10 Best

Meat Thermometers

of September 2023

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A Guide to Purchasing a Meat Thermometer

Marcus Milord

What is a meat thermometer?

A meat thermometer or cooking thermometer measures the internal temperature of cooked meat, such as roasts and steaks. Consequently, the degree of "doneness" of meat or bread correlates closely with the internal temperature. Therefore, a meat thermometer reading indicates when the food is cooked to the desired temperature.

How should you choose a meat thermometer

We all know that eating overcooked food would make the meat unpalatable. And consuming undercooked meat may pose health risks. What if there is a gadget that can tell you if the meat is properly cooked? Meat thermometers are reliable and convenient, and they take about a few seconds to tell you the meat's temperature. But it is important to make the right choice when purchasing one. After going through thousands of meat thermometer reviews, we have compiled this guide to help you choose the best meat thermometer.

Types of Meat Thermometers

What are the different types of meat thermometer?

The following are the popular types of meat thermometers:

  • Thermocouples: This type can insert into meat to a depth of 1/4 inch. The very thin tip of this thermometer can easily penetrate thick or thin cuts of meat, and they offer the fastest response time (2-5 seconds) of all thermometer types. The only problem is that they can be pricey, and you can't leave them in the meat while it's being cooked.
  • Digital instant-read thermometers: Approximately ½  inches of this can be inserted into the meat. They have a relatively quick response time of about 10 seconds, and their prices are reasonable. Users can use this tool to check the internal temperature of food near the end of cooking. However, it is not designed to remain in food as it cooks. 
  • Dial thermometers: The device can insert into meat as far as 2 to 2 12 inches. These thermometers can be more difficult to read than instant-read thermometers, and they take one to two minutes to take a reading, but you can monitor doneness while cooking in the oven by leaving them in the meat. These thermometers work best for large cuts of meat and are affordable. You can use them to cook roasted meats, casseroles, or soups. 

What reviewers say

Why do I need to use a meat thermometer?

A meat thermometer offers the following benefits:

  • Prevents Under/Overcooking: For the meat to be completely cooked, a certain temperature is required. A poorly prepared meal can cause a variety of health problems, including food poisoning, while overcooked meat will taste dry and tough. However, with the help of a meat thermometer, you can cook your meat to the right temperature for it to remain juicy and tender.
  • Ease of Use: During cooking, users can easily measure the temperature and take notes so that the meat is prepared perfectly. Simply put the device into the meat as it is being cooked, and it will read the temperature instantly. Some models come with two probes, one for measuring the meat temperature and the other for measuring the grill temperature.
  • Temperature Accuracy: On some meat thermometer models, the numerical screen remains outside the oven during the cooking process. The screen displays temperature readings as the meat is being cooked. It is even possible to program oven meat thermometers so they show the current oven temperature, the existing temperature and remaining cooking time for specific foods. Such feature ensures that the right temperature is obtained for the perfect cooking process.

Important Features

What you should consider when choosing a meat thermometer

Before buying a meat thermometer, consider the following factors before you purchase one:

  • Decide on the type of meat thermometer you want to buy: Decide what type of thermometer you would prefer to opt for. While digital meat thermometers are comparatively more accurate than the analog ones, the digital ones are pricier than their analog counterpart.

  • Decide whether you prefer an instant thermometer over a leave-in one: If you prefer to test the meat at the end of the cooking time, opt for an instant thermometer. But if you want to monitor the state of the meat throughout, go for a leave-in type. This feature is available in both digital and analog versions.

  • Go for an audible alert: Look for a thermometer with an alarm feature, as this always helps in alerting you when the meat is properly cooked.

  • Opt for a programmable thermometer: Go for a thermometer with a programmable option, if you would like to just set the target temperature and monitor the cooking of meat.

  • Opt for a product that holds the reading: Choose a thermometer with the feature that holds the reading for a few minutes. This ensures that you need not rush to check the temperature.

  • Prefer a timer option: Go for a thermometer with a timer option, as this will allow you to time the cooking.

  • Check for an auto-shutoff option: Choose a thermometer with an auto-shutoff feature: This will automatically switch off the thermometer when it is not in use.

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