If you’re a barbecue enthusiast, you know as well as we do that there’s something truly magical about being able to smoke some food on the go. There’s nothing quite like spending a bit of quality time with friends and family while you’re out camping enjoying a little bit of smoked food.
Of course, in order to be able to barbecue on the go, you will need a decent portable smoker to do so. There are a bunch of different portable smokers on the market, so it’s all a matter of finding the best one for you! To save you a few hours of research, we’ve come up with the best portable smokers out there. We’ve also written a buyer’s guide to help you to narrow down your decision!
Our winner after 35+ hours of research
Best Portable Smokers – Comparison Table
Best Portable Smokers – Our Reviews
#1. Our Overall Top Pick
This charcoal barbecue is definitely well deserving of its place at the top of our list for the best portable smokers. The Weber Smokey Mountain 14” Cooker comes from the industry leader, Weber, so you already know it’s going to be good!
So, what makes this out top pick? For starters, this portable smoker oozes quality. It’s impeccably easy to use and because of this it’s perfect to use in pretty much any environment. It’s very durable, with a porcelain enameled shell and rust resistant dampers, along with a sturdy built in stand. If that wasn’t already enough, the smoker also comes with an incredible 10 year warranty to give you even more peace of mind. It also comes with a large removable fuel door that helps you to wipe down the interior much easier, perfect for when you need easy cleaning to hit the road soon.
The smoker comes in three different sizes, the smallest being their 14” model with their largest being the 22” model. It also features a vertical design that helps to speed up the time spent cooking, so you don’t need to wait for ages for your meal. It’s ideal for use both while camping and in the home too, so you can enjoy a stunning barbecue wherever you go.
- Good value for money
- Temperature guage built in
- Easy to clean
- 10 year warranty
- There may be some smoke leakage around the door
#2. Runner Up
If you want to be able to smoke while you’re doing other things like hanging out with the kids or going fishing, this could be a good choice for you. This pellet grill is truly immense, with authentic wood pellets creating that stunning wood smoked flavor.
The smoker comes with Traeger’s popular Arc controller with Advanced Grilling Logic. This essentially means that you can just set the temperature and the smoker will monitor and adjust the rate that pellets are fed into the fire. This provides you with hands off control with a lot of accuracy. In fact, the unit even comes along with a meat probe to allow you to know exactly when your meat is ready to eat! If you’re in the middle of doing something when your meat finishes cooking, there’s also no need to fear. The device comes with a warm setting which means your food can stay warm while you enjoy your day. The days of your time being dictated by your food cooking are long gone!
The unit also features fold away legs which means that it’s easy to transport too. It’s got a decent capacity so you can at least feed the immediate family in one round. You can also expect the smoker to last you a while as it has a high quality construction. You can use it at home on a regular basis if you want to! In addition to this, the product also comes with a 3 year warranty.
- 3 year warranty
- Decent capacity
- You can cook while doing other things
- It will require power access to operate
#3. Runner Up
If you want a long lasting portable smoker, this is it. This uniquely designed ceramic smoker is incredibly versatile just to start with, but it’s also easy to use.
The smoker measures roughly 20 inches by 20 inches so it’s small enough for you to move it around. Despite this, it actually still offers 148 inches of cooking space. That will allow you to be able to cook around 4 burgers, 2 big steaks and you could cook a small chicken at a time. It also only weighs around 68 pounds so it’s very lightweight, and gives you a lot of heat retention. It’s essentially all of the quality from other Kamado Joes, just smaller!
The smoker comes along with a bunch of extra handy features, including a sturdy stand, built in temperature gauge, rust resistant stainless steel racks in addition to an ash cleaning tool. Whether you’re just getting started with barbecuing or whether you’ve been at it for a while, it’s super easy to use. You could even use it in an outdoor kitchen if you want!
- Easy to use
- Efficient on fuel
- Easy to clean
#4. Runner Up
Usually Kamado cookers aren’t that portable, but the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Jr is certainly the exception.The portable egg shaped smoker is ideal for travelling barbecue enthusiasts.
The smoker is actually a smaller version of the full sized Akorn Kamado, coming with a hinged lid for easy accessibility. It also comes with a pop down dump ash pan which makes it easy to get rid of ash. Despite the fact that the smoker is relatively small, it comes with 153 square inches of grilling space so it’s plenty for a small family or a single person.
Of course, as this is a little bit more affordable than some of the other options out there it doesn’t hold heat as well as a lot of the more expensive options out there, but if you do want a compact and affordable portable smoker then this is certainly a good choice.
- 5 year warranty
- Good temperature control
- Not the strongest build
#5. Runner Up
This is something just a little bit different! This portable smoker is pretty versatile, and can work in a home oven or in a gas grill, or even over an open fire.
It’s just a little box, so all you need to do is put a few wood chips into the base of the pan, then put your meat onto it and cover it with a lid or foil. Then you can just put it over a heat source and let it do its thing! You can get some fantastic results using it, you can create some truly mouth watering food wherever you go.
Once you’ve finished with your cooking, you can clean the body and racks easily – they’re even dishwasher safe! It comes in two different sizes and it packs up in a jiffy without any extra hassle, so it’s a really easy way to enjoy smoking some yummy food on the go. Of course, it doesn’t come with all of the bells and whistles that a lot of other options on this list have, but it’s a decent option that’s pretty affordable.
