I hear this a good bit and smoking is something my husband is into more than me. I mean I will eat the food but I want no part really in the modding process. How much is too little to spend on a good smoker?
That really depends on what type of smoker you're looking at. If you considering a drum type go straight for the Weber. It's pretty much the standard all others are judged. For the larger size 21" you'll be looking at about $400. I made the mistake of getting a cheaper one and regret it. As for offset smokers, you'll be wanting something that is well built and heavy. 1/4" steel is best. The bad part is they'll run you a good $700 or more. All of this also depends on how serious your husband is about his smoking. I've got a cheaper Brinkman offset smoker that has turned out many a great meal. With the cheaper ones it just takes more attention as things like temp control can be challenging.
When I started smoking, I didn't want to spend a load of $$$ at first but still wanted to put out some good food. I went and bought a Weber Kettle...the 21" model and then bought this insert called The Smokenator 1000. I'll tell you, this thing really works great and I use it to this day even though I have a drum smoker. I've done Ribs, brisket, ABT's, Butts, Turkey...the whole nine yards on this thing. I think it's a great way to get into smoking and it spared me wasting money on a cheap piece of metal that can't hold a temp because it's so drafty.