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Best Charcoal Smoker for Your Grilling Needs

by Outdoor Cooking Pros October 01, 2021

Best Charcoal Smoker for Your Grilling Needs

There's just something nice about starting a fire. And no, we don't mean it in a pyromaniac kind of way. Instead, we're talking about starting a fire for our charcoal smokers.

Charcoal smokers are notorious for giving your meats a nice, juicy, and smokey flavor to die for! We bet you won't be able to stop yourself from craving and salivating.

If you're looking for a new way to improve the flavor of your smoked meats, you might want to check out the best charcoal smokers we'll name in this review.

The Top 5 Charcoal Smokers You Need to Buy ASAP

1. Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker - Best Overall

Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker  

Key Features

  • Cooking area: choice of 14, 18 inches, and 22 inches.
  • Porcelain-enameled steel material, nickel-plated cooking grates, and a front charcoal chamber door
  • Can be used as a grill or a double smoker
  • Product inclusions: heat-resistant nylon handle, lid, thermometer, and water pan 

A Smoker That Never Disappoints

First on our best charcoal smoker list is no other than the Weber Smokey Mountain. It reigns as one of the premier charcoal barbecues and bullet smokers since its inception, and even until now!

We love this smoker because it comes in three sizes: 14, 18, and 22 inches of cooking space.

Whether we're planning to smoke a meal for two or trying to smoke a feast, best believe this smoker can do it all!

Of the three sizes, the 18-inch variant is probably the BEST. It's neither too small nor too large, and just enough to please a hungry crowd. And for us, that scores a lot of 10's on our list.

Outstanding Durability and Quality

Bullet smokers should withstand high and hot temperatures.

If your charcoal smoker can't do that, you'll have to waste your money buying replacement models over and over again. Yikes!

We've seen a lot of praises for this smoker through the years because of its impressive durability and quality. So what else can you expect from one of the best charcoal smokers out there, right?

If you don't want to end up wasting a ton of money, place your bet on this brand, and you'll hit the jackpot. Not to mention, this smoker won't even cost you a fortune!

For such a durable and reliable charcoal smoker, you'd be surprised at how incredibly affordable it is.

Easy to Operate Smoker

One of the many reasons why people tend to shy away from charcoal smokers is the notion that they're hard to operate.

It isn't necessarily a lie because there are some models out there that are pretty hard to use.

But with the Weber Smokey Mountain, even beginners can start using it in no time. And that's the beauty of it! ANYONE can use this smoker without any trouble.

So if you're one of those people who want to start smoking some delicious meats, using this one feels hardly frustrating.

Open the front charcoal chamber, put your coal in, set the flames on, and volia! Leave a delicious chunk of brisket in the cooking chamber, and you're done.

So the next time you come back and open the cooking chamber, you'll have one delicious and juicy chunk of brisket waiting for you.

You didn't even have to break a sweat trying to figure out what to do. Convenient right?

Forgivable Set Back We Noticed

Everything about this Weber smoker sounds excellent so far. Our overall experience is about 9.5/10,which is pretty high. Where did the 0.5 go then?

Well, there's ONE PROBLEM we did notice about this smoker, and it's the side door. And apparently, several others share the same sentiment as us.

At some point, smoke starts escaping from the side door, and it could be pretty alarming. But don't worry, it's nothing bad or serious.

The side door just does a pretty bad job at keeping all the smoke in.

Over time, however, other users report that it does go away. So this minor flaw should be forgivable. After all, it hardly affects the performance of the Weber Smokey Mountain!

Should You Choose Weber Smokey Mountain?

If you're new to the world of charcoal smokers and want reliable and user-friendly equipment, this one is for you.

It's affordable, durable, and comes highly recommended in the community.

With over a decade's worth of excellent reputation, there's hardly any reason why you shouldn't choose the Weber Smokey Mountain.


