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The Best Food Thermometer

Last updated on July 7, 2020

We looked at the top 15 Food Thermometers and dug through the reviews from 129 of the most popular review sites including 111Reviews, Amazing Ribs, My Recipes, Best 10 Selling, Wiki EZ Vid, Kitchenistic and more. The result is a ranking of the best Food Thermometers.

Best Food Thermometer

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Our Picks For The Top Food Thermometers

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

POWLAKEN 2S Instant Read & Waterproof Digital Kitchen Food Thermometer

POWLAKEN

Instant Waterproof Digital Food Thermometer

Overall Take

Waterproof DesignSince this food thermometer is waterproof, you'll be able to use it to test the temperature of a liquid, as well as a meat.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus Fire Food Chef, Foodogi. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" 2 - 3 Second Temperature Reading and accuracy within 1 Degree. Auto shut off saves battery power."

Inkbird Rechargeable Battery & Instant Read Waterproof Food Thermometer

Inkbird

Rechargeable Instant Waterproof Thermometer

Overall Take

Rechargeable BatteryYou'll get 11 hours of uninterrupted use between charges when you go with this food thermometer.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus Smoking Meat Forums, 111Reviews, GiftWits, Smoking Hot Confessions. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Can be calibrated easily. Very fast measurements."
Cons
"The only concern I have is that the hinge felt ‘sticky’ for the want of a better term when opening and closing the probe."
  The Best Value

Kizen Instant Read Waterproof Backlight & Calibration Digital Food Thermometer

Kizen

Instant Waterproof Backlight Thermometer

Overall Take

Large LCD ScreenYou'll find this food thermometer is durable and resistant to damage, thanks to its strong outer ABS plastic body.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus Temperature World, Food & Wine, Fire Food Chef, 111Reviews, Boat Basin Cafe, Seriously Smoked and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" You can confidently prepare your meats, deep-fried foods, baked goods, candy, and any food and hot beverage perfectly all the time! The probes made of food grade stainless steel are also coated with an antibacterial agent to protect against the..."
Cons
"Can’t be used to read internal oven temperature"

Lavatools PT12 Javelin Instant Read Digital Food Thermometer

Lavatools

Javelin Instant Digital Food Thermometer

Overall Take

Multiple Color OptionsAdd a little color to your kitchen with this food thermometer, which comes in purple, green, orange, pink, blue and red.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus Temperature World, Food & Wine, Oh So Savvy Mom, 111Reviews, Toppers World, The Grilling Life and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" It can withstand impacts that cause cracking and warping and you can enjoy over 4,000 hours of constant use on a single battery charge."
Cons
"However, the testers didn't like the short probe length, or the fact that the range topped out at 482 degrees."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
22

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the food thermometers available to purchase.
15

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

129

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: 111Reviews, Amazing Ribs, My Recipes, Best 10 Selling, Wiki EZ Vid.

155,784

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart and 4 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 15 Food Thermometers and also dug through the reviews from 129 of the most popular review sites including 111Reviews, Amazing Ribs, My Recipes, Best 10 Selling, Wiki EZ Vid, Kitchenistic and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Food Thermometers.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

POWLAKEN 2S Instant Read & Waterproof Digital Kitchen Food Thermometer

Our Expert Score
8.0
2 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.6
1,223 user reviews
Our Take

You'll get a clear digital reading when you opt for this food thermometer. It is able to measure the temperature of both wet and dry dishes, including soup, turkey, candy and beer. The thermometer is capable of any temperature between -58 degrees Fahrenheit and 572 degrees Fahrenheit.

What other experts liked
2 - 3 Second Temperature Reading and accuracy within 1 Degree. Auto shut off saves battery power.
- Fire Food Chef
It literally takes 2-3 seconds to identify the temperature of the food, with that being said the measurement of the temperature is very accurate.
- Foodogi
What other experts didn't like
Not for use in an oven. Cannot be washed in the dishwasher.
- Fire Food Chef

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Kizen Instant Read Waterproof Backlight & Calibration Digital Food Thermometer

Our Expert Score
9.7
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.2
8,252 user reviews
Our Take

Storing this food thermometer is a breeze. You'll have the option of using the bottom hang hole, the inner magnet or a nearby drawer to keep the thermometer safe in between uses. Users will also appreciate the bright and large LCD screen.

