It’s hard to beat the flavor of food cooked over charcoal. If you’re in the market for a charcoal smoker, check out our list of the best ones on the market. From small and portable grills to large capacity smokers, we’ve got you covered. So whether you’re cooking for a small crowd or smoking a brisket for a party, one of these smokers will fit your needs. And with prices ranging from under $100 to around $1,000, there’s something for everyone’s budget too. So if you’re ready to get that perfect smoky flavor on your next cookout, read on for our top picks for the best charcoal smokers available today.


Top 9 best charcoal smokers

Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker (Best Overall)

The Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker is the original kettle-style grill. It has been around for more than 40 years, and it’s still the best way to cook slow and low with indirect heat. The legendary design of this smoker allows you to add smoke flavor to your food without exposing it directly to a flame. This means less flare-ups, which in turn means better tasting food!

Weber’s Smokey Mountain Cooker lets you get the perfect fit for your needs, whether you’re smoking ribs, chicken, or brisket. Choose from 3 sizes – 14″, 18″, and 22″ – to find the smoker that’s just right for you. The 18″ size is perfect for 4 racks of ribs or a whole chicken, while the 22″ size can accommodate up to 6 racks of ribs or a large brisket.

–22″ is for big items (full rib racks laying down, etc) or lots of items at once. It requires the most charcoal (Brisket: 150 briquettes). 

–18″ is great for almost all types of smoking and will even fit large butts, but the rib racks will likely need to be cut to size. Less charcoal (Brisket: 100 briquettes). If you don’t care about shortening the rib racks and don’t need to cook huge amounts at once, the 18″ is your prime candidate since it uses less fuel than the 22″ while still fitting lots of meat inside.

–14″ is for those who don’t have much room at the house but still want the flavor. Least fuel required (Brisket: 75 briquettes). 


This charcoal smoker features a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid that retain heat for consistent smoking, making it possible to slow smoke or barbecue large quantities of meat. The lid also comes with a built-in thermometer that measures temperature between 100°F to 300°F. If you need to adjust the temperature, simply move the dampers on the bottom of the smoker.

The water pan helps regulate the temperature inside the smoker and add moisture to the heat, which results in juicy, tender meat

This grommet allows you to conveniently check the internal temperature of the grill and of the meat, making it perfect for use with the Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub. The Connect Hub connects to your phone via Bluetooth and lets you monitor your cook all the way through, ensuring that your food is cooked perfectly every time.

Weber’s 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker is made of porcelain-enameled steel and comes with 2 nickel-plated cooking grates, perfect for smoking meats, poultry, fish, vegetables, and more. This smoker also includes a water pan, thermometer, individual vents on the bowl and lid, and a heat-resistant nylon handle.


temperature management is done by the four adjustable vents

the water pan keeps chicken and ribs moist.

Simple and easy-to-follow instructions

plenty of space to cook a large amount at once.

can fit 4 baby back ribs

Easy to move around

great for first time smokers and first time charcoal users

Great for smoking pork butts, picnic roasts, briskets, brats, hams, sausages chicken ,and some veggies .


Smoking in cold weather requires more time and more charcoal

Best high end: Primo Ceramic Charcoal Smoker Grill On Cart With Side Tables – Oval Xl

The Primo Ceramic Charcoal Smoker Grill On Cart With Stainless Side Tables – Oval XL is a great choice for anyone looking for a large kamado-style grill. This extra-large grill has plenty of cooking space, and the unique shape allows you to cook using direct or indirect heat.

The porcelain-coated cooking grates are easy to clean, and the high lid is perfect for cooking whole chickens or turkeys.


The Primo Ceramic Charcoal Smoker Grill is made in the USA and constructed with premium grade Primo SuperCeramics, making it a durable and long-lasting option for your outdoor cooking needs.

The patented Primo Oval XL efficiently retains and evenly distributes heat across the 400 square inches of cooking surface, perfect for maintaining a consistent temperature while smoking meats. The porcelain glaze is lead-free and scratch-resistant, making it easy to keep your grill looking new for years to come.


Made in the USA

Built like a tank

Very easy to use

extremely well made

very versatile and produces excellent-tasting food.


Need some accessories 

Pit arrel Cooker Classic Package (Best Barrel)

Looking to get into smoking meat? The Pit Barrel Cooker Classic Package – 18.5 Inch Drum Smoker has everything you need to get started, including the barrel, stand, grill grate, charcoal basket, and more. This smoker is easy to use and produces amazing results; just hang your meat on the two hanging rods and let the smoker do its thing.


