Generally, there are three types of smokers, including charcoal, gas, and electric. Although these three exhibit their own special features, the ultimate goal is to get you that perfect smoke-flavored food you’ve always craved. But the tricky question is; which smoker is an absolute match for you? Well, let’s put aside charcoal for a long minute and focus on propane gas vs. electric smoker.
These two varieties are more in question by smoker users, hence our topic for today!
What Exactly Is a Propane Gas & Electric Smoker?
Here’s a brief overlook of propane gas and electric smoker.
Propane Gas Smoker
A propane gas smoker is a vertical tool that uses propane or natural gas as a heating source to smoke food. It is the best device when it comes to outdoor cooking.
Furthermore, it features wood usage and some particular pros and cons that you must go through if you plan to buy such a smoker!
— Significant Pros and Cons
As the name speaks for itself, an electric smoker uses electricity (instead of gas) to smoke food beneath preferred wood chips.
Below are some helpful pros and cons for you!
— Significant Pros and Cons
Propane Smoker vs. Electric Smoker – Major Differences
Everyone has their own unique choices. For instance, in this propane gas vs. electric smoker discussion, you may find propane smokers more comfortable. At the same time, some others may equip an electric smoker based on its technological praise. In either case, we will not force you to make a decision but will surely HELP you make one.
So, here are detailed differences between propane gas smokers and electric smokers.
Before you buy any type of smoker, it’s logical to pay attention to what kind of climate you live in.
If you live in an environment with frequent rains, you are likely to have trouble with electricity. And electric smokers are not going to bear it since they require continuous electricity to smoke your food. However, with an electric generator, there’s nothing to worry about.
Propane gas smokers don’t need electricity and hence win over an electric smoker. And you can use them even if it’s raining outside. However, rainy weather comes with winds, wetness, and cold, which may affect the cooking temperatures in gas smokers.
Purchasing and Running Costs
A gas smoker is much cheaper than an electric smoker when it comes to purchasing costs. Even the latest quality models are affordable. But since electric smokers contain high-tech features such as Bluetooth connectivity, temp control panels, and so, they are costly.
However, when we talk about the running costs of gas and electric smokers, then electric smokers are cheap to run. It’s because propane smokers run only on propane or natural gas, which you would have to buy again and again.
Concluding this, electric smokers are only expensive at the time of buying. Using them over and over would only cost you electricity. In contrast, propane smokers are cheap only at the time of purchase. You will have to refill them for recurrent usage, which is a hassle and pricey.
Temperature Range (High and Low Heat)
If you’re aiming for low-temp smoking, then an electric smoker is, ideally, what you need as it is easier to handle low temperatures of like 160F on such smokers. But, of course, it’s tough to meet steady temperatures on propane smokers.
In contrast to low temperatures, propane smokers superiorly offer a wide temperature range. Some specific models can hit as low as 100 F and go up to about 500F. It’s high enough to sear or grill meat. You can hardly or may not even achieve this high temperature on an electric smoker.
The highest temp an electric smoker can reach is 275F, not high enough to crispy the chicken skin.
In a snap, gas smokers are more versatile than electric smokers. WHY?
Here’s a thing; electric smokers can smoke the best meat cuts at low temps. And that’s all, nothing more than ‘smoking’!
However, In contrast, gas smokers give you 3-1 options; they can grill, smoke, or roast, which is absolutely GREAT. And hence, they win over trendy electric smokers.
Both of these smokers need a bit of maintenance, including the grease that accumulates in a drip pan and ash that you will need to get rid of!
However, it’s quite known that electric smokers are more reliable when it comes to cleaning as they leave behind less soot than a gas smoker. On top of that, if you add a layer or two of aluminum foil on the drip pan of an electric smoker, it will become much easier to clean.
Hence, we can say it’s more comfortable cleaning an electric smoker than a gas smoker. Still and all, you would have to clean after cooking in either of the types.
Safety & Ease of Usage
Both electric and propane smokers are safe and easy to use. But we will vote for electric smokers usage-wise, as they feature control panels and are technically comfortable for anyone in this modern era.
Moreover, it sometimes becomes hard to control the temperature of propane gas smokers. And you would have to stay close and keep an eye on the food to avoid it from possibly burning.
In the case of electric smokers, they work like “set it and forget it,” meaning you can set a certain temperature without the worry of food burning, even if you are away for hours.
Reliability does not depend on which type of smoker you are using. It rather depends on whether you have bought the smoker from a reputable manufacturer.
Things can slip away using either of the smokers. But propane smokers do better at reliability than electric smokers. They are simply a box with a burner – absolutely far from electronics.
And, undoubtedly electric smokers are comfortable to use, clean, or handle, but they are equally fast to leave you in disappointment. Hence, consider buying a propane smoker if obsessed with the reliability of your devices.
No matter what smoker type you aim for, testing the food flavors is a must. There is a significant difference in taste offered by both of the smokers. It’s not like one is better than the other, but if you are a true foodie, then food flavors matter a lot, of course.
To put it shortly, foods cooked in a gas smoker are tastier than those in an electric smoker, where the taste may be mild and less smokey. It may be because electric smokers work on an “electrical heating process,” which alters the taste.
In contrast, propane smokers perfectly incorporate rich smoky flavors in food. Although they may not match charcoal smokers in providing a true-to-the-core smoked savor, gas smokers are still better at offering you the maximum tang in a traditional way.
And the Award Goes to…
Although you can freely decide “Which smoker is better?” based on the propane gas vs. electric smoker debate above, we recommend using gas smokers. It is because the taste you would want from your smoked food can be perfectly delivered by a propane smoker, although they need care and learning.
But yes, some people may prefer an electric smoker since the running cost is low and the design is absolutely gorgeous to work with!
Whichever you choose just now, don’t hesitate to share with us in the comments as we would value your opinions on this matter.