  • Beginner and user friendly
  • Excellent heat control
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Impressive cooking chamber size


  • The side door tends to exhaust smoke

2. Primo PGCRH Kamado Round Ceramic Charcoal Grill - Best Value

Primo PGCRH Kamado Round Ceramic Charcoal Grill

Key Features

  • 280 square inches of cooking space
  • Premium-grade ceramic material and porcelain-coated cooking grates
  • Two-zone cooking experience
  • Product inclusions: ash tool, grate lifter, grill, side shelves, and more

A Grill For All Your Needs

Who says you can't have it all?

With the Primo PGCRH Kamado Grill, you can cook to your heart's content. You can bake, grill, roast, and smoke! And all this comes in one compact piece of equipment.

We love how MULTI-FUNCTIONAL this equipment is because we can explore a wide range of cooking styles.

The possibilities are ENDLESS. Not to mention, there's always something new to learn with this one.

You don't have to buy multiple cooking types of equipment anymore because all you need is this one.

If you total how much you'll end up paying for all the different cooking types of equipment you'll plan to buy, it'll probably exceed how much you'd spend for this one.

Tough and Durable

One look at the Primo PGCRH Kamado, and you'll know what we mean when we say it's tough and durable. The whole body is made using premium-grade ceramics, which can take heat well.

It isn't just the body that's tough because even its components are made with high-quality materials!

In addition, Primo prides itself on the durability of its products, offering a wide range of warranties for every element.

Now, if you're looking for a good investment, best believe that the PGCRH Kamado should be on your list. For the price of one, you'll get a ton of benefits!

Patented Oval Design

Besides its impressive multi-functional properties and durability, Primo also prides itself on its unique patented oval design.

Its oval structure isn't just a coincidence because it has a unique purpose. On the inside, the oval design works by having two distinct cooking zones.

The FIRST ZONE is for direct cooking and direct heat, like grilling. You place the coal directly under and let the direct heat do its magic to your food.

The SECOND ZONE is used for indirect cooking, meaning you don't need to put any coal underneath.

Instead, the indirect heat from the first zone circulates to the other side, where you can start roasting. Ingenious right?

Think of all the time and energy you'll save when using this one? In addition, you'll surely end up pleasing a crowd.

It Would Have Been Better With A Bigger Cooking Area

The patented oval design is excellent and all, but it would have been better if the cooking chamber had a bigger cooking area.

280 square inches of cooking area is enough for whipping out a delicious meal for an intimate gathering. But for a hungry crowd? Maybe not.

We say this because it would have been even more impressive if we were able to take advantage of the oval design. After all, the price of the PGCRH isn't necessarily the cheapest out there.

It costs nearly TWICE the Weber Smokey Mountain, which comes at a relatively small cooking area. But is it a deal-breaker?

Not to us, at least. The line comes in various sizes, but the bigger it gets, so does the price tag.

Should You Choose the Primo PGCRH Kamado?

If you're spending a relatively huge amount for a charcoal smoker, you might as well get one that allows you to cook in various ways! Searing, grilling, baking, roasting, smoking, and more!

Although price is a big limitation, think of all the money you'll save in the long run when you don't have to end up buying different cooking types of equipment.

Plus, the PGCRH Kamado comes with excellent warranty coverage. Spending nearly $800 will hardly feel like a burden in the long run.

Consider it as an investment!


  • It comes with an impressive warranty
  • Perfect for different kinds of cooking
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Various compatible accessories to choose from 


  • Cooking area tends to be a bit lacking

3. Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill - Best Budget Pick

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill

Key Features

  • Cooking Space: 22 inches
  • Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl
  • Product comes with a built-in thermometer, removable ash pan, and hinged cooking grates
  • Grill and smoker in one

Versatile Use

Do you consider yourself more of a griller than a smoker? Or is it the other way around? Regardless of the answer, the Weber Kettle is one charcoal grill/smoker you need to get.

It's HIGHLY FUNCTIONAL because you can use it as a griller or a smoker. Not bad, right? You're not limited to a single-use, and you're pretty much getting your money's worth already!

