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Which brand of smoker is better?

Smoking meat has been around for ages. In fact, it’s one of the oldest ways of cooking, dating to the days of cavemen. Over the last few decades, the increased availability of convenient smokers has accompanied an explosion in the popularity of smoking food at home.

Several brands specialize in smokers, and there’s a variety of styles to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a gas or electric model in a side-by-side, vertical or bullet configuration, both Masterbuilt and Pit Boss have plenty to offer.

Masterbuilt smokers

Masterbuilt makes a decent range of reasonably priced, effective outdoor culinary equipment, and that holds true with its smokers. Actually, Masterbuilt smokers are some of the best for beginners because they’re simple, reliable, affordable and come in compact sizes for those without a massive patio to store one on.

Masterbuilt smoker pros

  • Well-priced: It’s tough to beat the value of most Masterbuilt smokers, in both the entry-level and midrange categories.
  • Gas and electric heating available: Whether you don’t want to be tied to an outlet or prefer to not hassle with propane tanks, Masterbuilt has something for you.
  • Wide selection of sizes and styles: Masterbuilt makes vertical smokers, pellet grills and even an ultra-compact upright bullet-type model.
  • Quality insulation: Masterbuilt’s vertical smokers in particular sport enough insulation to make maintaining a precise temperature simple.

Masterbuilt smoker cons

  • Slightly inconsistent build quality: It’s not common, but every so often a new owner reports slightly misaligned panels or seams that aren’t perfectly lined up. In most cases, though, these issues are minor and don’t affect performance.

Best Masterbuilt smokers

Best Masterbuilt Bullet

Masterbuilt Bullet

If you’re new to smoking, don’t have a ton of space and don’t want to make a huge investment, this classic design is the perfect choice. It’s easy to maintain the perfect temperature due in part to a convenient charcoal door on the front.

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Best Masterbuilt Digital Electric

Masterbuilt Digital Electric

Thanks to a precise thermostat and straightforward digital controls, it takes a great deal of the guesswork out of smoking meat. That, plus its surprisingly low price, makes it an ideal choice for beginners.

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Best Masterbuilt 40-Inch Propane

Masterbuilt 40-Inch Propane

This one takes advantage of the consistent, dependable heating of propane and adds refinements such as a thermostat control dial and a fuel tank gauge. This 40-inch model has plenty of space to cook in, but the 30-inch version is a better deal.

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Best Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560

Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560

This novel smoker combines a side-by-side pellet hopper and traditional charcoal grill, making it one of the most versatile. There are onboard digital controls, but you can also manage the grill from afar using a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-connected device.

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Pit Boss smokers

Pit Boss began as a direct competitor to Traeger, the company that invented the pellet smoker. While it doesn’t offer a massive selection of smokers, most of those it does make are great investments. For the most part, Pit Boss focuses more on high-end needs than budget-minded users.

Pit boss smoker pros

  • Tons of room for food: The top Pit Boss smokers boast as many as 1,500 square inches of grilling area. That’s enough for a restaurant to put a smoked meat special on the menu long-term.
  • Dependable electronics: Pit Boss heating elements and thermostats are as good as they get, and can withstand years of regular use as long as you take proper care.

Pit Boss smoker cons

  • Relatively high cost: While some (especially the largest vertical smokers) are among the best overall, Pit Boss smokers usually do not come cheap.
  • Combination models have poor build quality: Pit Boss makes a few side-by-side combination pellet and gas or charcoal grills. They’re expensive and, on paper, highly versatile. Unfortunately, real-world reviews frequently complain of shoddy quality and inconsistent performance. It’s best to avoid these novel yet unreliable smokers.

Best Pit Boss smokers

Best Pit Boss PB820FB1

Pit Boss PB820FB1

This rugged model has plenty of real estate inside, in addition to helpful touches such as a hanging ash can, adjustable-flow chimney and digital thermostat controls.

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Best Pit Boss PB440D2

Pit Boss PB440D2

It’s an entry-level pellet grill with over 440 square inches of room for meat, vegetables and hard cheese. It doesn’t take up much space and has durable wheels to help you move it around the patio.

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Best Pit Boss 77550

Pit Boss 77550

This one’s about as big and streamlined as they get, with an all-electric ignition and heating element plus a 40-pound pellet hopper that lets you smoke for many hours without refilling. It’s expensive, but also one of the best.

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Best Pit Boss Navigator 1150G

Pit Boss Navigator 1150G 

It’s nearly as big as they get, and can get up to 500 degrees in case you want to do more than just slow-cook some ribs. It even boasts a flame broiler for getting the ultimate sear.

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Best Pit Boss Portable

Pit Boss Portable

While not exactly easy to carry, it does sport folding legs that make it simple to fit in the bed of a truck or back of an SUV. However, it is a bit pricey for one with only 440 square inches of grilling area.

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Should you get a Masterbuilt or Pit Boss smoker?

Both brands make great smokers. If you’re ready to invest in something that can feed an army, look for a Pit Boss vertical smoker. If you only rarely smoke food, the most affordable Pit Boss models are also great choices.

If you’re looking for a mid-size smoker that can help you learn the ropes and get the hang of the perfect smoked brisket, Masterbuilt’s midrange options offer great value and plenty of room for large cuts of meat. Its digital upright smoker is an especially user-friendly choice.


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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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