5 Best Vertical Smokers
Last Updated on November 14, 2022
Vertical smokers are an excellent option for those who want to enjoy all the flavor and succulence of smoked meat whilst saving on space and fuel.
The vertical design of this style of smoker means that they are tall and slender, and tend to be much easier to store than horizontal and barrel smokers.
There are a wide variety of vertical smokers available on the market today, boasting different features, fuel sources, and capabilities. We have put together this list of the best vertical smokers, with a close look at each of their pros and cons, so that you can decide which one is most suitable for your needs.
We have also included a comprehensive buyer’s guide so that you can feel more confident about what key features to look out for when making your choice!
Best Overall Vertical Smoker: Masterbuilt Thermotemp Vertical Propane Smoker
Dimensions (L x W x H) – 22.8 x 28.7 x 53 inches
Item Weight – 92 pounds
Fuel Type – Liquid Propane Gas
Cooking Capacity – 961 square inches
First up, we have this fantastic all-rounder from Masterbuilt, and it really does tick all the boxes when it comes to vertical smoking. This smoker runs off propane gas, which is one of the most powerful, reliable, and easy fuel types to work with and is great for beginners.
The 15,750 BTU burner can heat up quickly so that you don’t have to waste time waiting for your unit to get hot enough.
There is an in-built safety valve, which shuts the burner off if the flame becomes extinguished, and the fuel gauge allows you to keep an eye on how much gas is left in the tank so that you don’t find yourself running on empty.
The functionality of this vertical smoker is super easy to use. We particularly love the one-touch ignition and the temperature dial that allows you to achieve accurate and consistent temperatures for the best possible cooks.
The temperature sensors are really high quality and provide accurate readings, so you can make sure the internal temperature is exactly where you want it to be.
The four chrome-coated smoking racks total a huge 961 square inches of cooking space, making this a vertical smoker that can handle a whole lot of meat at one time! The racks are removable, so you can take some out to create room for larger cuts of meat, whole turkeys, briskets, and more.
And the best part is that there is very little clean-up necessary with gas smokers since they don’t create ash or debris. So all you have to do is clean the grease tray and racks and you’re done. Easy peasy.
- Large cooking space
- Easy ignition
- Powerful burner
- Great temperature control
- Minimal cleanup
- Assembling this smoker can be quite tedious, and time-consuming so be prepared, as it will take a few hours, just take your time and all will be well.
Check Out Availability & Today’s Price: Masterbuilt Thermotemp Vertical Propane Smoker
Best For Portability: Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker
Dimensions (L x W x H) – 21 x 19 x 41 inches
Item Weight – 39 pounds
Fuel Type – Charcoal
Cooking Capacity – 481 square inches
Next on our list is the famous Weber Smokey Mountain charcoal smoker, which is a great choice of vertical smoker for those who love to head into the great outdoors.
The lightweight and compact design of this unit mean that it can easily be popped in the trunk of your car and taken tailgating, camping, or on the road.
The smokers come in 14, 18, and 22-inch sizes, but we recommend the 18-inch as a great compromise between portability and cooking capacity.
The 18-inch Weber Smokey Mountain has 2 nickel-plated cooking grates, and enough cooking space for a whole turkey, a large brisket, or 4 racks of ribs!
Plenty enough to keep the whole campsite happy! The 20 lbs charcoal basket can house enough briquettes to stay smoking for hours, meaning this unit is capable of seriously slow cooks!
One really fantastic design feature of the Weber Smokey Mountain is the easy-to-use dampers that allow you to adjust the internal temperature by lessening or increasing airflow to the flames.
The design of the dampers gives you lots of control, so you can get your cook exactly how you like it.
Thanks to the use of charcoal and wood chunks, this smoker will produce a deliciously authentic smoky flavor and you will be able to have a very authentic smoking experience as well! It’s a win-win all around.
- Large Charcoal basket for long, slow smoking
- Compact, lightweight design, for portability
- Adjustable dampers for temperature control
- Adjustable racks offer great cooking capacity
- high performance, authentic flavor
- Charcoal smokers are notoriously messy due to the ash and debris that they create. Smokey Mountain is no exception, so be sure to have some rubber gloves and a dustpan to hand!