And speaking of money, the Weber Kettle is highly affordable and is only less than $200! Of course, for such an impressive functionality, you'd expect to be paying more. But not with the Weber Kettle.

Picture this: Grilling some surf and turf for an intimate dinner at home, or maybe smoking a slab of brisket for a viewing party you're hosting at home.


Impressive Heat Control Ability

When it comes to grilling or smoking meats, heat is your friend, which is why many professionals always look at their smokers/grillers' ability to retain and control heat.

As a grill, you can pretty much expect the Weber Kettle to give you an even cook on ALL SIDES of your meat. No more toasty or burnt sides that can disappoint a hungry crowd.

Instead, you'll have yourself a slice of perfectly well-cooked meat.

The impressive heat control ability of the Weber Kettle can be best demonstrated when you smoke meat.

The Weber Kettle is constructed in such a way that keeps the whole contraction airtight, making sure the cooking chamber stays at a consistent level.

Not only does this result in a better smokey flavor, but it is also ECONOMICAL.

You don't have to keep heating the coal each time the temperature drops—something you don't have to worry about with the Weber Kettle.

You're On-the-Go Grill/Smoker

One of the main highlights of the Weber Kettle is that it's lightweight and portable.

So you can bring the fun wherever you are! All you have to do is attach the wheels on this bad boy, and you're ready to go!

When you're planning a viewing party at a friend's place, bring along the Weber Kettle and make it the star of your feast.

With a 22-inch cooking chamber, you can just imagine all the sorts of things you can cook! And don't worry, because clean-up won't take ages with this one.

You can take the Weber Kettle home right after your viewing party with no problem. It's the perfect hassle-free equipment to bring!

Cooking Area Will Be an Issue

The Weber Kettle sports 363 square inches of cooking area, which is not bad when you're trying to grill, say 10 burgers at a time.

But the issue surfaces when it's time to smoke multiple slabs of brisket at a time, for example.

As it stands, you can ONLY smoke roughly one slab of brisket at a time in the cooking chamber. Fitting more items may be possible, but it probably won't give you the best results.

However, considering that the Weber Kettle was intended as a grill more than a smoker, it's not that bad. At least we get a griller and smoker.

After that, we'll just have to use our imaginations to make the limited cooking area work.

Should You Choose the Weber Kettle Grill?

If you're a fan of all things functional, then we're sure you'll love the Weber Kettle. Charcoal and griller for the price of one?

That sounds like a sweet deal!

Not to mention, this lightweight and portable griller/smoker is the best buddy to bring around for all your camping adventures and outdoor cooking competitions.

Just get all your supplies ready and packed, and you're good to go!

Who says having a good time has to be a hassle?


  • Excellent durability and quality
  • Multifunctional and comes with a built-in thermometer
  • Easy to transport
  • Highly affordable


  • The cooking chamber is not ideal for cooking multiple portions of meat at a time

4. Primo PGCXLC All In One Ceramic Kamado Charcoal Grill

Primo PGCXLC All In One Ceramic Kamado Charcoal Grill

Key Features

  • 400 square inches of cooking space
  • Premium-grade ceramic material
  • Patented oval design
  • Uses lump charcoal than charcoal briquettes

The Smoker of the Century

When you think of family heirlooms, a smoker grill isn't probably the first thing that comes to your mind. But with the Primo PGCXLC, it's high time that you do.

This compact smoker is made of really tough premium-grade ceramic, which means it WON'T break down on you anytime soon or even as you pass it on to your children. It's that durable!

And if it's as durable as it claims to be, then you'll be in for a treat of a lifetime. You won't have to keep buying other charcoal smokers anymore! All you and your family need is this one.

Massive Cooking Surface

Pleasing a hungry crowd won't be a problem with the Primo PGCXLC. Sporting a 400 square inches of cooking surface, you'll be able to feed up to 25 people at a time.

The cooking area is SO MASSIVE, it fits about 20 to 25 steaks or one huge turkey!

Just imagine how much cooking you can do in one go—no more hassle of coming back and forth to your grill anymore. Plus, no more annoying waiting game.

