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Buyers Guide & Information

Best Vertical Smokers Reviewed

Save space with these top-rated wood, pellet and offset style smoker brands!

by

Cooking meat at a higher temperature reduces its juiciness and tenderness; the ideal way to cook a steak is at slow, constant heat and lower temperatures.

If you enjoy hosting BBQ gatherings at your place and want your food to be remembered by everyone, then you must pick the best vertical smoker on the market. This will also help you ensure that you don't serve your guests a steak that is chewy or raw.

A good vertical smoker can produce smoke at a constant low temperature and also holds the smoke around the meat for maximum absorption – this helps create more tender and juicy steaks compared to other cooking techniques.

In this guide, we will help you pick the best vertical smoker available on the market and provide you with a detailed description of each available model.

Image

Product

Cooking Area

Key Feature

Check Price

Backwoods Chubby 3400 22.5 x 20 x 31.5 Inch...

Backwoods Chubby 3400

1023 Sq. Inches

Award-winning design

Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty...

Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D

1382 Sq. In.

Chrome-plated steel

Camp Chef SMV18S

Camp Chef SMV18S

630 Sq. Inches

Propane Powered

KBQ C-60 BBQ Smoker Pit

KBQ C-60 BBQ Smoker Pit

960 Sq. In.

Easy assembly and use

Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D 36' Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D

738 Sq. In.

2-door design

Dyna-Glo DGW1904BDP-D 43' Wide Body LP Gas Smoker...

Dyna-Glo DGW1904BDP-D

1235 Sq. In.

LP gas machine

Char-Broil Vertical Electric Smoker

Char-Broil Vertical

505 Sq. In.

Insulated, double-walled construction

Pit Boss Grills 77550 5.5 Pellet Smoker, 1548 sq....

Pit Boss Grills 77550

1548 Sq. In.

Digitally controlled thermometer

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal...

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D

1176 Sq. In.

Dual door design

How Vertical Smokers Work

Cooking with a vertical smoker is all about making sure that the food absorbs all the smoke at a constant and low temperature. For instance, if you’re looking for a smoky flavored steak, then you must make sure that the smoke is infused completely at an optimum temperature – and this appliance helps you do precisely this.

When it comes to such smokers, there are three main components, and each is equally important:

  • The Heating Source:
    In each of these smokers, the bottom component is the heating source. From here, the smoke is generated, and it goes through the water pan. The smoke is produced from charcoal, a gas burner, or electricity.
  • The Water Pan-For any smoker:
    the water pan is what makes the system work. It is responsible for storing and regulating the heat coming from the heating source, which is then deflected by the water pan. In short, this helps ensure that a moist cooking environment is maintained and does not allow your meat to dry out.
  • The Smoking Chamber:
    This is the final component of the smoker and the part where the real magic can be seen. The food is placed here so that it can receive the heat coming through the water pan.

Benefits Of Having A Vertical Smoker

If you love cooking meat, then investing in a vertical smoker is a good idea – not only are these affordable appliances, but they are also easy to use.

Compared to larger smokers, vertical ones don't necessarily need a lot of space and are more fuel-efficient. With their small size and efficiency, these appliances are a must-have in every household. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss out on a perfect BBQ when the sun is shining and your family is over for the day.

An added bonus with such appliances is that they are easily moveable and can go with you from place to place. Almost all of these smokers come with attached rollers, so it is easy to drag them from one place to another.


Buying A Good Quality Vertical Smoker

Before buying a quality vertical smoker, let’s look into a few things you need to consider – this will help you select the perfect model as per your needs and requirements.

Smoking/Grilling Needs

The grill is a crucial aspect to consider before buying a vertical smoker. For instance, if you have limited space, then it is a good idea to opt for a small-sized grill. If you’re to host large gatherings of your friends and family, then a model that has a large-sized grill can be picked.

