We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

Written By
Published Dec 8, 2021 1:00 PM

Hunters wanting more out of their wild game eating experience need to pay attention to cooking temperatures. The secret to perfectly cooked meat is knowing when to take it off a heat source, and the tool for that is the best meat thermometer.

Meat thermometers provide exact internal temperatures, allowing for consistent results on the table. Professional chefs use them for a reason, and you can achieve similar results by utilizing one. A meat thermometer should always be close by, whether you like to grill, smoke, roast, or fry.

Models run from simple to elaborate. The basic dial thermometer will still get the job done, but newer models feature Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity that allow you to monitor your meal from a different room—or a different state. Which variety will help you improve your cooking? Read our guide and find the best meat thermometer for you.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Meat Thermometer

All meat thermometers accomplish basically the same task, but how they go about doing so varies widely. Here are a few considerations you need to keep in mind when selecting one for your home, chuck box, or deer camp.

Digital or Dial

Electronics are a part of life but leave you dependent on a power source. Batteries need to be charged or replaced, but a good old-fashioned temperature dial can be used anywhere, any time. Hunters that like to show off their culinary skills in camp may appreciate the simplicity of old-school thermometers that do not require a power source. But if you’re cooking at home, you might prefer the precise readouts of a digital thermometer. Both options are great, but for some, simple is better.

Monitor Without Opening

If you’re looking, it isn’t cooking. Fortunately, monitoring the temperature of meat while cooking no longer requires opening the barbecue to taking the lid off the Dutch oven. Modern thermometers can provide temperature readings to an external base or even a smartphone. Some even provide both internal temperature of the meat and the ambient temperature of the grill or oven. Being able to monitor and control the cooking temperature and your dinner leads to outstanding results.

Multitasking

Meat thermometers can be used with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to keep an eye on temperatures, even when you are away from home. Put a roast on the pellet grill, insert a smart meat thermometer and watch it with a smartphone app while you get things done around the house or run errands in town. Many Bluetooth models have a limited range, but those that can tie into a Wi-Fi network can be configured to work wherever you have cell phone coverage.

Friendly Reminders

Precision means cooking to the exact degree and never going higher. But, it is easy to get busy and forget to monitor the temperature of meat being cooked for dinner. Many modern meat thermometers have an alarm to notify you when the ideal internal temperature of your dinner has been reached. If you are busy or absent-minded, a meat thermometer with an alarm is your best option.

Best Wireless Meat Thermometer: Original MEATER | Smart Meat Thermometer

Best Wireless Meat Thermometer

Original MEATER | Smart Meat Thermometer MEATER

Original MEATER | Smart Meat Thermometer MEATER

Why It Made the Cut: The Original MEATER Smart Meat Thermometer is the best wireless meat thermometer because it can be used indoors and out in anything from your best smoker to an oven or grill. Bluetooth technology lets you monitor temps from up to 33 feet away so you can work on other tasks.

Key Features

  • 33-foot wireless range
  • Dual temperature sensors
  • Bluetooth compatible

Pros

  • Monitors both the internal temperature and ambient heat
  • Display temperature readings on smartphone or tablet
  • Dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Must be connected to a secondary device to use Wi-Fi connectivity

The Original MEATER Smart Meat Thermometer was designed to work with any cooking or grilling heat source. This unit can be used in the oven, with a rotisserie, on the grill, or in the smoker. It is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and comes with a storage box, so you always know where to find it.

The unit has two sensors to monitor the internal temperature of meat and the temperature of the cooking device. The thermometer will estimate a cook time based on the type of meat and count up to your desired temperature. You can set it for alerts based on temperature or time for total control.

If things are not cooking fast enough, you can alter the cooking temperature or reduce it to slow down the cooking process for best results. It also gives readings for ideal rest times, so it’s useful from when you’re ready to cook up until serving. The entire device is contained in a single probe which can safely function in temperatures up to 527°F.

The MEATER Cloud is used to sync information between the meat thermometer and a smartphone or tablet. You can even use a home assistant, like Alexa, to monitor the progress of your meal and provide updates. With a 33-foot wireless range, you can continue working on the rest of your meal while the meat cooks to an exact temperature.  With a second device (a tablet or second smartphone), you can share your cook and take your measurements anywhere. This requires using the free app and an iOS (10.3 and later) or Android (5.0 and later) smartphone or tablet.

