Best Charcoal Smoker For The Money

11 Secret BBQ Tricks From Grill Mas...
11 Secret BBQ Tricks From Grill Masters

Ask any proud owner of a charcoal smoker, and they will say that nothing beats a slice of meat cooked in this cooker. But apart from the flavorful meat, charcoal smokers have a lot to bring to the table.

So, how do you narrow down on the best charcoal smoker for the money? We set out on a mission to find that elusive charcoal smoker. Today we present the results to you. 

Best Charcoal Smoker For The Money

5 Best Charcoal Smoker For The Money

Are you just starting your smoking food journey?  Don't worry my young novice, i've got you covered. This is the list of the top electric smokers for people starting out.

  1. Pit Boss K22 Ceramic Charcoal Grill (top pick)
  2. Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker 
  3. Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Charcoal Grill 
  4. Pit Barrel Cooker Junior
  5. VISION Ceramic Kamado Grill

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

Pit Boss is a name to be reckoned with in the smoker world for its outstanding quality. The PBK22 comes with a kamado design and premium ceramic. Among the top features, we like about this grill are the shock-absorbing plunger and swivel casters that perform impressively. 

Moreover, the PBK22 has a cooking area of 573sq.inch, so you can quickly cook enough for a small party. Besides, the grill is portable too. A combination of dual side bamboo shelves and an ash tool kit also makes this grill very practical to use.  

Lastly, the PBK22 comes with a price tag that is not for everyone. However, this charcoal grill is worth checking out if you are looking to invest in one.

How to make a better choice

Are you planning to get your first charcoal smoker? Here's how to choose the best one. 


The five types of charcoal grills and their best uses are:

  1. Kamado – A vertical smoker, the kamado has an egg-shaped design. These are ideal smokers if you want versatility while cooking. Its unconventional appearance also makes a great conversation starter. 

  2. Vertical Cabinet – Like a small fridge, you might want to check them out if you love smoking your meat often. 

  3. Water or Bullet – This one closely resembles a bullet and is an excellent choice if you are on a budget. 

  4. Horizontal offset – These look very similar to an old oven and are great for those with some cooking experience. 

  5. Kettle Grill – A ubiquitous sight for outdoor cooking lovers, the kettle grill is an excellent choice if you plan to hone your grilling skills. 

Build quality vs. efficiency

When it comes to charcoal grills, the build quality and efficiency go hand in hand. Kamados are among the most efficient. However, charcoal grills that have sealing components such as gaskets are also very efficient. 

Budget vs. Price

Price does not translate to an outstanding performance when it comes to the grill. The best charcoal smoker for the money is one that works great without costing a fortune. 

What are the advantages/benefits?

Unrivaled taste

The meat smoked from a charcoal grill is something that other cookers cannot replicate. According to a Forbes report, up to 53% of grill owners in America prefer the charcoal category.


Charcoal grills are also among the most affordable ones making them very accessible. 


Most charcoal grills have a folding feature, which means you can take them wherever you go. 

What's the best way to use a charcoal grill.

As simple as it sounds, there are some top ways to use a charcoal grill so you get the most out of it. Take a look at the tips below.

The art of venting

Charcoal smokers do not come with dials and knobs for temperature adjustment. So learning to vent the smoker correctly is a necessity. 

Oiling the grate 

Consider oiling the cooking grate before you start cooking. It makes cleaning easy and also produces the best grill marks on the meat. In this regard, you might want to preheat the smoker as well. 

Know your wood

Apple, cherry, mesquite, and hickory are the classic choices for grilling and barbequing on a charcoal smoker. But feel free to experiment with different flavors as well. 

Alternate options for the best charcoal smoker for the money.

Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal Smoker
  • Your purchase includes: One Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker, Charcoal...
  • Item overall dimensions: 14.7" W x 14.7" D x 31.4" H. Item weight: 24 lbs
  • Cooking Grid Dimensions 13 1/2 X 13 1/2". Main Grilling Area 143 Sq....
  • Easy assembly required, instructions avaialable in User Guide attachment.

Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

This charcoal smoker has a cooking area of 286sq.inch and can reach 190oF. Moreover, the smoker has a very reliable construction with rust-resistant metal legs and steel-plated cooking grates. 

In addition, the built-in thermometer makes it easy to monitor how well your food is cooking. Furthermore, setting up this charcoal smoker is effortless too. 


  • Generous cooking area 
  • Well built components
  • Available in three sizes 


  • The access door on this side is substandard 

Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite
  • KAMADO CHARCOAL GRILL - Kamado style BBQ Grill & Smoker perfect for both...
  • LARGE COOKING AREA - 20 inch Cooking Diameter with 447 square inch total...
  • BEST IN CLASS FEATURES - Triple-Walled Steel Insulated Design, Cast Iron...
  • EASY TO USE & CLEAN - Control the heat levels with ease using the indexed...

Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Charcoal Grill

The E16620 Akorn is another kamado design grill with a temperature range of 200 to 700o F. It has a generous cooking area with 447sq.inch. But the best feature about this charcoal grill is the premium construction with 22gauge steel and coated steel. 

Besides, the addition of wheels means you can take this smoker on the go. Furthermore, the double insulation on this smoker is a feature worth pointing out. 


  • Fantastic build quality
  • Portable design 
  • Great cooking area


  • The lid on some units does not work efficiently. 

Pit Barrel Cooker Junior

This interesting-looking smoker might be the answer to your portable cooking dreams. Measuring 14 inches, you can fit the cooker into a car and take it anywhere to enjoy outdoor cooking. 

It measures 33 inches in height and 21 in width, which gives you a good space for cooking a large meal. The Cooker Junior also comes with a provision for multiple accessories that makes cooking all the more fun.



  • Good quality cooker
  • Lightweight and portable 
  • Multiple accessories option available 


  • Limited options for international shipping 

VISION Ceramic Kamado Grill

This charcoal smoker is an attention grabber with its bright red exterior. It also comes with excellent features, including a wide temperature range of 200 to 700oF. In addition, the heat retention of this ceramic charcoal is outstanding. 

Another of our favorite features is the wide cooking area of 596sq.inch. Besides, this ceramic smoker also has the best warranty in its class. This charcoal grill also comes in four sizes – compact, large, large deluxe, and XL Plus, which is just the cherry on top. 


  • Outstanding quality and construction
  • It comes in four different sizes
  • Wide temperature range 


  • The side wings/shelves need tuning before you use them.