Not long ago, I got the INKBIRD IBT-26S, a new wireless leave-in thermometer from INKBIRD that I was eager to try out and share my review with you guys.
Now, whether you’re a seasoned backyard warrior or a rookie rising through the BBQ ranks, we all have one thing in common – the relentless pursuit of that perfect, mouth-watering meal off the grill.
Grilling is a game of finesse, and, let’s face it, dealing with the intricacies of meat, fire, and timing can feel overwhelming. Even a long-time pit master could use a hand to even out the odds. We’re talking, of course, about a reliable, accurate, and downright genius BBQ thermometer.
Now, I’ve used a lot of wireless leave-in thermometers in my day, but they always have some drawbacks, like range, ease of use, or app functionality. That’s why I was curious about the INKBIRD IBT-26S, which claims to offer a smooth grilling experience with its special features.
With its tantalizing tagline of “IT’S 5G, IT’S VERSATILE AND IT’S ALL IN ONE”, it promises to be a game changer. So, let’s fire up this review and see if the INKBIRD IBT-26S can truly elevate your grilling to a level that would make even a Michelin-starred chef tip his tongue in respect.
Table of Contents
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INKBIRD IBT-26S Unboxing & First Impressions
I’m a big fan of grilling and I know how hard it can be to cook outdoors. That’s why I was excited to test The INKBIRD IBT-26S Bluetooth Wi-Fi BBQ Thermometer and check out its performance.
I love trying out new gadgets that can make my grilling experience better. And the INKBIRD IBT-26S definitely seems like it can do that.
Let’s jump right into my first impressions.
Packaging & Contents
The INKBIRD IBT-26S arrived in a sleek black box with the brand name and product features printed on it. The box was sturdy and easy to open, and the device was snuggly tucked into a foam cutout which works perfectly for storing it when not in use.
Inside the box, I found everything I needed to get started.
Inside the box, I found the following contents:
- The Main Unit
- 4x Meat Probes
- 2x Probe Clamps
- 1x USB Type-C Charging Cable
- 1x User Manual
INKBIRD IBT-26S Design & Build Quality
The INKBIRD IBT-26S has a simple and elegant design, with a large LCD screen that displays the current temp, target temp, timer info, and battery level among other things. With its stylish champagne gold finish and sleek rectangle frame, it’s a beauty that will make your grill buddies green with envy. Make no mistake, this is a beautiful device.
The display screen is large and clear, which my old eyes can appreciate. The main unit is made of durable plastic and is comfortable to hold in one hand.
The probes are made of food-grade stainless steel and have handles that are easy to grip. The probes are color-coded and have a 90-degree bend at the end which makes them ideal for hard-to-reach spaces in your cooker. They had long cords and felt sturdy and durable.
Easy-to-Follow User Manual & Setup Instructions
Finally, let’s talk about the user manual and setup instructions. The user manual is fairly well-written and easy to follow, with clear instructions and illustrations. The INKBIRD team has made it as simple as 1-2-3:
- Charge the unit using the provided USB Type-C cable.
- Download and install the INKBIRD app on your smartphone.
- Follow the in-app prompts to connect your thermometer to your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
And voila! You’re ready to get outside and start grilling.
The manual also has a section with answers to frequently asked questions.
Features & Specifications of The INKBIRD IBT-26S
One of the main selling points of the INKBIRD IBT-26S is the fact that it comes with a 5G chip which is supposed to provide faster speed and lower latency to the temperature readings. It is the first food thermometer with 5G connectivity in the market. This unique feature is what sets it apart from other wireless meat thermometers and I wanted to see if it lived up to its hype.
With its high/low-temperature alarms, timers, and device over-temperature alarm, you can set your desired temperature range and time, and get notified when your food is ready or when the cooker is too hot.
You can also choose to display the temperature in ℃ or ℉ and there is a temperature calibration setting in case your readouts get out of whack.
The INKBIRD IBT-26S comes with a magnetic back and foldable stand. You can attach the thermometer to any metal surface or place it on a flat surface and tilt it up with the stand.