What other experts liked
You can confidently prepare your meats, deep-fried foods, baked goods, candy, and any food and hot beverage perfectly all the time! The probes made of food grade stainless steel are also coated with an antibacterial agent to protect against the growth of foodborne bacteria.
- Temperature World
The probe retracts and the large loop and internal magnet make it easy to store.
- Food & Wine
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.
- Fire Food Chef
The bright LCD light helps you to have a quick and easy temperature read, which is a lot convenient, especially in the dark.
- 111Reviews
Two to three seconds is all it takes to read the temperature of the meat. The temperature shows a difference of only +/-1°F, making it very accurate.
- Boat Basin Cafe
Turns on automatically when you open it up and I like the fact that you can bend this wireless meat thermometer all the way around.
- Wild Trend
The average instant read thermometer takes around 8 seconds for a readout. Not exactly instant. Kizen, on the other hand, has a read time of 2-3 seconds. It is also accurate to +/-1 degrees and has a temperature range of -58 °F to 572 °F.
- Go Shindig
Excellent temperature range (-58 degrees to 572 degrees Fahrenheit, or -50 to 300 degrees Celsius). Waterproof for easy cleaning and no worries about mishaps.
- Seriously Smoked
These thermometers are operated by chargeable batteries and also has a LED screen which shows the measurements.
- Foodogi
What other experts didn't like
Can’t be used to read internal oven temperature
- Fire Food Chef
The only thing that bothers me is changing the batteries. You need to insert them again and again to make sure they don’t fall out.
- Boat Basin Cafe
Wearing a glove makes it difficult to press the Hold button.
- Wild Trend
If you happen to be left handed, using the Kizen can be a bit tricky. The display is more optimal for right handed use.
- Go Shindig
Loop is a little large; it makes it easy to pull from a pocket or drawer but harder to hang anywhere.
- Seriously Smoked

Overall Product Rankings

Habor 022 Instant Read Super Long Probe Food Thermometer

7. Habor 022 Instant Read Super Long Probe Food Thermometer

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 10

ThermoPro TP-16 LCD Digital Food Thermometer

8. ThermoPro TP-16 LCD Digital Food Thermometer

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 16

ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Dual Probe Digital Food Thermometer

9. ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Dual Probe Digital Food Thermometer

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 32

Kizen Instant Read Waterproof Alarm Food Thermometer

11. Kizen Instant Read Waterproof Alarm Food Thermometer

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 9

Our Food Thermometer Findings

POWLAKEN 2S Instant Read & Waterproof Digital Kitchen Food Thermometer

What We Liked: You’ll get a clear digital reading when you opt for this food thermometer. It is able to measure the temperature of both wet and dry dishes, including soup, turkey, candy and beer. The thermometer is capable of any temperature between -58 degrees Fahrenheit and 572 degrees Fahrenheit.

Inkbird Rechargeable Battery & Instant Read Waterproof Food Thermometer

What We Liked: If you’re searching for a food thermometer that provides fast results, look no further than this model. You’ll get a digital reading in as little as 3 to 5 seconds. The thermometer’s magnetic base means you’ll be able to keep this handy kitchen tool on the fridge.

Kizen Instant Read Waterproof Backlight & Calibration Digital Food Thermometer

What We Liked: Storing this food thermometer is a breeze. You’ll have the option of using the bottom hang hole, the inner magnet or a nearby drawer to keep the thermometer safe in between uses. Users will also appreciate the bright and large LCD screen.

Lavatools PT12 Javelin Instant Read Digital Food Thermometer

What We Liked: High-quality is the best way to describe this food thermometer. It features an 18/8 food-grade stainless steel probe and an antimicrobial body. You can purchase it in a variety of fun colors, or stick with a traditional black.

ThermoPro TP18 Ultra Fast Thermocouple Instant Read Digital Food Thermometer

What We Liked: You won’t have to peer into a hot oven to read the temperature on this thermometer. It has a lock function that allows you to hold the temperature reading after removing the thermometer from your meat. The backlight LED display with oversized luminous digits is also easy to read.

Our Expert Consultant

Colleen Janke
Owner of Savory Kitchen, a cooking school and culinary events space

Colleen Janke is the owner of Savory Kitchen, a cooking school and culinary events space located in San Jose, California. Savory Kitchen offers cooking classes from kitchen basics like knife skills and baking to advanced classes that focus on regional specialty dishes. A trained sommelier, Colleen also loves finding local wines to incorporate into her cooking classes and instructing students on making divine food and wine pairings.

Outside of her business, Colleen loves spending almost all of her free time in her home kitchen, cooking and baking with her three children and her husband.

