Fish smokers are an essential piece of equipment for anyone who loves fish. It’s not just about the big guns like salmon, trout, and tuna; you can also smoke catfish, sea bass, cod fillets, fluke fillets…you get the idea. There are so many types of fish to choose from!
The best part about it (besides eating) is that it’s super easy to do. Gone are the days where people have to wait until they get back home before they can enjoy their catch, as fish smokers allow you to cook your fish right after catching and keep it warm throughout the day.
The 10 best fish smokers on this list offer a variety of features, but all will leave you with a tasty meal that is ready in no time at all. Whether you’re looking for electric or gas models with different cooking styles, these are sure to please any fish lover’s needs.
But first, we’ll look at the 4 main different styles of smokers: Electric, Gas, Charcoal, and Wood Pellet Smokers.
These smokers use an electric heating element to the heating rod which helps distribute heat around the fish. There are a lot of benefits to these electric smokers, such as their easy-to-use interface and quick warmup time that allows you to cook at a moment’s notice. However, they’re known to have higher price tags than other models and can be limited when it comes to what types of fish they can hold (such as salmon).
Gas smokers use gas to heat pellets of compressed sawdust, which gives the meat a smoky flavor. Gas smokers are typically large and expensive, so they’re not your best choice for smoking just a small package of fish.
However, they’re large enough to fit bigger cuts of fish and can even produce smoked ribs or chicken with ease.
As one of the cheapest types of smokers, charcoal smokers are popular among beginners because it’s cheap and easy to find fuel for it (such as charcoal or wood chunks).
However, these can become very overwhelming during operation due to their need for constant attention. It also requires you to get your hands dirty by adding fresh coals throughout the cooking process; definitely not an issue if you’re outside in the wild but inapplicable for indoor use. It’s also difficult to produce the same amount of smoke you get from other types of smokers because there isn’t a steady flow of gas and heat.
Wood Pellet Smokers
This type makes use of compressed wood pellets that are pre-cut, making it quick and easy to cook your fish without having to worry about cutting them yourself. Just load up the hopper with wood pellets then turn on the smoker for it to work its magic.
They’re great if you want something that will do all the work for you, but they can be quite expensive as well.
Now that we know what kind of fish smokers are available to us, let’s take a look at the 10 best fish smokers available on the market.
1. Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker [Charcoal]
Our pick for the best fish smoker is this offset smoker from Char-Broil. It has a simple design that works well and has a charcoal heating element for easier control of temperature.
You can smoke your fish up to 24 hours after catching it, allowing you to keep your catch outside and cold without losing flavor or nutrients. Its large capacity ensures that you’ll have enough space to hold more than just some trout fillets (for those who go fishing with their friends). There is also ample space near the charcoal pan, so adding new coals won’t be difficult if your current ones start to die out.
This offset smoker is also great for beginners as it’s easier to operate than other types of smokers and the charcoal heating element ensures that you don’t have to do a lot of manual labor.
The only downside is that there’s no built-in thermometer, so controlling the temperature will be more difficult if your knowledge of smoking isn’t up to par with other types of smokers (such as gas or electric).
- Electric Heating Element
- Easy controls during operation
- Efficient Smoke Production
- Produces high amounts of smoke due to large vents
- Large Capacity
- Can fit bigger cuts of meat
- No Built-in Thermometer
- Makes controlling heat level more difficult
2. Master Built Sportsman Elite Electric Smoker [Electric]
If you’re looking to get more value for your money, we suggest that you check out this smoker from Masterbuilt. This is a sleek and stylish electric smoker that offers the same amount of space as other smokers but for just a fraction of the price.
It can hold up to 20 pounds worth of fish fillets at once in its four chrome-coated racks. This smoker also comes with an LED control panel so controlling heat level during operation should be easy; there’s even a built-in meat thermometer so cooking your fish shouldn’t be hard. You’ll also like how this unit comes with a removable porcelain wood chip tray that makes it easier for you to add more chips during operation and when cleaning.
