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Electric Smoker vs. Wood Smoker

Electric smoker vs wood smoker

Not all the smokers that are available on the market today strictly rely on charcoal or wood for producing heat. A number of them also use other heating sources such as a heating element for cooking food at desirable temperatures and safely. This heating element is used in electric smokers. These electric smokers are becoming a popular alternative to wood and charcoal smokers.

An electric smoker is safe to use. You can make adjustments to the cooking temperature according to the recipe that you are working on. But both these smokers have their advantages and disadvantages. In this post, we will shed some light on them for your assistance.

So let’s get on with it!

Comparison Chart

FeaturesElectric smokerWood smoker
User-friendlinessYou won’t have to pay attention to your food. Just turn on your electric smoker, choose your desired temperature and get ready for some delicious tasting food. It will need your attention until you are done with your food.
What you must do while cooking?Nothing; everything will be controlled automatically.You will need to burn the wood, control the temperature and fine-tuning those air vents at regular intervals.
FlavorsHere the smoke is generated from the wood chips. The taste will be good but it still won’t be as good as the smoky flavor of BBQ.This smoker will provide you with the classic smoky flavor of the wood/charcoal.
Temperature controlWhen it comes to temperature control, there is nothing better than an electric smoker on the market. It is easy, simple and precise.You will have to continuously tune the air vents and add more fuel for maintaining the right temperature.
UsersIdeal for beginners.Best choice for pros.
You can attend your guests or do other chores while your electric smoker prepares the food for you.
There is a lot of work involved here and the most important two are adding more fuel and maintaining a steady temperature while tuning the vents.

Electric Smoker vs. Wood Smoker – The difference

Wood smokers

Wood smokers are the most common types of smokers. They are designed for cooking food with the help of burning wood or charcoal. These smokers enable you to place wood/charcoal in the fuel compartment. Once the smoker reaches an adequate temperature, you can place your food on the grate. These smokers use heat that is produced from burning charcoal or wood for the purpose of cooking food.

Electric smoker vs wood smoker

These wood smokers work just like charcoal grills. There is a cooking grate along with a fuel compartment. However, most of the wood smokers come with an offset compartment for fuel. This compartment is not there in a charcoal grill.

This compartment is also called a firebox and it is present on one side of the smoker. This allows you to cook food at low temperatures, even lower than grilling.

In a charcoal grill, you have to place the wood or charcoal right underneath the grates and your food remains exposed to extreme heat. You won’t be able to achieve low temperature for smoking the meat.

Electric smokers

These smokers are constructed in a manner to produce heat with the help of an electrically powered heating element. When you turn this smoker on, electricity will pass through the heating element. It will continue to heat up until the temperature of the chamber reaches your desired/set temperature.

Most of the electric smokers come with digital control. With this control, you can easily set your desired temperature according to the recipe you are cooking. Now this is a huge convenience.

These electric smokers also support wood smoking. There might be a separate tray or compartment for this purpose. You can place your wood chunks for producing thick smoke of flavors.

Electric Smoker vs. Wood Smoker – The benefits

Wood smokers

If you compare wood smokers vs. electric smokers, the wood smoker is on top when it comes to BBQ smoky flavors. These smokers are able to release more flavors from the wood and the ultimate result is a brilliant tasting food that you crave for.

Whether you are smoking chicken, beef, fish or any other meat, one thing is for sure that it is going to taste amazing. This feature is missing in an electric smoker. Even if the electric smokers do come with wood support the flavor will be somewhat weak.

Apart from that, you can use your wood smoker anywhere you like. You can place it in your kitchen, patio, garage, backyard, and even lawn. Electric smokers will need a power outlet nearby. As wood smokers don’t need anything but wood, having a power supply nearby doesn’t matter at all.

Electric smoker vs wood smoker

You can take your wood smoker anywhere in the outdoors but for an electric smoker, you need to have a backup.

When we talk about the health benefits, a wood smoker might be an expert in producing great tasting food but it does not necessarily meet the standards. You need to make sure that you only buy high-quality wood for barbequing in these smokers. It will keep the food safe up to some extent from the fatty acids that drip from the meat when it is cooked right over the wood/charcoal.

Electric smokers

There are a number of reasons to buy an electric smoker. The number one reason for buying this unit is that it enables you to control the temperature with precision. As we have mentioned above, these electric units come with digital control to achieve the desired temperature. This control allows you to make adjustments to the smoker’s internal temperature.

Furthermore, electric smokers are able to house more food as compared to wood smokers. Wood smokers only come with a single grate for cooking. On the other hand, electric smokers may feature six or seven grates and you can fill each of them with different types of food.

In terms of food flavoring, wood smokers are much better than electric smokers. But you can also use high-quality wood chunks to prepare flavored food that won’t be as good as the results from a wood smoker but it will still get the job done.

In terms of health benefits, electric smokers take the lead over wood smokers because they don’t involve any wood directly placed under the cooking grates. So there is no chance that any fatty acids will drip on the wood. These are the best option for you to consider if you prefer to eat healthily.


This electric smoker vs. wood smoker comparison shows that both electric smokers and wood smokers have their own benefits to offer. And they both fall short in some areas.

Electric smokers are great for convenience whereas wood smokers are known for flavors. If you are a beginner or a weekend warrior, you need to go for an electric model. On the other hand, if you have years of experience in barbequing a variety of foods and understand how it is done, then you need to go for wood smokers.

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