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Best meat thermometers for 2020

Without a food thermometer, home chefs often find themselves choosing to cook foods a bit longer to make sure it’s safe to eat. However, this frequently results in overly done cuts of meat that end up being dry and are lacking the juicy and tasty qualities that will excite your palate. But not to worry, this problem can easily be solved with a meat thermometer. It is the perfect tool to elevate your dishes and allow you to confidently serve meats that are melt in your mouth, so you never over or undercook your meats again.

To indulge in naturally tender and flavorful dishes every time, you want to insert the probe in your meats while they are still cooking in the pan, grill or oven. Removing the meats and placing it on the counter will not give you the precise reading that you are looking for. It is also best to measure at the thickest part of your meat cut since this is where it will take the longest to reach the desired temperature. Be sure to avoid fat or bones, for the most accurate reading. Since accuracy is important in this process, we have researched and put together a list of the best meat thermometers available to provide you with optimal safety while helping you deliver meats so juicy and tender that you can cut them with your fork. We have included a variety of styles, price points, and technologies to help you find the best meat thermometer to match your cooking needs and personal preferences.

At a glance:

The best premium: Oxo Good Grips Thermocouple

When accuracy is of utmost importance and you want to ensure that your meats are cooked to perfection, no thermometer is better than the Oxo Good Grips Thermocouple. It’s your secret weapon for those occasions when a steak is more than just another dinner — it’s a chance to impress your boss or to show your love for that special someone. On those evenings when you are looking to serve an exquisite dinner, you need a digital meat thermometer that can deliver maximum precision in the least amount of time. With the Oxo Good Grips Thermacouple, you can be sure that the temperature reading is with an accuracy of 0.9 degrees F within two to three seconds, so your food never burns or dries up.

This high-end cooking device features a rotating dial to retrieve the probe after use, without having to touch it. It is an easy to clean cooking tool with a waterproof body, so you can wash is with confidence after use. The Oxo Good Grips is a professional-grade instrument with a thermocouple tip that allows you to register a wide range of temperatures, from negative-58 degrees F to 572 degrees F without having to insert the probe very far. Plus, you can choose to display temperature readings in Fahrenheit or Celsius, as well as with or without decimals.  Once you have set your preferences and are done using this fantastic thermometer, store your device safely in its custom-made microfiber pouch.

The Oxo Good Grips Thermocouple is the best premium meat thermometer and the ideal kitchen companion for home or professional chefs who cook meats often and are looking to achieve that perfect dish every single time.

The best budget: Taylor Precision Products 1478-21

For under $10, the Taylor Precision Products 1478-21 offers a highly accurate meat thermometer and timer in a single device. With its 4-foot silicone cord, you can place the reader on your counter and insert the stainless steel probe to your meats while they are cooking on the pan or use the magnetized back to attach the reader to your oven door while your food cooks inside the oven. This allows you to constantly monitor your meat’s temperature without having to open the oven door or removing your food from the stovetop. With this easy to read and versatile display, you can monitor temperatures from 32 degrees F to 392 degrees F.

And, if you are monitoring temperature while cooking, you can also take advantage of the Taylor’s programmable temperature alarm. Set a target temperature and let the monitor alert you when the food has reached the desired heat level. This thermometer also allows you to set a timer of up to 24 hours, so you can always know how long your food has been cooking for and never worry about losing track of time.

The Taylor Precision Products 1478-21 is our best budget meat thermometer because, with all of these useful features and such a durable build, it truly has a lot to offer for professional and home chefs alike.

The best Bluetooth: Maverick BT-600 iChef

Thanks to the Bluetooth technology in the Maverick BT-600 iChef, you can set the probes while your meats are on the grill or the pan and monitor your food’s temperature from up to 300 feet away. It offers the farthest Bluetooth range in the market, so you can enjoy your barbeque and continue to socialize with guests while keeping track of your food from the device’s app. It allows you to keep an eye on your food’s progress or set an alarm when the meats have reached the desired temperature.

With precision that can be measured in both Celsius or Fahrenheit, the iChef delivers reliable results and a polished design that is modern and attractive. It is a high-tech device that will make you a grilling master extraordinaire, so you can impress your friends and family with your signature steaks and seafood every single time.

The Maverick BT-600 iChef is the meat thermometer that makes the best use of Bluetooth technology and provides a range of distance that truly gives you the freedom to host and entertain while you also cook. With this cooking partner by your side, you can finally stop stressing about your meats and start enjoying the party.

Best digital: CDN DTQ450X-ProAccurate

Reliability and ease of reading are the two main characteristics of the CDN ProAccurate. With a thin tip that is only 1.5 mm that will not leave visible marks in your meats, this reliable thermometer provides accurate readings in six seconds for temperatures between negative-40 degrees F and 450 degrees F.

Aside from offering professional-grade measurements, the CDN ProAccurate is an easy to use device is perfectly appropriate for home cooks. It features a large digital display that is user-friendly and quick to calibrate, for busy kitchens that have a lot going on at the same time. And if your meal prep times are hectic, there’s no need to worry about the thermometer breaking or getting wet. It is a waterproof and shatterproof tool that also features antimicrobial technology to avoid bacterial cross-contamination between foods.

