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The Best Digital Meat Thermometer


Eyeballing your food isn’t the most effective or safest way to gauge doneness. Digital kitchen thermometers offer quick and easy cooking data. We conducted over 45 hours of research and performed a series of tests to determine which of 12 top products is worthy of being crowned best digital meat thermometer. All-around excellence earned the Lavatools – Javelin PRO Duo our top pick. Its speed, accuracy and design make it the best food thermometer for everything from grilling the perfect cut of meat to confecting candy. After three years of long-term use, we still love it.

Our Top Choices

Best Overall


Javelin PRO

Best Oven Thermometer


Programmable Thermometer

Affordable Accuracy


Precision Elite

Best Wireless



Eyeballing your food isn’t the most effective or safest way to gauge doneness. Digital kitchen thermometers offer quick and easy cooking data. We conducted over 45 hours of research and performed a series of tests to determine which of 12 top products is worthy of being crowned best digital meat thermometer. All-around excellence earned the Lavatools – Javelin PRO Duo our top pick. Its speed, accuracy and design make it the best food thermometer for everything from grilling the perfect cut of meat to confecting candy. After three years of long-term use, we still love it.

Table of Contents

Compare the best digital meat thermometers

javelin digital food thermometer

Instant read thermometers

Instant-Read ThermometerPriceAvg. Read Time (Seconds)Avg. Calibration Error (° F)User Calibration?Waterproof?
1. Lavatools - Javelin PRO$$4.80.1NoYes
2. EatSmart - Precision Elite$4.6-0.4YesNo
3. ThermoWorks - Thermapen Mk4$$$$4.60.4YesYes
4. Alpha Grillers$6.80.1YesYes
5. Lavatools - Javelin$7.60.7NoYes
6. Polder - Stable-Read$9.30.8NoNo
7. CDN - ProAccurate$9.90.5YesYes
8. ThermoPro - TP03A$5.8-1.5NoNo

Digital oven thermometers

Oven ThermometerPriceMax. Temperature (° F)Avg. Calibration Error (° F)Wireless?
1. Taylor - 1470$3920.5No
2. ThermoPro - TP21$$700-2.2Yes
3. iDevices$$$5722.8Bluetooth
4. Supreme Home$4721.8No

1. Best overall: Lavatools – Javelin PRO Duo

The best instant-read digital kitchen thermometer is the Lavatools – Javelin PRO Duo. In our kitchen tests, it was consistently accurate and quicker than most. It’s simple to use, easy to store, and works perfectly without needing re-calibration. It was the most accurate in the ice water test, down to a tenth of a degree, and it was the fastest in the chocolate test.

This thermometer really shines with its features; they’re simple to figure out and easy to use when cooking. One feature we particularly loved during testing is the ability to add a beep when the temperature stabilizes, so you don’t have to wonder if the thermometer has found the current temp yet. It then keeps displaying the temperature as it rises or falls, so it’s more helpful than a hold button.

Top Pick: Lavatools - Javelin PRO Duo

Fast, accurate, feature-packed and easy to use, this digital meat thermometer excelled in our series of tests.

The Javelin PRO also has one of the widest temperature ranges, from -40°F to 482°F, and also has the ability to show maximum and minimum temperatures within your current cooking session.

This thermometer is water-resistant enough that you can safely rinse it off, and its magnetic back makes it easy to store. It features an anti-fog, LCD backlit screen but also has a power-saving mode, which can turn the backlighting off. It goes into sleep mode after an hour of inactivity, but it wakes right up if you move it. You can easily turn it off by folding down the probe, but we love the way this sleep mode saves batteries if you forget.

Priced at under $50, it comes with a three-year warranty as well as an easy-to-read manual with accuracy test instructions and a troubleshooting guide.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Lavatools – Javelin PRO Duo is a quick, accurate thermometer with some great features that make it easier to use.
  • The Javelin Pro nailed our ice test, and was very accurate overall.
  • Getting the quickest read time during a tricky chocolate tempering test ensured we fell in love with this thermometer.
  • Waterproofing, battery saving, and an easy-read rotating screen are all great features that make this thermometer great.
  • The only real competition for this model is the $100 ThermoWorks. Lavatools doesn’t let you calibrate, but we don’t think most users will miss that.

