Looking for the best meat thermometer? We researched over 50 top-selling models before selecting and purchasing 12 meat thermometers to test side-by-side. Through scientific analysis, as well as plenty of roasting, slow cooking, and searing, our review thoroughly covers some of the most popular options on the market. We examine key attributes, like accuracy and ease of use, to identify top performers regardless of price. Our comprehensive review covers a variety of options, and our team of kitchen experts delivers recommendations to help you find the best meat thermometer for your kitchen.If you're looking for grilling accessories to kit out your backyard patio sanctuary, we can help. We've determined the top-ranked grill tools, charcoal grills, and even the best lawn chairs and best patio umbrellas so you can enjoy your summer in style. When the sun goes down, some outdoor solar lights or string lights can help control the ambiance.
The 6 Best Meat Thermometers of 2023
Our Top Picks
The Kizen Instant Read meat thermometer is an impressive contender bringing top performance and quality to the competition. This model features a large, easily readable LCD screen, magnetic backing, and a high waterproof rating (IP67). While many handheld probes claim to measure temperature in seconds, this model actually does it, clocking adjustments in just three seconds. The Kizen provides highly accurate measurements to a fraction of a degree, and in our testing, it was as precise as 0.1℉ at points. This near-perfect precision served us well in grilling and baking, and you can easily recalibrate the thermometer should it lose accuracy over time.
While such speed and precision are impressive, watching the rapidly changing temperature display is somewhat jarring. Fortunately, the Kizen includes a hold button feature that marks a minimum and maximum temperature until the button is pressed again. Note that the hold button function does not include a timeout. Additionally, the size and weight of the model is a potential drawback. It's not the smallest nor the lightest model we tested. Although, it does feature one of the longest probes in our review, enabling convenient temperature checks that keep your hands away from the heat. Overall, the Kizen is an excellent choice for indoor and outdoor cooking.
The ThermoPro TP03 takes the cake for a high-performing probe at an unbeatable price point, nearly half its competitors' price. This thermometer continually outperformed its listed measurement accuracy of 0.9℉ in everyday cooking duties and lab tests. In both our high and low-temperature tests, we noted a much more remarkable precision of 0.3℉, three times better than advertised! Not only that, but this probe was consistently clocking in at under four seconds. This made it the second-fastest in testing to read a stable temperature. Its overall basic look may fool some, but the numbers don't lie — this is a foldable probe that not only holds its own but, in many cases, crushes the performance of a majority of the other thermometers in this review.
While the simple TP03 impresses in terms of performance, it lacks features. It sports no waterproof rating and has specific heat limitations. For example, it explicitly states that you cannot leave the probe immersed in hot liquid or food for more than one minute without damage to the probe. The two biggest downfalls are related to the screen: 1) it does not feature a locking temperature readout, and 2) it has one of the smallest displays of the models we tested. However, there is no reason not to try this entry-level instant thermometer for its value. This model is lightweight, with a clip-loop for carrying and a magnetic backing.
When it comes to a less complicated wireless option that doesn't require a smartphone, we believe there is no better value than the ThermoPro TP07 Wireless. This meat thermometer consists of two separate units — the transmitter with wired probe and the programmable receiver. We were most impressed with how easily the two pair wirelessly and the signal strength going from inside the kitchen to outside on the grill. With features including countdown and count-up timers, internal probe temperature, and preset meat temperatures, we pleasantly found the receiver to be easily programmable. We also particularly appreciated the thoughtful addition of different color backlights for the LCD screen on the receiver, which clearly identifies vital moments in cooking: the first increase in temperature, within 15℉ of set temperature, and when the probe reaches the set internal temperature.
While both units can display temperature, only the transmitter displays the temperature at a decimal resolution. But, despite this advantage, the transmitter could use the most improvement. We feel that the unit could easily have a much larger LCD screen. More importantly, it would hugely benefit from something other than the simple hanger that easily slips from an oven handle every time we open the door, such as a magnetic backing or clip. We found that the interface is much more intuitive than it appears, despite its clunky-looking button layout, and will have you accurately taking meat temperatures right out of the box.
When it comes to meat thermometers, lefties often get the short end of the stick. But with the Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo, those ambidextrous chefs among us no longer have to settle for less. The probe has an oversized screen with large and easy-to-read font that automatically rotates based on positioning. Not only is it highly accurate, but the Javelin is one of the fastest instant-read thermometers in our review, clocking in an average response time of just under four seconds. The backlight is the brightest of any we tested, and the probe has a motion sensor that triggers the backlight with a flick of the wrist, perfect for those operating in heat-proof gloves over hot, open-pit flames. Cleanliness is the name of the game in professional kitchens, and we appreciate that Lavatools impregnates the plastic shell of their probes with an anti-microbial additive to help keep this device clean in between washings. It also has a high level of waterproofing (IP65.)
