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The 8 Best Wireless Grill Thermometers in 2021

MEATER Plus Wireless Smart Thermometer
What We Like
  • Calculates time to completion

  • No wires

  • Presets for a wide range of foods

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • No official approval for sous vide

  • Minimum depth required

MEATER Plus Review

MEATER, a relatively new brand that markets itself as the "first truly wireless smart meat thermometer," improved upon its original model with the MEATER Plus. Many wireless grill thermometers aren't totally wireless—there's often still a wire from the thermometer to the base unit—but the MEATER Plus is completely wire-free. Plus, it's really two thermometers in one: It will measure the internal temperature of your meat as well as the ambient temperature and can be safely used in the oven up to 527 degrees Fahrenheit.

As you prep your meat, you can pick from different cuts and specify whether you'd like your meat cooked rare, medium-rare, medium, or well-done. The MEATER Plus guides you through every step, including giving you an estimate of how much longer your meat will need to cook to reach your desired doneness and how long to let it rest after you've removed it from the grill or oven. Our tester found the app incredibly easy to use and appreciated that it tracked the cook and that the results could be saved for the future. The alerts can be customized to your preferences, too.

Most importantly, our reviewer found it to be accurate in all of her temperature tests, and the fact that it makes grilling "nearly foolproof" justifies its price tag, she reported. So whether you are a novice griller and need a little extra help or you are a grill master looking for precise results and a convenient design, this meat thermometer will not disappoint. If one probe isn't enough for you, the MEATER Block features four probes, a block to hold them, and a touchscreen standalone mode if you don't want to use an app.

The brand still does offer its original MEATER thermometer, but it has a much shorter wireless range of just 33 feet.

Probes: 1 | Range: Up to 212°F | Wireless Range: 165 feet | Max Ambient Temperature: 527°F

What Our Testers Say

"A truly wireless thermometer, the MEATER Plus smart wireless meat thermometer makes cooking nearly foolproof, and it’s easy to use, too." — Donna Currie, Product Tester


Smoke has two probe channels—one for the meat and one for your pit temps—a dedicated receiver so you can track your temps remotely without gumming up your phone, plus rugged durability, an enormous display, and push-button simplicity.


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Ratings & Reviews

Remote Thermometer: Up to 300 feet away
View all of your temp data from the comfort of your home on the pre-paired receiver. Add optional receivers for the whole team.

2-Channels: Compatible with any Pro-Series® probe
One probe for the meat, one for the pit, or add a second cooking probe and track two meats simultaneously.

Dashboard-Style Display: Shows Min/Max & High/Low
All the info you need, displayed at once. No fumbling with buttons necessary.

Splashproof rugged housing: Rated to IP65
Molded-in seals for splashproof protection and built for rough handling.

Designed for competition BBQ teams and professional chefs, Smoke outlasts and outperforms every competitor. Not a cheaply-made housewares product, Smoke features a rugged housing with molded-in seals for splashproof protection. Smoke uses Pro-Series Probes which are interchangeable with Smoke, ChefAlarm®, and DOT®. See frequently asked questions in the More Info section.

Smoke is designed to track temperatures over an extended period of time with moderate-heat cooking methods such as smoking, oven-roasting, deep-frying, homebrewing, and Sous Vide and to be used while grilling. Smoke is not meant to be used in place of a digital instant-read thermometer, such as a Thermapen MK4 or a ThermoPop, or used with broiling.

Dual Channel
Accepts two probes, one for the meat and one for the pit. Tracks each probe independently with settable high and low alarms. Probes included.

Commercial Quality
Uses commercial-grade Pro-Series probes for better accuracy, faster response and longer life than cheaply-made housewares probes.

Water Resistant
Molded-in seals for splashproof protection, safe for outdoor use.

Extended Wireless Range
Wireless range to 300-feet gives you freedom to roam.

Large Backlit Dashboard-Like Display
Large digits viewable from a distance with backlight for low light conditions. Min/Max and Hi/Low alarms always displayed at-a-glance.

Extra Long Battery Life
2 x AA's power Smoke with super long 1,800 hour battery life. Never run out during a long cook.

Smoke Receiver
Comes pre-paired out of the box. Beeps and vibrates at alarm. Displays temperatures and alarm settings on large LCD screen. Pair as many Receivers as you want to one Smoke.

Designed in Utah by ThermoWorks

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Remote Probe Thermometers: Winner

"Right out of the box the base paired automatically with the receiver, making it ready to use in seconds..... The unit maintains a connection for up to 300 feet and alerts you when you go out of range. When you go back into range, it automatically reconnects, and its alarms were loud and easy to set."
Read the Review

Best Wireless Thermometer | Comparison

"As soon as I picked it up I could feel it.... It's heavier. The plastic feels like it could take a drop better. It's got more of a substantial feel.... A lot easier to program. I would call it dead simple. Take it out of the box and you just intuitively can figure it out."
Watch the Review

The Best Leave-In Probe Thermometers

"The precise two-probe Smoke is designed for grillers and barbecuers, but it’s just as handy indoors. Use the cooking probe to gauge the temperature inside a roast, and the ambient probe to track the oven, smoker, or grill’s temperature. The Smoke also comes with a wireless radio receiver you can carry up to 300 feet away, allowing you to keep an eye on temperatures even when you’re not tending the fire. It, too, can be calibrated at home."
Read the Review

Probe Range-58 to 572°F (-50 to 300°C)
Cable Max TempMax 700°F (370°C)
Accuracy±1.8°F (±1.0°C) from -4 to 248°F (-20 to 120°C)
±3.6°F (±2.0°C) from -58 to -4°F / 248 to 392°F (-50 to -20°C / 120 to 200°C)
±5.4°F (±3.0°C) from 392 to 572°F (200 to 300°C)
Resolution0.1°F (°C)
Units°C/°F switchable
Water ResistanceIP65 (excluding probe connector)
Operating Range32 to 122°F (0 to 50°C)
Backlight20 seconds (both Smoke & Receiver)
Max Sounds VolumeSmoke: 90dB / Receiver: 75dB
Transmission Range300-feet line of sight
Transmission Rate15 Seconds
Wireless2.4 Ghz radio frequency
ApprovalsUS (FCC Part 15), Canada (IC), EU (CE - Complies with all relevant directives for Europe), AU/NZ (RCM)
BatterySmoke: 2x AA / Receiver: 2x AA - 1,800 hours
DisplaySmoke: 2 H x 2.95 W inches (51 H x 75 W mm)
Receiver: 2.15 H x 1.30 W inches (54.6 H x 33 W mm)
Product SizeSmoke: 3.78 H x 4.68 W x 1.01 D inches (96 H x 119 W x 25.6 D mm)
Receiver: 4.21 H x 2.05 W x 1.01 D inches (107 H x 52 W x 25.6 D mm)


Pro-Series High Temp Cooking Probe (included)
Cable Max Temp700°F (370°C)
Transition Max Temp644°F (340°C)
Transition Dimensions1.4 L x 0.35 inches dia. (35.6 L x 8.9 mm dia.)
Probe Range-58 to 572°F (-50 to 300°C)
Cable Length47 inches (1.2m)
Probe Dimensions6 L x 0.13 inches dia. reduces to 0.08 inches dia.
(152.4 L x 3 mm dia. reduces to 2 mm dia.)


Pro-Series High Temp Air Probe & Grate Clip (Included)
Cable Max Temp700°F (370°C)
Transition Max Temp644°F (340°C)
Transition Dimensions1.4 L x 0.35 inches dia. (35.6 L x 8.9 mm dia.)
Probe Range-58 to 572°F (-50 to 300°C)
Cable Length47 inches (1.2m)

Visit our Help Center For more information and troubleshooting tips.

Pro-Series® Probes
Exclusive to Signals, DOT, ChefAlarm, Smoke, and Smoke X. Pro-Series temperature probes are built to last in commercial kitchens. The included Pro-Series High Temp Cooking Probe measures to 572°F with a cable max temp to 700°F for short term exposure. This is the highest rated probe of its class. Probes store away in the included padded case for storage. Pro-Series probes do not operate with other products.

Smoke Gateway (Wi-Fi Bridge) & Smartphone App - Now Available
Get Smoke by ThermoWorks. Use the wireless RF (Radio Frequency) receiver to monitor your cooks up to 300 feet away. Then you can add Smoke Gateway (Wi-Fi Bridge) to your set-up and get readings on your cell phone or tablet, anywhere! Smoke Gateway works with your existing Smoke. You will not need to buy a new Smoke. Smoke Gateway receives the RF signal from Smoke and uses your Wi-Fi to transmit to the app. MSRP $89.


