 BTUs
- Cooking Space: 903 sq in
- Steel construction, two adjustable racks

Our Rating

9.1

Top pick
the vertical Char-Broil grill standing in the backyard

1. Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker

- Fuel Type: propane
- Heat Output: 9,000 - 18,000 BTUs
- Cooking Space: 180 sq in
- Stainless steel construction, two half-shelves, removable grease pan

Our Rating

9.4

Best vertical offset

2. Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker

- Fuel Type: charcoal/wood
- Heat Output: -
- Cooking Space: 1,176 sq in
- Steel construction, porcelain enameled smoker box

Our Rating

9.0

Best electric

3. Masterbuilt Digital Electric Vertical Smoker

- Fuel Type: electric
- Heat Output: -
- Cooking Space: 730 sq in
- Chrome-plated cooking grate, digital control panel

Our Rating

8.7

Best charcoal

4. Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker & Charcoal Vertical Smoker

- Fuel Type: Charcoal
- Heat Output: -
- Cooking Space: 286 sq in
- Steel-plated cooking grate

Our Rating

9.5

Best kamado style

5. Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Grill & Smoker

- Fuel Type: charcoal
- Heat Output: -
- Cooking Space: 153 sq in
- Cast iron cooking grate, stainless steel heat guage

Our Rating

9.2

#6

6. Dyna-Glo Vertical LP Gas Smoker

- Fuel Type: propane
- Heat Output: 15,000 BTUs
- Cooking Space: 784 sq in
- 4 height adjustable cooking grates

Our Rating

8.3

#7

7. Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Vertical Smoker

- Fuel Type: electric
- Heat Output: 1500 watts
- Cooking Space: 548 sq in
- Removable chrome racks, built-in thermometer on the front door

Our Rating

8.8

#8

8. Pit Boss Vertical LP Gas Smoker

- Fuel Type: gas
- Heat Output: 12,500 BTUs
- Cooking Space: 884 sq in
- Porcelain - coated cooking grates

Our Rating

8.7

#9

9. Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker

- Fuel Type: electric
- Heat Output: 1200 watts
- Cooking Space: 544 sq in
- Chrome-plated cooking racks, front-loading wood chip tray

Our Rating

9.0

#10

10. Pit Boss Grills Vertical Pellet Smoker

- Fuel Type: wood pellets
- Heat Output: -
- Cooking Space: 1830 sq in
- Porcelain-coated cooking racks

Our Rating

8.0

#11
the Camp Chef Smoke Vault resting under shadow in the yard

11. Camp Chef Smoke Vault Vertical Smoker

- Fuel Type: gas
- Heat Output: 18,000 BTUs
- Cooking Space: 903 sq in
- Steel construction, two adjustable racks

Our Rating

9.1

Char-Broil The Big Easy TRU-Infrared Smoker

Design and Construction:

The Char-Broil Big Easy Infrared Smoker is a "3-in-1" grill, allowing you to choose between smoking, roasting, and grilling. With a durable stainless steel construction and four extra-thick legs for stability, this unit is built to last. Like many vertical smokers, it resembles an upright barrel with generous handles and a gently sloping lid.

Char-Broil vertical grill being used outside

Included in the purchase are the main cooking chamber, a smoking and roasting basket, a lift hook, two half-shelves, a smoker box, and a removable grease pan. There's also a built-in thermometer for keeping an eye on the unit's temperature, as well as a user guide.

Usability:

Char-Broil advertises its TRU-Infrared cooking technology for this model. This allows the ingredients to develop an appealingly crisp texture while using very little oil.

The roasting basket measures 1200 square inches, which is large enough to accommodate a 20-pound turkey. While the smoker box is included, its use is optional, meaning that you can customize the flavors to your preference.

If you'd prefer to use the unit as a regular grill, the grates offer 180 square inches of cooking space. Be aware that it's on the heavy side, and the fact that there are no attached wheels makes it slightly difficult to maneuver. Also, note that the propane tank isn't included in the purchase—you'll have to supply that yourself.