Best Meat Thermometer for the Grill: ENZOO Wireless Meat Thermometer for Grilling

Best Meat Thermometer for the Grill

ENZOO Wireless Meat Thermometer for Grilling ENZOO

ENZOO Wireless Meat Thermometer for Grilling ENZOO

Why It Made the Cut: The ENZOO Wireless Meat Thermometer is ideal for keeping an eye on everything on the grill at once making it our pick for the best meat thermometer for the grill. Four probes let you monitor several pieces of meat simultaneously, ensuring every piece of meat is cooked to perfection.

Key Features

  • Four temperature probes
  • Digital display on sending and receiving units
  • 1 to 3 second response time and updates

Pros

  • Monitors multiple pieces of meat
  • 500-foot wireless range
  • Easy set up with transmitter and receiver

Cons

  • Wired probes

The ENZOO Wireless Meat Thermometer is perfect when grilling for a crowd, over charcoal or wood. The unit’s four probe connections and wireless transmitter make it easy to monitor the temperature of everyone’s steak, different meats on the same grill, or separate sections of a large cut. The portable receiver lets you keep an eye on things from up to 500 feet away.

The unit provides updates and alerts when meat is almost done and is programmable to cook to a desired temperature or USDA presets. These take the guesswork out of cooking the perfect steak, roast, sausage, or fowl. You can set for rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, or well done.

A large digital display on the transmitting and receiving units are easy to read, with backlit numbers that ensure you can see all four probe temperatures under any lighting conditions. The stainless steel probes come with a 43-inch wire designed for long-term use and high heat. The unit can be set to beep and flash when meat is getting close to being done, so you can stay busy in the yard or house and get notified when it is time to bring dinner to the table.

Best Instant Read Thermometer: BREEKET 2-in-1 Instant Read Meat Thermometer

Best Instant Read Thermometer

BREEKET 2-in-1 Instant Read Meat Thermometer BREEKET

BREEKET 2-in-1 Instant Read Meat Thermometer BREEKET

Why It Made the Cut: As the best instant read thermometer the BREEKET 2-in-1 Instant Read Meat Thermometer provides precise digital readings instantly. It is an all-purpose thermometer that covers all your cooking and baking needs, complete with an external probe for constant readings.

Key Features

  • Instant readings
  • Built-in and external probes
  • Folds for easy storage

Pros

  • Instant readings in any food item
  • Constant monitoring utilizing external probe
  • Large, backlit digital display for easy reading

Cons

  • No storage case included
  • Not dishwasher safe

The BREEKET 2-in-1 Instant Read Meat Thermometer can provide instant readings or constant monitoring while grilling, baking, or even deep-frying. The built-in probe rotates 180° for quick readings but stows for safety. An external probe with a 42-inch wire can be plugged into the thermometer for constant temperature readings. The unit can be programmed to alert to specific temperatures when using the external probe. An alarm will remind the cook or grill master by flashing when the correct temperature is achieved. The thermometer has a built-in magnet to attach to an appliance when using the external probe. The unit goes to sleep after 10 minutes of inactivity to save power but does not forget to monitor temperature or provide alerts. Though it is waterproof and cleans up easily with soap and water, it should not be put in the dishwasher or submerged in water.

Best Meat Thermometer for Smoking: MeatStick X Set Wireless Meat Thermometer

Best Meat Thermometer for Smoking

MeatStick X Set Wireless Meat Thermometer MeatStick

MeatStick X Set Wireless Meat Thermometer MeatStick

Why It Made the Cut: The MeatStick X Set Wireless Meat Thermometer is the best meat thermometer for smoking. The slim probe has a built-in transmitter, letting you monitor the temperature of your favorite charcuterie without losing any heat.

Key Features

  • 260-foot range
  • Dual temperature sensors
  • Stainless steel construction

Pros

  • High and low temperature alerts
  • Monitors both the internal temperature and ambient heat
  • Dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Requires a separate device and an app

The MeatStick X Set Wireless Meat Thermometer is small but accurate. The wireless probe can be inserted into any cut of meat and left to continuously monitor temperatures. The dual sensors contained in the slim probe take readings of both internal meat temperatures and inside the smoker, grill, or any other heat source that doesn’t exceed 572 degrees. This allows for precise temperature control for custom smoking. It takes the guesswork out of tough-to-cook items like game meats or brisket that require precise smoking and temperature changes for the perfect final product. Additionally, the MeatStick can be submerged in water, making it ideal for sous vide and deep fryer jobs.

