If you are shopping for an affordable, easy-to-use smoker that features hands-off cooking and delicious flavor, then a gas smoker (propane smoker) is for you.
There are many advantages to using gas-fueled smokers:
- They are simple to cook on.
- They are affordable.
- Clean, even cooking and heat.
Most consumer units use propane tanks. However, the campsite models are natural gas friendly.
Though it is possible to modify other brands to use natural gas, the process must only be performed by a professional.
Below are the best gas smokers that are rated for both their cooking results and ease of use.
Our Pick: Top 3 Best Gas Smoker Reviews 2023
- Masterbuilt MB20052318 MPS 230S Propane Smoker 30 inch – Best Seller
- Dyna-Glo Wide Body LP Gas Smoker – Top Rated
- Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18″ – Top Rated
How To Choose The Best Gas Smoker
There are several factors to consider before buying a smoker that feels right for you.
- First off, the price is an essential consideration. There are many entry-level smokers for barbecuing novices that are affordable and work well. The Masterbuilt 2-door propane smoker, for example, is an excellent choice for the beginner pitmaster. They are known for their superb temperature-holding ability. Smokers greatly vary in prices starting from the very cheap at around $50, to the custom-built models that can set you back well over $10,000.
- You should also consider the cuts of meat or items that you plan on smoking. You want to have ample interior space for your needs. If you are planning on preparing food at home for family and friends, then there is no need for high-end gas smokers. Conversely, if you are in the commercial preparation of food, then you need a smoker that can accommodate larger cuts of meat.
- Portability should also be a consideration. Propane smokers are considered more portable than electric ones. Propane smokers can quickly get transported to campsites, picnics, and other outdoor spaces.
- You should also consider the required fuel sources of the smoker before purchasing it. Some smokers rely on natural gas, electricity, wood, charcoal, pellets and other types. First ensure the necessary fuel for the smoker is affordable long-term, or even available in your area, before purchasing it.
- Lastly, consider the durability of the smoker. One of the most critical factors is noting the material used to make it. Some smokers are more challenging to clean based on what materials they were manufactured. Removable racks, for example, are far easier to clean than permanent shelves.
Best Gas Smoker Comparison Table
Masterbuilt 2-Door Propane Smoker
One of the best features of the masterbuilt 2-door propane smokers is that they rely on propane tanks. This feature makes them relatively portable.
They can move to campsites, fishing spots, or even picnic sites. Some of these smokers can run on the 14-ounce canisters for blowtorches!
A full-size propane tank easily weighs 20 pounds when filled. In addition to their portability, these appliances offer an environmentally friendly cooking approach and are perfect if you have limited outdoor space.
Unlike coal or wood-based systems, your food won’t potentially get covered in soot. The Masterbuilt propane smoker maintains its smoking temperatures without much work.
As a bonus, this model features a push-button ignition. Read full review…
- Push-button ignition.
- Large cooking space
- Durable construction
- Wood chip tray is not good.
- The larger version has a faulty gauge
Dyna-Glo Wide Body LP Gas Smoker
The Dyna-Glo is renowned for several reasons. Its best feature is its ability to hold a consistent temperature.
Whether you need a high or low temperature for your recipe, the Dyna-Glo is your go-to smoker. Once you set the right temperature, it stays there the entire cooking time.
The smoker is easy to assemble despite the number of parts it has. It is also spacious enough to accommodate several items at a time – you can smoke up to four dishes simultaneously.
Each rack accommodates nearly any type of food. These shelves are also easy to insert and take out. Read the full review here.
- Ample cooking space.
- Push-button ignition.
- Large control dial pad with many options.
- The thermometer doesn’t show the temperature properly.
- Cleanup could be a problem.
Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18″
The camp chef smoke vault 18″ features two 15″x 14″ smoking racks, as well as a nickel-plated mesh smoking rack. Full slabs of ribs will need to be cut in half to fit them into the cooking area; however, there is enough headroom to use rib racks on the two shelves.
This Camp Chef Smoker also features a water pan, an easy-to-clean removable porcelain base tray, a steel wood chip tray, and convenient push-button ignition.
It has three adjustable damper valves one on top and the other on each side, which control smoke and heat.
It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned pitmaster or a barbecue beginner struggling with your first smoked meal. The Camp Chef Smoke Vault is recommended for all levels of use.
- Easy to clean up.
- An easy-to-read thermometer.
- Snap ignition.
- Good heat control.
- Additional Assembly Required.
- No wheels make movement a problem due to their large size.
Water Smoker vs Dry Heat Smoker
Water smokers use a water pan between the fire and the heating chamber. The purpose of the water is to keep a cooler cooking area that will produce a juicy, tender product compared to dry heat smokers.
The water pan also regulates heat, which maintains temperatures evenly. Dry heat smokers burn with wood products and don’t use water pans.
Some chefs argue that dry heat smokers produce better “bark”, or the smoked skin on the meat; however, there’s no evidence to prove this point.
FAQ Propane Grills
Can you use propane in a natural gas heater?
No, you cannot use propane in a natural gas heater without making some modifications to the heater. Propane and natural gas have different chemical properties and burn at different temperatures, which means that heaters designed for one type of gas may not work properly or safely with the other type of gas.
Natural gas heaters typically use a different type of burner and control valve than propane heaters, and the orifice sizes that control the flow of gas into the burner are also different.
If you try to use propane in a natural gas heater without making any modifications, the burner may not ignite properly or the flame may burn too hot, which can be dangerous.
If you want to convert a natural gas heater to use propane, you will need to replace the burner and control valve with ones that are designed for use with propane, and you may also need to change the orifice sizes.
It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions or consult with a professional to ensure that the conversion is done safely and correctly.
What does liquid propane mean?
Liquid propane refers to propane that has been compressed into a liquid state through a process of cooling and pressurization.
Propane is a flammable gas that is commonly used as fuel for heating, cooking, and powering vehicles. When propane is compressed, its temperature drops, causing it to condense into a liquid that is easier to transport and store.
Does propane burn hotter than natural gas?
Propane burns hotter than natural gas. Propane has a higher energy content per cubic foot than natural gas, which means that it can produce more heat when burned. The heat output of propane is approximately 2,500 to 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit, while the heat output of natural gas is about 1,000 to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. This higher heat output makes propane a popular choice for heating and cooking applications where a high level of heat is required, such as in outdoor grills, space heaters, and industrial furnaces.
How to Use a Gas Smoker
- The water pan may get used with cider, beer, or water. You may also line the water pan with foil first to make it easier to clean.
- Open the valve after connecting the propane tank to the smoker. Keep the lid open and light the burner according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Now set the regulator to the required temperature.
- Preheat for up to 15 minutes while adjusting the chimney damper or vents as necessary.
- Add wood charcoal, pellets, or chips to the feeder. Keep the lid open until the unit begins to smoke.
- Arrange your food either on the racks or hang it on smoking hooks, if your smoker has them.
- Continue to replenish water and wood as needed and make sure the flame doesn’t go out, which could become hazardous if the gas builds up.
- Once the food finishes cooking, remove it and turn off the burners, and disconnect the gas tank.
In conclusion, there are many different gas smokers on the market. However, a gas/propane smoker is among the most popular for simplicity and convenience.