There’s no worse feeling than cutting into a juicy chicken breast, hot off the grill, only to find a too-pink, undercooked center. That's when a good grill thermometer would've saved the dinner.
Luckily, there are a number of helpful grill thermometers on the market, including both wireless and probe versions, to help solve this problem. But there are some questions to consider before you choose the one for you. For instance, you'll want to think about how you'll be using it. Will you need to continue prepping dinner inside, with an app notifying you when the steak is medium-rare? Do you want accuracy within a degree or two? Will you need multiple thermometers at the same time?
These are all aspects to take into consideration, which is why we did the research to find the top-rated grill thermometers in several categories. We then sent our picks to writer and product tester Ariane Resnick to put them through their paces in her own kitchen. She tested each thermometer for ease of use, accuracy, performance, and ease of cleaning.
Based on our research and home testing, the MEATER Plus Wireless Smart Thermometer is our favorite wireless option if you want a feature-heavy, high-tech tool. For the no-frills griller, ThermoWorks' Thermapen ONE is a good option for a classic probe.
Here, the best grill thermometers for every type of need, whether you're a seasoned grill master or a newbie chef.
Best Overall, Wireless
Meater Plus With Bluetooth Repeater
What We Love: Easy to hold, lightweight, high-end appearance, easy to open and close
What We Don’t Love: Have to provide email address to use app
The Meater Plus makes outdoor cooking a breeze and connects to a free mobile app for wireless monitoring. It works over Bluetooth for a range up to 165 feet and you can extend the range by connecting it to your Wi-Fi with Meater Link (free in Meater's app) or connecting with Meater Cloud to use it with your Alexa.
This thermometer includes two sensors on one probe to simultaneously measure internal meat temperature up to 212 degrees and ambient or external temperature up to 527 degrees. The Guided Cook System walks users through each step of the cooking process and allows for customized alerts and notifications.
It earns pretty aesthetic points too, with a sleek bamboo charging case and simple metal design—something that, combined with its high-end technology, makes this thermometer a great gift for the pitmasters in your life, says our tester. "For anyone who likes to feel high-tech with their gadgets, the Meater Plus thermometer will be a delight to work with," she adds.
But, perhaps the single greatest asset of the Meater Plus is the Advanced Estimator Algorithm on the Meater app, which provides expert time management tips and clearly showcases how long to cook and rest food. Note, however, that it’s quite small, so it may be tricky to use for those with large hands.
"It's so high-tech! It's tiny, with a super-cute magnetic case made of high-quality wood. It looks expensive." — Ariane Resnick, Product Tester
Price at time of publish: $100
Probe Length: 4.3 inches | Temperature Range: -58 to 212 degrees F (internal) or 572 degrees F (external) | Bluetooth Range: 165 feet | Power Source: AAA battery | Waterproof? Yes
Best Overall, Probe
ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE
What We Love: No power button needed, easy to open and close, lightweight, comfortable to hold
What We Don’t Love: Can’t easily switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit
The Thermapen is said to be a favorite of chefs and BBQ champions alike. It comes with remarkable technical accuracy, within less than one degree, and only takes a couple of seconds for a reading. It’s also waterproof and backlit for nighttime use, with a patented auto-rotating display to make grilling even more hassle-free; this means left-handed cooks will love this tool, too.
This thermometer is great for saving battery life as well, as it will automatically shut off when put down and spring back to life when it gets picked back up. It’s guaranteed for 3,000-hour battery life using a single AAA battery and displays in both Celsius and Fahrenheit for added convenience—though Ariane says that it wasn't easy to switch between the two during testing.
The probe also folds into the base to make for easy storage in between grilling. Choose from six different colors for your Thermapen, designed to perfectly cook your meat to the optimal temperature range based on your preferences. Opening the probe turns the device on, making our tester found quite user-friendly.
"I love how it turns on automatically when you open it, and no power button is needed. Also, the display didn't fog over quickly over boiling water, the way others did." — Ariane Resnick, Product Tester
Price at time of publish: $100
Probe Length: 0.4 inches | Temperature Range: -58 to 572 degrees F | Wireless/Cable Range: N/A | Power Source: AAA battery | Waterproof? Yes
NutriChef Smart Wireless Grill Thermometer
What We Love: Fun stopwatch appearance, easy to use, intuitive to hold, accurate
What We Don’t Love: Plastic construction means it can’t be placed too close to grill
This affordable handy tool harnesses the power of technology and makes grilling a breeze, with a sensor that triggers a cell phone alert when the meat reaches its desired temperature. "This is a high-tech gadget with a low-tech price," says Ariane. "It reads quickly and accurately, and while you can use it with Bluetooth and WiFi, it also offers the option of reading temperature directly on the device," she adds.
