Friday, September 16, 2011

Tips When Buying a Smoker

I got an FW Jones smoker when I started beekeeping.  It was a nice size and came with the protective cage around it, pictured at left.

My only complaint was that the lid didn't fit down completely tight and it would puff a little smoke from the side of the lid.

See the photo - how the cage goes all the way up.  It also has a hook on front for hanging it.

Later on I got a second smoker, one to leave in the bee yard for those occasions when I showed up there without my regular smoker.  That one is a Dadant smoker.  It's sleeker and also has the protective cage as well.

We've used both smokers and both are great.  It turns out that the FW Jones one that didn't seal completely is actually easier to use.  The Dadant smoker lid comes down with a tight seal - to the point that the creaosote from the fires would seal it shut.

Photo - the Dadant smoker is lighter - the top is taller than the bellows which is good.  The cage doesn't go all the way up and that hasn't been a problem.

I did manage to pry open the Dadant smoker so I don't have any complaints about it.  With the slightly wonky lid on the FW Jones smoker, it never sticks shut from the creaosote.  So I pefer using it as my regular smoker.

A friend has a smoker - a short squat one.  Actually it wasn't what she really wanted but it was the only one available at the supplier at that time so she got it.  This one is well made but the problem is that the top of the smoker is level with the top of the bellows.  So when the lid is open when you're lighting the fire the flames come up and burn your hands while you're trying to puff the bellows.  So you must close it if puffing the bellows.  Neither of us recommend getting that kind of smoker.

Both my smokers are taller than the top of the bellows so you can leave the lid open and puff the bellows and keep your fingers safe from the flames.

Just something to consider if you're shopping for smokers.  Stings are bad enough, so you don't need burned fingers too.

Have you made a smoker kit?  If not here's a post about creating a smoker kit
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