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Jun 13, 2023

The 6 Best Wireless Meat Thermometers of 2023, Tested

We considered everything from accuracy to app use.

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Food & Wine / Will Dickey

During my tenure in restaurant kitchens, I spent countless tedious, sleepless hours watching over smoking, grilling, or slow-roasting projects. As a civilian, I now bemoan even the thought of monitoring a temperature for hours. Thankfully, wireless meat thermometers offer some freedom from the tyranny of these cookers, allowing you to walk away, take on other tasks, or maybe nap during an all-night cook.

Before the popularity of wireless thermometers, checking in on your long-cooking food required opening your cooker to check your progress (or lack of it) with a probe thermometer. Opening slows your cook time by releasing much-needed heat, and a wireless grill thermometer can help alleviate that. These thermometers provide a clear picture of what’s happening inside the cooker in terms of both the food temperature and the ambient temperature. Slipping into the barbecue vernacular, repeat after me: looking ain’t cooking.

We should explain that not all wireless meat thermometers are free of wires. These thermometers use probes that communicate with a base unit that isn’t attached to the grill or oven. That unit can communicate with a remote unit or an app that allows you to monitor your cook without standing over the base unit. We took 13 top-selling models to our testing lab, considering factors like accuracy and wireless range to find the very best.

ThermoWorks

It’s highly accurate, and the remote maintained a connection well over distances.

There was a slight learning curve to adapt to the control panel shorthand, and the remote alarm could be louder.

The Smoke is a two-piece model with a wired base with two probes and a wireless remote receiver. The programming is done via the base unit, which has historical min/max temperature tracking and high/low-temperature alarms for monitoring your pit. The remote maintained connectivity to a distance of 350 feet in a wooded area, which made its wireless range one of the best. The alarms at the base unit range from 80-89 decibels, while the remote has one standard setting at 70 decibels. The Smoke is incredibly accurate, with less than half a degree variance in our fixed-temperature testing.

Price at time of publish: $69

Amazon

We found the app easy and intuitive to navigate, and the lack of wires makes it more useful in tasks like rotisserie cooking.

There was a little more temperature variation than others, and we’d like to see its Bluetooth connectivity improved during indoor use.

The TempSpike is an entirely wireless meat thermometer system with app-based controls. The sensor probe connects to a base unit, which then connects to a phone app, all via Bluetooth. We liked the app for its large display that feeds the current, target, and ambient temperatures, plus a graphing feature that displays the heat profile over the length of the cook. The alarm notifications work three ways: clear sound at 84 decibels and vibration and push notifications. The Bluetooth connection was lacking when we used it indoors, dropping the signal at about 30 feet when encountering walls and doors. Otherwise, it maintained it reasonably well outdoors. In these scenarios, the app alerted us when the signal dropped or reconnected.

Price at time of publish: $80

Amazon

We found the TP25 accurate and intuitive to use, as was the app.

The Bluetooth connectivity could be better indoors. Some may prefer a thermometer that relies less on an app.

The TP25 has four probes that let you monitor multiple ranges, either food monitoring or dual pit monitoring, using the included probe clips. We noted no more than two degrees of variation when testing for accuracy, which makes this model average. The base unit display shows readings from all four sensors but little else. It took some time for us to figure out how to set custom target temperatures on the app, as it’s designed to work with presets. Once we did this, we found the app user-friendly. The app gives more versatility and information, including a heat graph for each probe to view the entire cooking process. Its Bluetooth range was acceptable outdoors, but it dropped indoors when facing walls and doors.

Price at time of publish: $60

Amazon

This is a great thermometer set for someone who likes to combine grilling and gadgets.

The app dependency renders it unusable should you not have a phone handy.

The MEATER is another completely wireless meat thermometer that’s part functional, part statement piece, thanks to its minimalist probe design and stylish wood base unit. It ranked near the top of our tests for temperature accuracy and connection range. MEATER recommends keeping the receiver within 5 feet of the probes, though the connection didn’t drop until we moved the receiver about 100 feet outdoors and 30 feet indoors, as the app sounded and sent a push notification. The receiver itself doesn’t use sounds, so hearing the alarms depends on your phone’s volume.