2. Best oven thermometer: Taylor – 147821

Javelin and Taylor digital food thermometers

Pair the Javelin PRO Duo with the Taylor – 147821 Digital Cooking Thermometer with Wired Probe for optimal accuracy in all your cooking tasks. The Taylor thermometer functions as an easy-to-set timer and thermometer. We like that it’s versatile and conforms to your needs. Stand it up on your counter or stick it to the oven door, use the recommended meat temperatures, or set your own to suit your recipe.

At around $16, we were surprised at how well it performed. The Taylor was very accurate in ice and the most accurate oven thermometer in boiling water tests, where accuracy matters most for roasting and baking.

The response time on oven thermometers is usually slow, and this one is no different: It took about thirty seconds to stabilize after an extreme temperature change.

The display includes the basics: a timer, the set temperature you’re waiting for, and the thermometer’s current temperature reading. There are no presets for meat temperatures, but that means no extra buttons to get in the way.

A Simple Oven Thermometer

Taylor makes thermometers of nearly every size and type, but this easy-to-use magnetic model is perfect for checking on roasts or other oven duties. We've tested two diffent units and found them very accurate, but they won't take grill-flame heat.

The timer buttons for setting hours and minutes won’t let you reduce time without pressing both buttons to reset from zero, but it’s handy to have if you like to keep your kitchen smartphone-free. (Or if you like to keep your smartphone kitchen-grease-free.)

You can also set the Taylor to alert you when it reaches the set temperature, or leave the alert off and simply observe the temp. All the important option switches like temperature scale and alert mute are physical toggle switches, so they don’t reset when you turn the thermometer off.

Even setting aside price, the simplicity of this thermometer is just hard to beat. You could spend more on a wireless unit like the ThermoPro or something with calibration options like the Thermoworks – ChefAlarm, but for a simple oven thermometer we think the Taylor is just about perfect.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Taylor – 147821 has all the features you need to monitor roasting, baking, or smoking.
  • In boiling water, this thermometer was the most accurate oven model we tested.
  • With an easy to read display and simple, reliable controls, there’s nothing about this thermometer to get in the way.
  • An added timer function is basic, but handy to have.
  • The maximum temperature on this model is 392 °F, so it’s not a good pick for a grill.

3. Runner-up: EatSmart – Precision Elite

Eatsmart thermometer reading water temperature

The EatSmart – Precision Elite was a close second of the instant-read thermometers since it was accurate, fast, and reliable for every test. You can calibrate it as well as change it from Fahrenheit to Celsius with the push of a button. It also has the widest temperature range: -40°F to 572°F.

Affordable Accuracy: EatSmart - Precision Elite

This wasn't perfectly accurate in any one test, but it matched the ultra-expensive ThermoWorks in overall accuracy and speed. The lack of waterproofing is the only thing holding this thermometer back from winning best overall.

While the EatSmart Precision Elite Food Thermometer was quick, it wasn’t quite as accurate as the Javelin in our ice-bath test. It’s not waterproof, and doesn’t have the Javelin’s user-friendly features like the stabilization beep and shake-to-wake power-saving mode.

Key Takeaways:

  • The EatSmart – Precision Elite is a quick, accurate, value-priced thermometer.
  • EatSmart’s accuracy results weren’t perfect in any one test, but matched the market leaders overall.
  • The ability to calibrate this thermometer will help satisfy the most demanding kitchen science nerds.
  • AAA batteries are easier to find than coin cells, but we think the waterproofing of our top pick is more valuable.

4. Best wireless oven thermometer: ThermoPro – TP21

The ThermoPro – TP21 is a reliable, feature-packed wireless thermometer that’s still pretty affordable. The probe is also rated for grill temperatures, up to 700 degrees compared to the 400-500 degree limits of other oven thermometers. That makes it our pick for the best wireless oven thermometer.

