The 10 Best Vertical Smokers | Ultimate 2020 Guide

Smoking is one of your favorite ways to cook meat. The smokey flavor of a perfectly smoked rack of ribs is downright mouthwatering delicious.

There are a few different vertical-style options for smoking up some badass racks of ribs or juicy pork butt. We break them out by category, including: electric, charcoal, and pellet so you can search for the type of smoker that suits your needs best.

Electric smokers are great for convenience because they don’t need much baby-ing. Turn it on and let it do the work.

Charcoal is ideal if you want maximum smokiness and that unmatched flavor infused into your meat, but it takes more time and skill.

Pellet smokers are perfect middle ground where you get the smokiness with the smoker doing a lot of the work for you.

Read on for our top vertical picks in each group.

Final Sear

The Final Sear: The Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18″ is my favorite vertical smoker. Packing an output of 18,000 total BTU, this thing is a beast. That is a lot of perfectly smoked dogs.

This list is a compilation of our favorites with a complete spec breakdown to help narrow the field.

The 10 Best Vertical Smokers in 2020

  • Weber 711001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 14-Inch Charcoal Smoker
    Product Name
  • 4.8Rating
  • charcoalfuel type
  • 286 sq. inCooking Rack
  • 31.4 X 14.7 X 14.7 inDimensions
  • $$Price
  • Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18"
    Product Name
  • 4.4Rating
  • electricfuel type
  • 210 sq. inCooking Rack
  • 18 x 16 x 30 inDimensions
  • $Price
  • Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Smoker
    Product Name
  • 5.0Rating
  • pelletfuel type
  • 175 sq. inCooking Rack
  • 18 x 38 x 54.5 inDimensions
  • $$$Price

Electric

1. Camp Chef Smoke Vault 18″

The styling on this smoker reminds me of an old school bank vault from the wild west. It’s perfect for locking down flavor and infusing it into your meat.

This is a beautiful, 18’’ stainless steel fronted model and a great compact size for the average smoker. It includes two adjustable cooking racks, a jerky smoking rack, three adjustable damper valves, an easy-to-read door-mounted thermometer and a range of 50-400 degrees.

Total BTU output is 18,000 per hour and the overall weight is about 65 lbs.

Ignition is super convenient matchless electric and the ash and grease trays are easily accessed so clean up is pretty low maintenance.

This is more of a starter model and isn’t going to be the best fit you’re a competition-grade smoker. I really like this option for the grill man just getting into the smoke game looking for something reliable and high quality but not massive.

2. Bradley Smoker BTDS76P 990216 Bradley Digital 4 Rack Smoker, Electric, Silver

This is a sweet ease-of-use contender in our electric line up, and is a beautifully made smoker with a great list of features.

Offering 4 chrome racks, 31’’ of space, and powder epoxy steel construction with a polished stainless steel interior, it also includes full digital control over time, temperature and smoke with an advanced LED control panel so you can customize your smoking game.

The smoker attachment will hold 20-25 bisquettes for easy stoking and control, providing up to 8 hours of cool smoke with temps up to 320 degrees. Bradley makes 12 varieties of bisquettes so you can customize your wood for a more dialed in smoke.

The stainless steel interior is easy to clean and is designed to accommodate meat hooks so you can smoke sausage and jerky.

No need for chips, this guy is sort of like your fave Nespresso or Keurig machine. No fuss, all convenience.

3. Masterbuilt MB20070210 MES 35B Electric Smoker, 30″

The beauty of an electric smoker is that it’s hands-off. The heavy lifting is done for you, and your job is pretty much to set it and forget it.

We love the Masterbuilt 30’’ because it seamlessly takes over the process and is a consistent top-level performer that works for the beginner or the experienced pro.

So what can you expect in terms of specs? It comes equipped with a digital control panel for power, temperature and time, 3 chrome-coated racks, an adjustable air damper for smoke control and a water bowl for adding extra moisture and flavor (apple cider is a fun one to try!).

The smoker body itself is fully and effectively insulated and the integrated thermostat is great for fine-tuning your cooking. It offers an 1,500 watt heating element for an even and consistent smoke.

It also includes a built-in meat probe thermometer, a front access grease tray for easy clean ups, and it’s sizable, not one of the giants on our list, but capable of handling, 3 chickens, 2 turkeys, or 3 racks of ribs.

4. Cuisinart COS-330 Electric Smoker, 30″

A popular windowless option from Cuisinart, this is a powerful and generously sized smoker (think 548 square inches) for the under $250 category.

Like the Masterbuilt, the 330 offers a 30’’ inner chamber with three chrome interior racks. It doesn’t have a digital read out, but it does feature an internal thermometer front and center.

