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Propane Smoker vs. Wood Smoker: Buying Guide and Tips

Propane smoker vs wood smoker

A smoking hot steak needs a smoking hot grill. Since the beginning of the tailgating industry, smoked food has always had the most demand. Smoked steak, smoked shrimp, even smoked broccoli. We’d had our fair share of all of them.

But how exactly are these made? For that, you need a smoker. There are two major types of smokers: propane smokers and wood smokers. A third kind, the electric smoker, exists too. But they are lesser used.

Below, we have compared the differences in our propane smoker vs. wood smoker comparison. Take a look at it, and don’t forget to tell us about your experiences.

What is a propane smoker?

A propane smoker is a special type of gas smoker that uses propane. It works like a regular gas smoker. It reaches a higher temperature than a regular grill and smokes the food. Smokers like the propane smoker are identified easily. These smokers immerse the food in a crucible of mist and give it a nice dry texture.

Propane smokers require propane tanks. The volume of the tank can vary. Some use a 15-pound tank, while others use a 30-pound tank. The higher the volume, the longer the tank will last. The only downside to propane smokers is that they cost more. And once you run out of fuel, you’ll have to renew every now and then. However, with propane smokers, you’ll get a number of features.

Try getting a propane smoker that can be controlled. Control the temperature and introduce some moisture. This will keep the dry stale texture away. The smoke produced from a propane smoker isn’t bad for your health. This smoke is ultimately carbon dioxide and is completely safe to breathe. But do so in moderated quantities.

What is a wood smoker?

A wood smoker uses wooden pellets of a hundred different types. This smoker creates almost the same amount of smoke as a propane tank. It can reach tremendous temperature ranges. The only difference is that wood smokers use renewable fuel. You can keep adding as many pellets as you like and the temperature will increase. This is what makes wood smokers much more customizable than propane smokers.

Propane smoker vs wood smoker

Apart from that, these smokers use wooden pellets. These are small cylinders of compacted sawdust. It’s a great way to recycle wood and is environment-friendly. One of the downsides of the wood smoke is the number of pellets. While we love creativity, there are so many pellet types to choose from. People tend to get overwhelmed.

But there’s always a bit of creativity you can add. Choose a special type of pellet for smoking, roasting, grilling, charring, and broiling. Some may be better for smoking. Others may give you a lot of char on the outside. And some can even give you a slightly flavored smoke.

Benefits of a propane smoker vs. a wood smoker

The benefits of a propane smoker vs. a wood smoker differ heavily. We have discussed the practical benefits of each smoker one by one.

Propane smoker:

A propane smoker is practically much better than a wood smoker. Firstly, it cooks food much faster than a regular grill. Since it reaches tremendous amounts of heat, it can roast the food faster. These smokers are best for reducing cooking time.

Secondly, these smokers are the best for cooking rare steaks. The temperature is so high that the inside isn’t cooked enough, giving you the medium rare experience. It’s also great for cooking vegetables and omelets.

Propane smoker vs wood smoker

Wood smoker:

Wood smokers also provide their own benefits. The first is the cost-effectiveness. Wood smokers not only cost less, but their fuel does too. Pellets cost less than propane tanks. They can be bought over and over again without worrying about overspending.

These smokers are the best for well-done and medium cooked steaks. They cook the food slowly, which gives it enough time to roast up well. A wooden pellet is renewable. You don’t have to worry about the fuel running out. It’s also environmentally friendly. It doesn’t require anything beyond recycled wood.

How long does a propane tank last on a smoker?

The lifespan of a propane tank on a smoker depends on a lot of things. These include the amount of volume, frequency of use, and heat that you use. Normally, we would recommend getting a 15-pound propane tank. A 15 to 20-pound tank will likely last for 18 to 20 hours. This makes them worth the money. However, this also depends on how much heat you provide. Gauges rarely exist in tanks, so you need to know how long it’ll last.

We recommend buying a 20-pound tank for outdoor and indoor use. For tailgate parties, a 15-pound tank should be enough.

Health benefits: propane smoker vs. wood smoker

There are a lot of health benefits and adversities when it comes to propane smoker vs. wood smoker. In general, the following concerns arise:

Propane smoker:

With a propane smoker, there aren’t many issues. You don’t get any unhealthy deposits. You don’t have to inhale unhealthy smoke. And your food is cooked pretty well. The one downside is that you might end up undercooking the food from the center. For steaks, this is fine. But for other foods, it can be toxic.

You might also end up burning off a lot of fat, which is a good thing. Melting off the fat will increase the healthiness of the steak and make for a nutritious meal.

Propane smoker vs wood smoker

Wood smoker:

Wood smokers produce threats when you use the wrong type of wood pellets. Some pellets may create smoke that is toxic and harmful to breathe in. Others may leave an ugly layer of hardened carbon on the stove and the food. Wood smokers are also known to char the food easily. This charred portion of your food may contribute to poisoning and even cancer.

Apart from that, with wood smokers, it’s harder to remove fat. You need extreme temperatures, and normally a thermostat isn’t provided.

Which do we recommend: propane smoker vs. wood smoker

In general, we recommend each for the following reasons:

Propane smoker:

  • Good for cooking rare and medium rare steaks.
  • Best for lowering cooking times. Great for parties and family reunions.
  • Burns off fat very fast. Great for the heart and cardiovascular system.

Wood smoker:

  • Made for well done and medium well steaks. Best for vegetables and seafood.
  • Costs way less. Can be renewed and replenished at any time.
  • Allows you to be creative and diverse with your cooking style.
  • Gives flavored smoke. Great for adding a slight tinge.


Propane smoker vs. a wood smoker; the choice is yours. We have gone through the two most common forms of smokers. And we have iterated their benefits and drawbacks. Now it’s time for you to decide which one you want to buy. We would recommend buying a wood smoker for cooking food slowly. But for rapid heating, we recommend propane smokers.

But don’t forget: the real fun comes when you gather around and have the time of your life. For no smoker can beat the time spent with family and friends.

So remember to live in the moment, and eat healthily!

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