Eyeballing your food isn’t the most effective or safest way to gauge doneness. Digital kitchen thermometers offer quick and straightforward cooking data. We conducted over 45 hours of research and performed a series of tests to work out which of the 12 top products deserves deserve being crowned the best digital meat thermometers.
Do you want to control the temperature of the food that you cook? Do you wish to grill or smoke food?
Then you will need one of the best digital meat thermometers for that. There is just no other way to do it. Nowadays there are some pretty good digital thermometers out there that are very convenient and affordable. st stick it in a piece of chicken or pork and you’ll know how done it is. You can keep it in your oven, on your grill, or smoker to seek out out what the precise temperature is.
Simplest of Meat Thermometers
So, let’s take a glance at what options there are and see what’s the simplest digital meat thermometer. Using a thermometer when roasting or grilling is a method to assist 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 under cooking which could result in illness.
At the Good Housekeeping Institute, we test thousands of products each year in our state-of-the-art labs. To find the simplest thermometer, we put 18 of them to the test in our Kitchen Appliances & Technologies Lab, checking for accuracy of temperature, responsiveness, and simple use.
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, the simplest meat thermometers are:
• Best Thermocouple Meat Thermometer: ThermoWorks Thermapen-Mk4
• Best Digital Meat Thermometer: Polder Programmable In-Oven Thermometer
• Best Value Digital Meat Thermometer: Char-Broil Instant Read Thermometer
• Most Popular Meat Thermometer on Amazon: ThermoPro TP03 Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer
• Best Dial Meat Thermometer: OXO Chef’s Precision Leave-In Meat Thermometer
• Best Meat Thermometer for Safety: Polder Deluxe Safe-Serve Instant Read Thermometer
• Best Smart Meat Thermometer: Maverick BT-600 Extended Range Barbecue Thermometer
• Best Leave-In Meat Thermometer: OXO Good Grips Chef’s Precision Digital Leave-In Thermometer
• Editor’s Favorite Meat Thermometer: CDN Digital Pocket Thermometer
What kind of meat thermometers is best?
When buying meat thermometers, there are three main types to consider: Thermocouples, digital instant-read, and dial. The main differences include how quickly they read temperature and how accurate they are.
Before you get shopping, here’s what you would like to understand about the various sorts of meat thermometers: Thermocouples insert into the meat about 1/4 inch. It’s very thin tip can easily pierce thick or thin cuts of meat, and these thermometers offer the quickest reaction time of all kinds.
The downfalls? They can be pricey and you can’t leave them in the 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 the 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 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 giant cuts of meat (think Thanksgiving turkey).
Thermapen Mk4 Thermocouple
This thermocouple meat thermometer folds up for easy storage and activates the moment you unfold in. The thin probe easily pierces through the toughest meats and provides an accurate temperature in about two seconds.
The screen is very easy to read and offers readings to the tenth of a temperate. Fold it back up to turn it off to save battery. Don’t worry if you forget; it will go into sleep mode within a few minutes.
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, and 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 your meat by at least 10 degrees.
We just like the large grip on the probe and therefore the thin, super-sharp tip. In our tests, 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 easy storage.
Instant-Read Digital Thermometer
This compact digital instant-read thermometer performed well in our tests, giving accurate temperature readings in less than 10 seconds. 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.
TP03 Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometers
Boasting over 24,000 reviews on Amazon (a whopping 11,000 of which are five-star), 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 its backlit LCD screen clearly displays temperature readings.
Reviewers say it shows “exactly the same temp in exactly the same amount of time” as our top pick, though we haven’t tested those claims in-Lab.
Chef’s Precision Analog Leave-In Meat Thermometers
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, so the arrow lines up with the type of meat and the temperature at the same time.
The probe features a shaded section, which allows you to skills deep to insert it into the meat.
Safe-Serve Instant Read Kitchen Thermometer
The extra-long probe on this thermometer makes it that much easier to urge a secure reading on your meat while it’s still within the oven. The thermometer allows for the straightforward programming of meat and doneness level recommendations.
