The 8 Best Vertical Smoker Brands: A Detailed Review

The best vertical smoker is the Dyna-Glo Signature Series smoker.

As a chef that travels the competition circuit with pitmasters, I have had the opportunity to use and test various smokers, including vertical smokers. This puts me in an excellent position to decide which ones have the features that you need!

The reason that I chose the Dyna-Glo Signature Series is because it provides a great smoking flavor, has plenty of cooking capacity, allows for temperature changes, and is great value for money.

Of course, you may have your own set of requirements for the top pick. Here are the various smokers that can meet any criteria!

Best Overall
Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D...
Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker,...
Pit Boss Grills PBV3G1 Vertical Smoker, Red...
Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric...
Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker,...
Weight
124.3lbs
39.1lbs
63lbs
45.9lbs
50.2lbs
Cooking Space
1382 sq. inches
-
800 square inches
711 square inches
725 square inches
Fuel Type
Charcoal
Charcoal
Gas
Electric
Electric
Construction
Heavy gauge steel
Steel and Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel
Best Overall
Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D...
Weight
124.3lbs
Cooking Space
1382 sq. inches
Fuel Type
Charcoal
Construction
Heavy gauge steel
Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker,...
Weight
39.1lbs
Cooking Space
-
Fuel Type
Charcoal
Construction
Steel and Stainless Steel
Pit Boss Grills PBV3G1 Vertical Smoker, Red...
Weight
63lbs
Cooking Space
800 square inches
Fuel Type
Gas
Construction
Stainless Steel
Masterbuilt MB20071117 Digital Electric...
Weight
45.9lbs
Cooking Space
711 square inches
Fuel Type
Electric
Construction
Stainless Steel
Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker,...
Weight
50.2lbs
Cooking Space
725 square inches
Fuel Type
Electric
Construction
Stainless Steel

The Best Vertical Smokers

Here are your top options for the vertical smokers on the market:

1. Dyna-Glo Signature Series

Best Overall Vertical Smoker

Specs:

  • Weight: 124.3lbs
  • Cooking Space: 1382 sq. inches
  • Fuel Type: Charcoal
  • Construction: Heavy gauge steel

Excellent Flavor

One of the things that I was impressed with this charcoal smoker was the incredible flavor it offered up at such an affordable price point. Each and every food item that I tested on it was infused with a gorgeous smoke flavor. Even if you are a novice at smoking, creating well smoked meats should be a breeze with this smoker.

Great Capacity

With 5 chrome plated cooking grates, there is plenty of space for you to smoke food for quite a large party. These grates can be removed and rearranged to accommodate larger and smaller cuts.

In addition to this, you also have hooks on the top of the smoker for a sausage rack. And, the offset design means that there is additional space for you to smoke and grill if you choose.

person grilling meat patties

Good Temperature Range

Even if you are new to smoking, this vertical smoker will make it really easy for you to know when you are in the right temperature range. This is because the door thermometer is sectioned off into Smoke and Grill sections. When the needle hits the Smoke section, you know that you are in the right range.

Great Value for Money

What sets this vertical smoker apart from the other charcoal smokers on the market is the sheer value for money. Despite being affordable, this smokers gives you everything that you need.

The only downside is that it is prone to leaking and before your first use, you do need to seal it up with gasket tape.

Pros:

  • Great smoke flavor
  • Lots of cooking capacity
  • Easy temperature monitoring
  • Great value

Cons:

  • Can leak at points

2. Weber Smokey Mountain

Specs:

  • Weight: 39.1lbs
  • Cooking Space: 481 sq. inches
  • Fuel Type: Charcoal
  • Construction: Steel and Stainless Steel

Great Temperature Control

Charcoal smokers can take some getting used, particularly when it comes to managing the cooking temperature with the use of vents. However, once you get a handle on this in the Weber Smokey Mountain, maintaining a consistent temperature becomes a breeze.

Not only can you alter the temp efficiently, managing this temperature is an easy and consistent job too.

Weather Resistant Shell

What makes this the top vertical charcoal smoker for me is the porcelain enamel steel shell. This works beautifully to distribute and trap heat inside the smoker. As a result, you can keep the temperature consistent even in cold weather.

Good Cooking Capacity

It is clear that this is a more portable option than most smokers but despite this, the cooking racks hold enough of space for an entire turkey and a whole ham at the same time. As such, feeding a small crowd will not be an issue.

