Pellet Smoker Vs Electric Smoker

Pellet Smoker Vs Electric Smoker: Which Is Better?

Smoking meat is a popular way to prepare it, and there are two main ways to do this – using a pellet smoker or an electric smoker. Pellet Smoker Vs Electric Smoker – both are two popular types of smokers. Both have their pros and cons, so which one is the best for you?

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the differences between the two types of smokers – pellet smoker vs electric smoker, and help you decide which one is the right choice for you. By the end of this post, you should have a good idea of which smoker is right for you. Stay tuned to know more information about them!
Pellet Smoker Vs Electric Smoker

What Exactly Is A Pellet Smoker?

Before comparing pellet smoker vs electric smoker, it is important to first understand what a pellet smoker actually is. Pellet grills, often known as pellet smokers, are one of the latest types of smokers available.

Pellet smokers are a type of smoker that utilizes small, compressed pieces of hardwood to produce smoke in order to give foods a smoky flavor. They can be used as a grill in addition to a smoker, and the terms pellet cooker and pellet grill are often interchanged in some circles.

A wood pellet is created when sawdust from hardwoods such as apple, cherry, or maple is processed through a planer. The resultant plank is split into tiny chips about the size of a pencil eraser, meaning they’re much smaller than traditional chunks of wood chips. For smoking purposes, however, any kind of wood chip will work just fine because most have little effect on the flavor profile.

The main benefit that makes this method different from other smoking methods is the addition of wood pellets to a burner or firepot. The heat is regulated by either opening or closing the damper, which feeds the pellets into an auger that carries them directly to the firepot. Pellet burners are very user-friendly because they require very little maintenance and can be used for extended periods of time without having much effect on food quality.

Using a pellet smoker is virtually completely hands-off due to the fact that they are powered by electricity. The temperature is controlled by a dial or a computerized display, much like in an oven. The motor regulates the feed speed based on the amount of fuel necessary to maintain the desired temperature. This implies using fewer pellets for low and slow cooking and more pellets for grilling at higher temperatures.

So, what’s the difference between a pellet grill and a pellet smoker?

Depending on the model, the answer is yes or no. All pellet smokers perform admirably at the slow cooking temperatures necessary for smoking. You should be able to smoke in any unit starting at around 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, if you want to cook on your pellet barbeque, make sure it can achieve a high heat of 450–650 °F. This will ensure that it gets hot enough for good grilling and searing. Some do, while others do not. So, for additional information on which pellet smokers grill, see our best pellet smoker post.

What Exactly Is An Electric Smoker?

An electric smoker is a self-contained unit that feeds hardwood chips into the burner, which then feeds pellets to an auger that carries them into the firepot. The auger also carries pellets from the firepot back up to the auger at a set feed rate. This means you’ll have minimal interference with your chef and won’t be forced to check it regularly.

Since constant monitoring of wood chips isn’t necessary for this type of appliance, electric smokers are ideal for cooking large quantities of food for relatively long periods of time without much effort on your part. They’re particularly suitable for cold smoking, where the meat will hang inside the chamber, absorbing smoke until it has reached its desired consistency or flavor profile.

Electric smokers tend not to offer much control, if any, over the temperature at which you cook. They’re fitted with a heating element that will cycle on and off to maintain the desired temperature; there’s no way to manually adjust it, or even know what temperature your smoker is running at unless you use an external thermometer.

Using an electric smoker to add flavor to meat is also somewhat different than other types of smokers. According to the model you use, it may be necessary to soak or spray your chips in water or some other liquid before you add them to the firepot. This helps by increasing the temperature at which they burn and reducing any harsh flavors that come from burning too hot.

How Does An Electric Smoker Work?

So, before coming to a particular comparison between the two types of smokers (pellet smoker vs electric smoker), we should understand the way these smokers operate. To begin with, we read how an electric smoker works.

Electric smokers are equipped with one or more heating elements. It’s up to you to decide whether or not you want the element at the bottom (the most common placement) or on top of your smoker, but it’s imperative that you ensure even heat distribution by having multiple elements.

Aside from the heating element(s), there will also be a water pan and a drip pan below the food grate so as to collect drippings from the meat being cooked. The top opening is normally fitted with a tempered glass window so you can keep an eye on your food without necessarily opening it. Atop the smoker there may also be vents for air circulation, depending on how high-tech your model is.

To use it, the first thing you need to do is plug it into an outlet and wait for it to heat up. The actual time it takes will depend on the brand and size of the smoker you have, but it shouldn’t be longer than half an hour. Pellet smokers are especially fast because they’re powered by electricity, so you can expect your unit to reach cooking temperature much faster than other types of smokers would.

The second step is adding wood chips or pellets into the firepot. Some models offer a separate chamber that makes this step easier; others require you to open the top chamber containing the meat before dumping in your chips. It’s important not to use too much fuel at once since doing so will reduce air circulation, which may cause uneven burning and flavor problems down the road.