This smoker keeps things simple so beginners might have an easy time using this product, plus there are a lot of features offered in this electric smoker that you can’t find in other types of smokers (like the LED control panel).
- Easy to Use
- Sleek Design
- LED Control Panel
- Produces high amounts of smoke thanks to large vents on the door and top vent cover
- Large capacity (20lbs of fish fillets)
- Reasonable price for the features offered
- Removable wood chip tray for easy maintenance and adding more chips during operation
3. Bradley 4-Rack Digital Electric Smoker [Electric]
This electric smoker boasts of an easy-to-use LCD control panel with an LED temperature monitor so controlling heat level during operation should be simple. The digital thermostat has also been pre-calibrated for accurate smoking and cooking – just input the type of meat or fish you are going to smoke and the optimal temperature required is automatically set for you.
For your safety, this product comes equipped with automatic door locks for the wood chip tray so there’s no way it will accidentally open during operation; the same goes for the viewing window as well. It can hold up to 4 racks at once (for around 16 pounds worth of fish fillets) and it works using a single 1200 watt heating element.
This smoker produces high amounts of smoke thanks to its large wood chip tray with a built-in fan. It has an automatic thermostat with pre-set temperature control so using this electric smoker will be just like using a convection oven – but without all the bells and whistles. If you love smoked fish, you’ll have no problems cooking up dishes in this unit due to its simple design and great features.
- Pre-calibrated digital thermostat for accurate temperature control
- Easy to use LCD panel with LED temperature monitor
- Automatic door lock for the wood chip tray (to prevent accidental opening during operation)
- Viewing window (so you could monitor your cooking progress without opening the door often)
- Holds up to 4 racks at once for more cooked fish and meat
- Works using a single 1200 watt heating element so it’s energy-efficient
- Produces high amounts of smoke thanks to its built-in fan
- Because of its size, storing this may be a problem if you have other appliances in your kitchen.
- During operation, it tends to produce quite some noise that can be irritating especially during nighttime.
4. Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker [Charcoal]
The Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker is one of the best smokers for fish because it is compact, lightweight, and has a vertical heat configuration. It operates at only 75% of the fuel cost of a typical smoker.
Its side firebox offers more cooking space and the chrome-coated grates are easy to clean. This model also comes equipped with dual damper controls, which help control the heat and smoke.
The Dyna-Glo vertical offset smoker is a great investment for people who love to grill or smoke food. It has adequate cooking space and is lightweight enough to be carried by one person.
To top it off: The door opens easily so you don’t have to work hard to get your fish in the smoker or take them out when they’re done.
- Vertical heating configuration for less fuel consumption
- 5/8 inch diameter cooking area
- Lightweight – only 119 lbs.
- Vertical offset design for easy transport
- Not the most durable construction
- Can only accommodate 3 fillets
- Has a slow cooking time
5. Char-Broil Vertical Charcoal Smoker [Charcoal]
This smoker operates using charcoal briquettes. As opposed to popular belief, a lot of users agree that using charcoal for smoking has its benefits as well especially when it comes to retaining flavor and keeping food moist.
One drawback is that you’ll have to add coal every now and then to keep the heat up which means monitoring for longer periods of time than other smokers would require. Also, as with any unit that uses charcoal, you’ll have to get a separate lid when it starts raining or snowing. A lot of users agree that this is definitely a great all-around smoker for any type of fish and comes at an affordable price.
- Retains flavor and keeps the food moist
- Great for barbeques as well
- Requires more attention to adding coal than other smokers
- No thermal checker
6. Royal Gourmet Charcoal Smoker [Charcoal]
This is one of the most basic and affordable smokers on the list while being perfect for smaller families who don’t want to leave their food unattended for too long. It’s made out of stainless steel which makes it durable even if left outside in bad weather as well as easy to clean after every use.
The cooking grate can hold up to about 5 pounds which may not be enough for some but should work for smaller fish. The downside is that you’ll have to carefully adjust the charcoal every once in a while or else it won’t keep the heat up for long enough to smoke your food properly.