The Nutrichef Smart Wireless Grill Thermometer works with two temperature probes, with the base connecting to your phone via an app and Bluetooth. It boasts an indoor range of 100 feet and an outdoor wireless range of 328 feet. The probes themselves can withstand intense heat, up to 482 degrees, while their 32-inch stainless steel cables can tolerate up to 716 degrees.
The probes can be used on different meats at the same time, as the digital display will simply switch back and forth between them for dual monitoring with ease. The display is easy to read, and we love that you can use the WiFi or look directly at it. Additionally, temperatures can be set using both Fahrenheit and Celsius. The package does include the two AA batteries needed.
"Fast, accurate, fun to use. I love the stopwatch vibe, and had no trouble setting it up. ... I love that it has the ability to do WiFi/Bluetooth but also gives you the temperature right on it." — Ariane Resnick, Product Tester
Price at time of publish: $20
Probe Length: 3.7 inches | Temperature Range: Up to 482 dgrees F | Wireless/Cable Range: 328 feet | Power Source: AA battery | Waterproof? Yes
Related: The Best Grill Brushes
Pampered Chef Instant-Read Food Thermometer
What We Love: Easy to use, magnetic back, lists cooking temps, operates quickly
What We Don’t Love: Less fancy-looking than some other choices
This water-resistant tool unfolds so that the detachable probe can monitor the meat inside your grill (or oven) while the display stays magnetically attached outside. Our tester found this feature extra convenient: "It sticks well wherever it's placed," she notes.
For ease, this Pampered Chef thermometer shows degrees in both Celsius and Fahrenheit and can be used in ranges from -40 to 482 degrees (-40 to 250 in Celsius). The display measures 5.5 x 1.75 inches with a 2.75-inch probe and a removable corded probe that is 3 feet long. Pampered Chef guarantees that the temperature is accurate within two degrees, and Ariane found it to take temperatures quickly and correctly.
The thermometer is also protected with a one-year guarantee for non-commercial use, perfect for at-home cooking. When cleaning, be sure to not submerge this grill thermometer in water; simply wipe with a damp cloth and towel-dry.
"It seems like something that would last well and has numerous great features. I love that it includes proper temperatures for assorted meats, right on the front, for any home cooks who don't know them offhand." — Ariane Resnick, Product Tester
Price at time of publish: $75
Probe Length: 2.75 inches | Temperature Range: -40 to 482 degrees F | Wireless/Cable Range: 3 feet | Power Source: CR-2032 battery | Waterproof? Yes
Best for High Heat
Cuisinart Bluetooth Easy Connect Thermometer
What We Love: Vibrant display, sturdy, easy to read, very high heat range,
What We Don’t Love: Batteries sold separately
Our tester swears by her Cuisinart kitchen items, and after testing, this grill thermometer didn't disappoint. Right off the bat, the Cuisinart Bluetooth Easy Connect Thermometer impresses as it can withstand temperatures of up to 600 degrees, which is significantly higher than most grill thermometers out there. It also makes it possible, and convenient, to monitor your meat from afar with the associated mobile app. Simply set your desired temperature (from a helpful provided list), set your color-coded probes, and wait for the handheld unit to expertly monitor the meat temperature.
The stainless-steel and plastic thermometer requires two AA batteries, which are not included with the device—the only con Ariane found. ("Batteries should be included when spending $40 or $50 on a thermometer," she notes.) It does have a kickstand that allows for easy-to-read display while using, though. For storage, home cooks can either tuck the probes and wrap cord around the unit, or use the kickstand to hang the tool from the grill or any wall.
"This is a sturdy and efficient grill thermometer. While you have the option for Bluetooth, you can read temperature directly on the thermometers as well. It also has an incredibly high heat range." — Ariane Resnick, Product Tester
Price at time of publish: $60
Probe Length: 3.25 inches | Temperature Range: Up to 600 degrees F | Wireless/Cable Range: About 3 feet | Power Source: AA battery | Waterproof? No
Related: The Best Grills
GEFU Digital Thermometer
What We Love: Easy to hold and use, quick to read, stainless steel gives it an upscale look
What We Don’t Love: Fogs over quickly in steam
Crafted of stainless steel and plastic and with an impressive five-year manufacturing warranty, the GEFU Digital Thermometer is a great option that's both straightforward and effective. With a crisp, clear display that can withstand temperatures of -40 to 392 degrees, this will be your new best friend for perfectly cooked meat. The display window is easy to read day or night, and the probe weighs just 1 pound with dimensions of 11 x 3 x 1 inches.
