When it comes to the question of smokers and which one is “best,” it totally depends on individual preference, expectations, and cooking style. The difference between electric smoker and propane smoker is like day and night but pointing out any significant difference is very difficult because between them there is no clear conqueror at all.
In this article, we will highlight the upsides and downsides as well as differences between electric smokers vs propane smokers that will help you to have better knowledge about them and to make your final decision easily.
Difference Between Electric Smoker Vs Propane Smoker
Ease of Use
Electric smokers are very easy to use. We have to just plug the smoker in, set our preferred temperature and start the machine. Therefore, it is perfect for beginner users who have less idea about smoking.
Propane smokers are easy to use as well, but they demand a bit more effort than electric smokers do. In a propane smoker, we have to control the temperature by monitoring the power of expelled gas. After controlling the temperature, the rest is easy. In addition, propane smokers regularly need the replacement of emptied gas tanks.
Both smokers can reach 300 degrees Fahrenheit that is the optimal temperature for smoking. However, the difference is, propane smokers can reach up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which will allow you to grill and sear your meat.
On the other hand, you can easily convert your electric smoker into a cold smoker. Moreover, these smokers can give you the chance to choose a lower temperature.
Electric smokers do not use an open flame, but inside the tool, there are heating elements that are connected to the digital panel that helps to maintain the temperature in the smoker. Therefore, it takes a little bit of time to be ready for the smoking process.
In this respect, propane smokers are staying ahead as they can start the smoking process within seconds after flaming the gas inside. For that reason, propane smokers need less time than electric smokers do to finish cooking.
Food Flavor, Taste and Smokiness
Both propane and electric smokers have no impact on food flavor and taste. The food smoked by electric smokers and that of propane smokers do not differ as much because they do not use wood as their heating source. Therefore, they failed to produce smoky flavor as charcoal smokers produce while cooking their food, and this is a great disadvantage of both smokers. However, nowadays, many manufacturers use wood chip trays in their electric and propane smokers so that they can produce smoke and able to add authentic smoky flavor on food in order to resemble that of charcoal smokers nearly.
Comparing the initial costs of both smokers, we can see that propane smokers initial cost is much lower than that of electric smokers.
Besides buying smokers, you also have to spend money on heating sources. If we consider long-term costs, electric smokers are costlier than propane smokers as electric smokers use electricity as power to keep them running. So while choosing a smoker, pay attention to not only its buying cost but also its operating cost.
Electric smokers are better at low temperatures. You can easily convert your smoker into a cold smoker by controlling its temperature, as it will allow you to choose a lower temperature that is perfect for cold smoking.
On the other hand, it is problematic for propane smokers to reach low temperatures. You can at most set 200 degrees Fahrenheit temperature, which is the lowest but not enough for cold smoking.
Smoking effectiveness also depends on weather situations. Electric smokers are usable in any outside spaces if there is apt electric accessibility, but if it starts raining outside, your smoker can’t be exposed to the water. Otherwise, your smoker’s electric component will malfunction, and it will no longer have the ability to work though they have good insulation.
Outside cooking is better with propane smokers, but they do not have insulation as electric smokers have and cannot stand raining either.
Portability is another matter of consideration before choosing the better one. In this regard, a propane smoker is better as it is ready to serve you anywhere if you just make the propane tank full, but electric smokers are unable to run where there is no power supply. So while going out, propane smokers are more convenient to carry with.
Electric smokers are the winner in this respect, as they do not pose any threat while being used because their mechanisms are hidden inside the machine.
In contrast, propane smokers are less reliable and may pose a genuine threat if the safety issues are neglected.
Both types of smokers offer interesting additions. “Which one is better?”- depends on different cooking situations and different preferences. So make your choice relying on your preference and get the most benefit.