Smoke FAQ

1. Will Smoke work with other ThermoWorks probes?
It depends. Smoke accepts all Pro-Series® Probes that also work with DOT® and ChefAlarm®. These probes feature a headphone-jack-style connector. Smoke does not accept the two-prong plug-style thermocouple probes that work with ThermaQ® and other ThermoWorks handheld thermometers.

2. Will the Smoke receiver work inside my house?
Will Smoke transmit from the backyard to inside my house?
Absolutely. The Smoke Receiver will receive the signal from Smoke up to 300 feet away with a clear “line of sight.” Inside your house the maximum distance may be less than 300 feet depending upon the number and type of walls between the Receiver and the Smoke unit.

3. How is Smoke different from my ChefAlarm?
Smoke accepts two probes that are displayed simultaneously, whereas the ChefAlarm only has one. Smoke includes a receiver that allows you to track temperatures remotely from up to 300 feet away. The ChefAlarm does not. The ChefAlarm features a timer that is not on Smoke. Both Smoke and ChefAlarm feature high and low alarms and continuous Min/Max displays. Both accept the same Pro-Series® Probes.

4. How is Smoke different from my ThermaQ?
Smoke uses Pro-Series® Probes with thermistor type sensors. ThermaQ uses Type-K thermocouple probes known for increased accuracy and durability. Smoke includes a receiver that allows you to track temperatures remotely from up to 300 feet away. The ThermaQ does not. Both Smoke and ThermaQ feature two channels with high and low alarms and continuous Min/Max displays for each channel. The probes are not compatible between Smoke and ThermaQ.

5. What is the Smoke Gateway and how will it work?
The Smoke Gateway is an add-on accessory that works with your Smoke units. The Gateway hardware bridge receives the wireless RF signal from Smoke and uses your existing Wi-Fi network to push the readings to your Smartphone or Tablet App. Each Smoke Gateway will work with only one Smoke.

6. Will Smoke Gateway (Wi-Fi Bridge) work with my existing Smoke or do I need to buy a new Smoke base unit?
Smoke Gateway works with your existing Smoke. You will not need to buy a new Smoke. Smoke Gateway simply retrieves the wireless transmission from Smoke and pushes it to your Smartphone.

7. Can Smoke be used to track two meat temperatures?
Yes. Both Smoke channels will accept any Pro-Series® Probes. You can track two meat temperatures or two air temperatures or use the Pro-Series® Needle Probe to track Sous Vide temperatures or the 12-inch Pro-Series® Probe to track homebrew mash temperatures. Smoke comes with one High Temp Penetration Probe for meat and one High Temp Air Probe & Grate Clip for the pit. Optional probes are available for a variety of cooking applications.

8. What is Radio Frequency (RF) and how does it differ from Wi-Fi?
RF is a simple, robust, and reliable wireless technology for sending your Smoke temperature data to the Smoke Receiver. Your Smoke and Smoke Receiver come pre-paired in out of the box and will remain paired as long as they remain within distance. Wi-Fi uses radio signals to connect devices to the internet and requires additional hardware, setup and connection protocols.

What is an IP Rating?

An IP rating, also known as "International Protection" or "Ingress Protection" rating, is a value assigned to a product that determines its susceptibility to ingress from solids and liquids. The first numeric digit relates to the level of protection against solid objects, and the second numeric digit indicates the level of protection against liquid ingress. Click for a table of IP Rating values.

IP65 - No ingress of dust (6); Protection from water ingress: Low pressure jets of water (5).

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We updated this guide in August 2021 to include new winners based on updated testing by Nicole Papantoniou, Deputy Director of the Kitchen and Appliances Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute and kitchen equipment tester, Nancy Kochan. We removed sold out and discontinued products. Our new picks include the ThermoWorks ThermoPop and the Meater Long Range Smart Wireless Meat Thermometer.

Using a meat thermometer when roasting or grilling is one way to help ensure a delicious outcome with little effort. The best ones allow you to quickly and easily monitor the internal temperature so you can avoid overcooking and serving dried-out food. Chefs use meat thermometers because they allow for consistent results, and when following the USDA's guidelines for food safety, can help prevent undercooking which could result in illness.

In the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab, our experts test thousands of products each year from coffee makers to measuring cups. To find the best meat thermometer, our pros put more than 18 of them to the test on roasted chicken and in controlled temperature tests, boiling over 90 cups of water and using 10 pounds of ice to find the best (and most accurate!) models. For the initial performance test, we brought distilled water to a boil in a stainless steel pot for exactly one minute and measured the temperature of the water in the same location with each thermometer. The ice water test was similarly conducted with a controlled amount of ice to assess accuracy and speed at measuring low temperatures. Lastly, we roasted a chicken and compared the temperature reading of the thermometers to the temperature reading of a scientific-grade thermocouple.

In addition to performance, we evaluated ease of use by comparing how easy the temperatures were to read on each model. We also evaluated the user guides and took special features into consideration when applicable, like automatic shut-off and how easy it was to change the batteries. The top performing models were easy to use, had clear readings, quick response times and, most importantly, accurate readings as compared to the scientific models we used as control. Based on our tests, these are the best meat thermometers you can buy in 2021:

Best Overall Meat Thermometer: Thermapen Mk4 Thermocouple
Best Value Digital Meat Thermometer:
Char-Broil Instant Read Thermometer
Most Popular Meat Thermometer on Amazon:
ThermoPro TP03 Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer
Best Compact Meat Thermometer: Polder Deluxe Safe-Serve Instant Read Thermometer
Editor's Favorite Meat Thermometer: CDN Digital Pocket Thermometer
Best Leave-In Meat Thermometer:OXO Good Grips Chef’s Precision Digital Leave-In Thermometer
Best Smart Meat Thermometer:MEATER Plus Long Range Smart Wireless Meat Thermometer
Best Dial Meat Thermometer:OXO Chef's Precision Leave-In Meat Thermometer
Easiest to Use Meat Thermometer: ThermoWorks ThermoPop

Based on our tests, these are the best meat thermometers you can buy in 2021:

Best Overall Meat Thermometer

Thermapen Mk4 Thermocouple



This thermocouple meat thermometer is our overall top performer, scoring 5 out of 5 in most of our tests. The Thermapen Mk4 folds up for easy storage and activates the moment you unfold in. The thin probe easily pierces through the toughest meats and gives an accurate temperature in about two seconds. The screen is very easy to read and offers readings to the tenth of a temperature. Fold it back up to turn it off to save battery, or it will automatically go into sleep mode within a few minutes. The trusted brand also added a new edition to their line, the Thermapen One, which is supposed to give you a full reading in one second or less.  

  • Water resistant
  • 2-3 second reading

Best Value Digital Meat Thermometer

Instant-Read Digital Thermometer


This compact digital instant read thermometer performed well in our tests, giving accurate temperature readings in less than 10 seconds, scoring a 4 out of 5 for responsiveness. It has a few tricks up its sleeve, like auto-off, seven selectable meat types along with doneness levels, and it speaks seven languages! It also features an alarm to let you know when your meat is done.

  • Auto shut off
  • Inexpensive

Most Popular Meat Thermometer on Amazon

TP03 Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer


Boasting over 91,000 reviews on Amazon (a whopping 71,000 of which are five-stars), this budget-friendly thermometer is a favorite among reviewers. A 3.9-inch probe rotates 180º, which makes it easy and safe to use on the grill or in the oven, and the backlit LCD screen clearly displays temperature readings. Reviewers say it shows "exactly the same temperature in exactly the same amount of time" as our top pick, though we haven't tested those claims in-Lab.

  • Great for the grill and oven
  • Cult-favorite

Best Compact Meat Thermometer

Deluxe Preset Oven Cooking Thermometer


This meat thermometer has a lot of bells and whistles, and they're all super useful. You can select the meat you're cooking and your desired doneness, then let it do the rest of the work for you. The thermometer will beep when the meat reaches the desired temperature, then once again after you've let it rest for three minutes, as recommended by the USDA. It will also let you know if you've overcooked the meat by at least 10 degrees. 

In our tests, Lab experts liked the large grip on the probe and the thin, super-sharp tip, which is why it received a 5 out of 5 score for ease of use. We found the 40-inch cord to be long enough for the thermometer to safely rest on our counter while the probe was in the oven. We also liked how the display folded up for easier reading and storage.