Features:

Fuel Type

Propane

Weight

50 pounds

Heat Output

9,000-18,000 BTUs

Grilling Space

180 square inches

Maximum Capacity

25 pounds

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Versatile unit with 3-in-1 capability
  • Attractive price point
  • User-friendly, even for novices

Cons

  • Small grilling surface
  • Grease pan is an awkward fit
  • Heavy, somewhat bulky design

Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker

Design and Construction:

This is an L-shaped offset smoker, meaning that the smoker box sits off to the right of the cooking chamber.

An imposing unit with a straight-edged design, the Dyna-Glo features a heavy-duty steel construction with porcelain enameling on the smoker box for longevity. The four legs are splayed slightly to give the smoker more stability on uneven surfaces.

Usability:

While this is a somewhat unconventional design, we're big fans of the dual door aspect, which cuts way back on heat loss during long cooking applications. You can add wood chips as needed, without worrying about lowering the temperature inside the cooking chamber. 

The capacity is also impressive, allowing you to smoke up to 100 pounds of food at once. The unit includes 6 height-adjustable cooking grates, with a total of 1,176 square inches of available space.

A built-in smokestack provides superb temperature control, and there's a thermometer built into the lid so you can check the results. Unlike some of the smokers listed here, the Dyna-Glo isn't suitable for grilling, but what it lacks in versatility, it makes up for in performance.

Note that the manufacturers recommend a brief seasoning process for this smoker. We've found that building a medium fire and letting it smolder for 45-60 minutes will do the trick.

Features:

Fuel Type

Charcoal/Wood

Weight

 57 pounds

Heat Output

 15,000 BTUs

Maximum Capacity

100 pounds

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Generous capacity
  • Good temperature control
  • Relatively low price point
  • Offset smoke box allows for better heat retention

Cons

  • Requires a brief seasoning period before use
  • All seams must be carefully sealed
  • Spotty packaging—some hardware reported missing

Masterbuilt Digital Electric Vertical Smoker

Design and Construction:

This slim upright smoker has a low profile and a digital control panel, giving it a sleek, futuristic appearance. Because it sits so low to the ground, it's less prone to tipping than some similar models, but this same feature makes it ill-equipped for uneven surfaces.

The steel cooking chamber is well-insulated, and the four smoking racks are chrome-coated for durability. Because the wood chip box is positioned on the side, you can add fresh fuel without opening the door of the main chamber.

Usability:

Because we're sticklers for accurate temperature control, we love the digital control panel on this offering from Masterbuilt. There's even a remote control, so you can adjust the temperature without going anywhere near the smoker. The display also provides you with the time of day, making it easier to keep track of the cooking process.

The chrome-coated cooking racks have a total capacity of ??? square inches. To put it in perspective, that's large enough to hold either 6 chickens, 2 turkeys, 4 full rib racks, or 4 pork butts. However, because this is a fully enclosed smoker, it can't pull double duty as a grill.

Features:

Fuel Type

Electric

Weight

45.9 pounds

Temperature Range

100 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit

Maximum Capacity

30 pounds

Pros

  • Heats quickly and efficiently
  • Digital control panel
  • Easy enough for beginners to use
  • Side wood chip loader keeps temperatures stable

Cons

  • Cooking racks are on the small side
  • Requires an even surface

Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker & Charcoal Vertical Smoker

Design and Construction:

The slightly rounded ends of this charcoal smoker are representative of the Weber brand. The main cooking chamber is composed of heavy-duty steel, as are the plated cooking grates.

This is a tripod-style smoker, resting on three rust-resistant metal legs that double back on each other so that they resemble broad paper clips. A coated handle is affixed to the lid, which also includes a built-in thermometer.

Usability:

One of the more basic offerings listed here, the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is exceptionally easy to put together. In fact, most people should be able to assemble the unit without even looking at the instructions, even if they've never owned a smoker before. The ease of assembly also makes it a good fit for camping trips, although it might take up a prohibitive amount of space.

Speaking of which, this particular model offers 286 total square inches of cooking space, with a main grilling area of 143 square inches. While its configuration means that it can technically be used as a grill, it's designed to reach a maximum temperature of just 190 degrees Fahrenheit. For that reason, we would recommend reserving its use for low and slow cooking applications only.

