Cuisine Technology
A cook using a smoking gun to infuse flavor into food.

The 6 Best Smoking Guns for Cooking in 2021

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Smoke infusers (or smoking guns) give passionate home cooks a way to transform dishes into truly high-end, restaurant-worthy creations. They allow you to give your dishes beautifully smoky flavor without going through the hassle of actually using a full-sized smoker. They’re small and portable enough to use indoors, and offer enough control that you can deliver smoke exactly where you want it instead of accidentally smoking out your whole house. Plus they let you create that dramatic restaurant effect with smoke under a glass cloche, and who wouldn’t be impressed by that at your next dinner party?

There are quite a few viable options out there, but our absolute top pick for the best smoking gun is the PolyScience Breville Gun Pro Smoke Infuser. Equally suited for the professional chef or mixologist or the passionate home chef, this smoking gun is a joy to work with. One of its main selling points is its adjustable smoke intensity. This means you can choose exactly how smoky you want to make your food, instead of accidentally overpowering a delicate dish with too much smokiness. And while it’s not the cheapest option on our list, it’s incredibly reasonably priced for how excellent it is.


6 Best Smoking Guns at a Glance

Best for: Professional Chefs or Home Cooks Who Need Ultimate Control
Best for: Comprehensive Starting Kit
Best for: Passionate Home Chefs
Best for: Smoking Gun With a Rechargeable Battery
Best for: Users on the Go and Sous Vide Fans
Best for: Extreme Budget Buyers


The Top 6 Best Smoking Guns for 2021


#1. PolyScience Breville Gun Pro Smoke Infuser

Best for: Professional Chefs or Home Cooks Who Need Ultimate Control

The PolyScience Breville smoking gun easily takes the top place on our list. It’s designed for professional users, so you know you aren’t getting a poorly made or limited version designed for home cooks who don’t know any better. 

As mentioned above, it boasts a dial that allows you to delicately adjust airflow and smoke intensity. No more overpowering delicate dishes with smoke, or wishing you could coax more smoky flavor into your richer courses! As you read on in this list, you’ll discover that this is the only smoking gun we know of with this feature. Others are either not adjustable at all, or have two to three fixed settings. The precisely adjustable dial is unique to the PolyScience Breville option, and makes it really stand apart from the crowd.

This higher-end smoker feels sturdy and well-built in your hand. You’ll definitely know that you have a quality product that’s built to last. And as an added bonus, PolyScience is known for its high-end culinary technology devices, so you’re also getting the assurance of a brand that really knows what it’s doing.

Note: you can buy either the base version, or a version that comes with a cloche and wood chips. We recommend buying the base version and getting your accessories separately to save some money.

Specs and features:

  • Hose: 17.5”
  • Dishwasher-safe components? Yes
  • Adjustable airflow and/or smoke intensity: Yes
  • Batteries included? Yes
Pros
  • Adjustable dial for smoke intensity and airflow
  • Toolless disassembly makes the necessary cleaning less of a chore, as do the dishwasher-safe burn chamber and smoking barrel
  • Batteries and sample wood chips included
Cons
  • More expensive than other options on this list (but worth it!)
  • The adjusting dial may take some practice to get used to, but allows for exceptional control once you do

#2. Homia Smoking Gun Wood Smoke Infuser Extended Kit

Best for: Comprehensive Starting Kit

When I get a new toy for the kitchen, I want to play with it by testing it out on everything I can think of right away. Are you the same way? If so, you’ll love the Homia Smoking Gun Wood Smoke Infuser Extended Kit. It’s the most comprehensive starting kit we’ve found. You won’t need to run around looking for batteries, wood chips, or an appropriate smoking container, because this one has them all.

This 14-piece set includes not only the smoking gun itself, but also samples of 4 wood varieties, a smoking dome, a disk lid for other containers, a cleaning brush, and even tweezers to help you keep things clean. Just decide what food you want to smoke, and get started as soon as it arrives!