Now, some people aren't fans of the huge cooking area, especially if they don't always feed a crowd. If that's the case, Primo offers a variety of sizes with the same features.

It's a win-win!

A Performance You Won't Forget

One of the things we love about the Primo PGCXLC is that it's a cooking system that does EVERYTHING you want it to do. You can bake, grill, smoke, steam, and so much more!

And just like other top kamado grills, you'll be able to make yourself some delicious pizza. Just put your freshly made pizza on top of your pizza stone, and let it cook.

All this is thanks to the patented oval design this smoker sports. It's similar to the Primo PGCRH we've reviewed above, so you know you're in for a really good treat.

In addition, you can do direct cooking on the other half and use the indirect heat for cooking on the other side!

You're not just limited to its use! You don't just smoke food because you get to do so much more.

Basic Package and Inclusions

The only thing we didn't like about the Primo PGCXLC is the inclusions or lack thereof.

You'll have to buy its accessories SEPARATELY, which sounds like a dealbreaker for some.

After all, the price of the Primo PGCXLC is no joke, costing nearly $2,000! And if you want to buy the accessories, just imagine how much that'll cost you. Yikes!

But if you're not into experimenting with the different cooking configurations the Primo PGCXLC can do, not buying the accessories won't be a problem. You can still use this equipment as it is!

Should You Choose the Primo PGCXLC?

There's only one answer to this question, and it's a YES! Although not many people might be too keen about the idea of getting this smoker, it's nevertheless a good buy.

Just think of the massive cooking area it offers! It's unlike other kamado grills you've seen before. Not to mention, you get to try out different cooking variations thanks to the patented oval system.

This huge smoker will be the star of your next cookout.


  • It doesn't require any assembly
  • Lump charcoal gets the cooking surface faster
  • Multitude of accessories to choose from
  • Multi-functional and massive cooking chamber


  • Very pricey

5. Broilmaster C3 Large Cast Aluminum Charcoal Grill

Broilmaster C3 Large Cast Aluminum Charcoal Grill

Key Features

  • 442 square inches of cooking space
  • Heavy-duty cast aluminum material
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Compact and lightweight design

Easy to Use and Straightforward Design

There are some people who are a bit hesitant when it comes to using a charcoal grill/smoker for the first time. And it's pretty understandable, considering there is some learning curve involved in it.

With the Broilmaster C3, getting acquainted with its design and use will be the least of your problems. It's very straightforward!

You've got yourself the two loading doors, which let you put your lump charcoal or wood chips in.

You also have a vent up top, which you can adjust, depending on the temperature you want. It's hardly complicated!

You can get straight to cooking without all the fuss involved.

Durable Cast Aluminum Grill

Truth be told, the Broilmaster C3 DOESN'T look too spectacular design-wise. If at all, it seems pretty plain, and there isn't anything you can nit-pick about it.

Well, except for some users we've found in other charcoal smoker reviews who complain about its primitive design.

If you'd ask us, the design is forgivable. Instead, what's important is whether this cooker can pass the test of time. And sure enough, it does!

Thanks to its heavy-duty cast aluminum construction, we're sure we can get many good years with this one. We won't have to waste our money buying smokers after another. Hurray!

And as a testament to how durable the Broilmaster C3 is, it even comes with a lifetime warranty. What do you have to lose?

Heats Up Quickly and Evenly

The thing about charcoal grillers is that they're often a waiting game. You'll need to wait several minutes for the cooking chamber to heat up, and some don't have the patience for it.

Luckily, the Broilmaster C3 makes sure you don't have to wait any longer. Thanks to its impressive heat-up time, your cooking chamber will be hot and running to smoke your meats.

And when this is the case, you'll be able to cook faster, eat sooner, and save up on other resources like coal and wood chips!

Price Will Be an Issue

Unfortunately, the Broilmaster C3 costs nearly $1000, so it's NOT the most budget-friendly option out there. If you're trying to stick to a limited budget, this might not be a good choice for you.

