Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Review: Here’s Everything You Should Know

Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Review: Here’s Everything You Should Know

From reading various Masterbuilt Electric Smoker reviews online, you already know this is one of the best electric smokers on the market. However, how does it actually perform? Here is my experience with the smoker.
MasterBuilt Electric Smoker with Window


If you want to start smoking meat at home, you must have some good chunk of change to invest in a smoker. A good smoker can cost you anything from a few hundred dollars to over a grand.

However, unless you want to be a professional pit master, you don’t have to fork over a grand for an electric smoker. There are dozens of decent entry – mid level options that cost less than $300. One of these options is the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (also popularly referred to as the MES).

The MES is a high quality electric smoker that is recommended for beginner pit masters. 

Why is this so?

In this Masterbuilt Electric Smoker review, I’ll go through everything I’ve experienced with the smoker over the years.

Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Review

The MES is a budget electric smoker that offers a high-quality smoking experience, regardless of whether you are an amateur or professional pit master. You can cook different types of foods with the smoker, including fish, jerky, and  cheese. This smoker comes in different options. The most basic model measures 30 inches and has no window or a top controller.

If your budget allows, you can get the MES with a front window. However, from my experience, I did not find the window to be practical. What I mean is that you won’t be able to see what you are smoking through the window. Instead, you’ll just have an extra part to clean after smoking!

Most people go for either the Masterbuilt 30-inch or 40-inch model.

The 30″ model has quite some room for the price. The smoking area measure 721 square inches, which I find adequate for smoking pulled pork, ribs and brisket. However, you’ll struggle to smoke large meats such as a large turkey.

With that said, if you are an amateur pit master, the 30″ MES has plenty of room for smoking different types of meats.

If you’ll be regularly smoking meat for a larger crowd, you’ll want to go with the 40″ Masterbuilt Electric Smoker. As expected, the increase in size comes at an extra cost/

For the most part, the 30″ and 40″ MES are similar. The two models feature a side drawer for wood chip loading. The main difference is in the interior size (the 30″ MES measure 721 square inches while the 40″ MES measure 975 square inches) and the heating elements (the 30″ MES has 800 watts while the 40″ MES has 1200 watts).

So, should you buy the 30″ or the 40″ model?

Well, it all depends on your budget and whether you have room to fit the larger model. However, from my years of interacting with other pit masters, I’ve never come across anyone that needed to downgrade from a 40″ to a 30″.

If you are in smoking for the long haul, I suggest you get the 40″ model.

Features of the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker

  • Full thermostat controlled temperature
  • Has a convenient side loading wood tray
  • User friendly Digital control panel
  • Comes with a 24 hour timer
  • Sold with a 90-day moneyback guarantee

Build Quality

Build quality is usually an issue with any budget smoker.

Comparing the quality of the Masterbuilt electric smoker to other high-end smokers on the market, such as the Smoke-It Electric Smoker, there is clearly a difference.

However, when we pit the MES against other budget smokers, it ranks quite high. Moreover, the latest MES models have been enhanced and do not have the problems that previous models hd.

Starting off, the airtightness and insulation of this smoker are good for the price. However, I should warn you that I’ve experienced some bit of smoke leaking out the front door.

However, what I dislike the most has to be the front feet. I mean, the feet are made from flimsy plastic. This shouldn’t be a problem if you will be keeping your smoker at the same place. However, if you intend to be moving it around, the feet will not hold for long.

Ease of Use

When you first get the smoker, you need to assemble it. I took about 30 minutes to get the unit up. There is a handy instruction manual with all the assembly instructions you need.

Using the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker is simple and straight-forward. You simply need to place your meet on the grill, set the temperature, and let the cooking begin.

Watch the video below to see how to smoke a brisket using the smoker:

If you’ll be leaving your smoker outside, you should protect it with a cover.  Otherwise, the unit can be damaged by different weather elements.

Wrapping up the unit with the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Cover is easy. You simply need to pull the over over the smoker and drag it downward. The cover will protect the unit from weather and increase its longevity.

I also like the sliding wood chip tray, which makes the smoker easy to use. The tray moves on its hinges smoothly, allowing you easy access. The tray also has a fill line, which will help you to know how many wood chips you should include.

The sliding tray is quite small, and the wood chips can but quickly, usually within 45 minutes. Therefore, you’ll need to refill the wood chips. For me, I decided to buy a smoke generator (I use the A-Maze-N pellet smoker) to avoid refilling the wood chips.

Finally, are there any problems with controlling this electric smoker? Well, personally, I’ve not experienced any difficulties with controlling the unit. However, on Amazon, some customers have reported that the LED controller has a tendency to fail after an extended period.  I’ve not experienced this but I thought I should include it since it’s been mentioned in a couple of Masterbuilt Electric Smoker reviews that I’ve read.

What I Like

Easy-to-Use Control Panel

The Masterbuilt Electric Smoker is very easy to use. This makes it one of the best smokers for beginners.

To start smoking, all you have to do is to press the Start button on the digital control panel. You can also setup the temperature from 100 to 275 degrees F. The electric smoker has a timer, which you can use to control the smoking process.

At the Control Panel, you can also setup the smoker to automatic shut-off.

Spacious Smoking Area

The Masterbuilt smoker has ample space for smoking. The unit has four smoking racks inside that can fit various foods such as sausage, fish, ham, chicken, jerky, among others. With this smoker, you can easily cook smoked meat for large crowds, perhaps during special events or the holidays.

Easy to Clean

The smoker comes with a rear-mounted grease pan and removable drip pan. When you want to clean the unit,  remove these pans and wash any leftovers from the smoking process. You won’t spend a lot of time cleaning the smoker.

Great Style

Coming to aesthetics, this smoker looks great and has a classic old-school style. The smoker comes in three fab colors (stainless, black, and silver).

Add-on Options

You can use the cold smoking attachment from Masterbuilt to cold smoke fish or cheese in this electric smoker.

What I Don’t Like

Inaccurate Calibration

When you use the smoker for a long time, the temperature can be off by 20 degrees. While this problem doesn’t occur always, when it does, it is frustrating.

Problems with the Temperature Probe

I’ve found that the temperature probe struggles to work when in use. As a result, there are a couple of times I’ve not been able to gauge how well my food is cooking.

To avoid this problem, I’ve resorted to using a quality digital thermometer when smoking.

Broken Heating Element

While I’ve not experienced this problem first-hand, I’ve seen it mentioned a couple of times in some Masterbuilt Electric Smoker reviews online. There are claims that the heating element malfunctions after the smoker has been in use for a long time.

Despite the above issues, the Masterbuilt still remains one of the best electric smokers on the market.

Should You Buy the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker?

In nearly all Masterbuilt Electric Smokers reviews, buyers point out that the unit is made from high quality and up to the task of cooking various types of foods, thanks to its large space.

One thing is certain: the smoker is effective when it works. Moreover, it is an inexpensive option, which is great if you are looking for a budget smoker that is easy to use and straight-up works.

While the smoker is not the most solidly built option on the market, it is well-insulated to get the job done. Apart from some small issues with the sensor, I highly recommend the unit as a first smoker.

I was surprised at how well this unit smokes meat, especially given the fact that it uses electricity to heat the wood chips. If you are new to smoking or are on a tight budget, the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker is a great buy.

If you decide to buy the Masterbuilt electric smoker, make sure you check our guide on how to season a new electric smoker.



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