Pellet Smoker vs Electric Smoker: How Are They Different?

by Sid Wilson | Published On

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team, is reader-supported. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission, at no extra cost to you.

Are you someone who loves smoked foods? Well, then you must agree that nothing on this planet can beat the heavenly taste of smoked foods, smoked thoroughly and cautiously for a prolonged period. But for that, you need to invest in a good quality smoker, that is trustworthy and meets all your demands.

Once you have had the smoked meats cooked in a smoker, indeed there is no going back! There are several types of smokers, like, pellet smokers, propane smokers, electric smokers, charcoal smokers, and so on.

Being a beginner in this, you might not know what are the differences between these, or which one is the best in the market currently. There are literally so many models available and all seem to be the same isn’t it? Don’t know about smokers and which one to buy?

Well, this article will break it down for you and help you choose the perfect smoker for yourself and also will more specifically talk about which one you should go for, an electric or a pellet smoker.

Comparison of other home appliances in terms of gas vs electric could also be crucial before one buys them.

What is a Pellet Smoker?


Pellet smokers are not different from pellet grills. They are very easy to use, and they are thermostatically controlled like stoves. You can set a cooking temperature and the controller will just maintain it by feeding the food pellets to the fire pot as needed! Pellet smokers are pricey, that’s true! But they are a great investment for someone who loves cooking and loves to cook at night parties.

Pellets can be used in pellet grills to give the food a more aromatic and smoky flavor. Some of the most common flavors are – apple, cherry, whiskey, hickory, and many more! Keep in mind that different flavors of wood pellets are suited for different types of food. So check which food you want to smoke and choose the flavor accordingly.

Pellet Smoker
  • Pellet smokers are really helpful when you want to smoke your food for a lomger period of time in order to get the flavors developed. For the prolonged cooking time, just make sure that you don’t run out of pellets soon!
  • Pellet smokers are really very versatile. They are easy to use as well. They can reach higher temperatures than electric smokers. These models have a 450 degree minimum temperature and can go to 600 degree fahrenheit. Pellet smokers can be used for a lot of things like grilling, searing, etc.
  • There are many new pellet smokers that have come up recently and those have wifi enabled in them. They also have an app which lets you control the temperatures timely from any distance! I mean how cool is that if you can control the temperatures without having to constantly sit in front of it?
  • They require electricity so they need a convenient power supply in order to operate and are not as portable as a standard grill for camping purposes. They are most suited for home cooking
  • One of the major drawbacks that you need to have an adequate amount of wood pellets stored in your house for an uninterrupted cooking. Also, one needs to make sure that those pellets do not come in contact with the moisture or air as that can result in them swelling.
  • Pellet grills are no doubt expensive. They are an investment, there is no doubt about that. But before making such an huge investment it is advisable to look into the facts as to why do you need it and is it really worth the money. It is unnecessary to buy a pellet smoker for 500 dollars and just use it twice a year!

What is an Electric Smoker?

An electric smoker, as the name suggests, works on electricity. It is just like the other cooking devices, an outdoor appliance that smokes food using electricity. If you compare them with normal smokers, they are a little hassle-free for cleaning purposes and also are safe as there are no gas cylinders involved. After every use you have to clean electric smoker and put it for future use. They have huge cooking space, temperature control systems, soft touch buttons, and also come with racks that are needed for cooking. To be honest, these kinds of smokers are the most preferable if you are a beginner as you can learn how to use them within an hour or so – it is that simple and easy. Coming to the price point, they are also affordable items. If you want to smoke meat in electric smoker then you must have a perfect smoker at your home.

Electric Smoker
  • There are no temperature fluctuations since it is electric. In this sense, it is much more convenient and easy to operate other than normal smokers.
  • The functions are so easy you can literally learn them so fast, and it is super safe. You do not need to know about the perfect temperatures to smoke the meat, check on it regularly, or adjust if the temperatures are too low.
  • Temperature control is nonexistent here in these models you just need to set the desired temperature as given in your recipe book and start the oven to let the food smoke.
  • The major con about these smokers is that they require constant electricity. So if electricity is a major problem for you, or if you have frequent power cuts, electric smokers might not be the perfect match for you. Imagine having a house full of guests and the electricity goes off. It would definitely not be a great sight keeping those guests hungry until the power is restored isn’t it!?
  • Electric smokers are not versatile, they cannot be used for grilling and searing meat which is possible in other kinds of smokers.
  • Though there are no hassles about constantly adjusting the temperature, the task of putting more wood chips every hour is there.
  • Smoke rings are an essential part of the barbecue. In an electric smoker, the smoke rings are not that hot so as to produce the smoke rings. The chemicals, nitric oxide that is released react with the myoglobin in the meat which eventually forms the red smoke ring.

Feature Comparison - Which One is Better?

Now that you know the important pros and cons of these smokers, it is also important to know how the features in these differ from each other. There are obviously some things to keep into consideration before buying any type of smoker like temperature controls, price range, cooking space, smoke rings, etc.

  1. Ease of Use

    Pellet smoker and eletric smokers are easy to use. You can literally keep your food in the smoker and forget about it as they will do their job perfectly well. But the electric smokers have a drawback of constantly refilling the wooden chips every 1hour, so in this case the pellet smoker is a better option. Pellet smokers have large hoppers to hold the wood chips and hence they burn for a longer duration.

  2. Temperature

    Pellet smokers offer higher temperature range than electric smokers. Some pellet smoketrs offer you with temperatures up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Electric smokers are not built to achieve such high temperatures, so in this regard also pellet smoker is better. 

  3. Smoke Ring

    Smoke rings are an essential part of smoking chicken or meat. In an electric smoker, the smoke rings are not that hot so as to produce the smoke rings. The chemicals, nitric oxide that is released react with the myoglobin in the meat which eventually forms the red smoke ring. Pellet smokers can produce the smoke rings as the flames burn more rapidly.

  4. Price

    Pellet smokers are costiler than electric smokers anyday. The former can cost you about 500 dollars on an average while the latter will cost you 300 dollars. In this regard, electric smokers are a winner.

  5. Capacity

    A pellet smoker usually has a horizontal design which allows it to have a large cooking area. But in electric smokers, the design is vertical so you might face a problem of space. This feature is not really a drawback as it lets you cook food in bulk simultaneously.

  6. Flavor and texture

    Pellet smokers offer you a more smoky flavor of the wood pellets. Since they Burj fir a longer duration, the smoke created is very rich in flavors. Electric smokers give you a smoky taste but the smoke will not be that intense.


Both of these smokers are incredible inventions of the mankind. The main objective of both is only one – to make smoky and juicy meats and mind you, both perform their job quite well! The decision about what type of smoker you need is entirely based on your needs. If you are a beginner, then an electric smoker may be the best for you. If versatility is your main objective, blindly go for the pellet smoker as it lets you do a lot more things other than just smoking. They are used for a variety of purposes like baking, roaring, grilling, etc so they are indeed a versatile device on which you will be investing for a lifetime! We hope this article was helpful to you and gave you a basic idea about these two types of smokers!

Rate this post
Sid Wilson

Being a father, a golf lover, and an engineer by profession are the things that define Sid Wilson. He spends most of his time in his garage building and experimenting with stuff. Unscrewing things and then screwing them up is his favorite hobby. Doing these things in his garage has made him what, he is today.

Leave a Reply

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