The best meat thermometer of 2020
When you don't cook your meat to a safe temperature, you can put you and your family at risk for bacterial infections like E. coli and salmonella. With an accurate, easy-to-use meat thermometer, you can make sure your meat is cooked just right every time.
To help keep you up to date on the latest meat thermometer product developments, we've taken a fresh look at the trends and highlighted two new reliable meat thermometers, as well as a longtime favorite, for your consideration.
Best meat thermometers of 2020
1. ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Remote Digital Meat Thermometer: A highly responsive thermometer that uses wireless technology for quick, reliable readings. This model has been a favorite on our list for years.
2. Taylor Precision Digital Timer and Thermometer: A budget-friendly thermometer that offers a timer and other convenient features. This is a new addition to our list, and it's earned a spot for his compact, user-friendly design.
3. CDN ProAccurate Digital Thermometer: An excellent classic-style meat thermometer that doesn't boast any special features but couldn't be easier to use. We're longtime fans of this brand, and this is another new model on our short list.
For more detailed reviews, jump to the end of the article.
What you should know before buying a meat thermometer
There are several different types of meat thermometers to choose from. Classic dial thermometers stay in the meat as it cooks. They're affordable and user-friendly, but you usually can't read them without taking the meat out of the oven. Instant-read dial thermometers are similar, but they don't sit in the meat as it cooks. Instead, they take a minute or two to provide a reading once you insert the thermometer in the meat after it's out of the oven. You may get an incorrect reading if you don't insert an instant-read thermometer properly, though.
Digital instant-read thermometers are easier to read than dial models and only take a few seconds to provide a reading. They aren't left in the meat while they cook, though. Leave-in digital probes feature a similar display, but you leave them in the meat as it cooks. They usually have a base connected to the probe by a thin wire. You keep the base on the counter to monitor the temperature without opening the oven. A wireless leave-in digital probe operates in the same way, but it can wirelessly transmit the readings to the base.
You can also find thermometer forks, which usually feature two prongs that you stick in the meat for an almost instant reading. They're ideal for grilling. Some large cuts of meat, like whole turkeys, come with a disposable pop-up temperature indicator. The indicator "pops" when a safe internal temperature is reached, but they aren't the most accurate.
While accuracy is the most important thing to look for a meat thermometer, other features can make a model more convenient to use. A temperature alarm alerts you with a flashing light or beep when the meat reaches the recommended temperature, while a timer keeps track of your cooking time.
Many meat thermometers are equipped with preset temperatures that follow the USDA recommendations for safe temperatures based on the type of meat. An auto-off feature helps your digital thermometer conserve battery life, while Bluetooth-compatible models don't require a base because they can transmit readings right to your smartphone.
You'll typically spend about $20 for a quality digital meat thermometer. For a high-end, Bluetooth-compatible model, though, expect to pay $50 or more. Classic analog dial models, though, often cost $15 or less.
Q. How do I calibrate a meat thermometer?
A. Place the thermometer in a glass of ice water, and check that it reads 32ºF, give or take a degree or two. Next, place the thermometer in a pot of boiling water. It should read within a couple degrees of 212ºF. If your thermometer's reading is off, consult the manufacturer's guidelines to recalibrate it.
Q. What types of meat are instant-read thermometers suitable for?
A. Instant-read models are best for steaks, burgers, chicken breasts, or other small meat cuts. If you usually cook large pieces like whole chickens, turkeys, or roasts, a leave-in probe is your best bet.
In-depth reviews of best meat thermometers
Best best of the best: ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Remote Digital Meat Thermometer
What we like: Features a sturdy, durable design. Operates wirelessly, so you can keep an eye on your meat remotely. Includes a three-year warranty once it's registered.
What we dislike: Readings can sometimes be inaccurate.
Best bang for your buck: Taylor Precision Digital Timer and Thermometer
What we like: An easy-to-use model that includes a timer feature. Comes with a four-foot cord for more convenient monitoring. Includes AA batteries for operation. Screen allows for the adjustment of the number size for easier reading.
What we dislike: Has a max temperature of only 392ºF.
Choice 3: CDN ProAccurate Digital Thermometer
What we like: Boasts an affordable price tag. Digital display is easy to read. Probe is thin enough to insert into delicate cuts of meat. Comes with a five-year warranty.
What we dislike: Takes a while to provide a reading.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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