The stainless loop at the end also makes for convenient storage: It can be hung for easy access or simply folded to conserve drawer space. It’s a simple, elegant tool that is the perfect transition for anyone who wants to upgrade their analog thermometer, says Ariane.
"Yes, it's an excellent no-frills tool for someone who doesn't require any pizzazz to their kitchen equipment. And despite having no-frills, it still looks nicer than a plastic thermometer or an analog one." — Ariane Resnick, Product Tester
Price at time of publish: $30
Probe Length: 4.5 inches | Temperature Range: -40 to 392 degrees F | Wireless/Cable Range: N/A | Power Source: AAA battery | Waterproof? No
Related: The Best Portable Grills
The wireless household should grill meats to perfection with the Meater Plus Wireless Meat Thermometer which connects to your Wi-Fi and/or your Alexa. For one of the most accurate thermometers trusted by professionals, pick up the Thermoworks Thermapen ONE.
How We Tested
We sifted through dozens of the top-rated grill thermometers, reading through customer reviews and available manufacturer information, to choose our top picks. Then, we purchased those thermometers for writer and product tester Ariane Resnick so she could put them to the test in her own kitchen. We had her test the accuracy of the thermometers by measuring the temperature of water while it was boiling, and then going to the grill to take a reading with the thermometer at its maximum range.
She then observed the quality of each thermometer's performance and its user-friendliness by grilling a steak to three different levels of doneness, letting each rest, and then measuring the meat's temperature from the center. Finally, she noted how easy it was to clean the grill thermometers according to manufacturer instructions.
After testing, Ariane gave us her feedback about what she liked and didn’t like about each grill thermometer and rated each one on the following features: Accuracy, Ease of Use, Performance, Cleaning, and Overall Value. Learn more about how we test products.
What to Look for When Buying a Grill Thermometer
Probe lengths on grill thermometers vary significantly, so you’ll want to take your grilling preferences into consideration before choosing your thermometer. Shorter probes work well for thin cuts of meat, but if you regularly cook thicker cuts, like a porterhouse, a thermometer with a probe that’s at least 5 inches long will allow you to get the most accurate temperature reading.
For standard grill thermometers, a temperature range that goes up to 482 degrees is expected, and that range will provide readings that apply to the vast majority of grilled meats. Some simple, and budget-friendly, models will have a lower maximum temperature, so if you need a thermometer that can function in hotter environments, then these versions likely won’t work for you. Also, if you want to use your thermometer under very high temperatures of 500 degrees or more, investing in a thermometer specially designed for those extremes, like the Cuisinart Bluetooth Easy Connect Thermometer, makes sense.
Grill thermometers can be very streamlined and simple, but some models include features that enhance the grilling experience. Examples range from Bluetooth connectivity with apps that allow you to remotely monitor your grilling, long-term battery life, digital displays, and kickstands for easy grill attachment.
Why do I need a grill thermometer?
"Not knowing the internal temperature of food can be very dangerous, as food-borne pathogens can be present until cooked to a certain temperature," says Jessica Randhawa, the recipe developer behind The Forked Spoon. "I always have a grill thermometer handy for all my family's grilling and smoking to ensure that the internal temperature is perfect for the recipe I am making."
How do you calibrate a grill thermometer?
Calibrating a grill thermometer is an essential step for achieving the most accurate temperature readings. Luckily, it’s a very easy process. You can either place the probe in a pot of boiling water and check to see if it registers a boiling temperature (212 degrees Fahrenheit, with some possible variations depending on elevation), or you can place the probe in a container of ice water to see if it registers a temperature at the freezing point (32 degrees Fahrenheit).
Should you wipe a thermometer in between taking temperature readings on a piece of meat?
When you’re working with meat that isn’t fully cooked, cleaning the grill thermometer after every use is a safe and hygienic choice. A quick wash in hot, soapy water and thorough drying with a clean kitchen towel will do the trick.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Katy Spratte Joyce has been a prolific home cook and un-fussy foodie for over a decade, and now she’s writing about it for publications like Eating Well, The Spruce Eats, and Simply Recipes. She has undercooked chicken far too many times on the grill and wants to spare you the same dilemma.
Ariane Resnick is a special diet chef and certified nutritionist who's been working creatively with produce for over two decades. She has not only been in countless kitchens but has also used nearly every brand of culinary equipment on the market.
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