The Pit Barrel Cooker Classic Package – 18.5 Inch Drum Smoker is a revolutionary vertical barrel cooker that will change the way you cook outdoors forever. The versatile drum smoker allows you to effortlessly smoke meat, veggies and more with 360º All-Round Heat Dynamics using our patented vertical barrel cooking technology.

The Pit Barrel Cooker’s unique design burns wood chips or pellets evenly at low temperatures for up to 16 hours, producing perfectly smoked meats and delicious barbecue every time

Each cooker is made with a superior-grade porcelain enamel finish that looks great and is designed to withstand everything from the internal heat to weather conditions. Our cookers are made to be lightweight and compact to fit in most vans, SUVs, and truck beds. Use the handles on the side to easily lift and transport to wherever your grilling skills are in demand

Easily fits 8 Racks of Ribs, 2-3 Pork Butts/Shoulders, Turkey Hangers allow for 2 16 lb Turkeys


Great Build Quality

Simple to use with the least amount of work

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very versatile, able to be used for grilling or slow cooking meats. 

Set it and forget it 

can hold up to 8 racks of ribs at a time thanks to its hanging method 

Easy Clean-Up: just dump the charcoal out of the bottom when you’re done


The amount of charcoal the instructions advises is overkill for short cooks like chicken

Masterbuilt MB20040220 Gravity Series 560 (Best Under $500)

Why settle for ordinary grilled food when you can have something truly special? With the Masterbuilt MB20040220 Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill/Smoker Combo, you can cook up amazing food that will impress your friends and family.

This top-of-the-line grill features precision temperature control, so you can perfectly cook any type of food. Additionally, the built-in temperature gauge and meat probe thermometer ensures perfect results every time.

And with WIFI and Bluetooth connectivity, you can control the grill remotely using your smart device. Finally, the GravityFed hopper holds 10 lbs. of lump charcoal or 16 lbs. of briquettes for 12-15 hours of use, so you can keep grilling all day long.


560 total square inches of cooking space

This amazing grill uses a GravityFed Charcoal Hopper to cook your food, which means that you can use lump or briquette charcoal without having to remove it after each use. Plus, the hopper can hold 12+ hours of fuel, so you can cook all day long!

The Masterbuilt MB20040220 also features smoke+sear versatility, so you can reach 700 F in 13 minutes to grill + sear or 225 F in 7 minutes for low+slow smoking. Plus, the reversible cast-iron smoke+sear grate provides even heat distribution for perfectly cooked food every time.

And with WIFI+Bluetooth capability, you can monitor and control your grill directly from your smart device using the Masterbuilt app.


adding wood chunks to the ash tray for flavor is easy.

Can go from a low to 250° to a high 700° in just a minute.

has great temperature control and is consistent with very little heat variation.

connect easily with both Android and IOS devices.

This gravity feed is efficient and easy to use

The searing feature at 700° is great for tri-tips, burgers, and steaks.

easy to light and does not require much effort to clean up


Assembly may be time consuming

Weber Jumbo Joe – Best Portable

The Weber Jumbo Joe is the perfect portable charcoal grill for any occasion. Whether you’re tailgating, camping, or just grilling in your backyard, this grill will make sure your food tastes great. The compact size is perfect for small spaces and the larger grilling area means you can cook more food at once.

The convenient carry handle makes it easy to transport, and the durable design will ensure that your grill lasts for years to come. So get ready for a night of fun with friends and great food with the Weber Jumbo Joe charcoal grill.


It’s compact and lightweight, yet still large enough to grill eight burgers at once. The porcelain-enameled lid and bowl retain heat well and won’t rust or peel. The Tuck-N-Carry lid lock doubles as a lid holder, so you don’t have to worry about placing the lid on the ground.

And the dampers allow you to easily control the temperature inside the grill. Plus, assembly is a breeze with the 3D interactive assembly instructions available through the free BILT app.


Simple and welt-built

Compact and portable

The 18″ rack is big enough to cook food for any group of 4.

the handles on both the grate and exterior make it easy to carry

Great for cooking burgers, steak, chicken, fish, ribs, pork butt and brisket

Easy to transport and store


require a table to stand on as the grill does not have legs

The best budget Kamado Smoker – Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Charcoal Barbecue

Whether you’re looking to sear a steak or slow roast a chicken, the Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill is the perfect choice for your backyard cooking needs. This versatile grill and smoker features Kamado-style cooking, meaning it’s fuel efficient and easy to control the temperature, making it ideal for both high-heat and low-and-slow cooking methods.

Plus, with triple walled 22 gauge steel construction, this grill is built to last. So whether you’re hosting a cookout for your family or friends, or just grilling dinner for yourself, the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Grill will help you make delicious memories all summer long.