  • Quick response time
  • Compact

Editor's Favorite Meat Thermometer

DT450X Digital Pocket Thermometer


This digital meat thermometer has been a trusted tool in our culinary kits for years, so when it scored a 4.5 out of 5 during our testing, we weren't surprised. It's highly responsive and displays the temperature in clear, easy-to-read numbers. It also turns on quickly so you don't have to wait around for it to load. The tip is sharp and pierces meat easily. It offers a comfortable grip and a slim, balanced design, which stores well in a chef coat or apron pocket. Plus, it has a built-in clip so it won't slip out when you bend over or are on the move. 

  • Built-in clip
  • Comfortable grip

Best Leave-In Digital Meat Thermometer

Chef's Precision Digital Leave-In Thermometer
OXO Good



While most digital thermometers aren't safe to leave in the oven, this digital pick has a probe with an extra-long cord to stay in your meat throughout the cooking process. It has a safe and secure storage space for the probe inside the thermometer's housing, plus plenty of space to snugly wrap the long cord around it. We like the large screen that's easy to read and program with our desired doneness temperatures. It also comes with a timer, which makes keeping an eye on your meat even easier. 

  • Durable stainless steel cord and probe
  • 24-hour timer

Best Smart Meat Thermometer

Smart Wireless Meat Thermometer


What sets this thermometer apart from the rest is the multitude of places it can be used, from the smoker to the oven and even sous vide. You can use it in almost every stage of cooking. The wireless thermometer pairs with an app via bluetooth so you can keep an eye on your steak's temperature from the comfort of your living room and will let you know the estimated finishing time. Just let the app know what you're cooking and your desired doneness and you're good to go. It also comes with a charging station and will alert you when fully charged.

  • Wireless
  • Connects to smartphone

Best Dial Meat Thermometer

Chef's Precision Analog Leave-In Meat Thermometer


With this 3-inch dial, you won’t need to squint to see the temperature. It's easy to hold and it comes with a probe cover that protects the tip — and your fingers — during storage. The face displays USDA recommended temperatures for various meats. This was the top performing dial thermometer and scored 5 out of 5 in all categories. The probe features a shaded section, which lets you know how deep to insert it into the meat.

  • No batteries
  • Can be left in the oven

Easiest to Use Thermometer




The small but mighty thermometer scored a 5 out of 5 for accuracy in Lab testing. The display is backlit and shows large digits, making it easier for reading. The splash proof thermometer comes in nine bright colors, and according to the company, is durable and constructed to outlast similar thermometers. The only downside is that the small buttons may be slightly difficult to use for those with larger hands. It takes up less room in drawers than the fold-up types and is easier to handle, since you only have to slide the cap on and off.  

  • Easy to use
  • Very Accurate

What kind of meat thermometer is best?

When shopping for meat thermometers, there are three main types to consider: Thermocouples, digital instant-read and dial. The main differences include how quickly they read a temperature and how accurate they are. Before you get shopping, here's what you need to know about the different types of meat thermometers:

Thermocouples insert into the meat about 1/4 inch. Its very thin tip can easily pierce thick or thin cuts of meat, and these thermometers offer the quickest response time of all types. The downfalls? They can be pricey and you can't leave them in meat while cooking.

Digital instant-read thermometers insert into the meat about ½ inch. They have a relatively quick response time (though not as quick as a thermocouple thermometer) and are reasonably priced. Be aware that you cannot leave in them meat during cooking.

Dial thermometers insert into meat 2 to 2 ½ inches. They can be harder to read than instant-read thermometers, and take one to two minutes for a reading, but since they can be left in meat while cooking in the oven, you can easily monitor doneness as you cook. These thermometers are affordable and work best for large cuts of meat (think Thanksgiving turkey).

Raena LoperRaena Loper is the Product and Reviews Associate for the Good Housekeeping Institute, covering home, textiles, wellness, tech, outdoors and more.

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Luxear Wireless Remote Thermometer Review.
  • The Thermapen One is our new upgrade pick (it’s available for preorder now, but won’t ship until mid-July). Our former upgrade pick, the ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4, has been discontinued.

  • The Thermapen One is our new upgrade pick (it’s available for preorder now, but won’t ship until mid-July). Our former upgrade pick, the ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4, has been discontinued.

    The new model looks very similar to the old version, but it has a few improvements. It provides incredibly accurate readings within just 2 seconds and it’s accurate +/- to half a degree. Its backlit screen is much brighter than the Mk4’s, and its newly designed battery compartment is more convenient to access if you need to adjust the settings. The Thermapen One also boasts a generous five-year warranty.

June 24, 2021

If you ever fret at the thought of accidentally serving your friends and family undercooked meat, eliminate your worry by getting a great digital meat thermometer. It’s one of the few tools that will instantly increase your confidence in the kitchen. After testing 36 digital instant-read and probe thermometers, we think the ThermoWorks ThermoPop is the best instant-read thermometer and the ThermoWorks Dot is the best probe thermometer for a home kitchen. Both thermometers are fast, accurate, and reasonably priced, with clear, easy-to-read displays.

On top of being fast and accurate, the ThermoWorks ThermoPop is also waterproof, and it’s designed to work for both righties and lefties. It can read temperatures ranging from -58 °F to 572 °F, and can easily switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit. The ThermoPop’s backlit display has large digits and rotates in four directions, so you can quickly read it from any angle. Although it’s not the fastest thermometer we tested, it comfortably covers most home-kitchen needs. And it is far, far better than most of the digital thermometers sold for less than $30.

If you want a thermometer that you can leave inside your roast while it bakes, or that you can attach to your grill or smoker, we recommend the ThermoWorks Dot. The Dot is accurate, affordable, and easy to use. It has the same wide temperature range as the ThermoPop, and it also has one of the longest probe cables of any of the thermometers we considered. The digital display on the ThermoWorks Dot is easy to read, and you can quickly set an alarm to go off when your meat reaches a certain temperature. We also like the backlit screen, which is handy for outdoor grilling at night.

The Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo instant-read thermometer is the midpoint option between the ThermoPop and the $100 best-in-class ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4. In our tests, the Javelin Pro Duo was nearly a second faster at reaching a true temperature than the ThermoPop, and its folding probe lets you take readings from odd angles. It has a few features the ThermoPop lacks, such as a beep that tells you when it settles on a temperature, a button for holding the reading, and the ability to track minimum and maximum temperatures. It also displays temperatures down to a tenth of a degree. And unlike the ThermoPop or Thermapen, the Javelin Pro Duo has a magnet that lets you stick it to your fridge or stove, rather than keeping it loose in a drawer.

Upgrade pick

Thermapen ONE

Thermapen ONE

This was the fastest and most accurate instant-read thermometer we tested. It also offers a rotating screen with a bright backlight, a huge temperature range, and serious waterproofing.

Most people don’t need to spend over $100 on a thermometer. But if you care deeply about speed, or if you have cooking projects that demand to-the-degree accuracy, the ThermoWorks Thermapen One is the easy choice. This buttonless thermometer is completely automatic—it powers on when you pull out the probe, and the bright backlight and rotating screen are motion-activated. It was on average 2 to 3 seconds faster than the Javelin Pro Duo at reading temperatures in the mid-100s (Fahrenheit), where most cooking happens. Thanks to the thermometer’s long probe, you can be confident you’re getting readings from deep within your food.

If you’re looking for a few more helpful features on a leave-in probe thermometer, the ThermoWorks ChefAlarm includes a timer and volume adjustment. Though the ChefAlarm was a couple of seconds slower than the Dot at reading temperatures in our tests, it was just as accurate. We especially liked the convenience of the timer on this model. The digital unit is also hinged, so you can lay it flat or adjust it to a specific angle. Unlike our other picks, the ChefAlarm thermometer comes with a case to hold the probe and the digital unit.

Everything we recommend

Upgrade pick

Thermapen ONE

Thermapen ONE

This was the fastest and most accurate instant-read thermometer we tested. It also offers a rotating screen with a bright backlight, a huge temperature range, and serious waterproofing.

Why you should trust me

To find out what makes a great meat thermometer, I spoke with various food professionals, including barbecue and grilling expert Rick Browne, the creator, host, and executive producer of PBS’s Barbecue America series, and the author of more than 10 cookbooks; Janet Crandall, a private chef, formerly the executive chef and head butcher for Wyebrook Farm in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania, a butcher at Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, and an instructor at the International Culinary Center (the ICC has since been acquired by the Institute of Culinary Education); and Robert D. Edman, assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Food Safety and Community Sanitation, New York City Department of Health.