However, we find the $1000 price tag to be justified, considering the 442 square inches of cooking surface you'll get! It's BIGGER than the Primo PGCXLC, for almost half the price.

So it's not that bad if you look at it this way, especially if you want a huge cooking area.

Should You Choose the Broilmaster C3?

You can't go wrong when you choose the Broilmaster C3.

The ONLY SETBACK you'll have is probably the price. But besides that, there's hardly any reason why you shouldn't go for this one.

With its massive main cooking chamber and user-friendly design, you can't go wrong when you choose this.


  • Includes a lifetime warranty
  • Very easy to use and clean
  • Compact and portable
  • Massive cooking area


  • Pricey than others

Some Considerations Before Buying a Charcoal Smoker

Before you get excited to grab yourself one of the best charcoal smokers we've named above, Hold on. There's still more that you need to know!

You've probably fallen in love with at least one or two of the charcoal smokers in this review, but is it for you?

To help you find out, we've listed some of the most important considerations you need to think of before saying yes.

Cooking Space

Charcoal smokers come in DIFFERENT SIZES. But sometimes, their size doesn't always reflect their cooking capacity.

For example, some smokers can look big but are ONLY able to cook for four people. At the same time, others come in a compact size but can nevertheless serve a family of 8.

You don't always have to buy the biggest smoker out there, especially if you're cooking for two! You'll end up wasting time trying to heat a large charcoal smoker for only two portions of meat. Yikes!

At the same time, buying a compact-sized charcoal smoker to feed a family of 8 won't be a good idea either!

The insides of your smoker will probably look like a can of sardines, and you won't be able to get the most out of your smoker.

Regardless of the charcoal smoker you choose, be mindful of its cooking space and for how many people you plan to cook for.


We can't emphasize enough how important it is for you to make sure you choose a charcoal smoker that is reputable for its good quality.


You need to familiarize yourselves with the different charcoal smoker options you've got and narrow down your search to include those that can last you a lifetime.

And don't worry because durability DOESN'T always translate to having a higher price.

You'd be surprised to find that there are a lot of affordable options out there that'll give you a lifetime's worth of use!


We're not going to lie, we're a big sucker for all things functional! This is why we always keep our eyes open for functional and dual-purpose charcoal smokers.

Instead of buying a charcoal grill with only a single function, why not go for one that has multiple functions for the price of one?

That sounds like a much better deal, right!

There are many charcoal smokers out there that are HIGHLY VERSATILE, allowing you to interchange its use from a smoker to a grill.

If you think about it, it's a lot MORE PRACTICAL in the long run. You won't have to buy separate equipment anymore!


If you love going on camping adventures, having aportable charcoal smoker is a MUST.

Why? Well, you can cook on the go! Doesn't that sound amazing?


Now, when we say portability, we're NOT ONLY talking about the SIZE  of the whole equipment.

Instead, what we're talking about is whether there are handles or wheels on the charcoal smoker to make it easier to transport.

Handles and wheels make the lives of charcoal smoker owners a lot MORE CONVENIENT. They can bring their equipment ANYWHERE they want and with ease!

Theseadd-ons won't give you trouble transporting the equipment from the backyard and into the garage.

This is UNLIKE an electric smoker, for example, where you'll need to have an outlet all the time. It doesn't make for the best outdoor buddy!


Price has always been a SIGNIFICANT FACTOR when it comes to making big purchases. And boy, oh boy, charcoal smokers is one heck of an expense you'll need to think about.

They cost slightly more than an electric smoker, which may put off some.

In general, charcoal smokers can be as affordable as $300 or as expensive as $10,000! They might even turn out cheaper than pellet smokers!

But with such a price tag, you're probably thinking, "That sounds insane! Who in the right minds would spend that much?"

As insane as it might sound, there are some charcoal smokers out there that come at a pretty steep price point because of their build, features, and quality.

But that doesn't mean all those in the affordable price range aren't any good.


You'd be surprised to find that there's a good selection of charcoal smokers out there that won't break your bank!