Features:

Fuel Type

Charcoal

Weight

23 pounds

Maximum Temperature

190 degrees Fahrenheit

Cooking Space

286 square inches

Maximum Capacity

About 12 pounds

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Very easy to assemble
  • Great charcoal flavor
  • Basic, user-friendly design

Cons

  • Flimsy access door
  • Minimal capacity
  • Grates prone to rusting without proper care

Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Grill & Smoker

Design and Construction:

The Akorn Jr. is a kamado grill, featuring an egg-shaped red steel cooking chamber and cast iron cooking grates. The main grill rests atop three sturdy legs, which is also characteristic of the kamado style. Two handles and a dial-style thermometer are built into the cooking chamber as well.

Usability:

"Kamado" is a Japanese term, loosely translated as "the cooking place" or "the place for the cauldron." As such, these grills are designed to reach inferno-like temperatures—sometimes in excess of 700 degrees Fahrenheit. While kamado grills typically feature a ceramic construction, the powder-coated steel of the Akorn Jr. gives it a durability that's lacking in some of the more traditional models.

The diminutive size of this model, coupled with the built-in handles, make it a suitable choice for camping or tailgating expeditions. Be forewarned, however, that the triple-walled steel makes it a bit heavy for its size. a bit heavy for its size. If you'd like to use it as a grill instead of a smoker, it offers 153 square inches of grilling space.

Because of the locking lid, the Akorn Jr. holds its heat exceptionally well. We think it provides superb smoke flavor and delivers impressive results overall.

Features:

Fuel Type

Charcoal

Weight

37 pounds

Temperature Range

200-700 degrees Fahrenheit

Cooking Space

153 square inches

Pros

  • Sturdy build
  • Impressive temperature range
  • Clear, easy-to-follow instructions for assembly and use
  • Great heat retention
  • Fuel efficient

Cons

  • Limited capacity for smoking
  • Some shipping issues reported
  • Slightly heavy to transport

Dyna-Glo Vertical LP Gas Smoker

Design and Construction:

Another offering from Dyna-Glo, this one with a steel construction and a straight-edged vertical design. The smoker is tall and narrow, with four splayed legs and double doors with sizable handles to help keep your hands cool.

The unit's small footprint makes it a good choice if your backyard or patio area doesn't have the space to accommodate a larger smoker.

Usability:

While it's not as roomy as Dyna-Glo's offset smoker, the 784 square inches of available space are nonetheless generous. Four adjustable shelves allow for strategic placement of ingredients, while the efficient damper system gives you precise control over the temperature. Because this is a gas-powered unit, it's a user-friendly choice for beginners.

Both the water bowl and wood chip box are constructed of porcelain-enameled steel, giving them durability as well as efficiency. The built-in temperature gauge offers a highlighted "smoke zone" to let users know if the heat is in the proper range for smoking, which we think is a clever touch.

Our main issue with this unit is its shape. Although it boasts an impressive capacity, it's a bit too tall and narrow for comfort. We would recommend taking care with the placement when smoking whole chickens or turkeys to keep the chamber from becoming too top-heavy.

Features:

Fuel Type

Propane

Weight

56 pounds

Heat Output

15,000 BTUs

Cooking Space

784 square inches

Pros

  • Affordable price point
  • Generous capacity
  • Excellent customer service department
  • User-friendly
  • Accurate built-in thermometer

Cons

  • May get top-heavy
  • Confusing assembly
  • No grilling option

Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Vertical Smoker

Design and Construction:

This basic electric smoker is shaped like a large black rectangle, resting atop four angled legs. The sleek door is unadorned save for the brand logo, a built-in thermometer, and an oversized chrome spring handle. There are also two narrow rectangular handles built into the sides to aid with setup and transport.

Cuisinart is cagey about the materials used in the construction of this smoker, claiming only that they're more lightweight than some of the competition. The three smoker racks, however, are made of chrome.