As a senior staff writer for Wirecutter, I have written about everything from cookware sets to deep fryers. I’ve also spent 10 years working in the food and restaurant industry. My research builds on the work of former Wirecutter senior staff writer Kevin Purdy, who wrote the first version of this guide in 2013.

What type of meat thermometer should you get?

A person spooning pan sauce over a swordfish steak in a cast iron skillet, with a royal blue ThermaPen Mk4 resting to the side of the stovetop.

Every cook should have a reliable meat thermometer both to ensure food safety and to help you achieve the best results. The more common kind is an instant-read thermometer, which you stick into food for a few seconds to quickly check its doneness. Another type is a probe thermometer, which is designed to remain in the meat while it cooks. A heat-safe cable attaches the probe to a digital unit outside the oven that displays the temperature reading.

Most of the pros we spoke with recommended getting an instant-read thermometer over a probe thermometer. Probe thermometers are much slower to take an initial reading, so you can’t easily use one in place of an instant-read thermometer (our instant-read top pick takes 2 to 3 seconds, and our probe top pick takes 8 to 10). They also have a higher failure rate, because they’re constantly subjected to high heat.

The advantage of probe thermometers, however, is that you get an alert as soon as your meat reaches a set temperature, without having to open your oven door. This is especially useful for monitoring the doneness of a large cut of meat during a long roasting time, so you don’t accidentally overcook it. Just remember that different parts of a large cut of meat will cook at different rates, so even with a probe thermometer, it’s a good idea to use an instant-read thermometer to check your roast in a few different places. As barbecue and grilling expert Rick Browne told us, “The probe is sort of letting people know the temperature, and it’s a good guideline … then you can refine it with the instant-read and take multiple readings.”

Most of the pros we spoke with recommended getting an instant-read thermometer over a probe thermometer.

If you’re a seasoned cook and you have great instincts, you don’t truly need an instant-read or probe thermometer. But even professional chefs like taking the guesswork out of dishes, especially meats. For beginners in the kitchen, a good thermometer is a necessity to avoid overcooking steaks or undercooking fish or chicken, and for learning the baseline timing of your stovetop and oven.

A quick warning about induction cooktops

If you use an induction cooktop often, you’re likely to find that the electromagnetic field above the cooking surface can cause any digital thermometer that’s not specially shielded to read inaccurately or simply “crash” and fail to work at all. A Wirecutter reader and a pastry chef on the ChefTalk forums have both witnessed this effect, and mentions of the problem crop up elsewhere in Web searches. ThermoWorks, the maker of two of our picks, told us that induction cooktops are known to disrupt its devices. Thermometer maker CDN also acknowledges the problem.

One solution: You can temporarily turn off the induction cooktop while you take a reading; you lose very little heat and momentum by briefly halting an induction cooktop. The other alternative would be to use an analog thermometer, but as we mentioned before, those are slower and harder to read. We think that’s more likely to adversely affect the outcome of your food than turning off your induction cooktop to use one of our picks will.

How we picked

A collection of the thermometers we recommend, in a variety of colors.

For this guide, we tested the following types of thermometers, ranging from about $10 to $105:

  • Digital instant-read thermometers for quick readings
  • Basic probe thermometers with a single probe that stays in food as it cooks while displaying readings on a digital unit
  • Dual-channel probe thermometers with two probes, one for taking the internal temperature of the meat as it cooks and another for reading the ambient cooking temperature, while displaying readings on a digital unit
  • Remote probe thermometers that display readings on battery-operated wireless receivers or through smartphone apps via Bluetooth

Ultimately, we found that the digital instant-read and basic probe thermometers were by far the easiest to read and operate. Dual-channel thermometers are designed for grilling and smoker enthusiasts who want to monitor the temperature of their grill or multiple cuts of meat at the same time. Remote probe thermometers are for checking the progress of meat on a grill from inside your home. But we don’t think these extra features are useful for most people.

After testing more than 36 meat thermometers since 2013 and speaking with numerous experts, we’ve made a list of the most important features to look for when choosing a good instant-read or probe thermometer:

Speedy and accurate temperature readings: What matters most in a good kitchen thermometer is speed and clarity—how quickly you can turn it on and see a steady reading of the temperature inside your dish. A thermometer that can quickly jump toward the final temperature is much better than one that leaves you guessing as it slowly rises. Instant-read thermometers typically reach temperatures a few seconds faster than probe thermometers. In our tests, our top pick instant-read thermometer, the ThermoPop, reached temperatures in about 2 to 3 seconds, while our top pick probe thermometer, the Dot, took anywhere from 5 to 8 seconds. A good thermometer should also cover the whole temperature range of home cooking, from below freezing (32 °F) up past very hot frying oil (400 °F).

Sufficient probe length: The probe on a thermometer should be thin at its point to minimize juice-leaking punctures, and long enough to reach the center of large roasts or deep pots. A longer probe also helps keep your hands a safe distance from heat and steam.

Durable: A thermometer’s durability depends on how well its electronics are protected from dust and water, as measured by its IP (ingress protection) rating. The IP rating consists of two numbers that indicate how much abuse an item can withstand. The first number (ranging from 0–6) pertains to solids, and the second one (ranging from 0–8) pertains to liquids. For instance, the ThermoPop instant-read thermometer is rated IP66, which tells you that it’s “totally protected against dust” and “protected against strong jets of water.” The Dot probe thermometer is rated IP65, which means the body of the unit is protected against the entry of dust and “low-pressure jets of water.”

Easy to read: We prefer thermometers that display large numbers on their digital screens to make it easier to read temperatures quickly. Backlit displays are also convenient when you’re cooking in a dimly lit kitchen or grilling outdoors at night.

Reasonable price: With rare exceptions, we’ve found that thermometers retailing for $20 or less are slow, of poor quality, and often barely distinguishable copies of one another, so over the years we’ve narrowed our focus to thermometers that cost from $30 to $105. You can find some perfectly good thermometers at around $30 that are much faster and more durable than the cheapies. We think paying the extra $10 or $15 is worth it for an accurate, high-quality instrument, but paying a lot more isn’t necessary for most people.

Aside from the essential criteria outlined above, we also sought out a number of other features that we think good instant-read and probe thermometers should have.

For instant-read, thermometers we looked for:

  • Adjustable probes that make it easier to insert the thermometer at various angles.
  • Rotating screens (either manual or automatic) that let you easily see the temperature reading from different angles.
  • A strong magnet for storing the thermometer on the fridge. Note, however, that even though this is a nice feature, it’s not essential.

For probe thermometers, we looked for:

  • Heat-resistant cables (up to 700 °F) that are long enough so they won’t snag on an oven door or grill lid when closed.
  • A strong magnet for attaching the digital unit to the oven door.
  • Useful accessories, such as probe clips, which attach the thermometer to a saucepan when you’re frying oil or making candy.

How we tested

A collection of the thermometers we recommend, in a variety of colors.

To test and calibrate a thermometer, ThermoWorks and CDN both suggest filling a thick ceramic mug with ice, topping it off with water, and then checking the temperature. So we did just that and timed how quickly each instant-read and probe thermometer reached within 1 degree of the ice water’s 32 °F, from a starting temperature of around 65 °F. We did this four times and averaged out three of the results after we discarded the most uncommon timing (whether fast or slow).

A person testing the Thermoworks Dot by inserting the probe into a glass of ice water on top of a white towel.

We also timed how long each thermometer took to measure the temperature of canola oil heated in a cast-iron pot to 365 °F. Those timings were far slower and more unpredictable (10 to 20 seconds, instead of 2 to 5) for the instant-read thermometers we tested, but measuring hot oil did give us a sense of which thermometer best protected our hands.

The most useful test involved water that was heated with a sous vide circulator in a stock pot and kept to 130 °F. A good circulator keeps an entire pot of water at one consistent temperature—no hot or cold spots—so it’s an excellent tool to control accuracy. Precise temperature and circulation also seem to create the ideal environment for fast readings, because in our tests all the thermometers reached their target much quicker than they did in ice water or frying oil. Note: For our 2021 update, we did not test the ThermoWorks Thermapen One using a sous vide circulator since we were working from home during the pandemic.

We used each thermometer to either monitor or check the temperature (depending on the type of thermometer) of oven-baked chicken pieces, to get a feel for each one’s usability. For our original guide, we also used the instant-read thermometers to find the internal temperature of pork chops cooked sous vide and to measure the temperature of water inside an electric tea kettle. However, because neither of those tests gave us much additional insight, we opted not to repeat them for our subsequent updates.