Other features offered on the 330 include a 1500 watt heating element, a lightweight frame, front accessed wood chip container and water pan, easy temperature control and a compact profile so it seamlessly integrates into your space.

The build quality is high and the unit feels sturdy and well-made.

Charcoal

1. Weber 711001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 14-Inch Charcoal Smoker

This is a classic and enduring smoker design from Weber that gets the highest ratings of any smoker in any category on this list. If you aren’t opposed to charcoal, then look no further. Seriously.

This little badass also comes in an 18’’ and 22’’ size if you need to upgrade your game. The 14’’ is a great starter model and offers 286 square inches, which can comfortably handle two racks of ribs at once with a little room to spare.

It features a built-in, lid-mounted thermometer, easily accessed water pan, charcoal chamber and fuel door.

The Smokey Mountain includes 2 enameled cooking grates and silicone temperature grommets to precisely track internal temps.

The damper system allows for total control of the internal heat of the smoker without lifting the lid and killing your smoke retention. Extinguishing the coals is easy too – just close all the damper vents to cut the oxygen flow.

The overall construction is porcelain-enameled for top-level heat retention.

This is a sweet little model that is sized for just about any space and can even be packed up for camping or boating trips if you’re looking for something portable.

2. Char-Broil Bullet Charcoal Smoker, 16″

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.

3. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Charcoal Offset Smoker

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.

Pellet

1. Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Smoker with Cover

Ok guys, if you came to this list looking for a big old honking smoker with room for getting some serious smoking done, here she is, the XXL from Camp Chef.

This gal is one of the biggest on our list at 1,950 square inches and made to be packed full of all your favorites so you can tackle several smoking projects all at once. This is great vertical smoker for a serious hobbyist who is committed to regular smoke outs.

The Camp Chef XXL comes with EIGHT 12.5×14’’ racks (specifically, four standard smoking racks, three jerky smoking racks, and one hanging rack) that you can pack full or ribs, pork butt and whole chickens. It includes dual meat probes so you can monitor different pieces of meat simultaneously, and also offers a special hanging rack with 12 sausage hooks.

The total temperature range is 150 to 350 degrees and pumps out heat at 33,000 BTUs per hour.  It has an easy ash cleanup system and a fun bottle opener attached right on the pellet hopper so you have everything you need right at your fingertips.

The temperature readout is digital LED so it’s easy to monitor what’s going on internally.

The total hopper capacity is a whopping 18lbs, one of the largest on this list. The hopper itself has a pellet window so you can easily monitor the fill level as you’re cooking.

This is a great mega smoker for the serious and dedicated griller.

2. Pit Boss Grills 77550 5.5 Pellet Smoker

A sweet example of another large and in charge vertical pellet smoker perfection from Pit Boss, this is a killer option for serious smoke pros.

The vertical style gives you lots of room to work with and the 77550 from Pit Boss includes five porcelain-coated adjustable racks (24’’ in width) for even heat distribution and 1830 square inches of cooking space. That’s the equivalent of 9 turkeys all at once, in case you’re wondering.

An included meat probe and digital LED readout allows you to monitor temperatures which can be fully programmed in 20 degree increments from 150 to 450 degrees.

It also includes an auto-start igniter and shutdown system when your meat is done smoking.

Construction is double-walled with blanket insulation to maintain internal temperatures for precision smoking and the best results.

The hopper is HUGE on this guy with a 40+ lb capacity that Pit Boss claims lasts over 24 hours, making it a set it and forget it operation for just about any project. It also has an auto-purge feature for easy maintenance.

This seems to be a trend with vertical smokers, but the Pit Boss also includes a mounted bottle opener. I wish more traditional propane grills did this.

3. Louisiana Grills Vertical Pellet Smoker

Coming in hot at 2,059 square inches, this model from Louisiana Grills is massive.

It includes 6 porcelain-coated cooking racks so you can customize the internal space to gold a bunch of whole chickens or hang some freshly packed sausages.

It offers a temperature range like the Pit Boss, from 150 to 450 degrees with a built in meat probe to precisely monitor internal temperatures. It also includes an auto-ignitor for easy starts and an easily accessible ash clean up can.

The temperature readout is digital LED like the other models on our list and is super easy to monitor.

This model also uses double-walled insulation to lock in heat.

The pellet hopper is freaking epic and can hold up to 60 lbs of pellets at once. That’s by far the biggest on our list and in my opinion, a little overkill. Somewhere around 40 lbs is the sweet spot range, especially as we prefer to refresh weekly/or bi-weekly. If you’re cooking almost daily this makes sense, otherwise, you’re going to be hassled doing the clean out.

This is a great competition-ready model and ideal for a serious smoker.

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About the Author Craig Rinde

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!

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