If you’re looking to get back to basics, there’s nothing better than a charcoal smoker.
Pellet and electric smokers are great, but they just can’t quite match the smoke flavor that only a true charcoal smoker can really infuse into the meat. It takes some more skill but it is worth the effort.
There’s a huge range of badass charcoal smokers with top reviews that make smoking fun and tasty, whether you’re a weekend warrior or seasoned grill pro.
Below are our top, best researched picks for this category.
In the charcoal category, this is a solid mid-range option from Dyna-Glo.
This is a big boy at 784 square inches of total smoking area which can accommodate about 100 lbs of meat at any given time. It offers a single 15,000 BTU cast iron burner and six adjustable height stainless steel cooking racks.
The unique offset design optimizes the benefits of indirect heat flow which is a must for slow-cooking and infusing maximum smoky flavor.
A front-mounted analog thermometer, adjustable smoke stack flue, electric pulse ignition, and porcelain-enameled charcoal chamber allowing for the most efficient stacking of briquettes rounds out the feature list.
The overall construction is steel with a high-temp powder coat meant to withstand high temps and optimize durability for the long-haul. A dual door helps lock in temperatures to maximize heat retention.
This is a sweet little offset option if you’re looking for an alternative to the two bullet-style models in our first two spots for this category.
A little shorter than the Weber at 16’’, this is another favorite charcoal smoker with basic features that users really rave about.
The internal space is a little roomier at 370 square inches with two porcelain coated cooking grates that adjust to your ideal height inside the chamber.
The Bullet also includes an intelligent airflow control system that simplifies temperature regulation with easy-to-use numbered damper settings so even if you’re new to the game, you can end up with a great smoke.
The main body is also porcelain-coated for durability and two chamber-lift handles and lid-mounted temperature gauge round out the external features.
The ash pan is also easy to remove and dump when finished making clean up quick and straightforward.
This is a great little charcoal option that has a really reasonable price tag so it won’t break the bank.
Most of the grills on this list are bullet-shaped smokers, but this Backwoods version offers a vault-style vertical alternative.
This is the luxury grill in this group with a pretty “chubby” price tag, but the overall quality of this grill is next level and worthy of the added cost.
Overall size on the Chubby is 29’’ tall with 4 stainless steel cooking racks and 1 extra slider for rack adjustment. In terms we can all understand, that means this big boy can hold 8 slabs of baby back ribs, 2 to 3 briskets or 2 to 4 Boston butts.
The cooking range is 180 to 300 degrees and the design includes a front-mounted analog thermometer. The lower chamber is roomy and can accommodate 6-10 lbs of charcoal at any given time.
Internal construction is stainless steel on the cooking chamber for maximum heat insulation, a double wall design optimizes reverse flow.
This is a beautiful beast of a smoker and if you’re looking for the last smoke you ever need to buy, you’ve found it here.
This is another fun little bullet-shaped smoker that offers the same height dimension as the Weber.
Internal cooking space is a roomy 510 square inches with two stainless steel cooking racks that can be repositioned as needed based on what you’re smoking. It includes a porcelain-enameled steel water bowl and features a vertical side door for easy access to both water and fuel loading.
Two air vents allow for more control over heat and air levels inside the smoker and the two vents can be open or closed to manage both variables.
Cuisinart also makes a 16’’ version if you don’t need quite as much cooking space – all other features remain the same.
The size of the COS-118 also makes it a great pick if you need something portable that can join you on your next camping adventure.
So this is the mega-version of the sweet little offset smoker from Dyna-Glo in the #2 spot.
This is a big ‘un with 1382 square inches of total cooking area and five chrome-plated cooking grates.
What’s exciting about this model is that it includes an extra-large offset charcoal grate and ash pan that offers easy access to fuel and simple ash disposal. It’s also removable, which is a nice bonus.
Additional features include a cool-touch spring handle, analog temperature gauge with a “smoke zone” range so you know when you’re hitting the sweet spot, and pre-installed sausage hooks for some added flexibility in cooking options.
The overall construction is heavy-gauge steel for maximum durability and heat retention.
This is a solid budget option if you’re just getting interested in charcoal smoking.
It’s a medium-sized option at 453 total square inches of cooking space with three interlocking chamber layers that can be separated for easy cleaning, and two cooking grids. There are also 4 in-built hangers in the lid for sausages or jerky.
This model also includes a built-in analog thermometer, porcelain-enameled water pan and charcoal can, in addition to adjustable air supply on the lid to control both temperature and smoke intensity.
The dual-door design is a convenient bonus and allows you to access the chambers separately. The lower door also makes it easier to add charcoal or water.
It is also worth noting that the two main layers can also be separated and used for traditional barbecuing instead of smoking for a little extra versatility.
Like the Realcook, the Sunlifer can be used for its primary function of smoker, or the layers can be separated for use as a traditional charcoal grill or even a fire pit.
This is a bigger model with 876 square inches of total cooking area and three chrome players cooking grates. It includes a crossbar and hooks mounted into the lid for greater flexibility in what you’re smoking, including sausages.
Additional features include 2 adjustable air vents for temperature and smoke control, a built-in front mount thermometer, and a heavy-duty stainless steel body for greater durability.
It also offers a dual-door system so the different layers can conveniently be accessed individually.
The layered design also makes this an easy grill to transport and use as a portable smoker and grill combo when camping or tailgating with friends and family.
The Gravity series 560 is the only cart-style digital smoker on the list and is a great option if you’re not into the bullet or vault style set-ups.
It includes two porcelain-coated racks for a total of 560 square inches of cooking space. The charcoal hopper has a capacity of 10 lbs of lump charcoal or the equivalent og 16 lbs of briquettes for 12-15 hours of life.
It includes a built-in analog temperature gauge, a digital fan for precision temperature control, a digital control panel that can also be synced to a smart phone, a meat-probe thermometer for precise internal temp monitoring and reversible smoke and sear cast iron grates.
The left side table is a nice addition for prep work and the lower cart is great for storing grilling accessories and must-have tools.
Heat ups are fast, the 560 can reach 225 degrees in 7 minutes or can heat up as high as 700 degrees in 13 minutes.
This is a great option with a larger footprint if you have a little more backyard space and are looking for something digital.
Another chamber-style design, this is a big boy at 43’’.
It includes top-positioned air vents for controlling temperature and smoke intensity, a lid-mounted thermometer, and a latched base that provides easy access to all the necessities: charcoal, water and ash pan.
A single horizontal hinged door design provides access to the center rack. The three chambers can be configured to customize your smoking project and includes two chrome plated racks.
This is one of the least expensive options on our list and a solid budget pick if you’re more of a weekend warrior just getting into the world of smoking.
Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
I am a grill freak! It's hard to pick my favorite thing to grill, but if I had to choose... it is still a tie between pork ribs and a juicy beef burger. I am currently grilling on a Weber S210(I live in a small space) but my dream grill is definitely a summit. Those things are bad ass. Anyways I would love to hear from you, leave a comment or question below!