Check Out Availability & Today’s Price: Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker
Best For Large Cook-Ups: Dyna-Glo Signature Vertical Offset Smoker
Dimensions (L x W x H) – 45.5 x 24.9 x 58.8 inches
Item Weight – 124 pounds
Fuel Type – Charcoal
Cooking Capacity – 1382 square inches
It is actually pretty rare to find a vertical offset smoker, which is why we love this one by Dyna-Glo so much. It combines all the space-saving elements of a vertical smoker, with the awesome smoking effect of an offset.
The result is a vertical smoker that has the cooking capacity of a horizontal smoker! That’s right, this beast has a whole 1382 square inches of cooking space, and is ideal for those who love to cater to the whole neighborhood!
The advantages of offset smoking include the ability to adjust and top up the firebox without having to lose heat in the main chamber.
The positioning of the chimney and vents also encourages a reverse air flow which ensures all the meat in your smoker is thoroughly seeped in delicious smoke by the time you take it out.
The firebox on this smoker is large and can house a lot of coal and wood, meaning that once you get your smoker started, you will not have to tend to it for many hours.
The heavy-duty construction is robust and retains heat really well, so temperatures stay consistent throughout the smoking process. And, best of all, the ash disposal tray makes cleaning up much easier.
- Enormous cooking capacity over 5 shelves
- Heavy duty construction
- Large offset firebox
- Ash disposal tray for easy cleanup
- Large wheels for maneuverability
- Built-in thermometer for temperature control
- This massive smoker is quite tricky to assemble. We recommend opting for professional assembly at an extra cost if you feel daunted by the task.
Check Out Availability & Today’s Price: Dyna-Glo Signature Vertical Offset Smoker
Best For Overnight Smokes: Pit Boss Grills Vertical Pellet Smoker
Dimensions (L x W x H) – 26 x 22 x 53 inches
Item Weight – 97 pounds
Fuel Type – Wood pellets
Cooking Capacity – 901 square inches
Pit Boss Grills are some of the best in the backyard barbecuing industry, and that is why we simply had to include one of their vertical smokers in our list.
This large capacity pellet smoker has a huge 40 lbs pellet hopper, which means that once full it can smoke for up to 18 hours without ever needing to be topped up.
That makes this an ideal choice for those who want to smoke low and slow overnight, and it works particularly well for large cuts of meat.
Wood pellets create deliciously clean and flavorsome smoke as well as wonderfully consistent heat thanks to their regularity of shape and size. You are guaranteed a consistent cooking quality with this type of smoker and the fact that it is vertical means that it is space-saving too!
The auto-ignition makes this smoker super simple to start up, and the temperature dial can be set at anything between 150 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit! Great range!
The four cooking racks are porcelain coated for easy cleaning. And this smoker has an ash clean-out tray too, so all the pellet ash is collected in one place for removal. We love that you can monitor your cooks through the glass viewing window, and the trendy copper finish is just an added bonus!
- 40 lb hopper for 18-hour cooks!
- Large interior capacity for large loads
- Auto-ignition means easy start-ups
- Wide temperature range for great versatility
- 4 wheels for easy maneuverability
- Large glass viewing window
- Meat probes included
- The auger will get jammed on this smoker if your pellets become moist and expand, so be sure to always store them in a cool, dry place.
Check Out Availability & Today’s Price: Pit Boss Grills Vertical Pellet Smoker
Best For Ease Of Use: Char Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
Dimensions (L x W x H) – 16.5 x 18.1 x 32.5 inches
Item Weight – 50 pounds
Fuel Type – Electricity
Cooking Capacity – 725 square inches
Electric smokers are by far the most user-friendly and simplistic option you can go for, and this electric vertical smoker by Char Broil is a perfect example.
It looks and operates very much like a kitchen cooker, with the digital control panel situated on the top of the unit where it can be easily accessed and read. It has a built-in timer, temperature gauge, and even a light, so it really does make your life so much easier.
Considering its compact design, this smoker boasts an impressive 725 square inches of cooking space, split over 4 heavy-duty, stainless steel grates. These grates are durable and easy to clean and can be removed and adjusted to suit whatever meat you are smoking.
The double wall insulation means that this smoker retains heat well and the large capacity smoker box allows you to smoke for up to 7 hours uninterrupted.
The removable thermometer allows you to make accurate temperature readings, and it even comes with meat probes so that you can check the internal temperature of your cuts to make sure they are cooked through.
Another advantage of electric smokers is that they create very little mess. There are no coals, ash, or pellets to collect, and the grease and drippings are gathered in a sizable grease tray for easy removal. Fantastic!
