Updated: June 8, 2015

Meat Thermometer Reviews:

Meat thermometers used to be a product that only the die hard chefs would have in their kitchens, but with the rise of E. coli and salmonella many cooks at home have started using these devices. The leave in thermometers are great for oven use when you need to heat meats up to a certain temperature and keep them there for a specific period of time. Just put the probe into the cut of meat and let it sit while the readout monitor gives you details on temperatures. Many of the thermometers also come with built in timers to help you with the process. The instand read thermometers are perfect for outdoor BBQ's when you need to know that the hamburger or chicken has been cooked to a certain temperature throughout. It's not always easy cooking sausages, ribs, burgers, and hot dogs on the same grill and getting them cooked to the exact temperature required for safe eating. The majority of these meat and kitchen thermometers are only about $15 to $30 but some of the more expensive models can reach up to $90 or above. Accuracy is the feature that should be important and then response time. Ratings on meat thermometers vary by source so we tried to break down the findings and come up with some clear cut winners.
meat thermometer

Buying Guide - We tried to find the most relevant reviews in magazines and online for meat thermometer testing and surveys. The most recent article was in Consumer Reports and it was comprehensive with 11 different meat thermometers being tested in their labs. They tested both leave in and instant read thermometers with and found clear winners in each category. However, when we went online to see what owners have to say about their picks on Amazon.com, we found contradictory comments. Polder and Taylor are definitely 2 of the more well known meat thermometer brands, but other ones like AcuRite, ThermoWorks, and Maverick were also given high marks for their respective products. Cook's Illustrated Magazine did a similar test with 9 instant read thermometers and they rated all of them based on readability, response time, accuracy, design/features, and temperature range. They too came up with a 'best thermometer' award and several "best buys". When you are looking to purchase a meat thermometer you should consider things like readability - most of the newer digital meat thermometers have easy to read LCD display screens. For accuracy, the CR article mentioned that the best meat thermometers are only off by 1 degree or less and the lower rated models were often off by more than 4 degrees. Temperature range is key if you plan on working with freezing foods all the way up to those in a deep fryer which require temperatures from 0 degrees up to 450. Response time varies from under 10 seconds to over 30 seconds in some instances. Leave in thermometers don't need a particularly fast response time since they will be in the meat and can adjust accordlingly, but the instant read thermometers need a quick response time.

The Taylor Weekend Warrior 806 had the best response time in the CR article as well as the best range of temperatures. The response time on the Super Fast Thermapen was 5 seconds which is very fast compared to the others. You will pay a premium though for the Thermapen ($89.99) compared to the much cheaper $16 Taylor meat thermometer (Weekend Warrior). If you are a weekend BBQ type of guy, then you want a meat thermometer that is easy to read and works quickly. The Weekend Warrior is a great pick along with the RediFork Pro LCD Matrix and the Taylor Professional Digital Fork Thermometer. All are under $20 and receive average to good reviews from consumers. The leave in thermometers have a probe that gets placed into the meat (chicken, beef, pork) and the wire leading from the probe leads back to a monitored unit with a good sized LCD display for easy reading. Some have magnets that let you place the unit on the front of your oven or on a countertop near it. The Polder THM-360 Dual Probe Cooking Thermometer ($30) has two heat resistant silicon coated probes so you can keep track of two items at once which works great during those busy holiday parties when you are cooking turkey, roasts, and tenderloins, and more. The Polder received top billing from Consumer Reports but the owner reviews on Amazon show a different story with several consumers noting that the probes stopped working altogether. The ThermoWorks The Original Cooking Thermometer/Timer ($20) receives great reviews online as well as in magazines for being a basic cooking thermometer with a digital readout that is accurate. I'm not sure why Consumer Reports didn't include the ThermoWorks products in their studies, but hopefully in the future they will throw them in as well in the test group. Cooking.com has some great reviews on their website too for all the top rated meat thermometers. In online cooking forums we found mixed reviews on the meat thermometers that come with remotes. Even Consumer Reports noted that the Weber wireless probe was less than average in it's performance. We saw another review online for a similar product on Brookstone.com called the Grill Alert Talking Remote Meat Thermometer ($75) and it received high praise from users. View the list of best-selling meat thermometers here.

Best Leave-in Thermometer:

We found that the ratings for leave-in meat thermometers are all across the board. Some surveys found one to be the best while that same product scored well in other articles. Two leave in thermometers with the most consistent scores were the Acu-Rite 00648 Digital Cooking and Meat Thermometer/Timer and Compact Meat Thermometer and Timer from Bonjour ($24.95). The Bonjour is a top rated leave-in thermometer on Cooking.com and we take their customer feedback as being more relevant than other sites since these folks are cooks and want the best products. The Acu-Rite 00648 was a "recommended" buy from CR at only $20 and tested well for response time and temperature range. The Bonjour leave in thermometer does a great job of measuring the interior temperature of poultry and meat. The Bonjour lets you select things like meat type and doneness levels. Other features on this device include a memory function, a 99 minute timer, a magnetized backing so it can attach to the outside of your oven door, and a 3 foot cord that will stretch inside of the oven with ease. Cleaning the probe is easy and the Bonjour comes pre-programmed with lots of cooking temperatures so you have intant access to that kind of information. Owners say the Bonjour digital meat thermometer is "accurate" and "easy to use". The Acu-Rite 648 is a digital cooking thermometer that we found online at Giftngadget.com. Owners say they like manual which states what the USDA recommends for internal temperatures on items like lamb, poultry, veal, ground beef, beef, and pork. It's easy to use and was "really accurate" per one owner. It will work in smokers, ovens, deep fryers, and barbeque grills.

Instant Read Meat Thermometer:

We came up with 3 picks for this category since the prices were all over the place for similar results. The top rated Taylor Weekend Warrior ($13) is not only inexpensive, but it gets great ratings from owners. The Taylor meat thermometer gives you accurate temperature readings in just a few seconds on the digital LCD display screen. Some people prefer the Taylor #807 Taylor Weekend Warrior Digital Fork Thermometer which sells for the same price and is just as accurate and easy to use. The CDN Proaccurate Stainless Digital Thermometer ($15) is priced to sell too and provides an accurate digital thermometer which is great for backyard grilling. Features shatterproof housing, a data hold function, and an auto-off after ten minutes features. It's safe to use in the dishwasher and can read temperatures between -40 and 350 degrees fahrenheit. Comments like "great cooking thermometer" and "best digital meat thermometer" are what we found in online reviews. As for the top of the line product in this category, go with the Super-Fast Thermapen ($90) and you won't be disappointed. You can find all the details on line - be sure to see all the awards this product has received over the years as the most accurate and fastest response time meat thermometer on the market. The temperature range goes from -58 to 572 degrees fahrenheit. Although the price is more than the others listed here, many owners say they can "trust" the Thermapen meat thermometer more than the others. It is available on Amazon.com and other cooking related websites.

Top Rated Remote Meat Thermometer:

Say you are grilling some food on the barbeque and want to come inside to watch the game for a few minutes while the food is cooking on the grill. Instead of having to go and check the temperature on the meats, you can get the Grill Alert Talking Remote Meat Thermometer which allows you to be inside and still get information from the meat thermometer that is outside. The product can be found on Brookstone.com and reviews are more than positive on this unit. We did read some owners comments that mention the 300 foot remote accuracy is not always right. They did like the display backlight which came in handy when grilling at night in the dark. The voice alert on the wireless remote will say things like "almost ready" and "ready" so you never have to check the meat again. Most owners agree it's consistent, easy to clean, and saves you time having to go back and forth from the BBQ to the house.