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The Best Food Thermometer

Last updated on October 11, 2019

We looked at the top 10 Food Thermometers and dug through the reviews from 100 of the most popular review sites including Industry Ears, Tech Zimo, Best Reviews Guide, Fire Food Chef, Willamette Week, BBQ Forge and more. The result is a ranking of the best Food Thermometers.

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Our Picks For The Top Food Thermometers

Show Contents
Our Take
  Best for Quick Temps

Etekcity

Lasergrip Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer

Overall Take

Fastest ReadoutSince it uses lasers, this Etekcity Lasergrip Digital Infrared Thermometer can give you a temperature within 500 milliseconds of pressing the trigger.

  Best for Budget-Conscious Shoppers

ThermoPro

TP-16 LCD Digital Thermometer

Overall Take

Best for Budget-Conscious ShoppersThose who want the latest features without spending too much will love this thermometer.

  Best for Easy Use

Habor

Instant Read Meat Thermometer

Overall Take

Simple but EffectiveThis Habor Instant Read Meat Thermometer features a basic design but plenty of features, including fast readings.

  Best for Large Meats

ThermoPro

TP20 Wireless Digital Thermometer

Overall Take

Lots of FeaturesIf you're roasting a turkey or smoking a chicken or pork roast, this ThermoPro TP20 thermometer will be handy, as you can take the receiver with you.

Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, Simplemost analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the food thermometers available to purchase.
10

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

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100

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources.

125,065

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart and 4 others.

The Best Overall

Etekcity Lasergrip Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer

Our Expert Score
10.0
12 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.0
7,173 user reviews
Our Take

The Etekcity Lasergrip Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer is a unique thermometer in that it uses lasers to test food temperature. You'll simply point the thermometer at the item once you're in a close range, then check the readout. Within 500 milliseconds of pressing the trigger, you'll have a temperature, making it far quicker than other food thermometers.


The Best Bang For Your Buck

Habor Instant Read Meat Thermometer

Expert Summarized Score
10.0
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.6
3,232 user reviews
Our Take

The Habor Instant Read Meat Thermometer has a simple, but very user-friendly design. Simply insert the probe and wait for the readout, which is almost instant. The 4.7-inch probe means you can use it for everything from steaks and burgers to whole turkeys and roasts.

Our Findings

Etekcity Lasergrip Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer

What We Liked: The Etekcity Lasergrip Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer is a unique thermometer in that it uses lasers to test food temperature. You’ll simply point the thermometer at the item once you’re in a close range, then check the readout. Within 500 milliseconds of pressing the trigger, you’ll have a temperature, making it far quicker than other food thermometers.

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ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Digital Thermometer

What We Liked: The ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Digital Thermometer is ideal for items that cook in the oven or on a grill or smoker. You’ll simply insert the probe and take the receiver with you, where you can monitor your food from a short distance while it cooks. The presets are among the best features of this thermometer, as they let you choose from five USDA-recommended doneness levels for nine different meats.

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Habor Instant Read Meat Thermometer

What We Liked: The Habor Instant Read Meat Thermometer has a simple, but very user-friendly design. Simply insert the probe and wait for the readout, which is almost instant. The 4.7-inch probe means you can use it for everything from steaks and burgers to whole turkeys and roasts.

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ThermoPro TP-16 LCD Digital Thermometer

What We Liked: If you want to save money without sacrificing quality, the ThermoPro TP-16 LCD Digital Thermometer is a great option. You’ll get preset recommendations and the option of a countdown or reverse countdown. The step-down tip design also means you’ll get a reading soon after inserting the probe into your food.

Our Expert Consultant

Colleen Janke
Owner of Savory Kitchen, a cooking school and culinary events space

Colleen Janke is the owner of Savory Kitchen, a cooking school and culinary events space located in San Jose, California. Savory Kitchen offers cooking classes from kitchen basics like knife skills and baking to advanced classes that focus on regional specialty dishes. A trained sommelier, Colleen also loves finding local wines to incorporate into her cooking classes and instructing students on making divine food and wine pairings.

Outside of her business, Colleen loves spending almost all of her free time in her home kitchen, cooking and baking with her three children and her husband.

Our Food Thermometer Buying Guide

If you routinely cook meats, a food thermometer is a must-have kitchen item. You can test the doneness of everything from steaks to whole turkeys without having to cut into them. But if you haven’t shopped for a food thermometer lately, you may not realize how much they’ve evolved from their earliest days.

