It’s thought that smoking was discovered accidentally by early hominins in the paleolithic era which is around about the same time they developed the very first ideas of spirituality.
This means that smoking of food lines up with our first realization of and inquests into the very nature of existence. That’s how old it is!
The consensus is that when early humanity discovered fire, they lived in crude huts and caves with poor ventilation.
They’d set their food to rest inside these smoky retreats to keep it safe from pests, and when it was time to eat, they’d find the flavor had been infused with scents of the smoke.
Since then, smoking food has come a long way, and one of the companies at the forefront of modern smoking technology is Masterbuilt.
Their innovative and aesthetically pleasing designs take that serendipitous prehistoric discovery and contemporize it in an enjoyable and distinguished manner.
Whether you’re a seasoned smoker or simply flirting with the idea of smoking your own food, you’re in the right place.
We’re going to be reviewing five of the very best 40-inch Masterbuilt electric smokers currently available.
We’re even going to run through a quick buyer’s guide and FAQ section so you have all the information you need to set sail on your own smoky odyssey.
Who are Masterbuilt?
Masterbuilt was started in 1973 the way all good businesses are, as a family venture. It all began when Dawson McLemore decided to build a fish cooker with his family in his backyard.
Now, Masterbuilt is an industry leader bringing innovative ideas and high-quality materials together to produce some of the most technologically advanced barbecuing products the world has ever seen.
Got Food Going Bad?
Here’s our top pick right here, so you can get stuck right in.
Our winner after 35+ hours of research
Best 40-Inch Masterbuilt Smokers - Comparison Table
Best 40-Inch Masterbuilt Smokers - Our Reviews
The seraph of smokers at our number one spot, this 40” digital smoker brings the ancient technique seamlessly into the present with some truly epic design elements.
Masterbuilt’s patented side wood chip loading system lets you insert your smoky woods without opening the main door, maintaining heat and preventing the escape of precious smoke.
The walls are around ¾ “ thick, the top, 1 ½ “, and the door is roughly 2” thick, and it’s well insulated.
This doesn’t just mean that it holds heat really well, but the external surfaces don’t overheat, posing a burn risk.
Watching the serpentine coils of smoke work their magic on your food through the window is nothing short of mesmerizing.
It is going to dirty after a couple of smokes, but as long as you keep on top of maintenance, it should be an enjoyable feature.
You get four chrome coated smoke racks with this particular smoker providing enough space to smoke six chickens simultaneously.
The digital control panel allows you to turn the smoker on and off, easily set or modify the temperature, and set a timer.
Our second product is another fantastic smoke storm in a box ready to take your culinary exploits to new heights.
Let the barbecue commence!
This really is the future of smokers. Everything can be controlled by the built-in Bluetooth capabilities.
Simply connect your smartphone up and you can smoke from a remote location at least 20 feet away.
One of the main issues people encounter when cooking on a smoker after having barbecued is knowing when their meat is cooked through.
Well, this smoker comes with a built-in probe so you’ll never have to worry about undercooked anything.
Another great feature is the mild lighting that kicks into action when you open the door.
Not only does this shine through the smoke making your patio look the set of a 90s music video, it gives you instant visuals on your food.
So, if you fancy some after dark smoke sessions, this is the smoker for you.
Similarities between this smoker and our number one spot include the patented Masterbuilt side loading chip recess, thick walls and door, a window panel, and 4 smoke racks.
This one, however, comes in a lovely silver finish.
Our third smoky grill feature is quite similar to our second pick but comes in at a slightly lower price point.
At 35”, it’s a little smaller as well.
You can still fit a hearty feast of six chickens, two turkeys, four racks of ribs, or four pork rumps in this smoker. Lovely!
You get the fantastic smart Bluetooth control and a digital panel for manual tweaking.
You get four high-quality smoker racks, the revolutionary side loading chip system, and an interior light for piercing through the smoke when you open the door.
And don’t forget the built-in thermometer for precision cooking.
The LED lighting on the digital display can be a little hard to read in bright daylight, but as long as you have the Bluetooth app, everything will be clear and you’ll remain in control.
You should also take care of the chip loader as it may be hard to source a replacement at the minute.
They’re sold out on the Masterbuilt website.
Our next dragonish smoke breather is an analog option with a powerful 1500-watt heating element ideal for hot smoking.
This smoker is a windowless design, opting instead for the very witchy full cauldron-black finish.
A lot of people prefer a windowless design as it requires less maintenance.
While analog electronics are much cheaper and aren’t quite as flash, we actually prefer them on a smoker, especially one with a charming antiquated aesthetic such as this one.
Capacity might put you off a little in this case.
Yes, it’s a 40” smoker, but where our other pick oven spaces went all the way to the ground, this smoker sits on supporting legs, leaving you with a three rack smoke space.
That translates to roughly three chickens at a time.
Where this smoker excels is the chipping capacity and heating element.
Rather than the sideloaded system, you have a central tray loading system that can fit far more chips in, so you won’t need to replenish quite so often with this design.
This is the perfect smoker for a beginner.
It’s quite a bit smaller than our other picks, but that’s reflected in the price, and what it lacks in capacity, it makes up for in charm.
Our final smoke slinger is another leg-mounted design, so you can expect a slightly diminished capacity, but this time, it retains the much desired four rack layout.
What we love about this smoker is the patented custom smoke function.
It offers you five different smoke styles, regardless of temperature, allowing you to get even more creative with your food.
The 800-watt heating element is capable of temperatures between 70 and 270 degrees, meaning it’s capable of cooking your food through a hot smoke, but it's also perfect for cold smoking pre-cured meats.
