Electric or propane smoker


  • Team Orange

    Sorry I’m sure this has been covered before. Getting ready to purchase first time ever smoker. What would be recommended electric or propane? Snack stick and jerky mainly. Sure I’ll adventure to a meal. Any help appreciated.
    Thanks Rich


  • Team Blue

    fourgonefishn IMO electric is the way to go for ease of use. Most feature digital controls and newer models will have Bluetooth or WiFi capabilities. Another big advantage is they are generally far better insulated than propane which makes for lower temperature fluctuations and hold higher humidity during the cook.


  • PK100 Masterbuilt Big Green Egg

    Absolutely concur with Joe Hell. Electric for control, and ease of use.


  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee

    fourgonefishn I prefer electric but one of the things you need to know about an electric smoker is that it runs on wave system. If you set your smoker to 200° it will run until it is about 210° and then shut the heater off until it is about 190° and then back on and back and forth. With a propane smoker once you get your temp set it will mostly stay there barring changes to the environment but it can take a long time to dial in.


  • PK100

    I am very happy with my PK 100 electric smoker, and I’m glad I went with that over propane. It’s easy to use, it’s very stable with temperatures, it has plenty of room, and it’s good and solid. I also don’t have to worry about suddenly running out of fuel.

    One drawback to electric, though, is that you won’t get much of a “smoke ring” from an electric cooker. We had a brief discussion about that in another thread, somewhere. From what others said, propane will give you a smoke ring. That’s not something that comes into play at all for jerky or snack sticks, but some want it for other products.

    Jonathon I know very well that you’ve used your PK 100 a whole lot more than I’ve used mine, but I’ve seen much, much smaller variations in temperatures, at least at the lower temperatures I’ve run it. The variation is somewhat like what you mentioned when I’m first heating up the cooker, but it then stabilizes very well and fairly quickly. As Joe Hell mentioned, the insulation is very good.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if variations go up with higher temperatures.

    I use a Thermoworks Signals and Thermaworks Pro-Series High-Temp Air probe to monitor the internal temperature of the Pk 100. I usually have the probe on the bottom rack.


  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee

    TexLaw Interesting idea that the temp variation would be lower at lower temps…it would make sense sort of right? Since it is “easier” to get the temp to that target it doesn’t need to shoot as far past it to balance the wave. I’ll be doing some testing on this, and I will eventually do the fire brick thing but we’ve just been insanely busy! I’m sure people are sick of hearing that excuse but we should be “fixing” that issue fairly shortly!



  • My input:
    I have had a PK 100 smoker for about 10 years, (made by PK Smokers, bought through and branded Cabella’s - now discontinued). it is a beast! wonderful, dependable, and I don’t have to go get the Propane tanks refilled.
    when I see the videos, of Walton’s - it is just like they are showing how my smoker should be used. it is absolutely one of best investments I’ve made in the cooking arena. Easy set temps from 60 to 250 degrees F.
    for the peace of mind, i’d pass on a smoke ring for consistent reliable product whether brisket, bacon, pork butt, or anything else.
    Willy from Dakota



  • I have made two homemade smokers. My first was propane, I liked the fast warm up time, disliked that a strong draft (on any windy day) would blow out my pilot light. With the experience of that smoker, I built my second smoker and used electric. Slower warm-up, but much more reliable with confidence that the temperature is accurate. I will be the first to admit that the issues with my first smoker was probably more design than anything else, but my experience is that electric is simply more reliable.


  • Team Orange Masterbuilt Big Green Egg

    fourgonefishn I have electric, gas and stick smokers. My electric MasterBuilt is the best insulated of the bunch and is a set it and forget it. The other two you will learn their Idiocracies by the need to constantly tweak draft, fuel, ect… against what the weather God is doing that day. Then there is always the need to make sure sure that you have fuel to finish the job. But I can also smoke/cook w/o power. Long story…A quality electric will work well for what you are planning and then some. I you like to tinker or want to sit around a smoker with a bottle and maybe some friends the other types will keep you tinkering.


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