Best Meat Thermometers
Quick question; have you ever owned a meat thermometer? Presumably, even if you have not, you know what the device is designed for. Some chefs and homeowners may feel they have cooking meat down to a tee and do not require the use of a meat thermometer. That is a fair point but think about this, all it takes is one under-cooked piece of chicken to send you to the hospital. The main concern with eating undercooked meat is Salmonella as this is a bacterium most commonly found in poultry, but not limited to it. A nice way to explain why you need a meat thermometer is with the old adage, it is better to be safe than sorry.
How many of you still feel like you do not need a meat thermometer? It is understandable if several of you feel this way as it is not impossible to cook meat without this device. However, it is also not impossible to navigate without a GPS unit but it sure makes life a lot easier. By the same token, that is one way to look at meat thermometers.
- Lavatools Javelin
- Digital interface
- ThermoPro TP11
- Lifetime warranty
- Fast read of temperature
10 Best Meat Thermometers
Thanks to the improved design of the Javelin Pro, it is able to achieve blazing fast readout times of two to three seconds. Additionally, it is rated to be accurate within plus or minus 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
With the integration of an intelligent stabilization alert system, you will be informed when the desired temperature has been reached and it will freeze the readout for you.
The display is crystal clear and even when moisture gets inside, the anti-fog coating prevents it from becoming an issue. One noteworthy feature is that the buttons are actually touch sensors, as well.
The probe measures 4.5 inches and this allows you to reach the center of the thickest of meats. In addition to this, the aforementioned intelligent stabilization allows you to pull the probe out and retain the readout.
To save battery life, there is an auto-off function that detects when the thermometer is not in use. Plus, with its IP65 splash-resistance construction, you can afford to get it wet from time to time.
Lavatools has made impressive meat thermometers in the past but their Javelin Pro improves on everything they have done. It is the culmination of all their hard work and it comes to show how far they have come.
- The digital interface is very impressive
- Will deliver temperature readouts within two to three seconds
- Is splash-resistant per IP65 standards
- Some may not like that the buttons are merely touch sensors
ThermoPro rates their TP11 with an accuracy rating of plus or minus 1.8. However, if the probe ever begins to malfunction ThermoPro will provide you with a brand-new model free-of-charge.
This unit has been preprogrammed with nine different types of meat and poultry. However, for your convenience, all of these functions can be reprogrammed to suit your preferences.
While the smart screen is backlit for easy viewing, it is quite intuitive as it is programmed with three different colors. These colors will indicate how cooked your meat is in comparison with your set temperature.
To receive the readouts more precisely and efficiently, the probe has a step-down tip design. In addition to this, the probe itself is 6.5 inches in length which makes it easy to penetrate thick meats.
Thanks to the wireless design of this thermometer, you can monitor the temperature of your meats from up to 300 feet away. Thus, allowing you to do other things instead of needing to watch over your meat like a hawk.
This is the cliché 21st-century meat thermometer as it sports all the bells and whistles you would expect from a modern device. Yet, it is actually an efficient and accurate thermometer at its core.
- There is a lifetime warranty on the sensor probe
- The monitor can work up to 300 feet
- It is preprogrammed with nine types of meat
- Some feel the interface is a bit clumsy
- The alarm can only be set at 120 degrees or higher
It seems to be a general consensus that this thermometer is both accurate and fast in action. If there is one thing that is certain, Rosle does not fail their customers in terms of performance.
This has the capability of reading both your oven temperature and the internal temperature of your meats. Even more so, you can use pre-set temperatures or set a manual temperature up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit.
In terms of its digital interface, this is as simple as it gets. Depending on your preferences, this could either be a good or bad thing. But, one thing is certain; the font could have been larger.
While it would have been nice if the probe came with a protective sheath or cover for storage, the 18/10 stainless steel body proves to be of quality build.
Because the metal stand folds out from the back, you can operate this device at whatever angle you desire. Additionally, there are magnets on the back making it ideal for your refrigerator.
No matter what a product looks like, if it performs masterfully then it is always going to be a thumbs up. While it may lack the digital interface of a more advanced model, few can compete with its efficiency.
- It is German designed and engineered with high-quality materials
- It reads out meat temperatures fairly fast
- Users agree that the accuracy is very impressive
- The digital interface may be too small for some people
- A protective cover for the probe would have been nice
Supreme Home Cook
According to several testers and users, this device performs what it sets out to do quite well and with admirable efficiency.
There is a programmable mode that allows you to set your own desired temperature; or, you can merely select one of the several preprogrammed functions. Also, there is an on/off switch on the back that can be used as a timer.
Indeed, the touchscreen interface is the most notable feature of this device. As such, you do not have to deal with clunky buttons. Although, some reviewers have had issues with it and one, in particular, claimed it to be a non-intuitive experience.