That being said, the charcoal basket is relatively small here. Thus, you have to keep refilling it on longer cooks.

Pros:

  • Good temp control
  • Great for cold weather cooking
  • Good capacity

Cons:

  • Smaller charcoal basket

3. Pit Boss Grills PBV3G1

Specs:

  • Weight: 63lbs
  • Cooking Space: 800 square inches
  • Fuel Type: Gas
  • Construction: Stainless Steel

Simple to Use

This is arguably the easiest of the vertical smokers to use. From the simple ignition system to being able to view the food through the large glass door, you can get the hang of using this smoker quickly. It is also easy to take food in and out of the smoker.

Now, despite being a propane smoker, it also has a tray for wood chips that give your food that delicious smoke flavoring.

Easy Temperature Control

This handy temperature gauge takes all the guesswork out of the cooking temperature. Just turn the dial to your desired temp and give it a few minutes to get to it. Then, you can smoke various meats and veggies to their ideal level of doneness.

My main complaint is that in cold weather, the smoker can struggle to reach and maintain higher cooking temps.

Simple Clean Up

Despite all my years of using smokers, I haven't gotten any better at the cleanup process. Fortunately, this model makes your job a lot easier.

First, there are porcelain coated cooking grids. Not only does this help with even temperature distribution, but it also makes it a breeze to scrape off food and debris.

Then, there is the external ash cleanout system that simply requires emptying out. You also get a front access grease management system.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Good temperature control
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Struggles to maintain temp in colder climes

4. Masterbuilt MB20071117

Specs:

  • Weight: 45.9lbs
  • Cooking Space: 711 square inches
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Construction: Stainless Steel

Excellent Capacity

There is so much room in this smoker! If you are looking to feed a crowd at a cookout, this smoker fits 6 chickens, 2 turkeys, 4 pork butts, and 4 rack of ribs.

I also like how the grates have been designed to maximize space. As such, you can easily arrange a lot of food at once.

Simple Settings

One of the reasons that this is one of my favorite electric smokers is because the settings are so easy to use. With the push of a button, you can set the temperature, set a timer, and more.

A slightly annoying thing is that you can only increase or decrease the temp at one degree by a time and this can be fairly frustrating.

Good Overall Performance

I have to say that when it comes to smoking performance that this smoker is on par with some of the competition designs I have worked with. It is fully insulated and so it retains heat quite a bit. You also have a handy wood chips loading tray to get the job done without opening the door.

The only downside would be that the thermostat isn't very accurate. As such, you will need to get another one to monitor internal temperatures.

Pros:

  • Simple settings
  • Great capacity
  • Good overall performance

Cons:

  • Thermostat isn't accurate

5. Char-Broil 17202004

Specs:

  • Weight: 50.2lbs
  • Cooking Space: 725 square inches
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Construction: Stainless Steel

Internal Temperature Probe

It is difficult to find built in thermometer probes at this price range, but this is precisely what this Char Broil model has. What's more, it is completely accurate too! Thus, you can stick it in and monitor how quickly your food is cooking and now when it is done to perfection.

Simple Settings

Thanks to a digital LED readout, changing and maintaining the settings on this smoker is incredibly simple. With the press of a button, you will be able to adjust temperatures, manage timers, and check on the internal temp of food.

The only downside is that you can't track the temp of the cooking chamber, requiring you to purchase an additional thermostat.

Sturdy Design

I have to say that I was impressed with the durability - certainly one of the more sturdier vertical smokers on this list. As such, even with frequent use, it is going to last you a long time.

Even the window design is a great idea. It allows you to see the food but has been designed in such a way that no heat escapes.

Pros:

  • Excellent meat probe
  • Easy settings
  • Durable design

Cons:

  • Lacks a thermostat

6. Cuisinart COS-244

Specs:

  • Weight: 69.5lbs
  • Cooking Space: 784 square inches
  • Fuel Type: Propane
  • Construction: Stainless Steel

Good Smoking Performance

At this price point, I was surprised at how well this propane smoker worked. Managing the temperature does have a bit of a learning curve but once you get this down, you are able to smoke anything from sausages to brisket without a hassle.

The only downside is that the porcelain coated water pan also functions as a wood chip tray. This is very thick and can mess with the cooking temperature.

bbq meat with corn on the cob

Great Capacity

The capacity on this smoker is pretty great. You can easily cook a lot of food at the same time, making it a great option for a cookout or for a larger family. You can also adjust the grates to make room for larger cuts of meat.

