Pellet Smoker vs Electric Smoker: Detailed Comparison Guide

A smoker is a cooking device that allows you to cook various food items. You can prepare anything from pork, vegetables, chicken, a smoke ring, and beef using your smoker. A pellet smoker and an electric smoker are two well-known types of smokers found in the consumer market today. However, they are often misjudged to be the same. In reality, a pellet smoker and an electric smoker vary on several grounds.

A pellet smoker is a more well-established type of smoker available in the market than an electric smoker. While a pellet smoker uses wood pellets as its primary fuel source, an electric smoker uses electricity to smoke various food items. A pellet smoker offers smoke, heat, as well as the combustion process. In contrast, an electric smoker offers steam, smoke, and heat.

Apart from the above-mentioned major differences, both a pellet smoker and an electric smoker take almost the same time for preparing food and require almost the same level of supervision. Both a pellet smoker and an electric smoker are designed to be used outdoors, preferably on the patio. As long as your house, flat, apartment, or condo has space for a grill in the yard, you can opt for any type of smoker out of the two.

In the article that follows, we will discuss in detail the features of a pellet smoker and an electric smoker.


Pellet Smoker

Cooking equipment makes the smoking process relatively easier because it automatically feeds wood pellets from your smoker’s hopper to the fire. Although it has surged in popularity over the last few years, many people tend to be unfamiliar with its functioning. By definition, it is an electric-powered, wood-fired, automated device that is ideal for cooking food at either extremely low or mid-range temperatures.

The fuel source used by a pellet grill is wood pellets. The initial purpose of wood pellets was home heating. Today, wood pellets are composed of 100% hardwood without any added combustion. Thus, burning a wood pellet is identical to burning any other form of wood. In addition, it is cleaner to burn wood than charcoal. Pellets tend to burn rather efficiently, leaving very little residue. Make sure you purchase wood pellets that primarily cater to the cooking purpose.

The hopper is part of the pellet smoker, the storehouse of wood pellets. The average capacity of a hopper is 12 pounds, although sizes are subject to variation. From the hopper, the wood pellets move to the fire pot via the auger. The auger, along with the digital controller, is the unique component found in a pellet grill.

Pellet Smoker

The digital controller of your pellet grill allows you to set the desired temperature for smoking and maintain your smoker at that temperature. The fire pot is the place where ignition takes place. The blower and the fan ensure there is proper ventilation. The chimney is an important part of your pellet grill, ensuring that there is over-smoking.

It offers a set of merits and demerits. Since wood pellets are available in a wide range of flavors, you can choose from many flavor options. However, irrespective of the flavor you opt for, you won’t be able to enjoy a flavor similar to the one offered by an offset smoker or charcoal. In addition, a pellet smoker doesn’t provide you with the option to sear. Usually, it doesn’t have a spot on them where you can access heat directly. And irrespective of the temperature, you will require direct heat for searing.

There are only a few portable pellet grills. However, even these models weigh as much as 50 pounds. Thus, you can transport your pellet smoker to different locations only if you have a truck or a large RV. A pellet grill enables you to cook anything and everything on it. You can even prepare a full meal using a pellet grill. Although a pellet grill seems like an extremely advanced device, it is relatively easy to use. A pellet grill leaves only a small amount of residue. Nonetheless, you should clean your fire pot regularly and clean it using a shop vacuum.

Note that the most important component of a pellet grill is the temperature probe. If there is an issue with the temperature reading, everything else will be thrown off. A pellet smoker is an easy-to-use device. This smoker is also equipped to measure the quantity of fuel that you require. However, the temperature range of a pellet smoker is quite limited. If you plan on getting crispy-skinned wings, you might not be able to achieve it easily with a pellet smoker.

A pellet grill is an expensive investment. Even if there is a breakdown of the smallest part of your grill, it is likely to cost you a lot for the repairs. You can’t use your pellet grill everywhere because these grills require an outlet to function. However, a pellet grill is a more environmentally friendly option as compared to other smokers.

Thus, many factors must be considered before purchasing a pellet smoker. While it offers you the ease of use, it is not a portable option most of the time. It is also an environmentally safe option as well.

Electric Smoker

It is a smoking device that uses electricity as the primary fuel source. For many people, smoking food on a charcoal smoker seems like a big task. You need to constantly adjust the temperature, be attentive to detail, and learn from a lot of trial and error. It is a feasible option for you if you can easily operate your kitchen oven. For anyone who knows how to use a thermostat, using an electric smoker to smoke meat is a brainer.

It makes use of a heating element and therefore, you don’t have to do anything but keep an eye out for the digital thermometer. You can even consider it as a stepping stone toward mastering the art of using other types of smokers. It allows you to test out various kinds of rubs, woods, as well as marinades to excel in your cooking skills using a smoker.

It is unmatched in the ease of use it offers. When you are using wood or charcoal for smoking food, you need to think it through. You ought to decide how much fuel you require, how will you arrange the required quantity of fuel, how will you adjust the temperature, and so on.

In contrast, when you use an electric smoker, you simply need to plug in your device, fill the chip tray and water pan, and set the smoker to the required temperature. Then simply wait until the smoker reaches the desired temperature and place your meat inside.

Electric Smoker

If you are someone who cares for the environment, you would know that burning charcoal threatens the natural environment, including ourselves. Even when you burn propane, there are traces of carbon monoxide and other harmful chemicals which are released into the environment. However, when you use an electric smoker, the only thing which is burning is wood chips. So, no harmful chemical is being released into the air.

It eliminates the need for a cleanup. No residual coal or wood is left out at the end of the cooking process. The only thing left behind is some ash from your burnt wood chips. In addition, almost every electric smoker is made from stainless steel which is easy to wipe in case of any spills or when there are a lot of buildups.

It is also a budget-friendly option when compared with other smokers available out there. You can choose from several smokers available for as low as $200. Although there are more options for charcoal smokers, it offers more value for money.

Furthermore, the operating costs of an electric smoker are fewer as compared to other types of smokers. This is primarily because electricity is way cheaper these days and therefore, you would save a lot. An electric smoker is a space-friendly option for you to cook a large variety of food items.

Now many areas across the world operate under the vicinity of the fire ban. It is the best option in such a situation because using this smoker doesn’t involve any fire. Even if you are someone who resides in an apartment or condo, it is a viable option for you.

When using an electric smoker, you can also experiment and opt for cold smoking. The conventional type of smoking is hot smoking. Therefore, an electric smoker enables you to smoke things like nuts and cheese without being apprehensive about melting them.

However, just like any other appliance, it comes with its respective set of demerits. It has a limited temperature range. With a temperature that goes just as high as 275 F, you won’t be able to bake or roast anything at such a low-temperature threshold. With several charcoal, gas, and wood smokers that have the potential to go as high as 400 F, you might become reluctant to opt for a smoker that limits your cooking options.

As evident by the name, it requires electricity to operate. Thus, it has limited portability. You can’t take it to tailgates or camping trips if you aren’t assured of a power source. Consider where you will be using your electric smoker before you purchase one.

Since it is a technologically advanced device, there are higher chances that one or the other part will break down. Consider the fact that your smoker has an LCD, a thermostat, a heating element, and much more. Repairing any of these parts is undoubtedly going to cost you money. Lastly, if you are keen on enjoying a smoke ring, an electric smoker is by no means a feasible option for you.


Therefore, a pellet smoker and an electric smoker have their respective merits and demerits. A pellet smoker is often a more budget-friendly option than an electric smoker. Both a pellet smoker and an electric smoker are easy to operate. Depending on your requirements, you can choose any one of the two smokers.

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