Types of Vertical Smoker

As mentioned earlier, there are three types of vertical smokers. These are defined by the source through which they are heated. The following are a few sources of fuel that are typically found in such appliances:

  1. 1
    Charcoal
  2. 2
    Wood
  3. 3
    Gas burners (propane and natural)
  4. 4
    Electricity

Each type of smoker has its own use, advantages, and disadvantages, but the most critical factor is what sort of smoke you want to BBQ in; for instance, charcoal smokers are the best since they provide a great smoky flavor to your meat.

Durability

The construction and material type is an essential factor when considering the right model for your needs. They determine how long-lasting your smoker will be and how you can use it. If you want a smoker that you will be using daily, either at a restaurant or at home, then you will need a more durable model.

Performance, Smoking/Grilling Consistency & Capacity

Vertical smokers come in different sizes and with various features and capabilities. If you’re looking for a smoker with an added feature of baking, then a different model type will be required. If you’re looking to cook for a large crowd, then a model with a larger grill would be more suitable.

In the end, it all comes down to what you want from your smoker and the quantity of meats you expect to smoke.

Temperature Adjustment

As mentioned earlier, regulating the smoke usually gives you the best results, especially if the person using the smoker is an amateur cook.

Most smokers have a built-in gauge that can help you control the temperature for your needs. Note that it is difficult to control the heat when your smoker is wood or charcoal – beginners are typically recommended electric models as they don't have to control the smoke manually. 

Cooking Space

Before buying a smoker, think about where you will be using it – for instance, consider if your building allows such appliances. Similarly, consider how many people will you be usually cooking for, and do you have the space required for a smoker?

All these questions are essential for deciding the size of your smoker; remember, a large smoker will emit a more considerable amount of smoke compared to a smaller one.

Mobility/Portability, Ease of Use, Easy Cleaning

Most smokers are easy to use, but some can be tricky. Even though most smokers come with a manual, it can still be challenging to set up 50 different parts. For a beginner, it is advisable to select a model that has an easy to follow manual and can easily be set up.

You'll easily be able to find smokers with a “set and forget” technology – others will require you to practice on them before you can master the grill. If you wish to control the fire and be thoroughly involved in the entire process, then you’ll want to consider one that is a bit more basic and gives you the full-on experience of a proper BBQ.

When deciding on the type of model you wish to buy, another aspect that you should consider is mobility.

Extra Features & Accessories

Almost all models come with a variety of features and accessories such as a Cover, Starter, Gloves, Hangers & Hooks, Grid Mat, Meat Thermometer Probes, etc. These shouldn’t be considered as a bonus when buying this product, but rather a need.

If you’re looking to buy a vertical smoker and you reside in a small residential area, then you must consider a model with proper ventilation so that your neighbors aren't disturbed. Standard features also include a built-in temp gauge, handy rollers, seals, and dampers.

Warranty Coverage & Budget

Vertical Smokers can be bought for as low as $80 and can go up to $1,200 or more. Just like anything else, the more we spend, the better quality we will get. But before starting your search, it is important that you set a budget in mind so any model above that can be removed from the list.

However, if you’re looking to invest only once, then you should straight away go for a quality smoker that will last you for a long time. Apart from the price, most manufacturers provide a warranty when bought directly from them or a retailer recognized by them. Remember, a warranty secures you against unforeseen accidents and protects your investment.


9 Best Vertical Smokers Reviewed

1. Backwoods Chubby 3400

Our Top Pick!

Dimensions

22.5 x 21 x 31.5 Inches

Weight

138 Lbs

Temperature Range

180 - 300

Cooking Surface Area

1023 Sq. Inches

Key Feature

Award-winning design

Warranty

Yes – 1-Year Limited Warranty

The Backwoods Chubby 3400 is one of the best vertical smokers available in the market. Although it is one of the smallest smokers on this list, weighing only 130lbs, the results are fantastic. Due to its small size, traveling with this smoker is also not an issue; you can take it virtually everywhere with you.

Alongside its multiple uses, the Chubby 3400 can easily be converted into a grill or a BBQ pit; all you have to do is to remove the stainless water pan. This smoker uses charcoal as its primary heating source, but it can also be replaced with wood. As a heavy-duty appliance, it includes four racks of 16.5x 15.5 inches and has an attached extra slider for a more flexible arrangement.

