Each smoker in the Pit Boss Copperhead series has its own pros and cons. The series 3 is great for beginners but suffers from temperature fluctuations. The series 5 offers an excellent smoking performance but has poor build quality. The series 7 has a large cooking capacity but can be tricky to use.
Personally, I would go with series 3 if you are a beginner or series 5 if you want a top-notch experience.
I have owned and used Pit Boss smokers over the years and I have heard good things about the Copperhead series. So, when pitmaster friends of mine gave me the opportunity to put each smoker through its paces, I couldn’t resist!
Check out my Pit Boss vertical smoker review on each model and also discover how they compare to one another!
While there are other types of pellet smokers such as vertical propane smokers and the electric smoker, the Copperhead series are all vertical pellet smokers.
Let’s begin with the smallest – and most affordable – of the Copperhead vertical smoker series:
If you have a small to medium sized family, then I would say that this vertical pellet smoker is a good option for you. With four racks, you should have enough room for several smaller racks of ribs, a chicken, and even a turkey if you wish.
For larger cuts like brisket, you may need to remove one or more racks to make space for the meat. Still, for this price point, I would say that this vertical pellet smoker has plenty of room for what you need.
For a Pit Boss vertical smoker of this size, I like that the hopper is quite so big. When it comes to pellet smokers, one of the more annoying things is running out of pellets. This means that the cook has to come to an end and you have to start from scratch.
With this vertical pellet smoker, though, the hopper is large enough for an 18-hour cook! This means that you can easily smoke a brisket through the night without needing to fiddle around with the Pit Boss smoker.
I know that vertical smokers can be a bit tricky for some to use which is why a lot of people shy away from it. With the Pit Boss vertical smoker, though, this isn’t a problem. As far as vertical pellet smokers go, this is one of the easier ones to use.
To begin with, you have the automatic start up and cool down, requiring minimal effort on your part. Also, I have found that the control panel is laid out simply and you will be able to easily use the temperature dial to choose your desired temperature.
Now, when it comes to pellet smokers, it is all about low and slow temperatures. This is why I was pleasantly surprised to find that this vertical pellet smoker from Pit Boss could be set as low as 150 F!
Since you need to do most of your smoking at around 180 F, this is definitely a good sign. However, if you are planning on cold-smoking anything, then this isn’t the vertical pellet smoker for you.
The only thing that I really take issue with this vertical pellet smoker from Pit Boss is the temperature regulation. As I tried out the vertical smoker, I found that this Pit Boss model was prone to temperature fluctuations.
Now, these fluctuations weren’t so great that they messed with larger cuts like birds and briskets. However, I would watch out if you were smoking sausages or something with less meat.
Since there is so much to like about Pit Boss vertical smokers, I would suggest getting another hood thermometer and using it alongside a meat probe to monitor the temperature.
So, how well does this Pit Boss pellet smoker perform when put to the test? Well, I do say that it did fairly well. Is it the best vertical pellet smoker I have tried? No, but for this price point, I would say that it is excellent for beginners.
This Pit Boss vertical smoker has plenty of features that make it great for smoking. As I already mentioned,
This includes the porcelain coated cooking grates – this help to transfer heat evenly so that the food cooks at a more steady rate. The convection cooking airflow also works well enough so that food on all the racks is equally smoked.
I have also found that the cooking time is on par with some of the other Pit Boss vertical smoker models I have tried, so this is good.
And, with a water pan, maintaining a good smoking temperature becomes a lot easier. I would put the smoke flavor as good but not as noticeable as the top vertical smokers that I have tried out.
In order to keep a pellet smoker in good shape, you need to clean it out properly. And, how well you clean it out typically depends on how easy the smoker is to maintain.
The good news is that this Pit Boss vertical smoker is quite easy to clean. The grease management system is in the form of a tray that is at the front of the smoker. So, emptying it out and cleaning it up is fairly easy.
I have to say that this maintenance method works especially well for those who are just starting out with Pit Boss or smokers in general. Due to this, you will find it easy to keep your pellet smoker in good shape.
While this vertical pellet smoker is the most affordable model of the vertical smokers in this range, it isn’t cheap. So, I was determined to figure out how strong the pellet smoker is and whether it would hold up to regular use.
While the construction of the Pit Boss vertical pellet smoker is good, it isn’t excellent. You do have to be careful about how you use this pellet smoker. It is easily dinged and damaged.
So, if I were you I would set up the smoker in one spot and not move it unless you really had to it. I would also make every effort to keep it covered and take care of it properly so that it could be used for longer.
One of the major downsides of this Pit Boss vertical smoker is that it is not easy to assemble, especially if you don’t know what you are doing. It is going to take time and effort.
I would say that the assembly process is confounded by the fact that the smoker is a bit delicate. You really have to be careful that you will not be damaging the smoker in any way.
The Pit Boss 5 series falls into the category of middle of the range pellet smokers. Let’s take a closer look at how well it functions:
One of my favorite things about this Pit Boss vertical model is the cooking area compared to its actual size.
If you were to check out this Pit Boss 5 series smoker, you would see that it consists of five racks. With this large cooking capacity, you will have no problem putting this Pit Boss vertical smoker to work when it comes to cookouts.
Despite this, I love how compact this Pit Boss model is. Now, I know this is one of the reasons that pellet smokers are popular, especially when compared to pellet grills, but regardless of how much this smoker can smoke at the same time, it takes up very little space in your garden.
