Smoking and grilling outdoors is a delicious sign of summer. Who doesn’t love getting their friends and family together for a big cookout on a Sunday afternoon?
If you want to enjoy the company rather than obsessively checking on the food to ensure it’s not dried out, perhaps you need a meat thermometer.
These digital devices measure the internal temperature of the meat to indicate the level of “doneness”. Basic thermometers with simple displays are easy to find and inexpensive to buy.
Those who are fans of a more high-tech product can invest a good chunk of money for a more complex model that can be controlled from a smartphone.
When choosing a digital meat thermometer, regardless of whether you’re replacing an old model or buying your very first, the amount of choice can be confusing and overwhelming.
We’ve done some research and picked out the best products to suit all price ranges and cooking capabilities.
Why Do You Need To Use A Meat Thermometer?
The more old-fashioned cooks may think that this new technology has no place in the kitchen and judging by eye is a perfectly acceptable way to assess whether meat is cooked or not.
But using tools such as this can have exceptional benefits as well as give you peace of mind when cooking.
To Prevent Illness
Certain meats must be cooked to a certain temperature to be considered safe to consume. This is especially true when it comes to cooking poultry as undercooking can lead to illnesses.
Eating raw and undercooked meats in general can leave you with Salmonella, E.Coli poisoning, Listeriosis, Campylobacteriosis and parasitic infections.
To Avoid Overcooking The Meat
If you’re a bit of a grill master, you may already know that cooking certain meats to the right temperature is vital to avoid overcooking them and stopping them from becoming dry and tough.
No one wants to spend all day cooking just to have a dry bit of chicken at the end of it.
Thermometers can be used on a variety of different meats in many situations. For example, you may have seen someone use a thermometer to check your Thanksgiving turkey or very expensive steak.
Essentially, they can be used on the grill, in the oven and on any other cooking equipment you have lying around.
Best Meat Thermometers
Let’s take a look at some of the best thermometers on the market in terms of price, function and quality.
1. Meater Plus
The Meater+ is a wireless pen-shaped 2-sensor probe that can monitor internal temperatures up to 212°F and an ambient temperature of up to 527°F at the same time.
The free smartphone application allows you to monitor the temperature with a 165ft range alongside many other handy features.
The guided cook system helps you get perfect results when cooking any type of meat. Setting up custom alerts and notifications based on temperature and time allows you the freedom of relaxing or other cooking preparations simultaneously.
Another feature is the advanced estimator algorithm which estimates how long food should be cooked and rested, this is great to help you plan your meals and manage your time.
Using Bluetooth you can monitor your food via your computer or even use ALEXA to keep you updated on temperature and timing when you’re busy around the house.
This truly is a great bit of software, clearly reflected in the widespread number of great reviews.
Previous customers found the technology to be accurate and reliable, with others claiming they are the best remote probes they’ve ever used.
If you’re looking to buy a gift for a foodie or just want to treat yourself, this probe is a great choice.
- Wireless probe which allows you to control from up to 165ft away
- You can set custom alerts and notifications to tell you when you’re meat is done
- Bluetooth can pair the product with ALEXA and other smart devices
- Expensive product
The Javelin Pro Duo has a 4.5” metal probe that can detect temperatures between -40°F and ~ 482°F within 1-3 seconds.
The recording accuracy of the probe is ± 0.9°F which demonstrates its impressive sensitivity. The display is an ultra-large 2” with 360° so no matter where the device is held, you’ll get a clear reading due to the automatic rotation.
Technological features of the Javelin Pro include an intelligent stabilization alert which holds the stabilized temperature and alerts you with a beep, making measuring the temperature easy and keeping your face away from hot steam.
The design features of this product make it easy to store and handy for when you’re cooking. It has an integrated magnet so you can stick it to your refrigerator and grab it when you need it.
At the end of the thermometer is a hanging loop, which works on tool hooks or any grill hooks you have to always keep within reach.
Price-wise, this is a mid-range product that will cost you less than $50. If you want something that is a step up from a basic digital thermometer but don’t think you need a high-tech solution, this would be suitable for you.
- Quick temperature readings
- Automatic rotation makes reading the screen easy
- Intelligent Stabilization feature
- Highly accurate
- Ideal for grilling
- Still a little on the pricey side
This compact and foldable instant-read thermometer has a stainless-steel probe which can measure temperatures for seven different kinds of meat.
An audible temperature alarm notifies you when your food is cooked to the correct temperature, this is essentially the only ‘feature’ of the product.
The battery-powered LCD screen is small but easy to read with large digits displaying the current temperature of your meat as well as the target temperature.
This makes for easy monitoring and timings.
As the thermometer is foldable you can easily read the temperature from many different angles. When finished, the probe simply folds away making for fuss-free storage.