What Do We Recommend?

That being said, we recommend setting a budget for yourself and how much you're willing to spend for a charcoal smoker.

A $10,000 charcoal smoker might entice you because of all its fancy features! But if it exceeds your budget, maybe it's not a good idea right now.

Don't worry! You won't run out of charcoal smokers to choose from based on your budget.


Even the most affordable charcoal smoker out there ISN'T necessarily cheap. They still come with a pretty steep price tag but are comparably lower than higher-end models.

To get your money's worth, always make sure that the product you choose comes with a warranty[1]. The WARRANTY PERIOD can range for as short as five years and some longer than 20 years!

In case anything goes wrong with your charcoal smoker, you can have it repaired and checked by the manufacturer for free.

The Pros and Cons of Owning a Charcoal Smoker: The Secrets You Need to Know

  • Should you get a charcoal smoker?
  • Will it make a difference with how you cook?
  • What benefit will you get out of it anyway?
  • Aren't there cheaper alternatives?

These are just some of the questions people frequently ask themselves before finally taking the leap of faith and buying their very first charcoal smoker.

The Pros and Cons of Owning a Charcoal Smoker

Truth be told, charcoal smokers aren't for everyone, which is most likely why there's a number of people out there who tend to stay away from charcoal smokers.

On the other hand, some can't seem to take their eyes off the new and shiny charcoal smokers to hit the local stores.

Why? What is the buzz all about?

To answer all these questions, we've listed down all the pros and cons of charcoal smokers and why you should or should not have them.

Everything You'll Love About Charcoal Smokers

Let's start on a positive note and talk about everything we're sure you'll love about charcoal smokers.

Customizable to Your Needs

If you love tinkering with your grills and equipment, then we're sure you'll love tinkering with charcoal smokers.

You can customize every part to your liking to get the most out of your experience.

Long-time users of charcoal smokers know this for a fact, and it's one of the things they always look forward to!

Once they've set up their charcoal smoker to how they want it to be, they're all set to enjoy their masterpiece.

Plus, there's a variety of designs when it comes to your smokers!

You've got an option choosing a vertical charcoal smoker, traditional offset smoker, cabinet barrel smoker, and more! There's no limit to what you can do.

Flavorful Meats

Cooking with charcoal smokers packs A LOT OF FLAVORS! Ask around, and you'll know we're not just pulling your leg.

Flavorful Meats

There's always something about using charcoal when you cook. Picture this. Your meat slowly cooks over hot charcoal. Perfection!

You can always expect to get the most delicious flavor out of your meats, with a hint of smoky flavor each time.

Of course, you'll be drooling for more! Not to mention, the meat always comes out as juicy.


Portable and Ready for an Adventure

The beauty of using a charcoal smoker is that there's a variety of portable and lightweight smokers you can choose from.

Also, you won't have a hard time bringing this equipment around because it doesn't rely on any power source and only uses coal.

Do you plan to put your smoker on your lawn or bring it with you for an outdoor adventure?

All you'll have to worry about is bringing the coal, some lighter, wood of your choice, and your delicious cuts of meat.

A bit of a DISCLAIMER, though: Some smokers aren't as portable as others. What makes a smoker portable are the handles and the wheels on the stand. (We have some of the best smoker stands here.)

There are smokers out there which have neither, which makes transporting a tough job.

Versatile Cooking Experience

Who says smokers are limited to smoking meat? These days, you can find many versatile and multi-functional smokers, like a charcoal grill smoker combo, for example.


Versatile Cooking Experience


You can smoke, bake, roast, grill, steam, sear, and more! You aren't limited to just one use, which is excellent in the long run.

This allows you MORE FLEXIBILITY in terms of cooking and lets you enjoy a wide range of styles.

If you're a fan of experimenting and getting to know your equipment, we're sure you'll have a lot of fun getting to know the different abilities your smoker can do.

Of course, there are still many smokers out there that aren't multi-functional. Nevertheless, that DOESN'T mean they are inferior or not good at all.

