Propane Smoker Buying Guide | Advantages And Disadvantages


Buying a smoker opens up a whole new world of cooking and experimentation, with some seriously delicious results. The first step into the world of barbecue can be very difficult, and some propane smokers are about 20 inches wide and 45 inches tall. A cooking surface of between 800 and 1,600 square inches can be found on three or four cooking racks.

They can heat up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit using propane-powered burners that range between 12,000 and 20,000 BTUs. The water bowls and chip boxes above the heating element give the food a smoky flavour while cooking.

If you are entering the world of meat smoking or looking to upgrade from an older smoker, learn about what to look for in the best propane smoker.

What To Consider Before Propane Smoker?

One of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a propane smoker is how much meat it can hold. Other attributes are important, and you will want to consider construction, door design, temperature range and several other features.


The best propane smokers use a mix of cast iron and stainless steel in their construction. The box for the smoker is made of either painted steel or stainless steel. While both are durable, the latter is more resistant to rust and corrosive elements. That prolongs the smoker’s life and enhances the aesthetic of outdoor living space. There are durable cast-iron burners in the high-quality propane smokers inside, and these materials last longer than other materials.

A smoker with a steel interior will also have a quality one. Under the intense heat, a painted interior will eventually bubble and peel. The chip box, water bowl, and drip pan should be made of porcelain-coated steel, as well as the cooking rack.

The parts will hold up to the intense internal temperatures of the smoker better than other materials while also making the grill much easier to clean after the day’s smoking is complete.

 Temperature Range

Some propane smokers produce more heat than others. A combined total of 12,000 and 20,000 BTUs is what most smokers put out by one or two burners. The higher the heat output, the easier it is for the smoker to maintain a constant internal temperature.

Smokers with a more spacious interior need more heat to maintain their internal temperature. It is important to consider the outdoor temperature since propane smokers operate outdoors. Keeping a smoker at an optimal temperature in 40-degree temperatures requires more power than heating a smoker at 70 or 80-degree temperatures.

Like a gas grill, propane smokers have large analog dials at the base of the unit that allows the user to control the size of their flame. Large door-mounted thermometers display the internal temperature of the smoker. Some higher-end smokers have thermostats that will adjust the level of the flame to heat the smoker to a set temperature.


The rack surface area determines how much meat can fit inside a smoker. Smaller smokers usually give about 800 square inches of cooking surface for chicken, ribs, pork butt, and other meats. The larger models have at least 1,200 square inches of rack space to smoke more meat at a time, and the biggest smokers can give up to 1,600 square inches of space.

A larger smoker will take up more space. Most smokers are around 20 inches deep and 40 inches tall, but they vary in width. A large smoker may extend more than 40 inches, while a smaller one may be less than 30 inches wide.


Unless there is a permanent spot on the deck or patio, the ability to maneuver a gas smoker around a patio is very important. Since gas smokers are tower-shaped, they are more prone to tipping over, and therefore do not have wheels. The smoker must be light enough to pick it up.

Lighter smokers can weigh between 20 and 30 pounds and have handles on their sides to make moving easier. It’s extremely difficult to maneuver larger smokers who weigh 70 pounds or more.

Door Design

There are two separate doors on the front of the unit in many of the best propane smoker models. By eliminating the need to open the door during the smoking process, this design helps the smoker maintain the proper temperature. The cooking rack that holds the food can be accessed from the larger upper door of the main compartment.

The smaller lower door can see the smoker’s heating element, chip box, water bowl, and grease tray. The user can add wood chips, refill the water bowl, or empty the drippings without letting the heat out of the cooking compartment.

 Gas Conversion

Some smokers have a dual-fuel rating to run on both propane and natural gas, and the manufacturer typically sells a compatible conversion kit for these smokers. Some propane smokers may not be able to convert to natural gas. Make sure that conversion is possible before purchasing if this is an important feature. There is a higher gas-to-air ratio for natural gas than propane. When run through a propane gas burner, natural gas will barely hold a flame, if at all.

Advantages Of A Propane Smoker

Smokers are typically sold in two main categories: gas-fired and propane-fired. Propane smokers are the best choice if you’re looking for an easy-to-use, compact smoker that’s light to move around. The cheapest type of smoker is typically a smaller pellet smoker and runs less expensive than the other types of smokers described in this article.

  • They’re usually lighter, making them more portable. If you’re a regular user of the Kindle, there are plenty of reasons to upgrade to the new Amazon Fire.
  • With a propane smoker, you don’t have to stock up on bags of briquettes, and you don’t get soot buildup or the amount of ash that you get with a charcoal or pellet smoker.
  • Propane smokers will be quick and easy
  • You attach the tank to the stove with a tube, just as you connect a garden hose to a faucet. You need to make sure that you put your pot over the burner that heats a pan. The burner at the bottom of the cooker heats a pan above that contains the wood for smoke.

Vertical smokers require a small amount of space to use, and they are easy to use and are fairly easy to store. Models are often the first thing to go out when the family decides to downsize, so make sure they work for you in all the ways you need them to.

Disadvantages Of Propane Smokers

  • Propane smokers designed for residential use are usually made of thinner steel to be a bit more prone to durability issues.
  • Most propane tanks have a shutoff valve that turns off the gas supply when the tank is nearly empty. If you don’t already own a propane tank, look for a propane tank with this feature

How Often Do You Add Wood Chips to a Propane Smoker?

If you’re using a propane smoker, you’ll first start by adding wood chips to the fire, and you’ll then smoke your meat every five to six hours.

Some of my best friends are barbecue chefs. They use wood chips for smoking meat, which maybe because they’re short cooks. You probably are a short cook if you don’t have to re-add wood chips for smoking.

Do I Need To Pre-Season A Propane Smoker?

Not necessarily. To pre-season, a propane smoker must eliminate the oils and chemicals left over from manufacturing before you start barbecuing. Pre-seasoning the cooker means heating it to a specific temperature to remove any toxic substances. You can Consult the user’s manual for specific instructions on pre-seasoning it.

How Do You Use A Propane Smoker?

A 20-gallon propane tank is required for use with a propane smoker. Attach the propane tank to the smoker’s gas line and open the tank’s valve. Using the smoker’s igniter, turn the flame to medium-low, turn the heat control knob to medium high, wait for the flame to stabilize, and gradually raise the heat until you reach the desired temperature. Add some water to the water bowl and some wood chips to the chip box. Use the digital thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature inside the smoker. The temperature should be maintained between 200 and 220 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Long Does It Take For Wood Chips To Start Smoking?

Add the wood chips to the smoking chamber. After adding the wood chips, it takes about 20 minutes before they start smoking enough to produce flavor.

What Are Vertical Propane Gas Smokers?

A vertical propane gas smoker is similar to a giant refrigerator, but without the insulation, just like a big locker without doors. It has one or two open doors that let it stand vertically, has wire shelves to hold all the goodies, and maybe even has a drawer hiding some of your stashes.

With horizontal bar grills and smokers, you can benefit from being an outdoor smoker without having to dedicate as much space to them.

Vertical gas smokers are all the same basic design, starting with the gas burner at the bottom, then a pan above the wood. At the top are the shelves that will act as a heat sink to stabilize the temperature and add moisture. There’s a water pan over the top of the oven where you can place the meat and cook it without the need to turn it over.


Therefore, before buying a propane smoker, you should look at your options and go for the factors that matter most in their construction and function. In this blog post, you will learn about the features, advantages, and disadvantages of propane smokers.

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