Electric Smoker VS Pellet Smoker according to 15 Differences
Pellet vs. electric smoker- what is the crucial difference? Well, pellet smokers depend on electricity to heat the rod to ignite the wood pellets. In contrast, electric smokers rely entirely on electricity to get the job done.
Apart from that, the pellet smoker is incredibly versatile than the electric smoker. Therefore you can use the pellet smoker to bake, grill, or even roast since it has a wide temperature range. And the electric smoker is only designed for smoking and nothing other than that.
In this article, you will find more differences between the two smokers and their pros and cons. Are you ready to end the confusion? Let’s get into it!
what is Pellet Smoker?
Pellet smokers are incredibly versatile. Apart from being a smoker, you still have room to consider it a grill. You can use it to roast, bake, and many more.
Even if the pellet smokers need wood pellets as fuel, the auger and firepot need electricity. In other words, you should locate the pellet smokers near the electric outlet.
How the pellet smoker works is unique compared to electric smokers. The pellet smokers need convection heat to circulate and smoke throughout the chamber. Through that process, it will burn wood pellets creating heat and smoke.
The pellets are designed from many 100% wood and have different flavors. Just load the wood into the hopper as you pull through the smoker system with the auger motor.
The hot rod will make the pellets combust on reaching the heating firepot. And it will cause heat and smoke to circulate.
Pros and Cons of Pellet Smoker
- Many pellet smoker models can heat up to 600 degrees.
- It has ideal temperatures for slow and low cooking methods.
- It is convenient for prolonged smoking sessions, provided the hopper is full.
- Most pellet smokers are up-to-date and equipped with Bluetooth, WiFi, and other technology.
- It is versatile, allowing you to grill, roast, bake, and more.
- You must connect it to electricity to operate. It is unsuitable for areas with no power sources.
- Unlike electric smokers, the pellet smoker is quite expensive.
- Wood pellets need proper storage to avoid being in contact with moisture. Because when wood pellets absorb moisture, they will swell, making the auger jam.
- Although it produces smoky flavors, it is not as strong as other smokers.
- Finding wood pellets is overwhelming, and sometimes the wood pellets are pretty expensive.
what is Electric Smoker?
Just like the name electric, this smoker needs electricity to run. So without an electrical outlet, it will not work. Electric smokers have an electric heat element that gives heat to the chamber.
This electric smoker works the same way as the indoor oven. But it must preheat before you can successfully use it. The primary difference is that you need to add wood chips to the smoker to get the smoking procedure.
And to get the smoky flavor, you must replenish and add the wood chips you choose throughout the process. The good thing is that most models come with a wood chip pan. All you need to do is to select the wood chips and add them to the wood chip pan.
That aside, it has a water tray to add water. The water helps you form a smoking procedure that spreads throughout the chamber.
The electric smoker is beginner friendly since it does not need much effort. All you need is to fill the wood chips and plug them in.
Pros and Cons of Electric Smoker
- Unlike other smokers, an electric smoker is cost-friendly.
- It has temperatures that are easy to control with digital readouts.
- Its temperature tends to remain constant. Just set and forget.
- It occupies less space.
- It is easy to clean since it does away with the messy ash cleaning.
- It is less expensive than the pellet smoker.
- It is more convenient in some environments, such as apartments.
- It gives a less intensive smoky flavor.
- It needs wood pellets/chips to give smoke.
- It tends to dry food; hence it needs a water pan.
- It needs electricity throughout, so you should be at places with power sources to operate it.
- It is not versatile since it is strictly designed for smoking, so it can’t grill.
- You need to keep adding wood chips after every ½ hour.
- It won’t form the smoke ring.
Pellet Vs Electric Smoker: 15 Key Differences
The price of a pellet smoker is higher than an electric smoker. The pellet smokers come with extra features that electric smokers do not have. Also, pellet smokers have extra complicated hardware than electric smokers.
The best wood smokers cost from 700 dollars up, while electric smokers cost as low as 100 dollars up. But you should remember that spending a lot of money won’t change the result of smoke and heat sources.
2. Extra Cost
Pellet smokers need wood pellets and electricity to operate. And wood pellets are more expensive than wood chips. Also, electric smokers use about three to six ounces of wood to form smoke.
And unlike pellet smokers, you can buy wood for electric smokers from any source. The small amount of pellets you need is inexpensive, like that of pellet smokers.
Pellet smokers need more pellets than electricity to ignite the wood pellets. Without the wood pellets and some electricity supply, cooking won’t occur.
Electric smokers need six to eight ounces of wood per cook. And the pellet smoker needs one to two pounds of pellets every hour.