20 inch Cooking Diameter with 447 square inch total Cooking Area 

can cook up to 27 burgers at once

The Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill is the perfect grill for both high heat grilling and low and slow cooking. It features a triple-walled steel insulated design, cast iron grates, locking lid, 8″ locking caster wheels, removable warming rack, bottom storage shelf, and foldable side shelf workstations with BBQ tool storage hooks.

The easy to use and clean design includes an indexed adjustable dual damper system and thermometer for easy heat control, and a removable easy dump ash pan for quick cleanup. With its superior features and design, the Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill is the perfect grill for any occasion.


well-designed, affordable, and easy to assemble.

offers many of the same features as the Big Green Egg for a fraction of the price.

made with double walls and high-temp insulation, providing good temperature stability.

great control over temperatures, allowing you to tailor the smoke flavor to the food easily.

easy to assemble with only a nut driver needed

provide great control over temperatures, allowing you to tailor the smoke flavor to the food easily.

Economical with charcoal and performs well for both high heat and low heat cooking

Cast iron grate leaves nice grill mark


Low quality cover

The best cabinet charcoal smoker – Dyna-Glo DGX780 36″ Vertical Charcoal Smoker

Looking for a smoker that can handle all of your smoking needs? Look no further than the Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D 36″ Vertical Charcoal Smoker. This smoker is perfect for those who love to smoke their food with charcoal, as it features a porcelain enameled charcoal chamber that is designed to keep briquettes stacked tightly for improved burn efficiency.

Plus, the double door design helps minimize heat loss when access to the food or fuel is needed, making this one of the most efficient smokers on the market.

The Dyna-Glo DGX780BDC-D 36″ Vertical Charcoal Smoker also comes equipped with 4 height-adjustable cooking grates, with a total of 784 square inches of cooking space, so you can smoking a variety of different foods. And when you’re done smoking, simply remove the steel ash pan to clean up – it’s that easy!


4 cooking grates

784 square Inch of total cooking area

It features a charcoal & ash management system that includes a charcoal chamber, charcoal grate & removable ash pan. This smoker also has a custom-fit Dyna-Glo premium cover (sold separately) to protect it from the elements. And with its stainless temperature gauge with smoke zone, you’ll always know when you’re infusing the perfect amount of smoke flavor into your food. 

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Amazing cooking space capacity

Has six shelves that are adjustable by 3 inches each.

holds temps well and is small enough to be portable.

Lightweight and easy to move around the yard

Has a large water pan and smoke box, as well as a smooth burner that can easily be controlled to maintain consistent temperatures.


The water pan is small


Kamado Joe Classic II – Best Kamado

The Kamado Joe Classic II 18-inch Charcoal Grill with Cart and Side Shel is the perfect grill for those who want precision temperature control and the ability to sear with direct charcoal heat. The thick-walled, heat-resistant shell locks in smoke and moisture at any temperature, allowing you to smoke at 225F or ramp up the fire to 750F.

The 2-Tier Divide & Conquer grill system lets you cook multiple items at once, while the compatible Kamado Joe accessories and grilling surfaces provide premium results for any type of grilling or smoking. The durable cast iron cart has locking casters and wheels, making it easy to move your grill around.


This grill features a unique AIR LIFT HINGE that significantly reduces the weight of the lid, making it easy to open and close. The SLIDE-OUT ASH DRAWER simplifies cleanup, while the 2-TIER DIVIDE & CONQUER system allows you to cook different foods at various temperatures all at once. 

With its oven-grade gasket with latch, Kamado Joe ensures a superior air-tight seal to lock in heat, smoke, and moisture. The Kontrol Tower Top Vent allows you to maintain precise temperature and consistent airflow, while the AMP Firebox keeps your food cooked evenly and prevents breakage.


well-built grill with plenty of space

Quality materials

Nice color

Temperature control is easy by using the lower and upper vents

The fit and finish of the smoker is excellent

Can smoke boston butts for 11 hours and 4 racks of ribs without adding more fuel.


It’s heavy

BEST SMOKER FOR BIG CROWDS: Dyna-Glo DGSS Signature Series Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker

The Dyna-Glo Signature Series DGSS1382VCS-D Heavy-Duty Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker is the perfect way to get that classic smokehouse flavor. You can cook meats low and slow in the smoker body, from brisket to ribs to anything you can imagine.

And if you want to tame the flame at the backyard BBQ, you can grill burgers or brats for the whole crew. But that’s not all – this large capacity, multi-functional BBQ machine also opens the door to a whole new world of BBQ. 


total cooking space of 1382 square inches

five chrome-plated cooking grates

With a heavy-gauge steel body construction and a cool-touch spring handle, this smoker is designed for durability and safety. The pre-installed sausage hooks give you additional cooking flexibility, while the temperature gauge features a smoke zone that indicates the ideal temperatures for smoking.