Performance like this comes at a price — this model costs more than double all the other instant-read thermometers we tested. During our calibration test, this probe was one of the few with zero deviation from 32℉. When temps reach above boiling, we found it tends to deviate up to 2℉ from an accurate temperature reading. While this isn't major, it is notably more sway than other top performers. And unlike some of our other favorites, you cannot recalibrate this thermometer if it loses accuracy over time. Like other ambidextrous models in our lineup, we wish the manufacturers designed the probe to fold 270° for a full range of use. However, for a professional-grade thermometer, it is tough to beat both the speed and functionality of the Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo, especially for left-handed chefs.
We love any product that is both energy and cost-saving. As the only rechargeable option in our review (meaning it can be wall-charged via an included USB-C cord), the InkBird Waterproof IHP-1P thermometer impressed us with its capability in this regard, plus its overall weight, size, and sleek design. Although the manufacturer claims that this probe only has an accuracy of 1.8℉, we found that its precision is much closer to 1℉ in our tests. The LCD readout is improved with an easily readable, large font, and rather than flash-updating, you can watch the temperature rise with rolling numbers. It's one of the few folding models that incorporates a snap housing for the end of the probe.
The backlight is one of the most powerful in our lineup, and it does a great job under kitchen lights. The downside is the LCD screen is difficult to read in direct sunlight, so it is not ideal for afternoon grilling. While we appreciate this model is fully rechargeable, we wonder what the charging lifetime actually is. We wish there was a way to replace the rechargeable battery if it ever dies. That said, after all our long hours of testing, we found the speedy and sleek Inkbird served us well on a single charge, losing just one battery power bar.
If the rest of your household is optimally controlled via apps on your phone, why not your next meat thermometer? The Soraken Wireless Thermometer includes various programmable options as expected with most smart technology. It's possible to program each of the multiple probes according to specific cooking techniques, meat types, internal temperatures, or a timer that can be programmed for up to 240 minutes. Four are included, but the transmitter can support up to six probes. While you are away from the grill prepping sides, the Soraken will keep you updated with a chart of temperature vs. time and specified temperature alarms. Though the wireless capability from the grill is slightly limited when moving back inside the kitchen, we found that its wireless range outside easily outperformed its advertised ability. We were able to walk more than 200 feet away before ultimately losing the signal.
Along with all these attributes, the Soraken is the speediest updating wireless model in our review. The app and transmitter appear to update every few seconds simultaneously. It also seems to be highly accurate. Still, the lack of a decimal resolution on the readout or a listed measurement accuracy made it hard to verify the quality. Unfortunately, you cannot recalibrate this unit. So, even if you are not getting accurate temperature readings, you may never know. It's pretty awesome to remotely monitor and track the progress of up to six different pieces of meat at a single time, even though we sometimes found handling the multiple probes somewhat cumbersome.
The ThermoPro TP19 Waterproof is one of the highest-performing folding probe thermometers offered by one of the best brands on the market. The ambidexterity is what makes this product stand out from most of the other models we included in this review. The TP19 features a motion sensor that quickly and automatically rotates the LCD readout depending on orientation. For left-handed chefs, this is crucial. This same sensor doubles its benefits with a battery-saving sleep function. The thermometer will shut off if not handled for 90 seconds and then instantly wake back up when moved. For all of these extra functions, this thermometer impressed us in terms of accuracy. This thermometer consistently produced accurate measurements of less than 0.5℉ from braising to baking.
Although it's incredibly precise, the thermocouple probes in this model take longer to adjust to the temperature. While the manufacturer claims a "super-fast […] readout within 3 seconds," our testing revealed that it typically takes a little more than 5 seconds for the temperature reading to stabilize. While it benefits from a rotating LCD, we found it frustrating that you could use it at an angle right-handed but only fully extended with the left hand. This model would be much more convenient to use if the probe rotated a full 270 degrees. The TP19 may be the largest folding probe we tested, but its incredible accuracy and ease of use make it a great option for ambidextrous cooks.
It's easy to see why the Lavatools Javelin is an incredibly popular meat thermometer. This lightweight, compact, and durable option is easily the most pocket-friendly of the folding probes we tested. Its simple, sleek, ergonomic design makes it easy to use in every cooking setting. This thermometer has a broad temperature range, from -40℉ up to 482℉, making it versatile for everything but high-temperature wood-firing. It's also nearly twice as accurate as advertised, with an incredibly sensitive probe that quickly adjusts to air temperatures by just hovering above a pan.