Instead of just one probe, there is actually two stainless steel silicone coated probes and both them and the wire can handle up to 472 degrees Fahrenheit of heat.
On the back are two magnets for mounting and a separate clip is even integrated. Because of this, there are many different ways you can operate this device.
Some may deem it unnecessary to have a touchscreen meat thermometer and there is nothing wrong with that. If you are obsessed with modern technology, though, this will appeal to you more than a basic thermometer.
- Features a programmable mode to set your own temperature
- Backed by a 100 percent total satisfaction guarantee
- Several have lauded its accuracy
- Not the most intuitive interface
- The settings can’t be saved for future use
Taylor Precision Products Splash
One of the very few downsides of this thermometer, as noted by a few users, is its relatively slow readout time. Some have claimed it took up to 10 seconds for the probe to register a reading.
Sporting dual-functionality, the infrared thermometer can read up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit while the probe can reach up to 626 degrees. Bottom line, it is nice to have the ability to utilize both.
For the most part, the interface is pretty straightforward; albeit, some people may think it is a bit too clumsy. Another thing, there is no backlight on the screen itself which makes it hard to see at times.
To retain the juices of your meat, this probe will only puncture a small hole inside of your meat. At five inches long, as well, it can penetrate the thickest of cuts.
There are both auto shut-off and hold settings for your convenience. The former is self-explanatory but the latter is nice as it allows you to freeze the last displayed temperature on the screen.
Looking past the issues some have experienced with the readout times, this is an impressive meat thermometer that sports dual-functionality and all sorts of handy features.
- It is water-resistant
- Features a long 5-inch probe that can fold inside the device
- It is both a probe and infrared thermometer
- Some consumers claim it takes too long to register a readout
There have been a few customers who have reported that their thermometer from iDevices was a tad inaccurate at times; with some claiming it to be several degrees off.
Using the iDevices Connected app, you can easily monitor both probes at once in conjunction with your smart device. At its core, it can measure temperatures between -22 degrees and 572 degrees Fahrenheit.
When you enter close proximity with the LED display, it will illuminate and this allows you to glance at the temperature from a distance. But, because it shuts off when you are not close, it saves battery.
Much like with the accuracy, a few users have experienced durability issues with their probe. Thankfully, both times the seller sent them a replacement so you can count on that happening if you experience the same.
Not only can you mount this device via the magnets on the back but with Bluetooth technology integrated, you can see the temperature of your meats up to 150 feet away.
Despite the tremendous technology integrated throughout this device, there are some legitimate concerns that may cause you to stray. More often than not, though, consumers have more good to say than bad.
- Features a 150 feet Bluetooth range
- Has dual probes to allow you to track two separate meat temperatures
- Backed by a one-year limited warranty
- The durability of the probe has been questioned
- A few consumers noticed the accuracy was a bit off
For being such a cheap price, it is quite amazing how efficient this thermometer is at delivering quick and precise measurements. In fact, ThermoPro rates it with a plus or minus 0.9-degree Fahrenheit accuracy and a four to seven-second readout time.
Depending on your preference, you can switch from either Celsius or Fahrenheit at any given time. Besides this, this device can measure temperatures up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit.
At first glance, you can tell what kind of interface you are getting. It is as simple as simple can be and the only function on the front is the on/off button (with the Celsius/Fahrenheit toggle on the back).
The TP03A’s 3.8-inch stainless steel probe is not the longest probe out there but thanks to the step-down tip design, is highly efficient and will display temperatures quicker.
When you are done using your thermometer, the probe easily folds into the base unit for storage purposes. In terms of portability, this is one of the most compact models on the planet.
Perhaps the build quality is indicative of its cheap price but if you are meticulous with how you handle it, the performance will speak for itself. It just does not get much more basic and simplistic than this; which could be a huge upside.
- Very efficient thermometer with fast and accurate readings
- Features a probe that can be folded away
- Backed by a one-year warranty
- For whatever reason, the Celsius and Fahrenheit button is on the back
- The build quality is kind of poor
Taylor Precision Products Digital
Looking through various customer feedback, it does not appear as if the efficiency of this device is brought into question. In fact, a few users praised the accuracy.
There is an integrated timer and a temperature alarm but outside of that, this allows you to set the desired temperature and caps off at 392 degrees Fahrenheit.
For any gamers out there, this really looks like an old-school Nintendo handheld system. The top screen is easy-to-see and each section is clearly marked; while the buttons are large and also easy to distinguish.
The probe itself is not an issue as it measures four-foot and is made of durable stainless steel. However, it features a plastic shielding and as many users agree, it is much too easy to break.
The manner in which this is designed easily allows it to be used on a countertop. In addition, it will fold down when you need to store it for later use.
On one hand, there is a lot to appreciate about this thermometer. Of course, nitpickers out there will point to the lackluster probe shielding. Justifiably so, there is a bit of a risk involved if you decide to go with this device.