Also included in the smoker is a stainless steel interior with a heat diverter. The black doors are attached with slam latches, and the steel water pan is not only removable but also stainless. These features prevent it from rusting after being used daily – or even if it is not used at all for an extended period.

The black doors on this appliance help eject heat for more controlled temperature and, thus, a moist cooking environment. This ensures that your food doesn’t dry out during the cooking process and remains juicy. This model is built with three walls, and the space between the outside and center wall is well-insulated – as such, the smoker can also be used in extremely cold temperatures as well.

It can easily cook a thigh combo, a rack of ribs, a brisket, leg, and a pork butt – all at the same time.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Can convert into a Smoker, Grill and BBQ pit
  • Small size
  • Fuel efficient
  • Can function in cold weather

Cons

  • Constant monitoring required during cooking

2.  Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D

best vertical offset smoker

Dimensions

58 x 45.5 x 24.9 Inches

Weight

124.3 Lbs.

Temperature Range

N/A

Cooking Surface Area

1382 Sq. In.

Key Feature

Chrome-plated steel

Warranty

Yes – 1-Year Limited Warranty

Powered with charcoal or wood, the Dyna-Glo Signature Series is the best vertical offset smoker. Featuring a classic smoker design, this model is great at providing you smoked food through the horizontal chambers. The firebox is attached to the side of the chamber, providing a unique flow of smoke into the chamber.

Built with the capability to cook for larger crowds, the cooking chamber in this smoker has enough space to handle multiple cuts of meat, pork shoulders, briskets, and a rack of ribs. This vertical offset smoker is made of heavy-duty stainless steel that ensures your meat is cooked correctly. The handle lid is also made of heat-resistant material; you can open the smoker with ease and without risking a burn.

The grates are made from five-chrome plated steel and are easy to clean after being used. There are also have large wheels located underneath the appliance, which makes it easy for you to move it around. All you have to do is to slightly lift the handle and drag the smoker towards your preferred location. 

In short, the Dyna- Glo is definitely worth the investment; since it is labeled as one of the best offset smokers in the market, the model certainly provides you value for your money.

Pros

  • Cleanable grates
  • Manufactured with durable and stainless steel
  • Uses a unique flow of smoke throughout the chamber

Cons

  • Relatively more expensive than its competitors

3. Camp Chef SMV18S

Camp Chef SMV18S

Camp Chef SMV18S

best vertical smoker for the money

Dimensions

40.5 x 25 x 22 Inches

Weight

145.5 Lbs.

Temperature Range

180 - 400

Cooking Surface Area

630 Sq. Inches

Key Feature

Propane Powered

Warranty

1 year from date of purchase

Vertical smokers are an affordable option when you wish to replicate a restaurant-quality BBQ in your back yard. Initially, Camp Chef started off by making smokers for camping enthusiasts – since then, they have expanded their target market and now make all sorts of outdoor cooking appliances at affordable rates.

The Camp Chef SMV 18S is a classic propane-fired vertical smoker and is also used in small brick and mortar restaurants. This cabinet styled smoker has a propane element connected to its regulated LP hose that is fired up through a built-in “matchless Snap Ignition” system. The flame that it produces heats the heavy-duty wood pan, which then releases the smoke towards the food chamber.

At maximum capacity, this model produces 18,000 BTU’s of heat and has a temperature range of 150 degrees to 400 degrees. This is extremely useful for people who like to cook at a higher temperature and want the skin of their chicken to be crispy.

The smoke density and airflow of this model are controlled and regulated by the dampers at the top of the smoker on each side. It also features a built-in thermometer to help you keep tabs on the internal temperature. Camp Chef is renowned for its customer service and their dedication towards producing quality products – and the SMV 18S is a perfect example of this.

However, there are a few question marks over its door thermometer, and it might not be as accurate as you’d expect. The quick solution to this issue is that if you’re purchasing the SMV 18S, then you may also want to invest in a remote probe thermometer for more accurate results.