Though it requires the use of a separate iOS or Android device, the multi-functional app allows you to monitor temperatures on your smartphone or tablet in real-time via Bluetooth. The app includes built-in cook presets for all types of meat, poultry, and fish and walks you through the setup process. You can set alarms for when meat is done, as well as high and low temperature alerts. The unit comes with an Xtender that increases the range to 260ft outdoors (about 100 feet inside). Just turn it on, and it is good to go with no setup or pairing required. The dishwasher safe unit requires two AA batteries.

Best Budget Meat Thermometer: Rubbermaid Food/Meat Instant Read Thermometer

Best Budget Meat Thermometer

Rubbermaid Food/Meat Instant Read Thermometer Rubbermaid Commercial Products

Rubbermaid Food/Meat Instant Read Thermometer Rubbermaid Commercial Products

Why It Made the Cut: Rubbermaid’s Instant Read Thermometer delivers simplicity and accuracy in an extremely affordable device. The dishwasher-safe mechanical thermometer requires no batteries and provides near-instant temperature readings.

Key Features

  • Mechanical movement
  • Near-instant readings
  • Stainless steel construction

Pros

  • Very inexpensive
  • Requires no batteries
  • Dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Can only handle temperatures up to 220 degrees Fahrenheit

Sometimes in life, it’s the simple things that are best. As the best budget meat thermometer, the Rubbermaid’s Instant Read Thermometer is an example of simplicity in action. This affordable thermometer requires no batteries, apps, or added equipment to deliver precise readings. Despite the mechanical nature, this thermometer delivers near-instant readings up to 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Just stick it in whatever meat, fish, or fowl you’re cooking and get an accurate reading in seconds.

The simplistic design leaves little to go wrong. Stainless steel construction and a shatterproof lens make this thermometer highly durable, and it can handle the rigors of being transported in a chuck box. A protective sheath with a pocket clip prevents unintended punctures when not in use, and helps protect food from contamination. And perhaps best of all, it is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

Methodology

Meat thermometers need to be precise and easy to use. There is a wide range of options, so knowing your intended uses will ensure you get the right thermometer for all your needs. Food safety is always a concern, so watch for food-grade materials that are easy to clean and/or dishwasher safe. Features like preprogrammed settings for different meats and doneness take the guesswork out of cooking the perfect steak.

·  Ease of use: A thermometer that provides an instant reading is quick and reliable. If you are not tech-savvy it might be best to avoid apps and wireless connections. However, those that embrace new technology can find some great new tools to improve their culinary expertise.

·  Durability and cleaning: Stainless steel probes are durable and easy to clean. Wires on external probes can get crimped or bent and stop working correctly. Make sure you can purchase replacement wires and probes when considering a meat thermometer. Barbecue and smoker lids can reduce the life of wires.

·  Overall cost: There is a wide range of prices between digital and dial thermometers. Straightforward units are inexpensive. Adding Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatibilities will increase the price. But the convenience of constant monitoring while you’re able to work on other things could certainly be worth the price. Time is money, and not opening the lid and letting out heat should result in better meals. 

FAQs

Q: Is a meat thermometer worth it?

Instead of asking yourself if a meat thermometer is worth it, ask if you enjoy eating overcooked meat? Or if you would enjoy getting sick from some a steak that was few degrees from fully cooked? A meat thermometer not only helps you get game or other meat to your desired level of doneness, but it also helps prevent food-borne illness.

Q: Are digital meat thermometers accurate?

Digital meat thermometers are generally very accurate. The earliest models weren’t the most reliable, but today’s crop can be counted on to deliver precise readings. As long as you purchase a digital thermometer from a reputable manufacturer, like the ones listed here, you can count on them.

Q: How much should I spend on a meat thermometer?

You don’t have to spend a mint on meat thermometer to find a reliable model. While wireless makes with a lot of bells and whistles can get costly, basic models can be had for a few dollars. Consider it cheap insurance against a bad meal. If you want the added convenience of monitoring your cooking from a distance, expect to pay a little more.

Q: What kind of meat thermometer can stay in the oven?

Meat thermometers that can withstand temperatures up to, or over, 500 degrees are generally safe for use in an oven. Some wireless models are up to the task, as are many with wired probes. Just be sure the wires are long enough to reach out of the oven. The standard, dial-type thermometers are usually up to the task. Whichever you choose, be sure to verify that it can handle high temps.

Final Thoughts on Meat Thermometers

Don’t be afraid to utilize multiple meat thermometers, as the precision they provide makes every meal better. Hunters who like remote camps should choose simple models that don’t require power or batteries. That simplicity is good around the house too, as you’ll never have to worry about batteries failing partway through grilling. Instant-read thermometers are great tools for most home chefs, but it’s hard to beat the convenience that wireless models provide.