Best Meat Thermometers for Grilling Reviews of 2019

picture of woman using a meat thermometer for chicken on a serving plate

Equip your outdoor kitchen with the best meat thermometer for grilling on the market to make sure you never serve undercooked steaks or burgers from your grill ever again! Your BBQ grill surface may reach temperatures above 400F, but grilling a thick 8lb steak right through takes more than searing heat.

Hotspots on your grill, obstructed ventilation, and even gusts of wind can make a consistent temperature hard to maintain, resulting in undercooked food that’s charred on the outside, or overcooked meat that has lost its moisture. Worst of all, harmful pathogens can remain, which shouldn’t be digested!

With our list of best meat thermometer reviews you can start grilling your meat like a pro! Our carefully aggregated list takes a close look at the current top performing meat thermometers on the market:

Best Meat Thermometer For Grilling Reviews: Top Picks

Our ratings for each meat thermometer were based on a detailed comparison of features as well as Amazon reviews by verified users. You’ll find a more detailed product overview of each pick below, with pros and cons listed as well.

Features:

  • Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.1 x 2.2 inches
  • Instant Temperature Read (within 2 seconds)
  • Temperature Range:  -58℉-572℉
  • Waterproof Body 
  • LCD Light - 
  • Celsius/Fahrenheit Switch
  • Retractable Design
  • Internal Magnet
  • 10mn Auto Shut Off
  • Adjustable Calibration 
  • Meat Temperature guide and easy to follow graphical user manual.
  • 4 velcro dots to hang your meat temperature guide.
  • 2 Batteries included (2 x 3V CR2032 batteries)


    Product Overview

    Now you can finally take the guess-work out of your grilling! Our top pick for meat thermometers comes from Kizen, electronics manufacturers of lighting and kitchen electronic devices [1]. They thought of everything a chef could need in a meat thermometer for grilling enthusiasts and packed it with impressive features!

    Let’s start with the packaging. The Kizen digital thermometer is so well packaged that it makes a great gift for anyone who loves grilling meat. The foam lined box also makes a perfect storage case for the thermometer when not in use. 

    At roughly 6 inches in length, the Kizen digital meat thermometer sits comfortably in your hand. The meat temperature probe is long and thin, allowing easy insertion into your beef, turkey, burgers or other meat while it’s on the grill. Within 2 seconds, you can obtain a temperature reading accurate to within 1 degree!  

    Reading the temperature in bright or dark conditions is easy thanks to the large LCD display on the handle. Should you happen to forget, the Kizen digital thermometer has an auto shut off feature as well that activates after 10 minutes, conserving battery power.

    Need to switch from celsius to fahrenheit? The Kizen digital thermometer allows you to toggle back and forth with the press of a button so you can follow domestic or international recipes easily. 

    Unlike some brands which claim to be waterproof, the Kizen meat thermometer can be immersed in running water for easy cleaning or wiped clean with a damp cloth after each use. Its sturdy design is made of ABS plastic and is IP67 rated for waterproof. 

    The IP67 rating means you can immerse it in water up to 1 meter and it will still function for at least 15 mn before any potential damage [2]. So even if you accidentally drop it in water or a bowl of soup, it should still function without any damage as long as it is removed quickly.
Picture of Kizen Digital Food Thermometer being used for steak

Thanks to its retractable design, the Kizen digital thermometer stores easily in any drawer. It also has a hole for hanging conveniently on a hook in your kitchen or on your grill. Expertly calibrated by the manufacturer, you can recalibrate the meat thermometer if needed by following the simple instructions provided in the user manual.

Bundled with the Kizen digital meat thermometer is a very useful meat temperature guide and user manual with detailed, graphic instructions. There are not one but two 3 volt batteries included, one inside the thermometer and a spare.  

With hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon, we could only find one drawback. The Kizen digital meat thermometer isn’t oven-friendly, so you can’t leave it in an oven or an electric smoker, for example.  

Instead, to test the internal temperature of your smoked meat, you should remove it from the smoker towards the end of the smoking process and insert the Kizen thermometer for an instant temperature reading. If your meat needs more time, you can adjust the temperature or your timer accordingly.

Overall, the Kizen digital thermometer has set the standard for a quality meat thermometer, and a very high standard at that. No other thermometer compares in speed, accuracy, or durability. Whether you love grilling or smoking your meat, the Kizen meat thermometer will always ensure your food is ready and pathogen-free!

