The Best Meat Thermometers to Buy Right Now

Whether you're a home cook or a seasoned chef, these are some of the best tools for cooking meat perfectly every time.

In This Article

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best meat thermometers
Thermoworks / Oxo

CYBER WEEK DEAL: Get our smart thermometer pick, the Meater Plus, on sale right now!

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 seven 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.

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

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.

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

Best Dual Probe: ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Meat Thermometer

4.9
ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Meat Thermometer

Courtesy of 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.

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

Best Smart Thermometer: Meater Plus With Bluetooth Repeater

4.8
MEATER Plus Wireless Smart Thermometer

Courtesy of 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.

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

Best Leave-in Analog: OXO Good Grips Chef's Precision Instant Read Thermometer

OXO Good Grips Chef's Precision Instant Read Thermometer

Amazon

Pros: Displays clearly and instantly for in-oven temperature checks, no battery required.
Cons: The temperature range is limited, and it requires regular attention for checking doneness.

For a meat thermometer without all the fuss of digital displays, batteries, and timers, a simple analog thermometer will do just fine. Oxo's Chef's Precision Leave-In Thermometer does the trick, with clear numbers you can read without opening the oven repeatedly to check on the roast. The 2.2-inch probe sits directly in the thickest part of the meat and give an instant look at the internal temperature at a glance.

The dial displays both Fahrenheit and Celcius, and there are markings along the bottom of the dial showing doneness for whole and ground beef, pork, lamb, veal, poultry, and ham. There's also a handy cheat sheet on the probe's cover. For a straightforward analog thermometer, Oxo's tool is professional-grade.

  • Read time: Instant
  • Probe length: 2.2 inches
  • Temperature range: 120°F to 200° F

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.

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

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.

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

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 and Interface

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. Lastly, an analog thermometer is easy to read and simplifies things for cooking.

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.

Q+A

Q: How do you use a meat thermometer?

A: When you're working with meat, it's key to measure the temperature as you're approaching the end of the cooking cycle, whether it's in the oven, the smoker, the grill, or on the stovetop. Take care to not test it too many times throughout the process—jabbing too many holes can let out those important juices that make the meat tender and keep it moist.

For a digital meat thermometer, insert the tip about an 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.

Keep in mind that your oven temperature works more like a thermostat than an exact thermometer. Temperatures range from the bottom to the top of the oven and fluctuate throughout cooking—all the more reason to check in on that turkey's internal temperature. Also remember for larger cuts of meat the food will continue to cook for 5-10 minutes while it rests, so it's best practice to take it out just before it's done.

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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