Of all the smoking guns on our list, the Homia is the one that takes the “gun” part most seriously! Its design is definitely gun-inspired (although it’s obviously still a kitchen device). The instructions even say to “pull the trigger.” It’s definitely a distinctive design, which makes this device immediately recognizable among all the options out there.

Be aware that a previous model (The Homia Extended Plus Kit) had two speeds, but this updated version has just one speed. This may not be an issue for you, but it’s good to be aware of it just in case you need multiple speed options.
Bonus: we reached out to several companies on this list to clarify specific points about their products, and the Homia team was the fastest to respond. Their great communication makes us even more confident in recommending their product.

Specs and Features:

  • Hose: 23.6”
  • Dishwasher-safe components? Yes
  • Adjustable airflow and/or smoke intensity: No
  • Batteries included? Yes
Pros
  • Comes with everything you need to get started right away
  • Easy to turn on by pulling the “trigger”
  • The above-average length of the hose allows more freedom
Cons
  • Some of the included accessories may not be the best quality; be prepared to replace them eventually

#3. Breville Smoking Gun

Best for: Passionate Home Chefs

Cuisine Technology had the opportunity to do a hands-on test of the Breville Smoking Gun, and our reviewer was very impressed with how well it compared to the somewhat more expensive PolyScience Breville option. 

Yes, that’s right—the PolyScience Breville Smoking Gun and the Breville Smoking Gun aren’t the same thing. We did a comparison of the two to help you figure out which is best for you. In short, if you’re a passionate home cook who doesn’t need super-precise control over the smoke level, we recommend the Breville Smoking Gun.

While other options are definitely cheaper, the Breville is where you start to get into serious quality. As soon as you pick it up, you know you have a well-built and thoughtfully designed tool in your hands. Even the included full-color recipe cards are great; they’re clearly designed for skilled and creative home cooks, which is exactly who we anticipate will buy a smoking gun.

We also appreciate that Breville understands that the kind of person who would buy a smoking gun at this price point is also someone who would be excited to experiment with it right away. This kit includes not only the gun, but batteries, replacement mesh screens, and two kinds of wood chips. This means you can get started immediately instead of needing to track down wood chips and batteries.

Specs and features:

  • Hose: 17.5”
  • Dishwasher-safe components? Yes
  • Adjustable airflow and/or smoke intensity: Yes
  • Batteries included? Yes
Pros
  • Easy and straightforward to set up and use.
  • Reliable and consistent, performing exactly as expected every single time.
  • High-quality, well-built device.
  • Creates plenty of smoke with very few wood chips.
  • Comes with everything you need to get started! Gun, batteries, wood chips, and even recipe cards. Many other similar products come with just the gun, leaving you to source your own batteries and wood chips.
Cons

#4. Mitbak Portable Handheld Cold Smoking Gun

Best for: Smoking Gun With a Rechargeable Battery

Is it just me, or do standard replaceable batteries feel like they started going extinct in the last several years? It used to be that I expected to use them in all sorts of devices, and now I’m surprised if I need to go hunting for them in the back corners of the hall closet.

Of all the devices on our list, the Mitbak Portable Handheld Cold Smoking Gun is the only one that’s kept up with the times in this way. Instead of requiring AA batteries, it has a rechargeable lithium battery. This means your last AA batteries can stay tucked away in their drawer or closet, and you can charge your smoking gun just like (probably) most of your other devices: with a cord.

The lithium battery alone would have made the Mitbak stand out, but it also has various other great features that we really appreciate. For example, it has three smoking speeds—which is more than any other option on our list except for the professional-level PolyScience option. 

One point to keep in mind is that while this one includes chips, it comes with just one bag of generic “wood chips.” There’s no information about what kind of wood they are, and no variety to play with. Since the type of wood makes such a difference in smoking food, we recommend also buying a set of wood chips in several varieties. There are many options out there, but the Jax Smok’in Tinder Variety Pack comes with a generous five types for you to try.

