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What is the Best Grill Thermometer? Get The Best Results When Smoking Meat (2021)

by Outdoor Cooking Pros March 30, 2021

barbecue on grill

When cooking your BBQ, it's crucial to keep the temperature low and consistent for a slow roasting, tender, and juicy meat.

So, choosing only the best grill thermometers is important for cooking the best BBQ. Here are some of the best grill thermometers in the market you can choose from.

Reviews of the Best Grill Thermometers

1. Weber iGrill 2 Thermometer

Weber iGrill 2 Thermometer

This grill thermometer's greatest selling point is the ability to simultaneously read 4 temperatures at once.

Imagine grilling with 4 probes within your hand's control! But WAIT! Because that's only scratching the surface.

The iGrill 2 is the better and most improved version of the first iGrill model. Impressive battery life? Check. User-friendly? Superb! Accurate reading temp? Within 1 degree Fahrenheit.

The best part, though, is how navigating through the menu is overly easy! This little gadget is the perfect tool for grilling and smoking.

Actually, it's a piece of cake! Just be careful when holding it. It easily gets damaged if it's handled improperly.

Pros:

  • 4-probe capacity
  • Excellent phone app navigation
  • Superb user-friendliness
  • Awesome battery life
  • Long smokes on your grill is a piece of cake

Cons:

  • Extra probes not included
  • Can damage easily if handled incorrectly

2. ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Remote Digital Cooking Food Meat Thermometer

ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Remote Digital Cooking Food Meat Thermometer

The product's dual probes allow monitoring of two things simultaneously. With this, you can use an ambient probe to monitor the grill temperature and your other probe for the meat temp.

But honestly, that's boring stuff you don't want to hear right? Let's get into the exciting stuff.

First, accuracy. ThermoPro did a solid job with accurate readings within 1.8˚F, not to mention, USDA preset settings.

That means grilling and smoking virtually any meat with ease and WITHOUT food risks. Venison is a different case, though.

Compared to the iGrill 2, ThermoPro isn't as accurate EXCEPT it has stronger connectivity: 300 feet, and a more economical, price-friendly choice.

For its price value, ThermoPro TP20 is a great deal as it gives you great accuracy and strong connection despite a few issues with its lack of probe labeling.

Pros:

  • Excellent accuracy 
  • Strong Connectivity (300 ft)
  • Price friendly
  • USDA preset temp settings

Con:

  • Probes aren't physically labeled

3. Inkbird Wi-Fi Grill Thermometer IBBQ-4T

Inkbird Wi-Fi Grill Thermometer IBBQ-4T

This product's price point is quite high compared to the other products on this list, but compared to other wi-fi thermometers such as the Fireboard and Thermoworks Signals, it is quite cheap.

First up, calibration. Calibrating the meat probe is as simple as putting the probe in boiling and ice water.

What about battery life? Its USB-rechargeable lithium battery can last up to 26 hours, so that's pretty solid.

All across the board, it's a reliable grill thermometer and its temperature graphs also make this product a top choice.

BUT, it's quite expensive. Furthermore, the app still has a lot of bugs and other convenience issues that need to be fixed.

Pros:

  • Easy Calibration 
  • Solid accuracy
  • Great Battery Life
  • Great usability

Cons:

  • App Issues

4. Ivation Long Range Wireless Thermometer

Ivation Long Range Wireless Thermometer

As one of the most accurate thermometers in the market, this one is usually a top choice for a chef.

Why? Because it has the highest connectivity on this list. With its antenna, the wireless range reaches up to 325 feet!

With dual probes and a superior reading range, this product can keep you in the loop when grilling meat from afar.

There's also one useful add-on we loved about it: You can fit it in your pocket or clip onto belt so you can monitor your BBQ while multitasking.Pretty sweet, right?

There's just one downside.

Although the antenna contributes to its superior wireless range, it's also very fragile and one should use it with special care.

Pros:

  • Superior Wireless Range
  • Pocket Portability

Con:

  • Antenna Durability

Grill Thermometers Buyer’s Guide

Picking the best grilling thermometer may be a difficult task because of the options to choose from.

However, this guide will discuss some of the factors to look out for when buying one of the best grill thermometers in the market.

Design and Build

Aspiring chef or not, everyone wants to cook and eat high-quality food. Nobody wants their pork chops or pork butt to be too dry nor too soggy.

We mean, do you want to upset your customers and loved ones?

You don't want to be THAT guy. MOVING ON...

The first step in determining what thermometer to buy is determining if the build quality is up to standard or superior.