After testing a Bluetooth wireless thermometer in our first roundup and being dissatisfied with all the complexity that comes along with that, we were relieved at the simplicity and reliability on offer here. It’s not just a bare-bones device, either: The ThermoPro has a display backlight that changes color as your food gets closer to the temperature you set.

The ThermoPro’s wireless range is impressive. We had to go to the other side of a neighbor’s garage before it started having any trouble updating the temperature reading consistently, a line-of-sight connection was strong well past the 300-foot listed range.

Best Wireless for the Grill: ThermoPro - TP21

With a rugged probe that will survive up to 700°F and a 300-foot wireless range, this is a good upgrade for anyone grilling in the backyard. The color-change screen backlight is a helpful feature, too.

The wire hook/stand is handy for hanging the probe transmitter base on your oven or grill handle, but a magnetic backing would have made it even better. This model doesn’t allow calibration (which would be handy if the probe ever needs replacing) but it was within a few degrees of perfect in all our tests, which is close enough for just about anything you’ll be doing in the oven.

The timer on the TP21 is also less intuitive than the Taylor’s, since you have to cycle through all the temperature presets to find it. You also lose your seconds count on the TP21 when you set hours and minutes, where the Taylor always shows a seconds counter.

ThermoPro’s new probe style is a nice upgrade over typical fare, and They will replace it if it stops working in the first year, or for four years if you register on their site.

Key Takeaways:

  • The ThermoPro – TP21 is a wireless thermometer that will give you reliable connection all the way to your neighbor’s house.
  • Color-changing backgrounds on the screen warn you when you’re close to the set temperature.
  • This grill-friendly design reads all the way up to 700 degrees.
  • Accuracy isn’t the ThermoPro’s strong suit, but it’s close enough for most of us.

Other products we tested

all nine digital food thermometers

A premium upgrade: ThermoWorks – Thermapen Mk4

ThermoWorks has a great line of thermometers that covers every need — from basic instant-reads to a wifi-connected BBQ pit monitoring system — but we think the ThermoWorks – Thermapen Mk4 is where their attention to detail really shines. This thermometer is the gold standard against which all other kitchen thermometers are judged.

ThermoWorks includes a certificate that demonstrates exactly how accurate each model is, theoretically always within ±0.7°F and traceable just like a laboratory or engineering instrument. It’s also the most expensive instant-read kitchen thermometer on the market, though it’s very competitive with other certified lab devices.

The fact that we saw a boiling water reading that was double the specified maximum error didn’t do this thermometer any favors, but you can manually calibrate or send the ThermaPen back under warranty if yours is out of spec.

ThermoWorks has a similar design to the Javelin thermometers and uses the same fold/unfold function to turn it off and on. ThermoWorks invented the rotating display and shake-to-wake sleep mode, and those features do make it easy to use. The instruction manual is a detailed 21-page lesson in operation, care, and getting accurate readings when cooking.

The Ultimate Thermometer: ThermoWorks – Thermapen Mk4

ThermoWorks gets industry awards for this thermometer all the time. It's fast, accurate and lets you change nearly any of its fancy features with buttons inside the waterproof battery compartment. There's only one drawback: the price.

For most home cooks, though, removing the battery cover with a screwdriver to push a combination of small buttons for adjusting calibration or display settings is just too much. It’s great that this thermometer is out there for the most demanding gear nerds, but most of us don’t want to change the display settings on a thermometer, let alone calibrate one.

If you want to find out more about the features of this amazing tool, check out our detailed Thermapen instant-read thermometer review.


AlphaGrillers is a small company selling a lot of thermometers. The AlphaGrillers – waterproof instant-read digital thermometer packs a lot of features into an affordable package, and they’ve worked hard to stay ahead of the pack in this very competitive price bracket.

This thermometer is not as sophisticated as the Javelin Pro or ThermaPen. Its display doesn’t rotate for easy reading, and it doesn’t notify you when the temperature is stable. The AlphaGrillers also takes a pretty consistent six-to-eight seconds to read a change, much longer than the Javelin Pro and two seconds longer than the EatSmart.

