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The 10 Best Meat Thermometers to Achieve the Perfect Temperature

A must-have kitchen tool that no serious cook can do without.

meat thermometers
Staff, Courtesy of Lavatools

It’s essential to have a good meat thermometer at your side, especially during the holidays. It’s nearly impossible to cook meat to perfection without one, as only a few degrees can turn well done into overdone in minutes. Thermometers are designed for different purposes, so it’s important to nail down which kind will suit you—and what you’re cooking—best. Here are our top picks, plus things to look for as you shop.

Best Meat Thermometers

    What to Consider

    Serious chefs often have multiple meat thermometers in their kitchens. There are old-school leave-in dial thermometers, analog and digital instant-read options, and thermocouple thermometers, which are very accurate and read quickly. A wireless thermometer is a smart bet if you frequently grill or smoke meat. They come with one or more leave-in stainless steel probes, plus a remote that alerts you when meat is done.

    A thermometer’s temperature range is also a consideration, particularly if you’re cooking meat at higher temperatures. Keep in mind that if a thermometer's temperature range is provided, it may be less accurate at the low and high end.

    How We Selected

    We looked at top-rated thermometers with at least four stars, and the majority of those featured below have 4.5 stars or more. Our selection includes the most commonly used thermometers—leave-in, instant-read digital, wireless, and others—across multiple price points, ranging from $10 or less to roughly $55. We also took into account features such as easy-read backlit displays, auto-shutoff, and range for wireless thermometers.

    Best Value Thermocouple

    Alpha Grillers Instant-Read Meat Thermometer
    Alpha Grillers

    Key Specs

    • Dimensions: 6.3 x 2 x 1.6 inches
    • Maximum temperature: 300 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Number of batteries: 1 CR2

      With a solid lineup of features found in thermometers twice its price, this compact wonder is a steal at under $15. And, it one-ups several competitors for being waterproof, not just water-resistant. It has a bright blue backlight and a temperature that registers in seconds, plus the probe folds down and it auto-powers off to save battery life. There’s also a magnet in the back for attaching it to the fridge or barbecue. It gets high marks, with an average 4.7 stars, and several reviewers note that the company has good customer service.

      Best Premium Thermocouple

      Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo Meat Thermometer
      $47.59 (15% off)

      Key Specs

      • Dimensions: 4.5 x 1.4 x 0.75 inches
      • Maximum temperature: 482 degrees Fahrenheit
      • Number of batteries: 1 lithium

        Lavatools is a highly regarded name in thermocouple thermometers, and the Pro Duo gets rave reviews nearly across the board. The display is designed to see the temperatures from any angle, so you can get a reading in a tight squeeze or an awkward position. It also has a bright, anti-fog backlight that’s motion-sensored, an auto-sleep mode so the battery won’t be zapped the next time you use it, and it’s magnetic. The only drawback is that it’s splashproof, not waterproof like similar models from other brands.

        Best Instant-Read Digital

        OXO Good Grips Chef's Precision Digital Instant-Read Thermometer

        Key Specs

        • Dimensions: 0.8 x 4 x 9.5 inches
        • Maximum temperature: 302 degrees Fahrenheit
        • Number of batteries: 1 lithium

          OXO is a trusted name in kitchen tools and gadgets, and their stainless steel digital thermometer is a customer favorite, with an average 4.6 stars from more than 2,200 reviewers. It’s also a good value, at about $20. The display isn’t backlit, but it’s large and the head pivots so it’s easy to read the temperate from multiple angles. It comes with a battery and a storage sleeve printed with USDA-recommended temperatures for several different kinds of meat.

          Best Smart Thermometer

          ThermoPro Wireless Remote Digital Meat Thermometer

          Key Specs

          • Dimensions: ‎6.4 x 2.4 x 5.9 inches
          • Maximum temperature: 572 degrees Fahrenheit
          • Number of batteries: 4 AAA

            With a 300-foot range, this smart thermometer will save you from schlepping to the grill every 10 minutes to make sure your steak isn’t overcooked. It’s dual-probe for cooking two pieces of meat simultaneously, or you can use one to read the oven temperature. There are preset USDA-recommended temperature settings for nine different kinds of meat, which can be changed and saved to suit individual tastes, plus a count-up and countdown timer. The receiver flashes and beeps when meat is done, and it has a pull-out countertop stand and belt clip.