How Does A Pellet Smoker Work?

And then, we come to the way a pellet smoker operates.

Pellet smokers and other types of electric smokers work pretty much the same way, but the unique thing about pellet smokers is that they use compressed hardwood sawdust to fuel smoking. This means you’ll never run out of fuel since you can add more pellets whenever necessary (it’s common to add between 5 and 10 pounds per hour).

This type of smoker has a small firebox that feeds your pellets into an auger mechanism at a set rate; when this “pushes” them into the burn pot, it fires up and begins heating your machine. The auger will feed in just enough pellets for maintaining the desired temperature and blower-like fans will push hot air around until it reaches ideal cooking conditions. The best part is that the auger only runs when more pellets are necessary, which means it wastes less fuel and ensures a consistent temperature throughout your cook.

What Are Some Of The Advantages Of The Pellet Smoker?

In fact, having knowledge about both the benefits and disadvantages of pellet smokers helps you when making a decision to choose the best type of smoker for your needs (pellet smoker vs electric smoker). So, before, we come to some benefits of the pellet smoker.

With a pellet smoker, you can expect an easy-to-use grill that’s capable of producing great results. Since the cooking process is automated, there are very few things you need to worry about besides adding wood pellets when necessary. On top of this, it’s common for manufacturers to include special accessories such as WiFi and Bluetooth modules so you can monitor your food from your phone or tablet.

Since they’re powered by electricity and don’t require as much physical labor as other types of smokers, pellet smokers tend to be less expensive than their charcoal or gas counterparts. You’ll save on fuel costs over time and may even see some savings on your monthly power bill if you’ve been using propane previously!

Moreover, pellet smokers are known for producing great-tasting meats with minimal effort. Since you simply set the temperature and let the smoker do the rest of the work, it doesn’t matter if you’re smoking meat, vegetables, or cheeses; they’ll come out tender and moist every time!

What Are Some Of The Disadvantages Of The Pellet Smoker?

The main disadvantage most people see in pellet smokers is their lack of smoke flavor. While this may be an issue for some, we believe that it’s only a deal-breaker when it comes to cheap models (we won’t name names here but you can probably figure it out by looking at our reviews). Most backyard manufacturers seek convenience above all else which is why many of them use pellets made from inferior woods to get the job done.

These cheap models tend to produce a harsh, bitter smoke that can permeate your food and ruin your cook if you don’t take care of it beforehand. This is why we recommend investing in a good pellet smoker for home use; not only because they’re easy to use and maintain, but also because they provide rich, flavorful results every time!

What Are Some Of The Benefits Of The Electric Smoker?

Furthermore, understanding the pros and cons of electric smokers aids you in deciding which sort of smoker is appropriate for your needs (pellet smoker vs electric smoker). So, let’s have a look at some of the advantages of using an electric smoker.

Electric smokers are typically more affordable than pellet or propane smokers, though they do use electricity to fuel the cooking process. They’re simple to set up and use since there’s typically an on/off switch which you can set depending on what type of meat you’re cooking that day. When it comes to versatility, electric smokers outrank both propane and pellet models since they let you choose from a variety of cooking styles (e.g., hot smoking, cold smoking).

In addition to this, most electric smokers also come with a built-in thermometer so you don’t have to waste time checking the interior temperature every few minutes. Since these systems are fully automated, all you need to do is prep your ingredients before throwing them into the unit and they’ll be ready to dine on in no time!

What Are Some Of The Drawbacks Of The Electric Smoker?

The main disadvantage of electric smokers is their lack of flavor. This, however, can be remedied by using wood chips or chunks on top of your ingredients. You just need to make sure that you replace them every couple of hours so the smoke doesn’t die out completely!

Besides, many people complain that their electric smokers take much longer to reach optimal grilling temperatures (typically around 200 degrees Fahrenheit) than propane or pellet models. This is due to the insulation surrounding the heating element; if you want your smoker to heat up faster, you might need to invest in a higher-quality one!

Pellet Smoker Vs Electric Smoker: The Comparison – Key Differences 

There are some differences between the pellet smoker and electric smoker:

Cooking Functions

The first thing you should consider when comparing pellet smoker vs electric smoker is the cooking functions.

  •  Pellet Smoker:

As it is well known, the pellet smoker is probably best for slow cooking. It would not be quite capable of doing a high heat searing job as you might find in some grills or gas smokers. An advantage though is that because it uses electricity, you can program your desired temperature right into the digital controller.

A great feature about the pellet smoker and why we recommend them to beginners is that they’re extremely easy to use and maintain. All you need to do is set up the unit, let it get hot, add wood pellets (there’s no need for propane or charcoal), and then leave it alone until your food is ready!