3. Healthy: Pellet Smoke-Carbon Monoxide
Electric smokers depend entirely on electricity for the heating element to produce heat. On the other side, the pellets rely on wood pellets to produce heat.
The electric smoker has a box tray for the wood chunks or chips. When the box heats, the wood smolders to generate smoke, called non-combustible.
The electricity will ignite the wood pellets to form smoke and heat for the pellet smoker. Through that procedure, combustion will occur. On heating the wood pellets, you will receive many gasses.
From above, pellet smokers will create more smoke and gasses through burning. And the possible pollutant is carbon monoxide. In contrast, the electric smoker will produce steam, heat, and some smoke to form flavors.
4. Temperature Range
The pellet smokers must reach a minor temperature for slow and low cooking methods. However, many models reach as high as 450 degrees. And remember, the pellet smoker is more versatile than the electric smoker.
The electric smoker, on the other side, is strictly for smoking. Due to that, most electric smokers can’t reach the highest temperatures.
So if your decision is based on temperature range, you already have the winner. In this case, the pellet smokers have a wide temperature range for cooking. We will later relate the pellet smoker’s temperature range to versatility; stay tuned.
5. Cooking Speed
The electric smoker has a high cooking speed since there is no combustion procedure. Electric smokers don’t need as much airflow as pellet smokers do. Due to that, the smokers hold on to heat to cook and maintain the temperature, raising the speed.
And since electric smokers are for smoking, their temperatures don’t go as high as pellet smokers. However, that doesn’t mean that its cooking speed is less.
6. Easy to Use
In this case, the pellet and electric smokers are easy to use. The pellet smoker needs little maintenance and set-up during the smoking process. Load the wood pellets into the hopper and set the temperature to start smoking.
Unlike pellet smokers, electric smokers need more attention when using them. Cooking in an electric smoker requires consistency in terms of temperature. And so you will need to add wood chips after every 30 minutes to generate enough smoke.
7. Digital Control
Both electric smokers and pellet smokers have digital control. You can adjust the temperature when cooking. However, the temperatures for electric smokers can’t go beyond 300 degrees.
The reason is that they are designed for smoking only. And even if electric smokers use electricity, keep adding wood chips after a specific interval.
Also, pellet smokers are incredibly versatile because of the digital control and temperature range. And you can adjust the time to match what you cook other than smoking and grilling.
When feeding wood pellets from the hopper to the firepot, the longer pellets tend to be squeezed. They will break down using the spiral auger into manageable lengths through pressing.
Throughout this process, your pellet smoker will produce some clunking or grinding sound.
On the other side, you will hardly hear noise from the electric smoker. You can even use the electric smokers indoors, but for safety purposes, it is good to use them outdoors.
9. Smoke Ring
The smoke ring is the first thing somebody sees when she tears a slice of smoked meat. And electric smokers don’t produce enough gasses that form the smoke ring.
But the pellet smokers consistently give gasses to produce the smoke ring. It happens because of the burning wood of heat and flavor sources.
The pellet smoker is extra versatile as you can grill, bake, roast, and more, depending on your needs. And electric smokers are more universal than pellets since they’re only for smoking. In other words, you won’t use the electric smokers more than what it is intended for.
So, the pellet smoker beats the electric smoker regarding versatility, hence a winner. Apart from that, the pellet smoker has a wide range of temperatures for cooking.
The pellet smoker uses wood pellets as fuel to create smoke and heat. Through that, it creates a flame that is a safety hazard. Due to that, it is recommendable for use in apartment complexes.
Since pellet smokers are a safety hazard, keep them away from flammable materials. The flammable material can be leaves and papers.
So whenever you use a pellet smoker, you shouldn’t leave it unattended. And always ensure that there is a fire extinguisher near the place you are using the pellet smoker.
And for electric smokers, there is no open flame. It is because they use electricity, hence completely safe.
But that does not mean electric smokers can’t pose safety hazards; they can when not handled properly. Therefore you should keep the electric smoker far away from water areas.
12. Smoke Flavor Intensity and Moisture
For the electric smoker to produce a smoky flavor, you need wood pellets or chips. On the other side, the entire heat comes from the burning wood pellets with a more intense smoky flavor. However, depending on your preferences, it may be bad or good.
And for pellet smokers, you have room to choose a smoke intensity. So if you don’t love a particular smoky flavor, it won’t be a problem.
Pellet smokers have some moisture, so they don’t have any drying risks. Electric smokers need you to use the water pan on many occasions. But a water pan in the pellet smoker is also a good idea on most occasions.
13. Space and Size
Pellet smokers come in many sizes, from small, freestanding models, to large models. The same pellet smoker takes up much more space than electric smokers. Because it contains a hopper that accommodates pellets.