We performed two additional tests for probe thermometers. To test their cables at high temperatures, we used our finalists in a screaming-hot, 650 °F to 700 °F grill. We also evaluated the strength of the magnets on the back of the digital receivers to see how well they could stay attached to the side of an oven or grill. Finally, we measured the distance at which remote probe thermometers could still function before losing their wireless connection.

Our pick for instant-read thermometer: ThermoWorks ThermoPop

An orange ThermoPop thermomether taking the temperature of a rack of lamb in an enameled cast iron braiser.

The ThermoWorks ThermoPop has been our top pick since 2015 because it reads temperatures quickly and accurately and comes at an excellent price. In our tests, it took the ThermoPop less than 4 seconds to land within 1 degree of most cooking temperatures. The large, rotating, backlit display is legible from almost any angle, and the long and thin probe gets into most roasts and liquids without exposing your hands to heat. In addition, the ThermoPop has a huge range (-58 °F to 572 °F), a splashproof body, one-button switching between Fahrenheit and Celsius, and an easy-to-access battery compartment.

In our tests, the ThermoPop measured the temperature of 130-degree water in an average of 3.49 seconds, and it was usually within a few degrees of that temperature in 2 to 3 seconds. For most people who just want to safely and properly prepare meats and delicate dishes without overcooking them, the ThermoPop does the job; getting a reading 1 to 2 seconds faster from our more expensive picks isn’t worth the extra money.

Besides speed, the ThermoPop’s screen is this thermometer’s strongest feature. The numbers are big and easy to read because the display doesn’t cram in a decimal point. The number rotates in four directions at the push of a button on the back, which helps when the probe is inserted sideways or diagonally into a hot or spattering dish. The rotating screen also makes the ThermoPop equally suitable for left- and right-handed use; this is not the case with many side-reading units, which favor the right-handed (though our other picks also have rotating screens). The screen’s backlight, which you can easily activate with the press of a button, is handy for grilling at night or taking a reading in a dark corner of the stove.

The ThermoPop’s 4½-inch-long probe is relatively generous compared with those of most of the thermometers we tested. The round head is also easy to hold and lets you get a secure grip. Even though you can’t adjust the angle of the probe, we found that it’s long enough to stab into many sections of a roast or dish without risking burning your fingertips.

The whole thermometer is rated IP66 resistant: completely impervious to dust and able to withstand “high pressure water jets from any direction.” That means you don’t need to worry about getting the probe wet when you wash it, which you should do—but you should not go so far as to stick it in the dishwasher. Automatic shut-offs on both the backlight and the thermometer itself help extend its battery life. Compared with battery replacement on most cheap thermometers, on the ThermoPop it’s a cinch: Put a regular-size screwdriver into the back and twist, pop in a new watch battery (CR2032), turn the cover back on, and go.

The ThermoPop covers temperatures from -58 °F to 572 °F (-50 °C to 300 °C), which is the widest range of any instant-read thermometer below $50 that we’ve found. You can choose your ThermoPop in one of nine colors, and each one comes with a laminated guide to cooking temperatures that covers not only food-safety temperatures but also sugar stages for candy making, as well as every level of doneness for beef and pork (you can grab the PDF at ThermoWorks’s site). It’s a handy thing to stick on your fridge or to keep in a drawer.

The ThermoPop comes with a two-year warranty on the digital unit and a six-month warranty on the probe (the probes can be replaced if damaged). Keep in mind that the warranty is valid only if the product is purchased from ThermoWorks directly or from an authorized reseller (which does not include Amazon).

Flaws but not dealbreakers

You can’t adjust the angle of the ThermoPop’s stick-style probe as you can with a fold-out thermometer like the Thermapen One. Although we don’t think this design is a dealbreaker, we’ve encountered certain instances—such as taking the temperature of meat on a scorching-hot grill—where we’ve wished we could angle it to get our hands a little farther away from the heat.

A closeup of the back of the ThermoPop thermometer.

On the device itself, the water-resistant buttons are a little small and hard to press, especially for people with big fingertips. Sometimes we had to press a button twice to be sure it activated.

Unlike the Javelin Pro Duo, the ThermoPop lacks a magnet to keep it stuck to metal surfaces or appliances. Although this is a feature many people won’t miss, without it you’ll need to keep the thermometer in a drawer, where it might be trickier to find.

As we mentioned earlier, the ThermoPop reads in whole numbers, not to the tenth of a degree, as most of the above-$20 competition does. But this model’s level of accuracy should be sufficient for most cooks, and it’s a trade-off for clear digits that rotate.

Our pick for probe thermometer: ThermoWorks Dot

The ThermoWorks Dot sitting on a wooden countertop next to a silver sheet pan.

If you want to monitor the doneness of a piece of meat as it cooks, we recommend the affordable ThermoWorks Dot probe thermometer for its impressive accuracy and ability to read temperatures quickly. Compared with the other probe thermometers we tested, it was the easiest to use, thanks to its simple, intuitive design and large digital display. The Dot’s wide temperature range makes it ideal for both oven and grill use, and its backlit screen makes it easy to read in any light.

In our tests, the Dot was the fastest probe thermometer to read temperatures accurately. On average, it was able to read 32 °F in about 8½ seconds and 212 °F in about 5.5 seconds. Its thermistor sensor has an impressive temperature range of -58 °F to 572 °F (and a cable that can withstand 700 °F for short periods of time), which is a wider range than many other probe thermometers cover. In a stockpot of 130 °F water maintained by a sous vide circulator, the Dot was accurate to the degree.

The Dot also had one of the longest cables—about 48 inches—of the probe models we tested. The cable became slightly discolored and stiff when we subjected it to the high heat of a grill. But that had no effect on the thermometer’s performance (however, ThermoWorks states that the Dot should not be used when broiling in the oven). Also, the Dot’s 4½-inch probe will have no problem reaching the center of large roasts.

A person holding the ThermoWorks Dot, displaying the magnets and plastic stand on the back.

The Dot’s simple design and straightforward controls made it easier to use than the competition. This model has an on/off switch on the back of the unit, with arrow buttons on the side of the digital screen that allow you to set your desired temperature. After you insert the probe into your food, the alarm beeps to let you know when the set temperature has been reached. You can press any button on the interface to stop the alarm; to disable the alarm altogether, simply hold the two arrows down at the same time. You can also switch from Fahrenheit to Celsius by holding the power button for 6 seconds while turning on the unit. And among the probe thermometers we tested, the Dot has some of the strongest magnets, which kept it securely attached to the side of our oven.

The ThermoWorks Dot boasts an Ingress Protection rating of IP65, which means the body of the unit is protected against the entry of dust and “low-pressure jets of water.” Like the ThermoPop, the Dot is available in a variety of colors. It also comes with a two-year warranty, and the probe is replaceable.

This model is also available with Bluetooth, sold under the name BlueDot, for about $26 more. It has all of the same controls as the regular Dot thermometer, but it can also connect to an app on your phone, which allows you to monitor the food you’re cooking from a short distance. It’s a nice added feature, but we think most people will be happy without it.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

We’ve received feedback from a few readers saying the Dot began to malfunction after only several months of use, though we haven’t experienced this with the two models we’ve been long-term testing for two years. If you notice the Dot has become glitchy or less responsive, we’d recommend reaching out to ThermoWorks as soon as the problem arises. Probe thermometer wires take a beating, so if you’re experiencing issues, it may be that the wire is damaged and needs to be replaced. Improper readings may also be caused by a low battery charge, so we’d try replacing them to see if it solves the issue (it takes two AAA batteries).

The ThermoWorks Dot doesn’t come with a metal clip to attach the probe to the side of a saucepan for tasks such as frying or candy making, but all ThermoWorks accessories (including probe clips, grate clips, and air probes) are sold separately.

The Dot also lacks a timer and preprogrammed temperature settings for certain types of meat. However, since the pros we spoke with don’t recommend using preset temperatures anyway, we don’t think this omission is a dealbreaker.

Also great: Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo

Upgrade pick: ThermoWorks Thermapen One

The Thermapen One

Upgrade pick

Thermapen ONE

Thermapen ONE

This was the fastest and most accurate instant-read thermometer we tested. It also offers a rotating screen with a bright backlight, a huge temperature range, and serious waterproofing.