Their use is just a bit limited as compared to using a charcoal grill smoker combo.

Minor Downfalls of Owning a Charcoal Smoker

Now that you've heard of all the good stuff, it's time that you also know about the minor downfalls that come with charcoal smokers.

If you'd ask us, these downfalls are pretty forgivable and are almost the same as what you can expect from other types of smokers.

Cleaning Takes Some Time

Some smokers out there are notoriously hard to clean, especially if they sport relatively large square inches of cooking area.

As a result, clean-up may sound like a burden, and people tend to procrastinate when it's time for the cleaning part.

Unfortunately, procrastinating isn't always the best for cleaning smokers because it may cause rust or deterioration on the cooking grates.

Cleaning Takes Some Time

This is why it's always best to start cleaning ASAP.

But yes, cleaning is a job people perpetually dislike, and probably for a good reason. Just think of all the charcoal and ashes you'll need to remove from the charcoal basket and all the drip on the water pan.

But, unlike electric smokers, you don't have to worry about ash getting all over you!

Not to mention, you'll need to do a thorough clean-up of the main cooking chamber to avoid rust and corrosion.

Luckily, not all smokers are hard to clean. Some come with features like having a removable ash pan, water pan, easy to clean grill grates, easy to wipe the cooking surface, and more!

And when you chance upon these smokers, consider yourself lucky. That's one less thing you'll have to worry about!

Has a Learning Curve

In general, most smokers are pretty easy to use and require a low learning curve. Nevertheless, there are still some grills/smokers that need some time to figure out.

If you just want to get straight to cooking, learning to use certain smokers may be CHALLENGING.

Why do you have to go through such a complicated process?

Part of the learning process also involves knowing how to control the temperature. This part can get a bit tricky and is a little frustrating at first.

Has a Learning Curve

Finding the right balance between high heat grilling and low and slow cooking seems to take you ages, but it is possible!

It may take some time to learn, but you won't have a problem anymore once you get the hang of it! Just place your coal and wood chips in, light it up, and set your meats to cook for that smoky flavor.

Needs Some Accessories

If you want a good set-up for your charcoal grill/smokers, accessories are essential. It'll help with making your life a lot easier in the long run!

However, not many people are fond of the idea of having to buy many accessories just for one charcoal grill. The thermometer, whistles, and bells seem reasonable, but the others don't make sense.

More importantly, SOME of these accessories don't come with an affordable price tag either. So some see this as a significant disadvantage.

It's a good thing that some charcoal grills/smokers already come with built-in accessories these days.

In general, here are some accessories you'd want to make sure that is already included in your package:

  • Built-in thermometer
  • Stainless steel hooks, or any material
  • Stainless steel cooking grates
  • Removable ash pan for your leftover charcoal
  • Water pan

Once you've got all these basics down, all that's left for you to do is get the fire started and put your coal and wood chips in.

Different Types of Smokers to Choose From

Make no mistake thinking that all smokers are the same. The world of charcoal smoking is one big and exciting one, because of all the different types of smokers you can choose from!

Drum Cookers aka Barrel Smokers

As its name suggests, drum cookers/ barrel smokers look a lot like drums where you store your water. One famous drum cooker you can find is the pit barrel cooker.

Drum Cookers aka Barrel Smokers

Now the pit barrel cooker is well-loved and well-received by a lot of people for many reasons. First, it's so easy to use because all you have to do is hang your meat, and let it cook.

As the juices of your meat drip inside the pit barrel cooker, it hits your charcoal which then emits this nice smokey effect.

And you can imagine how much smokey flavor is infused in your meats as you leave them inside your pit barrel cooker.

Another awesome thing about using barrel smokers is that you can more or less cook on each side. Because it's not laid flat on the grill, the heat is distributed evenly all around it.

Offset Smoker

You'll probably be confused when you see an offset smoker for the first time. Offset barrel smokers look, unlike other smokers, because of the external firebox.

The usual setup of smokers is that the firebox is usually found inside and under the cooking chamber. But NOT for offset barrel smokers!

