3 Types of Smokers for Beginners Under $500

Traeger Pro Series 34-Inch (Gen 1) Wood Pellet Grill - Bronze - TFB88PZB : BBQGuys


Smoking your own meats is a skill every grill master works to master.  There are three types of smokers for beginners and experienced grill masters.  In this article we will discuss the 3 Types of Smokers for Beginners that you can find under $500.


The Three Types of Smokers are:

  • Charcoal Smokers
  • Propane Smokers
  • Pellet Smokers

Smoking your own meats, like beef tri-tip, chicken and fish at home is a skill every home grill master or pit master wants to perfect.  Learning to smoke your own meats at home doesn’t have to break the bank.  Are there any differences smoking meats with a charcoal smoker vs a propane smoker?  Does a pellet smoker really automatically control temperature with less effort than other smokers for beginners?

We have found there are some very good and affordable smokers for beginners with WiFi controls or have technology to maintain temperature from as low as 150° over 400 degrees F, that can help you create delicious smoked meats.

While you can certainly find high end smokers with large capacity grills and WiFi controls costing well over $1000. The good news for newbie smokers to experienced there are affordable smokers for beginners with WiFi controls to help you master the art of smoking your own meats like a pro.


Here are 3 Types of Smokers for Beginners Under $500


1. Propane Smokers for Beginners

Propane smokers use propane gas as the fuel to heat and smoke meats.  Since propane doesn’t add flavor to the meat while it is smoking, these smokers have a compartment to hold flavored wood chips.  These wood chips infuse the meats with flavor as the meats are smoking.

You can increase or decrease the flame to control the heat.


 Camp Chef 24-Inch Smoke Vault Propane Gas Smoker

The Camp Chef Propane smoker is a large capacity smoker for beginners with three shelves to hold meats while they smoke. It also has a large pan on the bottom near the burners that holds wood chips to infuse flavor into the smoke.   This allows you to create delicious tasting smoked meats and fish.

Most affordable smokers for beginners have a max temperature of 350° to 450° F.  The Camp Chef Smoke Vault allows backyard grill masters to smoke meats from as low as 150° up to max  550° F.


smoke vault smoker


Large Capacity Smoker Capacity

The Camp Chef Propane Gas Smoker gives grill masters nearly 4 Sq feet of smoking space and includes 3 removable racks to hold meats while they smoke.

The double walled construction ensures the smoke and flavors can fully penetrate the meats.


Camp Chef 24-Inch Smoke Vault Propane Gas Smoker


Can Handle Over 500 Degrees

The large easy to read thermostat is placed at eye level, so you can control and maintain the proper smoking temperature of your meats.

Camp Chef 24-Inch Smoke Vault Propane Gas Smoker


  • Adjustable heat control dial and three damper valves for maintaining precise smoking temperatures
  • Two adjustable smoking racks and one jerky rack accommodate a variety of food
  • Use your favorite wood chips to infuse your food with delicious wood-smoked flavor
  • Included water pan helps keep food moist and juicy.


Camp Chef Smoker







List: $434.99
Camp Chef 24-Inch Smoke Vault Propane Gas Smoker

2. Charcoal Smokers for Beginners

Grill masters and barbecue pit masters will tell you charcoal smokers are the best.  Good charcoal for smoking lasts a long time and produces a consistent heat.  Smoking purists use hardwood, but most smokers for beginners use charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal to give food its smoky flavor.

You can find flavored charcoal such as hickory charcoal, mesquite charcoal, cherry wood charcoal and even pecan charcoal briquettes, for example.


Broil King Charcoal smoker

You can also use a smoker box with flavored chips on the charcoal

Flavored charcoal adds natural smoke flavors as the meats smoke.

  Broil King Smoke 28-Inch Vertical Charcoal Smoker


The Broil King Vertical Charcoal Smoker offers 770 inches of cooking space.  What does that mean for those of us who are not mathematicians?  That equates for 4 square feet of cooking space.
You can smoke a lot of chicken, brisket, ribs even a large turkey in 4 square feet of cooking space.  Just remove any racks to ensure you  have enough cooking space.
While gas smokers reach temperature quicker and cook faster, grill masters and pit masters will tell you that charcoal is the only way to go to get the best smoke flavor into your meats.
Broil King® Vertical Smoke™ cabinet are engineered with double wall construction to create mouth-watering, authentic smoke flavor in your foods.  Learn more here.

Large 4 Sq. Ft (770 inches) Cooking Space

broik king charcoal smokerf
With the large 4 Sq. Ft capacity of the smoker, you can smoke an entire family meal at one time.  You can remove the racks to smoke larger cuts of meat, such as a beef roast, pork roast, or even a full rack of beef ribs.