Despite the beauty of simplicity, there are some pitfalls to the crowd-pleasing Javelin. This model does not feature a backlit screen, but fortunately, the LCD is strong enough to read under direct light easily. This simple probe does not feature a hold button to lock in a temperature reading and cannot be recalibrated. Most notably, the Javelin has the shortest probe of any model we tested. Due to these factors, we found that this thermometer is better suited for baking than grilling. Still, we believe this is the best compact option for the size-conscious cook who likes keeping a temperature probe on them at all times.
Just like their dependable charcoal grills, the Weber Instant Read Thermometer is a functional product from a well-established manufacturer. Although it doesn't include any of the features of some of the more expensive models we tested, this is an adequate pocket-sized probe with bold and easy-to-read LCD font that balances the model's smaller screen. The Weber Instant Read also features one of the longest probe lengths in this review, measuring in at just under five inches.
Though we didn't expect much by way of flashy functions incorporated into this simple thermometer, we hoped for a more consistent temperature readout. At the low end of the spectrum, the Weber Instant Read performs well but then slowly loses accuracy as you climb through the temperature gradient. By the time you get to 300℉+, this probe only offers measurement accuracy of 9℉. Fortunately, most of our meat cooking is happening in that low range, between 32℉ and 212℉, where you do benefit from a much more accurate 1.8℉ precision.
The ThermoPro TP16 Digital does a great job handling the essential purpose of a programmable thermometer, though it doesn't include the additional features of similar meat thermometers featured in this review. Considering its performance and user-friendly interface, we believe that this basic-looking unit puts forth much more value than meets the eye. The TP16's response time is nearly half that of its nearest wireless competitor, the TP07. Although the programs are limited to a probe mode, preset, timer, and recommended internal temperatures for only the most basic meats, the interface is incredibly intuitive. Even without the aid of the owner's manual, we figured out how to program this model in mere seconds.
The magnetic backing is excellent for attaching to the outside of an oven, but the small folding stand easily collapses when trying to press the buttons on the top. All appearances point to this thermometer as being designed to live on a grill. However, it's best to keep this one in the kitchen due to the lack of waterproof rating and the fact that the non-backlit LCD is very difficult to read in direct sunlight and the evening's dimness. Measurement precision of 1.8℉ is not as strong as the other competitors in our tests and is only further explained by the readout's lack of a decimal resolution. But it has earned our praise for consistent efficacy as our testing proves that this wired thermometer is at least as accurate — and often slightly better — than the manufacturer claims.
The Meater+ Long Range Thermometer is a smart concept and the most stylish temperature probe that we reviewed. The single, pen-sized probe can measure and record both ambient oven and internal meat temperatures and update that information in real time via a cleanly designed smartphone app. There are no wires; in fact, the base unit — a very chic bamboo case with a magnetic backing — serves only as a charging base and Bluetooth booster. Like many modern smart apps, this unit can connect to all of your app-based home devices — like your TV or Alexa — through the MEATER cloud. It can even provide updates when you are away from home. The app includes a wide variety of temperature presets for something as exact as a Secreto cut of pork or as obscure as a Kangaroo steak. In contrast, the temperature probe can be programmed entirely through your phone.
Unfortunately, this incredible concept all but falls apart when put into practice. Yes, the dual sensors are relatively precise. However, due in part to the probe's fragility, this model is not versatile for more than cooking a roast — without damaging the probe, the maximum internal temperature is only 212℉. Additionally, the probe must be inserted more than 2.5 inches to a "safety notch," all but eliminating its usefulness in pinpointing the thickest part of the meat because you almost always have to insert the probe from the side. The booster does allow you to monitor temperatures up to 165 feet away when outside, but when cooking in the oven, the probe constantly lost connectivity anytime we moved more than a few feet away from the stove. For those trendy grillers who love the convenience of linking everything to their phone — even their meat thermometer — this is the perfect gift; otherwise, we will wait until the MEATER+ receives an update.
For those devoted to the no-frills simplicity of the leave-in, manual thermometer, the CDN IRM200 ProAccurate will be an excellent investment. The very large dial sports an easy-to-read, large font without sticking your head in the oven. It features a standard temperature guide and indicator that rotates around the rim to mark your desired internal temperature. The heat-resistant glass is oven-proof, of course, and the dial is sealed so that it can withstand the beating of even a commercial dishwasher.
