Cooking meat without keeping a close eye on its internal temperature can lead to disappointing—and in some cases, even dangerous—results. Leaving your beef tenderloin in the oven for too long can leave it dry and leather-like, while serving roast chicken before it’s cooked properly can make your guests ill. The exterior appearance of cooked meat can be very deceiving. Browned doesn’t mean cooked!
Meat thermometers can help you determine when meat has been cooked (or grilled) precisely according to your preference. These devices tend to be extremely accurate and quick to render a reading.
Many of the best meat thermometer options boast additional features and utility, such as the ability to be used with liquid or oil. Consider whether a multifunctional tool would be best for your cooking needs.
Meat thermometers also come in different lengths. A shorter probe is appropriate for thinner slices of meat cooked in a pan. Medium-length probes are best suitable for food cooked in the oven. Longer probes are great for grilling, as they allow for you to remain safely away from the heat of the cooking surface.
Meat thermometers also differ in their included safety features, so that’s something else to keep in mind as you navigate the available options.
Our Top Picks
Below, get all the details on our top favorites among the best meat thermometer options today!
Habor’s meat thermometer offers a longer probe than most thermometers at 4.7 inches. This is not a folding thermometer. Instead, it comes with a plastic sheath to protect the probe when not in use, so the thermometer can be safely placed in a utensil crock or hung on a rail. The tool’s temperature range runs from -58 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit, and it produces a readout in four to six seconds.
While the Habor is a meat thermometer, it can also be used for baking, yogurt-making, or even checking the temperature of baby bottles and bathwater. The large backlit readout makes checking the temperature quick and easy. The display then shuts off automatically after 10 minutes to preserve battery life.
While it takes a little longer than most instant-read thermometers, the Polder has one distinct advantage: its 10-inch long probe means that cooks standing in front of a hot, open barbecue don’t have to get their hands as close to the heat of the cooking surface.
The Polder contains preset USDA safe temperature guides for meat types and doneness preferences on its large, easy-read digital display. It provides temperature readings from 32 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit and can switch easily to Celsius.
The probe has an ergonomic design, as well as an integrated flashlight to help you find your way while grilling after dark. Ideal for the backyard barbecue but equally useful in the kitchen, the long reach of the Polder’s probe makes it worth waiting eight seconds for a readout.
This option from Lavatools has a clean, uncluttered interface that makes it extremely easy to operate. Featuring a 2.5-inch probe, this thermometer has a temperature range of -40 to 482 degrees Fahrenheit and is accurate to 0.9 degrees. It provides a temperature reading in just three to four seconds.
The screen of the Lavatools thermometer has an easy-to-read display and is splash-proof, so it won’t be damaged by an unexpected bit of grease. The Lavatools option is also quite versatile. Aside from checking meat temperature, it can be used in fryers and for baking and candy making.
It can be tough to keep track of your meat as it cooks, especially when preparing several dishes at once. Your turkey or beef roast could cook more quickly than you expect, and by the time you come back to check, it’s too late and your meat is overcooked. This digital meat thermometer provides remote monitoring technology to help avoid disappointments like these.
The probes are inserted into the meat and left inside the oven or grill. A small base unit sits outside the range of heat and transmits to a second control unit that’s portable. This control unit can be carried in a pocket or set on a table up to 300 feet away from the base. This unit will flash and beep to alert the cook when the desired temperature is near, and again when it is reached.
This folding-style thermometer doesn’t cost a lot, but it has a lot of features you’d expect to see on more expensive models. It has a temperature range of -58 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit and provides readings in two to three seconds.
The bright blue backlit display is easy to read from most angles and has an auto-off feature to preserve the life of the battery. An added bonus is that the entire thermometer is waterproof, so it resists splashes of grease or juice in the oven, and it can be washed under with soap and water.