Pros:

- Ultra fast temperature reading within 2 seconds of insertion
- Waterproof for easy washing
- Spare battery included
- Accurate temperature reading within 1 degree

Cons:

Can’t be used to read internal oven temperature


Features:

  • Dimensions: 2.2 x 0.6 x 1.5 inches
  • LCD Display
  • Durable Stainless Steel Design
  • Celsius/Fahrenheit Switch
  • Temperature Range: 32°F to 572°F
  • Withstand temperatures up to 716F (380C)
  • Accuracy within +/-1.8°F/1°C
  • Digital Alarm/Timer
  • Preset Temperature Settings (USDA approved)
  • 5-Recipe EBook included
  • 1 yr warranty
  • Lifetime Probe Replacement
  • Battery included (1 x AAA)

Product Overview

Established since 2014, ThermoPro has quickly become a leading North American manufacturer of quality digital meat thermometers. You’ll find them in countless meat thermometer reviews, usually near or at the top. ThermoPro meat thermometers are versatile, covered by a lifetime probe replacement, and supported by a very attentive customer service team.

Over 5000 Amazon reviews have lauded the ThermoPro TP-16 for its amazing features. Its stainless steel box design is unique among meat thermometers, and is incredibly handy. A magnet on the back of the unit allows you to mount it on the exterior of an oven, electric smoker, or bbq grill. The meat probe is attached to a 2ft long mesh wire cable that connects to the display box. Close the oven door or grill cover, and the LCD screen displays the internal temperature of the meat while it’s cooking!

Built to withstand temperatures as high as 716F, this is a great meat thermometer for smoking meat, as the maximum cooking temperature required is typically between 210 - 225F. Due to possible malfunctions with the meat probe, ThermoPro offers a lifetime probe replacement as well as an extended 3yr warranty if you register the TP-16 after purchase [3].

Product image of ThermoPro TP-16 Large LCD Digital Meat Thermometer two function timer

Cooking or grilling meat with the TP-16 meat thermometer is so easy. The TP-16 doesn’t provide an instant reading but is accurate within a respectable 1.8F. You can expect a reading within 15 - 30 seconds, depending on how and where the meat probe is inserted. A simple button lets you switch between fahrenheit and celsius, a feature that you’ll find on only the best digital meat thermometers. The temperature range is also wide, from 32F as high as 572F, which allows for greater flexibility of use. Test the internal temperature for frozen yogurt or hot searing sirloin steaks on the grill!

While the preset temperatures are very handy for grilling a variety of meat (poultry, beef, pork) you may not want to rely on them for your cooking. Although they are set according to USDA standards, they are the minimum internal temperature requirements for food readiness. To achieve the taste and tenderness of your preference, you may have to create your own settings using the programmable alert mode.

The ThermoPro TP-16 doesn’t have as wide a temperature range as the Kizen digital meat thermometer in our review, and it isn’t as fast at reading temperature, but it’s definitely more useful for smoking meat and is a lot more oven-friendly because of its stainless steel design and 2ft cable. 

Pros:

- Heat resistant, oven friendly design
- Digital alarm and timer
- Accurate temperature reading
- Lifetime probe replacement

Cons:

- 2ft Mesh cable can get knotted
- Meat probe may need replacing
- Preset temperatures may not be reliable
- Cannot be recalibrated


Features:

  • Dimensions 6.3 x 2 x 1.6 inches
  • Instant temperature read (within 2 - 5 seconds)
  • Temperature Range: -4ºF up to 392ºF
  • Accurate within 1 degree (+/-)
  • LCD Display
  • Backlight
  • Celsius/Fahrenheit Switch
  • Waterproof Design
  • Adjustable Calibration 
  • Auto Shut Off
  • Hold Button
  • Min/Max Temperature Setting
  • Battery included (1 LR44 battery)
  • Lifetime Guarantee


    Product Overview

    If you’ve never heard of Alpha Grillers, it’s about time you did! This small, family-owned business has grown rapidly, building a solid reputation for premium bbq tools and accessories the world over. Highly recommended by over 2000 users, the Alpha Grillers Instant Read Meat Thermometer demonstrates their commitment to serving the grilling community exceptional value.

    Beautifully packaged in a foam-lined box with a meat temperature chart included, the box is just too nice to throw out. It makes a great gift or can serve as storage for the thermometer. The jackknife design folds for easy storage and the thermometer is already perfectly calibrated for use right out of the box. You can also adjust the calibration later using the ice point method, should you discover the temperature reading is inaccurate.