The MEATER also has strong gadget appeal. Each probe monitors the internal temperature of your food and the ambient temperature of your grill or pit at the same time. The probes connect to the base unit via Bluetooth, which then connects to the app via WiFi or Bluetooth. The app stood out to us for its clean interface and many features, which include presets, target temperatures, and estimated time remaining. That said, a few of its features seemed unnecessary to us.

Price at time of publish: $240

Amazon

It’s very accurate and easy to use.

While it can handle six probes, it only comes with two.

The NutriChef is a good starter or value thermometer. It does its job well (accuracy within one degree in our tests) and the Bluetooth range was very good. We were able to move the receiver between 50 to 75 yards from the grill before the connection dropped, yet the notification only went off on the thermometer, not the phone we connected it to.

Most of this thermometer’s functionality lies in the app, which gave us the info we needed but not necessarily the details that advanced grillers or smokers seek. That said, the app was simple and straightforward to use. It’s a good thermometer but not a great thermometer, and the pricing reflects that.

Price at time of publish: $50

Amazon

It’s fast and accurate, with a reasonable price.

A rotating display would be a nice upgrade to this model.

Lightweight and easy to grip, this thermometer isn’t a leave-in model: it’s a two-in-one instant-read probe and an infrared thermometer, designed to reading surface temperatures in seconds. Indeed, it took just two seconds to register, and the accuracy was within one degree. Again, the quicker a thermometer reads, the less heat your cooker loses. It’s straightforward to use, and the display was easy to read, with or without the backlight. We wish the display rotated, however, so that we could read it upside down when temping foods at awkward angles, but that’s a minor complaint.

Price at time of publish: $32

The ThermoWorks Smoke Remote BBQ Alarm Thermometer took the prize for its accuracy, features, and connectivity, all at a reasonable price point.

We started our testing by collecting subjective impressions of each thermometer: how easy it was to hold, read the display, and use, in general. For app-integrated thermometers, we noted how easy and intuitive the apps were to set up and use, judging the usability of the in-app controls and the base unit. Finishing out the control features, we went more scientific, testing the alarm volume with a decibel meter.

After that, we tested the accuracy in various scenarios: first, against a pot of boiling water, then against a vat of water regulated by an immersion circulator. For leave-in models, we compared the readings against a cup of ice and water. Repeating the tests multiple times, we discarded the most outlying result and averaged the remaining readings. During the tests, we also used a stopwatch to observe the speed of each thermometer’s reading.

We then tested the thermometers against cooked pieces of meat. Leave-in models recorded the temperature over time, while we tested instant-read models after a prescribed time. Finally, we assessed each thermometer's value based on performance and price. After scoring each category from one to five, we weighted the scores with accuracy counting for 50 percent and arrived at our final rating.

Four probes (or more) will equip you for a number of tasks, according to Carey Bringle, owner and pitmaster of Peg Leg Porker Brands in Nashville. With his penchant for whole hog barbecue, he uses one to monitor his pit temperature and the other three in the pig's shoulder, loin, and ham, respectively. This amount of probes may appear to be more than you need on the surface, but consider cooking steaks to three different temperatures of doneness, and you may see a need for more probes. Whatever your requirements, a minimum of one probe for your food and one for the grill is a reasonable point of entry, as the external thermometer on the lid of your grill loses accuracy, and few people take the time to recalibrate them. You can also look for a clip on your grill probe that keeps the probe elevated off the grate for a more accurate reading, according to Bringle.

Most of the thermometers we reviewed here have an accuracy of +/-1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celcius) at average cooking temperatures, which is an acceptable level of variation. These start to skew to more significant variation at extreme temperatures, but these are outside the normal range of cooking. Five degrees isn’t a giant swing when deep frying, but it presents a more significant issue when cooking steaks or burgers. So, do look for the highest degree of accuracy you can find.