The ProAccurate doesn't have the capability for decimal resolution or an instant-read thermometer's speed, despite its name. It's also limited in terms of versatility to meat since the temperature range only goes from 120℉ to 200℉. But, this manual thermometer's ability to be easily recalibrated is what puts it on par with many of the electronic models we tested — particularly in terms of long-lasting value.
Why You Should Trust Us
Before diving head-first into the grilling, roasting, slow cooking, and temperature testing, the first step in our thorough testing process is to complete our due diligence of online research. Our expert reviewers spent hours investigating the most popular meat thermometers on the market before selecting the most promising contenders to purchase at retail value and send through testing. Our testing process involved real-world cooking, side-by-side comparisons, and scientifically-based tests to thoroughly scrutinize various aspects of the competition. The result is a comprehensive review based on hands-on experience with each product. Whether you are looking to ensure that you cooked that chicken roast all the way through or boost your smoking game, our lineup has an option to suit the needs of any home (or professional) chef.
One of our kitchen experts, Aaron Rice, handled the hands-on testing for this review. Aaron learned to cook from family at a young age and continues to devote much of his free time to cooking at home and sharing good food with friends. He has also worked in and around professional kitchens for the better portion of a decade. Currently, he and his wife manage an on-site culinary garden for a fine-dining restaurant in Santa Fe, NM.
Analysis and Test Results
Aside from a timer, a quality meat thermometer may be the most important and one of the least expensive tools in a chef's arsenal to consistently produce perfectly cooked cuts of meat. The ease of an instant-read or the convenience of a leave-in thermometer could be the difference between a memorable meal or an infamous culinary disaster. To put these products to the test, we considered four critical performance aspects of a meat thermometer: accuracy, speed, ease of use, and features. We tested these thermometers side-by-side in an ordinary kitchen, analyzing and ranking them according to each metric. Over a week, we verified thermometer calibration, cooked up dozens of meat cuts to test internal temperatures, compared features, and measured specifications.
Without the capability of a meat thermometer to take precise measurements, you may as well be using the time-tested, but often poorly executed, "hand test". However, we'd rather not take that risk if we're cooking a particularly pricey steak. Each product we tested listed a measurement accuracy per the manufacturer, but of course, we had to verify those claims through a series of tests. We noticed that many of the models included in this review exceeded their manufacturer claims, and as a result, were awarded a few extra points for continuously outstanding performance. We also awarded points to the thermometers that can be recalibrated — this includes the CDN ProAccurate, the Kizen Instant Read, the Inkbird Waterproof, and the ThermoPro TP19.
Many thermometers are factory-calibrated by chilling an ice bath down to the freezing point — this is a perfect point of measurement because, unlike boiling, freezing temperatures do not vary by altitude. Unfortunately, two thermometers were excluded from this first part of testing: the ProAccurate only displays a minimum temperature of 200℉, and although the MEATER+ came within 1℉ of the mark, once the probe hit 32℉, we were prompted with a "low temperature detected!" warning message. Since there is no minimum temperature listed for this model — and its other temperature restrictions — we have to assume that this probe is at risk of damage from sub-freezing temperatures.
But since these are meat thermometers, most commonly checking much higher temperatures, we also wanted to verify the high side of their measurement accuracy — we tested this both in a boiling test and backed that up with anecdotal evidence from cooking. Two of the ThermoPro models — the TP19 and price-point TP03 — continually produced exceptional results, accurately measuring temperatures within a half-degree precision.
For wireless models, we found that the Soraken was easily the most accurate (although it does not display decimals on either readout). The Kizen is also nearly as precise as the ThermoPro options; however, the speed with which it operates causes the temperature readout to jump around rapidly, which can be mildly annoying when trying to lock down an exact reading.
An accurate, speedy temperature probe is a must for the professional chef, who is often juggling multiple pieces of meat on the grill at once, all set to cook at different times and destined for varying degrees of doneness. While this same quality of speed may seem like a superfluous feature for the home kitchen, consider this: how long do you want to stick your arm into a 500℉ oven to take a temperature reading?
To test this key characteristic, we put each probe through a series of tests to see how long it took to achieve an exact measurement and then averaged those response times to represent their general performance accurately. While many models in this review are capable of sub-six second measurement times, only three live up to the hype of their super-fast read times. The Kizen clocked in at just over three seconds, and the TP03 and Javelin PRO Duo in just under four seconds.
It's understandable that the only manual option we tested, the ProAccurate, would have a much slower read time (21 seconds.) For wireless options, we were most impressed with the Soraken for its speed — not only does the probe(s) regularly record temperatures every five seconds but the app updates via the transmitter at that same speed. The other two wireless models could not come close to touching that pace. The TP07 registers and transmits temperature every 12 seconds, and while the MEATER+ updates consistently, it took nearly 38 seconds to establish a steady reading.