- Easy – plug-in and go functionality
- LCD Digital control panel and display
- Double wall insulation for heat retention
- Removable thermometer with digital readings
- Large smoker box holds lots of wood chips
- Stainless steel cooking racks are easy to clean
- The grease collection tray makes clean-ups easier
- This vertical smoker takes a while to heat up, and because the smoker box is situated inside the main chamber, you will lose some heat when you open the door to refill.
Check Out Availability & Today’s Price: Char Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker
We hope you have been inspired by the vertical smokers on our list but before you decide which to go for, here is a comprehensive buyer’s guide detailing all the features you should consider when making your choice.
Smoker Fuel Type
The type of fuel that your vertical smoker runs off will dramatically impact its functionality and ease of use.
Gas and electric smokers are generally considered to be the most user-friendly and simple to use because they have easy start-ups and do not create ash and debris to clear up afterward.
However, charcoal smokers offer a truly authentic and hands-on smoking experience, where you get to really feel creative and at one with the smoking process.
A great bridge between the two extremes is a pellet smoker. Pellet smokers generate authentic and delicious smoky flavors, yet they have a self-sufficient functionality. Win-win!
Size Of Smoker
The size of your vertical smoker will affect how much meat you can smoke at one time.
If you love cooking for all your friends and family, then opting for a smoker with 700 square inches of cooking space or more is the best option.
However, if you prefer intimate gatherings, then between 400-700 square inches works well.
Important Note: The interior capacity of a vertical smoker is dictated mainly by the unit’s height, not width. This is important because it means that even if you have a small backyard, you can still cook large loads at a time with this type of unit!
Being able to take your vertical smoker on vacation, beach trips, camping trips or tailgating is really important to some families because it allows you to enjoy great-tasting, melt-in-the-mouth meat wherever you are.
Bullet smokers are a type of vertical smoker that is particularly suited to travel. The bullet shape means that these smokers are squat and compact, and they often feature carry handles and short legs for stability and easy lifting.
The Weber Smokey Mountain is a great example of a bullet smoker and is awesome for portability.
Cleaning And Maintenance
The level of cleaning necessary for vertical smokers will differ depending on the fuel type and the model design.
A vertical propane smoker will need less cleaning than a charcoal smoker or a pellet grill, yet a propane smoker will still need to be wiped down after each use to avoid moisture and rust developing.
We recommend looking for vertical smokers with grease management systems built in that collect dripping and juice for easy removal. Many of these systems also intensify the flavor profile of your cooks as well by recycling the juices as steam.
One-touch ash clean-out systems and removable ash collection trays are also great features to look for on charcoal and wood pellet smokers.
Whichever vertical smoker you have, much of the success of your smoking will depend on the choice of wood that you use for smoking. Here is our quick guide to the best wood types for smoking:
Pine: Pine has a sweet aroma and creates a mild smoke flavor. It is an excellent wood for smoking fish and poultry.
Hickory: Hickory is a strong wood with a distinctive taste. It is suitable for smoked meats such as ribs, brisket, pork shoulders, chicken breasts, turkey breasts, etc.
Mesquite: Mesquite is a hardwood tree native to Mexico. Its unique flavor makes it ideal for barbecuing and grilling meats.
Apple Wood: Applewood is a very popular wood used for smoking food. It produces a rich smoke flavor and gives off a slight sweetness.
Oak: Oak is another popular wood used for smoking foods. It produces a deep-smoke flavor and is good for adding complexity to barbecue dishes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Use a Vertical Smoker
Check out our easy guide to using a vertical smoker.
What Is The Best Temperature For Smoking Meat?
We suggest starting low (around 225 degrees F) and slowly increasing the heat until you reach desired cooking temperatures. For most recipes, we recommend using a temperature range from 250 – 300 degrees F.
How Long Does It Take To Smoke Meat?
It depends on the size of the pieces being smoked. Smaller cuts like steaks should be cooked within 2 hours; larger cuts like whole chickens may require up to 8 hours.
How Do I Know When My Meat Is Done?
You can tell if your meat is done by checking its internal temperature. Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. When the meat reaches 165 degrees F, it’s ready.
Vertical smokers are great for tailgating, camping, and vacations! They are also perfect for those who want to cook delicious meals at home without having to invest large amounts of money. These smokers are versatile enough to fit any lifestyle and budget.
Whether you are looking for the ease of an electric smoker, or the authenticity of a charcoal smoker, there is something out there to suit your needs. So get smoking!