Specs and features:

  • Hose: n/a
  • Dishwasher-safe components? n/a
  • Adjustable airflow and/or smoke intensity: Yes
  • Batteries included? Yes (lithium)
Pros
  • Includes a rechargeable lithium battery, so you don’t need to track down or replace AA batteries
  • Has three smoke speeds
Cons
  • Includes generic “wood chips” instead of a specific type or a variety of options

#5. COSTWAY 2-in-1 Food Smoker Gun

Best for: Users on the Go and Sous Vide Fans

The COSTWAY 2-in-1 Food Smoker Gun is unique on our list for its inclusion of a vacuum function. Since you’re passionate enough about excellent home cooking to want a smoking gun, you’re probably a sous vide fan as well! If so, and you don’t already have a vacuum, this may serve you well. (It’s important to note that the vacuum is designed for food storage rather than sous vide, so the included vacuum bags may not be sous-vide-appropriate.)

We’ve reached out to the company and been informed that the vacuum pump works with other bags, including Ziploc brand bags as well as bags specifically made for sous vide cooking. In other words, it’s not limited to a certain type of bag such as the ones included with the smoker gun.

We also love that this option has three smoke settings. While it’s not as precisely adjustable as the PolyScience Breville Gun Pro Smoke Infuser, it still gives you extra control over the final smoke level of your food. And the USB-charged lithium battery can last for up to 20 hours of smoking time, making it easy to take this device on the go with you.

Be aware that this product is not (yet!) available in California due to the state’s Prop 65, a right-to-know law that requires manufacturers to label products listing the chemicals in the product that may cause birth defects or cancer. We had some concerns about why COSTWAY would rather lose out on California sales than comply with this law, so we inquired with a company representative.

We were reassured by the response that they intend to make the product available in California, and “this product is being queued up to be labeled with the Prop 65 warning sticker for CA customers.” So if you live in the Golden State, you may need to wait a little longer, but soon this fantastic two-in-one product will be available to you too.

Specs and Features:

  • Hose: 22”
  • Dishwasher-safe components? No
  • Adjustable airflow and/or smoke intensity: No
  • Batteries included? Yes
Pros
  • Includes vacuum sealer functionality and accessories
  • USB recharging battery very convenient for portable usage
  • Three smoke settings (slow, normal, fast)
Cons
  • Not yet available in California due to labeling laws

#6. Kaven Smoking Gun

Best for: Extreme Budget Buyers

Let’s start off honestly: the Kaven Smoking Gun is by far the most affordable option on this list, and there’s a reason for that. If you’re a casual user who wants to try out smoking on a whim but probably won’t do it more than a couple of times, or someone on an extremely tight budget, you may find that this is the best option for you.

While this smoker definitely can’t compete with our other recommendations in terms of quality, it earns a place on our list for its sheer affordability. This is a fantastic choice if you’re buying it for one specific event or to see whether you like smoking guns before you invest in a better one.

One of our main concerns with this product is that the brand (Kaven) seems nonexistent; we can’t find any mention of it except in regards to this specific product. This lack of brand name accountability gives us some concerns over whether the implied warranty of the “[Worry Free 2-Years!]” would actually be obtainable. We tried to get in touch with them to inquire further, but were unable to find any way to contact Kaven.

In short, we recommend this product only if budget is your primary concern and you’re not concerned about customer support from the company or serious quality. If you can afford a better option from our list, go for that one instead. Once you factor in the price of accessories, the Homia Smoking Gun Wood Smoke Infuser Extended Plus Kit may even be a better deal overall. The Kaven Smoking Gun is listed here only as the best ultra-budget option, not because we love the product itself.

Specs and Features:

  • Hose: unknown
  • Dishwasher-safe components? No
  • Adjustable airflow and/or smoke intensity: No
  • Batteries included? No
Pros
  • Extremely affordable
  • Fairly durable despite the price (with proper maintenance)
  • Very easy to clean
Cons
  • Doesn’t include any accessories
  • Limited functionality
  • Seemingly made by a nonexistent company, so don’t expect much customer support

Recommended Accessories for Your New Smoking Gun

To use any smoking gun, you need a few specific things:

  • The device itself
  • Wood chips to burn to create smoke
  • A container to smoke in
  • A power source
  • A fire source (these devices don’t light on their own; you’ll need to light yours manually)

The short answer: here are our top recommendations!