    That really shouldn’t be a problem, however, because the Alpha Grillers meat thermometer is calibrated for accuracy within 1 F. A lifetime guarantee covers the Alpha Grillers meat probe against defects so be sure to read through the manual for user instructions, which you’ll receive by email after your purchase.

Product Packaging of Alpha Grillers Instant Read Meat Thermometer

Once inserted, the temperature probe provides a reading within 2 seconds, with an adequate temperature range that dips as low as -4F, or climbs as high as 392F. That’s more than enough for testing the internal temperature of a smoked brisket or homemade ice cream. 

One really useful feature of the Alpha Grillers meat thermometer is the ‘Hold’ button. After removing the probe from your meat, the temperature reading typically drops, but the hold button allows you to hold the temperature so you can remove the probe and read the LCD display at your convenience.

With its waterproof design, instant temperature read and hold button, the Alpha Grillers meat thermometer is a great bargain for the price. Use it for grilling or smoking meat, but do not attempt to leave it in an oven or smoker because it is not heat resistant.

Pros:

- Instant temperature reading within 2 - 3 seconds and accurate temperature
- Waterproof for easy washing
- Convenient ‘Hold Button’
- Easily re-calibrated

Cons:

- No spare battery
- Not for use inside an oven or smoker


Features:

  • Dimensions: 5.3” inch extra long meat probe
  • Durable Stainless Steel Design
  • Temperature Range: -58°F to 572°F (-50°C to 300°C) 
  • Instant Temperature Reading (within 4 - 6 seconds)
  • Accurate Temperature Reading within 0.9F (+/-)
  • Backlight Display
  • Hold Button
  • Auto Shut Off
  • Celsius/Fahrenheit Switch
  • Battery included (2 x LR44)
  • 3yr warranty

    Product Overview

    Once again, another ThermoPro meat thermometer has made our list of top picks. We had to include the TP01A, one of the earliest thermometers in the series, and among the most popular with users.

    The ThermoPro TP01A feels like it was made for the grilling community. Even though it’s digital, it has a very straightforward design that makes it safe to use over an open fire. The long stainless steel meat probe is almost 6” inches long, so you can insert it fairly safely into your burger meat, sausage, or steak while it’s on the grill. 

    Within 4 - 6 seconds, the bright LCD screen displays the temperature, accurate within 0.9F. The TP01A also has one of the most impressive temperature ranges, from -58°F to 572°F, making it one of the most versatile meat thermometers in our review.

diagram of ThermoPro TP01A Instant Read Meat Thermometer features

Like the Alpha Grillers meat thermometer, the TP01A has a hold button for added convenience and a backlight for dimly lit conditions. It also comes with a spare LR44 battery type which is also very hand and much appreciated!

We should note that the TP01A cannot be recalibrated but is covered by a 3 year warranty, which is really great considering its low price point. This is a handheld thermistor, so it’s not designed for internal oven or smoker use. Use gloves or remove your meat from your smoker if you want to use it test your smoked meat.  

All things considered, it is a very reliable, user-friendly meat thermometer that you’ll love grilling with!

Pros:

- Versatile meat probe thermometer
- Extra long probe prevents accidents
- Convenient Hold Button
- Spare battery included

Cons:

- Not waterproof
- Cannot be recalibrated
- Not for internal oven/smoker use


Features:

  • Dimensions: 6.9 x 1.3 x 2.6 inches
  • 4.8’ Temperature Probe
  • Instant Temperature Read within 2 seconds
  • Temperature Range: -58 °F up to 572 °F
  • Temperature Accuracy within 1 degree (+/-)
  • Adjustable Calibration
  • Fahrenheit/Celsius Switch
  • LCD Display
  • Waterproof
  • Retractable Design
  • 10mn Auto Shut Off 
  • 2 Batteries (3V CR2032)
  • Lifetime Guarantee

    Product Overview

    With similar design features to the Kizen digital meat thermometer, we just had to include the Amagarm digital thermometer in our review. Elegantly packaged for gifting or storage, this instant read, handheld meat thermometer delivers a reading within 2 seconds and is accurate within 1 degree!  

    The Amagarm digital meat thermometer may look like a knock-off of the Kizen, but users have had little to complain about. Amagarm, owned by Shenzhen Baji Electronic Commerce Co, has an impressive 96% positive rating with Amazon, gathered from over 1300 user ratings, and their thermometer is covered by a lifetime guarantee. Research into the trademark suggests the company specializes in houseware and glass products. 