The AlphaGrillers doesn’t disappoint for accuracy, though. The unit we purchased was dead-on for the boiling temperature calibration, which is exactly where accuracy matters most for a meat thermometer. The ice bath test wasn’t as close, reading almost a full degree low. That’s still well within the tolerances required for most of our cooking needs, and a lower error than most of the other thermometers had in their boiling-point read. If you do find that’s you’ve got an inaccurate unit, you can also manually calibrate this thermometer.

Waterproof just in Case: AlphaGrillers

AlphaGrillers designed this to be a reliable thermometer that's easy to clean. We still don't recommend dropping it in the sink, but they've got your back if water ever gets inside. Ours was also perfectly calibrated for hot items, which is exactly what you need in a meat thermometer.

The edge this thermometer has over our other runner-up, the EatSmart – Precision Elite, is that this is waterproof. Now, if you’re skeptical about the waterproofing on a $20 thermometer, we don’t blame you. We ran it under the tap for a full minute and didn’t see any sign of water ingress into the battery compartment. AlphaGrillers also has a good track record replacing failed or malfunctioning units for users who complain about faulty models. In a world where there are 20 or 30 listings for exactly this same thermometer with different labels, that’s worth seeking out.

Lavatools – Javelin

The Lavatools – Javelin was off by quite a lot in the steak test, reading 150°F when the other thermometers were reading under 100°F. It did, however, function quickly and accurately in the other tests, and we liked the simplicity of the design.

Like the Lavatools – Javelin PRO Duo, it’s magnetic, turns on when it’s opened and off when it’s closed, has a wide temperature range and measures to the tenth of a degree. Another benefit is its lifetime warranty.

Polder – Stable-Read Digital Instant-Read Thermometer

Polder’s Thermometer is a super-simple tool that gets the job done. Like the Javelin PRO Duo, it has the ability to beep when it stabilizes, but it does take longer to do so.

CDN – ProAccurate Thermometer

Designed similarly to an analog thermometer, the CDN – ProAccurate Thermometer has a face that looks up instead of out, making it difficult to hold and read at the same time.

Since the initial reading of ice water was off by 1.9°, we tried to calibrate it by the instructions printed on the packaging, but we got an error message. It does have a five-year warranty, though, and we liked the pen-like protective case for the stem.

ThermoPro – TP03A

At less than $15, the ThermoPro – TP03A is a best-seller for obvious reasons. The response time is right in the middle of our tested results, but the accuracy was worse than average by quite a significant margin. It’s a usable thermometer, but if you pay around $7 more you can get a thermometer that’s much quicker and more accurate in the EatSmart.

Other oven thermometers

iDevices – Kitchen Thermometer

The iDevices – Kitchen Thermometer is the most complex of the top nine, but it’s also the most interactive and fun. The box comes with a quick-start guide, but most of the instructions can be found in the manual within the app.

Recommended temperatures come pre-programmed in the app, and the user is notified on his or her smartphone when the temperature reaches the minimum setting, which is 165°F for chicken. You can also search for recipes, track the rising temperature of your dish, and share the results through the app.

The body of the iDevices – Kitchen Thermometer is magnetized for an oven or fridge, but it can also stand on a counter. And, with two wired probes leading back to the body, it’s the only thermometer we looked at that allows for simultaneously testing two locations.

That means you can monitor two separate dishes or different locations of the same dish — think turkey legs and turkey breast. It was also perfectly accurate in ice water right out of the box.

Once it’s set up, the iDevices app gives you a lot of information and it’s pretty cool to have full control from a touchscreen. But the time, complication and monetary investment (about $80) may turn away some shoppers.

The real weakness of this system is Bluetooth itself: different smartphones will have better or worse Bluetooth antennae, but the claimed range of 150 feet must require the planets to be in alignment as well as a clear line-of-sight path between your phone and the thermometer. Range and synchronization problems are the big complaints in every user review of the iDevices and Weber iGrill thermometers.

Weber has taken over the iDevices line and is now responsible for the app, and they’ve expanded the line with new iGrill models targeted at their core grilling and barbecuing customer base.

If you’re a devoted smartphone user who wants an app for everything, this will get you one step closer to your dream. Most of us are better off with a stand-alone thermometer.