We consider the CDN DTQ450X-ProAccurate the best digital meat thermometer because it has everything you need and more. It is constructed from durable, 304-grade stainless steel and offers an excellent level of accuracy.

Best laser: Etekcity Lasergrip 774

If you prefer to avoid thermometer contact with your food, the Etekcity Lasergrip 774 is the tool for you. It is a gun-style digital tool that uses laser infrared technology to accurately measure temperatures between negative-58 degrees F and 716 degrees F from a distance of approximately 14 inches away. It provides increased safety for you, especially when dealing with foods that are too hot to handle or while grilling.

This heavy-duty thermometer is made from durable plastic and a strong UV coating that can resist scratches as well as extreme temperatures. The Lasergrip’s easy to read LCD display is excellent for low-light situations. It also features an auto-shutoff function that helps preserve battery life and also lets you know when your battery is getting low, to continue providing you with the most accurate temperature readings possible.

The Etekcity Lasergrip 774 is our favorite laser thermometer because of its versatility. Although it cannot be used on humans or animals, it is pretty much able to provide a temperature reading on any inanimate object. This makes it a great tool to keep around the home and use beyond cooking to get accurate temperature measurements while you work on your car or home improvement projects.

Best oven-safe: Sinardo T731

Technological innovations may come and go but, sometimes, classic tools are the best way to go. This is certainly the case when what you need is a trusty thermometer that can withstand high temperatures inside the oven and provide you with constant and precise readings while you cook. For these types of situations, the Sinardo T731 is our favorite meat thermometer. It is ideal for roasting a holiday dinner, for example, that is sure to please everyone with its juicy tender interior and crispy golden exterior.

What makes the Sinardo T731 a timeless piece is its stainless-steel construction that is completely safe to use in the oven, for durability unlike any other. Use the movable red target to easily see when the temperature indicator needle has reached the desired point. It is a heavy-duty, waterproof thermometer that can even go in the dishwasher to be sanitized and clean thoroughly for its next use.

The Sinardo T731 is ideal for roasting or grilling and is simply the best oven-safe thermometer for home and professional use. With accurate temperature readings between 120 degrees F and 220 degrees F, it helps ensure the safety and appropriate cooking of your meats.

Why use a meat thermometer?

The main reason to purchase a meat thermometer is food safety. Safe minimum cooking temperatures have been established by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as guidelines to help keep you healthy and ensure that your food reaches internal temperatures that are hot enough to kill harmful germs and prevent food poisoning. According to these recommendations ground meats, poultry, and fowl must be cooked to 160 degrees F. On the other hand, meats such as pork, fish, fresh steaks, and roasts require a temperature of 145 degrees F. With a reliable food thermometer, you can ensure that your foods are cooked thoroughly and checked to avoid illnesses. Meat thermometers help ensure thorough cooking of foods. This helps avoid illnesses caused by undercooked foods, while also providing a reference point to avoid dry and overcooked meats. Meat thermometers are especially useful when roasting and grilling.

Is a meat thermometer necessary?

Yes. A meat thermometer is the only accurate way to make sure that your foods are perfectly cooked and safe to consume. The USDA and CDC recommend the use of meat thermometers and provide guidelines to understand the desired temperature levels of different types of meats.

How does a meat thermometer work?

Meat thermometers usually consist of a reader and a probe. The probe is inserted into the thickest part of the meat and while the reader reflects the interior temperature of your food.

When should you insert a meat thermometer?

A meat thermometer should be inserted at the center of the thickest part of the meat, while the food is still cooking. You should not remove the meat from the heat and then try to take the temperature because this will not provide the most accurate reading.

What are the different types of instant-read meat thermometers?

  • Digital meat thermometers can read your food’s temperature in under 10 seconds. All you do is insert the probe, wait and read the digital dial.
  • Thermocouples consist of two small probes and can provide readings within five seconds. They are best suited for thinner foods.
  • Dial instant thermometers have a thicker probe and use a bimetallic coil to provide a temperature reading within 20 seconds of insertion.
  • Disposable meat thermometers are single-use tools to provide a reading within 10 seconds. Reading instructions vary from one device to another.

How do I know when my steak is done?

The only precise way to know when your steak is ready is by using a meat thermometer. It is not safe to eyeball or estimate the doneness of your meats. According to the CDC, steaks should reach a temperature of 145 degrees F to cook thoroughly and be safe to eat.

Do professional chefs use meat thermometers?

Yes, most professional chefs use high-quality meat thermometers in their kitchens. This is how they are able to repeatedly deliver perfectly cooked dishes that are juicy, tender and safe to consume.

Who makes the best meat thermometer?

Meat thermometers vary and finding the best tool often depends on personal preferences. Our list of best meat thermometers includes a wide range of devices to accommodate your budget, technology preferences, and kitchen layouts.

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