Help Deciding on my Next Smoker

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by paulydaturk, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. Hey everyone I'm new here and haven't waded through all of the posts about smokers as of yet, so forgive me as I'm sure some thoughts on this are in the forum somewhere.  

    My folks just gave me some money as a graduation gift (finally finished college, only took 20 years) and told me that they didn't feel comfortable buying the smoker I had on my wishlist for me.  Between that and some Amazon gift cards, I have $160-$180 to go towards a new smoker.  My loving wife has actually agreed to let me buy a new one since it won't cost us any of our money, but I'm now at a loss as to which way to go.  I currently user a Charcoal water smoker, and have been happy with it, except I would like more space, and the ability to close the vents at the bottom if needed. (My model has 3 fairly large holes under the fire pan and doesn't allow for any adjustment.) I'm really at a loss between a CharGriller 1224 ($200), a dual fuel vertical smoker ($175ish), or an electric Char Grill ($135ish).  

    Any suggestions or experience you have with these or other smokers in the price range would be greatly appreciated. 

  2. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Honestly? Save the money you have and a Butt Load of Aggravation and skip all of your choices. Save up and when you have $400 in cash and Amazon credit, that won't be missed, get the 22" WSM or one of the other quality gas or electric smokers in that price range. What you are looking at will require a bunch of modification to get to run marginally at best. You will spend time and hair pulling trying to get anything cooked and then have to talk the Mrs' into letting you have $400 to get a decent smoker...Below is a story from a member who got a great deal on a similar smoker to what you are considering...JJ
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  3. phatbac

    phatbac Smoking Fanatic

    I totally agree with Chef Jimmy J! if you wanted to get your feet wet with 200 you could get a WSM 14.5 off amazon i think for about $200 or a WSM 18.5 for $300 (i havent looked in a while) but really a $180 smoker from like a big box will just disappoint you and your smoking experience.

    I am saying this from someone who used to fight with a char-broil offset and i think in the process almost turned my wife off from smoked food in general. Once i purchased a WSM 22.5 i started making better food and had a lot better smoking experience and fun. 

    I hope you get the smoker you like!

    Happy Smoking,

    phatbac (Aaron)
  4. I had actually gotten to that point last night, and was frustrated because I couldn't find anything that I liked for the money.  

    Was thinking about doing a WSM Mini build just as something to do, as well. 

    I did just look at this: 

    It looks pretty solid and appears that with RTV and some gasket around the door may be a decent buy.  I didn't see it on the reviews on here so I'm not sure if anyone here has any experience with it.  
  5. phatbac

    phatbac Smoking Fanatic

    I personally haven't used a dyna-glo but i have seen many people on here have them (search with the magnifying glass for dyna-glo) i know you need seal up the dyna -glo when assembling it because like any smoker at that price you get major smoke leakage.. If you can gasket it up and use some high temp silicone etc it might not be bad. 

    Just understand asking which smoker to buy is like asking which car to buy and unfortunately you had a smaller budget and asked if you should buy a Pinto or a Gremlin and so realize anything you get at that price point will be harder to use and won't work as well. IF you can invest some money into sealing and modifying the dyna glo you could have a nice setup but by the time you invested the time and money you prob could have had a WSM 18.5" or a smaller MES Electric smoker.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Happy Smoking,

    phatbac (Aaron)
  6. My current smoker is similar to a WSM and does a good job, I just hate having limited access to the lower rack, of course, this is not a huge deal as I really only ever smoke one item at a time... Maybe I'd be better off buying adjustable vents to attach to the bottom holes in the cooker rather than investing in a new low budget smoker. 

    Thanks for all the feedback. 
  7. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm with the WSM crowd. Watch your local Craigslist they show up on occasion at a cheaper price used. I found a brand new 22 inch one in the box for $200. You might also run across some home builds that may be better than any of the lower end ones your looking at.

    Don't get too frustrated and keep looking. Good luck in your search.
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The Dyna-Glow looks like the best choice so far...Good luck...JJ
    paulydaturk likes this.
  9. I'm on the fence... I figure I can get my money back out of it if I don't like it. Truthfully, anything I buy will technically be an upgrade because I bought the current one for $10 off of a Facebook yard sale page.  If I buy, I'll post a review of how it does.  I'm running out of time if I want to use it this weekend, and may just stay with what I have until next week. 
  10. After searching Dyna-Glo and seeing some of the mods and set ups that people have used with this smoker, I decided that the Dyna-Glo was the best option and have ordered it as well as RTV sealant and Nomex gasket material for the doors.  I'll be assembling and seasoning it this weekend while I cook on the other smoker.  

    The next question is: Will my wife let me keep both the new and the old? My gut tells me no... which means I'm going to build a Mini WSM when she's not paying attention... I wonder how she'll feel about a Philadelphia Eagles themed smoker in the back yard during Football season... 
  11. Since switching to a kamado style I'm loving it. There's supposed to be a mini Akorn coming this summer for $150 but you can probably find the full size ones for $200 on clearance.
  12. So... I ordered the Dyna-Glo from Amazon.  It was supposed to arrive by Friday evening.  I've been watching the tracking and noticed that it had not been scanned since arriving at the Raleigh UPS facility.  So... yeah my expectation of having the smoker this weekend to season for Easter cooking has been pretty low.  

    Got home from work, no smoker... left to play a gig and got back at midnight - no smoker 

    So I contacted Amazon about this and was told sorry nothing I can do until Monday when we can ship a replacement.  After a long conversation during which I almost lost my cherub like demeanor, I was given a 10% refund for the inconvenience.  All of that is to say, if the thing ever shows up, I'll have gotten it for $138.  If it doesn't show up, I'm going to have a roll of nomex and tube of RTV and nothing to do with them. 

    Bigger question, how does UPS lose a 70 lb box?
  13. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    That stinks. But it only takes a couple of hours to season the smoker. There still is time if it arrives this week. Speaking of UPS losing a 70lb Box. I guy I grew up with was a supervisor at the local hub. One night they stopped operations for 2 hours while all hands searched for a missing package. They were a week late delivering a $150,000 ingot of Platinum. The 10 pound block of Platinum was eventually found...It was being used to hold open the Lunch/Break Room Door!!!...[​IMG]...JJ
  14. I'm currently talking to Amazon about cancelling the order so I can reorder it.  They're telling me that no matter how they issue the refund it will take 1-2 business days minimum even if they put it to Amazon Gift Card (Which I'm ok with since I'm gonna reorder.)  There is no easy way around this. On top of that the price of the smoker is now 170 vs. the 153 I paid for a Like New open box... Moral of the story, don't order big stuff from Amazon...
  15. valleypoboy

    valleypoboy Smoke Blower

    Big stuff or small stuff, they are going to lose a package from time to time. I've probably received 400 packages from amazon in the past year. They lost 1. It was a medium size package with a pillow and other small things.
  16. This is actually the first one they've not gotten to me on time.  I'm more mad at UPS than I am Amazon.  Good news is that the smoker arrived today and Amazon is doing right by this customer.  I'll be assembling tonight and seasoning tomorrow.  

    Next question -  should I plan on purchasing a cover for the smoker, or is that a waste of money?


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