Yes, the pellets have a vertical design, although they are mostly built horizontally. That design takes up much space but still offers more capacity for cooking. Due to that, it is suitable for get-togethers and parties.
And electric smokers are compatible and small in size since they don’t have the hopper. Electric smokers use power sources to end the need for a big firebox. And the good thing is that they have a vertical design with little cooking space.
14. Power Demand (Fuel Source)
Pellet and electric smokers need electricity to work. But electric smokers need a power source to produce heat. Therefore the electric smoker’s power demands are higher than that of a pellet smoker.
To start your pellet smoker, you need electricity to ignite the wood pellets. It means the power demand is low to run the fan, control panel, and auger.
Electric smokers depend entirely on electricity to work. It means the power demand will be much higher.
15. Cleaning and Maintenance
The pellet smoker needs regular cleaning and maintenance. Because the wood pellet may leave ash residues that may clog the hopper.
Other than that, the pellets may discharge the chute, which can result in the burnout of the auger.
Also, you should clean the smoking racks, firebox, and parts of the pellet smoker after use. Doing so helps to do away with buildups and rust.
On the other hand, cleaning electric smokers is easy since there are no ash residues. The electric smokers contain water, drip pans, and removable racks that you can take out to clean.
Best Pellet Smoker: Traeger Grills Pro Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill
Here is the wood pellet smoker and grill you have been searching for to serve the best-smoked meat. Therefore, no more use charcoal or gas for cooking your meat with this smoker at your home. You will love the smoke flavor and taste of the wood pellets.
The Traeger allows you to do more than smoke since it’s exceptionally versatile. So whether you want low and slow or hot and fast, it is versatile enough to bake, grill, roast, BBQ, and braise. Its cooking capacity is big enough to serve people at parties or even get-togethers.
This pellet smoker is easy to use with easy temperature control that goes up to 450 degrees. Just set the temperature and forget, and it will do fantastic work. Besides, it’s designed with quality materials that can last for years. Cleaning it is a walkover; you need to clean it after two to three uses.
Best Electric Smoker: Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker
Smoking meat is better with this Masterbuilt digital electric smoker around. The machine has an easy-to-operate digital control panel with cooking temperature and time.
Just set the time and temperature and forget it. However, you need to keep adding wood chips after every 30 minutes for the best result.
Unfortunately, the heat elements take centuries to heat. But I still hope it will be better and it does not form a smoke ring too.
You don’t have to open the door to add the wood chips after every 30 minutes. The product has a patented side that allows you to load the wood chips. And you can use the thermostat temperature for consistency and even smoking.
The machine is purely electric, so you only have to worry about running out of fuel if there is no power source.
Pellet Vs Charcoal Smoker, what the differences
- Charcoal smokers can reach higher temperatures than pellet smokers. Charcoal smokers can go up to 500 degrees higher since charcoal fire burns hotter. The reason pellet smokers are great for low and slow cooking methods.
- Pellet smokers form a more robust flavor than charcoal smokers. And even if different pellet types give different tastes, it is hard to beat the char flavor.
- There is less effort in cleaning the pellet smoker since they do not form much residue. You’ll need to remove the ash after each use and the carbon on the grates in the burning place.
- You need much more involvement when using charcoal smokers than pellet smokers. Also, you need to start up the coal and check the temperatures as you add the wood chunks.
Pellet Smokers Vs Wood Smokers, what the differences
- Pellet smokers need electricity to ignite the wood pellets to produce smoke. On the other hand, wood smokers use logs to create smoke. In other words, you can’t operate pellet smokers in areas without a power source.
- Although the pellet smoker is versatile, the wood smoker beats it by offering more control and versatility. It means there is more consistency in the wood pellet smoker than in the pellet smoker.
- Wood smokers need a lot of heat to begin smoking. In comparison, pellet smokers need fewer temperatures of 250 degrees.
- Pellet smokers are more expensive compared to wood smokers. However expensive the pellet smokers are, buying pellet fuel is cheaper than logs.
- Unlike pellet smokers that strictly need wood pellets to run, you can use either charcoal or wood in the wood smoker.
- Wood smokers need more babysitting to low and slow cook to perfection.
Knowing the differences between the two smokers helps decide which is better. But if you only want a smoker for smoking activity without breaking the buck, an electric smoker is ideal, and we also recommend you use an air fryer grill combo to enjoy a better cooking experience.
Also, no matter the cost of the pellet smoker, it saves energy, space, and the cost of getting many appliances. In other words, it is incredibly versatile.
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My love for food was influenced by my brother, a chef at a 2-star Michelin restaurant, and we often exchange food knowledge together. It’s been 12 years since I first stepped into the kitchen, and with my vast experience and expertise, I will share many ideas on how to make dishes more delicious!