In order to do that, look for the following:

  1. Probe durability
  2. Ease of use of on-screen interfaces and control buttons due to the quality material of construction
  3. Possible issues with other parts of the thermometer such as the receiver, transmitter, or even the battery

meats and kebab on grill

The next step? Get to know the various designs of a thermometer.

Each type has its own sets of advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to know your preferences when choosing the kind of thermometer you want to use.

Instant-read Grill Thermometers 

The instant-read thermometer is a compact, handheld design with a digital display. Once the probe is inserted into the food, you'll see a quick and accurate reading. The advantages of this kind of thermometer will further be discussed later, so hang tight!

Laser Surface Grill Thermometers

These typically utilize an infrared laser to detect the surface temperature of food, and other cooking materials. The advantage here is you can read the temperature without having to physically touch the items. IT'S THAT AWESOME. Like Chuck Norris' face...when he's high on meat.

However, if you want to check internal food temperatures, this kind of thermometer would not be of use to you.

Wireless Grill Thermometers 

This design has a remote probe thermometer that can be left in your food.

How does it work?

It connects to your phone or other mobile devices to provide constant temperature data via wifi or Bluetooth regardless of where the chef is located.

Thermoworks usually have a lot of these and are good quality, but Thermoworks wireless thermometers are quite hard to obtain.

charred meat on grill

Mostly because Thermoworks' products are usually out of stock.

However, Bluetooth thermometers are as popular nowadays compared to wifi, due to their capability of giving you updates anywhere as long as you are connected to the internet.

You can even use a Bluetooth thermometer when you're in a remote place where you don't have access to the internet.

Grill Top Thermometers 

These are primarily utilized to monitor the present cooking temperature inside the grill or smoker and on your cooking surface.

If your meat or dish is particularly sensitive to temperature, this is an ideal thermometer for you. With this, you can keep the lid closed for better control of your meat temperature.

Temperature Range

A sufficient temperature range is essential for monitoring the ambient temp of the grill or smoker and the temp of your meat.

A limited reading range will not be able to accurately measure the temp of the meat.

If the reading range of the grill thermometer is too narrow, then it's unable to accurately display temperature readings within the meat and grill or smoker. This is especially true for extreme temperatures.

On the other hand, narrow temperature ranges do have a few benefits. For example, a narrow temperature range tends to be MORE ACCURATE within its specified range.

So, it may be an ideal choice for measuring the internal temperature of certain dishes that require temperature sensitivity.

Accuracy

We certainly recommend purchasing a grill thermometer with a high degree of temperature accuracy.

As a rule of thumb, an accuracy rating of at least ±2 percent with a calibration feature should be the level of accuracy you're gunning for when shopping for your thermometer. For even further accuracy, temperature tracking might be an option you want to avail of.

This is a feature offered in some digital and wireless grill thermometers, and it tracks and records the internal temperature of the meat and the ambient temperature of the grill or smoker.

Some high-end products even record the date, time, and type of dish cooked. These are often useful for experimental chefs who are looking to formulate a new recipe.

This high degree of temp tracking reduces any discrepancies in the temperatures of the recipe. Chefs can then rule out temp variances since the target temperature is consistently met.

Preset Temperature Control

Preset temp control is an important factor to consider when buying your grill thermometer.

Some products have preset cooking temperatures for different kinds of meat, from steak, to chicken, any kind of meat, even wild game.

Some preset temperatures even go so far as to also put high and low-temperature alerts.

This helps you when your probe detects a reading outside of your range of target temperatures, you are immediately notified so you can adjust the heat.

With the features a preset temperature control can offer, you won't have a difficult time fiddling and testing out the functions.

Analog or Digital

Analog or digital?

It shouldn't be THAT tough to decide. Don't go sweating on us now...

There are merits to both. Here's the main difference:

  • An analog or dial thermometer, or the ones with a temperature gauge, you don't have too many problems in terms of upkeep or maintenance of the device.These types of thermometers usually last a long time before needing to be replaced or maintained.
  • On the other hand, digital thermometers have an LCD screen and all kinds of wires in them. Aside from the backlit LCD display, they can also have other programmable features such as temp alarms and preset temp programs.

Instant Read or Leave-In

Another aspect of thermometers is whether to buy aninstant-read thermometer or a leave-in thermometer.

The best instant-read thermometer can probably give you a reading of around 2 SECONDS, while the leave-in thermometers may take 15 SECONDS to update the temperature reading.

Now, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the two types?

Advantages and Disadvantages

For instant-read thermometers, it gives you a temp reading almost immediately.

