Smokers are an essential part of great cooking, and there are many types of smokers; with the most common ones being insulated and non-insulated. Insulated smokers have heat retention properties, while non-insulated smokers do not have this feature.
If you’ve been planning a cookout but you are confused between getting an insulated smoker and a non-insulated one, we can help you make up your mind.
Both these smokers are highly efficient and can give you a good meal at the end of the day. However, like everything, they have their pros and cons that will ultimately dictate your decision. Read on to find more about insulated vs non-insulated smoker.
What Is An Insulated Smoker?
Now, you may be wondering “what is an insulated smoker?” Simply put, insulated smokers have insulating properties that enable them to trap and distribute heat adequately. They come in various types, from insulation blankets to insulation jackets.
Advantages Of Insulated Smokers
1. Makes The Smoker Safe
You might use your smoker in a family setting or during a family get-together, and an open cooking chamber can be unsafe for the kids and guests walking around. But opting for an insulated smoker firebox can eliminate this issue.
Insulating a smoker or getting an insulated smoker drastically ensures the chances of fire hazards and injuries that can result from the smoker’s heat. In hindsight, they make gatherings a lot safer by minimizing the risk of any accidents.
2. Decreases Fuel Needs
Insulated smokers can help cook your food a lot more efficiently, thereby reducing the amount of fuel used to light up the smoker, be it wood, charcoal, or pallets. In fact, the insulating property can save up to 1/4th of the wood or other fuels used by the smoker.
3. Promotes Heat Retention
A common problem with non-insulated smokers is heat escaping the cook chamber, which can be eliminated by using an insulated smoker. This can effectively help in maintaining an even cooking temperature throughout the cooking session. Hence, you get more cooking time for extended periods without reheating or refilling the fuel.
4. Suitable For Winters
Using your smoker for family cookout sessions may seem like an activity meant for a summer day. But why limit the fun to certain seasons? Insulated smokers will enable you to enjoy this activity throughout the year, even during harsh winters.
You don’t have to depend on the temperatures outside for a BBQ session. The insulation traps the heat and lets you enjoy long smoking periods without being affected by the outside temperature.
Disadvantages Of Insulated Smokers
Insulated smokers, though very efficient, can be quite expensive, especially if you don’t plan to use it very frequently. Or, if you only use your smoker during the summer months and keep it stored in the cold weather, insulating it will become optional. One may argue that it is better than buying fuel now and then, but if you do not require regular insulation, the money spent would not be worth it.
2. Can Be Challenging To To Find The Right Fit
Smokers usually come in different shapes and sizes. And if you want to insulate it later, finding the right insulation tool that comes in the exact size and shape might take a lot of work. This is especially true if your smoker is quite old. You may find options that fit, but they may differ from the insulation device you have in mind.
Insulated smokers tend to be heavier than their non-insulated counterparts, meaning moving them around won’t be an easy task. Likewise, finding lightweight insulating tools like insulating blankets that are affordable can be a tricky thing to do. Some of them can be pretty heavy, making them difficult to put on the smoker.
As a result, opening the cooking chamber to check the grill and the food will become challenging.
What Are Non-Insulated Smokers?
Non-insulated smoker is a typical vertical smoker that doesn’t have any external insulating means. They are a lot cheaper as compared to an insulated smoker fire box.
Some advantages and disadvantages of non-insulated smokers are as follows:
Advantages Of Non-Insulated Smokers
1. Less Weight On The Smoker
People typically use insulation blankets, jackets, or heating fabric to insulate a smoker, which can add weight to the unit and affect its efficacy. But with a non-insulated smoker, you don’t have to worry about this issue. They will also be more portable.
Insulation blankets, and jackets are expensive items, and they will add to the overall expense of the smoker unit. Non-insulated smokers, on the other hand, are pretty affordable when compared to insulation devices. They typically get the job done at half the price of an insulated smoker, even when cooking for more people. It will also be a cost-effective option if you use your smoker only sparingly.
3. Easy To Maintain The Temperature
Insulation devices like blankets keep all the heat trapped in the smoker, which can make it hard to maintain the desired temperature level. However, non-insulated smokers allow greater control of the temperature according to your needs. So, recipes that require a cooking temperature control are generally better done with a non-insulated smoker fire box.
Disadvantages Of Non-Insulated Smokers
The primary purpose of an insulated blanket is to provide safety. A smoker can heat up excessively and be quite a hazard to be around, especially if you have children. Non-insulated smokers do not have anything to protect someone from being burned. This makes non-insulated smokers a much more unsafe option when compared to insulated smokers.
2. More Fuel Consumption
A non-insulated firebox smoker can end up consuming a lot of fuel as it does not trap heat and can cause temperature fluctuation quite often. This will result in a greater demand of fuel or more wood to maintain the smoker’s temperature.
3. Uneven Cooking
One major advantage of insulated fireboxes is that they ensure the food is cooked evenly. So, you don’t have to worry about serving uncooked meat when you have an insulated smoker. Non-insulated smokers, on the other hand, cannot guarantee the same due to the lack of heat retention and fluctuating temperature.
4. Limited Usage
A non-insulated firebox doesn’t really resist heat, which makes it largely unsuitable for winter days. The cold weather would invariably affect the cooking temperature. And you would have to use a lot more fuel to maintain the heat. Insulated smokers, however, can be used throughout the year, irrespective of the weather outside.
Types Of Insulation
1. Insulation Jacket
An insulating jacket is made with layers of stainless steel and is usually the most commonly used medium to insulate a smoker. It is usually purchased separately and installed onto a smoker. Apart from retaining heat and ensuring that your meat is cooked evenly, it also provides a safety net for your smoker, preventing it from burning anyone near it.
2. Insulation Blanket
An insulation blanket is the second most popular method to create a heat retention smoker. It is a lot cheaper when compared to jackets and much more accessible to the general public. These blankets are usually fitted on the smoker and need to be attached with provided straps.
3. Welding Blanket
Another method you can use to insulate your smokers is welding blankets. They also keep heat within your smoker, ensuring even cooking from all sides. All you have to do is choose a blanket according to your smoker type and wrap it around the unit using the manufacturer’s instructions.
4. Cement Board
A cement board is made by mixing cement and fibers to create a sheet-like structure that lines the smoker from the inside to prevent heat loss. It typically comes in varying thicknesses and is best suited to flat surfaces.
Insulated Vs Non-Insulated Smoker Conclusion
Both the options we’ve mentioned above are great on their own.
To summarize, an insulated smoker will be a good investment if you are someone who uses their smoker quite frequently. It’s a much safer option as you don’t have to worry about uncooked meat or injuries from the fire and heat.
However, if you only use your smoker occasionally, non-insulated smokers would be ideal. They provide all the basic features of a smoker while Non-insulated smokers are also much more affordable compared to the investment required for an insulation tool which you may only use sparingly.
On that note, we will now wrap up for today. Don’t forget to check out our article titled “diy pool volleyball net ideas” for more such informative reads. Until next time!