Vertical vs Horizontal Smoker: What Are the Different Types?

There are a lot of things that you should consider when buying a smoker grill. One of these things is vertical vs horizontal smoker.

Vertical vs Horizontal: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between a vertical and a horizontal smoker is where the smoke and heat source is located in the cooking chamber.  

A vertical model has the smoke and heat source located directly below the chamber. The source of heat is usually located in the same area as the food. This means that food cooks faster.

The vertical model might be ideal for some food but not all type of foods will require a lot of heat to cook. Besides, it is much easier to vary the temperature inside electric and gas models than a charcoal smoker.

Another thing, there are more models and sizes available for electric and gas vertical smokers when compared to horizontal ones.

A horizontal model has a smoke chamber located on the side of the food chamber. This chamber is a few inches below the cooking chamber. The chamber is referred to an offset smoke chamber.

The benefit of a horizontal model is the temperature inside the cooking chamber – it remains lower, leading to a tasty BBQ which cooks slowly. These smokers main come in the form of hardwood and charcoal models.

Different Types of Smoker Grills

There are different types of horizontal and vertical smoker grills that we will look at.

  • Vertical water smokers (vertical) – They are the cheapest models and are easy to use. These models are recommended for newbies but they lose a lot of heat.
  • Offset smokers (horizontal) – They have a simple design but are large than vertical models. These models are of high-quality but a bit hard to operate.
  • Box smokers (vertical) – They are easy to operate and are spacious enough. You can depend on these models to provide a tasty BBQ but some brands are lowly made.  
  • Drum smokers (vertical) – They are the most advantageous smokers on the market today but are ugly. These models are also affordable and have a bigger cooking surface.
  • Smoker ovens (vertical) – They are on the high-end of BBQs and feature computer controls. As you might have guessed, they are quite expensive but very convenient.
  • Kamado grills (vertical) – They are ideal for slow and low cooking which makes them great smoker grills. These models reach high temperatures of over 400 degrees but are quite expensive.
  • Pellet grills (horizontal) Wood pellet grill reviews will tell you that these models use wood pellets as fuel. They are used for smoking and grilling meat. They wear easily due to their many moving parts.
  • Electric smokers (vertical) –These are boxes or vertical smokers with hot plates. They don’t produce any smoke and that means there is no smoke flavor.


Vertical and horizontal smokers have their own strong and weak points. Of important choose a model that will provide you with the taste you want. Pellet grills smokers will provide the best smoke flavor.