Our Food Thermometer Buying Guide

If you routinely cook meats, a food thermometer is a must-have kitchen item. You can test the doneness of everything from steaks to whole turkeys without having to cut into them. But if you haven’t shopped for a food thermometer lately, you may not realize how much they’ve evolved from their earliest days.

Before you start shopping, consider whether you want a probe-based thermometer or one of the newer types that works using infrared laser technology. With the latter, you’ll simply point and click to determine doneness. If you opt for a probe type, consider the kinds of food you’ll be cooking. For cooking large meats in your oven or smoker, you’ll need a probe long enough to reach all the way into the center of something, like a chicken or pork roast.

“If you’re a novice cook, an instant-read thermometer is the way to go,” says Colleen Janke. She’s our resident culinary expert and the owner of Savory Kitchen, a cooking school in San Jose, California. “With other thermometers, you’ll remove the probe too quickly to get an accurate reading. An instant-read will prevent that from happening.”

Newer thermometers also come with food presets, which means no more looking up what temperature your meat needs to be to reach a safe level of doneness. For grilling and smoking, you may also want to consider a type of thermometer that attaches to your grill and communicates with a receiver that you can take around the house with you.

Accuracy is probably one of the most important factors in a meat thermometer. If you’re using a laser-based thermometer, you’ll probably need to be fairly close to the food to get the most accurate reading. Some probe-based thermometers now come with two probes that you can use as verification for the temperature you’re seeing.

If you’re using a food probe, you’ll need to wash it after each use to avoid contamination the next time you use it to test. This can be tricky, though.

“Don’t put your thermometer through the dishwasher!” says Janke. “For cleaning, always use hot, soapy water and let it air-dry.”

Thermometers with extra features like digital readers or receivers need additional care. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine exactly what you’ll need to do to clean your thermometer between uses.

DWYM Fun Fact

If you don’t have a meat thermometer on hand — or the batteries on yours run out — you could always go by how a steak feels when you touch it. Professional chefs learn the exact level of sponginess based on the cut of meat. One easy way to do this yourself is to use the face test, which involves comparing the resistance you get when you press on the meat to how different areas of your face feel. The resistance of a medium-well steak compares to pressing on your forehead, while medium feels more like your chin. A medium-rare steak will compare to pressing on your cheeks — soft and with little resistance.

The Food Thermometer Tips and Advice

  • Historically, food thermometers have operated by inserting a probe into the item being cooked. You can then check the temperature based on what the probe finds. However, a newer type of thermometer has emerged that uses infrared laser technology to test the meat merely by aiming it at the item being cooked. These point-and-shoot models eliminate messy probes.
  • Among digital thermometers, some models stand out for their receiver setup. The receiver communicates with a device you clamp onto your grill or smoker. You then stick the two probes into the meat and step away. They can have a reach of several hundred feet, so you can keep an eye on your food from a safe distance.
  • Preset recommendations can be a big help. Some thermometers come with preset programs for five USDA-approved doneness levels for nine different types of meat. Others come with recommended cooking levels for beef, veal, pork, poultry and fish.
  • Timers are an essential part of a food thermometer. Look for a thermometer with both a countdown and reverse-countdown feature, allowing you to either monitor how long your food has been cooking or insert a specific time. The reverse-countdown feature is especially ideal for those with smokers who need to slow-cook a large piece of meat.
  • When using a probe-based thermometer, pay close attention to the length of the probe if you routinely cook big items like ham, turkey or pork shoulders. Any probe that’s more than 4.5 inches is considered very long.
  • When it comes to accuracy, laser infrared thermometers boast the closest accuracy ranges. However, as you move further away, the laser can lose that accuracy.
  • Food thermometers are typically battery-powered, so make sure you have the right batteries in stock if they aren’t included. Some models shut off automatically when not in use to save battery power. They may also come with a low-battery indicator to ensure you aren’t stranded without extra batteries when you’re ready to start cooking.
  • If you’ve ever waited for a food thermometer to give you a reading, you know it can be frustrating. Some laser thermometers can give you results within 500 milliseconds of pulling the trigger. Thermometers that use something called a step-down tip give almost instant readings.
  • Thermometers that stay attached to your grill need to have a higher heat tolerance than those you only use when it’s time to test doneness. Make sure the wires and probe on any digital thermometer can withstand your grill’s heat when it’s clamped on during the cooking process.

About The Author

Alicia Bodine
Alicia Bodine 

Alicia Bodine is a New Jersey-based writer that is always on the hunt for kitchen gadgets that can help save time and money, especially with two food-loving daughters at home. With more than 15 years of experience, her work has appeared in sites like on leading food and drink publications.