The Bottom Line
Gas heats fast than an electric heating element which is why professional chefs hate cooking on electric stove tops. When it comes to smokers gas has the advantage of heating faster, but no real advantage when it comes to maintaining temperatures. In general it breaks down to a matter of choice. Electric smokers draw a lot of amps and shouldn't be put on an extension cord limiting where you can place the smoker.
Gas smokers are generally more portable, but this isn't much of an argument one way or the other.
- Simple operation
- Bottom drawer access to the smoke tray and water pan
- Lightweight burner
- Door leaks smoke
- Water pan is small and flimsy
- Temperature gauge is not very accurate
- One adjustable 16,500 BTU stainless steel burner
- Three 194 square inch nickel plated steel cooking grates
- 580 total square inches of smoking space
- Rotary piezoelectric ignition
- Full height locking door with center mounted thermometer
- Bottom draw accesses wood chip and water pans
- Porcelain coated water pan
- Powder coated steel construction
- Made in China by Char-Broil
Guide Review - Char-Broil Vertical Gas Smoker
This is basically the gas powered equivalent of the Char-Broil Electric Vertical Smoker. It has a similar size and features and operates the same. It also suffers from much of the same problems. One rather annoying feature of this gas smoker is the integrated water and smoking try.
Wood chips go in the center and water around that in a doughnut shaped space. This sits directly over the burner and since the water pan holds very little liquid it dries out quickly, meaning it will have to be accessed many times during a long cook.
Like many inexpensive box smokers, this unit has no insulation and a flimsy door that leaks smoke and heat.
While the gas burner can put out the heat, it is hard to control when the wind can pull away most of the heat. The burner is adjustable so there is temperature control on this smoker, but keeping a precise temperature can be a challenge, especially when wood chips can catch fire or the water pan can run dry turning it into a kind of infrared emitter.
Like the electric version of this smoker, it can be trying to work with, taking much of the fun out of making barbecue or other smoked foods. It is inexpensive, but very comparably prices to better gas smokers on the market. The truth is that a good charcoal smoker can be had for this price and while a little more work to start up, a much more rewarding piece of equipment to work with. Take a look at my recommendations for smokers under $400, many of which fall in this price range.