Masterbuilt Smoker Not Turning On? (6 Fixes)

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Matt Richard

It’s frustrating when you plan to smoke food and have everything ready to go, but your Masterbuilt smoker won’t turn on.

Thankfully, if this problem occurs, it doesn’t necessarily mean your device is broken. This guide explains the common reasons for this happening and ways to fix it.

Key Takeaway

If your Masterbuilt smoker isn’t turning on, you should confirm it’s plugged into a working outlet. Next, ensure the heating element hasn’t become loose, the temperature gauge is clean and set to greater than 40°F, and the circuit board isn’t dirty.

Keep reading for more in-depth troubleshooting instructions to get your smoker working again so you can get back to cooking.

Common Reasons Your Masterbuilt Smoker Isn’t Turning On

One of the most common reasons your smoker isn’t turning on is because it’s been in storage (or unused) for a long time.

This is especially true if you live in a state with cold winters and store your smoker for the season.

However, more often than not, a solid cleaning of all major parts will ensure the smoker turns on and runs smoothly.

Still, there are a few more complicated issues that may be the reason for your smoker not turning on. For example, there may be something faulty with the hardware.

Pay special attention to the following parts of your smoker:

  • Main circuit
  • Heating element (for electric smokers)
  • Temperature sensor
  • Extension cord
  • Power light

When one of these parts of your smoker is damaged or defective, it may cause the entire piece of equipment to fail.

Thankfully, there may be a chance of fixing each component quickly and getting your smoker working like new. Let’s explore what these solutions are.

How to Fix a Masterbuilt Smoker Not Turning On

Remember that Masterbuilt sells different types of smokers, so depending on which model you have, some of the steps below may not be relevant.

For example, suppose you have a charcoal or pellet smoker. In that case, you won’t have to worry about looking at the heating element because there isn’t one.

Verify That the Outlet Is Working

The first troubleshooting step is to rule out the electrical outlet causing the issue. You can confirm that the outlet is working by plugging in another device you know is functioning correctly.

The outlet or power source may be the issue if the alternate device isn’t powering on.

To confirm this, try plugging your smoker into another outlet (preferably on a different electrical circuit) to see whether it turns on.

Remember that smokers are large appliances and require a dedicated outlet. Avoid using a power strip, as it could overload the circuit and cause a breaker to trip.

Clean the Temperature Sensor and Controller

Another element of your Masterbuilt smoker that you may need to clean to turn it on again is your temperature sensor and controller.


The temperature sensor acts as the temperature controller’s input. The sensor can get pretty dirty in the smoking chamber, so keeping it clean is essential.

If, after cleaning your thermostat, you find that your Masterbuilt smoker is still faulty, the thermostat or sensor may just be too old.

In that case, you may need to change it entirely to get the temp right and start cooking.

Inspect the Extension Cord

Unplug the smoker and inspect the cable for any tears or exposed wires.

If you find any damage, consider hiring a professional technician to replace the cord. If the cable is in good condition, plug it back in and try turning it on again.

Confirm the Power Light Is Working

If you notice the power light off, the unit could be off, too. In that case, check for these potential issues:

  • The power cord isn’t correctly plugged in
  • There may be wires that aren’t connected
  • There could be a blown fuse that needs replacing

Set the Temperate to the Correct Setting

Okay, this one isn’t exactly common sense. You’d think the smoker would turn on as soon as you adjust the temperature controller.

However, with Masterbuilt smokers, if the temperature gauge is beneath 40°F, it won’t turn on. So check your gauge and ensure it’s set above that.

Check the Heating Element for Issues

Since there’s no burning fire inside an electric smoker, Masterbuilt has a heating element to produce heat.

Inspect the heating element to verify it’s inserted correctly and hasn’t detached. This oversight can resolve the issue more often than you think.

Additionally, you may notice that over time, there can be a build-up of corrosion or grime. However, regular cleaning of the heating element (and nearby area) ensures it works correctly.

Clean the Main Circuit Board

The circuit board controls the operation of your smoker. It receives data from various components (such as the temperature sensor) and adjusts the smoker’s functions accordingly.

So, if the circuit board is dirty, it can cause the smoker to fail.

Pro Tip

The primary culprit for a circuit board malfunction is a build-up of dust or debris. In that case, use a soft brush and carefully wipe away the unwanted residue. Alternatively, you can use compressed air to blow debris away.

However, if you see grease on the circuit board, you’ll need to wash it with distilled water. Then, ensure the circuit board is completely dry before putting it back into place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions about your Masterbuilt smoker not turning on? Check out the FAQ below!

Can I Use an Extension Cord With an Electric Smoker?

You can power your electric smoker using a 12 or 14-gauge heavy-duty extension cord, as long as it’s approved for outdoor use and no longer than 25 feet.

Can You Light a Smoker With Lighter Fluid?

You shouldn’t use lighter fluid to light a smoker for safety reasons. It can also impart a petroleum flavor to your food.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why your Masterbuilt smoker may not turn on, from a disconnected heating element to faulty or old components.

Even though some issues may require more work, you can easily solve many of them by routinely cleaning your smoker.

However, don’t forget to unplug the smoker before cleaning or adjusting any internal components.

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Hey, I'm Matt Hollingshead, a BBQ enthusiast, beer connoisseur, and the founder of Grill Mentor. When I'm not trying new recipes with my Traeger or sampling a craft beer, I'm publishing articles for this site.

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