Article updated 15-3-2022
A good quality meat thermometer is the best tool to cook your meat perfectly time after time! Chefs use them to ensure consistent results when roasting and grilling, and this tool is suitable for home cooks to cook meat with a delicious outcome too.
Cooking large pieces of meat is especially tricky and while we can give a lot of tips and advice for cooking each type of meat, only a digital thermometer can provide the extra assurance to check your meat during the cooking process and ensure it is cooked perfectly.
We have used the same model for years at home and it happens to be the budget model which works perfectly. Here is the list of the top meat thermometers available.
List of best meat thermometers
- Best waterproof – KIZEN Digital Meat Thermometer with Probe
- Most popular – ThermoPro TP18 Ultra Fast
- Best laser infrared – Etekcity Lasergrip 1080 Non-Contact
- Best for smoking – ThermoPro TP-16S Digital Meat Thermometer
- Best budget – SAUCE ZHAN Meat Digital Thermometer
How to use a meat thermometer?
For bigger pieces of meat, insert the tip of the digital thermometer towards the middle of the thickest section.
For smaller pieces like wings or ribs it is advisable to check the temperature as much as possible in the thickest part of the piece, away from the bones.
Do not open the oven constantly and only check towards the end of the cooking process. This way you won’t release heat and the cooking process stays constant. Keep in mind that meat will continue to cook during part of the resting time. Check internal temperatures timely to ensure you don’t overcook the meat.
Things to check before you buy.
Using a meat thermometer is pretty straightforward but there are a few details to check before adding one to your kitchen gadgets.
- Digital thermometers should give an accurate reading in about 3-5 seconds. The quicker the response time, the less time you need to leave the oven open.
- The length of the probe is important especially if you will use it often for large pieces.
- The display must be easy to read with or without backlight.
- All thermometers should be calibrated. You can double check it in water. Temperature is 32°F (0°C) in ice water and 212°F (100°C) in boiling water. Always check the user manual upon receiving the device.
- The digital unit should never go into the oven or smoker, neither attach it to the lid to avoid melting of the device.
- Although the cables are heat resistant, avoid placing them on the grill or the oven rack.
- Use the probe only to check meat, don’t put it directly into fire or hot coals.
- Wash and clean the probe properly after each use to avoid cross-contamination.
Overview of best meat thermometers
Best waterproof – KIZEN Digital Meat Thermometer with Probe
This waterproof meat thermometer resists damp and condensation and is highly accurate while it takes the temperature quickly and precise to +/-1 degree. It’s easy to use and it works right out the box! The probe can fold into the device for safe handling and storage and the unit automatically powers off.
The device is magnetic, but the magnet is too light to attach safely to your fridge.
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Most popular – ThermoPro TP18 Ultra Fast
This unit features thermocouple sensors which makes it ultra-fast and accurate. It provides 2-3 seconds response time. There is a lock function which locks the current temperature when the probe is removed from food and keeps the temperature displayed.
The backlight LED display has large luminous digits to allow you tosee clearly. The 90 seconds auto-off helps save battery life.
This digital food thermometer also has a foldaway probe and a magnetic back to allow you to easily attach to the refrigerator or any metal surface. An extra point for the calibration function which adjusts your instant read thermometer probe sensor back to the correct accuracy.
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Best laser infrared – Etekcity Lasergrip 1080 Non-Contact
The lasergrip infrared can measure targets at greater distances compared to most other digital or infrared thermometers. For best accuracy, the distance should be no further than 30 centimetres.
The response time to measure the temperature is also quicker. This unit has an auto-off function to extend the battery life, and features a low battery indicator so you never accidentally run out. The only negative but very important point is that this thermometer can’t measure the internal temperature of an object. These are mainly used to check temperatures of ovens or refrigerators.
Best for smoking – ThermoPro TP-16S Digital Meat Thermometer
This smoker cooking thermometer is programmed with pre-set temperatures for 7 types of meat with their various doneness levels. All pre-set temperatures can be altered to your own desired taste. The durable probe is connected to the thermometer via a 40 inch stainless steel mesh cable designed to be usable in any cooking environment.
This unit allows for you to see both the meat cooking thermometer mode and countdown timer mode on the display without having to press a button to rotate between both modes.
The backlight display stays active for 10 seconds unless there is further operation, ideal for conversing battery power.
It also features a magnetic back to allow you to easily attach to an oven or any metal surface and a hanging hole for your kitchen hooks or a lanyard.
Best budget – SAUCE ZHAN Meat Digital Thermometer
It has a fast temperature display and has a quite long stainless steel probe which can keep hands from hot oven or grills while measuring. It is highly sensitive and provides a fast and accurate reading.
The bright LCD screen shows a clear temperature reading. This thermometer is very compact and easy to carry and store, chefs usually keep it in their pocket. The cylindrical box protects this kitchen thermometer from any physical damage and it will extend its service life.
Although digital meat thermometers have nothing to hide, there are a few things to consider before buying depending on your culinary needs.
The budget model is sufficient if you are using it as a backup to check your cooking temperatures. If you use it more often, a model with more functions might be the better option.
Certain design features, like a backlit screen, the size of the numbers, and temperature range are also things to consider when shopping for a thermometer.