I'll tell you right now, there are a lot of reasons you may want a water pan in your cooker, BUT it's important to know exactly what those reasons are!
Water Pans do not help PUT moisture into your food. It only helps create a moist environment, which helps KEEP moisture in some cooks. Water Pans helps evenly distribute heat in a cooker, by absorbing and radiating the incoming heat mass. Water Pans can also make clean up incredibly easy after a cook. By acting as a catch all, water pans prevent food, grease and other objects from crusting on the bottom of your cooker.
There are THREE main types of cookers that you'd want to use a water pan in. A Vertical Reverse Flow, which, when aided by a water pan, can more evenly distribute heat. A Vertical Wood Fired Smoker, which, when aided by a water pan, can prevent the hot air mass from burning your food. And a Hog Cooker, which, when aided by a water pan, can prevent flash fires.
Some tips for using a water pan: Add HOT water into the pan BEFORE you start your smoker. Keep adding hot water as you continue with your cook to avoid radical temperature spikes. And ALWAYS remove your water pan after your cook, and clean both the pan and your cooker.
Hope you guys found this helpful!
As always, we wish you luck on your Smoker Journey!