Ease of Use
For a meat thermometer to become a staple of any kitchen, it must be easily accessible and easy to use. We judged this metric on several factors: size, weight, probe length and thickness, screen size and brightness, and any additional qualities that might make a probe particularly user-friendly. For example, the TP19 and Javelin PRO Duo both come with auto-rotating screens, making them easier to use for left-handed individuals. Similarly, only four of the probes we tested — the two models above and the Kizen and Inkbird — include a button that will lock a temperature reading on the screen. This feature is particularly convenient so that you don't have to expose your face to the heat of a grill or oven or as an ally in the fight against forgetfulness.
The ProAccurate is the only analog thermometer in this review. While this makes it very useful for long oven cooks — like a turkey — the probe is noticeably thicker than almost every other model we tested. The MEATER+ also is a very fat probe — alternatively, the probes of the Soraken are the thinnest of any of the wireless models tested.
All of the instant-read thermometers have very similar probe widths and somewhat similar lengths. The Weber Instant Read probe is the only non-folding option we tested, though its probe length is nearly half an inch longer than most of the pack.
At the other end of the spectrum lays the Lavatools Javelin, with a probe length of only 2.8 inches. However, the Javelin is also the most pocket-friendly, instant-read thermometer. It's noticeably smaller in your hand when directly compared to the TP19, which is the largest of the models we tested. The MEATER+ is the smallest, lightest probe by far, but only because it relies on your smartphone for a screen.
Screen size and brightness play a significant role in determining the font's usefulness and size on the LCD. So while the Javelin has a small screen relative to its size, it features a large, luminous font that is easy to read both in the kitchen and in direct sunlight. The TP16 and Weber Instant Read don't have a backlight and are both very difficult to grill with during the middle of the day. Preferably, a thermometer has a large, backlit screen with an easily readable font, like the Kizen, Javelin PRO Duo, TP19, Inkbird, and Soraken models.
Sometimes additional features can significantly add value to a product. Other times, they can be frustrating to figure out that you find yourself intentionally avoiding using the gadget. Fortunately, most of the meat thermometers we tested here are very straightforward. Practically all of the instant-read options only have one button and are very user-friendly. We awarded additional points to the Inkbird instant-read, the only thermometer in our review that is fully rechargeable via USB-C. While the MEATER+ has a charging base, that unit is still battery-powered.
For the instant-read thermometers, where the probe is attached to the electronic unit, we believe the most crucial feature they could have is a waterproof rating since you will commonly be washing these in the sink after use. The Javelin PRO Duo and Javelin have similar waterproof ratings of IP65, respectively, while the Kizen is the only model we tested that can be fully submerged, with a rating of IP67. The ProAccurate is rated for runs through even commercial dishwashers but does not come with an IP rating.
When discussing features, most of the conversation should be devoted to the subtle differences between the programmable models. For our review, this refers to all wireless options, plus the hardwired TP16 LCD. Although it doesn't include as many programmable features as the others, we loved the super intuitive interface of the TP16. A simple button operation allows you to set a timer, probe temperature with alarm, or choose from several visually indicated, preprogrammed temperatures for beef, poultry, and pork standards.
A step up from there into the wireless realm is the TP07, which includes both a transmitter and receiver that automatically pair within seconds. While the interface isn't quite as straightforward as the TP16, it does include a few more preprogrammed options.
Firmly in the wireless realm are the Soraken and MEATER+. While the Soraken also includes a readout on the transmitter, both models are primarily controlled via smartphone apps. The programs both have the ability to set specific alarms, graphically track time vs. temperature, and offer a wide variety of preprogrammed temperatures for meat types. In the case of the MEATER+, you can even choose from specific cuts of meat.
The main difference we found between these two models is that the MEATER+ has a dual-sensor probe, able to track both ambient and internal temperatures; the Soraken includes four separate probes and can accept up to six to monitor multiple steaks simultaneously. But when it came to testing wireless power, while all three models lived up to the advertised distance outside, when we tried to track food out on the grill from across the house, only the TP07 Wireless was able to maintain a stable connection consistently.
A reliable meat thermometer is much more than just a convenience of modern kitchens; it is an indispensable tool for many chefs. Remember, cooking is all about controlling temperature. From baking bread to smoking brisket, we constantly test and refine our reading temperature proficiency and judge how well our food is cooking. A quality thermometer will help you hone that skill so that the results meet your expectations. We hope this review makes your search for the perfect meat thermometer a little more convenient.
— Aaron Rice
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