Editors’ Picks: Instant-Read Digital Thermometers

What's the best instant-read digital thermometer? What's a solid budget option? Here are the digital thermometers we recommend, at all price points!

Photography Credit: Andy Christensen

If you don’t have an instant-read digital thermometer in your kitchen, you are missing out. These handy gadgets are one of our most-used kitchen tools, useful for everything from quickly checking the internal temp of a piece of chicken in the skillet, to monitoring a roast in the oven or some ribs on the grill.

But which instant-read digital thermometer should you get? Whatever your budget, here’s what we recommend.

Our Top Picks

Thermoworks ThermoPop Digital Thermometer

At the sweet mid-range price point of $34, it's hard to top the ThermoPop!

It reads temperatures in 3 to 4 seconds with temperature accuracy of ±2.0°F, has large backlit digits great for checking temps in darker conditions, and has a rotating display so you can read it at any angle!

It also comes in nine fun colors. It's a fantastic thermometer that will be just right for most home cooks.

ThermoPop, $34 from Thermoworks

Thermoworks DOT Probe Thermometer

When it comes to probe-style alarm thermometers, I'm a big fan of the DOT from Thermoworks. (Thermoworks really does make some of the best thermometers on the market.)

While there are more expensive probe-style thermometers with plenty of bells and whistles (we share some upgrade picks below), the DOT's simplicity is part of its appeal. Just set your target temperature, stick the probe into your food in the oven, and DOT beeps when it hits that temperature. It reads temperatures up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit, and has a long 47-inch cable so you can comfortably set the thermometer on the countertop.

Use it for roasting, baking, smoking, candy making, home brewing, sous vide, and more. It's a top-notch essential tool that won't break the bank.

DOT, $36 from Thermoworks (currently down from $43)

Budget Digital Thermometers Under $20

When it comes to budget thermometers, what you sacrifice in speed and accuracy can be made up for in dollars saved—and sometimes that's what counts.

CDN DTQ450X Thin Tip Thermometer

Emma has used her thermometer from CDN since culinary school, which provides temperature readings in six seconds.

CDN Thin Tip Digital Thermometer, $18 on Amazon

ThermoPro TP-16 Digital Probe Thermometer Clock Timer with Stainless Steel Probe

This thermometer comes with six preset temperatures for specific foods as recommended by the USDA.

ThermoPro TP-16 Digital Probe Thermometer, $19

Digital Thermometers Between $30 - $50

Our two top picks, the ThermoPOP ($34) and DOT Probe Thermometer ($36), fall into this mid-tier category of digital thermometers. But there are a couple of other thermometers worth mentioning in this level as well!

Digital Instant Read Thermometer

The Lavatools Javelin features a very fast 1-3 second response time with an accuracy better than ±0.9°F, which makes it slightly faster than the Thermopop. Like the ThermoPop, the display auto-rotates so you can read it in any position, but a nice added feature is that the Javelin beeps when it finishes reading the temperature.

Lavatools Javelin Digital Thermometer, $55 on Amazon

Thermoworks ChefAlarm Cooking Alarm Thermometer

With more features and a longer probe, Thermoworks ChefAlarm is a step up from the DOT probe thermometer. It includes adjustable high and low alarms, a timer, and always-on minimum and maximum temperatures, which make it great for when you need to know when the food goes above or below the desired temperature range, like when making yogurt or tempering chocolate.

ChefAlarm Cooking Alarm Thermometer, $54 from Thermoworks

Top of the Line Digital Thermometers Between $80 - $100

If you're going to go all-in on a digital thermometer, these are the two to know.

Thermoworks Thermapen MK4

The popular and exceptionally well-reviewed Thermapen is the best-in-class digital thermometer. It's not cheap, but for that price you're getting everything you'd want in an instant-read thermometer: lightning-fast speed (less than two seconds), unsurpassed accuracy to ±0.7°F, auto-rotating display, motion sensing sleep and wake modes, and all without any buttons to worry about.

The Thermapen is also one of my One Simply Terrific Things.

Thermapen MK4, $84 (regularly $99) on Thermoworks

Thermoworks Smoke 2-Channel Leave-In Probe Thermometer

For a top of the line probe thermometer, Thermoworks' Smoke has all the features of the ChefAlarm but enables you to use two probes: one to measure the internal temperature of the meat, and one to measure the surrounding air temperature of the grill, smoker, or oven. The Smoke also comes with a separate receiver, so you can monitor those temperatures and get alerts from the comfort of your couch.

Smoke 2-Channel Leave-In Probe Thermometer, $99 from Thermoworks

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Cambria Bold

Cambria Bold is the Product and Lifestyle Director for Simply Recipes. She has almost a decade's worth of online editorial experience and know-how, first as the Managing Editor for Apartment Therapy's green living site Re-Nest (RIP) and later as the Design and Lifestyle Editor for Kitchn. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband and their two little girls. And, yes, this is her real name.

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5 Comments

No ImageEditors’ Picks: Instant-Read Digital Thermometers

  1. Robert Phillips

    They are very good , better than those of Cook’s Country or Illustrated. They MOST ALWAYS pick the most expensive of what ever they test. These prices are within most folks budget & they work very well. I have ( 3 ) different styles of them.

  2. Roderick Peel

    Really any review needs to state a measurement range which I can’t find above. There are far better (feature rich) thermometers out there than the choice offered above. Take for instance the EasyBBQ pro. Six channels (colour coded probes), wireless (bluetooth) iPhone and Android connectivity, individual programmable alarms, all temperatures represented digitally or graphed, 380 C / 716 F temperature limit (silicon coated probes) with measurements up to 300 C. I use mine both in the kitchen (typically 3 probes in the oven or four on a stove top) and also within different meats on a BBQ. Price is around $60. Note that I have no financial reason or any reason to promote this equipment other than my delight using it.

  3. Gayle Snyder

    It would be nice to have a cheat sheet of temperatures to keep in the drawer with the thermometers.

    Show Replies (1)
  4. kashish

    Great Article Thanks For Sharing.