Usability:

Because this is a fully enclosed unit, it can't be used as a grill. However, the temperature range—100 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit—makes it suitable for cold smoking and roasting. Despite its relatively small footprint, it has a generous capacity—large enough to hold 4 to 6 whole chickens or 3 full rib racks.

Like most electric smokers, the Cuisinart is easy to use. Simply load the ingredients, set to the desired temperature, and let the smoker do its work. The trays for water and wood chips are readily accessible and cleverly placed.

What you gain in convenience, however, you pay for in flavor—the Cuisinart doesn't deliver the same superbly smoky results as some of the other units on this list.

Features:

Fuel Type

Electric

Weight

 51.5 pounds

Temperature Range

 100 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

Cooking Space

548 square inches

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Lightweight enough for easy transport
  • Electric start lends convenience
  • Accurate thermometer
  • Fast assembly

Cons

  • Delivers minimal smoke flavor
  • Some shipping issues reported
  • Racks are positioned too closely for some ingredients

Pit Boss Vertical LP Gas Smoker

Design and Construction:

The first thing we noticed about the Pit Boss Vertical Gas Smoker was the glass pane on the rectangular door, which allows for a full view of the ingredients as they cook.

The overall construction is stainless steel with a red finish, supplemented by porcelain-coated cooking grates. The built-in temperature gauge is generously sized, and both the wood chip tray and grease pan are accessible from the front of the unit.

Usability:

Because opening the door too often can cause dramatic shifts in temperature, we're huge fans of the glass pane on this model. It also makes the smoker a great conversation piece.

However, the benefits don't stop there. This model features an elevated frame, making it unnecessary to stoop in order to retrieve the ingredients. Combined, the three cooking grates offer 884 square inches of space, making this a good fit for the frequent entertainer. The push-button ignition is reliable and effective, as is the easy-to-read temperature gauge.

Pit Boss claims that you'll achieve more consistent results if you use their wood chips in conjunction with this smoker (rather than settling for a generic brand). While we usually take such claims with a grain of salt, they seem to be true enough in this case. Keep that in mind if you decide to invest in a Pit Boss model.

Features:

Fuel Type

Gas

Weight

52 pounds

Heat Output

12,500 BTUs

Temperature Range

100 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Cooking Space

884 square inches

Pros

  • Excellent packaging
  • Reliable temperature control
  • Low price point
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Racks are on the small side
  • Control knob can be finicky

Char-Broil Analog Electric Smoker

Design and Construction:

This squat, rectangular model sits low to the ground atop four straight legs. The steel cooking chamber is heavy and durable, with two angled handles for transport.

Dual door latches help to regulate the temperature, which can be viewed on the dial-style thermometer that's built into the door. Three chrome-plated cooking racks round out the construction.

Usability:

The insulated construction and dual door latches help this smoker retain its temperature over long periods. The double exhaust ports aid in smoke production, which is another nice touch, especially for an electric unit. This model offers 544 square inches of cooking space, but the boxy design makes the shelves too short to hold full rib racks.

The Char-Broil Analog smoker sits a bit too low to the ground for our taste—taller people will have to bend and squat in order to load and unload the ingredients.

While the grease cup, water tray, and wood chip tray are all accessible from the front, they're just as tricky to reach unless you're willing to sit down first. As long as that's not a deal-breaker, this is a perfectly serviceable unit.

Features:

Fuel Type

Electric

Weight

49.5 pounds

Heat Output

1200 watts

Cooking Space

544 square inches

Pros

  • Superb heat retention
  • Easy to assemble
  • Front-loading wood chip tray
  • Provides accurate temperature readouts

Cons

  • Analog temperature control requires some finesse to operate
  • Low-slung design makes the interior difficult to access
  • Shelves are on the small side

Pit Boss Grills Vertical Pellet Smoker

Design and Construction:

Like the gas-fueled offering from Pit Boss, this pellet smoker features a glass door and a durable steel construction.

The cooking chamber is supported by four wheeled legs to give the heavy unit some degree of maneuverability. A hopper with a 40-pound capacity is built into the rear of the unit. The steel cooking grates are coated with porcelain for easy cleanup.

