How to see if meat is 100% ready ? You need a good meat thermometer, which will show you the exact temperature inside the meat.
You can use that knowledge to make sure if the meat isn’t raw on the inside.
Even a very experienced cook can make mistakes and sometimes will have problems with properly evaluating the meat, which is unacceptable at restaurants.
There are many significant factors that make meat cook faster or slower during the cooking process. It leads to such results as dry, burned or simply raw meat – each of those options is unacceptable.
That’s exactly why I compared most popular meat thermometers in order to help you pick the right model depending on your budget and cooking style.
Based on my research and tests, the best meat thermometers are:
Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo
-40 to 482 °F
32 to 572 °F
32 to 572 °F
14 to 572˚F
The Best Meat Thermometers in 2020
There is nothing worse than serving raw meat, especially if you spend something like few hours smoking.
1. Best Overall Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo
It’s a great meat thermometer not just when it comes to BBQ but also everything related to cooking.
The solid construction is certainly durable and comes with several interesting features, and all of that priced adequately and affordably.
Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo is a very durable and fast device that allows to read the temperature in just 2-3 seconds with accuracy of 0.9 degree F.
Which makes it work great at hands of experienced chefs where time and accuracy matter a whole lot.
When it comes to the features that I have mentioned, one of them is Auto-Rotating Ambidextrous Backlit Display.
A very useful feature in the kitchen where a thermometer is held in different positions that often make it impossible to read the temperature, which tends to be very frustrating.
The auto-Rotating system will ensure that you can easily read the temperature regardless of the angle you’re holding the thermometer at.
One huge advantage is certainly the thermometer’s splash-resistant construction and the display. A lot of different accidents can happen in the kitchen when cooking, which makes it very important.
Motion-Sense Backlight is another useful feature that will make sure that the display backlight feature is available more easily than ever, all you have to do is shake the thermometer for the backlight to turn on.
Stabilization Alert is another interesting system that will signal when the temperature stabilizes during the measurements, which ensures that the results are as accurate as possible.
Personally, I use this thermometer mostly to measure the temperature inside meat when grilling or smoking, but it will work great for all the other kitchen tasks.
It has a temperature range of -40~482°F
For battery saving and for forgetful people, it has an auto off feature that turns off the thermometer when it is not in use for a while.
If you’re looking for not only an accurate and durable thermometer but also a versatile one, this is the number one if you ask me.
2. Runner Up ThermoPro TP20
Are you interested in a digital meat thermometer with a probe and the ability to remotely monitor the current temperature?
In that case, a great selection will be the very versatile ThermoPro TP20.
The set includes a transmitter and a receiver which allow you to monitor the temperature while being away from the main transmitter.
It comes with two meat probes so that you can monitor the temperature inside meat and the temperature around at the same time.
This type of meat thermometers is characterized by functionality that lies in their developed system.
When you look at the thermometer you can see “Meat” and “Taste” buttons, which you just have to click, and then choose the type of meat of your choice plus the level of being done. You’ll get information on what the internal meat temperature should be in order to achieve the expected results.
The construction is massive and well-built, while the temperature range is: 32°F to 572°F with accuracy of +/- 1.8°F
Once you program your thermometer you can focus on something else, and when the meat reaches the right temperature you will get a notification in form of an alarm.
On top of that you also get a simple timer at your disposal, which comes in handy very often when cooking.
The receiver is obviously splash-resistant which should always be kept in mind when choosing a thermometer.
How does ThemroPro TP20 differ from Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo ? It is not an instant read thermometer, ThermoPro TP20 allows to monitor the temperature on an ongoing basis throughout the entire cooking process.
For that purpose, one of the probes has to be stuck in the place of your choice, like in the meat in order to monitor the temperature inside the meat. You have to know that this kind of thermometer can also be used for completely different purposes.
You can stick the probe directly into any bbq smoker or a stove at the meat’s height in order to monitor the current ambient temperature.
That way you can be sure that the meat will cook in the right temperature and you can see how much the measurements differ from what the built-in thermometer indicates.
Either way, ThermoPro TP20 is a high-quality versatile digital meat thermometer that will especially work great for BBQ enthusiasts.
3. Maverick ET-733
A model that is perfectly known among BBQ and grilling enthusiasts.
It combines a solid construction, decent accuracy and functionality. The set includes two probes and a receiver plus transmitter with a range of up to 300 feet.
The way this thermometer works is completely the same as with ThermoPro TP20, all you have to do is put the meat probe in and you can monitor the temperature.
On top of that, you can expect almost the same features, especially when it comes to configurations.
Maverick ET-733 is perfectly familiar to people who are into BBQ and I believe that this is its main purpose. Think about if you smoke large quantities of meat and need solid equipment created mostly with BBQ in mind.
You have over a dozen types of meats to choose from, as well as several levels of accuracy complete with the ability to enter the settings manually.
You can also set a specific temperature range for your meat, which you will be informed about by an alarm once the meat reaches its target temperature range.
Another huge upside of this thermometer is large trust to the Maverick brand among BBQ enthusiasts.
4. ThermoPro TP17
This time it’s something for people with a heavily limited budget.
I also recommend it to those who don’t use a meat thermometer that often, if you do use such tool very often.
However, I definitely recommend spending twice as much on a much better model in terms of features, accuracy and durability.
These days a good meat thermometer is also wireless so that you can monitor the temperature while away from where you cook ( like when sitting at home on the couch watching TV ).
Sadly, ThermoPro TP17 doesn’t come with a transmitter, which is only understandable at this price.
It does have an alarm, however, which you should be able to hear while being few steps away.
What was a very positive surprise to me was having as many as two probes and a big and clear display despite small size of the thermometer.