- It folds down for storage
- Features a stand-up display
- Accuracy and efficiency does not seem to be an issue
- It is too easy to damage or ruin the probe
This is rated at plus or minus two degrees Fahrenheit; which is solid but not as precise as others. Additionally, Habor promises it will deliver a readout within four to six seconds.
Those who are seeking a multi-purpose design may not be impressed but Habor designed their meat thermometer to read temperatures up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit, and basically nothing more.
While it is not going to rival the interface on iPhone X, the LCD display is clearly visible and the two buttons are clearly labeled on the base of the unit; there should be no issues here.
As the probe measures 4.7 inches in length, it is ideal for large and thick meats such as lamb, turkey, chicken, and beef.
To extend the battery life, if this device has been running for 10 minutes without operation it will automatically shut down. Also, because a protective sheath comes with your purchase you can easily carry this and store it away.
One trip to Amazon will prove to you how acclaimed this thermometer is. The reason that it is lower on our list is due to the users who did not experience the glitz and glamour that others did.
- Backed by a lifetime warranty
- A protective sheath is included for the probe
- The probe itself is made of stainless steel
- Several users have reported that their probe quit working after a few months
While there have been various users who have questioned both the speed and accuracy of this device, new integrated technology is claimed to deliver accurate readings in just four seconds.
When your desired temperature has been reached, programed audible alert sounds will go off to inform you of so.
This is another classic example of an easy-to-read digital interface that is not going to wow you. However, you can switch the readout from Celsius to Fahrenheit which is a nice touch.
Polder designed their probe to be extra thin and while this creates smaller punctures in your meat to reduce the amount of lost juice, it makes the probe more susceptible to damage; so be wary of that.
Due to the implemented hold option, you can freeze the current temperature and this enables you to read it after the probe has been removed from the meat.
When compared to the other models on this list, it becomes apparent that this is a step behind the rest of the class. Now, that does not make it a bad device as it did secure a spot on this list because of its above-average design.
- It is a very basic device and simple to use
- Features audible alert sounds when the desired temperature has been reached
- The digital interface is easy-to-read
- The speed and accuracy have been questioned by a few
- You need to be careful with the probe as it is extra thin
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
How Accurate and Fast It Is
Meat thermometers live and die with their performance; that is something you need to understand right from the get-go. Messing around with unsafe meat is not intelligent as serious food illnesses such as Salmonella can result. There are two major assessment points for a meat thermometers’ performance; that being its speed and accuracy. The speed is a little less important and is more of a convenient feature. When you stick the probe inside of your meat, especially if the meat is on a grill, you do not want to wait several seconds to get a readout. Not only is it a nuisance to wait this long but it allows the device to generate heat. Looking for readout times within four to five seconds could be beneficial.
However, accuracy is essentially mandatory. Per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), bacteria growth tends to happen when meat is between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This is known as the danger zone and needs to be avoided at all costs. Given that most meats have a safe cooked temperature of 145 degrees to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (depending on the meat), there is a bit of leeway. Yet, you do not want a meat thermometer that is 10 degrees off as that could be catastrophic.
At their core, meat thermometers are devices that are designed to provide you with an internal temperature of your meat. Yet, several of them may feature additional functionality for different reasons. First and foremost, the more advanced models will sometimes feature preprogrammed modes for various meats. In this case, you can simply select the type of meat you are measuring and the unit will know the exact temperature it is looking for. Of course, outside of the basic models, most will allow you to set your own desired temperature.
In addition to this, some models will have dual-functionality. For example, you may see some with integrated timers on them or others that can measure different types of temperatures. These features are not necessary but can add to the unit as a whole. Finally, there are even some thermometers with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology. What is nice about this is if there was an instance where you wanted to monitor your meat’s temperature from a distance, you could with this type of functionality.
The User Interface
For those of you who are familiar with computer lingo, you know what the user interface is. For those who are not, it is exactly as it sounds. This is the part of a device that you interact with and it is what you physically see on the front. The two major portions of a meat thermometers interface would be its screen and button layout (if it exists). In terms of the button layout, you will not find this to be too large of an obstacle as given they are easy-to-push and logically placed, they should be fine.
But, the screen is another ballgame. If you honestly could not care less and only want to be able to see the temperature, then prioritize a thermometer with a backlit display and a large font. For others seeking a more advanced interface, perhaps you would be interested in a touchscreen or a screen that illuminates intelligently? As an example, one that illuminates when you get close or one that alters colors based on the temperature of your meat? It really is up to you.
The Design of the Probe
While the interface is certainly important, the probe may be the most crucial aspect of a meat thermometer. After all, this is the actual portion being inserted into your meats. Clearly, you want to first assess how long the probe is. Measuring meat is best done by inserting the probe into the thickest portion while avoiding the bones. If this is the correct temperature than you know the rest of the meat will be, as well. So, depending on the thickness of your meats, you may need a longer probe.