With this kind of probe thermometer, you can make snap judgments for very quick-to-cook meats, like steak, for example. You can just stick your probe in and decide based on the reading you see.

meal of vegetables and meat on white plate

This can have downsides though as if you're using a lid while grilling, then you tend to lose a bit of moisture and temp every time you check the temp.

You have to open the lid, stick your meat probes in, get the reading, remove the probes, and then finally close the lid on your BBQ.

Doing that too often to your BBQ will reduce its quality.

This is the main advantage of a leave-in grilling thermometer. You won't have to open and close your lid, to monitor your temperature.

This will keep your heat in, while also monitoring your meat closely, usually through an app on your phone.

Type of Meat

The type of meat can also be a deciding factor in what kind of grill or smoker thermometer you decide to buy.

If you're only planning to cook steak for close company only, then maybe an expensive wifi grill thermometer like the Inkbird may be overkill for you.

You won't need all those extra features like temperature graphing as your steak will be cooked in no time.

If you have the budget, you may want a Thermoworks product, but otherwise, it's best to go with either just the Maverick ET-733 or the ThermoPro TP-20 to get only the most essential features.

However, if you're cooking brisket or any slow-cooking meat for that matter, then you can go for a high-end product like the Inkbird, so you can monitor the internal temperature of your meat closely.

Price and Warranty

Of course, as previously mentioned, don't go overkill with the features if you don't need them as this will cost you a chunk of your life savings to pay for it.

You should also compare products with similar features. If they are indeed similar, then you may want to buy the cheaper one instead.

For warranty, a good rule of thumb is to look for products that offer more or less a year's worth of warranty. Only go for less if you already trust the product.

If you're new to the grilling scene, it may be best to avoid Maverick products first as they only typically offer 90 days warranty.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best grill thermometer?

This depends on what your needs are. If you need a high-end probe thermometer to graph your temp for some added sophistication, go for the Inkbird.

If you want as many probes as possible, excellent quality, and a true grilling/smoking experience, then the Weber iGrill 2 thermometer is the one true product.

If you prefer brands that offer value for their money, a Thermoworks, Thermopro, or Maverick thermometer does well.

Are grill thermometers accurate?

The best thermometers are quite accurate, to within a 1.8˚F. Most thermometers don't go too far beyond this but always keep a lookout if your temperature readings are still accurate.

Your thermometer may need calibration, or even replacement if the readings are way off.

Can you use a meat thermometer to measure grill temperature?

Most probes cannot just measure the internal meat temp, but also measure grill temp. If you want to be sure, check the manual first if your probe can measure your grill temp.

Can I use an oven thermometer on a grill?

Yes. Just set your oven thermometer at the surface where you are grilling and you're good to go.

Obviously, however, you can't check the internal meat temp with it unlike when you're using a probe.

Can you calibrate a grill thermometer?

If you're using a digital thermometer, then most likely, yes you can. Your manual will be able to tell you specifically how to calibrate, how often, and when you should calibrate.

If you're using an analog thermometer, most of the time, you still can, it would just be a bit harder. Just check the instruction manual for details.

There are rare times, however, that you might not be able to calibrate the analog thermometer by yourself. A specialist from the company of the manufacturer may have to repair it for you.

In other rare cases, you can't calibrate your thermometer, and you may have to buy a new one.

Where should I put my grill thermometer?

For the most accurate temp reading, install the thermometer on the side of the grill, at the same level as the food, just a few inches above the grate.

You want the thermometer as close as possible to the level of food being cooked.

If you install the thermometer on top, then you will get a reading that's significantly higher, as hot air rising to the top will cause that reading.

How do you test a grill thermometer?

You can test a grill thermometer similar to how you calibrate it. Put it on ice water to see if it reads 32˚F, and at boiling water, to see if it reads 212˚F.

Our Top Pick For a Grill Thermometer: Weber iGrill 2 Thermometer

Weber iGrill 2 Thermometer

If we had to pick one that's above the rest, then that would be the Weber iGrill 2. Its 4-probe capacity is just too hard to pass on.

The possibilities are endless! You can cook countless types of meat to see if they are cooking well, while also monitoring the grill temp.

Weber, the company that produces this amazing thermometer, does a great job in regularly updating the app.

And the best part? ANYONE can use it! Be it a home cook buddy, aspiring chef, professional, or beginner! Its battery capacity is also thehighest rated among all best grill thermometers on this list!

Outdoor Cooking Pros
Outdoor Cooking Pros


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