            Most Compact

            Lavatools Javelin Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer
            $22.94 (15% off)

            Key Specs

            • Dimensions: 0.5 x 1.4 x 0.75 inches
            • Maximum temperature: 482 degrees Fahrenheit
            • Number of batteries: 1 lithium

              This is a pocket-sized version of the thermocouple above—and it’s also a hit, with an average 4.8 stars from more than 12,780 customers. The display isn’t backlit or anti-fog like its big brother, but it has many of the same features. It’s accurate and fast-reading, with a probe that folds in, and sleep mode to save battery life. It’s also a refrigerator magnet, so it won’t get lost in a utensil drawer, and it comes in nine attractive colors.

              Best Leave-In Analog

              OXO Good Grips Chef's Precision Analog Leave-In Meat Thermometer

              Key Specs

              • Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.5 inches
              • Maximum temperature: 200 degrees Fahrenheit
              • Number of batteries: N/A

                Here’s another top-rated thermometer from OXO that’s an excellent value, priced at about $16 at the time of this writing. The easy-to-use, classic leave-in meat thermometer has a matte section on the probe so you won’t have to gauge how far to insert it into your ham or turkey, plus it comes with a cover printed with chef- and USDA-recommended temperatures for an assortment of meat. There are also notches on the display that indicate when cooking time is done.

                Best Leave-In Digital Probe

                Taylor Precision Products Probe Digital Meat Thermometer
                Taylor Precision Products

                Key Specs

                • Dimensions: 5 x 1.25 x 8.87 inches
                • Maximum temperature: 392 degrees Fahrenheit
                • Number of batteries: 2 AAA

                  If you’re one of those people who opens the oven door several times an hour to check on your bird or roast, this is the thermometer for you. This stainless steel leave-in digital probe thermometer features a 4-foot silicone-coated cord to monitor the meat’s temperature from your countertop. It reaches a maximum temperature of 392 degrees Fahrenheit and has a 24-hour programmable timer that sounds an alarm when the meat is done, plus there’s a magnetic backing.

                  Best Extra-Long

                  ThermoPro Digital Meat Thermometer with Long Probe
                  $8.49 (15% off)

                  Key Specs

                  • Dimensions: 8.7 x 0.8 x 0.6 inches
                  • Maximum temperature: 572 degrees Fahrenheit
                  • Number of batteries: 2 LR44

                    You won’t have to take the meat out of the oven to check its temperature with this instant-read, thermometer. Its food-grade stainless steel probe is more than five inches long and it has a hold button that locks the temperature reading for 15 seconds after the thermometer is pulled out of the meat. There’s an electric blue LED backlit display that shines brightly in a dark oven, plus it has an auto-shutoff function and comes with batteries.

                    Best for Design (and Gifting)

                    Meater Plus Smart Meat Thermometer
                    $89.95 (10% off)

                    Key Specs

                    • Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 1.1 inches
                    • Maximum temperature: 527 degrees Fahrenheit
                    • Number of batteries: 1 AAA

                      If you need a last-minute gift for a carnivore, consider this rechargeable smart meat thermometer. It has a sleek, simple design and comes attractively packaged, featuring dual probes to track the meat’s temperature at two depths and an app to monitor cooking from a smartphone or tablet.

                      There’s a Bluetooth repeater built into the bamboo charging case that extends wireless range to a distance of 165 feet, plus it’s said to deliver more than 24 hours of use on a single charge. The thermometer gets bonus points for being dishwasher-safe.

                      Best Multitasker

                      Bluetooth Wireless Meat Thermometer

                      Key Specs

                      • Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.7 x 0.8 inches
                      • Maximum temperature: 716 degrees Fahrenheit
                      • Number of batteries: 3 AAA

                        With six stainless steel probes, this wireless digital thermometer is handy for cooking large meals with multiple pieces of meat. It’s sleekly designed, with a large red LCD display that shows cooking time, preset and current temperatures, and it has a stand to set it on the counter. The signal spans 196 feet outdoors and 100 feet indoors, and setup requires downloading an app. Other features include multiple alarms and USDA-recommended temperatures for assorted meat, which can be reset for personal preferences.

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