Supreme Home Cook – Oven & BBQ Touchscreen

The Supreme Home Cook – Oven & BBQ Touchscreen Thermometer was very accurate in the ice water test. That’s about all it has going for it, though — we didn’t have many favorable interactions with this device.

The instructions (on one sheet of paper) help the user decode the meanings of the one-letter labels on the touchscreen buttons and select the pre-programmed temperatures for poultry, fish, or red meat. That’s not a big problem by itself, but a typo made it very difficult to figure out how to change the taste setting of our rib-eye steak to medium-rare. Another quirk is that this device is programmed to set poultry at a surprisingly high 174°F.

Just setting a temperature manually requires awkward steps. You have to hold down the S-S button for two seconds. That’s not to be confused with the S-T button, which changes from Fahrenheit to Celsius scale. Also, each time it’s turned on, it automatically reverts to Celsius, which might annoy some.

The Supreme Home Cook’s screen, which gives you the alert temperature and the current cooking temperature, is slightly difficult to read at certain angles, and its flip-out kickstand doesn’t stabilize the body as well as the other thermometers.

How we selected products to test

To narrow the many options to just nine top-notch digital thermometers, we began by looking at more than 50 sources and chose the 15 most credible to base our research off of. We read consumer reviews and subreddits, including r/Cooking, home and technology publications like Good Housekeeping and Wired, and blogs like Wise Bread and Lifehacker.

Our research indicated that the best digital thermometers feature accurate temperatures in hot and cold foods, wide temperature ranges that convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius, easy storage options, user-friendly interfaces, and helpful instruction manuals.

Some of the top nine are built specifically for the oven and feature small digital displays that sit outside the oven while a connected probe reads the temperature in the middle of the food.

These oven thermometers have alarms that alert you when the food reaches a specific temperature, which is helpful for the busy cook or someone who’d rather not set a timer to check for doneness.

Others, called instant-read thermometers, are made for taking the food’s temperature as quickly as possible. Within just a few seconds, they display an accurate reading — some down to a tenth of a degree.

After extensive research, we narrowed the many digital thermometer choices down to nine, which were all easy to use in a variety of foods, display temperatures in Fahrenheit and Celsius, and have a manufacturer’s warranty.


When it came time for an update, we were hard pressed to find any real flaws in our top picks for new competitors to improve on. We focused on testing a new crop of bargain-priced instant read thermometers. We also checked out a fresh design for a wireless thermometer that doesn’t have the drawbacks of Bluetooth.

How we tested

Once we found our top thermometers, we dove into the testing process, creating qualitative and quantitative criteria on which to judge them:

      • Accuracy
      • Speed
      • Functionality
      • Usability
      • Temperature range

Over ten hours of testing in the kitchen, we tested the top nine thermometers in ice water, boiling water, tempered dark chocolate, a whole roasted chicken, and a thick rib-eye steak.

Accuracy Tests

Instant-Read ThermometersIce Error (° F)Boiling Error (° F)Avg. Error (° F)
EatSmart - Precision Elite-
CDN - ProAccurate-
Alpha Grillers-0.90.0-0.4
Lavatools - Javelin-
Lavatools - Javelin PRO0.01.30.7
ThermoWorks - Thermapen Mk40.01.50.8
Polder - Stable-Read-
ThermoPro - TP03A-0.5-2.5-1.5
Oven ThermometersIce Error (° F)Boiling Error (° F)Avg. Error (° F)
ThermoPro - TP21-1.8-2.7-2.2
Supreme Home0.03.51.8

Test 1: Ice water

Since not all thermometers can be calibrated by the user, the first test was designed to see how accurately the thermometers were calibrated in the factory.

Top Pick: Lavatools - Javelin PRO Duo

The fast and accurate Javelin PRO nailed the temperature on our ice water test.

Accurate thermometers should read exactly 32°F in ice-cold water. We filled a pot with an ice-to-water ratio of 3:1 and tested each probe by submerging it two inches into the water, stirring it gently without it touching the bottom.