Use Hooks to Hang Chicken or Meat to Smoke

smoking chicken
  • Two adjustable cast aluminum dampers regulate the air flow throughout the cooking chambers allowing for precise temperature control.
  • Includes a multi-purpose chrome coated roast / rib rack and 16 stainless steel meat hooks to hold meats and chicken, so the smoke and flavor can permeate from all four sides of the cabinet.


Broil King Smoke 28-Inch Vertical Charcoal Smoker - Black

  • This affordable smoker for beginners comes with a fold-down stainless steel drip tray.   With the drip tray, tou can load and unload food without making a mess on the ground.  Once it cools down, you can wipe away any liquids or juices that drip.


accurate temperature guage

Accu-Temp™ Thermometer ensures that you can maintain the exact temperature you need.  The biggest complaint people have is it can be difficult to maintain lower temperatures below 300 degrees F.  Most people use an external thermometer that is highly accurate.  My friend who smokes frequently uses the Camp Chef smoker with an external thermometer he says is more accurate.

Easy to Move

Backyard smokers for beginners can be bulky, heavy and difficult to move.    The Broil King Vertical Charcoal Smoker has wheels on the back, which makes it easy to move around your backyard.  Use the handle to pull up the front end, and push the smoker with the back wheels.

easy to move smoker


Large Tray for Wood Chips

Broil King Smoke 28-Inch Vertical Charcoal Smoker - Black
  • The Broil King Vertical Charcoal Smoker has a large heavy-duty slide out charcoal tray to hold charcoal.
  • Secondary door gives you easy access to smoker box and water pan, which minimizes smoke and heat loss, to ensure the best flavor for your meats.



This smoker is made extremely well. The walls are double thick which help maintain the internal temperature when using in cold weather.
I’ve owned this smoker for about a year and a half. Assembly was easy, but did take a few hours. The construction and design is excellent. Easy to maintain and clean the racks.
Holding a constant temperature was my biggest difficulty, but that seems to be the case with most smokers. Ample rack space give the cook lots of load options. I smoked a brisket my first go, and it was most excellent.
List: $499.00
Charcoal smoker
Note: For an additional $50, you can get the propane gas version of this popular smoker for beginners.

3. Pellet Smokers

Z Grills Pellet Smoker

Pellet smokers may just be the best smokers for beginners.  This type of smoker uses hard wood pellets to provide the fuel for the smoker, which comes in a variety of flavors for the different types of meats and fish you are smoking.

Once you set the temperature on the Z Grills Pellet Smoker, the auger maintains the temperature and automatically adds fuel pellets as needed to maintain the temperature for the best smoking experience,

This 8-in-1 smoker has  721 Sq. In. (5 Sq. Feet)  cooking space, so you can smoke an entire meal for your family or friends.

The double walled insulation of the Z Grills pellet smoker lets you smoke from as low as 150°F to temperatures reaching 450°F, unlike any other smoker on the market today.

An 8-in-1 smoker is an ideal cooking apparatus.

With a Z Grills 8-In-1 Wood Pellet Smoker you can:

  • grill
  • smoke
  • bake
  • roast
  • sear
  • braise
  • barbecue
  • or char-grill


What is a Pellet Smoker

Pellet smokers, also known as pellet grills, are outdoor cookers that combine elements of charcoal smokers, gas grills, and kitchen ovens.



How it Works Wood Pellet Grill



Wood Pellets for Smoker

For a pellet smoker, there are special barbecue hardwood pellets made specifically for grills and smokers.  They come in a variety of flavors, such as hickory, maple, pecan, and mesquite.

Wood pellets


How a Pellet Smoker Works

Z Grills ZPG-700D Review - Disadvantage, User Opinions & Features

Pellet smokers for beginners have more accurate temperature control than charcoal smokers.  While charcoal smokers use hard wood pieces or charcoal, pellet smokers maintain temperatures by the amount of fuel consumed by the fire and airflow regulation.  It is much easier to control temperatures with a pellet smoker, such as the Pit Boss Pellet Smoke than a traditional smoker.
The Z Grills Pellet Smoker uses automated fuel and air delivery with an auger to automatically maintain the user-selected temperature.  You program the desired temperature into the electronic control panel, based on the meat you are smoking.
Whenever the smoking temperature drops, pellets are fed (via the auger) to the system,  which maintains the preset cooking temps. At that point, the fuel (pellets) are cut off until the temperature drops again, and the process repeats itself.

Z Grills Pellet Smoker Features

  • Smoke from 150°F to temperatures reaching 450°F
  • 40 lb. Hopper Capacity allows you to cook for up to 18 hours
  • Porcelain Coated Cooking Racks, Locking Caster Wheels, and Easy to Read Digital Controller
  • Hammer Tone Copper Finish
  • BTU Value: 40,000


Original price  $549.00

Your price $439.00

Get More Info Here

Ken Weiss


  1. JT November 8, 2022
    • Ken Weiss November 29, 2022

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