Gas vs Electric Smoker – Which One Is the Best?

Savoury Table is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Smoked dishes always bring about unique flavors that are somewhat hard to describe. If you are a fan of smoked food or simply need to cook some meals for a barbecue party, then you need a smoker.

When it comes to smokers, we need to talk about gas and electric smokers. These are popular types of smokers, but not everyone understands how to use them and knows which one they should choose.

Gas vs electric smoker? Now, read my comparison, and you will know which one wins.


Gas vs Electric Smoker - Detailed Comparison

There will be many factors to consider to compare these two types of smokers successfully, so I will start by pointing them out below.

1. Food Quality

gas or electric smoker

Do you think the taste of your food is the most vital target in cooking meals? Yes, me too.
A typical electric smoker does not have many ventilation slots, so it will keep much more moisture. As a result, meat is usually tenderer than you expect, but chicken skin can never be crispy, and your brisket can hardly have a nice bark.

Meanwhile, a gas smoker is better in drying out the smoked meat and adding some crispier flavors than an electric smoker. Though you need to pay more attention to keeping the safe temperature, it is worth it.

Hence, propane wins this round.

2. Ease of Use

Learning how to use a gas smoker is a bit tricky. You will need to adjust the ventilation level appropriately, apart from supervising the temperature.

On the contrary, with an electric smoker, you just need to turn it on and tap some buttons. In modern patterns, there is a digital thermometer for measuring temperature, a thermostat to control heat as well as a remote control to manage your smoking work from a convenient distance.

Nonetheless, the propane model can generate fire and smoke dramatically quicker than its electric-powered counterpart.

3. Flexibility

The only function of an electric smoker is smoking meat at low temperatures. The temperature of some models can be low enough to make jerky or quasi-cold smoked nuts, chips, and cheese.

Vice versa, almost every gas smoker can produce sufficient heat to grill any kind of meat (around 400°F) with plenty of tasty smoke. Furthermore, offset gas smokers let you grill and smolder simultaneously.

For both types of smokers, there are many types of food you can cook. Nonetheless, if you would like to use a big smoker, propane is the best choice.

4. Range of Temperature

gas or electric smoker which is better

Commonly, you may find electric smokers that produce heat between 100 and 300°F (or 40 and 140°C). This is enough for almost every smoked dish.

You may think modern devices like electric smokers can provide a wider span of heat. But the fact is that gas smokers offer users broader temperature scales.

Typically, they can supply heat ranging from 180 to 420°F (or 80 to 205°C). Some of the best models promise to create a lower limit of 100°F and an upper limit of 500°F.

5. Required Space

Not only gas but also electric smokers come in plenty of different shapes and sizes.

You can find vertical versions at various heights and capacities. Nevertheless, on average, they are about the same size as a standard refrigerator. Unless you have a lot of space, it is advised to buy units that are approximately as big as a coffee table and portable. Or choose models that are about four feet tall.

In this case, an electric smoker will take up less of your room than a gas smoker and a propane tank. The minimum space for an offset gas smoker must be 3’x5’.

6. Dependability

About the reliability, any smoker can break down or have issues in specific circumstances. Nonetheless, an excellent smoker from a well-known brand will assure quality.

But can you guess which is more complicated? Of course, an electric smoker will have more sophisticated electronic parts with some convenient features. However, due to that, it can be more troublesome for you to fix it if an electronic device has some errors.

Therefore, in my opinion, relying on a gas smoker is better than on an electric smoker.

7. Eco-friendliness

Commonly, propane smokers are applicable no matter what the weather is like. Nonetheless, you will need to monitor it. But you should also notice that unfavorable weather conditions can affect your work remarkably.

High-quality insulation may help reduce the impacts of the environmental temperature. However, rain, wind, or snow may ruin your delicious food as the ventilation plays a vital role in controlling the heat inside the smoker.

When it comes to an electric smoker, ventilation and wind are unnoticeable problems. Furthermore, the ambient temperature won’t affect anything, thanks to the automatic adjustment of the thermostat. Nevertheless, snowflakes and raindrops are not good friends of electronic devices.

If your region has a dry and mild climate, you can use any smoker. But if it is a damp location, a gas smoker is preferable.

8. Maintenance

gas vs. electric meat smokers

You will need to maintain both of these smokers and make sure they are in good condition. For example, to prevent rust, clean the dirt as well as remained ingredients after each use.

Both of them will create ash that you’ll have to dump later. Besides, oil often accumulates in a pan. However, you can see quite clearly that propane generates more soot than an electric model, though not much as a charcoal smoker. Therefore, an electric smoker is just a bit easier to clean.

Most parts of smokers can be replaced quickly after you communicate with the manufacturer. Nonetheless, of course, an electric smoker is somewhat more complicated, and it can be a big issue to replace any parts that are invalid to warranty.

In general, they draw this round.

9. Initial Expense

As you know, every product will have a vast range of prices. However, because of multiple electronic built-in parts, an electric smoker is dramatically pricier than propane.

You can consider that surcharge as the salary for a person who watches the electronic smoker’s temperature and turns it off for you.

Meanwhile, if you can do it yourself, a gas smoker will save your budget.

Gas Smoker Overview

natural gas vs electric smoker

Here we go a little deeper into the propane smoker’s pros and cons.

  • Adaptive to the exterior conditions
  • Brings about optimal flavor
  • There are a lot of cheap and different models
  • Can function as a grill
  • Running costs a lot of money
  • Can run out of fuel and need replacement
  • Users need to watch and monitor them carefully
  • Hard to use

Suitable Users

  • Professional cookers
  • People who want to smoke outdoor
  • Anyone who prefers food quality than cooking time
  • Anyone who loves to learn different cooking techniques

Electric Smoker Overview

gas vs electric vs charcoal smoker

Now, let’s see if an electronic pattern is a better choice for you.

  • Effortless use. A model with a built-in thermostat is even more convenient to use
  • Operation cost is cheap, especially with solar panels!
  • Easy maintenance
  • No need to buy new fuel.
  • You can’t smoke without electricity
  • It is dangerous to get it wet
  • High initial cost
  • Weaker food flavor compared to gas-smoked food

Suitable Users

  • People who are busy and don’t like spending much time cooking.
  • Someone who has little experience in using propane
  • Irregular users
  • People who have difficulty in changing the gas line and tank


Gas vs electric smoker? To sum up, whereas both have their pros and cons, I highly recommend a propane model.

Although it requires more skill, you can enjoy a bit of tastier food. From my point of view, the ultimate goal of cooking is to have the best food, regardless of small difficulties in the process.

However, if you find an electric smoker more convenient and preferable, you won’t make a big mistake by buying it.

What do you think? Which one do you prefer? Leave your comments in the comment box.

Leave a Comment