If you’ve ever decided to have a steak for dinner and misjudged its doneness, only to be stuck eating a chewy, overcooked piece of meat, you know how important it is to use a grill thermometer.
Not only did you just spend the money to buy the perfect cut of steak, but you didn’t get to enjoy it. Having a grill thermometer will make this a thing of the past.
GDEALER Instant Read
CDN Quick Read
Polder Grill Surface Thermometer
With so many grill thermometers out there, it can be overwhelming to figure out which one is best. That’s why we’ve done all the work and tested out the options so that you don’t have to.
The main reason you use a grill thermometer is so that you can keep an eye on the internal temperature of your meats. That means you get the precise doneness you want and won’t ever have to worry about underdone chicken or pork either.
Digital vs. Analog Thermometers
There are lots of grill thermometers on store shelves and one the first things you’ll notice is if it’s analog or digital. An analog model measures meat using a standard thermometer, while a digital one will give you a precise numerical readout of the internal temperature.
An analog thermometer is preferred by many chefs, but they can be harder to read than a digital one because there is some guesswork involved with getting the precise temperature. The main perk to an analog model is that they are simple to use, easy to clean and won’t take up a lot of room when you store them.
On the other hand, a digital grill thermometer is generally larger and features the thermometer portion attached to a cord that leads to the probe. This style of thermometer may take up more room, but it’s very easy to use and gives you an exact temperature readout on a variety of meats. Digital thermometers are also more expensive than their analog counterparts.
Getting an accurate temperature readout is important for food safety reasons, but it’s also vital if you prefer your meats at a specific temperature. For that reason, you want a grill thermometer that you rely on to give you an accurate readout.
Not just any grill thermometer is going to give you this peace of mind. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good one, but it doesn’t pay to choose the cheapest one you can find either.
Built In Thermometers
Most experts will tell you that the built-in thermometer on your grill is not one you can rely on. Because they are located on the hood, you aren’t getting an accurate reading of the internal temperature of the actual foods you’re preparing.
They are valuable for determining whether your grill is at the right surface temperature for grilling, but you should always use a dedicated grilling thermometer to be sure the meat is cooked properly.
Instant Read vs. Leave-In Thermometers
Whether you choose an analog or digital meat thermometer, there are two options in each category – leave-in or instant read. As the names imply, an instant read thermometer will tell you the internal temperature right away, while a leave-in will take longer to give you an accurate temperature readout.
In general, a leave-in thermometer will remain in the meat during the entire cooking process, while an instant read is used near the end of the cooking time to let you know if it’s done or not. In many cases, a leave-in thermometer has more bells and whistles and will give you more precise options when cooking meat.
Features to Look For
Beyond the basic choice of an analog or digital design, there are some other features that can make the thermometer a good choice for your needs. Thinking about each of them will help you find the exact thermometer for the types of foods you grill.
Having an alarm or alert on your grilling thermometer allows you to do other things while your meat cooks. When it reaches the set internal temperature, it will notify you with a beeping or buzzing so that you know it’s finished.
A preset temperature control is handy to have because you can decide which temperature you want before cooking. These temperatures are generally based on USDA recommendations for safe internal cooking temps.
A timer or programmable temperature feature lets you customize your cooking times or temperatures. This is not always recommended by experts but is handy if you like your steaks rare or want to cook a specific item to a specific temperature.
Because many digital meat thermometers are battery operated, you may want to look for one that has an automatic shutoff. This way you don’t run the batteries down when it’s not in use.
#1. ThermoPro TP-07 Digital Cooking Meat Thermometer
This hassle-free grilling thermometer allows you to wirelessly monitor the internal temperature of chicken, pork, beef and more. The instant read design makes this a great choice for home cooks.
With a temperature range of 32 to 572 degrees, you’ll have plenty of options for all of your grilling needs. The LCD screen makes it simple to see if you’ve reached the proper temperature.
The thermometer comes preset with USDA recommended cooking temperatures for beef, pork, chicken, veal, lamb and fish. The instant read digital design offers an accurate temperature.
Users love the taste button feature, which allows you to choose a doneness, from rare to well done, rather than relying on a specific temperature. The belt clip and stand features offer additional convenience during use.
Some users say that the temperature calibration can be off, giving you a done signal before the meat is done. Other users say it’s great for grilling, but for smoking.
● Easy to read digital readout
● Handy taste button feature for cooking steaks
● Programmed temps
● A belt clip and stand make this thermometer easy to use
● The calibration may not be precise
● Not conducive to smoking
#2. GDEALER Instant Read Meat Thermometer
This affordable digital grilling thermometer is compact and offers all the convenience you need. You can get a temperature readout in just 4 to 6 seconds for all kinds of meat.
This thermometer has a temperature gauge from -58 to 572 degrees, making it a great choice for meats and many other foods. It also works in liquids.
A stainless steel tapered probe is easy to insert and durable enough to last for many years. When not in use, simply fold the probe into the unit and store.
Users love the auto shut-off that saves battery power. They also rave about the accuracy and large LCD screen.
The thermometer cannot be immersed in water, so it must be washed gently by hand. Users also mention that it isn’t as sturdy as pricier models on the market.
● Large, easy to read LCD screen
● Space saving design
● Wide temperature range for many kinds of food
● 4 to 6 second readout
● Not as sturdy as other models
● Cannot be immersed in water
#3. Tenergy Solis Digital Meat Thermometer
This app powered thermometer allows you to prepare foods without having to monitor them every second. You get alerts on your phone during the cooking process, so you can do other things while you wait.