- You can use it with almost any heat source, such as ovens, open fires and gas grills
- Can pack away into itself so it doesn’t take up a lot of room
- Can work with most any wood chips
- It’s technically not a true smoker so you’re not going to get a smoke ring, but you can still get delicious and crispy results
Best Portable Smokers – Buyer’s Guide
So now that you’ve seen the best that the market has to offer as far as pellet grills are concerned, there are a couple of things that you should think about before you make your decision. Considering some of these factors may help you to narrow down your decision if you’re torn between a few different models!
There are actually four different kinds of smokers in total. These types of smokers are pellet smokers, charcoal, electricity and propane smokers.
Most people tend to prefer charcoal smokers because they will put a tasty smoky flavor into your food, but charcoal smokers can be a bit of a nuisance when you’re going tailgating or camping.
Usually gas smokers will cost the most money to buy outright but in the long run they are more cost effective because you don’t need to buy any extra wood pellets or charcoal to use them. This means that you tend to get a little bit more precise control of the temperature while you cook.
Electric smokers tend to be a little bit smaller in size, so they’re pretty good for portability. They are also usually the cheapest smokers on the market. Most people that tend to go tailgating or camping avoid electric smokers though because you need to have an electric outlet nearby to use them.
Finally, you have pellet smokers. These combine together wood pellets and electricity. They do need electricity to run but the little wood pellets will put the real smoky flavor into your food.
If you are looking for a portable smoker, it’s important to make sure that you have a budget in place. It’s easy to go over a budget as there are so many great options out there. Of course, if you don’t have as much to play with there are some options out there for people on a budget. These don’t tend to be quite as reliable as the more expensive high quality models, and you may experience some failure in the device. You will generally need to spend more money to get a smoker with all the extra bells and whistles that is truly reliable.
You can buy smokers in a range of different sizes, and of course as the name suggests, a portable smoker is going to be significantly smaller than a regular smoker. You will need to think in advance about the kinds of food you are planning on cooking in the smoker. Will you be smoking larger foods like a whole turkey, or are you just going to fix up some burgers? Also consider if you are going to be smoking large amounts of food. Your answers to this will determine the size and capacity of portable smoker that you need.
Considering the fact you’re here reading this article, we’re pretty sure you want a portable option for your smoker! Of course, portable can mean a lot of different things. You need to think about other things aside from if it can fit in your car, like how easy is it to move and store? Some smokers can be portable but tremendously heavy, so keep this in mind.
The amount of features that you are going to get with your portable smoker is, again, going to depend a lot on what you’re going to be paying for it. It’s possible to get a smoker that will make a fantastic barbecue without you lifting a finger all that often. You should take a moment to think about just how involved you want to be in the whole barbecuing process. Would you rather just leave it to do its think or do you want to be actively involved with creating the food? If you are looking to set it and forget it then you may want to think about looking for an option with electronic or computer control features as these may automate some of the process on your behalf.
Of course, even some of the smallest smokers out there are able to create enough food to feed a large family, even up to 20 people. The larger smokers will allow you to barbecue enough to feed a small army for a whole day. You should consider how much barbecue you actually need before you choose your barbecue. If you don’t plan on cooking for any more than just the immediate family on a sunny weekend, then you should be just fine with a small unit. If you plan to smoke for a larger group, then you’re going to need more space than that. Most smokers will likely tell you how much food you will be able to prepare, but in general you should remember that you are likely to need one point of meat (raw) per person, which is certainly not a small amount!
There are actually a couple of smoker units on the market that are able to grill and smoke. If you would like to be able to do both on just one device, then you should opt for units like this. Charcoal units tend to be the most common multipurpose smokers.
With that being said, some lower priced units advertise this feature but that’s not to say that it will do it well. A good design is needed to make a unit both a good grill and a good smoker. The cheaper units will usually do one of them well but not both of them.
If you’re buying a wood pellet smoker, then you need to make sure that you’re looking at the auger that’s used as this can help to make the cooking experience a lot cleaner. If you have a smoker with a grill that’s just too powerful, or one that isn’t powerful enough, your smoking experience is going to be a lot worse.
Whenever you’re buying a product, it’s always important to check that what you are buying is going to withstand the test of time. You don’t want to buy a portable smoker for a couple of hundred dollars for it to then stop working after you’ve used it twice. You can check online reviews to see whether the product has lasted a while for other users and whether it’s reliable. Check out the workmanship and materials to see if these things contribute to a good quality smoker. You should also opt for a model that’s rustproof and waterproof, and ensure that the grill part as large hinges and latches.
Sure, brands don’t mean everything. You can buy some products from your local supermarket and they will work perfectly fine for you. When buying smokers, however, you need to be a little bit more careful. You may not initially know some of the brands that make some smokers out there, but it’s always a good idea to look into the company that makes the smoker that you plan on buying. Check out whether they provide a warranty, customer support and service. It’s better to be safe than to buy from some random brand you know nothing about and regret it later.
Frequently Asked Questions
What foods can you smoke aside from meat?
Great question! With smokers, you aren’t just limited to smoking your favourite burgers and a couple of ribs. You can smoke all sorts of things, such as fish, tomatoes, cheese, nuts, oysters, sea scallops and more! You could even whip up a nice smoky baked potato if you feel like it!