Overall, the Camp Chef SMV 18S is a quality product with some great features – and with the price that it is being offered at, we feel that it is an excellent value for money.

Pros

  • Large cooking space
  • Push-button ignition
  • Gives quick response when adjusting heat

Cons

  • Thermometer isn’t accurate
  • Once fuel source is changed, you can’t revert

4. KBQ C-60 BBQ Smoker Pit

Best Vertical Wood Smoker

Dimensions

41 x 26 x 19 Inches

Weight

92 lbs

Temperature Range

N/A

Cooking Surface Area

960 Sq. In.

Key Feature

Easy assembly and use

Warranty

2 years

The KBQ C 60 is known to produce delicious BBQ – and the best part is that this unit is very easy to assemble and use. In fact, even an amateur can get the best out of this model on their first try. As a product that has been designed after years of research, the KBQ C-60 is, without a doubt, the best vertical wood smoker available. If you're into old-school hardwood fired BBQ, then you don't have to look any further than this model.

Unlike most traditional offset smokers, the KBQ C 60 is a trademarked vertical smoker. Its stainless steel box is placed above the vertical cooking chamber, thus lending it a unique look. The smoke is pulled from underneath the fire and through the flames, thus giving you the perfect light blue colored smoke.

And the AutoDraft feature of this smoker is what truly sets it apart from all other models; simply put, it maintains the perfect temperature of 250 degrees throughout the cooking process. It also has a built-in draft fan that automatically turns on and off whenever heat is required from the firebox.

With an ample amount of cooking space and such exciting features, this model is ideal for anyone who wishes to have authentic BBQ. It is essential to note that after 30 minutes of cooking, you will need to replace the logs or add more for an optimum amount of smoke.

At a reasonable price and with such features, this is a must-have vertical smoker for almost everybody who likes to have their food naturally cooked.

Pros

  • 100% stainless
  • Suitable for beginners
  • No need to flip the meat
  • Hidden wheels
  • Used in most BBQ competitions

Cons

  • You need to replace logs every 30 mins
  • Requires electricity to run the fans
  • Can’t be used as a grill

5. Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D

Best Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Dimensions

20 x 21 x 50 Inches

Weight

56 Lbs.

Temperature Range

N/A

Cooking Surface Area

738 Sq. In.

Key Feature

2-door design

Warranty

Yes – 1-year

The Dyna-Glo vertical charcoal smoker is a great option, especially at the price it is being offered at. The exterior of this model is made with powder-coated steel and gives you an ample amount of space for you to BBQ in. Its cooking chamber is porcelain-enameled, a common feature in most grillers and smokers, especially since this material is easy to clean and does not rust easily.

Additionally, this model has a great heat circulation system, and you don't necessarily need to flip your meat often. It also comes with a great temperature management system that makes it easy to cook while having friends and family over.

For most vertical charcoal smokers, it is almost impossible to top up the charcoal once you’ve started the cooking process without burning your hand - but that’s not true for this model. The Dyna-Glo 36” Vertical smoker has a bottom door that can be accessed at any point and stored with pre-started charcoal. The two-door design feature ensures that there is minimum heat loss, even when topping up.

The upper chamber has four layers of grates and can be adjusted to different heights. You can place different food items on different levels of the grate – all these features make this an excellent appliance for beginners. One unique feature of this model is the three modes adjustment system; users can regulate the temperature and airflow, and cook at different temperatures if they want.

If you’re into having different smoky flavors for all your meals, then the built-in stainless thermometer has a smoke zone indicator that helps you customize the level of smoke being carried towards the food.

Pros

  • Two-door design
  • Removable ash pan
  • Ceramic coated interior
  • 100% stainless

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a water pan
  • A lot of gap between the grates

6. Dyna-Glo DGW1904BDP-D

Top Vertical Propane Model

Dimensions

20 x 31 x 56 Inches

Weight

90 Lbs.

Temperature Range

N/A

Cooking Surface Area

1235 Sq. In.

Key Feature

LP gas machine

Warranty

Yes – 1-Year

Known for manufacturing long-lasting products, Dyna-Glo manufacturers have lived up to users’ expectations with this product. The Dyna-Glo DGW1904BDP-D is by far one of the best products made by the company. For instance, it features a push button that has an electric ignition; this emits a rapid pulse, resulting in easy and quick lighting. It also has a dual cast iron burner that provides 20,000 BTUs for easy and reliable cooking in all sorts of weather.

