who makes the best smoker
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    cadiz,ky usa western ky
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    31

    Default who makes the best smoker

    im still using my dads smoker that at least 30 years old. its finely getting tired. need to buy a new smoker.who makes the best one? i dont want to have to go though a bunch of them to find out.thanks a for your help.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,534

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    I haven't tried absolutely all of them, but I am very partial to the ones from MannLake with yellow silicone bellows.

    I like it because the bellows can be out in damp or rainy weather with no damage to them. It also has a nice soft action to it, allowing me a lot of control over the ooomph of the air flow on to the bees. That's perhaps because it has two air paths, one into the bellows and then another one out to the smoker box. Many kinds of smokers use the same opening so there's more of a push-pull feeling to them. The top, hook handle on the lid, etc. are much sturdier than the ones I had before so they withstand the mojo I need to use on them when the lid gets stuck as it cools. I don't think I have the biggest size, but if I load it carefully, I can get it to run for many hours. Mostly I run out of steam, before it does. The price was not the lowest, but somewhere in the middle of the "good smoker" range. (And not the absurd prices that I've seen for some imported models. Those would have light - and refuel - themselves on command to justify those prices.)

    If you get smoker from MannLake, do yourself a favor and spring for a bag of their KwikStart pellets (@$10). I love them, without a doubt they start my working day in the yard off on a good note: my smoker lights with no hassles, no matter what.

    Dadant smokers also seem to have a lot of fans, but I have never used on of theirs. If you go to one of the trade shows, I'd good around and play with all of them before making a choice. There may also be people in your bee club who have models they would let you handle.

    Nancy

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,509

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    I have come to view smokers as an annual purchase. I get a large capacity one from Mann Lake every year. I have not gotten the yellow bellows, but I trust Nancy's endorsement of them. I am very hard on my equipment and my smokers. I leave them in the back of the truck in the weather all year round and I do not take care of them. I keep 4 yards within a 30 mile radius of my house, so I am not going to load and unload anything that I do not absolutely have to. Also, I am an absent-minded nit wit who has driven all the way out to an outyard without my smoker. Never again.

    So, given the way I use a smoker, I have been very pleased with the life and use of the Mann Lake smokers that I buy. They are reasonably priced and hold up well to the abuse I put them through. I would never buy a "premium" smoker because I will not treat it well. Like most products by Mann Lake -- others make a better product, but for the price, I am usually a Mann Lake customer.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,742

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    I like the Mann Lake ones that Enjambres describes. I discovered though that they will not stand up to a Kubota Tractor!

    Get the tallest smoker; they seem to stay lit better than a shorter one. Maybe the added chimney effect.
    Frank

  6. #5

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    Dadant was by far the highest quality but pricey. Now Mannlake stepped up and made one a little less and just as good. I also favor the rubber bellows. I own many of both but will be buying Mannlakes from now on.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    34,541

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    I have used other brands, but for me Dadant's are the best. I'll never buy anything else. Best bellows hands down. The spring in the bellows is not too stiff, which doesn't agrivate my carpel tunnel syndrome during long days of use.
    Mark Berninghausen

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    2,503

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    Dadant.
    David Matlock

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    8,106

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    Dadant

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,407

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5T5kDWPpqY

    The above Dadant is nearly 20 years old and I have a couple of new ones and they work just as good. Others I have bought or used felt cheap in comparison.
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    SOMERSET, ENGLAND
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    Dadant.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Crown Point, NY, USA
    Posts
    566

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    I like both dadant and mann lake. Bought 2 smokers from mann lake about 9 years ago. That should get me through the next 30 years. I'm hard on the bellows which I replace every year.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    6,586

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    Mann Lake has made some big strides in competing with Dadant. I feel like I've spent a good part of my life with a smoker in my hand and I only use a smoker with a leather bellows. I like the larger openings on the ML bellows and firebox and also the additional capacity of the standard sized ML smoker. Where the Dadant is still superior is in the overall construction, particularly the heavier grate and heat shield, which ML has improved somewhat but is still far lighter than the Dadant. I've mated the ML bellows with the Dadant firebox and feel that makes a better overall smoker despite the fact that the Dadant firebox still has a smaller opening. Dadant smokers have been the standard since they took over the Woodman line years ago and while ML has a competitive product I still feel the Dadant is the best out there.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    NW Florida
    Posts
    1,140

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    Viewing smokers online I never saw much of a difference in them. I bought a cheap one off ebay/amazon years ago and it worked great until last week when my foster dog pulled it off the porch table and ripped the bellows apart. I was harsh on mine and nearly always left it out in Florida weather.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,793

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    Anyone have a new woodsman for sale? Dadant

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,768

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    I have the large Dadant and use an insert:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/SmokerInsert2.JPG
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/SmokerInsert3.jpg

    This works slightly better than the Rauchboy, which comes with a stainless steel insert but is smaller and doesn't quite stay lit as well, though it's close. When two of us are working the beeyard it's usually the Rauchboy and the Dadant. I also have some of the Mann Lake with the rubber bellows. Unfortunately the edges of the bellows leaks a lot of air. I keep meaning to seal the seam up with some silicon chalk but haven't got it done yet. If I had that sealed up, it might work as well as the Dadant and the bellows might last longer. But I don't know at this point since I haven't "fixed" the Mann Lake one yet...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hotlanta, GA
    Posts
    764

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    Dadant
    Ask two beekeepers, get three answers

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    6,586

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    Anyone have a new woodsman for sale? Dadant
    I think they are selling them at your nearest Packard dealership.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    1,446

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    No, no, no, they were giving them away with the purchase of an Eidsel. Or giving an Eidsel away with a purchase of a smoker, I can't recall.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    cadiz,ky usa western ky
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    thanks for your input everyone

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    6,586

    Default Re: who makes the best smoker

    Quote Originally Posted by AHudd View Post
    No, no, no, they were giving them away with the purchase of an Eidsel. Or giving an Eidsel away with a purchase of a smoker, I can't recall.

    Alex
    I have a Woodman smoker that I found in an antique store in remarkably good condition. I display it in my shop because as a young boy I always thought the logo imprinted on the bellows was so cool and seeing it again brings back lots of memories.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

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