Due to this, it works well even if you don’t have a lot of yard space to work with.
The other thing that I like is that the ribs are removable. This means that you can easily change their position to make room for whatever it is that you are smoking. If you want to smoke a really large cut of meat and nothing else, then you can easily take out the racks to accommodate this.
Of course, the size of the cooking chamber doesn’t matter if you don’t have the hopper to back it up. Luckily, this Pit Boss smoker does – it can hold up to 60 lbs of wood pellets at the same time!
This works out to about over 30 hours of cook time. This is something that more seasoned cooks are going to absolutely love. Not only will you be able to smoke a ton of food at once, you will also be able to smoke batch after batch without needing to constantly fill up the hopper.
Considering that this smoker is meant for those who know what they are doing, I really liked how easy this Pit Boss model was to use.
The easy temperature controller along with the digital screen made start up really simple. Also, you can track the temperature of the cooking chamber, allowing you to keep track of the smoking process.
Considering this price point, this is a really cool feature. To add to this, you also get one meat probe. The internal temperature is displayed on the screen which reduces the need for you to keep opening the smoker and checking on it.
The key to a good Pit Boss smoker is a good temperature controller. So, I did my due diligence and used another thermometer to check the temperature inside the cooking chamber.
In doing so, I found there was a slight discrepancy – the Pit Boss was a bit higher by a few degrees. However, when smoking foods like steak, brisket, and even sausages, this wouldn’t matter too much.
All in all, you should be able to control the temperature of this Pit Boss fairly well. That being said, it is a good idea to check on the temp from time to time to avoid too many fluctuations.
As far as smoking capability goes, I have to say that this is one of the top vertical pellet smokers at this price point. One of the main features that allow for this is the insulated smoking chamber.
The insulation and the seal on this smoker are absolutely incredible. So, the heat is completely stuck inside throughout the smoking process. So, not only does this help to keep the temperature even, but it is also great for speeding up the cooking process.
I also like that there is a stronger smoked flavor.
The other thing that I like is that the heat is evenly displaced throughout the chamber. Due to this, the foods at the top of the smoker smoke more or less at the same rate as those on the bottom. This makes it a lot easier to predict when everything will be done.
I also like that this smoker is equipped with a flame tamer that sits right above the fire pot. This prevents grease and other liquids from splattering on it. Not only does this reduce the risk of flare ups but it also means that the food at the bottom of the chamber isn’t being cooked too quickly.
It is fairly easy to clean out this smoker. This is especially since there is a sort of cleaning cycle that takes place as you are shutting down the smoker. This makes it easier to wipe away any grease or grime built up during the cook.
To add to this, the grease management system makes it easy to clean up any excess.
The only place where this Pit Boss loses serious points is when it comes to quality. I have found the build quality to be pretty flimsy in general. For this price point, it is unacceptable as you want your smoker to last a while.
This is the largest and the most expensive of these Pit Boss smokers. Let’s take a look at how it holds up:
If you have a big family or are constantly hosting cookouts, then you will love how much space this vertical smoker has! This smoker is equipped with six cooking racks so if you want to cook a lot of different cuts at the same time, you can do this.
However, if you want to smoke larger cuts, this isn’t a problem – these racks are removable and can be adjusted any way that you want.
At the same time, the series 7 has that same small footprint that allows you to easily store the smoker anywhere in your home or garden.
The hopper capacity of the series 7 is pretty good but I don’t understand its size in relation to the cooking area. This is especially since the series 5 has a larger hopper to boot.
Now, this space isn’t too bad – you can get up to a 24 hour cook which means that you don’t have to worry about refilling the wood pellets for a long time. You can also have back to back coops without needing to start from scratch.
Still, for the size of the smoking area, I would say that the hopper needs to be larger.
I would say that this smoker is meant for seasoned users and those who have had some experience with Pit Boss smokers. Despite having a good control panel, this smoker is prone to various error messages that require constant reboots of the system.
The range of cooking temperature is the same as with the other models but the control does have some issues. There are some fluctuations so you do have to go low and slow when smoking with this smoker, especially when it comes to smaller cuts.
It is important to keep an eye on the internal temperature when using this smoker.
I have found that series 7 does a beautiful job of smoking everything from pork and beef ribs to brisket without any issue at all. One of the things that I like about this model is that you get two probes!
This allows you to track the rate of cooking at various points of the smoker. Given the size of the cooking space and the temperature fluctuations, this is a pretty hand thing.
Between the shutdown system and the grease management system, you can clean this smoker up pretty easily. The glass does get greasy a bit quickly so that does need to be wiped down after each cook.
While the series 7 doesn’t have the best build quality, it is better than the other two models. So, if you are hoping for your smoker to last you a while, then this model will certainly do the trick.
So, when you compare these three modes, how do they fare against one another?
Well, this all depends on what you are looking for. If you are a beginner who is looking for something compact and easy to use, then I would go with series 3.
If you are all about that smoking experience, then series 5 is the one to go with. Just know that unless you are fairly lucky and take great care of this smoker that it is likely to break down on you.
If you have a bit more experience under your belt and require more cooking space, then I would go with series 7. It can take a while to learn how to use but it will serve you well.
There you go – you now know what each Pit Boss Copperhead vertical smoker can do for you. You also know the weak spots that you need to watch out for. So, if you are planning on buying one, you can pick your choice by being fully informed.