Why is My Electric Smoker Not Getting Hot?

If you’re an avid smoker and have invested in an electric smoker, you know the disappointment that comes when it’s not getting hot enough to cook your meat properly. There could be many reasons why your smoker isn’t heating up properly, from issues with the heating element to problems with the wood chip tray.

In this article, we’ll cover the most common issues behind why your electric smoker is not getting hot and provide simple solutions to help you get back to cooking delicious, smoky flavored meats. Read on to find out more.

Why is My Electric Smoker Not Getting Hot

Reasons Why Your Electric Smoker Isn’t Getting Hot

An electric smoker is a great way to get that smoky flavor in your food without the hassle of charcoal smokers. However, there may be times when your electric smoker isn’t getting as hot as it should. There are several reasons why this may be happening, and it’s essential to troubleshoot the issue before you start cooking.

1. Heating Element Not Working Properly

One of the most frustrating issues that can arise when using an electric smoker is when the heating element fails to provide enough heat to properly cook your food. This can be caused by a number of factors, including a faulty or short-circuited heating element, wiring problems, and general wear and tear.

When the heating element is not working properly, it is important to first identify the root cause of the issue before attempting to fix it. This may require the assistance of a professional repair person who can diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of action.

A common cause of heating element issues in electric smokers is a short-circuited or faulty heating element. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as damage from water exposure, overheating, or electrical problems. Over time, the heating element may also simply wear out and need to be replaced.

Wiring issues can also contribute to problems with the heating element. Loose connections, damaged wiring, or faulty switches can prevent the heating element from receiving enough power to function properly.

To prevent these issues from occurring in the future, it is important to regularly clean and maintain your smoker. Wipe down the exterior with soapy water and make sure that the heating element and chip tray are free of debris. This will help to prevent any damage to the heating element or wiring and ensure that your smoker stays in top working condition.

2. Insufficient Heat Source

One of the most common issues electric smoker owners face is insufficient heat source. Fortunately, there are several ways to address this problem and keep your smoker running properly.

First and foremost, ensure that you are adding enough fuel supply to maintain the heat level. You can use various heat sources for your smoker such as charcoal, wood chips or chunks, or pellets. Each has its own advantages, so it’s a good idea to experiment with all of them to find out what works best for you.

When using wood chips as your heat source, one tip is to soak them in hot water for about 30 minutes before adding them to the smoker. This will prevent them from producing dry heat and will also help to create a more consistent smoke.

To use wood chips in your electric smoker, simply fill the chip tray with about a cup of chips and close it. The electric heating element will ignite the chips, and they will start to smoke. You can also use wood chunks or pellets, but make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific type of smoker.

It’s important to note that using an extension cord for your electric smoker may cause heat loss and result in an insufficient heat source. It’s best to avoid using an extension cord and instead plug your smoker directly into a power source.

By ensuring that you are adding sufficient fuel supply, experimenting with different heat sources, soaking wood chips, and avoiding extension cords, you can address the issue of insufficient heat source in your electric smoker and enjoy perfectly cooked and flavorful meats every time.

3. Temperature Setting or Thermostat Malfunction

If you’re experiencing issues with your electric smoker not getting hot enough, it could be due to a temperature setting or thermostat malfunction. To address this issue, the first thing you need to do is check the thermostat or temperature control dial to ensure that it is set correctly. It’s possible that you may have accidentally set it too low or high, which is preventing the smoker from getting hot enough.

Once you’ve verified that the thermostat is set correctly, you need to check the internal temperature of the smoker. The ideal temperature range for smoking meat is between 200-250°F. If the internal temperature is below this range, then it’s likely that the temperature control isn’t working properly.

To address this issue, try resetting the temperature controller. Refer to your smoker’s user manual for instructions on how to reset the temperature controller. If resetting the temperature controller doesn’t work, you may need to replace it altogether.

Another thing to consider is the placement of the temperature probe. Make sure that the temperature probe is inserted into the meat and not touching the bone. The bone can affect the accuracy of the temperature readings, which can lead to undercooked or overcooked meat.

4. Damage to the Burner Element

One of the most common issues that electric smokers face is damage to the burner element. This damage can result in the smoker not getting hot enough to properly smoke the meat. Therefore, it’s important to know how to identify and address damage to the burner element.