What makes the ThermoWorks Thermapen One worth a cool $105 plus shipping? Mainly, it’s the fastest instant-read thermometer we’ve ever tested. The Thermapen One replaced the now-discontinued Thermapen Mk4, which was our long-time upgrade pick and a favorite of culinary pros. The Thermapen One is very similar to the Mk4, with a few improvements. Its needle-sharp probe is even faster and more accurate at reading temperatures (averaging about 1.5 seconds in our tests), and it is thin enough to slide easily into the thinnest of fish fillets or pounded chicken breasts. Its backlit screen is also noticeably brighter and easier to read than that of its predecessor. The display automatically turns on when you pick the thermometer up (if the probe is extended), and it rotates in four directions as you change the angle of the thermometer. The Thermapen One is by no means necessary for most cooks, but it’s an indispensable tool for those who love the science of cooking or the pursuit of kitchen perfection.

The Thermapen One above the discontinued Thermapen Mk4.

What’s most impressive about the Thermapen One is how much closer it gets to the final temperature in the early stages of its reading. Almost instantly, it knows that your 160 °F chicken is at least 150 °F. Within 2 seconds, it has a reading that's 1 or 2 degrees away. That kind of speed means you can get food off the heat quicker if you know it’s going too far, or you can be certain to turn down your frying oil. The Thermapen One’s range is -58 °F to 572 °F (about -50 °C to 300 °C), the same as the ThermoPop’s.

The Thermapen’s fold-out probe is 4½ inches long, and it’s 1 millimeter thinner than the ThermoPop’s 3-millimeter probe tip; when fully extended, it puts you a good 10½ inches from anything hot. The Thermapen’s IP67 rating means it’s totally protected against dust, and it can withstand a dunk in water for up to 30 minutes, as long as you don’t twist it around while it’s submerged. It can certainly survive some splashed barbecue sauce or spilled drinks.

The Thermapen One lets you choose between Fahrenheit and Celsius, and whether you want a decimal reading, but you’ll need a small Phillips head screwdriver to access the switches. Photo: Michael Sullivan

The Thermapen One next to the Thermapen Mk4.

The Thermapen One (left) has a battery compartment that’s easier to access than the now-discontinued Thermapen Mk4 (right). Photo: Michael Sullivan

A Thermapen shown with the end removed, so that the thermometer can be switched between Fahrenheit and Celsius readings.

The older Thermapen Mk4 had a tighter battery compartment that made it more difficult to adjust the settings. Photo: Sarah Kobos

Inside the Thermapen One there’s a single AAA battery, which lasts for a very long time (the Mk4 also used a AAA battery and it lasted at least a year in our kitchen). The biggest visible difference between the Thermapen One and the Mk4 is the new battery compartment, which is larger and easier to access. The compartment still contains switches that let you disable the automatic shutoff or screen rotation, switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius, and choose whether the Thermapen shows a decimal point.

Having those switches inside the battery compartment is something of an inconvenience if you need to change between Celsius and Fahrenheit more than once in a while. While it’s easier to do so than it used to be on the Mk4, you still need to unscrew the battery cover to access the menu and set buttons.

On top of that, it would be an improvement if the thermometer had a magnet for hanging it on something like a fridge. Since the Thermapen One is a slightly different shape than the Mk4, it won’t fit ThermoWorks’s magnetic case (though a new one will be available soon). However, according to the ThermoWorks representative we spoke to, other accessories like the wall bracket and zipper wallet will still work.

The major technology difference between the Thermapen and its competitors is its thermocouple sensor. The majority of instant-read thermometers (including the Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo, our mid-level upgrade) use a thermistor, a small, relatively cheap but accurate resistor bundle stored in the tip of the probe. The Thermapen’s thermocouple has a thin sensor wire running down its whole probe, and the thermometer also keeps a more extensive set of reading and calibration electronics inside its sizable body. Because the wire has less mass than a thermistor module, it registers changes in temperature more quickly. That thin wire also allows for a thinner probe, which is helpful for piercing thin fish fillets and reducing the size of juice-releasing punctures.

ThermoWorks has made improvements to the Thermapen One’s construction that allow it to read faster than previous models, giving it an increased accuracy of ± 0.5 °F (compared with the Mk4’s ± 0.7 °F). The Thermapen One comes with a certificate of calibration from ThermoWorks’s NIST-traceable lab, which means it meets certain industrial regulations and standards of performance. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever need to recalibrate the Thermapen One. But according to the representative we spoke to, you can press and hold the menu button (located in the battery compartment) while the thermometer is turned on, and adjust ±3.6 degrees Fahrenheit using the set button. When you have the desired value selected, the menu button will save it.

If you wanted to save about $20, you could buy the “classic” Thermapen. It’s not as fast at reading temperatures and it lacks the rotation and display upgrades and sticks to a coin battery. We think the Thermapen One’s conveniences are worth the full cost. It also comes with an impressive five-year warranty, which is an improvement over the Thermapen Mk4’s two-year warranty.

Also great: ThermoWorks ChefAlarm

The ChefAlarm probe thermometer on a kitchen counter.

If you want more features in a probe thermometer, such as a timer and volume adjustment, we recommend the ThermoWorks ChefAlarm. It was very accurate in our tests and has a longer probe than the Dot, but we found that it was slightly slower at reading temperatures. The ChefAlarm offers the same impressive temperature range as the Dot, from -58 °F to 572 °F for the probe and up to 700 °F for the cable.

In our tests, the ChefAlarm took a couple seconds longer than the Dot to read temperatures, but it was just as accurate. The timer on this model is a nice addition (it can handle countdowns as long as 99 hours, 59 minutes), and the backlit screen is handy for outdoor grilling at night. The ChefAlarm also allows you to set the minimum and maximum temperatures, which have corresponding alarms to alert you when they’ve been reached.

The two strong magnets on the back of the unit keep it in place when attached to the side of an oven or grill; the digital unit is also hinged, so you can lay it flat or adjust it to a specific angle. We like that the ChefAlarm thermometer comes with a case to hold both the probe and the digital unit. However, in spite of the ChefAlarm’s various benefits, we think most people will be fine with the Dot.

Tips for using your thermometer accurately

Regardless of which type of meat thermometer you use, keep in mind that the probe measures only the area of the meat it’s touching. You need to know where to place the probe to correctly measure the internal temperature of the meat—a challenge, particularly for beginner cooks.

According to Robert D. Edman, assistant commissioner of New York City’s Bureau of Food Safety and Community Sanitation, “The probe should be inserted into the thickest part of the meat, poultry, or poultry parts, away from bone, fat, or gristle. When taking the temperature of beef, pork, or lamb roasts, the probe should be inserted midway into the roast, avoiding the bone. The core temperature is what is being determined.” (Chef Janet Crandall told us that bones conduct more heat and will give you a higher temperature reading.)

For thinner proteins, such as fish fillets, insert the probe sideways. If you’re uncertain about the proper placement or final temperature of the meat you’re cooking, most of the pros we spoke with recommended taking multiple readings using an instant-read thermometer.

Care and maintenance

Before you use any thermometer, “you should always make sure [it is] calibrated,” said Crandall. “A thermometer should read 32 °F in ice water, and 212 °F in boiling water.” Most thermometers come calibrated, but it’s still good to double-check before using.

Never put the digital unit of a thermometer in an oven, grill, or smoker, or attach it to the lid of a grill, which can exceed 700 °F and melt it. Though the ThermoWorks probe thermometer cables are heat-resistant to 700 °F, avoid placing them directly on a grill grate or oven rack, since doing so could damage their inner insulation. Also, straighten any kinks in the cable, which can break the inner wires if left alone. And never place a probe tip directly into hot coals or fire. Always use a hot pad or an oven mitt when retrieving a probe thermometer from the oven or grill.

To prevent cross-contamination, be sure to properly sanitize the probe after each use, washing it thoroughly with dish soap and hot water.

The competition

Honorable mention: A feature-loaded probe thermometer

Like the ChefAlarm, the ThermoWorks Smoke has a backlit screen and volume control. But in contrast to our other picks, the Smoke can operate via a wireless receiver and has two channels to accommodate multiple probes: one probe to take the internal temperature of the meat, and an air probe for measuring the ambient temperature of the oven, grill, or smoker. The Smoke also allows you to set the minimum and maximum temperatures for each probe, and will sound corresponding alarms when the set temperatures have been reached. In our tests, the Smoke maintained its wireless connection for an unobstructed distance of 350 feet, more than double the distance of the Weber iGrill 2. But considering that this thermometer is also $60 more than the ThermoWorks Dot, we think it makes sense only for grill and smoker enthusiasts.

