Pellet Smoker vs Electric Smoker: Which One Better?

pellet smoker vs electric smoker

Still confused: Which smoker should you buy? There are so many types of smokers in the market, but electric smokers and pellet smokers are popular. Before purchasing a pellet smoker or an electric smoker, you must know enough about them. They both have some advantages and disadvantages, but after reading about pellet smoker vs electric smoker, you can decide which type is better for you. 

If you want to smoke your food quickly and easily, then consider both of them. But everyone has different tastes, budgets, and cooking styles. In this article, I will share all the information about pellet and electric smokers, like flavor, cost, size, taste, cleaning, fuel sources, and safety. 

What is an Electric Smoker? 

pellet smoker vs electric smoker pic

An electric smoker is a machine that uses a built-in heater to smoke food by burning charcoal. They are very useful because they heat up easily and can maintain their temperature throughout the whole process of grilling. Plug your electric smoker into a wall outlet and enjoy your food, which is evenly cooked and full of flavors. 

Electric Smoker Pros and Cons

Before buying an electric smoker, you should know the pros and cons of an electric smoker. 

  • Easy to use because of their simple controls. You only have to add wood chips or charcoal and set the temperature.
  • You don’t need to stand there, changing the airflow or adding fuel. 
  • Safer than others.
  • A great choice for indoor and outdoor barbecues.
  • Not expensive.
  • An electric smoker doesn’t use burning wood as a fuel, so it gives a less smoky flavor to the meat.
  • If you love the smoke ring: a pinkish layer on the outside of your meat—then you shouldn’t choose an electric smoker. 
  • An electric smoker doesn’t have a water pan or a humidifier, which can cause drier food, which means you will have less juicy and tender meat.
  • They are heavy and bulky.

What is a Pellet Smoker? 

pellet smoker vs electric smoker

A pellet smoker is a machine that helps burn pellets, which are made from tightly packed hardwood dust. These pellets are environment-friendly and provide a combination of a constant flow of smoke and heat by pressing tightly, heating, and squeezing the wood pieces to turn them into pellets. They produce more heat than charcoal. 

Pellet Smoker Pros and Cons 

Pellet smokers also have some benefits and drawbacks. Our findings are below: 

  • Work at higher temperatures so that they can add a more smokey taste than electric smokers. 
  • Give a nice smoke ring to the meat, which makes it taste better and look better.
  • They have a humidifier or a water pan in the cooking chamber, which helps the meat stay tender and juicy. 
  • Add herbs, spices, or aromatics to the water pan to improve the smell and taste. 
  • Flexible and multi-tasking. You can bake, grill, roast, smoke, and simmer food as per your liking. 
  • You can cook any food like fish, chicken, meat, vegetables, cheese, etc. 
  • Cleaning a pellet smoker is quite difficult because it has so many parts. 
  • Maintaining temperature is a bit difficult.
  • More expensive than electric smokers.

 Pellet vs Electric Smoker, which is Better? 

The answer to this question depends on so many other things, like how much money you have to spend on a smoker or how you want to cook. Whether you choose a pellet or electric smoker, each has its advantages and disadvantages. While choosing the right type of smoker, you need to consider these 10 key points:

1- Ease of use 

Both a pellet smoker and an electric smoker have a digital controller, which makes them easy to use. You can set and adjust the time and temperature and let the smoker do their job. But electric smokers are easier than pellet smokers because you don’t need to clean the ash and refill the fuel again and again. 

Pallet smokers are so convenient, but an electric smoker is a bit easier. An electric smoker doesn’t have so many parts that you need to clean or maintain. 

2- Temperature 

An electric smoker can only go from low to high and fast, but a pellet smoker can directly jump up from slow to fast heat. They both can keep the temperature stable, which is important during the smoking process. With a maintained temperature, you can make the meat more juicy and tender. The highest temperature of an electric smoker is usually lower than that of a pellet smoker.

3- Budget Ranges 

Pellet smokers are more costly than electric smokers because they consume more fuel and electricity and have expensive and premium parts. A pellet smoker can cost around $300 to $1000, and an electric smoker can cost less than $300. Other factors are also important, like how much the fuel and wood pellets cost, because wood pellets are more expensive than charcoal

4- Sizes

Smokers’ sizes depend on your preferences and needs. Pellets and electric smokers are available in different sizes. However, pellet smokers are heavier than electric smokers because of their bigger parts. Electric smokers are small and lightweight because they have smaller parts than pellet smokers.