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Before you start shopping, consider whether you want a probe-based thermometer or one of the newer types that works using infrared laser technology. With the latter, you’ll simply point and click to determine doneness. If you opt for a probe type, consider the kinds of food you’ll be cooking. For cooking large meats in your oven or smoker, you’ll need a probe long enough to reach all the way into the center of something, like a chicken or pork roast.

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“If you’re a novice cook, an instant-read thermometer is the way to go,” says Colleen Janke. She’s our resident culinary expert and the owner of Savory Kitchen, a cooking school in San Jose, California. “With other thermometers, you’ll remove the probe too quickly to get an accurate reading. An instant read will prevent that from happening.”

Newer thermometers also come with food presets, which means no more looking up what temperature your meat needs to be to reach a safe level of doneness. For grilling and smoking, you may also want to consider a type of thermometer that attaches to your grill and communicates with a receiver that you can take around the house with you.

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Accuracy is probably one of the most important factors in a meat thermometer. If you’re using a laser-based thermometer, you’ll probably need to be fairly close to the food to get the most accurate reading. Some probe-based thermometers now come with two probes that you can use as verification for the temperature you’re seeing.

If you’re using a food probe, you’ll need to wash it after each use to avoid contamination the next time you use it to test. This can be tricky, though.

“Don’t put your thermometer through the dishwasher!” says Janke. “For cleaning, always use hot, soapy water and let it air-dry.”

Thermometers with extra features like digital readers or receivers need additional care. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine exactly what you’ll need to do to clean your thermometer between uses.

Simplemost Fun Fact

If you don’t have a meat thermometer on hand — or the batteries on yours run out — you could always go by how a steak feels when you touch it. Professional chefs learn the exact level of sponginess based on the cut of meat. One easy way to do this yourself is to use the face test, which involves comparing the resistance you get when you press on the meat to how different areas of your face feel. The resistance of a medium-well steak compares to pressing on your forehead, while medium feels more like your chin. A medium-rare steak will compare to pressing on your cheeks — soft and with little resistance.

The Food Thermometer Tips and Advice

  • Historically, food thermometers have operated by inserting a probe into the item being cooked. You can then check the temperature based on what the probe finds. However, a newer type of thermometer has emerged that uses infrared laser technology to test the meat merely by aiming it at the item being cooked. These point-and-shoot models eliminate messy probes.
  • Among digital thermometers, some models stand out for their receiver setup. The receiver communicates with a device you clamp onto your grill or smoker. You then stick the two probes into the meat and step away. They can have a reach of several hundred feet, so you can keep an eye on your food from a safe distance.
  • Preset recommendations can be a big help. Some thermometers come with preset programs for five USDA-approved doneness levels for nine different meats. Others come with recommended cooking levels for beef, veal, pork, poultry and fish.
  • Timers are an essential part of a food thermometer. Look for a thermometer with both a countdown and reverse-countdown feature, allowing you to either monitor how long your food has been cooking or insert a specific time. The reverse-countdown feature is especially ideal for those with smokers who need to slow cook a large piece of meat.
  • When using a probe-based thermometer, pay close attention to the length of the probe if you routinely cook big items like ham, turkey or pork shoulders. Any probe that’s more than 4.5 inches is considered very long.
  • When it comes to accuracy, laser infrared thermometers boast the closest accuracy ranges. However, as you move further away, the laser can lose that accuracy.
  • Food thermometers are typically battery-powered, so make sure you have the right batteries in stock if they aren’t included. Some models shut off automatically when not in use to save battery power. They may also come with a low-battery indicator to ensure you aren’t stranded without extra batteries when you’re ready to start cooking.
  • If you’ve ever waited for a food thermometer to give you a reading, you know it can be frustrating. Some laser thermometers can give you results within 500 milliseconds of pulling the trigger. Thermometers that use something called a step-down tip give almost instant readings.
  • Thermometers that stay attached to your grill need to have a higher heat tolerance than those you only use when it’s time to test doneness. Make sure the wires and probe on any digital thermometer can withstand your grill’s heat when it’s clamped on during the cooking process.

About The Author

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Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and professional writer. She's also a foodie who loves trying out new cooking techniques and tools. She is addicted to meal preparation kits and regularly shares photos on social media of her creations. Her favorite thing about traveling is trying out new restaurants and tasting different cuisines.