Pellet Smoker Vs Electric Smoker

Do you want to compare a pellet smoker vs electric smoker? Are you unsure which one you should buy or which one is better for you?

Keep reading, and we will walk through some characteristics of these two kinds of smokers to help you make a final buying decision.

There are five elements that we will use to compare:

  • Flavor,
  • Ease of use,
  • Versatility,
  • Cost to buy,
  • Cost to operate.

Moreover, we will go through the definition of these smokers as well as their pros and cons. Let’s get started now! We don’t want to waste your time anymore.

What Is A Pellet Smoker?

A pellet smoker is one of the latest kinds of smokers today. As it is automated by electricity, it is a hands-off experience when using a pellet smoker.

Like an oven, the heat exudes by setting a digital or dial panel. The engine adjusts the speed based on the level of fuel needed to maintain the temperature.

A pellet smoker

Pellet smokers provide slow and low temperatures needed for thorough smoking. Beginning at around 180°F, you should not have an issue smoking any ingredient.

What Is An Electric Smoker?

An electric smoker is another kind of set & forget barbecue. However, instead of cooking by wood fire, electric smokers depend on the temperature from electric elements to cook food.

The heating part sits at a vertical box’s bottom. Above it, you can find a water pan, keeping the moisture of food.

An electric smoker

Electric smokers can hit the whole cooking chamber instead of putting attention to high temperature over any heating element. You would not expect to sear food in an electric smoker.

When heated, it will release smoke through a chamber for a light woody flavor. As powered by electricity, it can self-regulate the heat.

Pros & Cons

Take a look at some advantages and disadvantages of these kinds of smokers.

Pellet Smokers


  • Deliver intense smoke flavor
  • Set-and-forget
  • Also works as a grill
  • Available in various options
  • Low electricity consumption


  • More expensive
  • Extra expenses on wood pallets
  • Offer less internal space
  • Needed extra storage space for wood pallets

Electric smokers


  • More affordable
  • Need small amount of wood pellets and chips to create smokey flavors
  • Easy to clean due to fewer combustion residues
  • More internal space


  • Less intense smoke flavor
  • Sturdy and hard to move
  • Tend to make ingredients dry

Five key elements to compare

#1. Flavor

The flavor is the most important factor when choosing a suitable smoker based on your preference and demand.

Both pellet and electric smokers use electricity to heat. However, their temperature sources are not similar, resulting in all differences in terms of flavor.

Several wood pellets get burned to generate heat in a pellet smoker. Meanwhile, an electric smoker includes a box, a heat source, and several chunk trays or wood trays.

The element can heat the box and get the wood smoldering. There is no combustion in the process. The source is only the element, and all is hot air and water vapor. It is essentially an oven with steam and smoke.

In a nutshell, electric smokers make great-tasting food. However, let’s see what we can get with pellets before deciding which one is best for you.

Pellet smoker vs electric smoker

In pellet smokers, the element is utilized to ignite the wood to create smoke and heat. The source of heat is the wood pellet, not the electricity. We have all kinds of gases and solids.

Electric smokers generate steam, heat, and smoke, imparting flavor to the meat.

Nevertheless, pellet smokers produce heat and much solids and gases through combustion. These solids and gases are where the great flavor comes from.

When it comes to flavor, the difference is a key distinction between these two kinds. An electric smoker makes some juicy, fantastic, and tender food. Meanwhile, a pellet smoker imparts flavors.

#2. Ease of use

Both pellet and electric smokers are simple to use and demand little maintenance. You only need to set the temperature, load your meat, and wait for the desired temperature to be hit.

Undoubtedly, it does not get any easier than cooking with a smoker.

You will need to clean out ashes for pellet smokers after using, while electric smokers require you to take away the wood chunks.

#3. Versatility

Here is where electric smokers have several advantages. Electric smokers allow you to set and keep very low heat. In case you want to smoke nuts at 230 degrees F, you definitely can do it. It is, however, not possible with pellet smokers since they run very hot.

These smokers need electricity to operate, so there is no real difference in versatility.

That said, electric smokers are lighter and smaller than pellet smokers. It means the former is more portable than the latter.

If you want to load pellet smokers into a pick-up and take it somewhere, it is not a good idea. Meanwhile, the electric smokers are quite light and compact to move.

Pellet smoker vs electric smoker

#4. Cost to buy

It is a big difference between pellet smokers vs. electric smokers. While the electric version can be cheap, the pellet smokers are not too budget-friendly. They can cost more than a gas grill.

A decent pellet smoker costs above $700. This entry-level smoker is good to use and gets your job done. But this version doesn’t come with a sear box that provides you a nice char on steaks and burgers.

If you want a more advanced model, you need to spend more than $1,000.

Meanwhile, an electric smoker can cost under $100. It can run up to $500, but the cost will not exchange for the results.

The higher price of electric smokers comes with the benefits of larger capacity and higher durability.

#5. Cost to operate

Electric smokers use electricity and roughly 3-6 ounces of wood to generate smoke. Electricity is cheap, and that amount of wood can cost you a little for each cooking session.

For electric smokers, you can purchase wood from various sources throughout the country.

Pellet smokers use electricity to ignite pellets to create smoke. Without pellets, you cannot cook anything. A pellet smoker consumes around 1-2 pounds of pellets each hour, while an electric requires only 6-8 ounces each cook.

As mentioned above, electric smokers can run you a buck.

Final Thoughts

So you have gone through a comparison of a pellet smoker vs electric smoker. In short, regarding the meat flavor, the results you get from pellet smokers are undoubtedly better than electric smokers.

Nevertheless, pellet smokers are pricier than electric versions, and their operation cost is higher.

So if you want a hands-off smoker and don’t worry about space and budget, go for a pellet smoker.

Anyway, if you have any further questions, please feel free to let us know.

Thank you for reading!