Top 10 Smokers under \$400

The 10 best smokers under $400 for making true, low and slow barbecue. These smokers offer a wide variety of options from electric to charcoal with many great features. If you are in the market for a smoker these are the units you should be looking at. This list includes smokers that run off of a variety of fuels and offer everything from true pit master smoking to the best "lazy-Q" smokers around.

1. Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 Inch Smoker

Weber Smoky Mountain SmokerWeber-Stephen Products Company

It would seem almost insane to change a smoker as popular at Weber's Smokey Mountain (WSM) Smoker, but Weber has listened to the fans and made only slight (requested) changes to this unit. The addition of a lid mounted thermometer and a bottom mounted heat shield doesn't affect how this unit works but gives you a better smoker. In the past you either had to drill a hole and put in your own thermometer or set one inside and lift the lid to check the temperature. Now you can see the cooking temperature easily. The heat shield will protect whatever surface you put your smoker on. All together, a better WSM.

2. Big Drum Smoker Standard 2338-1

Big Drum Smoker Standard 2338-1Big Drum Smokers
There always seems to be someone trying to make the better smoker. From computer controls to advanced materials, the "better BBQ" is just around the corner, right? Well Rocky Richmond has proven that simplicity is always the best bet. The Big Drum Smoker (or BDS) is a big steel drum with a fire in the bottom and food on top. This unit has a single 23.5 inch grate and will hold up to 4 large pork butts (there are other sized units). Grease and drippings from the food fall on the fire and give foods a more authentic flavor. Plugs in the bottom control the fire so there is no flare-ups, water pan, barrier, or drip pan.

3. Old Smokey Electric Smoker

Old Smokey Electric SmokerOld Smokey Products Company

Simple, basic, but a great smoker for around $100. This electric will give you authentic barbecue without lots of work and without worrying about maintaining temperatures like you do with many of the vertical water smokers. This is a great smoker if you're not sure how serious you are about barbecue, or if you just want a little "Q" once in a while.

4. Bradley Smoker - Original

Bradley Smoker - OriginalBradley Smokers

Of all the electric smoker appliances this is the best. This refrigerator style smoker is thermostatically controlled and can hot and cold smoke. You truly get a wide range of smoking abilities out of this unit. Smoke is created by burning wood disks that are added to the unit by a controlled mechanism. You get as much or as little smoke as you want and you don't have to tend to any fire. In fact once it's set you can leave it until you are ready to eat.

5. Brinkmann Gourmet Charcoal Smoker-Grill

Brinkmann Gourmet Charcoal Smoker & GrillThe Brinkmann Corporation

Called by many the starter smoker, the Brinkmann Gourmet, is one of the best selling smokers. This small, vertical water smoker has not vents, but is designed to hold a constant smoking temperature. There are several modifications that can make it work better, but if you are new to barbecue and just want a small smoker for the occasional rack of ribs then this relatively inexpensive smoker might just be the right one for you.

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6. Masterbuilt 7 in 1 Monarch Smoker

Masterbuilt 7 in 1 Smoker and GrillMasterbuilt Outdoor Products
This great little unit will do most anything for a great price. Not only will this gas powered smoker make some great, authentic barbecue but you can also use it as a grill or a propane burner for fried turkey.

7. Char-Griller Smokin' Pro

Char-Griller Smokin' ProChar-Griller
The Char-Griller is another classic offset firebox smoker. This design is so popular because it works. The Char-Griller is easy to use and you can even get a rotisserie kit for it. Like all units of this type it also doubles as a charcoal grill. It is also one of the least expensive of this type of smoker.

8. Char-Broil Electric

Char-Broil Electric H2O SmokerChar-Broil LLC.

When it comes to Lazy-Q, this is about the most basic, easy to use and cheapest unit on the market. If you want good barbecue, but don't want invest a whole lot of time or money in the process then this is probably a good unit for you to look at. It is also a good unit if you are just starting out in barbecue and don't know how far you'll be going with it. The electric heat element in this unit produces the heat that cooks the food and provides smoke. All you have to do is adjust the dial to get the heat you want. This is a "water" smoker so there is a large water pan to even out the heat and produce steam.

9. Weber 22 1/2-inch One-Touch Silver

Weber 22 1/2 One-Touch Silver Charcoal GWeber-Stephen Products Company
Of course this is just a charcoal grill. But then again this unit made the Weber company the most powerful player in outdoor cooking. The circular design and multiple vents give you the ability to turn out some good barbecue on this unit. While it doesn't give you a lot of space to work with you can make "Q" in small batches. The secret to smoking on a Weber Kettle is to actually grill indirectly at a low temperature. You will have to add coals every 2 to 3 hours. Add a device like the Smokenator and you can really make a kettle into a smoker.

10. Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24-Inch

Camp Chef Smoke Vault 24-InchCamp Chef
The Camp Chef Smoke Vault is more than the typical gas powered box smoker. The unique design of this smoker not only lets you make real barbecue but can also function as an outdoor gas oven. Because of the wider range of running temperatures this smoker can hit there isn't much it can't do. It comes standard with cooking grates and a special jerky rack. While limited in construction this smoker does offer you a lot of versatility.

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