If you want to monitor the Smoke’s probes from any distance, ThermoWorks also offers the exorbitantly priced Smoke Gateway, which pairs with Wi-Fi to allow you to get alerts from the Smoke on your phone. We tried out the Smoke Gateway and thought it worked fine, but we think it’s a pricey convenience item that most people can do without.

Instant-read thermometers

The Lavatools Javelin was previously our runner-up pick, but after some consideration we concluded that it didn’t hold a candle to the ThermoWorks ThermoPop in terms of the most useful features. The Javelin has a notably shorter probe, and it’s not as waterproof as the ThermoPop. Also, its display does not rotate or light up.

The OXO Good Grips Thermocouple Thermometer, which costs about the same as the Thermapen Mk4, did very well in our tests and read temperatures in about 2 seconds. Because its digital screen always stays illuminated, it’s especially easy to read, but the digits rotate in only two directions (whereas the digits on the ThermoPop and the Thermapen rotate in four directions). At 4⅛ inches, the OXO’s probe is slightly shorter than those of the ThermoPop and the Thermapen, so it can’t reach quite as deep into large cuts of meat. The OXO is rated IP66 (versus the Thermapen Mk4’s rating of IP67). If you’re willing to spend $100 on a thermometer, we think you’re better off getting the Thermapen Mk4 over the OXO because the Mk4 performed better in our tests overall and has an excellent track record.

We had issues understanding the readings we got with the Maverick PT-50. We used the calibration button to set it to ice water (a standard calibration method), but it was still not as fast as any of our picks. After that, it refused to rise near the temperature of the 130 °F water, so we dismissed it.

The factory-calibrated, Thermapen-like Maverick PT-100 was glacial in testing ice water (taking nearly 11 seconds), and it read lower than all of the other thermometers in our sous vide test. Readings aside, the Maverick PT-100 doesn’t offer a lot of helpful features, and it’s strangely less dustproof and waterproof (IP44) than most of the thermometers we’ve tested.

Taylor’s 9867 Digital Folding Probe Thermometer has an interesting design, but it landed in the middle between our picks and cheaper models. Its display is bright, and its probe tip, at 1.5 millimeters, is thinner than the Thermapen’s. It’s not a bad thermometer, but its digital screen doesn’t rotate, unlike the ThermoPop’s. We think it’s worth spending a couple of dollars more on the ThermoPop for the convenience that feature provides.

Our prior runner-up pick, the Polder Stable-Read, kept pace with our picks in an early 2016 test. It issued a helpful beep when it reached a stable reading (or at least when it determined that it had), and it was a bit cheaper than the ThermoPop. But it’s not often in stock on Amazon. If you like a stick-style thermometer, it’s a decent pick, but the ThermoPop suits more people.

The Palermo Digital Food Thermometer is the most affordable fold-out-style thermometer we found. It has a very wide range (up to 572 °F), and a stated 0.9-degree accuracy. It does not, however, reach within 1 degree of boiling water in 4 to 5 seconds, as the company states; we found that it took at least 12 seconds in three different trials.

The CDN DTW450L ProAccurate Waterproof Thermometer claims, right on its Amazon page, a 6-second response time, and in our first chicken test it averaged 6.13 seconds. It has an 8-inch probe, which is so long that we constantly feared it would snap.

The Taylor 9842 Commercial Waterproof Digital Thermometer has a good range (-40 °F to 450 °F), essentially mediocre speed ratings (although notably slower on ice water), and a calibration screw. It’s the best thermometer you can get for about $10, but that’s not what most people are looking for.

The AcuRite 00665E Digital Instant Read Thermometer is an inexpensive thermometer in the fold-out style of the Thermapen. It felt cheap to use—the buttons seemed to require mashing, and the probe was not particularly thin. And this thermometer always took at least 10 seconds to get hot or cold temperatures—sometimes up to 19 seconds.

The Lavatools Element was very slow at reading temperatures, taking up to 15 seconds in some instances. The temperature readings don’t gradually increase, either, jumping from number to number, which makes it difficult to anticipate temperature changes. Its digital controls aren’t as intuitive to use as our picks’, and the buttons are very difficult to press.

We found the receiver of the ThermoPro TP20 difficult to read because it alternated the display of both probe temperatures, which we found confusing. The membrane-sealed push button on the receiver also became worn after only a few uses.

Since the ThermoPro TP16 is so light and the cable is so stiff, the unit moved around the counter when we opened and closed the oven door. We also found that the stand put the digital screen at an awkward angle for reading.

The Maverick ET-733 suffered notable delays in reading temperatures. In one instance, the thermometer jumped from 73 °F to 214 °F, showing no temperatures in between. This model is also covered by a paltry 90-day warranty.

Although the Taylor 1478-21 Digital Cooking Thermometer has intuitive buttons and a simple design, it’s slow at reading temperatures. It also can’t work on a hot grill because the cable and probe are heat-resistant to only 392 °F.

Good (but pricey) probe thermometers with wireless capability

The ThermoWorks Signals 4-Channel BBQ Alarm Thermometer is essentially the next step up from the ThermoWorks Smoke. It comes with four probes (one is an air probe) instead of two, all of which you can use simultaneously. It can also connect to an app on your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, which is nice if you’re smoking meat and you want to monitor its progress from inside. But at $230, this four-channel thermometer is overkill unless you’re on a competitive barbecue team, or if you regularly cook several cuts of meat at once.

The ThermoWorks BlueDot is the same as the ThermoWorks Dot we recommend, except it can connect to an app on your phone via Bluetooth, which allows you to monitor the food you’re cooking from a distance. ThermoWorks advertising says the BlueDot can stay connected for an unobstructed distance of 95 feet, but in our tests it lost the connection at around 75 feet. We think most people will be happy with the Dot, which currently costs about $20 less.

Not-so-good probe thermometers with wireless capability


Thermometer amazon remote

The Best Meat Thermometers, According to Thousands of Reviews

There is nothing worse than an overcooked steak, and depending on the cut it's too easy to overdo it. If you're hoping to avoid a dry, chewy protein that could double as a chew toy for the dog, there are a few ways to get there. The most foolproof way to check meat is being evenly cooked is a meat thermometer.

When it comes to large format meat, there are plenty of tips and tricks for cooking different types, from rib eyes to pork roasts. At most holidays (namely Thanksgiving) when we're cooking for a crowd we'd always like that extra assurance that our meat is done perfectly. A meat thermometer is the best way to check the temperature and put your mind at ease when things are hectic in the kitchen or around the grill. While professional chefs do sometimes cook food by touch, a small thermometer in their jacket pocket is essential for getting meat exactly right.

The Best Meat Thermometers

When to Use a Meat Thermometer

A thermometer is your best friend while slow roasting or smoking meat, cooking poultry, and even baking bread. Chefs and home cooks alike rely on them. These are a few recipes we love that can benefit from a good meat thermometer:

The Best Method for Using a Meat Thermometer

When you're working with meat, it's key to measure the temperature as you're approaching the end of the cooking cycle, whether it's in the oven, the smoker, the grill, or on the stovetop. Take care to not test it too many times throughout the process--jabbing too many holes can let out those important juices that make the meat tender and keep it moist.

For a digital meat thermometer, insert the tip about an inch into the thickest section of the meat (or sideways into thinner chicken breasts or burgers) for the most accurate reading. The temperature on the thermometer should drop as the probe moves further into the meat. If it starts to rise again, the probe is pushed in too far. Check near the end of the cooking process to see if things are at the correct temperature, and be careful not to release too much heat from the oven or grill to keep things as consistent as possible.

Keep in mind that your oven temperature works more like a thermostat than an exact thermometer, with temperatures ranging from the bottom to the top of the oven, as well as fluctuations throughout cooking. All the more reason to check in on that turkey's internal temperature! Also remember for larger cuts of meat the food will continue to cook for 5-10 minutes while it rests, so it's best practice to take it out just before it's done.

What to Look for in a Meat Thermometer

For instant-read thermometers, look for one sensitive enough to give an accurate reading in about 3 seconds. The faster the response time, the less time you need to leave the oven open or the grill cover off. The other option is a digital probe thermometer, which operates wirelessly by keeping probes in the meat throughout cooking and monitoring it on a thermometer reader outside of the oven or grill. It's also good for long sessions in the smoker.

Ask yourself where you will be using the thermometer most often: are you regularly using the oven, a grill, or sous vide machine? An oven-safe probe with a wireless remote is great for keeping roasts cooking and the temperature consistent. An ultra-fast probe is great for grilling to avoid releasing heat and make perfect burgers.