This top-of-the-line smoker features a removable offset charcoal grate and ash pan, making it easy to add fuel and dispose of ash. The analog temperature gauge lets you know when the grill is at the ideal cooking temperature, while the ‘Grill Zone’ and ‘Smoke Zone’ indicators ensure perfect results every time. 


The offset has a pull out so you can quickly empty your ash.

Easy to read instructions

 plenty of smoking/cooking area 

 easy to control the temperature

the hanging racks are super sturdy and can hold some weight

easy to put together 

design is great and has plenty of racks and sausage hooks


 The racks are not removable individually


Buying Guide

What is a Charcoal Smoker?

A charcoal smoker is a type of smoker that uses charcoal as the main source of heat and smoke for cooking. Charcoal smokers can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from small portable grills to large, cabinet-style smokers. They can also have additional features like temperature controls and multiple cooking racks.

What are the benefits of using a charcoal smoker?

Charcoal smokers tend to add more flavor to food compared to other types of smokers, as they use wood chips or chunks along with the charcoal for added smokiness. Charcoal also reaches higher temperatures than other fuel sources, allowing for faster cooking times and searing meat.

How the main types of charcoal smokers work?

Water/bullet smoker: These smokers use a water pan placed above the heat source to keep food moist while cooking.

Offset smoker: In an offset smoker, the heat source and smoke are produced in a separate chamber from where the food is cooked, with the smoke flowing through a connecting chamber to cook the food. This allows for indirect heat cooking and can also be used for grilling.

Kamado grill/smoker: A kamado grill is a ceramic-style cooker that can be used as both a grill and smoker, using charcoal as fuel. They have excellent temperature control and can reach high temperatures for searing meat or low and slow smoking.

Drum smoker: Also known as barrel smokers, these smokers use a metal drum as the cooking chamber, with a separate firebox attached for the heat source. They typically have multiple cooking racks and can handle large cuts of meat.

Vertical cabinet smokers: These smokers are tall cabinet-style cookers, with multiple cooking racks and often temperature control features. They can handle large cuts of meat and can be used for both smoking and indirect grilling.

What should you look for when buying a charcoal smoker:

Budget: Charcoal smokers can range in price from under $100 to a few thousand dollars, so it’s important to determine your budget and stick to it.

Size & Capacity: Consider how much space you have for a smoker and how much food you will be cooking at one time. If you plan on cooking for large groups or doing competitions, you may want a larger smoker with multiple racks.

Temperature Control: Look for features like built-in thermometers or adjustable dampers that allow for better temperature control and consistency while smoking.

Ease of Use & Maintenance: Choose a smoker that is easy to set up and use, as well as clean and maintain after each use. Additionally, consider the fuel source (charcoal vs. wood) and how easy it is to find and use.

Additional Features: Some smokers may come with additional features such as storage shelves, side tables, or a built-in thermometer. Consider which extra features would be useful for your cooking needs.

Pros and Cons of a Charcoal Smoker


Flavor: Charcoal smokers tend to add more flavor to food compared to other types of smokers

Ability to Customize: Can mix and match wood chips or chunks for different flavor profiles

Portability: Smaller charcoal smokers can be easily transported for outdoor cooking

Versatility: Can also be used for grilling and searing meat


Cleanup: Charcoal can be messy and require more maintenance and cleanup

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Ease of Use and Temperature Control:  Can be more difficult to control and maintain temperatures compared to other types of smokers

Accessories:  Charcoal smokers usually don’t come with many bells and whistles like modern smokers or grills.

What You Need to Know About Charcoal:

Different types of charcoal can vary in heat output and burn time, so it’s important to choose the right type based on your cooking needs. And always make sure to properly dispose of used charcoal and ash.

Charcoal briquettes: These are commonly found in supermarkets and often contain additives for easier lighting. They burn for a longer time and at a steadier temperature.

Natural lump charcoal: Made from burning wood without oxygen, this type of charcoal burns hotter and faster with less chemicals and additives.

Coal vs Charcoal – What’s the difference?

Coal is a fossil fuel, typically black in color, that is mined from the ground. It burns hotter and for longer than charcoal but also produces more smoke and ash. Charcoal is made from burning wood without oxygen, creating a lighter and softer substance with less smoke and ash. Charcoal is primarily used for cooking, while coal has multiple uses including heating and electricity generation.



What is the best charcoal smoker grill?

