Horizon Smokers are made in Oklahoma by one of the guys that founded the Oklahoma Joe line of smokers back in the day. Many people think that Horizon makes some of the best offset smokers available. I had a chance to put my hands on their 16 inch Classic and Ranger offsets and walked away scratching my head a little.
These are nice smokers but Horizon pulls a cheap move that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Keep reading and I’ll show you what I am talking about.
16 Inch Smoker Specifications
Classic Offset Smoker
The Classic is a traditional offset smoker that looks like an offset should.
- Smoker Cooking Grates: Two 15×15 inch expanded sheet metal grates (450 square inches)
- Grill Cooking Grate: One 12×15 inch expanded sheet metal grates (180 square inches)
- Weight: 380 pounds
- 16″ diameter x 32″ long horizontal cooking chamber
- 16″ diameter x 16″ long firebox
- MSRP: $825 + shipping
Ranger Offset Smoker
The primary smoking chamber on the Ranger is slightly larger than the Classic (40 vs 32 inches long). Additionally the Ranger has a vertical smoking chamber added to the left side of the pit.
- Smoker Cooking Grates: Two 15×17 inch expanded sheet metal grates (510 square inches)
- Grill Cooking Grate: One 15×15 inch expanded sheet metal grates (225 square inches)
- Vertical Cooking Grates: Three 15 inch diameter expanded sheet metal grates (530 square inches)
- Weight: 650 pounds
- 16″ diameter x 40″ long horizontal cooking chamber
- 16″ diameter x 48″ tall vertical smoking chamber
- 16″ diameter x 20″ long firebox
- MSRP: $1585 + shipping
The build quality on these smokers is excellent and they come with a lifetime warranty against burnout.
These smokers are made from 1/4 thick steel and feature full welded construction. These things are not held together by nuts and bolts like an Oklahoma Joe. The welds are clean, neat and you can tell that they were done by a craftsman.
If you buy a Horizon it will last you a heck of a long time.
What Aggravates Me About These Smokers
My basic issue with the 16 inch Horizon smokers is the combination of design and cost.
Take a few minutes and watch this video showing the upgrades that this gentleman purchased for his Classic model. Please remember that, before any upgrades, when you factor in cost, shipping, tax, etc that the base model is going to cost you a little over $1,000.
Did you see the heat diffuser plate that he bought? If not, then go back and watch the video.
Let’s talk about that heat diffuser.
- It is a cool design.
- It works extremely well to even out the temperature inside the cooking chamber.
- It is NOT included in the purchase price of the Classic or the Ranger.
The folks at Horizon invented that diffuser because the basic design of their cooker creates an extremely uneven cooking environment.
- There is no baffle between the firebox and the main cooking chamber. This means that the you will have a serious hot spot on the right side of the grill.
- The opening for the outlet smoke stack is a few inches above grate level. This keeps the left side of the grate cooler since the hot air doesn’t need to flow through it to escape.
Maybe I am just having a bad day.
Maybe I have unreasonable expectations.
But if I am going to drop a thousand bucks on a smoker then I want it to come with the equipment needed to make it operate like it should.
At this price point there is no reason for the heat diffuser to not be included.
Horizon vs Old Country
If you are really interested in stick burners then do a head to head comparison between the Horizon Classic and the Old Country Pecos.
Both smokers are made of welded 1/4 inch steel and have the classic look you want.
The Pecos has:
- A heat deflecting baffle at the fire box outlet
- The smoke stack outlet at grate level.
- A charcoal tray that makes an awesome heat diffuser.
- Slide out cooking grate with 630 square inches of cooking space.
- A price tag of about $500.
The Old Country Pecos is larger, better designed and costs about half of the Horizon. The biggest problem with Old Country Pits is that they can be hard to find. The Pecos is sold through Academy and finding a store that has one is hit or miss.
A major reason for the price difference between these smokers is that the Pecos is made in Mexico while the Horizon is made in Oklahoma.
While a “head to head” between a Made in Mexico and Made in the USA may not be fair from a price standpoint I do want to point out that Horizon’s are being sold at a premium price.
And again, if you are going to sell at a premium price then you ought to include the dang heat diffuser!!
The Horizon 16 inch Classic and Ranger are fine smokers. You won’t be disappointed if you buy one.
I just wish the folks over at Horizon hadn’t cheaped out with the diffuser plate.