Firstly, you need to start by checking for any burn signs or wire disconnections on the burner element. If you find any signs of damage, it’s likely that the burner element has been compromised. In such cases, you’ll need to consider replacing it with a new one. It’s essential to use high-quality replacement parts from the manufacturer to ensure that the smoker is working safely and effectively.

In addition to the burner element, it’s also crucial to inspect the insulation around the box, wires, connectors, and back cover for any burn signs. If the insulation is damaged, it can be a potential fire hazard or cause the smoker to malfunction. In such cases, you may need to replace these parts as well.

It’s worth noting that burner element damage can be caused by a variety of factors, including overheating, exposure to moisture, and electrical shorts. Therefore, it’s important to take care of your electric smoker and ensure that it’s not subjected to extreme conditions that can damage its components.

5. Insufficient Fuel Supply

If you are experiencing issues with your electric smoker not heating up properly, it could be due to an insufficient fuel supply. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to address this issue and get your smoker up and running again.

Firstly, it’s important to make sure that you are using the correct type of fuel in your smoker. Whether you are using wood chips, pellets, or charcoal, it’s crucial to use the appropriate type for your specific smoker model. This information can be found in the smoker’s instruction manual.

Once you have verified that you are using the correct type of fuel, the next step is to ensure that you have added enough fuel to the smoker to maintain the desired temperature. The amount of fuel needed can vary depending on your smoker’s size and the type of fuel you are using. Again, consult your instruction manual for guidance on how much fuel to add.

One common issue that can impact fuel supply is the use of dry wood chips. If your electric smoker is not getting hot enough, it could be because the wood chips you are using are too dry. To avoid this issue, try soaking the wood chips in water for several hours before using them in your smoker. This will ensure that they burn consistently and provide sufficient fuel to heat up the cooking chamber.

Another tip to consider is the use of wood chunks instead of wood chips. Wood chunks are larger pieces of wood that burn more slowly than traditional chips, providing a longer-lasting fuel source for your smoker. They can be a better option for larger smokers or for longer cooking times, as they require less frequent refueling.

6. Airflow Blockage or Leaks in the Smoking Chamber

One common issue that can affect the performance of an electric smoker is airflow blockage or leaks in the smoking chamber. If your smoker is not getting hot enough, or if the internal temperature is not consistent, it is possible that there may be an issue with the smoker’s airflow.

To address airflow blockage or leaks in the smoking chamber, there are several steps you can take. The first step is to check the intake and exhaust vents to make sure they are open and not blocked. These vents are critical for maintaining proper airflow, so if they are obstructed, the smoker may not be able to heat up properly. Be sure to check both the intake and exhaust vents, and clear away any debris if necessary.

Next, inspect the seals around the door to see if there are any gaps or leaks that can affect airflow. Over time, the seals around the door can become worn or damaged, which can allow air to escape and prevent the smoker from maintaining the desired temperature. If you find that the seals are damaged, it’s important to replace them as soon as possible to minimize heat loss.

You can also check for any damage to the smoker tank that may cause airflow issues. If the tank is dented or damaged in any way, it may prevent the smoker from maintaining proper airflow. In some cases, it may be necessary to replace the tank if it is too severely damaged.

Additionally, make sure the wood chip tray and water chamber are both properly seated and not blocking the airflow. These components are essential for creating the smoky flavor that is characteristic of smoking, but they can also obstruct airflow if they are not properly positioned. Double-check that both the wood chip tray and water chamber are securely in place and not blocking the intake or exhaust vents.

Finally, use soapy water to find any leaks in the chamber by brushing soapy water on the seals and looking for bubbles. If you find any leaks, be sure to seal them as soon as possible to prevent air from escaping.

By following these steps, you can identify and address airflow blockage or leaks in the smoking chamber, which can improve the performance and consistency of your electric smoker.


In conclusion, if you’re wondering why your electric smoker is not getting hot, there are a few common issues that you can troubleshoot. Inspect the cooking chamber, inside walls, and vent holes for any irregularities or clogs. Regularly cleaning the cooking chamber with soapy water and a soft-bristled brush can also prevent clogs and leaks.

Additionally, ensure that you’re using the appropriate wood chips or chunks, and check that your smoker is properly plugged in and not using an extension cord that’s too long. By following these steps and addressing any potential issues, you can ensure that your electric smoker is heating up to the proper temperature for optimal flavor and cooking results.