Wood chips: Jax Smok’in Tinder Variety Pack (five varieties for you to experiment with!)

Container: The Mitbak 12” Smoking Gun Plastic Dome is a great all-around choice (or just use a bag, or plastic wrap over a bowl or jar)

Power source: most of the smoking guns on our list come with batteries, and one even has a rechargeable lithium battery! If yours doesn’t, you’ll need appropriate batteries (typically standard AA batteries)

Fire source: do you have a lighter, or a utility lighter, or even matches at home? If so, you’re all set. If not, you’ll want to get one of those to light your smoking gun.

Here’s the longer, more detailed answer. Once you’ve decided on your smoking gun, you’ll be able to figure out which other items you need to buy (if any). Some kits come with just about everything you need, while others are only the smoker itself with no accessories. Here’s some guidance on each  section to help you figure out what to get (if anything!).


Wood Chips

This is a non-negotiable—you need wood chips to use your smoking gun! If yours already comes with wood chips, especially if it has several types, you may not need to buy these for now. Keep in mind that you use very few wood chips each time you light up the gun, so the small jars that typically come with smoking guns will actually last for a long time.

When shopping for wood chips, keep two things in mind:

  • They must be food-grade
  • You need very small wood chips designed for a smoking gun, not the larger ones you’d use for a grill or BBQ

Different types of wood give very different flavors to your smoked food. This isn’t an exaggeration where you need to strain to imagine that you might barely taste a difference; it’s very distinctly noticeable. And different woods pair well with different foods.

For this reason, we recommend you start off with a variety of wood chips so you can experiment and figure out which you like best for different applications. That’s why we like the Jax Smok’in Tinder Variety Pack, which comes with five types (apple, oak, orange, maple, and pecan).


A Container

Honestly, unless you’re super-serious about smoking a lot, want to create a dramatic visual impact, or are giving the smoking gun kit as a set, you don’t need to bother buying a container

All you need is a way to keep the smoke in contact with your food or drink, and you probably have plenty of options in your kitchen already. You just need to get creative! Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • A bowl covered with plastic wrap
  • A jar with a lid
  • A pot or pan with a lid
  • A resealable plastic bag
  • A cocktail shaker

You get the ideal! As long as you can contain the smoke, you don’t need a specific smoking gun container.

But a clear glass or plastic cloche can definitely look more dramatic and professional—and one with a port specifically for smoking guns will help you contain the smoke more easily instead of trying to catch it in a makeshift container.

If you want to buy one, we recommend the Mitbak 12” Smoking Gun Plastic Dome. It will fit most plates, and has the aforementioned smoking gun port to help you get more smoke into the container (and less floating around your kitchen).

MITBAK 12 Inch Smoking Gun Plastic Dome for Plates, Glasses, Bowls, Smoke Infuser Cloche,...
Satisfaction Guaranteed – Every MITBAK dome is designed for long-lasting durability

A Power Source

Most smoking guns are powered by standard AA batteries. If you already have these lying around (or if your kit comes with them), you’re all set!

Otherwise, double-check to make sure you have the right kind of batteries on hand, so you can use your smoking gun right away once it arrives.


A Fire Source

As far as we’re aware, there isn’t yet a smoking gun available with a self-lighting mechanism. This means that you’ll need to light your smoking gun manually, so you’ll need a fire source.

You probably already have a lighter, or a utility lighter, or even matches at home. If so, you’re all set! If not, you’ll want to get your hands on one of those. Even the most complete smoking gun kits don’t include them, so you’ll need to source your own.

You absolutely should not use your kitchen torch to light your smoking gun. The flame is too powerful and can damage the smoking gun. Many smoking devices explicitly state this in the instructions, but even if yours doesn’t, play it safe and use a match or lighter instead.


What Is a Smoking Gun or Smoke Infuser? Why Do You Need One?

