Masterbuilt Electric Smokers are among the most popular, being a perennial mention throughout virtually all of the smoking forums. Why? In a word: value.
NEW PRODUCT RELEASE ALERT 2015-2016:
The Masterbuilt Bluetooth 40 inch Smart Digital Electric Smoker has literally caught fire for the holidays.
Much like the highly-acclaimed Masterbuilt 20075315 40-Inch model, this is a “Smart” smoker; however, the Masterbuilt 20070115 has gone a step further on the convenience front and now makes your phone or other handheld device a remote control thanks to integrated Bluetooth Smart technology. So what does this mean? Well, you can turn the unit on and off, adjust cooking temps and time, and keep an eagle eye on meat smoking temperature all with your phone or smart device. A very cool smoker and a fantastic gift idea!
The Masterbuilt line has some of the most reasonably-priced high-tech smokers you can get, and it’s this bang for your buck factor that draws so many new and veteran smoking enthusiasts.
However, while all of their electric models are often referred to under the generic name, “Masterbuilt Electric Smoker,” there are big differences between the various models offered. Below I’ve endeavored to compare all 9 electric smokers commonly available in terms of basic feature set. As I’ll discuss later, this is an important graphic to understand when choosing among them.
|Model Name:||Masterbuilt 30" Electric Digital Smokehouse||Masterbuilt Digital 4-Rack Smoker||40-inch Electric Digital Smokehouse||30-inch Electric Digital Smokehouse||30-inch Electric Digital Smokehouse||40-inch Electric Digital Steel Smokehouse||30-inch Electric Digital Steel Smokehouse||30-inch Electric Analog Smokehouse||CookMaster Electric Smoker|
|Model Price:||Check Price!||Check Price!||Check Price!||Check Price!||Check Price!||Check Price!||Check Price!||Check Price!||N/A|
|Smoking Area (in.):||730||730||975||730||730||975||730||548||357|
|Number of Racks:||4||4||4||4||4||4||4||3||2|
|Heating Element (W):||800||800||1200||800||800||1,200||800||1,500||1,800|
|Front View Window?:|
|Built-In Temp. Probe?:|
|Max Temp. (F):||275||275||275||275||275||275||275||400||275|
So what does all of this mean and which do I choose?
Well, I have some suggestions. Consider to what extent you want the most hands-off electric smoking possible. If you’d rather do other things than tend your smoke, I would strongly encourage you to go for a digital model. Beyond that, the choice comes down to price and how “high-tech” you really want your smoker.
My all-around favorite digital model is the Masterbuilt 20075315 40-inch Front Controller Smoker with Viewing Window and RF Remote Control. If you can afford its stiffer price tag, it is a natural pick given its very sophisticated digital controls, remote control and built in probe. The 20075315 also features a large front-viewing window and comes with a powerful heating element and an overall solid build. My only “beef” with this and other smart smokers is that all of this additional circuitry comes with a steeper price tag – which puts this and similar models in competition with some of the all-steel smoker units, like the Smokin-It Model#2 [see discussion here], which are not “Smart” smokers by any means but may have the edge in terms of performance and longevity if you don’t mind tending to your smoke a bit more diligently.
What about Masterbuilt’s analog electric Smokers?
Masterbuilt’s two electronic (i.e., analog) temperature control smokers – the 30-inch Electric Analog Smokehouse (model #20070210) and CookMaster Electric Smoker (#20070111) are definitely less popular than the digital models. As you can see, both come with very big (>1,500 watt) heating elements, which in the case of the Analog Smokehouse allows it to reach a fiery 400 degrees Fahrenheit! I really don’t see why you would need that kind of heat, but there you have it.
Given that these models work on a more simple rheostat-type controller with “low,” “medium” and “hot” settings, you are likely to experience more significant temperature swings and have to work on dialing things in a bit more; temperature swings are also likely to be magnified as the large heating elements cycle on and off. The good news is that, even though they may not be the most well-insulated units, the large elements should help them fight off the cold during winter smokes. The bad news is that these smokers may be less efficient compared to the other, lower-wattage elements in the digital smokers.
Between the two, the Analog Smokehouse (#20070210) seems to be the superior smoker, and has received some very favorable reviews. Just keep in mind that (1) it lacks adjustable vents (not sure why); and (2) its front-mounted temperature gauge can be inaccurate in some cases (no surprise).
The CooKMaster Electric (#20070111) appears to be a smaller, even more stripped down version of the Analog Smokehouse meant to appeal to the bargain-minded, but there’s scant information about its reliability or performance. This model does not have an insulated door, which may explain the thinking behind giving it a huge 1,800 watt heating element. Personally, I would not recommend this model. If you are hunting for a bargain, I’d suggest you go with the Old Smokey Electric Smoker discussed in my top picks section here instead.