Sturdy Structure

For this price, I like how well the smoker has been built. It is constructed of heavy duty steel that holds up well in all conditions. It has also been designed for maximum heat retention.

Pros:

  • Great smoking performance
  • Good capacity
  • Sturdy

Cons:

  • Water and chip tray needs to be replaced

7. Camp Chef Smoke Vault

Specs:

  • Weight: 63.5lbs
  • Cooking Space: 675 square inches
  • Fuel Type: Propane
  • Construction: Stainless Steel

Easy to Use

It is fairly easy to get a handle on this vertical smoker. It is more or less a matter of opening and closing the vents to change the temperature. Even if you are new to smoking, you should be able to figure out how to operate in no time at all.

Good Temperature Range

This smoker is capable of hitting the low and mid range temperatures that you need for low and slow cooking. As such, it doesn't matter if you are smoking ribs or brisket, you will be able to tackle it all.

The only issue is that the Smoke Vault doesn't retain heat as well as it should, making it tricky to maintain the temp of the cooking chamber, especially during longer cooks.

Versatile Cooking Grates

I do like the cooking grates. In addition to two two regular cooking surfaces, you also have a jerky racks. Thus, it is a great option to produce a variety of foods and dishes.

Pros:

  • Simple to use
  • Good temp range
  • Interesting cooking grates

Cons:

  • Tricky to maintain temp

8. Pit Boss PBV3P1 Vertical Pellet Smoker

Specs:

  • Weight: 97lbs
  • Cooking Space: 901 square inches
  • Fuel Type: Wood Pellets
  • Construction: Stainless Steel

Good Pellet Hopper Capacity

If you are someone who frequently carries out long cooks, then you are going to be impressed with the large pellet hopper on this vertical pellet smoker. With a capacity of 40lbs, you can enjoy a cook of upwards of 24 hours without needing to top the hopper up.

This allows you to smoke more efficiently.

Simple to Use

This is undoubtedly one of the best vertical pellet smokers around, if not the best vertical pellet smoker as it is so easy to use. To ignite it, you simply press a button! Even if you haven't used a vertical pellet smoker before, you will be able to get the hang of it it in no time at all.

Fully Programmable Temperature

The temperature dial is excellent here and so easy to use. Simply set it to your desired temperature and the machine should take care of the rest.

While it is easy to make alterations, this vertical pellet smoker doesn't do the best job of maintaining the temperature inside the smoker. As such, it needs to be monitored closely to overcome any fluctuations.

Pros:

  • Great hopper capacity
  • Easy to use
  • Fully programmable temp

Cons:

  • Temperature fluctuations

How to Choose the Best Vertical Smokers for You?

With so many vertical smokers on the market, you are going to need some help choosing your own. Here are some guidelines to consider:

The Design

One of the most common issues you will find with this type of smoker, especially with a vertical pellet smoker, is leakage. Many budget models and some in the middle of the price range aren't well-sealed.

This allows heat and smoke to escape, making it tricky to maintain the temperature inside the smoker, particularly during the cold months.

This is why you need to do research and choose one that is tightly sealed. Or, you are going to need to seal the smoker up yourself using gasket tape.

It is also a good idea to look for smokers that are insulated on the inside. This, too, works to keep the heat trapped inside.

Capacity vs. Portability

Before making a decision, it is important to think about how you will be using your smoker. Are you more likely to travel with your machine to set up on the beach or up in the mountains?

Or, are you someone who enjoys entertaining at home and will invite large crowds over?

For the former, your main goal is portability. For the latter, you should look at a larger cooking capacity.

In addition to looking at the actual square inches of cooking area, you should also take a look at how the grates are spaces. Can they be removed and moved to another spot? This is great for when you want to cook large briskets and similar cuts.

Good Temperature Control

Every body has differing levels of experience and capabilities. Make sure to choose a smoker with the temp features that you can manage easily.

If you have some experience and don't mind a hands-on approach, then look for one that can be controlled via vents. Otherwise, look for a digital interface or a proper temperature dial for easier handling.

Wrapping It Up

The Dyna-Glo is clearly the top choice here. It monitors the temperature carefully, has plenty of space, provides great flavor, and is a good value for money.

I would suggest going through the entire list, though, as you can never tell which smoker will end up being the right choice for you!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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