MES 30-inch Gen 1 or Smokin-It' #1

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by mooch91, Nov 16, 2014.

  1. mooch91

    mooch91 Newbie


    As the subject says, which would you choose for your first electric smoker, with no intention to modify to make it work?

    I can "afford" either, just want to choose the right one.

    And can anyone confirm the cooking capacity of the two?  Very hard to tell from specs online.

  2. Are you looking for you first electric or your last electric?

    The MES 30 has more space. Personally I thought the #1 too small and bit the bullet and ponied up for the #2. Glad I did. 

    I do not own an MES, but from what I can tell from multiple posts on this forum, MES (and in particular the new generation) and Smokin-It smokers are in different leagues. Smokin-It smokers are tank quality, all stainless steel, very insulated commercial grade smokers. Again, I don't own an MES but my father does so I have been up close and personal with one. There is no comparison between the 2 in quality. Major heavy duty hinges and latches, excellent sturdy casters, just an all around tank of a smoker the Smokin-It is. 

    Having said that, you could still get decent Q from an MES, but in my very, very humble opinion its like comparing a Mercedes to a Ford. Nothing wrong with the Ford and for many the Ford may make more sense, but if money is not the issue.....well get the better quality one.

    One final bloviating thought and I will shut up: If you are prepared to go in the $300 range, I would bite the bullet and get the #2. Think in terms of over the next 20 years. The extra $100 or so won't be a blip on the radar in 2034!
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  3. mooch91

    mooch91 Newbie

    Here's what I'm seeing as benefits of one vs. the other, please let me know if I'm off base:

    Masterbuilt looks a little bigger than the Smokin-It.

    Masterbuilt has the ability to add wood chips without opening the door, Smokin-It does not.

    Masterbuilt has a higher wattage heater than the Smokin-It, by a lot.

    Masterbuilt is digital, Smokin-It is analog.

    Smokin-It is more than $100 more expensive than the Masterbuilt.

    Smokin-It looks a bit better built (all stainless) and has fewer negative reviews than the Masterbuilt.

    Normally the last item would be all I need to make the decision and buy the Smokin-It, but I'm trying to understand if the features offered by the Masterbuilt are ones I would need.
  4. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    My 2 cents

    Smokin' It #1 is kinda small

    MES 30 is a good price

    Smokin It #2 may be closer in capacity to the MES 30

    I just had a customer show me a MES 30 on sale for $149 incl. shipping

    So, for $149 I would go with the MES 30

  5. mooch91

    mooch91 Newbie

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    Can you comment about the ability to add wood or wood chips mid-smoke on the Smokin-It?  Can it be done without significant loss of heat?  Or is it even necessary?
  6. The SMokin-It smokers use chunks or chips. No need to keep adding when using chunks, which is what almost everyone using Smoking-It smokers use. Add a few nice chunks and you are done. It will smoke as long as you need which means you can go to sleep and not worry about adding chips. There is a chip insert for the smoker box if you so desire to use chips. 

    EDIT: BTW I use a AMNPS in mine for a lot of my smokes, and is great for cold smoking. 

    The higher wattage is not relevant. Its the efficiency of the smoker. The #1 is smaller and very well insulated and the element is more than sufficient. It will get to temp and fast. The element is adequately matched to the size and efficiency of the smoker.  

    Digital is nice if it works, but certainly not necessary. You can add a PID controller to any analog smoker and you will have a mega serious smoker. Auber PIDs are infinitely better than the digital controller that comes with the MES. This again costs more, but you can add it later if you so desire. 

    Again, the MES would not be a wrong choice, but trust me there is truly no comparison in quality. And yes, to get to the same capacity as the MES you would be spending more, but usually there is a reason. 

    I was simply surmising that if you were willing to drop $300 on a #1 then drop another $150 (a few more bucks for shipping too) and get a commercial grade smoker that you can will to your grandchildren when you pass into the great Smoker in the sky.

    But what is really important is that you embark on this Smoking journey with us no matter the tool used. 
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  7. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Don't get hung up on the digital vs. analog thing

    It's about accuracy and quality of the controller that really counts

    The inside of the MES is made of "Alumanized Steel", NOT stainless steel

    There's a sweet deal on a MES 30 at Tractor Supply
  8. mooch91

    mooch91 Newbie

    I saw the post about this, but can't find any Masterbuilt units sold at Tractor Supply when I go to their website.  Might be a regional thing.
  9. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I own the MES 30 Gen 1 model #20070910 which is digital. It has 730 sq. in. of cooking space (4 racks) and an 800w heating element. I did my research and didn't find any other good and reliable smoker on the market at its price point. I paid $189 over two years ago but today you can find it for $30-40 less. It's been a great investment and Masterbuilt customer service is wonderful and fully supports all their products.

    Like many others, I use the AMNPS instead of wood chips. Using the pellet smoker really upped my game and has enabled me to turn out great barbecue.

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