The Javelin PRO Duo nailed it, with a reading of 32.0°F. While others got to within one degree, the Javelin PRO Duo and the premium-priced ThermoWorks were accurate to one tenth of a degree.

Test 2: Boiling water

We followed the ice water test with a boiling water test. This test can be tricky since water boils at different temperatures depending on altitude. At sea level, look for a temperature of 212°F, but the boiling temp drops with elevation gain. Thermoworks has a calculator here: Since we tested at 400 feet above sea level, at a pressure of 30.06 inHg, we were looking for a reading of 211.53°F.

The AlphaGrillers, EatSmart and Taylor – 147821 thermometers were all very accurate in boiling water, displaying within one degree of the actual temperature.

Instant-read speed test results

ThermometerIce TimeBoiling TimeChocolate TimeAverage (Seconds)
Lavatools - Javelin PRO4.
Alpha Grillers8.
EatSmart - Precision Elite2.
ThermoWorks - Thermapen Mk42.
Lavatools - Javelin7.
Polder - Stable-Read5.711.111.29.3
CDN - ProAccurate13.
ThermoPro - TP03A5.

We timed how quickly each of the instant-read thermometers came up to their calibrated temperature in each of the accuracy tests. We also tested with melted chocolate while we were tempering it — heating and cooling it to create a smooth texture. This process requires constantly observing the state of the chocolate and regular temperature readings.

We tested each of the thermometers at various stages in the tempering process: initial heating to 120°F, cooling to 82°F, and reheating to between 88°F and 91°F. Since the temperature of the chocolate is constantly changing — heating or cooling — the thermometers took longer to stabilize than they did with icy or boiling water.

The Javelin PRO came up with the fastest read in chocolate, at a mere 3 seconds, followed by the Lavatools – Javelin at 5.9 seconds. The ThermoWorks – Thermapen and EatSmart were quickest on average, though.

Test 4: Roasted chicken

For the three oven thermometers we performed a test on roasted chicken to see how they stacked up against each other. Since these thermometers are a bit more complicated than unfolding and reading the temperature, and because we already gauged their accuracy with the first two tests, we looked at ease of use and overall effectiveness.

Best Oven Thermometer: Taylor - 147821

An accurate, inexpensive and reliable compliment to oven cooking that's also easy to set up.

Straight out of the box, the Taylor – 147821 is the easiest to set up and start using. It doesn’t have pre-programmed temperature settings for different types of meat, but it does have a temperature guide on the back of the device for reference. Taylor, ThermoPro and iDevices give the USDA-standard 165°F for chicken, while the Supreme Home preset is all the way up at 175.

Test 5: Thick rib-eye steak

three thermometers in steak
In our first testing roundup, we used all nine thermometers to track the doneness of a rib-eye steak.

We inserted the probes of the oven thermometers horizontally into the middle of the raw steak, put the steak in a pan on the stove, and started tracking the rising temperatures of all three. We set the oven thermometers to medium-rare to see how useful the presets were with a real steak.

We also used the instant-read thermometers throughout the cooking process to test for speed, trying several different depths and locations in the steak as the temperature grew close to the USDA’s recommended internal temperature of 145°F for medium-rare beef.

The quickest response among the instant-read thermometers was the Polder Stable-Read Digital Instant-Read Thermometer, which stabilized in 4.8 seconds. Following that, the EatSmart Precision Thermometer gave a reading at 6 seconds and ThermoWorks at 6.8 seconds.

2019 Updates

For our update tests, we added some new budget-friendly options. We’re still very happy with the Javelin and the ThermaPen as the top instant-read thermometers on the market, but we wanted to see if a waterproof budget option could keep up.

The Taylor is also still our favorite oven thermometer, but we tested a new budget-friendly wireless option that’s more reliable that the Bluetooth design we tried in 2016.

The benefits of using a kitchen thermometer

For such a small tool, a kitchen thermometer can significantly improve the quality of the food you prepare. It makes cooking more efficient and more accurate, while giving you peace of mind that your meal is cooked to perfection.

With a digital kitchen thermometer, there’s no need to cut open a piece of chicken, stick a toothpick in a cake, carefully observe the consistency of candy, or set a timer and hope your food is perfectly cooked when it goes off.