Also consider the types of cuts you'll be working with most often, or if you need it for a specific meal. A long probe will be useful for a large turkey or in high heat situations where you don't want to get too close to the heating element.

An accurate temperature reading on an easy to read display is essential for any kitchen thermometer, but of course there is a wide variety of different options to choose from. We sifted through Amazon's collection from several different brands to find customers' favorite meat thermometers, from wireless styles to digital displays. Read on for our top picks meant for all types of meat and cooking methods.

Best Overall: ThermoPro TP03 Digital Instant Read 

thermopro meat thermometer

This practical and quality tool from Thermopro does it all in a compact size. The stainless steel probe with a precision sensor reads the temperature in 3-5 seconds (the ideal window) and is accurate within 0.9 degrees. The foldable prob locks into the base for portability and safety, and the magnetic back makes it easy to store nearby while you're manning the grill or the oven.

The LCD display has a backlight so you can check the temperature in all situations, day or night. Use it with the usual meats, heated oil, or even candy. As one reader notes, America's Test Kitchen compared it with much more expensive options:

"One of the reviews on this ThermoPro thermometer was from an owner of the $100 Thermapen and did a direct comparison between the ThermoPro and the Thermapen. They stated their performance (accuracy and speed) was nearly the same. So for a nearly 10 to 1 price difference, I went with the ThermoPro. I was not disappointed. It works great from reading meat temperatures to reading hot oil temps the thermometer works great. I would recommend this thermometer to anyone."

ThermoPro TP03 Digital Instant Read Thermometer, $14 (originally $30) at

Best Waterproof Option: Kizen Instant Read Meat Thermometer

waterproof meat thermometer

The Kizen thermometer is fast (reads in 2-3 seconds), and is IP67-rated waterproof so keeping it clean is easy. Wash it under running water and the durable structure will withstand any drops into that farmhouse sink, too. It has the option for a gift box package and comes with a meat temperature guide if you're gifting it to your favorite grilling enthusiast.

The probe retracts and the large loop and internal magnet make it easy to store. It comes pre-calibrated but can be re-calibrated at any time for pinpoint accuracy. With 90% five-star ratings it is Amazon's #1 best seller in meat thermometers and timers. Customers also raved about the customer service for any troubleshooting under the lifetime warranty. As one reviewer explains:

"We used it to cook a 16-pound prime rib on Christmas and it was perfect! Customer service has been outstanding. I received a follow up email with a compilation of suggestions for most effective use and another reminding me that the product is under warranty should we have any issues."

Kizen Instant Read Meat Thermometer, $20 (originally $30) at

Best Oven Safe Thermometer: ThermoPro TP-16 Thermometer Clock Timer with Stainless Steel Temperature Probe

This probe thermometer stays put in the meat as it cooks, so you know exactly when your food hits the correct temperature. The probe and mesh cable can withstand up to 716 degrees Fahrenheit (so it can remain inside the oven or grill as long as needed.) The unit has its own alarm function that will sound when the perfect temperature is reached. Enter the ideal temperature manually or use one of the six presets including poultry, fish, ham, veal, pork, and three levels of doneness for beef. With over 4,000 five-star ratings, this unit is certainly reliable enough to go the distance.

"I love this digital thermometer," writes an Amazon user. "I bought one for myself several months ago after the one of a different brand died and was no longer available. I use it for everything from testing the temp of my oven, for making yogurt, proofing bread and making roast beef and roast turkey. I bought this one for my daughter for Christmas. She hasn't had a chance to try it yet but I am sure she will love hers as much as I love mine."

ThermoPro TP-16 Thermometer Clock Timer, $15 at

Best long probe meat thermometer: ThermoPro TP01A Thermometer

long probe meat thermometer

Grillers rejoice! This 5.3" food grade stainless steel probe keeps your hands burn-free in high heat situations. You can lock the temperature so the reading won't change as you pull out the probe, and the backlight is effective in dimly lit situations. Serious barbecue cooks need a tool like this to get a reading in just a few seconds and ensure pork and beef are cooked to tender perfection. The longer prob is also great for baking bread. 1,000 reviewers gave it five stars, and at just $8, this essential tool is a steal.

"I'm an engineer who likes to cook, I bought the ThermoPro to use when making candy and jelly in addition to the normal smoke and BBQ," a customer writes. "The key to choosing ThermoPro was the measuring tip is very sharp and has a very low mass, this related directly to the speed of measurement. There is no large probe to heat up and stabilize, therefore this fine tip gives an accurate reading in about 3 seconds. It is easy to handle, I can hold the grill lid with one hand and use the probe with lighted display with the other. I would recommend this to my foodie friends."

ThermoPro TP01A Thermometer With Long Probe, $8 at

Best wireless meat thermometer: ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Remote Meat Thermometer

dial probe meat thermometer

If you want to enjoy the party and not be stuck manning the grill or oven all evening, this wireless meat thermometer is the answer. Multitaskers in the kitchen need a tool like this to keep things cooking at a good pace, and at the right level of doneness. The dual-probe can track two kinds of food at the same time and will work on your oven, grill, or smoker from up to 300 feet away. Choose between either the dual probe or the single probe version.

The thermometers have thousands of five-star reviews, including this shopper: "My wife used to always complain about my overcooking the meat when grilling. What can I say, I want to make sure it's dead. At any rate, this thermometer has allowed me to cook steaks perfectly to her liking (med rare) and perfectly for me (med). The process I follow is to cook the meat on one side until it reaches 100 degrees and then flip. 140 for my wife and 150 for me. Perfect every time. Really takes the guesswork out of cooking and it's one of those devices you don't realize how much you needed until you have it. Highly recommended."

Wireless Remote Digital Meat Thermometer with Dual Probe, $58 at

Best magnetic meat thermometer: Lavatools PT12 Javelin Instant Read Meat Thermometer 

This Lavatools thermometer is also super fast with a 3-4 second reading time, and the tool can outlast 4,000 hours of use on a single battery. The tapered 18/8 stainless steel probe minimizes the damage each time you take the temperature. An antimicrobial silver ion coating prevents bacterial contamination from raw foods. It's simple and user-friendly, and the magnetic back seals the deal as a great addition to a fully functional kitchen. Over 4,000 Amazon reviewers have rated it a perfect five stars, complimenting its accuracy, user-friendliness, and range of color options.

"I love how its magnetic and readily available—whether its on the fridge or on a dishwasher, a reviewer says. "It's always easy to find. I also like how it automatically turns on/off when you pull out the wand. The temperature is very easy to read with big, clear numbers. So much better than the old school thermometers I've used in the past."

Lavatools PT12 Javelin Instant Read Meat Thermometer, $27 at

Best ambidextrous meat thermometer: Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo 

javelin pro meat thermometer

Don't worry lefties, we haven't forgotten you! The Javelin PRO is new and improved with a 2-inch auto-rotating anti-fog display that works for whichever hand is dominant. It will hold a stabilized temperature so you're not left staring into the hot oven or grill. It's splash resistant, reads in just 2-3 seconds, and has the same great magnet for convenient storage. It also comes in eight color varieties. The backlight also has a motion sensor that works with heat-proof gloves on.

Nearly 1,000 Amazon shoppers have rated the Javelin PRO five stars, calling it easy to use and a great deal for the price.

"I'm a long-time Thermapen owner, so I know and expect more from a thermometer, and this Javelin measures up in every category!!! … I tested this against my 3 year old Thermapen. It not only registered faster, but both read within a tenth of one another for readings, confirming it's accurate. I give bonuses to the backlit display and much lower price point. Add in that is read quicker or just as fast as the industry standard Thermapen, and this thing is a winner in my book. Only advantage to the Thermapen is that it came with a case, but considering the price point, I can live without that little add-on item."

Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo, $54 at

Best analog thermometer: Aveloki Roasting Meat Thermometer T729E

If you'd rather do things the old fashioned way, this simplified roasting thermometer keeps things simple and easy. No frills, no cords, and no trying to view displays. It's durable and easy to store, with no batteries required for reading.

"I love this stainless steel meat thermometer. It is so handy and easy to read, it helps me to cook the meat perfectly. I love the medium rare steak but rarely done that before. But after I brought this meat thermometer, it solved my problem. I will also try to cook my turkey in thanksgiving. So I will enjoy the wonderful meal with my family."

Aveloki Roasting Meat Thermometer, $10 at

Best Meat Thermometers For Your Kitchen 🏆 Top 3 Picks

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