Also, look for probes with a step-down tip design as this greatly increases their precision and efficiency. But, you also want the probe to last a decent amount of time. Without a doubt, the probe is usually the design feature users struggle the most with in terms of longevity. With most models, you need to treat them diligently as they are not designed to withstand much abuse. Thus, this is why it is nice when a sheath is included to protect it when you are not using it.
Additional Convenient Features
To be honest, there are quite a few convenient features to look for past the ones already alluded to. For instance, it is always nice when a model has an auto shut-off feature as this can save the battery life over time. Also, a water-resistant body can be beneficial as you never know when a splash of water may accidentally land on your device.
But, perhaps even more noteworthy are the manners in which you can mount and store meat thermometers. Depending on the model, it may come with magnets on the back giving you additional mounting options. Of course, most all will be generous in the storage department, as well. Some may be designed with a probe that folds inside of the unit; while others being able to be folded completely.
Q: How Often Do You Need to Calibrate a Thermometer?
This is a great example of a question that several people automatically assume they know but are actually wrong. Here is the reality of the situation, there is no set time when you need to calibrate your thermometer. The reason for a calibration in the first place is to ensure that your thermometer is providing you with accurate results. Manufacturers will provide an accuracy range with their thermometers and if it continues to stay within that range, then there is no reason for you to calibrate it.
Other types of thermometers, such as a dial or mechanical, will require much more frequent calibration. But, you may find yourself only needing to calibrate a digital model once a year.
Q: How Do You Calibrate a Thermometer?
So, with all this talk about when to calibrate your thermometer, you may be interested in knowing how to do so in the first place. There are two very well-known methods and both are recommended by the USDA. Perhaps the more common one is the ice water method but the one we are going to look at is the boiling water method. As the USDA points out, you first need to bring a pot of clean tap water to a boil (or distilled water for even enhanced accuracy). Once you have done this, go ahead and insert the stem of the probe inside of the water.
Ensure that at least two inches of the probe is inside of the water and wait for at least 30 seconds. You want the probe to read 212 degrees Fahrenheit as this is the temperature of boiling water. The ice water method is very similar and you can reference USDA’s website if you prefer that method.
Q: Is It Normal To Receive Different Readings in Different Places of the Same Meat?
Remember when we said that the most accurate way to measure the internal temperature of meat, to ensure it is safe, is via the thickest portion (while avoiding the bones)? The reason for this is at the thickest spot of a piece of meat, the internal temperature will be the coldest. Because of this, once that section reaches a safe temperature you know that all the other sections are either the same or hotter. So, to answer this question; yes, it is normal when different parts of the same meat and different temperatures.
In actuality, you may notice a 20 to 30-degree difference on some pieces of meat which can make it very confusing at times. As you move the probe from the center of the meat outward, you will notice the temperature drastically change.
Q: How Should You Handle a Thermometer Near a Grill?
Just because the probe of a meat thermometer is designed to be inserted into a hot piece of meat does not mean the entire device is designed to be heatproof. There is a real danger of damaging a meat thermometer if you do not handle it carefully while near a grill (or oven for that matter). First off, unless the device is specifically designed for it, you should avoid leaving the thermometer inside of a grill, oven, microwave, or any other heat-gathering appliance.
Also, avoid leaving it close to an open flame as this can cause damage. The main components you need to worry about are all electrical. Even though the probe itself may be designed to withstand excessive amounts of heat, the electrical components will be more sensitive.
Q: How Do You Sanitize a Meat Thermometer?
There is a strong probability that you will insert your probe into a meat that is not fully cooked and when you do this, you need to be cognizant of it. Now that the bacteria is on your probe, it is best if you sanitize it. For the most part, you will want to clean and sanitize it after each use as you do not want to mess around with deadly bacteria. To begin, wash off the probe with cool and soapy water and then rinse it off with cold water. Avoid submerging the whole unit in water as, once again, you want to protect the electrical components as meat thermometers are not waterproof (generally speaking).
Now that the cleaning is done, boil a pot of water and allow the stem to sit inside for at least 30 seconds. As bacteria will begin to die at 171 degrees Fahrenheit and boiling water is 212 degrees, this will kill any bacteria that are still on the probe.
Q: Can You Check the Doneness of Meat with an Infrared Thermometer?
There was a mention on this guide of a meat thermometer that also acts as an infrared thermometer. However, the purpose of this device has not been documented so you may be wondering if it can be used for meats. As infrared thermometers are designed to measure surface temperatures, they are not suitable to gauge the doneness of meats. Using one would be very unsafe and not recommended at all.
But, you can use them with other foods such as soups and sauces. Yet, when it comes to meats, stick with a meat thermometer.