Additionally, there is no thermometer included which may be an inconvenience to some users. However, many people claim that this smoker works perfectly and should definitely be on your list if you don’t have a lot of space at home and want something affordable.
- Made out of stainless steel
- The cooking grate can hold up to about 5 pounds
- Requires careful adjustment of charcoal getting too much/ not enough heat
- No thermometer included
Related: 10 Best Fish To Eat For Protein
7. Char-Broil Vertical Gas Smoker Black [Gas]
The Char-Broil Vertical Gas Smoker is one of the best gas smokers for fish because it uses a cooking surface that’s almost as big as 7 cubic feet. It has 5 adjustable chrome cooking grates with 2 ½ inches in between each.
It uses liquefied propane gas, has a deep smoke flavor with the help of its own side burner, and comes equipped with a catalytic converter.
This is one of the nicest and easiest ways to smoke fish since it’s so easy to put together and use. People who have purchased this model claim that it works like a charm and does an amazing job at keeping food moist even when it’s cold outside. It has great adjustable venting systems as well which makes controlling heat very easy.
Unfortunately, there are not enough side handles to carry the entire unit by yourself comfortably and many users complain about that.
- Cooking surface almost as big as 7 cubic feet
- Preheats well (can reach 300° F within 15 minutes)
- 5 adjustable chrome cooking grates w/ 2 ½ inches in between them
- Comes equipped with w/a catalytic converter for a deep smoked taste
- Some users claim it takes a long time to put together
- No side handles to carry the unit
8. Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill Smoker [Wood Pellet]
This smoker uses pre-cut small wood pellets. You can adjust the number of pellets you put into the smoker; less to create more smoke. There’s built-in temperature control so you don’t have to worry about getting your food taste that telltale burnt flavor.
The construction is solid – made from heavy gauge steel and cast iron materials with sturdy cooking grates, accurate sensors, and a digital ignition system. It has a 2-year warranty and free shipping.
There are tons of benefits in using this model which include being able to use different kinds of wood chips for better-tasting fish thanks to its huge pellet hopper. The Z Grills Wood Pellet Smoker also uses electronic controls instead of wires or dials so there are fewer parts that can break or get damaged.
Unfortunately, the Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill Smoker is a very expensive machine and it’s only compatible with Z Grills wood pellets which you need to purchase separately from them. It also doesn’t come with any covers or lids for extra protection.
- Uses pre-cut small wood pellets
- Heavy gauge steel and cast iron materials with sturdy cooking grates
- 2-year warranty + free shipping
- Very expensive
- Only compatible w/ Z Grills wood pellets which you need to purchase separately from them
9. Master Built Digital Electric Smoker with Window [Electric]
The first thing that you’ll notice about this machine is how big it is. The construction is high-quality steel and can hold up to 7 racks at a time. It has an electric power source so you don’t have to worry about loading up anything manually. There’s also an integrated temperature gauge, top and bottom dampeners, and front door thermometer as well.
This smoker does an exceptional job on any meat whether it be chicken, fish, or beef for 6-7 hours without needing to recharge. Even though it’s a bit pricey, it’s worth every penny and can last for years to come.
- High quality steel construction capable of holding up to 7 racks at a time
- Electric power source
- Top & bottom dampeners and front door thermometer
10. Smoke Hollow 4-in-1 Grill, Burner & Smoker [Gas, Electric, Charcoal]
This smoker comes completely assembled so you don’t have to worry about putting together all the parts yourself. With four separate temperature control settings, this unit allows you to cook anything from poultry and meats to vegetables. It comes with an adjustable vent as well which gives you the ability to control the smoke and heat levels.
It offers four different styles of cooking gas, electric, charcoal, and burner. There are also 2 side handles included for easy portability like when you need to bring it out onto your porch or patio.
The Smoke Hollow 4-in-1 Gas Smoker comes with an over-door mounted thermometer so you don’t have to worry about opening up the unit every few minutes just to check on the temperature inside.
