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The 5 best meat thermometers (including the smartest): Get grilling

What is the best meat thermometer? The Thermoworks Thermapen One is ZDNet's top choice because of its value, performance, and accuracy. We researched and compared today's top meat thermometers, including features, readings, and price, to determine our No. 1 pick and several other honorable mentions.
Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on

Grilling can be hard work. 

Even for the experienced grill master, it can be a wild guess when trying to determine just how well done your meats and veggies are at any moment. 

That is where we come in. We have exhaustively studied today's market to find the very best meat thermometer worthy of your kitchen and grill. 

These are the best meat thermometers you can buy today.

Specs

  • Response time: 1 second
  • Water resistance: IP67
  • Warranty: 5 years

The Thermoworks Thermapen ONE is aptly named because it only takes just a second to receive your reading. There are no costly delays that can sacrifice quality; instead, there are immediate results to keep the guessing to a minimum. Accuracy is a priority, too, with an improved accuracy spec of ± 0.5°F (± 0.3°C). 

It is easy to read with an automatic backlight that automatically adjusts to the lighting conditions around you, plus extra features to make taking your temperature easier than before. In addition to an auto-rotating display, there are two modes - motion-sensing sleep and wake mode to adjust to your activity. With a waterproof rating of IP67, the unit also features a new and improved battery compartment with a waterproof case to keep your thermometer safe. 

The Thermoworks Thermapen ONE comes with a five-year warranty to protect your purchase. 

Pros: 

  • Super fast
  • Highly accurate
  • IP67 waterproof

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Cannot leave in during cooking

Specs 

  • Response time: 1-3 seconds
  • Water resistance: IP65
  • Warranty: 3 years

The LavaTools Javelin Pro Duo Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer is a more affordable option with a battery-powered design that is easy to store. It is not as fast as the Thermoworks Thermapen ONE, but it does respond as quickly as three seconds with an accuracy of ±0.9° or better. 

The NSF-certified design features an oversized two-inch backlit display with a read-out hold function and 365-degree rotating viewing. It is just IP65 for a splash-resistant design, but where it really shines is its battery. This device can last more than 4,000 hours on a single charge, giving you plenty of use before you have to worry about returning it to a charge.  

A three-year limited warranty comes with the LavaTools Javelin Pro Duo Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer. 

Pros:

  • Extremely accurate
  • Quick results
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Larger than other units
  • Splash-proof only

Specs

  • Maximum temperature: 527°F/275°C
  • Water resistance: None

The MEATER Plus incorporates smart technology into its design. Designed to work with your grill, smoker, or kitchen, it eliminates the need for wires and instead opts for a wireless design that gives greater convenience and ease. It uses a built-in repeater that uses Bluetooth to allow for an extended wireless range of up to 165 feet. There are dual temperature sensors that include two different sensors, plus a probe, to measure your food. 

The exclusive Guided Cook System helps you throughout cooking, walking you through each step so you do not risk overcooking or undercooking your meal. There is also an Advanced Estimator Algorithm that helps you predict when your meal will be complete. Just use the Connectivity Suite to connect via Bluetooth, and you are on your way.

Pros:

  • Bluetooth capability
  • USB port
  • Large battery

Cons:

  • Maximum temperature applies
  • It does not work with foil

Specs

  • Accuracy: ±1°F
  • Water resistance: IP65

One of the best features of the ThermoWorks ChefAlarm is its oversized display. It makes it fantastic for quick reference while skipping the need for a magnifying glass. It has a splash-proof design with an IP65 rating, using Pro-Series® temperature probes for cooking up to 700°F maximum temperatures. You can choose how involved you want to be in the cooking process with both high and low alarms. 

A high alarm lets you know when the food has reached your chosen temperature, or you can get started early with the low alarm that monitors cooler dishes. Either way, the timer is adjustable up to 92dB, so you do not risk missing the sound of the timer while you are doing other things.

Pros:

  • Simple to use
  • Adjustable alarms
  • Durable build

Cons:

  • Only splash-proof
  • Limited retailers

Specs

  • Accuracy: ±2°F (1°C)
  • Response time: 3-4 seconds
  • Water resistance: IP66

When you are on a budget, the Thermoworks ThermoPop is a fantastic pick for the best budget meat thermometer. It has a splash-proof design, thanks to an IP66 rating, plus you receive your reading in three to four seconds so that you can move fairly quickly. Results are impressive, too, with accuracy falling within ±2°F (1°C). 

There is ambidextrous use with an oversized display that rotates in 90-degree intervals, so no matter how you hold it, you can see the right side or upside down. For added clarity, there is an incorporated backlight. The temperature range stops at 572°F or 300°C. It operates based on a lithium battery, which comes included and offers up to 5,000 hours of use before needing a charge. 

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable
  • Rotating display
  • Ambidextrous use 

Cons:

  • Longer response time
  • Only splashproof

What is the best meat thermometer?

The Thermoworks Thermapen One might be a little pricey, but when you have a little more to spend, this is the best meat thermometer for your home grill. The response time of just one second is fantastic, as is the full IP67 rating. 

When you are looking for the best meat thermometer, this is our top pick.

Best meat thermometer

Cost

Response time

Waterproof rating

Thermoworks Thermapen ONE

$105.00

Up to 1 second

IP67

LavaTools Javelin Pro Duo Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer

$54.99

Up to 3 seconds

IP65

MEATER Plus

$99.95

N/A

None

ThermoWorks ChefAlarm

$65.00

Up to 4 seconds

IP66

Thermoworks ThermoPop

$21.00

Up to 4 seconds

IP66

Which is the right meat thermometer for you?

To best understand which is the best meat thermometer for your needs, consider our expert suggestions for both novice and experienced users.

Choose this best meat thermometer...

When you...

Thermoworks Thermapen ONE

Have a little more to spend

LavaTools Javelin Pro Duo Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer

Are looking for an affordable splash-proof option

MEATER Plus

Do not need protection from waterproofing

ThermoWorks ChefAlarm

Have a little more time to wait

Thermoworks ThermoPop

Are on a strict budget

How did we choose the best meat thermometers?

There are several different factors to consider when shopping for the best meat thermometers. These are some considerations before you buy.

  • Accuracy: A meat thermometer's accuracy matters so you can be sure not to overcook or undercook your food.  
  • Speed: Meat thermometers can take different times to measure food, so we look to see how quickly a meat thermometer can provide a reading. 
  • Display: It is important to look at whether a display will be convenient for your use. For example, look to see if there is a backlight and whether the view is able to rotate. 
  • Ease of use: Whether you are a novice or an experienced user, we consider ease of use to ensure that it is not too complicated or drawn-out when you need a quick reading.
  • Cost: Budget is important, too, so we compare pricing between meat thermometers to find options that meet a variety of budgets.

 

How much does a meat thermometer cost?

A meat thermometer can vary wildly in cost, as seen here. Our picks for the best meat thermometer vary from $21 to over $100, depending on the model you choose. 

What response time should a meat thermometer have?

A meat thermometer's response time can vary from a near instant reading in just a second to more than a few seconds if you choose a lower model.  

Are there alternative meat thermometers worth considering?

While searching for the best meat thermometer, we found several other options that may do the trick. These are some of the alternative meat thermometers we considered for our list. 

While searching for the best thermometers, we encourage you to also check out our lists for the best gas grills, best BBQ tools, and the best charcoal grills!

Editorial standards

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