The heat is retained through the pre-installed door seals while the sausage hook and the removable rib rack are some unique features that don’t usually come in comparable models.

The wood chip box and water bowl are made with porcelain-enameled steel; this allows you to cook for hours without having to stop. It also features a “smoke zone” in its temperature gauge that helps users set the perfect temperature for infusing a smoky flavor into the food.

Although most consumers have complained about the limited airflow, that is usually the case with most propane vertical smokers. A good way to deal with this issue is to cut open another vent on the top to improve the airflow. All in all, for the price this model is being offered at and its quality, we feel that this is one of the best vertical propane smokers available. 

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Flexible design for various food items
  • Pre-installed doors
  • 100% stainless

Cons

  • Congested flow of smoke

7. Char-Broil Vertical

Top Vertical Electric Smoker

Dimensions

17.5 x 20 x 39.8 Inches

Weight

49.6 Lbs.

Temperature Range

N/A

Cooking Surface Area

505 Sq. In.

Key Feature

Insulated, double-walled construction

Warranty

Yes – Must register the product

Electric smokers are usually preferred by people who have limited space and live in apartments where they are not allowed to let smoke out of the window.

And Char-Broil Vertical is the perfect option – unlike most electric smokers, this model makes use of a traditional dial thermostat that allows you to set the temperature as per your liking. Even though BBQ enthusiasts don't prefer electric smokers, if they are limited because of other factors, then the Char-Broil will deliver decent quality prices with guaranteed customer support.

The design ensures maximum ventilation so that the heat isn’t held inside; this helps protect the electric components inside. But while it provides a moist environment for the food to cook in, it is certainly not good for a crispy skin on your chicken or for browning your meat.

At the price it is being offered at – and with a three chrome-plated cooking rack alongside double-walled insulation – you can't ask for more from an electric smoker.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Smoke-free
  • Decent capacity for indoor cooking

Cons

  • Weak door locking mechanism
  • Components malfunction occasionally
  • Can’t function in rain

8. Pit Boss Grills 77550

Top vertical pellet smoker

Dimensions

53 x 29 x 28 Inches

Weight

131 Lbs.

Temperature Range

180 - 500

Cooking Surface Area

1548 Sq. In.

Key Feature

Digitally controlled thermometer

Warranty

Yes – 1 Year

As a digital gas smoker, the Pit Boss Grill 77550 is truly one of a kind. The model is packaged in a way that it is easy to unpack and assemble while all the components are of high quality and extremely durable.

Along with two legs on the rear end for easy transportation, it also features a unique dual valve burner system that can be used separately with wood chips. With this, you can adjust the wood chips and the cabinet separately for a more consistent temperature. It also has a single knob control through which you can achieve a temperature range of 100-350 degrees.

For a smoked meal, the Pit Boss grill has side dampeners attached to it that ensures a steady temperature throughout the cooking process.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Smoke-free
  • Decent capacity for indoor cooking

Cons

  • Weak door locking mechanism
  • Components malfunction occasionally
  • Can’t function in rain

9. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D

best rated

Dimensions

20 x 34 x 47 Inches

Weight

57 Lbs.

Temperature Range

N/A

Cooking Surface Area

1176 Sq. In.

Key Feature

Dual door design

Warranty

Yes – 1 Year Limited Warranty

Amongst the various types of smokers available in the market right now, the Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D is one of the best options available.

Labeled as the best rated vertical smoker, this model of Dyna-Glo can serve numerous functions – all at once. Even though many other models and types of smokers have this ability, its performance is certainly a level above the rest.