A hint of smokiness can be the difference between “good” and “breathtaking” in certain dishes, but a full-sized smoker is impractical for many uses. Liquid smoke can work in some applications, but it’s painfully easy to use too much and end up with an inedibly acrid final dish.

So what’s the solution for passionate and creative home cooks? A smoking gun or smoke infuser! These relatively small devices allow you to create smoke at home by burning small wood chips of specific varieties. (Use wood chips specifically made for this purpose, as large wood chips can be too big and you need to make sure the wood is safe for food.) The smoke then travels through a tube into a container holding your food, which absorbs the smokiness and gains that extra dimension of flavor.

If you’re ready to really take your home cooking to the next level, it’s hard to beat a smoke gun. Use it for everything from the obvious (meats and cheese) to the creative (purees and drinks).


The Different Types of Smoking Guns

Most smoking guns are fairly similar in both form and function. Your standard device has a chamber for wood chips, a fan, and a hose that transports the smoke to your container of choice.

What sets some apart from others—besides quality, of course—is primarily whether you can control the airflow and smoke intensity. Your most basic smoking guns at the lower end of the price range typically don’t include this feature. As you move up in quality, some will offer two to three settings.

Our top pick, the PolyScience Breville Gun Pro Smoke Infuser, has a dial that lets you precisely control the smoke. While it may take some getting used to at first, the slight initial challenge is absolutely worth it to have such flexibility.

Another unique feature to consider as you decide on your device is whether you want a vacuum function as well. This isn’t a common option in a smoke infuser, but the COSTWAY 2-in-1 Food Smoker Gun goes above and beyond by adding it. If you were considering getting a vacuum too, you may find that this product fills both needs.


The Benefits of Using a Smoking Gun:

  • Add real smoke flavor to your culinary creations. You can choose what type of wood you use based on how it complements what you’re cooking, so the possibilities are incredible.
  • Infuse your fancy drinks with smoke to create breathtaking mixologist-worthy cocktails at home.
  • Create elegant visual effects. After all, we eat with our eyes first, right? A smoke infuser lets you fill a cloche (or glass hood) with smoke before serving a dish, so it can dramatically float out as you or your guests lift the cloche off.
  • Get all the joys of smoky flavor without the need for a full-sized smoker (or the risk of adding just a couple drops too much liquid smoke and accidentally ruining your entire dish).
  • Enjoy the portability of a relatively small device. Whether you’re going to a friend’s party and want to make unique cocktails or cooking an elegant dinner for a loved one during a romantic weekend away, your smoking gun can easily come with you.

What to Look For in a Good Smoke Infuser

First and foremost, look for a smoke infuser that’s easy to clean! One common reason that these devices start to malfunction (or even stop working completely) is that they’re not cleaned often enough. Ideally, you should clean your smoking gun after every single use. This means it’s incredibly important to choose one that’s easy to clean. We love the PolyScience Breville Gun Pro Smoke Infuser for having dishwasher-safe components to make cleanup as easy as possible.

Decide what kind of power source you prefer. Most options are powered by AA batteries. However, the COSTWAY 2-in-1 Food Smoker Gun uses a rechargeable lithium battery with a USB plug. If you’re not someone who tends to keep batteries around the house, this may be a better option for you.


Conclusion 

No modern kitchen of a passionate home chef is complete without the ability to add smokiness to various dishes and drinks. Instead of relying on solutions like adding smoked paprika to everything or trying to drip in just the right amount of liquid smoke, invest in a smoking gun. The variety of woods available for smoking (each of which has its own unique flavor) means that a smoking gun will open up thousands of doors for new experiments. 

Our top pick is the fantastic PolyScience Breville Gun Pro Smoke Infuser. This tool is good enough for the professionals but straightforward enough to use at home. It’s our favorite for its high-quality construction, reliability, and especially its adjustable airflow and smoke intensity. Most other smoking guns have one to three settings, but this one’s dial gives you unparalleled control and precision with the level of smoke you want to use.