Kitchen thermometers are essential when cooking raw meat, so anyone who grills, roasts, or fries benefits from owning one, and if you have an old analog thermometer, the speedy accuracy of digital will be a step up.

Digital vs analog thermometers

Thanks to digital thermometers, food temperatures are more accurate than ever. While analog thermometers have traditionally been used in kitchens, they haven’t offered much more than an approximate temp range, which can make cooking to medium-rare a challenging feat.

Analog and digital food thermometers
Digital thermometers, on the other hand, offer precise readings so you can hit the USDA’s minimum temperature recommendation to kill bugs like salmonella and e. coli, but not overcook your chicken breast. They’re also much more helpful than analog thermometers when facing finicky kitchen projects, like tempering chocolate or making cheese, which can easily go awry if the temperature reading is off.

Like most of today’s technology, digital kitchen thermometers have a range of features. Some of the thermometers we tested, like the Lavatools – Javelin, were as simple as opening up the package and inserting the probe. Others were more complex, like the iDevices Kitchen Thermometer, which involved downloading an app that uses a bluetooth connection to track the temperature on your phone or tablet from as far as 150 feet away.

Important features to consider

With so many thermometers on the market, it’s helpful to know what to look for to suit your kitchen needs. We recommend using the following metrics when shopping for a digital kitchen thermometer.


Above all, a digital kitchen thermometer should be accurate. Accuracy is the key to a tool that helps you cook food to the perfect temperature.


Speed is an important factor with a thermometer that claims to be instant, but it’s much less of an issue with oven thermometers. Look for an instant-read thermometer that stabilizes within three to 10 seconds. You’ll need the speed when reaching into a hot oven, over a grill, or into a pot to measure temperature.


A thermometer’s functionality can enhance your cooking experience. Know what you’re looking for before you start shopping. Whether you’re a cook who craves a simple, easy design or one who’s fascinated by the latest technology, there’s a thermometer for you.

The ability to switch from Fahrenheit to Celsius can come in handy for cooks who venture into global recipes. Some thermometers display temps to the tenth of a degree. Some digital displays even rotate, depending on the angle they’re held, like the ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4.

Thermometers can come pre-programmed with minimum meat cooking temps and alert you when they’ve reached it. Others beep when they’ve stabilized, and some can even double as a timer if you’re monitoring time and temperature.

Temperature range

A wide temperature range is better if you plan to use a thermometer for more than just meat. A meat thermometer may run from about 32°F to 392°F, but an all-purpose one should have a wider range on the low end.

thermometer temperature range


The top nine thermometers we reviewed came with a variety of accessories like storage cases, magnets, detachable probes, and more.

Manufacturer’s warranty

Check out how long the warranty is good for, especially if you plan to get a lot of use out of your thermometer. The brands we tested range from one to five years.

The bottom line

Using both an instant-read along with an oven thermometer can help the accuracy and timing of your recipes, especially when cooking meat. The oven thermometer allows you to get close to your target temperature while the instant-read lets you take quick internal temperatures in several different locations of the food.

If you’re not roasting of baking with time-sensitive recipes, an instant-read thermometer alone should typically do the trick. Even though the EatSmart Precision Elite Food Thermometer had a faster average reading time in our testing, it didn’t have the accuracy, functionality, or features of our top recommendation, the Lavatools – Javelin PRO Duo. After clearly standing out in our tests, it has kept up in long-term testing, too, maintaining its accuracy and functionality in three years of additional usage.

For more on thermometers, check out our review of the best indoor outdoor thermometer.

Top Pick: Lavatools - Javelin PRO Duo

Fast, accurate, feature-packed and easy to use, this digital meat thermometer excelled in our series of tests.

Daniel Jackson, Writer

Daniel is a Canadian farm boy who grew up to be a nerd with a literature degree and too many hobbies to count. He emigrated from Canada to California in 2013, and now writes for Your Best Digs full-time. Daniel remains unapologetic about Canadian spelling, serial commas, and the destruction of expensive travel mugs.