AMAGARM Digital Meat Thermometer being used to cook steak

The Amagarm’s 4 inch meat probe is long enough for use on the grill, pellet smoker, bbq or oven, but is not meant to be left on the grill or in the oven at high temperatures for more than 1 minute. The Amagarm is waterproof and easily washable, but should not be put in the dishwasher because the digital components.

Although it comes precalibrated, you can recalibrate the thermometer if needed. Easily toggle between fahrenheit or celsius, and use the hold button to ensure you get an accurate reading. Even in dim conditions, the LCD screen is brightly lit and there’s a spare battery as well! Finally, for storage, you can either fold the Amagarm meat thermometer or hang it on a hook in your kitchen. 

Considering it is lower in price than the Kizen, the Amagarm compares very well. Use it for grilling, smoking, and many other applications, including:

  • BBQ/Smoked meat, steak, fried fish, turkey, chicken
  • Breads, pastries, candy, cheese, yogurt, ice cream
  • Baby milk, fresh baby juice
  • Wine, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc
  • Hand-Soaps, scented candles

Pros:

- 2 - 3 Second Temperature Reading and accuracy within 1 Degree (+/-)
- Can be recalibrated if needed
- Auto shut off saves battery power
- Spare battery included

Cons:

- Not for use in an oven
- Waterproof but cannot be washed in the dishwasher


Features: 

  • Dimensions: 5.9 x 3.1 x 3 inches
  • Temperature Range: 130-190F (54-88C)
  • Oven Safe Stainless Steel


    Product Overview

    Certainly the most inexpensive option in our best meat thermometer for grilling reviews, the Blacksail Kitchen Analog Meat thermometer is a no-frills, old-fashioned design  you can count on all the same.

    Analog meat thermometers are very straightforward. They don’t have any electrical components or wiring so there is far less risk of any damage. The Blacksail meat thermometer has a stainless steel exterior and a large glass lens for easy viewing of the temperature dial. Its oven safe design means you can put it in the oven to test your roast, ham, pork, turkey or any other meat dish while it’s still cooking or on the fire. Even with high vaporization inside your oven, the glass stays vapor-free.

Blacksail Kitchen Analog Meat Thermometer being used for cooking meat

The Blacksail Analog meat thermometer isn’t waterproof by design, but it can be safely immersed in water without any damage, although water may seep into the dial. Although you can wash the thermometer in running water, you should avoid immersing it for long periods of time because the dial has a very handy cheat sheet of meat temperatures that really takes the guess-work out of your grilling. Water could cause the temperature chart and dial to fade.

While there isn’t a celsius/fahrenheit switch, the dial includes temperatures for both, which is another hand feature. We should caution that the Blacksail does not have instant read capabilities and takes up to 45 seconds to provide an internal temperature reading.

Lastly, leaving the Blacksail Analog meat thermometer in an oven or grill at temperatures beyond 200︒ C /392︒F might cause damage to the thermometer. Use gloves when removing it from your smoker, oven, or grill because it will be hot to the touch. 

Pros:

- Easy to use
- Stainless steel oven-safe design
- Cheat sheet for cooking meat
- No battery required

Cons:

- Takes up to 45s for a temperature reading
- Can’t be left in an oven above 392F
- Fahrenheit only


picture of brussel sprouts and meat with a blacksail Kitchen Analog Meat Thermometer in it

How To Use A Meat Thermometer The Right Way

Digital or analog, a meat thermometer is the best way to ensure your meat is ready every time. After all, due to the parasites and bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella that are in raw meat, you want to make sure your meat is cooked properly [4].

Follow these 4 simple steps to use your meat thermometer the right way for an accurate temperature reading:

  1. Use a thermometer that has a fast read out. 
  2. Insert the meat probe directly through to the other side
  3. Withdraw the probe slowly until you notice a drop in temperature. this is the sweet spot where the internal meat temperature is best measured
  4. Hold at this position to obtain the temperature before removing

Grilled food can look ready on the outside but don’t rely on your senses alone! Even an experienced chef rely on a meat thermometer probe to determine the readiness of their dishes.

This chart provides you with internal meat temperatures as approved by the USDA [5].

