The 6 Best Meat Thermometers for 2023

Our favorite is the new and improved Thermapen One by ThermoWorks.

In This Article

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best meat thermometers
Thermoworks / Oxo

There is nothing worse than an overcooked steak, and depending on the cut it can be easy to overdo it. And when cooking for a crowd during the holidays (namely Thanksgiving), it's nice to have extra assurance that our roast or bird is done perfectly. If you're hoping to avoid cutting into a dry New York strip or raw chicken, there are a few ways to check if meat is evenly cooked. The most foolproof method, however, is using a meat thermometer.

A meat thermometer allows you to check progress and put your mind at ease when things are hectic in the kitchen or around the grill. While professional chefs do sometimes cook food by touch, a small thermometer in their jacket pocket is essential for getting meat exactly right every time. We researched the most current offerings for meat thermometers right now and found six excellent picks for every home cook's needs.

Our favorite is the new and improved Thermapen One by ThermoWorks, which has the accuracy, durability, and portability we need for checking temperatures in the kitchen and on the grill. For great value and equal precision, the smaller ThermoPop is still perfect for hot and smoky situations. Read on for all the best meat thermometers.

Best Overall

ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE

Thermapen One

ThermoWorks

Pros: The fastest and most accurate meat thermometer on the market, in an easy-to-use design.
Cons: The price is high for a standard thermometer, and for the cost, some cooks might want more features.

The Thermapen One is the evolved form of the chef favorite Thermapen MK4, and every cook will love having this device in their front pocket. The primary features are speed and accuracy—it will give the temperature in just one second (hence the name) and is accurate within half a degree Fahrenheit. The probe is standard length and flips 180 degrees from extended to stored. It can handle temperatures from -58 to 572° Fahrenheit.

The new, brighter interface has an internal accelerometer that will turn the display right side up from any viewpoint. The body is shockproof, dustproof, and IP67 watertight which means it can handle the messiest tasks both in the kitchen and on the grill or barbecue, and it's hand-washable. It has a lift-to-wake and auto shutoff feature so the battery will be preserved for longer (just one AAA is required).

The Thermapen One is handmade in England and comes in nine colors. While it has a high price tag, it is well worth the investment for any home cook. The near-instant read time is unmatched for a digital probe, and the ergonomic design and superior battery life make it absolutely seamless for cooking on the stove, roasting in the oven, and grilling outside.

Price at time of publish: $99

  • Read time: 1 second
  • Accuracy: 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Probe length: 4.4 inches
  • Temperature range: -58°F to 572°F
  • Power Source: Battery

Best Value

ThermoWorks ThermoPop Thermometer

4.3
ThermoPop

ThermoWorks

Pros: It's highly accurate and easy to read, especially for the price.
Cons: The basic design doesn't have many bells and whistles, and the prob does not retract.

At a highly affordable price, the Thermopop is also a frequent favorite for chefs and home cooks. The backlit display is easy to read from a distance, and while it's slightly slower to switch on and get the temperature reading than the Thermapen One, it's nearly equal for accuracy and just as durable.

Although the probe does not retract on the Thermopop, it comes with a handy cover for the probe. It's available in the same nine colors as its bigger sibling, and the sealed buttons make it splash proof for messy situations and easy cleanup. The display also rotates with the click of a button, as well as flipping between Celcius and Fahrenheit.

Price at time of publish: $21

  • Read time: 3-4 seconds
  • Accuracy: 2 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Probe length: 4.5 inches
  • Temperature range: -58°F to 572°F
  • Power Source: Battery

Best Dual Probe

ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Meat Thermometer

4.9
ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Meat Thermometer

Amazon

Pros: Can monitor two foods at once and has presets for several types of meat and poultry.
Cons: The receiver is large and not quite pocket-size, and the tool won't work as an instant read thermometer.

If you want to enjoy the party and not be stuck manning the grill or oven all evening, this wireless meat thermometer is the answer. Multitaskers in the kitchen need a tool like this to keep things cooking at a good pace and at the right level of doneness. The dual-probe can track two kinds of food at the same time and will work on your oven, grill, or smoker from up to 300 feet away. There are barbecue presets for nine types of meat and five "tastes" from rare to well done according to USDA recommendations, so you can be sure the results are perfect.

The display shows food temperature, ambient temperature, and a timer that can count down or up. The probe wires can withstand up to 716°F, so you won't need to worry about them touching the sides or grates of the oven or grill. The transmitter has a wire hook or can rest on a stand, and the receiver has a belt clip and rubber sleeve to protect it from drops. The screen also has a backlight, so nighttime smoking and grilling are easy.

