Best Charcoal Smoker Reviews: Top 5+ recommended

Most people love to boast about expertly cooking with charcoal. After all, this cooking technique is more than just flipping hotdogs and burger patties over hot charcoal, as it requires a little bit of skill, determination, and mastery to work along with the right tools and equipment.

Those who are fond of cooking with charcoal know how crucial it is to have the best charcoal smoker to make the task easier, more convenient, and considerably more fun.

Best Charcoal Smoker

If you are new to charcoal cooking, you will most likely be confused when choosing a charcoal smoker, as there are numerous options available in the market. To make it easier for you, we have reviewed the best of the best charcoal smoker devices in the market. Read on to find out which device suits you best.

Product’s NameScore
The Best of the Best Charcoal Smoker  – Weber Smokey Mountain 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker (721001)95/100
The Second Best Charcoal Smoker – Classic Pit Barrel Charcoal Smoker (18-1/2 inch)95/100
The Best Budget Pick Charcoal Smoker – Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Smoker (E06614)93/100
The Best Cabinet Charcoal Smoker – Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical Charcoal Smoker (DGX780BDC-D)91/100
Best Portable Charcoal Smoker – Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Smoker (121020)85/100

Below, you’ll see more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read reviews on Amazon.com

Top 5 Best Charcoal Smoker Reviews 2022

The Best of the Best Charcoal Smoker (Editor’s Pick) – Weber Smokey Mountain 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker (721001)

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Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
  • Material Type: Steel
  • The Weber Smokey Mountain charcoal smoker helps you achieve an authentic smokehouse flavor at home
  • It can accommodate a whole turkey and an entire ham at the same time. Item weight- 39.1 pounds
  • Made of porcelain-enameled steel, this smoker comes with 2 nickel-plated 18-1/2-inch-wide cooking grates
  • Includes a water pan, thermometer, individual vents on bowl and lid, and heat-resistant nylon handle

When you want to cook the juiciest cuts of meat, the Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker is the best griller for you. This 18-inch charcoal smoker will make it easier for you to enjoy authentic smokehouse flavors and the juiciest meat right in the comforts of your home.

This charcoal smoker comes with two nickel-placed 18-inch wide cooking grates, which total about 481 square inches of cooking space. The cooking space is generous enough to cater to a large chunk of meat.

This unit is made of high-quality porcelain-enameled steel and measures about 21 inches by 19 inches by 41 inches.

This smoker is made up of three sections. The lower part contains the charcoal ring, and this is where the charcoal and smoke wood are placed. This section comes with three adjustable vents that control the airflow. The middle part is where the water pan is located, along with the two cooking grates and an access door for adding wood and charcoal. Lastly, the dome lid section contains the built-in thermometer.

Also, this smoker unit comes with several accessories, including a built-in thermometer, individual vents on its lid and bowl, a water pan, a heat-resistant handle made of nylon, and a storage cover.

What We Like​

  • High-quality construction and materials
  • Cooks the juiciest meats with its water pan for added moisture
  • Easy to use
  • Large cooking capacity with 481 square inches of cooking space
  • Includes numerous accessories and features, including air vents, thermometer, water pan, and a storage cover

What We Didn’t Like

  • Has minor air leaks

The Second Best Charcoal Smoker – Classic Pit Barrel Charcoal Smoker (18-1/2 inch)

Pit Barrel Cooker Classic Package - 18.5 Inch Drum Smoker | Porcelain Coated Steel BBQ Grill | Includes 8 Hooks, 2 Hanging Rods, Grill Grate and More
  • EFFORTLESS: Whether you’re new to outdoor cooking or an expert trying to perfect your craft, cook perfectly every time with the Pit Barrel's 360º All-Round Heat Dynamics. Our vertical barrel cooker technology produces consistently great-tasting, flawlessly cooked meat, veggies, and more
  • VERSATILE: The cooking possibilities are endless. For the perfect smoked meat, grill or hang ribs and brisket using the hooks and steel grill grate or use our custom GrillGrate for sear-marks and to smoke everything from burgers to desserts
  • DURABLE: Each Pit Barrel Cooker is made with a superior-grade porcelain enamel finish that looks great and is designed to withstand everything from the internal heat to weather conditions
  • PORTABLE: Our cookers are made to be lightweight and compact to fit in most vans, SUVs, and truck beds. Use the handles on the side to easily lift and transport to wherever your grilling skills are in demand. Easily fits 8 Racks of Ribs, 2-3 Pork Butts/Shoulders, Turkey Hangers allow for 2 16 lb Turkeys
  • THE COMPLETE SMOKER STARTER: Everything you will need to get started: The barrel (33” tall, including the lid and stand, and 21.25” wide, including the side handles), 2 Hanging Rods, 8 Stainless Steel Hooks, Standard Grill Grate, Charcoal Basket, and Hook Remover Tool (Seasonings Not Included)

If you like the DIY approach when it comes to charcoal smokers, then the Classic Pit Barrel Charcoal Smoker package is the best device for you.