Rolling this thing out when you feel like having a smoke has never been easier thanks to the two rear wheels and ergonomic handle, which is great as it’s quite a heavy unit, weighing in at 98.7lbs.
If you’re a beginner or intermediate smoker searching for something you won’t outgrow too quickly, the internal accessory ports should go a long way in keeping the experience fresh and exciting.
You can add side trays or even a rotisserie accessory.
As far as similarities go, you can expect the state of the art digital and Bluetooth controls, a built-in thermometer with four probes, and a side-loading wood chip tray.
This model does seem to arrive damaged more often than any other and we’re not entirely sure why.
Perhaps Masterbuilt needs to look into the packaging.
If it’s an option, it’s definitely worth paying a little extra for a super secure delivery.
Best 40-Inch Masterbuilt Smokers - Buyers Guide
Let’s have a look at some of the criteria you should be considering before you settle on a new smoker.
Coming up with a rough budget will guide you in the right direction when you begin your search.
From there you can build up a good understanding of what features you can expect at different price points.
A smoker with a powerful heating element isn’t necessarily better than a midrange element.
200 - 230 degrees tends to facilitate the best smoke, so as long as your element can handle that, it should be fine.
We’d suggest looking for one that maxes out a little over that so you’re not always pushing it to its limits.
You should also consider a heating element's base temperature. Cold smoking is done between 68 and 80 degrees.
It imbues the food with smoky goodness but doesn’t cook it. Many who like to cure their own meat prefer cold smoking to cooking and smoking their food simultaneously.
Chip Loading System
Most Masterbuilt smoker designs feature their patented side loading chip recess which is an awesome bit of engineering.
The only problem we can find with it is that you’re pretty limited in terms of load size. Smoking is a slow process.
Sometimes it can take all day. You’re going to have to replenish that little loader quite a few times per smoke.
If that sounds like a nuisance to you, you should look into smokers with larger chip trays or boxes.
Our fourth pick has a well-designed front-loading tray that has a larger chip capacity as well as being sturdier than the side loader.
If you want even larger chip capacities, it might be best to look at different brands or even larger Masterbuilt smokers.
Chip loading style is a matter of preference, but what we do advise is that you look for a smoker that allows you to remove and insert the loader without opening the smoker door as you’ll lose temperature and smoke content.
Right, we know you’re looking for 40” smokers, but how wide and deep do you want your smoker to be? You may need to keep it in storage or fit it into an already packed exterior design.
It’s best to take some accurate measurements of possible storage spaces to make sure you can accommodate the one you’re interested in.
Most Masterbuilt smokers come with rear wheels and a handle to make transportation as easy as possible, but some of these smokers are incredibly heavy.
If you’re opting for a really heavy design, it might be worth picking out a permanent resting place for it on your patio or in your garden.
How much food do you want to smoke in one session?
For a 40” smoker, you’re most likely to find a 6 - 16 chicken capacity. That’s a pretty wide range so make sure you’re double-checking the dimensions of each smoker.
A four rack layout is perfect for a 40” smoker.
It offers enough space between levels to fit larger food items.
Legs are great for stabilizing the smoker on a wide array of different surfaces; however, the more leg you have, the less capacity you get.
Safety should be a priority with any kind of cooking appliance. It’s good to check customer reviews for any instances of fires or injuries involving a smoker.
Smokers need to be rested on a non-flammable surface, far away from any items or structures that could be affected by heat or a possible fire.
If you don’t have an appropriate space for a smoker, under no circumstances should one be used.
Durability is key when extreme temperatures are involved. The constant heating and cooling of materials can be testing.
All Masterbuilt smokers should be able to handle the rigors of their normal functions, but there may be parts that are more delicate than others.
Heating elements don’t last forever. Depending on the model, you’ll have to swap it out every 1 to 3 years. The side-loading capsule can also be delicate at times.
No Masterbuilt smokers are built to survive bad weather. They’ll rust and discolor in the rain and snow. We highly recommend buying a cover ready for your smoker’s arrival.
As you’ve seen, you can get electric smokers with a variety of controls. Digital controls are easy to use and accurate, but they’re much more expensive.
Bluetooth controls are amazing and incredibly practical, but they’re limited by connectivity.
Analog controls are our favorite for smokers. They’re far more affordable, suit the aesthetic of a Masterbuilt smoker, and they get the job done.
Meat should be cooked to an internal temperature of 170 degrees to ensure a full cook temperature of at least 165 degrees.
If your smoker doesn’t come with a food probe, you’ll need to purchase one before you eat any meat or fish cooked in it.
That said, most Masterbuilt smokers come with built-in thermometers.
Still, it’s best to double-check, and it won’t hurt to have a spare should the built-in one fail.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is smoked meat bad for you?
Yes, it can be.
Many meats are bad for you regardless, but smoking adds polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which are carcinogenic.
That’s not to say you can’t ever have smoked meat, just try to limit your intake.
Can you smoke vegetables in a smoker?
Yes, for all you veggies and vegans out there, you can smoke vegetables, fruits, nuts...whatever you like really.
Are electric smokers better than pellet smokers?
Electric smokers are far quicker and easier to use than pellet smokers, but for maximum flavor, a pellet smoker is the one to go for.
Where There’s Smoke, There’s Food
There you have it, smoke fans. Five Masterbuilt master builds to sate your smoky desires.
Any one of them will make a fabulous addition to your culinary arsenal and open up new horizons of flavor.