  • Electric Smoker:

Compared with a pellet smoker, the process of an electric smoker is much easier. You can set it up in seconds after you plug it in. No need to check the temperature every few minutes or wait for perfect conditions in order to begin grilling/smoking your food! Just preheat, add your ingredients, and go about the rest of your day!

On the other hand, electric smokers are better at producing low temperatures which are suitable for smoking meat. Electric smokers are also more affordable than pellet smokers although they require electricity to function properly.

Cooking Capacity

The next thing you should consider when comparing pellet smoker vs electric smoker is the cooking capacity.

  • Pellet Smoker:

The cooking capacity of the pellet smoker depends on the size of your unit. Some can cook up to an entire hog while others are only designed for 12 burgers at a time.

  • Electric Smoker:

Electric smokers are known to have larger capacities compared with their propane and pellet counterparts. As long as there’s electricity running through its components, you’re golden! Just make sure you set aside ample space for it in your dining area so it doesn’t take up too much room. 


Another thing to consider when comparing pellet smoker vs electric smoker is the price.

  •  Pellet Smoker:

The price of a pellet smoker varies according to its size. On average, you can expect to spend between $400 and $800 on a high-end model while a budget one would set you back around $100.

  • Electric Smoker:

Electric smokers are generally cheaper than pellet smokers since they also function as slow cookers which have been pre-programmed into their main controls! You just need to plug them in, choose your food type, and sit back as the unit does all the work for you! Plus, most electric smokers come with a 5-year warranty so if there are ever any issues with the element/controller, you’ll have no problem getting it replaced or fixed!

Temperature Controller

The temperature controller is another thing that you should keep in mind when comparing pellet smoker vs electric smoker.

  •  Pellet Smoker:

Most pellet grills and smokers come with an advanced digital controller which automatically feeds pellets to the unit while controlling the airflow inside. This means you don’t have to manually adjust anything (although some of them do offer a manual way of controlling it too)!

  • Electric Smoker:

Due to their low cost, some electric smokers will not come with a temperature controller although they’re usually pretty simple to use without one! Instead, you’ll need to monitor the heat output every few hours and add more wood chips if necessary.

Temperature Range

The temperature range is also one of the things that you should keep in mind when comparing pellet smoker vs electric smoker.

  • Pellet Smoker:

Pellet grills and smokers can get extremely hot which means they’re capable of searing your food just like a gas grill.

  • Electric Smoker:

It is worth noting that electric smokers are only capable of reaching low temperatures typically between 100°F – 250°F. Although this may prove challenging to some, it also allows you to smoke foods for longer periods without them drying out! Just remember to set the temperature accordingly using trial and error before adding any meat inside. 


The next thing you should consider when comparing pellet smoker vs electric smoker is the power.

  • Pellet Smoker:

With pellet grills and smokers, you can expect to cook for 10-15 minutes per hour using up to 1lb of pellets at a time.

  • Electric Smoker:

With electric smokers, it generally takes around 8 hours to get your food from start to finish with 5-7 being the average. This is because of their lower power output which means they cannot burn through wood chips as fast. 

Operating Costs

Another thing to consider when comparing pellet smoker vs electric smoker is the operating costs.

  • Pellet Smoker:

There are some huge variations in the operating costs of pellet smokers. On average, you’re looking at spending around 6-8 cents per hour which is pretty low for a smoker! While it’s not hard to find small, basic models that only cost around $300, it is worth noting that most high-end ones can easily set you back over $1000.

  • Electric Smoker:

The exact cost of operating an electric smoker depends on its power output and size but typically ranges from 8-12 cents per hour. Just remember that there are always ways to reduce your overall costs such as by using rechargeable batteries or connecting your unit to a solar panel or Powerwall!  


The portability is another thing that you should keep in mind when comparing pellet smoker vs electric smoker.

  • Pellet Smoker:

Many pellet grills and smokers are extremely heavy which may pose an issue if you need to move them around regularly. Pellet smokers will also take up quite a lot of space (unless you’re looking at benchtop models) so this needs to be taken into consideration before buying.

  • Electric Smoker:

They can typically weigh less than 25lbs which means they won’t require much effort when trying to transport them from one location to another. Electric smokers are also generally smaller in size (although there are some large ones out there) so they don’t take up as much space as traditional, wood fire-based units. 

Ease Of Use

The ease of use is also one of the things that you should keep in mind when comparing pellet smoker vs electric smoker.

  •  Pellet Smoker:

On average, pellet smokers tend to require very little effort when using them. You will need to make sure the inside is clean and free from any ash buildup before starting it up (some even come with a cleaning setting) and you may also want to add an extra layer of chips every now and then depending on your smoking preferences.

  • Electric Smoker:

Most electric smokers have a heat output control knob while others rely on a simple On/Off button that’s activated by pushing down or sliding. When it comes to ease of use, they’re actually pretty good but some do have an issue with being too basic! 