Price at time of publish: $70

  • Read time: Instant
  • Accuracy: 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Probe length: 6.5 inches
  • Temperature range: 32°F to 572°F
  • Usage range: 300 feet
  • Power source: Battery

Best Smart Thermometer

Meater Plus With Bluetooth Repeater

4.9
MEATER Plus Wireless Smart Thermometer

Amazon

Pros: The completely wireless range makes it easy to keep an eye on meats from anywhere in the house, and it can connect to smart devices like Alexa.
Cons: For serious pitmasters the temperature limit won't be ideal, as the prob can break if exposed to heat higher than 212°.

For cooks who love a smart gadget, the Meater Plus is the ultimate gift. The sleek tool works with a smartphone app (iOS 10.3 or later; Android 5.0 or later) to monitor both ambient and internal temperature in whichever vessel you're cooking, all with one probe. The app offers guided cooking for perfecting big roasting recipes, and it can estimate how much longer your meat has to cook to time everything perfectly (hello, Thanksgiving!). It also incorporates resting time to ensure big cuts of meat land at the correct doneness.

The Meater WiFi link can extend the range for the probe up to 165 feet, and the probe can last 24 hours between charges. It comes inside a bamboo case with magnetic backing for easy storage, whether inside a drawer or on the fridge. The probe is also dishwasher-safe, so cleanup is simple. One thing cooks should note is that the probe's internal temperature limit is 212° Fahrenheit, at which point the tool can experience damage. The margin for error is small, so anyone who regularly works at higher heats should be aware. (The probe will alert the user when it's close to that limit.) For everyday roasts, barbecuing, and large cuts of meat, the Meater Plus is a great option.

Price at time of publish: $100

  • Read time: Instant
  • Probe length: 5.1 inches
  • Temperature range: ambient up to 527°F (212°F for the meat)
  • Usage range: 165 feet
  • Power source: Battery

Best Leave-in Digital

ThermoWorks ChefAlarm

ThermoWorks ChefAlarm

ThermoWorks

Pros: It features both high and low temperature limit settings and an adjustable alarm volume, which aren't found on any other thermometers.
Cons: The probe is attached, and the monitor needs to stay nearby wherever the food is cooking.

The ChefAlarm has it all in terms of accuracy, timer and temperature features, and reliable functions. Sure, it's not portable like some other probe options, but if you're bustling around the kitchen or planning to be near the grill in the backyard anyway, it's not an issue. The long probe is perfect for large proteins like turkey or thick pot roasts, and it has the signature near-one-degree perfection that Thermoworks is known for.

If you're concerned about stepping away from the oven or the smoker, the four alert levels for the alarm will ensure you hear when the meat hits the ideal temperature. The ChefAlarm also has the unique minimum temperature feature, so you can know if your food drops below the ideal cooking temperature or even use it for making cold food like yogurt. The monitor is IP65 splash proof, so it's hardy enough for messy kitchen situations. Plus, the probe cable has a 700°F max temperature. Keep in mind it shouldn't be used with broiling.

Price at time of publish: $65

  • Read time: Instant
  • Accuracy: 1.8° F
  • Probe length: 6.5 inches
  • Temperature range: -58°F to 572° F
  • Power source: Battery

Best Magnetic

Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo

black meat thermometer with digital screen

Amazon

Pros: The magnetic back allows for easy storage and access, and it has more features than basic meat thermometers.
Cons: It is slightly less precise than higher-end options and lacks the interface swivel of the other best models.

The Javelin Pro is new and improved with a 2-inch auto-rotating anti-fog display that works for whichever hand is dominant and whichever direction you're working from. It will hold a stabilized temperature by the touch of a button so you're not left staring into the hot oven or grill while waiting for the accurate read. It's IP65 splash resistant and has the same great magnet for convenient storage. It also comes in eight colors of 100% BPA-free polycarbonate that won't warp or crack from heat exposure and frequent use.

The Javelin touts 4,000+ hours of use on a single battery. The backlight display works from motion-sensing, so it can operate even with mitts or heatproof gloves on. It's faster than its predecessor the Javelin, and reads in just 1-3 seconds (versus the previous average of 3-4, much like the ThermoPop). It also has a longer probe than the original version at 4.5 inches, which will have no problem flipping from thin steaks to thick hams and poultry. The mid-level price is a great upgrade from simpler probes without the heavy investment of the top-of-the-line Thermapen One.

Price at time of publish: $56

  • Read time: 3 seconds
  • Accuracy: .9°F
  • Probe length: 4.5 inches
  • Temperature range: -40°F to 482°F
  • Power source: Battery

Conclusion

The best meat thermometer option is the Thermapen One; it's the most accurate with the fastest readings and lasting durability. Second best for the affordable price is the ThermoPop, a compact and fast probe thermometer that will give equally accurate readings fairly quickly every time.