Usability:

Because we feel that wood pellets deliver exceptionally good smoke flavor, we're particularly enamored of this model. With a 40-pound capacity hopper, it's designed for long, slow cooking.

A pellet purge option even allows you to switch flavors midway through the cooking process. This is especially convenient if you start with a strong-flavored wood such as hickory or mesquite.

The glass pane gives the unit extra eye appeal, and since you won't have to open the door to check your progress, it boasts superior heat retention as well. This smoker has a temperature range of 150 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit—not quite low enough for cold smoking, but suitable for beef jerky.

The digital LED readout and included meat probe offer precise results with every use. Since it offers a whopping 1830 square inches of cooking space, this is a unit for serious smoking enthusiasts only.

Features:

Fuel Type

Wood Pellets

Weight

131 pounds

Temperature Range

 150 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

Cooking Space

1830 square inches

Pros

  • Delivers superior smoked flavor
  • Oversized hopper for extended cooking applications
  • Enormous capacity
  • Easy to assemble
  • Built to last

Cons

  • Control panel is set in an awkward location
  • Temperature readouts can be erratic

Camp Chef Smoke Vault Vertical Smoker

Design and Construction:

As the name suggests, this gas-fired smoker is designed to resemble a bank vault, with a silver door and a temperature knob that looks like a combination dial. The door handle is teardrop-shaped, which contributes to the illusion.

the vertical Camp Chef grill sitting on the wooden ground

The Smoke Vault features a steel construction, with two adjustable smoking racks and one tray that's exclusively designed for jerky. The interior is roomy enough to accommodate a 12-pound turkey with a couple of full rib racks underneath.

Usability:

While there's no digital control panel on this unit, it does offer three adjustable damper valves to help keep the temperature in check. A matchless ignition makes startup a snap. The jerky rack is a nice touch, and the overall design is eye-catching.

Although this is a gas-fueled unit, the wood chip tray can be loaded with chunks or pellets, which gives you more freedom as far as flavor is concerned. The thermometer is stable and reliable, with a maximum readout of 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Note that the unit advertises a range of 160 to 350 degrees, so pay attention if it climbs any higher, as the results could be unpredictable. A number of handy cooking tips and recipes are included with every purchase of this model.

Features:

Fuel Type

Gas

Weight

75 pounds

Heat Output

18,000 BTUs

Temperature Range

160 to 350 degrees

Cooking Space

903 square inches

(includes Jerky Rack)

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Clever design
  • Versatile across a broad range of cooking applications
  • Clear and concise instructions for use

Cons

  • Interior heat can be affected by ambient temperatures
  • Smoke can escape through gaps in the door
  • Should always be set up with the door facing into the wind

FAQ

How does one go about choosing the right vertical smoker?

The answer depends largely on what you have in mind. For example, you should look for a smoker with the right amount of cooking space to suit your needs. If you're a first-timer, make sure it's easy to assemble, with clear and accurate instructions. Finally, make sure you're comfortable with the fuel source (see below).

What are the different fuel types for vertical smokers?

Typically, vertical smokers will be fueled by one of the following sources:

  • Electricity
  • Charcoal
  • Gas or propane
  • Wood pellets

The first three options will include built-in trays or smoker boxes for holding wood chips. Since pellet smokers already use wood as fuel, there's no need for this extra step.

attractive smoked food inside the smoker

Are vertical or horizontal smokers better? 

While horizontal smokers tend to be more versatile—they can smoke, roast, braise, bake, and grill—the smoke flavor they provide is usually less pronounced. If you're looking specifically for a unit that will turn out excellent smoked meats, a vertical smoker is the way to go.

Is a pellet grill better than a smoker?

Again, the answer rests largely with the consumer. With a pellet grill, you'll have more options than a vertical smoker can offer, but the temperature control can be erratic and the smoke flavor won't be as noticeable. For die-hard smoking enthusiasts who are hoping to infuse their ingredients with the highest possible concentration of smoke flavor, a smoker is the clear choice.

David Walker
Latest posts by David Walker (see all)