This charcoal smoker shares the same vertical design as the Weber Smokey Mountain with a few notable differences, which as its lack of a water bowl. Despite this, this charcoal smoker is still very popular because it performs well and delivers sumptuous grilled meats.

It is made out of a 30-gallon steel drum (18-gauge) and lid. This smoker can handle high temperatures, while its cooler external temperature can create condensation inside the barrel for additional moisture. The heat is also distributed evenly inside the smoker because of its cylindrical shape.

This unit also does not make use of grill racks. Instead, it uses metal hooks where you can hang the meat vertically inside the charcoal smoker.

What We Like​

  • The unique meat hook system includes eight stainless steel hooks.
  • Less messy cleanup because meat juice falls directly on the hot coal
  • Easy to use, easy to assemble
  • Made of high-quality and durable materials
  • Contains other cooking accessories like a standard grate for searing and grilling, two hanging rods, a charcoal basket, and a hook remover tool

What We Didn’t Like

  • Tends to run hot when too much charcoal is added

The Best Budget Pick Charcoal Smoker – Char-Griller Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker Charcoal Smoker (E06614)

Char-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr. Portable Kamado Charcoal Grill, Red
  • PORTABLE CHARCOAL GRILL - Kamado style Portable BBQ Grill & Smoker perfect for both high heat grilling and low-and-slow cooking
  • GRILL ANYWHERE - Grilling on-the-go has never been easier thanks to the convenient handles and compact frame, perfect for tailgating, camping, barbecuing at the park, or at home in the backyard
  • BEST IN CLASS FEATURES - Insulated design with locking lid traps smoke, heat, and moisture like expensive ceramic kamados producing flavorful barbecue and allowing you to use less charcoal
  • HEAVY-DUTY CONSTRUCTION - Made from heavy-gauge powder coated Steel with thick Cast Iron cooking grates for maximum durability and heat retention
  • EASY TO USE & CLEAN - Control the heat levels with ease using the indexed adjustable dual dampers and thermometer, and quickly clean up after grilling using the removable Easy Dump Ash Pan

This charcoal smoker may be cheaper compared to other smokers in the market and small, but this unit is a versatile grill and smoker that is built to last. Now, you can enjoy low and slow roasting and grilling with the Char-Griller Kamado Charcoal Smoker.

This smoker is designed with triple-walled steel (22-gauge), which efficiently retains heat for optimal performance. Its durable steel construction is built to last.

It has a top to bottom adjustable dampers that can easily maintain even airflow in and out of the grill while smoking or grilling. With such a design, you can use less charcoal while cooking, making it a fuel-efficient charcoal smoker.

This unit also comes with an easy dump ash pan, cast iron cooking grates, and a stainless heat gauge. It even comes with convenient handles for portability.

What We Like​

  • Affordable
  • Steel construction is built to last
  • Comes with an adjustable damper for even airflow
  • Portable
  • Comes with accessories including dump ash pan, stainless heat gauge, and cast iron cooking grates

What We Didn’t Like

  • Its gaskets can leak, especially when cooking at a very high temperature

The Best Cabinet Charcoal Smoker – Dyna-Glo 36″ Vertical Charcoal Smoker (DGX780BDC-D)

Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D 36" Vertical Charcoal Smoker
  • 4 cooking grates
  • 784 square Inch of total cooking area
  • Charcoal & ash management system includes charcoal chamber, charcoal grate & removable ash pan
  • Protect your smoker with a custom-fit Dyna-Glo premium cover - Model DG784GSC (Sold Separately)
  • Stainless temperature gauge with smoke zone indicates the ideal temperature for infusing smoke flavor

Yes, this is one of the best cabinet-design charcoal smokers. It has a generous 784 square inches of cooking area. With its vertical design, you can quickly capture the maximum flavors when cooking.

This charcoal smoker has a double-door design which minimizes heat loss when you try to access your food or the charcoal when cooking. Its porcelain-enameled charcoal chamber is designed to keep your charcoal tightly stacked to improve its burn efficiency significantly.

Assembly is rather straightforward. In fact, its primary box is already assembled to ensure that there will be less fiddling with bolts required. The racks included are also sturdy and well-made. This unit contains four cooking grates and a removable ash pan.

What We Like​

  • Affordable
  • Comes with a generous 784 square inches of cooking space
  • Double-door design for food and charcoal access
  • Easy to use, and assembly is straightforward
  • Has a vertical design for optimum performance

What We Didn’t Like

  • Tends to leak
  • The lids on the wooden box do not fit securely

Best Portable Charcoal Smoker – Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Smoker (121020)

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Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill, Black
  • Holds up to six burgers made with a Weber burger press
  • Compact and lightweight for grilling on the go
  • Porcelain-enameled lid and base retain heat, and won’t rust or peel
  • The lid locks for easy portability and dampers allow you to easily control the temperature inside your grill
  • Durable plated steel cooking grate retains heat and is easy to clean.Primary cooking area (square inches):160

When it comes to portability, the Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Smoker is the best option for you. In fact, this is the perfect companion for camping.

