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Which BBQ smoker box is best?

One thing that makes grilling stand out from other cooking methods is the smoky flavor. It’s so important that the addition of flavored smoke from seasoned wood has become an essential ingredient in many barbecuing recipes. To allow the wood to smoke, rather than quickly incinerate, you need a smoker box.

A smoker box should be durable and protect the wood chips from intense heat, allowing them to produce a thick smoke. We love Cave Tools’ Smoker Box for BBQ Grill Wood Chips for its rugged build and convenient size. To learn more about the features that make a great BBQ smoker box, keep reading.

Considerations when choosing a BBQ smoker box

Type of grill

The first thing to take into consideration is the type of grill you have. With a gas grill, you can control the temperature more precisely, so you have a much wider selection of smoker boxes to choose from. Since a charcoal grill burns hotter, you need a smoker box that can handle the heat. This leaves you with a more limited range of desirable options.


The two most common materials used in the manufacturing of smoker boxes are stainless steel and cast iron. Thinner stainless steel is best reserved for gas grills as it doesn’t hold up well to heat. Thicker stainless steel, however, is a great option for either type of grill because it’s durable, easy to clean, and corrosion resistant.

If properly cared for, cast iron is extremely durable and retains heat very well, making it a great option for any type of grill. It’s also slightly more affordable than stainless steel. The downside is that cast iron is more prone to corrosion.

BBQ smoker box features

Size and shape

Before you purchase a smoker box, be sure it will fit inside your grill. Some models sit on top of the grate and can take up a substantial amount of cooking space. Others are placed beneath the grate, so you need to be sure not to get a smoker box that’s too tall. Some grills have a designated space for the smoker box, so size is even more crucial. A V-shaped smoker box allows the smoker box to be conveniently placed between the flame deflector bars on a gas grill.

Hinged lid

A smoker box with a hinged lid is secure yet easy to open if you must add wood chips when the grill is already hot.

BBQ smoker box price

A low-end smoker box is available for less than $10. In this price range, models are thinner lighter-duty units. From $15-$20, smoker boxes are manufactured to better withstand higher levels of heat. For $20 or more, you can find durable, long-lasting models that may include a lifetime warranty.

BBQ smoker box FAQ

Q. Is soaking wood chips necessary?

A. The “smoldering” that happens from soaked wood chips is actually steam — the wood chips don’t burn until the water is gone. Soaking wood chips delays the burning process. It comes down to personal preference: if you like the flavor better when you soak your wood chips, soak them, and if you don’t, don’t soak them.

Q. How do I know when it’s time to add more wood chips?

A. The easiest way to determine if you need to add more wood chips is to watch the quality of the smoke. If it thins considerably, that means the wood chips are nearing the end of their effectiveness.

BBQ smoker boxes we recommend

Best of the best

Cave Tools’ Wood Smoker Box

Cave Tools’ Wood Smoker Box

Our take: A thick stainless-steel smoker box designed to be used with dry wood chips.

What we like: This is a large capacity model that allows you to produce thicker smoke for flavoring. The box features a hinged lid so it’s easy to access if more wood chips are needed.

What we dislike: Some users have trouble producing thick smoke, but the key to getting the best results is grill temperature and placement rather than any flaw in the product.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best bang for your buck

Cuisinart’s CSB-156 Wood Chip Smoker Box

Cuisinart’s CSB-156 Wood Chip Smoker Box

Our take: An affordably priced, compact smoker box that can be used with gas or charcoal grills.

What we like: At only 9 x 4 inches, this model fits in just about any grill. It’s designed to withstand warping and functions best with just a handful of pre-soaked wood chips.

What we dislike: The thinner materials used in manufacturing can allow the wood chips to heat up more quickly, so you need to cook low and slow for best results.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Charcoal Companion’s Stainless Steel V-Shape Smoker Box

Charcoal Companion’s Stainless Steel V-Shape Smoker Box

Our take: A V-shaped smoker box that sits between the flame deflector bars on most gas grills.

What we like: This smoker box is designed to be placed directly beneath the cooking grates so it can add the most intense flavor to your food. It features a hinged lid and is easy to clean.

What we dislike: Since this smoker box sits under the grate, it can be difficult to add more wood chips while cooking.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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