Monitoring your ambient temperature and food temperature is critical for long cooking. When using coals or charcoal for your cooking, temperature drops and spikes are common, and having an alert set to tell you if the grill is outside your temperature range can save dinner from low temperatures or sudden fires. Likewise, monitoring the temperature of your food and any spikes or drops will be vital in getting a reliable finished product.

Bringle urges people to understand their cooking environment and buy with that in mind. If you’re cooking at home, have little interference, or don’t plan on leaving the grill’s side, signal strength and wireless range aren’t as much of a consideration. If, however, you need to move around your home and do other things while your food spends hours on the grill, you’ll need something with a better range.

Thermometers with WiFi connectivity provide a more stable connection than Bluetooth, and you won’t have to fear going so far from the probe that your connection drops, according to Bringle. “Bluetooth can be a pain to reconnect when you lose signal,” he says. WiFi also gives greater versatility with in-app monitoring options, some storing cooking data in addition to the standard high/low thresholds and alerts.

There are a variety of ways wireless thermometers work. This simplest is a wired probe connected to a base that shows the current temperature. Complexity increases with Bluetooth probes, but the same process follows. The base communicates with a remote or app, and that piece is where the wireless designation comes into play. Some of these models are strictly Bluetooth; others use RF technology, and others bridge from Bluetooth to WiFi for multiple connection points.

Absolutely. Whether used in an oven or outdoors, look for braided metal cables that will withstand grill lids or oven doors closing on them, according to Bringle. Beyond roasting, you can use your probes to monitor bread batter to find the perfect level of doneness and take suggested bake times out of the equation.

Yes. Unlike probe thermometers, which spot-check food temperatures, these wireless thermometers remain in your food while it cooks so that you can track its progress.

ThermoPro TP28 ($60 at Amazon)

The TP28 is a very good, well-designed, accurate thermometer. What that knocked it off our final list was the slight learning curve necessary to program custom settings.

Soraken Wireless Thermometer ($60 at Amazon)

The Soraken has a couple of design flaws: the magnet attached to the back might dislodge the batteries, and the app branding was different from the thermometer, which could have been clearer on the first few uses.

Weber Connect 3201 WiFi-Enabled Smart Grilling Hub ($90 at Amazon)

The Weber Connect’s probes could be sharper to make piercing meat easier, and for the price of this model, the app is shy on features and intuitive design.

Cuisinart Bluetooth Easy Connect Meat Thermometer ($42 at Amazon)

For an otherwise accurate and well-performing thermometer, the vulnerable spot was in the Bluetooth connectivity, which became a burden, as the app contains most of this model’s functionality.

In every round of testing, some don’t make the cut. This can be because of deep flaws or a product from a respected manufacturer not meeting its reputation. The GrillEye Max Wireless Smart Thermometer ($100 at GrillEye) relies heavily on WiFi for functionality, and it will drop signal unexpectedly if the WiFi signal isn’t strong. With some thermometers, the alarm sound was too low, or the instructions lacked information, so we couldn’t justify the price, as was the case with the Weber iGrill 2 ($98 at Amazon). Finally, the features and capacities of some are too limited, like the Yummly Smart Thermometer ($80 at Amazon), which is only compatible with a meal service subscription app.

Greg Baker is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, and food writer with four decades of experience in the food industry. His written work appears in Food & Wine, Food Republic, and other publications.

Price at time of publish: $69Number of Probes: Temperature Range: Bluetooth/WiFi: Price at time of publish: $80Number of Probes: Temperature Range: Bluetooth/WiFi: Price at time of publish: $60Number of Probes: Temperature Range:Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: Price at time of publish: $240Number of Probes: Temperature Range: Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: Price at time of publish: $50Number of Probes: Temperature Range:Bluetooth/WiFi: Price at time of publish: $32Number of Probes: Temperature Range: Bluetooth/WiFi: ThermoPro TP28Soraken Wireless ThermometerWeber Connect 3201 WiFi-Enabled Smart Grilling HubCuisinart Bluetooth Easy Connect Meat Thermometer
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