- Completely assembled
- 4 separate cooking settings
- Built-in charcoal/wood chip loader
- 2 side handles included for portability
- Over door-mounted thermometer
11. Green Mountain Electric Wood Pellet Grill [Wood Pellet]
The Green Mountain Daniel Boone is one of the more expensive models on this list but that’s because it uses a pellet-burning system to create all the smoke you’ll need for your foods.
It can hold up to 8 fillets at a time with its generous cooking surface area and comes with electronic sensors that modify the temperature depending on how much food is inside. There’s also an automatic wood feeder which allows you to have less work to do while cooking out. You don’t have to worry about refilling any tanks with this model either because it’s integrated into the smoker.
- Pellet burning system
- Holds up to 8 fillets of food at a time
- Integrated automatic wood feeder
- Large cooking surface area
- Very expensive compared to other models on this list
- Requires electricity for proper use
12. Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill [Wood Pellet]
This smoker is perfect for cooking fish, turkey, venison, and other large-sized meats or vegetables. The Camp Chef uses a wood pellet burning system to provide all the smoke that’s needed without having to get extra fuel from propane tanks or charcoal. It comes with 519 sq inches of grilling area which can hold up to 22 burgers at a time while being heated by 12000 BTUs of power.
With two chrome-plated cooking grids, you’ll be able to have complete control over your food as it cooks through. There’s also a built-in meat probe thermometer so you don’t have to worry about leaving this unit unattended for long periods of time.
- Wood pellet-burning system for proper smoke production
- The large cooking surface area with 12000 BTUs of power
- Built-in meat probe thermometer
- Two chrome-plated cooking grids
- Expensive compared to other models on this list
- Requires electricity in order to work properly
What Is A Good Temperature To Smoke Fish?
This depends on the desired texture of your finished product. For a traditional texture, consider smoking at around 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 2-3 hours, or until the meat pulls away from the bone with ease. For a more modern smoked fish, cook it closer to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour or less.
Can You Smoke Any Kind Of Fish?
Yes, but some are better suited to smoking than others. The best fish to smoke are those with a high-fat content which will turn into a rich golden-brown finish when smoked. Fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, tuna, trout, and bluefish all work well.
Is Smoked Fish Healthy?
Yes, smoked fish is healthy. In fact, it often cuts down on the excess salt and fat content that might be included in unprocessed or canned fish. You can eat smoked fish as part of a nutritious diet as well.
How Do You Know When Fish Is Done Smoking?
The best way to determine whether or not the fish is done smoking is to use a digital probe meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the fish. Previously, you would watch for a thin whitish liquid seeping from the two holes from the top of the smoker.
However, this method has been shown to be inaccurate on some models and hard to see against certain wood types. If you don’t have access to a probe thermometer, check if dripping ceases after about 15 minutes and then carefully reach in with a fork or tongs and poke it. If fish bends without breaking apart, it’s done cooking.
How Much Should Be The Optimal Temperature Of Smoked Fish?
The interior temperature will be around 150-165 degrees Fahrenheit when smoked if smoked appropriately for 2-3 hours at 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit.
The internal temperature will be around 165-180 degrees Fahrenheit when smoked if smoked appropriately for 1 hour at 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Which Types Of Fish Work Well For Smoking?
Fish that work well include whitefish and bass. However, these two are often best with hot smoke instead of cold smoking. Hot smoking is often done around 180 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’ll take less time to complete than other fish types.
How Do I Keep The Fish From Falling Apart When Smoking?
To prevent the fish from falling apart while smoking, first make sure it’s completely defrosted before placing it in the smoker. Then, after you apply your desired seasoning (some prefer just salt and pepper), sprinkle a light coat of lemon juice onto the fish before placing it in your smoker.
Does It Matter What Wood I Use When Smoking Fish?
Yes, wood does matter when smoking fish. Different types of wood smoke at different temperatures, so use a high-heat tolerant variety like hickory if you want to smoke at higher temperatures or applewood if you want a sweeter, milder flavor. Avoid softwoods like pine and cedar because they can produce an unpleasant taste over time. Also, avoid resinous woods like pinewoods since they can cause the fish to become bitter and oily.