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Pellet smokers VS Electric smokers

Want to become a backyard smoker but aren’t sure where to start? First, you need a smoker, and with both pellet, electric, and wood smokers on the market, the decision can be hard! Here’s the 411 on Pellet Smokers VS Electric Smokers.

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When it comes to smoking food, there are a variety of options to choose from, including pellet and electric smokers. Neither is a traditional backyard grill, and both types of smokers have unique benefits and drawbacks. Forget the propane and charcoal because these smokers don’t use either to smoke meat and veggies. It can be tough to decide which is the best for your needs. 

I’m going to take you through a deep dive into pellet smokers vs. electric smokers, comparing their features, functionality, and overall performance to make all your favorites, including homemade beef jerky. By the end, you’ll better understand the pros and cons of each type of smoker and be able to make the best decision about which is better, a pellet smoker or an electric smoker!

What is a Pellet Smoker?

Pellet smokers are fueled by wood pellets, which are made from compressed wood sawdust. These pellets are fed into a hopper, igniting and burning to create heat and smoke. The hopper is operated by electricity.

Pellet smokers are known for their convenience and temperature control, as they can be set to a specific temperature and will maintain it automatically. They are also relatively easy to use, as the pellets are self-feeding, and a thermostat controls the smoker’s temperature.

Smoker pellets next to chopped wood.

What’s an Electric Smoker?

Electric smokers use electricity as their fuel source. They have a heating element to heat the wood chips, producing smoke. 

Electric smokers are known for their simplicity and ease of use, as they don’t require any fuel other than electricity and are typically easy to set up and operate. However, they are not as precise regarding temperature control and may not produce as much smoke as pellet smokers.

A small pile of woodchips for the smoker.

What About Flavor?

In terms of flavor, I think pellet smokers produce a more authentic and natural smoke flavor because they use real wood as their fuel source. 

carved smoked rack of pork on a cutting board
Smoked Rack of Pork

Let’s Compare

Here’s a quick comparison of the main differences between pellet smokers and electric smokers:


  • Pellet smokers are self-feeding and may have additional features such as a built-in meat probe or smartphone app for remote temperature control. You’ll still need a nearby outlet to operate the pellet smoker.
  • Electric smokers are simple to set up and operate but do require electricity.


  • Pellet smokers are generally considered to produce a more authentic and natural smoke flavor, because they use real wood as their fuel source.
  • Electric smokers may produce a less intense smoke flavor, as they rely on electric heating elements rather than burning wood.

Temperature control

  • Pellet smokers are generally considered to be more precise when it comes to temperature control, as the thermostat automatically adjusts the fuel intake to maintain a consistent temperature.
  • Electric smokers may not be as precise and may require more manual adjustments to maintain the desired temperature.


  • Pellet smokers tend to be more expensive upfront and in terms of ongoing costs, as they require wood pellets as fuel. But, if you invest in a smoker, it’ll last you for years and years.
  • Electric smokers are typically more affordable, as they only require electricity as a fuel source.
smoked mashed potatoes in a black skillet
Smoked Mashed Potatoes

The Final Word

There are pros and cons to wood pellet smokers and electric smokers, and I’ve used both. My favorite are the pellet smokers. I use a Traeger pellet grill smoker, and LOVE it! It is a workhorse, and I load it up with meats and veggies (yes, you can smoke vegetables!) all year long! I hope this discussion has helped you settle the question of pellet smokers vs. electric smokers once and for all!


6 thoughts on “Pellet smokers VS Electric smokers”

  1. “pellet smokers produce a more authentic and natural smoke flavor because they use real wood as their fuel source”. I’ve been looking for fake wood for my electric smoker. Where do you find this magical simulation-wood? I think I’ll just keep using real wood in it, which produces a significant amount of smoke. 😉


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