Internal Meat Temperature Chart

Meat Type:

Poultry (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, wings, ground poultry, giblets, and stuffing)
Beef, Pork, Steak, Lamb
Ham, fresh or smoked (uncooked)
Ground Meats (Beef/Chicken/Pork/Turkey)
Fish & Shellfish
Pre-cooked Ham 

Optimal Internal Temperature:

165 °F (73.9 °C)

145 °F (62.8 °C)
145 °F (62.8 °C)
145 °F (62.8 °C)
145 °F (62.8 °C)
140 °F (60 °C) - 165 °F (73.9 °C)

Keep in mind that these figures are a guide. personal preference will play a role in your meat preparation but these temperatures are the minimum levels to avoid serving undercooked meat.

Picture of ThermoPro Digital Meat Thermometer being used to cook chicken in oven

Important Meat Thermometer Features

Accuracy

Accurate thermometers should read exactly 32°F in ice-cold water. A variance of 1 - 2 degrees is considered acceptable quality. any variance Beyond 3 degrees of accuracy either way can be a problem [6].

Speed

Instant read meat thermometers can typically measure temperature within 2 - 5 seconds of insertion. Analog meat thermometers can take as long as 45 seconds or more, depending on how the probe has been inserted.

For grilling over an open fire, it’s best to use an instant read thermometer to avoid burning your hands or fingers. If you are smoking meat in an electric smoker with a wide viewing window, or an oven, an analog meat thermometer is more suitable due to its oven-safe, metal design. Just be sure to use gloves when removing the analog thermometer from the hot oven.

Temperature Range

A good meat thermometer should have an adequate temperature range on both the low and high end. 32F - 600F will enable you to measure internal temperature for both cold and hot dishes [7].

Calibration

Luckily, today’s top brands of meat thermometers for grilling are calibrated before you purchase. Re-calibrating a meat thermometer is fairly simple, but not all models can be recalibrated so read the features carefully.

Watch this brief YouTube demonstration to learn how to recalibrate an analog meat thermometer:

Picture of man using best meat thermometer for meat on bbq

Steps To Calibrating A Meat Thermometer With Ice

  1. Fill a large glass with ice
  2. Add clean tap water and fill the glass
  3. Stir well
  4. Next, insert the meat probe a minimum of 5 centimeters into the glass without holding the glass to avoid impacting the temperature
  5. Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds
  6. Using a wrench to hold the nut that attaches the probe in place, turn the meat thermometer counterclockwise to the freezing point on the thermometer (0 Celsius/ 32 Fahrenheit)

Durability

Digital meat thermometers are typically made of plastics and electronic components/wiring. The probe is usually stainless steel.

There are waterproof meat thermometers but take this with a grain of salt. A digital meat thermometer should never be fully immersed in water or to avoid damaging the electrical components. Water can seep through small crevices into the battery compartment as well, so don’t attempt to dish wash your meat thermometer either.

Handheld meat thermometers, also known as thermistors, aren’t designed for oven use or smoking meat. They are best used near the end of the grilling process for a quick reading before serving. 

Oven-safe meat thermometers can read internal temperature from within the oven, meaning you don’t have to remove the meat until it’s ready. Be sure to read the user manual carefully, however. Even oven-safe meat thermometers may have a threshold, or a maximum temperature that should not be exceeded to prevent damage to the unit.  

Storage

Some of the best meat thermometers have a folding or retractable design. The sharp meat probe is tucked safely away and can be stored in a drawer safely. Many digital meat thermometers feature a small hole at the opposite end of the probe for hanging on a hook.

Warranty

Although most meat thermometers for grilling are fairly inexpensive, a defective probe or malfunctioning digital features out of the box can be frustrating. Even with the highest manufacturing standards, defects can occur, which is why warranty coverage is important.

A 1 - 3 yr warranty should be sufficient for any premium meat thermometer, such as the ones included in the best meat thermometers review above. Lifetime guarantees for probes are usually a sign that there may be defects, but it’s also reassuring to know the manufacturer is committed to supporting their customer’s needs for the life of the product.

Read through the user manual or directions for your meat thermometer to find about warranty terms and conditions before you start using it. 

Conclusion

This guide is only the beginning!  Finding the best meat thermometer for grilling will be much easier with these helpful reviews. Leave your feedback in the comments below if you have a question or tip you’d like to share and happy grilling!

References

[1] About Kizen (Kizen)
[2] IP Rating Chart (DSMT)
[3] ThermoPro Warranty Registration (ThermoPro)
[4] Food Safety By Type of Food (FoodSafety.gov)
[5] Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart (United States Department of Agriculture)
[6] How to Test Digital Thermometer Accuracy with Ice Water (Cooks Illustrated)
[7] Kitchen Thermometers (United States Department of Agriculture

This post was last updated on August 23rd, 2019 at 08:02 pm