While it may have a compact design, it still has a generous grilling area which is large enough to fit about four medium-sized steaks. It has a lid that can be locked into place with the unit’s pivoting legs.

With this unit’s built-in lid hangers, you can rest the lid located on the sides of the unit, which can create an efficient wind barrier. It is also crafted without nuts and bolts to ensure optimal performance and ease of use and assembly.

Its grate is constructed of steel coated with three layers of nickel, which makes it easy to clean. Also, its porcelain-enameled steel cooking box and lid are durable and built to last.

What We Like​

  • Affordable
  • Very portable with cool-to-touch handles attached to the unit
  • Comes with plated steel legs to secure the lid in place during transport
  • Designed with a steel grate with triple-nickel coating and a porcelain-enameled cooking box and cover that are built to last
  • Ideal for bringing during camping and other out-of-town grilling needs

What We Didn’t Like

  • Very small in size

Charcoal Fuel Types that You Should Know About

Best Charcoal Smoker

Charcoal smokers are designed differently and will have a variety of requirements, especially when it comes to the type of fuel or energy that is needed for it to work correctly.

So, what are the fuel types that you can use on your charcoal smoker?

Binchotan

This type of charcoal is a Japanese-made super lump charcoal, which is processed in cylinders that resemble branches. This coal is derived from ubamegashi, which is a type of oak that grows in mud caves. It burns quickly and does not exhibit the usual woody flavor that overpowers the meat you are cooking.

Because of the complicated process of how it is produced, this type of coal can be a bit pricey. Also, it can take a long time for this coal to burn correctly.

Best Charcoal Smoker

Lump Charcoal

This type of charcoal is also referred to as natural charcoal. It is binder-free and is made of pure wood heated in a device called a kiln, which is also referred to as a sealed cave. This charcoal burns cleanly and purely, making it an environmental-friendly option. However, this type burns more unevenly with hot spots than cold ones. It also heats rather quickly, requiring you to refill it often.

Coconut Shell

This type of coal is commonly used in South Asia. This burns fast compared to the other types of coal, and it is also rather cheaper.

Best Charcoal Smoker

Briquettes

This type of coal is also referred to as treated charcoal. It burns evenly and hotly over an extended period. This charcoal is often infused with a fuel-like fluid so it can light easily and quickly. Experts agree that this type of charcoal is the best type for the causal griller, as it burns steadily and costs less than the other charcoal types.

However, this charcoal is composed of different materials that give off a heavy smell and taste, which can overpower your meat when cooking.

How to Choose the Best Charcoal Smoker

Choosing charcoal can be quite overwhelming, as there are numerous options available for you. Also, these charcoal smokers have different features and different prices.

If you are looking for the best charcoal smoker, you should consider these factors before purchasing one.

Best Charcoal Smoker

Budget Friendly

When choosing a charcoal smoker, it is always best to think about how much money you want to spare for this cooking equipment. You do not have to buy the most expensive one in the market, as there are charcoal smokers that are high quality and perform well, which are not so expensive.

Capacity

Another essential factor to consider when choosing a charcoal smoker is its capacity. Some smokers are designed to cater to big parties, while others are made for small gatherings and are portable enough to bring with you to a campground and the like.

A good charcoal smoker should satisfy your needs regarding the size. If you are thinking about catering a large party, then you should opt for a bigger grill.

Best Charcoal Smoker

Portability

It is always important to know the kind of grill that you are looking for, as some grills are more portable than others. Larger grills are usually not as portable as smaller ones.

If you are thinking of bringing the smoker with you when you visit the park or a campground, you should consider getting a smaller and more portable charcoal smoker.

Modern Features

Charcoal smokers have also evolved over the years, and they now sport advanced features like heat settings, temperature gauges, and thermometers.

Most smokers who have more modern features are often priced high. If you think you can benefit most from these advanced features, you should consider looking into charcoal smokers with the modern features you need.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the perfect and the best charcoal smoker should not be that hard as long as you know what you are looking for in a smoker.

The first thing that you have to think about is your cooking needs and whether or not you want something that can cook for a large number of people or just a few of your friends. If you have decided on the size, the next thing that you need to think about would be your budget and the features you want your charcoal smoker to have.

Best Charcoal Smoker

To make it easier for you, we have reviewed the best of the best charcoal smokers in the market. If you are right on track, the best charcoal smoker is the Weber Smokey Mountain 18-inch Charcoal Smoker.

This unit is built to last with high-quality porcelain-enameled steel construction. Also, it has a generous cooking space that allows you to cook various foods for your family and a few of your friends.

It even has several other features, including a built-in thermometer, air vents, a water pan, a heat-resistant handle, and a storage cover.

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