Factors to Consider

Type of Probe

For instant-read thermometers, look for one sensitive enough to give an accurate reading in about 3 seconds. The faster the response time, the less time you need to leave the oven open or the grill cover off. The other option is a digital probe thermometer, which operates wirelessly by keeping probes in the meat throughout cooking and monitoring it on a thermometer reader outside of the oven or grill. It's also good for long sessions in the smoker.

Probe Length

The preferred length of your probe is impacted by the types of cuts you tend to cook. The best length for general use will be a happy medium between large cuts of meat like pork shoulder, prime rib, etc., and smaller cuts like pork chops, steaks, and chicken breasts. You want the tip of the probe to be able to hit the center of the thickest part of your protein.

Interface

Smartphone compatibility makes it easy to monitor your food in the palm of your hand. Many meat thermometers have apps that allow you to choose your specific protein and level of doneness or a precise internal temperature. If they have a Cloud service, you can monitor the cook from virtually anywhere. Apps may give you an estimated cook time and a countdown, and notify the user when the food is ready to come off of heat and also when it's ready to eat.

Temperature Range

You want your thermometer to have a range that goes from 0-400 degrees Fahrenheit if possible for maximum versatility. This will allow you to check temperatures for things besides just meats. For purely meat thermometers, you will want the temperature range to be at least up to 300 degrees.

Accuracy

Good meat thermometers will be accurate within a margin of a fraction of a degree, and accuracy matters when it comes to food safety. As little as 5 degrees can mean the difference between meat that is safe to eat and meat that is in the danger zone for food-borne illness. Buy the most accurate thermometer in your budget range.

Usage

Ask yourself where you will be using the thermometer most often: Are you regularly using the oven, a grill, or sous vide machine? An oven-safe probe with a wireless remote is great for keeping roasts cooking and the temperature consistent. An ultra-fast probe is great for grilling to avoid releasing heat and make perfect burgers. Also consider the types of cuts you'll be working with most often, or if you need it for a specific meal. A long probe will be useful for a large turkey or in high-heat situations where you don't want to get too close to the heating element.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do you use a meat thermometer?

    “With a meat thermometer, you'll get perfect, consistent results with every cook.” Says Keye Chen, Creative Director at MEATER. “No more eyeballing or pinching that spot between your thumb and index finger, these are outdated and guesstimated techniques. Insert the probe so that the sensor is at the center of the thickest part of the meat, the internal temperature here measures the doneness. For example, 135°F is medium rare.”


    If your ambient temperature reading will indicate any changes in your cooking environment, e.g. you'll know if you need to add more coal to your grill, or if there are any big temperature fluctuations. All the data collected in the probe is sent to your phone so you monitor your cook through the app. MEATER helps you keep track of your food and notifies you when it's time to chow down.

  • Can you leave a meat thermometer in the oven?

    Be sure to check the instructions on your thermometer, warns Chen, as not every thermometer is meant to be left in the oven. “MEATER is a leave-in thermometer, so YES! You can leave the MEATER probe in your food while it's cooking in the oven or grill. You monitor the temperatures in the MEATER app, so you don't have to constantly open the oven/grill to check up on your food. Some other thermometers are instant-read thermometers and you would not be able to leave them in the oven. With wired thermometers, it'll be difficult to close the oven/grill and it may damage the wire.”

  • What should the Waterproof Rating (IP Rating) be of your meat thermometer?

    Not all thermometers have a waterproof rating, and if you are using them specifically for proteins, you likely don’t need to check, says Chen, unless you are intending to clean in a dishwasher, in which case read the packaging materials carefully. “MEATER hasn't been waterproof-tested in a facility so there's no IP Rating, but it is water-resistant and dishwasher-safe.”

  • Where is the best place to insert a meat thermometer?

    The rule of thumb is to insert the tip of the meat thermometer about one inch into the thickest section of the meat (or sideways into thinner chicken breasts or burgers) for the most accurate reading. The temperature on the thermometer should drop as the probe moves further into the meat. If it starts to rise again, the probe is pushed in too far.


    Check near the end of the cooking process to see if things are at the correct temperature, and be careful not to release too much heat from the oven or grill to keep things as consistent as possible.

  • Can you use a digital thermometer with an induction cooktop?

    It's important to note that some induction cooktops can create temporary interference with digital thermometers, which can cause an inaccurate reading. The interference will not cause any damage to the thermometer or cooktop, but your temperature reading will be inaccurate. To take an accurate reading with a digital thermometer, simply turn the cooktop off briefly.

Our Expertise

Megan Soll is a Senior Editor who has written and edited content for hundreds of kitchen and home products, with five years of experience working for Food & Wine. For this piece, she researched dozens of thermometers on the market and drew on her own experience from frequently grilling and smoking meats in her own backyard.

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