Char-Broil has made a no-frills easy-to-use meat thermometer, reflected in the price. At the lower end of the price range, this product is ideal for those who want a basic product that they may use on occasion.
Regardless of the price, the Char-Broil thermometer is highly rated online with customers applauding the slim design which makes a small and delicate hole in the meat and can be used in tight places such as a smoker.
- It has an auto shut off
- It speaks seven languages
- An alarm lets you know when it’s done
- Readings have been found to take up to 10 seconds
- Can’t withstand as high temperatures as others
A leave-in thermometer has an extra-long stainless steel cord with a probe attached, this stays in the meat whilst it’s cooking and the device rests easily on the kitchen counter or side of the grill.
If grilling or smoking, this product allows you to leave the lid closed trapping in the warm air and moisture and keep an eye on the temperature at the same time.
Temperatures of up to 700°F can be withstood making it perfect for use in ovens, broilers, grills or smokers. Presets for nine different types of meat, poultry and fish can be chosen from.
The device itself has a large LCD screen which is easy to read and is used to set a pre-cooking target temperature. This allows you to keep an eye on the time and how quickly it’s cooking.
Once finished, the cord and probe can be easily placed in the base of the device for tidy, convenient storage. Batteries are required to power this product.
The Chef’s Precision thermometer is another mid-range product but has the handy feature of being able to leave the probe in the meat rather than keep coming back to it.
Online reviews mention that users should watch out for the probe wire when using it. Overall, the large number of great reviews find this product to be easy and reliable for a good price.
- Made from highly durable materials
- It has a 24-hour timer
- Leave-in probe
- It doesn’t shut off automatically
- Discrepancies about the accuracy of the product
The Thermapen One has become a popular and well-respected tool for professionals and budding chefs alike as it’s suitable for measuring more than just meat.
Making quick and accurate readings of temperatures between -58°F to 572°F (easily changed into°C if needed) it’s a versatile piece of equipment.
The rotating display screen and auto-intelligent backlighting make it easy to read and adjust the settings of the thermometer from any angle. A battery saving motion sensor which triggers a sleep or wake mode.
Biomaster Antimicrobial Technology has been used on this thermometer to reduce cross-contamination, improving food safety especially if you work in a busy professional kitchen.
Although this sturdy design is waterproof the manufacturers still offer a 5-year guarantee against defects just in case, which is why this is such a great all-rounder product.
In a similar price range to the Meater+, this is the only downside of the product.
Hundreds of online reviews from many different sites show a solid appreciation for this product, mainly commenting on the accuracy and reliability of the thermometer compared to others they’ve used.
So, if you can afford it this may be the thermometer for you.
- Fast and accurate
- Rotating display makes settings easy to read and adjust
- Has Biomaster Antimicrobial Technology to limit cross-contamination
- Expensive product
There are certain factors to consider when buying a meat thermometer. If you’re upgrading or replacing a previous item, you may already know what you’re looking for or what you liked and disliked about it.
Sometimes, having a little more information can help you make a more informed decision and you may end up buying something completely different to what you expected.
The best way to figure out what thermometer is right for you is to consider your cooking needs and what you want the product to do.
Accuracy is one the most important factors when it comes to buying a meat thermometer, as you want to ensure the right temperatures are reached for both safety and quality.
Product specifications should indicate the degree of accuracy of the thermometer.
Cooking can get messy and hot, so finding a thermometer that’s durable is key. As the majority of them are made from plastic, they can easily melt if left on a hot stove or grill for too long.
The Chef’s Precision Digital Thermometer has been praised for its durable materials and water resistance, making it an ideal choice for accident-prone chefs or those cooking at particularly high temperatures.
An alarm system notifies you when the meat is cooked to the desired temperature. Certain models have pre-set temperatures for different meats and others allow you to choose a temperature to be notified at.
This is a really handy feature as it allows you some freedom when cooking, meaning you don’t have to check on your food too often.
Temperature notifications can also help to avoid the meat becoming overcooked. The Meater+ is the only one that can send notifications to your smartphone, so you’ll have to listen for the beep with the others.
Paying more doesn’t necessarily mean you get a better product. Some of the thermometers we’ve featured here are fantastic little gadgets that do exactly what you need and are reasonably priced.
However, the more advanced features such as Bluetooth compatibility are unsurprisingly reflected in the price.
Again, this all depends on your needs.
If you work in a professional kitchen and need a highly accurate, reliable product that is in constant use, you may want to pay more for a product that lets you set alarms and notifications which allow you to get on with preparing other parts of the meal.
If you’re using it for a Thanksgiving dinner every year, a budget-friendly option is more appropriate.
There you have it, the top five best digital meat thermometers currently available. When purchasing a new meat thermometer consider the price, accuracy, the presence of a notification system and durability of the specific product.