There are a lot of great charcoal smokers on the market, but our top pick is the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. It’s a classic design that’s well-built and easy to use, and it produces great results. If you’re looking for something with a little more capacity, the Pit Barrel Cooker is a good option.

What is the best way to use a charcoal smoker?

There are a few things to keep in mind when using a charcoal smoker. First, make sure you choose the right type of charcoal. Briquettes will burn longer and provide more consistent heat than lump charcoal. Second, preheat your smoker before adding any food. This will help ensure that your food cooks evenly. Lastly, be patient! Smoking takes time, so don’t rush the process.

How long does it take to smoke meat in a charcoal smoker?

It depends on the type of meat you’re smoking and the temperature you’re smoking at. In general, it will take about 2 hours to smoke a pork shoulder at 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is the best wood to use for smoking with charcoal?

There are a variety of woods that can be used for smoking with charcoal. fruit woods like apple and cherry will add a sweetness to your meat, while hickory and mesquite will give it a more intense flavor. It’s really up to personal preference, so experiment with different woods until you find one that you like.

Can you put wood chips directly on charcoal?

Yes, you can put wood chips directly on charcoal. This is a great way to add smoke flavor to your food without using a lot of wood. Just make sure to use a metal pan or basket to hold the chips so they don’t fall through the grill grates.

Which grill is better charcoal or gas?

There is no definitive answer to this question. It really depends on personal preference. Some people prefer the flavor that charcoal imparts, while others find it easier to use a gas grill. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which type of grill is best for your needs.

How do I clean my charcoal smoker?

Cleaning a charcoal smoker is relatively easy. Just remove the ash from the firebox after each use and give the entire smoker a good scrub down with soapy water every few months. This will help prevent rust and ensure that your smoker always performs at its best.

Can you use a Weber for smoking?

Yes, you can use a Weber for smoking. In fact, many people prefer to use Weber grills for smoking because they’re well-built and easy to use. Just make sure to get a smoker box or basket so you can add wood chips directly to the charcoal.

What is the best way to store charcoal?

The best way to store charcoal is in a cool, dry place. You can also store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh longer. Just make sure to keep it away from any ignition sources, like matches or lighters.

Which brand smoker is the best?

There are a lot of great smoker brands on the market, but the top picks are Weber, Dyna-Glo and Mastebuilt.

Are charcoal smokers better?

There is no definitive answer to this question. It really depends on personal preference. Some people prefer the flavor that charcoal imparts, while others find it easier to use a gas grill. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which type of grill is best for your needs.

How do I clean my charcoal smoker?

Cleaning a charcoal smoker is relatively easy. Just remove the ash from the firebox after each use and give the entire smoker a good scrub down with soapy water every few months. This will help prevent rust and ensure that your smoker always performs at its best.

Can you use wood chips in a charcoal smoker?

Yes, you can use wood chips in a charcoal smoker. This is a great way to add smoke flavor to your food without using a lot of wood. Just make sure to use a metal pan or basket to hold the chips so they don’t fall through the grill grates.

How much charcoal should I use in my smoker?

It depends on the size of your smoker and how long you plan on smoking for. A good rule of thumb is to use about 1 pound of charcoal for every hour of smoking.

Can I use lighter fluid with my charcoal smoker?

No, you should never use lighter fluid with your charcoal smoker. Lighter fluid can give your food an off-flavor and it’s also a fire hazard. Instead, use a chimney starter to light your charcoal.

Can you smoke meat with charcoal only?

Yes, you can smoke meat with charcoal only. This is a great way to add flavor to your food without using a lot of wood. Just make sure to use a metal pan or basket to hold the charcoal so it doesn’t fall through the grill grates.

What is better for a smoker pellet or charcoal?

There is no definitive answer to this question. It really depends on personal preference. Some people prefer the flavor that charcoal imparts, while others find it easier to use a pellet smoker.

Is it better to smoke with wood or charcoal?

There is no definitive answer to this question. It really depends on personal preference. Some people prefer the flavor that wood imparts, while others find it easier to use charcoal. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which type of smoker is best for your needs.

Do pellets last longer than charcoal?

Pellets generally last longer than charcoal, but it depends on how often you use your smoker. If you smoke frequently, you may go through pellets faster than charcoal.

Can I use pellets in a charcoal smoker?

Yes, you can use pellets in a charcoal smoker. Just make sure to use a metal pan or basket to hold the pellets so they don’t fall through the grill grates.


Choosing the best charcoal smoker for your needs can make a big difference in the taste of your food. If you are looking for a smoker to help you have delicious BBQs, then you should consider buying one of the smokers above. These smokers will help you have mouth-watering meals that your guests will love. 


Learn More About Grilling

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