5- Premium Features 

Nowadays, electric and pellet smokers both have some advanced, high-end features. Make your grilling experience more enjoyable and improve your food’s taste and quality. 

Some premium features, like WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity, help you control your smoker from any place. Some smokers have a meat tool to check the internal temperature of the meat. Some pellet smokers have a pellet removal system, which is a good option to remove any unused pellets. Another yet effective feature is bells and whistles, which will notify you when your meat is done.

6- Flavorful Grilling 

 If you are an expert in grilling or smoking, then you must know the perfect smoke ring. The smoke ring is a pink spot just below the outer layer of the meat. In a pellet smoker, you will get a ring of smoke because of nitrogen dioxide. But in electric smokers, your meat doesn’t interact with nitrogen dioxide, but you can use any salt tenderizer to get a smoke ring. The flavor of the meat can be different for both smokers.

Pellet smokers give you a wood-fired flavor because of natural hardwood. Electric smokers have a more subtle taste of the smoke because of the slow charcoal burning. Both smokers will give you tender and juicy meat, but a pellet smoker’s meat tends to be more moist. 

7- Cooking Capacity 

Cooking capacity is different for both types of smokers. It depends on the size of the cooking chamber. Pellet smokers have bigger trays and a wide range of temperatures, so you can cook more food. Electric smokers are not capable of cooking more because of their small heating elements. 

8- Fuel Sources 

Electric smokers use electricity to work, which is cheap as a fuel. You can find electricity easily, but sometimes it gets tough to use it. On the other hand, pellet smokers use wood pellets as fuel, which is costly and hard to find. Wood pellets are organic and a natural source of fuel. Storage of wood pellets is not easy in humid or rainy environments because they can lose their quality.

9- Easy Maintenance 

The cleaning process is easy for both types of smokers. You should clean up ash, grease, and food particles to keep your smoker clean and effective. Electric smokers are easier to maintain as compared to pellet smokers because pellet smokers have more parts than electric smokers. To clean an electric or pellet smoker, wipe out the tray, the firebox, and the cooking chamber. 

10- Safety Measurements

Both have the same safety features, like thermostats, vents, and drip trays. But a pellet smoker has more safety parts than an electric smoker. You must check the grill, the fan, the firebox, and the controller to avoid any accidental fire. Make sure all the parts of your smoker are working properly before starting your grilling journey. 

How Does Meat Cook Differently on a Pellet or Electric Grill? 

Whether you cook the meat on a pellet grill or an electric grill, some important factors must be considered, like the temperature, smoke, and moisture. Let me help you understand the taste differences between a pellet and an electric smoker.

If you are fond of an extra smokey taste, then an electric grill is not for you because a pellet grill makes more smoke. An electric grill doesn’t produce much smoke, which means you will have a normal, smokey flavor of meat. Pellet smokers are better for getting juicy and tender barbeque meat than electric smokers.


Pellet smokers and electric smokers are so common and a great option for grilling. Both of them have some pros and cons, which are above-mentioned. Which is the best smoker depends on so many other factors, like your personal preference, your budget, and your cooking method. A pellet smoker is versatile and environmentally friendly; on the other hand, an electric smoker is safe, convenient, and affordable. 

Electric smokers use electricity, wood chips, or charcoal, and pellet smokers use wood pellets. Pellet smokers give a strong, smokey flavor to the meat, while electric smokers give you average smoke. Pellet smokers are heavier than electric smokers. Cleaning an electric smoker is easier than cleaning a pellet smoker. 


Q: Which is better: a pellet smoker or an electric smoker?

A- No one can give you a clear answer because it depends on your taste, preferences, budget, and cooking style. If you like traditional barbecue flavor, then go for a pellet smoker. 

Q: Are pellet smokers better than regular smokers?

A- In some cases, yes, pellet smokers are better, but regular smokers are also a good option. Pellet smokers are flexible and can maintain their temperature. 

Q: Is an electric smoker as good as a wood smoker?

A- An electric smoker is more convenient, but a wood smoker will give you a rich grilling experience. 

Q: Is an electric smoker better than a regular smoker?

A- It varies from person to person because electric smokers are easy to use and need electricity, but regular smokers need wood to give that smokey taste. 

lizz barret foster

I’m responsible for managing and coordinating content creation, distribution, and optimization. I’m the former editor-in-chief of PMQ Pizza Magazine and have written for several B2B food publications over the years, including Restaurant Hospitality, Flavor & The Menu, Restaurant Business, National Culinary Review, FSR, Restaurant Startup & Growth, and more.

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