The wide temperature reading of 32 to -572 degrees makes it simple to prepare meats and many other foods. The high accuracy of the unit ensures proper cooking times every time you use it.
Users love the easy to use app, which has 11 preset temperatures and that also allows you to preset a specific temperature. This thermometer is ideal for barbecue grilling but is the perfect choice for smoking meats.
Some users report that the thermometer sometimes loses the connection to the app and phone. Others don’t like that the unit is not dishwasher safe because each of the pieces must be washed by hand.
● Wide temperature range
● Connects to an app on your smartphone
● 11 preset temperatures
● Easy to read display
● Not dishwasher safe
● Can lose connection to smartphone
#4. ThermoPro TP17 Dual Probe Digital Meat Thermometer
The best thing about this grilling thermometer is that is features two probes, allowing you to monitor two cuts of meat at the same time. This makes it an ideal choice for grilling and smoking meats.
The unit comes with the preset USDA temperatures for most kinds of meat, but also has a customizable feature that lets you choose a specific temp. The large backlit display makes it easy to monitor temperatures day and night.
Users say that the temperature range of 14 to 572 degrees makes this an ideal choice for meats, as well as other foods, such as candy and liquids. It can also be used in the oven for foods cooked inside.
Some users report that the temperature can be off when cooking large cuts of meat or poultry. Because it’s not an instant read model, it takes a bit longer to get a reading than other thermometers.
● Wide temperature range
● Backlit LCD screen with large numbers
● Dual probes
● Customizable temperature control
● Not instant read
● May not be useful for large pieces of meat
#5. Cuisinart CSG-100 Surface Thermometer
If you want a simple and easy to read thermometer, this is the option for you. This surface thermometer is great for grills, griddles and pans and is a great choice for home chefs and people who love to barbecue meats and other foods.
You can use the thermometer to monitor the surface temperatures and hot spots in mere minutes. The wire handles make it easy to move the unit from place to place as you need to.
This analog cooking thermometer has a range of 150 to 700 degrees, making it great for meats of all kinds. The fog proof screen means you never have to worry about getting a precise reading each and every time.
Some users say that unit isn’t as precise as one with a probe, despite it being very handy to use. Others say that the unit can become discolored inside over time, making it hard to read.
● Convenient wire handles make it easy to move
● Ideal for reading surface temperatures
● Perfect for grilling
● Fog proof screen
● No probe
● Can become discolored inside
#6. Ivation Wireless Thermometer Set
I’m kicking off my list with probably perhaps the most modern grill thermometer available: The Ivation Wireless.
This great thermometer features two temperature readings, with one for the grill and one for the meat. The Ivation is incredibly accurate, letting you get on with cooking your meat to perfection. Nowhere is this accuracy seen better than in its speed in recalibrating meat temperature once moved or placed on a new piece of meat.
The Ivation’s wireless capabilities enable you to read the temperature of your meat within a radius of up to a staggering 300 feet. If you do happen to stand outside of that area, the thermometer features an alarm that’ll let you know that you’re out of range. The alarm will even know when your BBQ temperature is too high or too low!
Featuring a meat temperature guide, Ivation really have thought of everything to help this grill thermometer become a vital tool in enhancing your grilling experience.
#7. Maverick ET-733 Dual Probe
Another quick-read thermometer boasting a reading time of just three seconds, the Maverick Pro Temp PT 100 will know when your meat is ready before you do. Don’t be put off by the small size of this thermometer, as by no means does its unimposing size mean a compromise in reliability. Reviews have praised its durability and reading accuracy, as well as its excellent value for money. I love added bonus features, especially on small unassuming items like this, and the Maverick PT 100 scores points with me as it features a meat temperature guide on its body, so you really will have no excuse for overcooking your food ever again.
#8. CDN Quick Read Thermometer
Quick-read thermometers are proving evermore popular, and top of the pile is the CDN. Giving an accurate reading within three seconds, this thermometer will help you cook your food to the temperature that you want without any fuss. Its stem goes into meat easily, and features a good temperature range of -40 to 450F. The CDN has received acclaim from reviewers for its lightning-quick response time and ease of use. What’s more, the CDN Thermometer comes with a five-year warranty. If CDN are this confident in their product, then why shouldn’t you be?
#9. Polder Grill Surface Thermometer
Just in case any of you think that I don’t think of those of you on a budget, next in my list is the Polder Grill Surface Thermometer.
At just $7.99, it is great value for money and the cheapest thermometer on my list. But does this really low cost mean really low quality?
In short, no.
While the Polder is solely a grill surface thermometer and does not include a meat temperature reading component, unlike the Ivation above, it is often praised for its reading accuracy and for how well it adapts to open top grilling.
Its durability should be called into question, but would it be fair to expect much more from a $7.99 thermometer?
The Final Word
The winner of the roundup is the ThermoPro TP17 Dual Probe Digital Meat Thermometer. This one is clearly the top choice as it offers all the best features recommended by experts. That includes an instant read digital screen, two probes for monitoring meat temps, and preset temperatures that can also be customized.
When you’re shopping for a grilling thermometer, this is the obvious choice for getting precise temperatures when grilling or smoking meats at home. It’s easy to use and clean, simple to store when not in use, and it guarantees precise temperature readouts every time.