The display is backlit to make it easier to read, and the handle is very comfortable to hold and easy to maneuver without getting too close to the heat source. The probe folds down for more compact storage and it comes with a probe cover that lists a slew of USDA recommended temperatures at a glance.
Bluetooth Wireless Remote Meat Thermometers
Imagine this: A cold beer in hand on a hot day, chicken thighs cooking with the grill cover closed, and you, up to 300 feet away, not sweating next to the grill. This in-oven meat thermometer pairs with an app, so you’ll never have to babysit your meat again.
The thermometer lets you know when the BBQ temperature falls out of range, so no flare-ups will scorch your food. It comes with two probes and can track up to four probes.
Chef’s Precision Digital Leave-In Thermometer
While most digital thermometers aren’t safe to go away within the oven, this digital pick features a probe with an extra-long cord to remain in your meat throughout the cooking process. It has safe and secure storage space for the probe inside the thermometer’s housing, and 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.
DT450X Digital Pocket Thermometer
This digital thermometer has been a trusted tool in our culinary kits for years. 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 cushty grip and a slim, balanced design, which stores well during 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.
Tips for using your meat thermometers
Remove meat a couple of degrees shy of the optimum temperature to stop overcooking. The meat will continue to cook after it’s been removed from the heat. Don’t cut into your meat right away, or you’ll risk dry meat. Tenting cooked food with foil will keep things warm and allow some air circulation so those delicious juices can be reabsorbed.
When cooking beef, pork, and poultry breasts, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, such as the thigh of a chicken, without touching the bone. When cooking ribs, test in the center portion of the rack and stay away from bone and gristle as they can affect your reading.
Here are the USDA recommendations for safe meat temperatures:
• Beef, pork, veal, and lamb: 145°F
• Ground meats: 160°F
• Fully cooked ham: Reheat to 140°F
• Uncooked ham: 165°F
• Poultry: 165°F
• Fish & shellfish: 145°F
The benefits of using a kitchen thermometer
For such a small tool, a kitchen thermometer can significantly improve the quality of the food you prepare. It makes cooking more efficient and more accurate while giving you peace of mind that your meal is cooked to perfection.
With a digital kitchen thermometer, there’s no need to cut open a piece of chicken, stick a toothpick in a cake, carefully observe the consistency of candy, or set a timer and hope your food is perfectly cooked when it pops
Kitchen thermometers are essential when cooking meat, so anyone who grills, roasts, or fries benefits from owning one, and if you’ve got an old analog thermometer, the speedy accuracy of digital will be a step up.
Digital vs analog thermometers
Thanks to digital thermometers, food temperatures are more accurate than ever. While analog thermometers have traditionally been used in kitchens. They haven’t offered much more than an approximate temp range, which can make cooking to medium-rare a challenging feat.
Important features to consider
With so many thermometers on the market, it’s helpful to know what to look for to suit your kitchen needs. We recommend using the subsequent metrics when buying a digital kitchen thermometer.
Above all, a digital kitchen thermometer should give you confidence about how you’re using heat. Accuracy in measurement is the key to learning control and hitting the perfect temperatures for the results you want.
Still, it’s important to know just how much certainty you really need going 10 degrees over might ruin some dishes, but just about nobody needs to know a temperature within tenths of a degree while cooking.
Speed is a crucial factor with a thermometer that claims to be instant, but it’s much less of a problem with oven-probe thermometers. An instant-read thermometer should stabilize within 5 seconds at boiling-water temperatures. You’ll need the speed when reaching into a hot oven, over a grill, or into a pot to live temperature.
A thermometer’s special functionality can enhance your cooking experience, but sometimes extra buttons or busy displays get in the way. Know what you’re trying to find before you begin shopping.
• The ability to switch easily from Fahrenheit to Celsius can come in handy for cooks who venture into global recipes
• Some thermometers display to the tenth of a degree. We like thermometers that give the choice to display whole degrees only or keep the decimal digits small.
• A good backlight that’s easy to turn on, like the shake-to-wake lights on our top recommended picks, makes it much easier to read a temperature
• Some digital displays rotate, depending on the angle they’re held at, like the ThermoWorks – Thermapen Mk4
• Our top pick can beep and hold its display when the temperature stabilizes. This makes taking readings from a roast much easier
• Roasting thermometers usually come pre-programmed with meat temperature targets and alert you when your meat is done
• Most roasting thermometers include a timer, and they’re often more reliable than wind-up timers
• A magnet helps you keep the thermometer — roasting or instant — ready to use. Holes or rings for hooks are also nice
• Waterproof construction keeps you from drowning a thermometer accidentally while you’re washing it
A wide temperature range is better if you plan to use a thermometer for more than just meat. A meat thermometer won’t usually need to read temperatures below freezing or above boiling. But if you want to use a thermometer to monitor a grill or make ice cream you’ll need something with a wider range.
Digital thermometers, on the opposite hand, offer precise readings so you’ll hit the USDA’s minimum temperature recommendation to kill bugs like salmonella and e. coli, but not overcook your chicken breast.
They’re also much more helpful than analog thermometers when facing finicky kitchen projects. Like tempering chocolate or making cheese, which can easily go awry if the temperature reading is off.
Like most of today’s technology, digital kitchen thermometers have a variety of features. Some of the thermometers we tested, just like the Lavatools Javelin, were as simple as opening up the package and inserting the probe.
Others were more complex, like the iDevices Kitchen Thermometer, which involved downloading an app that uses a Bluetooth connection to track the temperature on your phone or tablet from as far as 150 feet away.
Check out how long the warranty is good for, especially if you plan to get a lot of use out of your thermometer. The brands we tested range from one to five years.
The bottom line
Using both an instant-read along with an oven thermometer can help the accuracy and timing of your recipes, especially when cooking meat.
The oven thermometer allows you to get close to your target temperature while the instant-read lets you take quick internal temperatures in several different locations of the food. If you’re not roasting or baking with time-sensitive recipes, an instant-read thermometer alone should typically do the trick.
Even though the ThermoPro – TP19 had a faster average reading time in our testing, the Lavatools – Javelin PRO Duo was easier to use overall because of its excellent stable-reading-hold feature.
After clearly standing out in our tests, it has kept up in long-term testing, too, maintaining its accuracy and functionality in four years of additional usage. Lavatools also offers a 3-year warranty, longer than any of the less-expensive competition.
For monitoring a bird or roast, we just like the simplicity of the Taylor – 1470 oven probe thermometer. It’s affordable and accurate, but most importantly its large buttons and switches are easier to use than other models.
That said, the ThermoPro – TP21 is a better choice for grilling or smoking since it’s wireless and able to monitor preheat temperatures up to 700°F. For more on thermometers, check out our review of the best indoor outdoor thermometer.
How We Tested
We chose eight digital thermometers—six foldaway models and two long-probe models—and put them through a variety of tests designed to assess accuracy, speed, and overall feel.
We started with accuracy because a thermometer’s main function is to display the correct temperature. A cup of ice water should read 32 degrees Fahrenheit and a pot of boiling water should register 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level.
We also measured 350-degree Fahrenheit fryer oil to see if the thermometer had a versatile enough temperature range to make candy. To make sure they were able to take consistent temperatures, we repeated each test three times and averaged the results.
While speed might not seem like an important factor for a thermometer, just consider this: when you’re throwing a Thanksgiving dinner and trying to coordinate a million side dishes (and the personalities of all your guests, too).
Hovering your hand over the turkey for an extra 10 seconds can feel like an eternity. Some of the thermometers only took 2 or 3 seconds to determine final temperatures, while others lagged behind at 15 to 20 seconds!
Finally, we looked at the thermometer’s overall feel. We cooked up some chicken thighs to assess the length and width of the probes. We also wanted to know if it was awkward to view the display or if the thermometer was comfortable to hold as we took the temperature of hot food.
Conclusion of Meat Thermometers
So, what is the best digital meat thermometer?
We think the Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo Ambidextrous Backlit Instant Read Digital thermometer may be a pretty good selection. Because it features a big selection of features and presets to choose from or it can be configured manually.
It’s a little bit more expensive than other digital thermometers, but we believe that you get what you pay for and this little device is well worth it. To take a further look at the 5 Best Rated Remote Wireless Meat Thermometers, just click the link.