A strong backlight feature allows you to read the temperature even in very dark places, it turns off automatically after 10 seconds.
Also just like in much more expensive competitive models, you can expect the ability to program temperatures for different types of meats here, as well as choosing the doneness levels.
There’s one very important thing that I need to point out, ThermoPro TP17 is sadly not waterproof which means that you have to be very careful when cooking.
It’s a very important aspect of thermometers and I always recommend making sure if your meat thermometer is waterproof, although at this kind of price you can’t expect miracles.
ThermoPro TP17 is the best budget meat thermometer that comes with everything that is necessary plus several small downsides.
You don’t use this kind of tools often or you simply can’t afford gadgets? This model will work great as when it comes to measurements and their accuracy, everything is just fine here.
A good thermometer is a great tool that is very useful in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are as a cook.
It’s always a good idea to make sure if, for example, the internal meat temperature is perfect to avoid any significant health risks like food poisoning.
It sometimes happens when smoking meat that the temperature inside the smoker goes through fluctuations that you won’t notice. For a few minutes the temperature might be too hot which causes the meat to look done on the outside but when you cut it, it turns out it is still raw.
What works great in such situations is a meat thermometer, which not only allows you to check the temperature any moment, but it also makes it possible to monitor the temperature on an ongoing basis throughout the entire cooking process.
Certain models come with an alarm that you will hear when the food reaches the right temperature.
Of course a meat thermometer doesn’t apply just for grilling or smoking, but also many other kitchen activities such as baking in an oven, frying steaks on a pan etc.
How did I pick the best ones ?
The thermometer market is huge, which is why I focused mostly on proven manufacturers who have specialized in manufacturing them for a very long time. I paid attention to the most popular models and I made a list based on them that features all types of meat thermometers.
This time I have also taken into account versatile thermometers that work great in every area of cooking, be it BBQ, grilling or simply everyday cooking in the kitchen.
I mostly took into account the price, quality of workmanship, accuracy, speed and functionality. That way my diverse list was made, which features both models for very demanding users as well as for those with a very limited budget.
How did I test ?
I simply used those thermometers during a BBQ party I had thrown and during everyday cooking in the kitchen. After few weeks I already had my opinion formed on all the thermometers and I moved on to writing a review for the best meat thermometers.
On top of the quality of workmanship and durability, I also paid attention to functionality and most of all accuracy. When it comes to the wireless models, I would make sure if the power of the transmitter is indeed as strong as the manufacturer described ( in many cases it was heavily exaggerated ).
I checked the accuracy of every thermometer at different temperatures and how fast it made measurements. Based on these activities, among others, I made the final list of the models I recommend, which you can read in this article.
What to pay attention to ?
Cooking Style – It is crucial when choosing a new meat thermometer. The cooking style impacts what type of thermometer you should buy. An instant read thermometer will work great with everything, showing an instant temperature measurement, whereas a leave-in probe thermometer is mostly directed towards those who want to monitor the temperature throughout the entire cooking process even when away from the place of cooking ( BBQ, grilling, baking in the oven ).
Number of Probes – As long as you don’t have a limited budget, it is the best for your leave-in style thermometer to have at least 2 probes. Such number will allow you to monitor two sources of heat at the same time, like two different pieces of meat or one piece of meat plus the temperature inside the smoker.
Speed and accuracy – The speed mostly applies to instant read thermometers whereas accuracy is important in all types. Look for models that have the best accuracy possible and allow for pretty fast measurements ( in a few seconds ).
Features – More expensive models come with many interesting features that significantly increase the ease of use of such tool. First and foremost, it’s a good thing if your digital meat thermometer comes with a backlit display and an auto-off feature that will take care of saving the battery. Another useful thing is different types of systems, such as auto rotating display, temperature stabilization or a timer or even a basic alarm.
Temperature range – Of course the higher the range of negative and positive temperatures, the better. It makes the thermometer a very versatile device that is useful not only for typical cooking, grilling or smoking.
Waterproof quality – If you cook a lot, it would be better to buy a model that is waterproof. We all know that when cooking, the thermometer is very exposed to splashes or falling into a water container. It is better to make sure if the model you’re interested in is 100% waterproof, especially around the display.
Being wireless – You often grill or smoke? You are perfectly aware how time-consuming this task is, which is what makes a wireless meat thermometer a great solution. Sadly, you have to be prepared for this type of meat thermometer being much more expensive, but you can believe me that it is worth spending a little more money on this type of gadget.
Warranty – Pay attention to the warranty if you’re going to spend a bigger amount on a new meat thermometer. Faulty units are possible during mass production, which is why it’s better to have confidence after the purchase.
Why should you have a meat thermometer ?
There is nothing to be ashamed of in using a thermometer when cooking. Some cooks are self-conscious but the truth is that when a lot of things are happening in the kitchen during cooking, even the best cook may make a mistake or miscalculate the level of the meat being done.
It is exactly this type of situations, among others, when a meat thermometer becomes a useful tool, being able to make measurements as fast as in 2-3 seconds, letting you be sure what stage of cooking you’re at ( see safe internal temperature chart )
Have you ever observed a meat that was good looking on the outside but turned out to be raw on the inside? I think that everyone has run into this kind of situation at least once in their life, which means we shouldn’t waste money and especially time and instead we should start using meat thermometers.
It is a relatively cheap device compared to wasting time and expensive meat when it turns out that the food is badly prepared. A meat thermometer is useful not only during everyday cooking, smoking or grilling, but it also works well at many other tasks.
There are many types of thermometers, which is why I have prepared this guide so that you can easily and quickly choose the best meat thermometer depending on your cooking style and your preferences.
BBQ and grilling are my biggest passions.