Cleanup And Maintenance

The next thing you should consider when comparing pellet smoker vs electric smoker is the cleanup and maintenance.

  • Pellet Smoker:

All pellet grills have great airflow circulation inside so ash should not prove too much of an issue when cleaning up after cooking. The general consensus is that you should try removing as much residue as possible before adding water to the firepot and scrubbing with a bristled brush.

Some of them do come with ash catchers that need emptying every few uses while some have a system that prevents clogging. 

  • Electric Smoker:

While electric smokers may not be as great at producing smoke, they’re still pretty simple to maintain after cooking! There’s usually an area on the unit where you can add wood chips so you don’t have to open the main compartment where your food is being cooked unless it comes in direct contact with something hot. Unlike pellet smokers though, they will not produce much ash when using electricity as a heat source.


Another thing to consider when comparing pellet smoker vs electric smoker is the flavor.

  • Pellet Smoker:

Pellet smokers have been around for a long time now and people continue to debate whether or not they produce better smoke than other types. In general, pellet grills and smokers are known to be more consistent when it comes to this but this can vary depending on the type of pellets being used.

  • Electric Smoker:

Electric smokers simply cannot produce as much flavor as their wood-based counterparts which is why many specify adding a small pan filled with water below the heat source. Coupled with the fact that there’s no direct flame contact, electric units take longer to cook food properly which may result in extra moisture being added from other sources such as butter, herbs, or even liquids!


The versatility is another thing that you should keep in mind when comparing pellet smoker vs electric smoker.

  • Pellet Smoker:

Pellet smokers are generally more versatile than electric models as they’re easily able to accommodate wood chunks and even food such as whole turkeys. Pellet grills/smokers also have a large range of temperature controls which means it’ll be easy for you to achieve your desired results regardless of whether you’re smoking, cooking steaks, or even baking!

  • Electric Smoker:

Due to the fact that electric smokers are simply not designed with versatility in mind, you won’t find many that come equipped with additional features. Although this isn’t really an issue if all you want is delicious smoked meats, it may be problematic when trying to cook other items. To get around this problem, some people will turn their smoker into a grill by adding a grate over the heat source while others will invest in separate units.  

Smoking Time

Smoking time is also one of the things that you should keep in mind when comparing pellet smoker vs electric smoker.

  • Pellet Smoker:

As we’ve already mentioned, pellet smokers are commonly known to be very consistent and this doesn’t change when it comes to smoking times. Because of the way these units work (with a feed system that replenishes pellets automatically), you can expect up to 16 hours of constant smoke/heat with no problems!

  • Electric Smoker:

The majority of electric smokers rely on electricity as their main source of heat which means they can fluctuate in temperature (especially if you don’t set them correctly). Although at the lower end you’ll still get some great smoked dishes, anything beyond 8 hours may result in uneven cooking and an unappealing taste.  

Size & Weight

The final thing you should consider when comparing pellet smoker vs electric smoker is the size & weight.

  • Pellet Smoker:

Due to their larger size (and higher power needs), pellet smokers tend to take up more space than electric models. Although this is true, they’re still considered compact when compared with other types of outdoor cooking equipment! 

  • Electric Smoker:

These units are incredibly lightweight and compact which means you’ll have no problems finding storage space in your home/apartment/etc. Not only that, but their large handles allow them to be carried just about anywhere even if you need to bring them along on a road trip or camping trip!

So, Pellet Smoker Vs Electric Smoker, Which Is Better?

While we can’t say that one option is definitively better than the other as each person will have their own preference, our goal was to highlight some of the major differences between pellet smokers and electric smokers so you’ll be able to make an informed decision!

Pellet smokers tend to produce better tasting food as there’s no exposure to direct flames and they seem to be more efficient. Although it may require a bit more effort on your part, you can definitely achieve tasty smoked meals with this type of unit.

Electric models are great for those who want something super-simple without having to invest in different types of fuel etc. If your main objective is tender/juicy meats then these are certainly worth considering, but it’s important to be aware of the difference in cooking times.


Conclusion On Pellet Smoker Vs Electric Smoker

In conclusion, Pellet Smoker Vs Electric Smoker, which type of smoker is the best for you? If you are looking for a smoker that is easy to use and doesn’t require a lot of supervision, then the electric smoker is your best bet. However, if you want more flavor in your food, or if you are looking for a smoker that can handle larger quantities of meat at once, then the pellet smoker is the better option.

The pellet smoker or the electric smoker? Both have their pros and cons. If you are looking for a smoker that is easy to use, then the electric smoker would be a better choice. However, if you want more flexibility in your smoking options, then the pellet smoker would be a better option. Ultimately, Pellet smoker vs electric smoker – both are high-quality. So, it comes down to what you are looking for in a smoker and how much time and effort you want to put into using it.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *