Best Cooking Thermometers
Checking the temperature of food isn’t just reserved for meats– baked goods also require that you utilize exact measurements when it comes to cakes and cookies, and that includes precise temperatures. Investing in a cooking thermometer is actually incredibly affordable, and can save you a world of frustration when it comes to baking. There are two types of models out there on the market that will really help you ensure that you bake with razor-sharp precision. The first type is for the oven, and typically just hangs off of one of the racks. These designs use mercury for old-fashioned but foolproof precision. The other design looks more like a traditional design that you would use to gauge the heat outside. It has a long and narrow design that is made to sit right down into a pot of hot liquid.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Bold numbers are easy to read
Has proven to be very accurate
- Polder THM-515
- Polder 510
- Good Cook
- Culinary Depot
- Taylor Precision Products
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
Bold numbers are easy to read
Has proven to be very accurate
Some found that the glass fogs up with extended use
The shallow hook makes it fall off of the rack easily
What we liked most about the WESTONETEK design is that it is simple and straightforward, and it is made from high-quality materials. It has a frame that is just a tad bit smaller than most- making it perfect for smaller spaces, but it still has bold temperatures that are very easy to read.Read more
This unit has a stainless steel frame with a glass face. Users can opt to set it directly on the rack, or they can also hang it from the top if they are running low on space. The downside to this design, however, is that the hook is a tad shallow which means that it might fall off if you are removing trays from the oven.
The range for this design runs about in the middle of the road compared to other options. It has a starting temperature of 100 and runs all the way up to 600 degrees. This range makes it perfect not only for conventional ovens but for BBQs and smokers as well.
Reviewers are very happy with this thermometer and state that their cooking has been much more consistent since purchasing this thermometer.
Ease of Use
The smooth stainless steel case and glass frame make cleaning this unit simple and easy. While you won’t need to clean it after every use, it can simply be wiped down with a warm damp cloth when it starts to get a little gunked up from years of extended use.
What we loved about the WESTONETEK design is that it comes in at a really affordable price point that will likely set you back the same amount that you would spend on a few boxes of cake mix.
For those that just want something simple and affordable that will be able to give an accurate reading of the temperature of the inside of their oven, the WESTONETEK will be an excellent choice to ensure that all of your holiday baking goes off without a hitch.
2. Polder THM-515
Made from rustproof stainless steel
The clip doesn’t work well on pots with a lip
When it comes to checking temperatures on your stovetop when frying or making candies in a large stock pot, you won’t find anything better than this design from Polder. It is made from strong materials that won’t so much as flinch at high heats, and it has a smart design that will ensure you won’t accidentally burn yourself.Read more
This unit has a long and flat design that will fit snugly against a deep stock pot, and it has a clip along the backside to ensure that it will not slip down into the water. It also has a rubber grip along the top so that you can take it out of the liquid without burning your fingers.
It is able to read temperatures that start at 90 degrees and run all the way up to 400 degrees. What we loved about this design is that it has the various stages of boiling printed right along the side such as hard crack, soft crack, thread, and deep fry.
As usual, the jury is out on this one. For some, it's great and for others it is useless. Reviewers recommend that you inspect the thermometer thoroughly upon arrival.
Ease of Use
Due to the fact that it is made from a very durable and rust resistant stainless steel, users can simply toss it into the washing machine when it’s time to do the dishes.
This unit comes in at a price that is incredibly affordable and will set you back about the same price that you would spend on a few bags of chocolate chips. Plus, Polder feels so confident that you will love their product that they offer a money back guarantee if it doesn’t suit your needs.
Users love that this unit is made from heavy-duty materials, and it comes from a company that has been in the business of bringing affordable kitchen products to home bakers for over 41 years. If you are in the market for something that is a reliable and heavy duty, you can’t go wrong with this design.
3. Polder 510
Easy to clean- dishwasher safe
Some found that the clip doesn’t fit tight
A few users noticed the interior began to turn brown with extended use
Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to the Polder 510 design. It has a tube shape that makes it easy to clean, and the clip is pretty wide so that it can accommodate the side of most pots- even those that have a lip to them. What’s best about this design is that it comes from a trusted company and is set at a very affordable price point.Read more
As we mentioned earlier, the tube-like glass design is very simple and will work with most sizes of pots. It has mercury enclosed in a glass tube with black numbers to indicate Fahrenheit, and red numbers to indicate celsius.
This unit can detect temperatures that begin at 100 degrees, and run all the way up to 400 degrees, which is pretty standard for these types of measuring devices. It measures 7.8 inches long (which may not be ideal for super deep stock pots) and has a number that is printed large and easy to read.
The overall consensus is that that this thermometer is accurate. The biggest complaint is that it feels a bit flimsy.
Ease of Use
What’s great about the Polder 510 is that it is able to be thrown into the dishwasher when it’s time to clean up. The simple tube glass case means that it will be able to get completely clean without running the risk of sticky sugar getting caught in crevices and corners.
Users love that this simple design also comes in at an incredibly affordable price point. While it does have a few designs flaws that might not make it work for every type of pot, the cost will set you back about as much as you would spend on a few bags of chocolate chips.
If you are in the market for something that is simple to use on smaller pots for melting chocolate or deep frying, the Polder 510 will be an excellent addition to ensure that you never have another bowl of melting chocolate seize up on you again.
Temperatures can be hard to read due to a small print
Often falls when hung from a rack
The Rubbermaid FGTHO550 is a perfect tool for making sure that your cakes and pies on the inside of the oven are cooked to the perfect temperature. Sometimes the temperature gauge that comes standard on most ovens give a general idea of the internal temperature, and every baker knows those general measurements when it comes to baking is a bad idea.Read more
This simple stainless steel design has a stand along the bottom so that users can simply place it right on the rack, and it also as a hook along the top so that users can hang it from a top rack if they are low on room inside of their oven.
The Rubbermaid FGTHO550 is able to detect temperatures that start at 100 degrees and run all the way up to an impressive 600 degrees- which means that you can also use it on your BBQ grill for those dishes that require extremely high heat.
For the most part, the temperatures of this thermometer are reviewed to be accurate.
Ease of Use
Due to the fact that this unit won’t touch anything sticky and won’t be submerged in water, cleaning it won’t be necessary. However, if you find that over time it is starting to get a little bit grimy, the stainless steel exterior and glass face makes it simple to wipe down.
What we love about this design is that it is made from high-quality materials from a very trusted brand, and it comes in at a very affordable price point that will likely set you back the same amount that you would spend on a few bags of chocolate chips. Plus, Rubbermaid offers a lifetime guarantee if your unit stops working properly.
For those that want kitchen tools from a brand that has been in the business of helping out home cooks for almost 100 years, this is an excellent option that comes in at a really great price point.
The lip at the bottom prevents scraping your pots
This is the Cadillac of temperature devices, and it has the price tag to prove it. This design has a lot of smart features that make it stand out from all of the other similar designs, but it also has a price tag that is almost three times that of some of the similar stainless steel designs.Read more
What we loved about this design is that it is made from solid stainless steel, and it has a clip that is able to slide down the back of the unit to securely affix to almost any size pot. The J-shaped base also keeps it from scratch the sides of your pot. It has large numbers printed along the side, and a rubber grip on the top to protect fingers from the heat.
This unit measures temps that start at 100 degrees and runs all the way to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
This unit will allow users to read temperatures with about a 2-degree margin of error- which is incredibly precise.
Ease of Use
Unfortunately, you cannot toss this unit into the dishwasher for cleaning. To clean this unit, simply wipe it down with hot soapy water, and then rinse it under the sink using cold water before putting it back into storage.
While this design might have a few extra features that make it stand out from the rest, it also comes in at a price tag that almost triples that of similar designs.
If you are looking for a device that will give you accurate readings, but that also has a few extra smart design features that you don’t normally see on other similar designs, this is an excellent choice if you are willing to pay the padded price tag.
6. Good Cook
Comes with a storage sleeve with suggested cooking temps
Wipes off easily
Some have discovered that it is not watertight
Print along the front is very small
What we loved most about this design is that it is perfect for bakers that can never quite remember the proper temperature for boiling certain ingredients, because it has suggested temperatures printed right on the sleeve. Plus, it’s rounded design makes it perfect for various sizes of pots.Read more
The Good Cook Classic looks a little bit different than others because it doesn’t sit flat up against the pot as some of the other designs out there on the market. It has a table like design with red accents, and a wide clip that will fit on most sizes of pots.
This basic mercury design can read temperatures that start at 100 degrees and runs all the way up to 400 degrees- which is perfect for making candies as well as deep frying. What’s great about this design is that it comes in a sleeve that has temperature suggestions printed on the front for easy reference without the need to consult a cookbook.
It is difficult to say how accurate this thermometer is because some reviewers say that it may be accurate but that it is difficult to read. Some have found a way to live with this and others couldn't stand it.
Ease of Use
While it isn’t stated in the product description whether or not it is able to be thrown into the dishwashers, users find that this design is very easy to clean. Due to the fact that is a basic glass tube with few places for sticky sugars to hide, users can clean it simply by placing it under warm running water.
One of the things that users really loved about this design is that it is one of the most affordable options out there on the market. It will set you back about the same price that you would spend on a box of cake mix.
Given the incredible value and design of this unit, we find that there is little reason not to give this design a shot. Users love that this unit is easy to clean, and has a clip design that will fit on the side of most pots.
Additional freezer gauge
Hangs from the rack without falling down
Users found the freezer model is not accurate
Some users feel the number are a little too small to read
The CDN model not only comes with a device that measures the temperature of your oven, but it also comes with a device that will measure the temperature of your refrigerator or freezer. We liked the durability of this design and the range of temperatures that it is able to detect with razor-sharp precision.Read more
This unit is designed using stainless steel with a thick glass frame, and a stand and a hook to set it on the trays or hang it from your oven grate. It also has a bright red needle that makes it easy to read the temperature even in lower lighted conditions. The freezer model is long and thin to be able to be hung on the side wall of a freezer and uses mercury to detect the temperature.
This unit has a pretty impressive temperature gauge and can read temperatures that start at 100 degrees Fahrenheit and run all the way up to 750 degrees. Higher heats are perfect to use on grills where you need to monitor high temperatures.
The accuracy of this thermometer seems to be on point!
Ease of Use
Due to the fact that this unit doesn’t come into contact directly with your food, washing it isn’t something that you will need to do after every use. However, if you notice that it is developing a little bit of gunk, the stainless steel and glass frame can be easily wiped down with a warm cloth.
We loved that users get two products for the oven as well as the freezer, and the price tag mirrors that of similar products that just come with a device for the oven or stove. This package will likely set you back the same price that you would spend on a pair of cookie sheets.
If you are in the market for something that comes with additional devices that will help you not only monitor the temperature in your oven as well as your freeze without costing you extra money, this is an excellent option.
8. Culinary Depot
Large printed numbers are easy to read
Some found that the freezer device tends to be off by about 10 degrees
This set of temperature gauges are great because they monitor the inside of your oven and the inside of your freezer. It has a frame that is made from high-quality materials that will be able to tolerate high heats without suffering any damage. Culinary Depot is known for making high-end commercial devices that will really hold up with continued used.Read more
This unit is made from solid stainless steel with a large face that users find it very easy to read. The oven and freezer model are almost identical and can be easily distinguished by the red accents on the oven model, and blue accents on the freezer model. It has a stand at the bottom that allows users to simply place it on the rack but is also has a deep hook that allows it to be hung from a rack when you are running low on oven space.
The oven model has a temperature range that begins at 50 degrees and runs all the way to 500 degrees, which is just slightly less than other similar options out there on the market. The freezer model can detect temperatures from -20 degrees and runs to top out at about 70 degrees.
This thermometer tends to be accurate when used in the oven. When used in the freezer, for some reason, it is less reliable.
Ease of Use
Since neither one of these designs will be exposed directly to food, you won’t need to wash it after every use. If it does, however, start to get a little dirty over time, simply wipe the glass and stainless steel down with a wet cloth to make it look as good as new.
The price that for this duo is incredibly affordable, but they are just slightly more expensive than many of the other designs out there on the market. However, you want something that is considered to be commercial grade, this pair will be well worth the slightly padded price tag.
For those that want something that has a face with large numbers that are just a little bit easier to read, the Culinary Depot design will be an excellent addition to all of your cooking supplies.
9. Taylor Precision Products
Easy to wipe down
Comes with storage sleeve with temperature suggestions
Users discovered plastic red cap will melt under high heat
What we liked most about this design is that it is easy to use, easy to store, and it comes in at a price point that makes it one of the most affordable options that are currently out there on the market. Plus, it is a little bit longer than other options that make it perfect for even really deep stock pots.Read more
This has a more rounded design that the flat options that hook on to the side of the pot. It sports a glass tube design that comes with a sleeve for storage that lists all of the proper temperatures for various stages of melting.
The Taylor Precision Products design has a range that goes from 100-degree Fahrenheit and ends at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Users love that it has an adjustable clip that is able to slide down the shaft to accommodate shorter stock pots.
There are mixed reviews about the accuracy of this thermometer. Most complaints feature the durability of this product, which would, in turn, affect the accuracy.
Ease of Use
The tubed glass design has few places for sticky sugars to hide. To wash this design, simply place it under warm running water and wide it down with a soft cloth. Unfortunately, you cannot toss this option into the dishwasher.
The best part about this design is that it comes in at a price point that makes it one of the most affordable options out there on the market. This unit will likely set you back about the same amount that you would spend on a box of cake mix.
For bakers that want to add to their kitchen gear, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that they will only use when making candy- the Taylor Precision Products is an excellent choice.
Suggested temperatures printed on the gauge
No glass means no cracking and fogging
Some feel that the bottom doesn’t go down into the pot far enough
This is a perfect design for those that want to do a little baking on top of the stove. The smart design not only makes it easy to check the temperature, but it also makes it safe to touch even when working with very hot temperatures.Read more
This has a sharp stainless steel frame that has the temperature numbers printed in small numbers along the side of the gauge. What we loved about this design is that next to the temperatures are the corresponding levels for various types of melting such as softball, soft crack, hard ball, hard crack, thread, and deep fry. It also has a rubber grip along the top that will allow you to take it out of the hot liquid without burning your fingers.
This will read temperatures that range from 100 and run all the way up to 400. This range is perfect for gently tempering chocolate, and it is also perfect for deep frying.
There are mixed reviews about the accuracy of this thermometer. For some, it's right on the money, while others claim it's about five degrees off.
Ease of Use
Due to the fact that this design has a few more crevices where suck on sugar can hide, cleaning is slightly more difficult to clean. Unlike some of the other similar designs out there on the market, this unit isn’t able to be thrown into the dishwasher. To ensure it gets cleaned, you should wipe it down with warm, soapy water.
This design is just slightly more expensive than some of the similar designs out there on the market. However, given how well users have responded to the performance of this unit, it is well worth the slightly higher price point in our opinion.
If you are in the market for something that is solid and dependable, and will give you an accurate reading of all of your hot liquids, this is a tried and true design that will be a perfect addition to your kitchen gear.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
This was something that we found very important because a poor design can make your life just a little bit more difficult. We wanted to select options that use thick glass faces and frames, and that also utilized heavy duty stainless steel. Stainless steel is great because it is able to sustain high temperatures without cracking or becoming weak with exposure to excellent heat. For designs that are used on stock pots for making candy and melting chocolate, we were drawn to options that had rubber grips along the top to allow users to pick it up out of the liquid while it was still hot to run under cool water. Another thing that we also considered with the oven models is the way in which they were displayed. Options that allowed the users to set it directly on the rack as well as hang it from a rack were preferred. When selecting an option that hangs, be sure that the hook is deep enough to prevent it from falling. There is nothing worse than trying to grab a fallen device from the base of a hot oven!
For the features, we made sure to check out the range capacities to ensure that it could detach higher heats that are perfect not only for making candy but could also be used for frying. Higher ranges for styles that are made for ovens are perfect for using on the grill when cooking up ribs because it allows for the user to really crank up the heat as high as it will go while still being able to accurately monitor the temperature. One thing that we noticed that users responded well to was printed numbers that were easy to read. There were some options out there on the market that had a number that was printed in very small print, which makes it very difficult to get an accurate reading, especially when placed inside an oven.
This was one of the most important things that we took into consideration because it is the only real function that these products set out to achieve. If they aren’t accurate, then your baked goods and candies won’t be as perfect as they can be. One way that we determined how accurate of a reading that these products give were determined by reading the reviews of past users. We made sure that we selected options that not only gave an accurate reading right out of the box, but we made sure to select designs that had users claiming that they still were accurate months after continued use.
Ease of Use
Cleaning is the last thing that anyone ever wants to do when there is a fresh pie ready to eat. We wanted to make sure that we selected designs that had a simple and easy frame to make it easier to clean. For the stockpot designs, we wanted to make sure that we selected options that sported the simple and glass tube design because they are easy to run under warm water to clean. Often, you are working with sticky substances such as sugar or oil, so you want to make sure that you select something that will be easy to just wipe down. We loved all of the Polder designs because they were able to the thrown into the dishwasher when you are ready to clean up.
When building your kitchen arsenal, you want to spend more money on items such as high-end pots and pans, and less on simple tools. For these products, you only need something that is able to accurately determine the correct temperature so that your foods will cook currently. Due to this fact, we had a tendency to shy away from excessively expensive designs that are showy or are made from materials that unnecessarily expensive.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When you first receive your cooking thermometer, you will most likely need to calibrate it. If this step is necessary, it will be included with the directions. It is recommended to re-calibrate your thermometer once every six months to make sure you are always receiving an accurate reading.
If you are cooking dinner and dessert at the same time, be cautious with the thermometer and what you use it for. After each use, you should wash the thermometer with warm soapy water. Cross-contamination can happen if you insert the thermometer into your semi-raw chicken and forgot to clean it and insert it into your cake that just so happens to be at the perfect temperature.
Other Factors to Consider
Accuracy is key here, and because of this fact, we feel that the analog options are going to be your best bet. Digital designs that have flashy features such as being able to sync with your phone may look incredibly tempting, but these designs often run into problems staying consistent in the long run. Plus, digital options require batteries that will lose power over time, and will eventually give you inaccurate readings. Analog options that use mercury may not be very exciting, but they will be worth it when you are finally able to make homemade caramels that have a beautifully smooth consistency that will be sure to knock your family’s socks off when you bring them to all of the upcoming holiday parties.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Should I select analog or digital?
For many home cooks as well as professionals, they prefer the analog design for their baking needs over digital. Digital may be great for checking the temperature of meat because internal temperatures for steaks are just a matter of personal preference. However, when it comes to baking, ensures that you achieve razor sharp decision may be the difference between silky smooth caramel candies and grainy burned caramel candies. Plus, users have found that analog models are not only more accurate, but they also hold up for year and years of continued use, and you will never have to replace the batteries.
q: How do I get the crystallized sugar off of my stock pot design?
Any time you melt sugar, you know that you are in for a struggle to get all of your utensils clean once that sugar cools down and solidifies. While many of these products are considered to be dishwasher safe, you might run into a little bit of a problem getting really hard stuck of candy off of your tools. One method that we really like to really get those stuck on crystals off of your cooking gear is to fill your pot with hot water and bring it to a boil with all of your dirty kitchen gadgets in the bowl. Once it comes to a rolling boil, take your tools out of the water and wipe them down with a wet dishcloth.
q: Can I use them on the grill?
While most grills come with a temperature gauge on the front of the unit, there are many older options that give users no real way to determine how hot it is inside their grill. Not only with the oven designs work perfect on outdoor gas grills, but they are also a good tool for smokers as well. Plus, most units offer a temperature reading that goes up to about 700 degrees, which is perfect when you really want to get your grill as hot as you can get it for your summer BBQs.
q: How can I ensure an accurate reading?
One of the most common questions that bakers ask is where in the oven should they put their device. The answer to this question is quite simple- place your device on the same rack or level that you place the food that you are baking. If you set in on a rack that is lower or higher (closer or farther away from the food) it means that the reading on your device will not be the same temperature as the area where your food is cooking. TO ensure that everything bakes evenly, be sure to place your cakes and pies on the center of your oven rack.
q: What’s on the inside?
If you are worried about owning a utensil in your kitchen that contains mercury, you may be relieved to learn that some models out there use alcohol that is colored red to look like mercury. This material works just as well at determining temperature but it evaporates more quickly than mercury so it won’t last quite as long as mercury models. While alcohol is generally considered to be less toxic than mercury, is still isn’t completely harmless. If you have noticed while you are cooking that the liquid inside of your unit seems to have disappeared, it would be in your best interest to throw out the contents of the pan into the garbage just to be on the side.
q: What types of desserts will benefit from one of these devices?
If you have ever tried to temper chocolate to make chocolate coated truffles, you know that it can be a finicky endeavor. There is a fine line that bakers walk when trying to get chocolate to the perfect melting temperature. If the chocolate goes one degree passed when it is intended to be at, it will seize upon you and be basically useless. Monitoring your chocolate just by eye can be difficult, but if you have a device that is able to make sure that the internal temperature doesn’t get too high will allow you to work with it longer without running the risk of overcooking it. It’s not just great for desserts- it’s also perfect for deep frying. Making sure that you fry meat at a high enough temperature will ensure that you have a fully cooked center with a crispy outside that isn’t soggy and oily.