At first glance, they look like your traditional grillers, when in fact, offset smokers are highly effective smokers, which many professionals love.

Because the firebox is OUTSIDE, you'll have to rely on indirect heat to cook your meats inside the cooking chamber.

Cooking time may take SLOWER than usual when you use offset smokers, but you'll taste the difference right after.

There's a variety of cheap and high-value offset smokers out there which you can check out!

Offset Smoker

Sure enough, you'll be able to cook a feast with your offset smoker, and we don't doubt you'll fall in love with it in no time.

Vertical Charcoal Smoker (Cabinet Smoker/Water Smokers

Vertical smokers (also known as cabinet smokers and water smokers) have been CROWD FAVORITES since time immemorial!

This cabinet smoker comes in a compact size, making it IDEAL for people with limited space.

As its name suggests, vertical cabinet smokers sport a vertical appearance.

  • The BOTTOM CHAMBER is where you'll find the water pan, firebox, and the like.
  • The UPPER CHAMBER of a vertical smoker is where you'll place your meats.

The beauty of using vertical smokers is that heat rises to smoke, cook, and steam your food. This makes sure your meats stay juicy during the long hours of cooking.

And the results? Perfection!

Besides being a cabinet charcoal smoker, vertical cabinet smokers are also often identified as water smokers.

And this is most likely because of its design, where the water tray is positioned over the charcoal box and your meats.

This produces consistent heat inside the cooking chamber of your vertical smoker. And once it's done cooking, you've got yourself one delicious cut of meat to enjoy.

A Recap of the Best Charcoal Smoker Picks

We've named five of the best charcoal grills/smokers you can find out there in this review. Rest assured, choosing any of those will give you the best experience for every moment imaginable.

A Recap of the Best Charcoal Smoker Picks

But of all those we've mentioned, there are THREE worth mentioning one last time:

  • Weber Smokey Mountain
  • Primo PGCRH Kamado Grill
  • Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill

Best Budget Pick:

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill

Looking for a budget-friendly charcoal grill that still gets the job done? Look no further by giving this Weber grill a try.

For starters, the additional features (built-in thermometer, cooking grates, ash pan) enhance your grilling experience and saves you tons of cash.

Why buy these separately when you can avail of them in this grill?

Also, its impeccable heat control ability maintains CONSISTENCY for your cooking chamber's temperature and your meat. 

There's no need to turn your grill on and off just to refill the coal supply.

Indeed, you cannot go wrong with a budget pick that offers these many benefits for your BBQ  picnic.

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill

Runner Up/Best Value:Primo PGCRH Kamado Grill

The Primo PGCRH may not be the cheapest kamado grill you'll find out there, but you can't deny the fact that you get to enjoy different cooking variations with this one.

Just think of it this way, you can bake, steam, sear, smoke, and many more, with this one! So the price of this one is pretty forgivable, all things considered.

If you're looking for all-in-one equipment you can enjoy for as long as a century, best believe this premium-grade ceramic kamado grill will give it to you.

Primo PGCRH Kamado Grill

Winner/Best Overall: Weber Smokey Mountain

The Weber Smokey Mountain comes out as the WINNER for this round-up review, and you can't get a better deal than this one.

This line offers various cooking sizes to make sure you find one that suits your needs.

Not to mention, the Weber Smokey Mountain comes highly recommended because of its superb functionality, being a griller and smoker in one!

And all this comes at a price tag you won't cry over.

It's so affordable, this griller/smoker is practically a STEAL! If there's a smoker you could take a chance on, it's this one!

Weber Smokey Mountain


Final Words

Nothing beats a flavor-packed and juicy meat that's been left to cook inside a charcoal smoker. But, of course, you'll have to try it out for yourself to taste all the juicy goodness we're talking about.

With all the different charcoal grillers and smokers we've named in this review, we're sure at least one of them caught your attention. So reward yourself and get your meat smoking!

Check out more of our guides for your grilling needs below:

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