Need to take your barbecue game to the very next level? Here are ten of the best grill thermometers to help guarantee temperature accuracy, so you can cook the perfect grilled food every time.
Getting meat cooked right at a BBQ is all about temperature. Get it right and your food will be grilled to perfection, get it wrong and you'll have something rubbery, disgusting, and maybe even unsafe to eat.
A barbecue chef is only as good as his tools, and every pit master needs a good bbq thermometer.
You need something reliable, easy and - most importantly - accurate.
Today I'm going to break down 10 of the very best grill surface probes out there, and help you get the right one for you.
Disclaimer: Clicking the links above will take you to current prices and buyer reviews for each product on Amazon
Best Grill Surface Thermometers
Here's my rundown of the top 10 bbq thermometers to help you kick back while your grill or smoker does all the work.
ThermoPro TP-07 Digital
Kicking off my list is what I think is the very best there is: The Thermopro TP-07.
It's a digital wireless probe and reader kit that allows you you to monitor the temperature of your chicken, pork or beef easily and from the comfort of your own living room.
It has an instant-read design that gives you a temperature reading in milliseconds, compared to traditional analog models that can take half a minute or more.
A lot of readers are stingy when it comes to display, making it really difficult to see the degree reading you're being given. Thermopro's LCD display however is big and clear, allowing you to get a quick temperature check instantly.
It has a fantastic temperature range of 32°F through to 572°F, which is more than enough to cater for all grill fans.
Most import though is accuracy and here Thermopro are head and shoulders above most of the competition. Their reader is accurate to within 1.5°F, which is mightily impressive.
What also marks this digital probe apart is its ease of use. I'm not just talking about its clear LCD display, but also its preset features to help novices - as well as more experienced cooks - get the very best out of their grilling.
It has built-in recommended temperatures provided by the USDA for a range of meats. Not only this, but for meats like beef it has a taste button feature that allows you to select your desired 'doneness', which means it will give you a target temperature from rare to well done.
This feature takes away a lot of the guesswork when it comes to steak, and I think a lot of people will love it.
All in all it's a superb bit of equipment, and that's why it's my number one.
Next on my list, and a close second, is probably perhaps the most modern grill thermometers available: The Ivation Wireless Dual Probe.
Read my full Ivation thermometer review here.
This great gear kit features two reader probes, with one for the grill itself and one for the meat. I love this because it means that you can get a check on your food's internal temperature, and also your grill's ambient cooking temperature.
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. It takes just seconds.
Its wireless capabilities enable you to get a good reading within a radius of up to a staggering 300 feet. If you do happen to stand outside of that area, it has 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 digital thermometer become a vital tool in enhancing your grilling experience.
Weber iGrill 3
Almost no grill equipment list would be complete without an entry from Weber.
This fantastic probe comes with a heavy duty bluetooth function that helps you maintain your grilling temperatures from a distance. All the while its four probes can all be used simultaneously to help you measure several cuts of meat at once along with the grill surface itself.
For anyone embracing the technology revolution, it has an accompanying iOS and Android app, helping you pair it with your phone. Through the app you can monitor temperatures and apply target settings, helping you get the very most out of your barbecue experience.
Its battery can last up to an amazing 200 hours, and is heat resistant up to a staggering 716°F. It has alarm features to alert you once your target temperatures have been reached.
GDEALER Instant Read
It's easy to look down on cheaper probes, but not all of them are poor quality. The GDealer Instant Read is surprisingly accurate despite its cheaper price point.
This affordable digital probe is compact and lightweight, and offers all the convenience you need. You can get a temperature reading in just a few seconds seconds for all kinds of meat.
It has a temperature range from -58 to 572 degrees fahrenheit, making it a perfect for barbecue, and it also works in liquids.
Its stainless steel tapered probe is easy to insert and durable enough to last you for years. When not in use, simply fold the probe into the unit and store.
It has a fantastic auto shut-off function that saves battery power, and it has a large LCD screen that makes using it really simple.
On the downside, it can't be immersed in water so it must be washed gently by hand. It also far less sturdy than its pricier counterparts.
Tenergy Solis Digital
This app-based gadget allows you to grill meat without having to monitor it every second. You get alerts on your phone while your food is on the BBQ, so you don't have to keep an eagle eye on it at all times.
Its wide temperature gauge of 32 to 572°F makes it extremely durable and able to provide good readings for pretty much any kind of barbecued meat. Its high end readings are also accurate enough to ensures solid cooking times every time you use it.
But the real star of the show is its app feature. It comes with 11 preset temperatures that allow you to preset a target heat level, and the unit will do pretty much the rest of the work. It'll alert you when your meat is grilled and ready to be served.
Its app-to-phone connectivity can be a bit unreliable at times, so you will have to ensure that you're within range, however if you're vaguely nearby then this shouldn't be too much of a problem.
ThermoPro TP17 Dual Probe
The best thing about this dual probe gear 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.
If you want a simple and easy-to-read instrument, 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 it 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. It's also very easy to install on your grill hood.
This analog cooking thermometer has a range of 150 to 700 degrees fahrenheit, 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.
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 its small size, 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.
CDN Quick Read
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?
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?
Getting an accurate temperature readout is important for food safety reasons, but it’s also vital if you prefer your different types of meat 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.
Grill Surface vs. 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 item 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.
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 probe, while a digital one will give you a precise numerical readout of the internal temperature.
Many analog models are 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 probe 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.
Wi-Fi vs. Bluetooth Thermometers
With the ever fast paced developments in the cooking world, BBQ has seen plenty of new innovations come to the fore. One of the most notable have been the emergence of wi-fi and bluetooth readers.
On the face of it, it might seem that wifi and bluetooth are essentially the same, but there are significant differences between the two.
While it is true that the two of them operate on the same 2.4 GHz frequency, they both differ wildly in the range they can operate at.
Bluetooth can connect wireless devices within a short range, whereas Wi-Fi can connect devices much further away, but only as long as they are on the same internet connection.
In theory this does mean that you can use your wi-fi connected handset anywhere in the home, but problems can arise if you have difficulty connecting your thermometer to the internet from your garden or patio.
How to improve the performance of your bluetooth thermometer
While bluetooth might only be able to function within a shorter signal span, there are actions you can take to enhance its efficiency.
The first and perhaps most obvious is to remove any obstacles between your reader and grill. One of bluetooth's biggest weaknesses is its inability to go around anything in its way.
Secondly, turn off any other bluetooth devices nearby.
Also, just like you would with any meat probe, keep it as clean as possible. Any buildup or dirt can severely impact performance and accuracy, which in turn can lead to burned or undercooked food. In the case of meat, this could even be dangerous.
The Final Word
The winner of the roundup is the ThermoPro TP17 Dual Probe. 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.