This model has a unique design with great features; for instance, the built-in ash pan is also easy to remove and clean while the box for holding the charcoal and wood is porcelain coated. Right above the primary chamber, an adjustable damper is placed on the sides as well as an adjustable smokestack. This ensures a more stable control of airflow as well as heat ventilation.

Just like other models of Dyna-Glo, the main smoking chamber of this model latches tightly and also has a quick-release handle. This entire appliance is made of 14-gauge steel that is further protected with a powder coating.

At first, this appliance is hard to understand, but once you get the hang of it, you will feel like an expert cook. The manual is comprehensive, and with a little patience and focus, this appliance can be assembled within an hour or two.

Pros

  • Dual door design
  • Limited direct heat
  • Durable
  • 100% stainless steel

Cons

  • Performance level drops in cold temperatures
  • Thermometer is not accurate

Horizontal vs Vertical: Which Is Better?

The main difference between a horizontal and a vertical smoker is where the smoke and heat are generated from. A horizontal smoker has a chamber on the side while vertical smokers have a smoking chamber directly below the cooking compartment.

In a horizontal smoker, the temperature always remains low due to its positioning; this results in a more authentic style of BBQ as food is cooked at lower temperatures. Mostly, these smokers use charcoal and wood as their fuel source.

On the other hand, the heat and smoke come from directly below the cooking chamber in the vertical smoker – this means that the food is cooked faster. Most of these are also powered by either gas or electricity, but there are a few models that use charcoal and wood.

In conclusion, if we had to pick one smoker over the other, then our choice would be a vertical smoker.


Tips When Using Vertical Smoker

The number one tip is to clean the ash from your smoking chamber before using it – doing this is a dangerous task and can seriously harm your eyes in case of direct contact. As such, you should wear eye protection when cleaning the pit.

Another valuable tip when using a vertical smoker is that you should not take the lid off again and again. Whenever you do, there is space for both the smoke and heat to escape, and for a good quality meal, you wouldn’t want that to happen.

Remember, smoking is a slow process, and you should only check the meat once every hour.

Apart from these tips, the basic rule is to always have a steady fire going – don’t let the temperature fluctuate too much.


Cleaning and Maintenance

A greasy grill grate and carbon buildup on the lid will drastically decrease the quality of your food – in short; it is crucial to have your grill clean at all times.

Don’t forget to clean your smoker and ensure that ashes and food buildup are adequately removed. It is equally important to keep your grill well-oiled at all times to prevent it from rusting.

When it comes to cleaning and maintaining your appliances, most users tend to neglect this duty. To ensure that your smoker works perfectly for a longer time, keep it free from ashes and grease deposits.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long do these vertical smokers last?
If taken care of properly, vertical smokers are meant to last for a very long time. Top-quality vertical smokers have an average life of 10 years, but a replacement after 6-7 years wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Where is the best place to buy these vertical smokers?
There are many websites online that sell almost all sorts of cooking appliances. We recommend Amazon for a variety of vertical smokers – from gas to electric.
What are the best meats to smoke or grill in a vertical smoker?
Fatty cuts such as beef brisket, ribs, and pork shoulders are one of the best meats that can be cooked in a vertical smoker.
What is cold smoking?

Cold smoking refers to when you place your food in the chamber and smoke it for about 12-48 hours without direct heat – as such, the temperature inside the chamber is usually around 20-25 degrees.

 Generally, before the process of cold smoking begins, the food is cured as this helps in drawing out all the moisture. This also helps keep the food fresh for a long time without having to put it in the refrigerator.
What are the top vertical smoker brands?

There are many brands that have a significant share of the market, but Dyna-Glo, Camp Chef, and Pit Boss grills manufacture some of the best grills.

How do you insulate a smoker?

To insulate your smoker, you must first put it under an insulation blanket – these usually have an aluminum layer and an exterior fabric layer attached. During the wrapping process and afterward, you must make sure that the firebox is turned off.


Conclusion

We hope that we were able to provide you with all the necessary information to help you make an informed decision on the right vertical smoker for you.

For the record, we feel that the best vertical smoker available in the market is the Backwoods Chubby 3400 based on the price and unique features.

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