Smokers come in all shapes, sizes and prices. When looking to buy a smoker you need to decide on a price range and then determine the fuel you want to use. Smokers can be gas, wood, charcoal or electric. The truer the barbecue the more time you will spend tending to fires and watching temperatures. If that doesn't sound good you should move towards gas or electric smokers. Otherwise go with charcoal or wood smokers. There are a lot of units out there and I've tried to find the best.
Smokers under $400
If you are new to smoking or on a budget you should aim towards a lower priced smoker. These units have all the variety but no the big price tags. Any one of these would be good to start out with. If you don't think you have the patience to tend a fire then choose a gas or electric smoker that will meet you needs. If you really get hooked on barbecue then you can always buy a bigger and better smoker later, but these units are the best in their price range.
Smokers over $400
If you have the cash to spend, these are the best smokers on the market. Prices can easily go well over $1,000 but you will get the ability to smoke lots of food at once and have the best equipment to do it with. These units represent the full range of smokers from electric to hardwood so you can find a smoker that not only meets your needs but also you desire to tend fires. Many of these units are used on the competition circuits to make award winning barbecue.
Smokers are amongst the most diverse products you can buy. Partly because of the number of fuels or energy sources they can use and partly because smoking can mean anything from traditional barbecue cooked around 225 degrees F to cold smoking for things like fish, cheese or jerky that can be done as low or lower than 60 degrees F. Most electric smokers try to do it all and this can be their strength or their weakness. The great strength, however, of a good electric smoker is its automation. Most good, and generally more expensive, electric smokers let you select a temperature, and even a time and you load it up and turn it on. They are nearly as easy to use as a microwave.
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