The INKBIRD IBT-26S boasts the following specs:
- Host Dimension: 88.80 X 87.20 X 23.00mm
- Host Net Weight: 139 grams
- Bluetooth Version: BLE 5.0
- Bluetooth Range: 50m/164ft without obstacles
- Wi-Fi Channel: 2.4 GHz /5 GHz
- Probe Material: Food-grade Stainless Steel
- Temperature Measurement Range:
- -20℃~250℃/-4℉~482℉ for continuous monitoring
- -30℃~300℃/-22℉~572℉ for short-time measurement
- Temperature Measurement Accuracy: (Min.) 0.5℃/0.9℉
- Probe response time: (Min.) 0.1 sec
- Probe Calibration Range: -7℃~7℃ / -12.6℉~12.6℉
- Screen: Backlit LCD
- Magnetic Suction Grade: N35
- Battery Type: Li-Ion Polymer Battery
- Battery Capacity: 2500mAh / 9.25Wh
- Battery Life: max. 32 hours
- Battery Charge Time: approx. 3.5 hours
- USB Type-C Input: DC 5V 1A
Let’s explore more of The INKBIRD IBT-26S features next.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Dual Connection Mode
The INKBIRD IBT-26S features a dual connection mode, seamlessly integrating both Bluetooth and 5G Wi-Fi. This provides you with a more stable, efficient connection.
The INKBIRD IBT-26S stands as the first BBQ thermometer to incorporate a 5G chip, offering unrivaled speed and minimal latency. In layman’s terms? You get real-time monitoring of your meat from any location as long as it’s connected to Wi-FI, liberating you from the confines of the grill.
It supports 2.4GHz (5G) Wi-Fi networking and adopts advanced Bluetooth 5.0 technology.
While the Bluetooth Range of 50m/164ft without obstacles isn’t overwhelming, the ability to connect and monitor through 5G Wi-Fi makes up for it.
Smart App Control
The all-in-one INKBIRD app allows you to monitor the cooking temperature remotely, so you never have to choose between watching your favorite team and your grill again.
The app offers various options for setting alarms, timers, presets, and temperature units, as well as viewing temperature charts and your previous cook’s history data. It also lets you adjust the backlight of your thermometer’s LCD remotely.
It supports high/low-temperature alarms, timers, and device over-temperature alarm to avoid cooking disasters. It supports ℃/℉ selection and temperature calibration. Plus, it keeps a record of your past grilling adventures, so you can export your temperature history and learn from each session.
With up to 23 choices of USDA preset meat recipes. This is especially handy for newer cooks and makes grilling easier. Whether it’s your first time grilling a ribeye or your hundredth time smoking a turkey, the app’s got you covered.
The INKBIRD IBT-26S is designed to work seamlessly with both iOS and Android devices. The INKBIRD app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play, and the device can be easily paired with any compatible smartphone or tablet.
In grilling and smoking, timing is everything. That makes the fact that the INKBIRD IBT-26S provides a real-time temperature monitoring key. Whether it’s the perfect moment to flip that burger or the right time to rest your brisket, the INKBIRD IBT-26S keeps you in the loop, ensuring you’re always in sync with your grill.
And when it comes to timing, there’s also nothing quite like the clarity and insight that data can provide.
Sometimes, it’s not enough just to know the current temperature of your meat. It also helps to see the journey it took to get there. With the INKBIRD IBT-26S, all temperature changes are visible on a temperature chart, allowing you to understand the cooking process on a deeper level.
The Data history is stored for up to 1 month in the cloud and is even exportable.
Backlit LCD Screen
The IBT-26S has a bright, clear display, letting you easily read temperatures, alarms, and timers, no matter what time of day (or night) it is.
Plus, the adjustable display brightness means you can always set the perfect mood for your grilling session.
Longer Battery Life
The IBT-26S battery life allows for continuous use for up to 32 hours on a single charge. That is more than enough time for slow smoking a brisket or multiple grilling sessions of steaks or burgers.
5 Meat Probes + 1 Oven Probe
The INKBIRD IBT-26S supports up to 6 meat probes or 5 meat probes and one temperature probe that is used for monitoring the temperature of the grill.
This allows you to keep track of multiple items while cooking or the same item in multiple spots. This is convenient for larger cuts of meat with different thicknesses for monitoring the doneness throughout.
INKBIRD claims that each probe has a data accuracy of 0.5℃/0.9℉.
How Does the INKBIRD IBT-26S Work?
The IBT-26S is easy to set up and use.
Here’s how to use it:
- Charge your device. It’s always best to start with a full charge so I recommend using the included USB charger cable before first use.
- Power On. Press and hold the power button on the face of the device for 3 seconds to turn it on.
- Open the INKBIRD app and select your device
- Connect your device. Follow the prompts to set up the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections if you have not done so already.
- Set your cook settings. You can choose the type of meat, your target internal temperature, your target cook temperature, and the alert range.
- Insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat for accurate temperature readings.
- Track your cook. The app will show you the temperature of up to 6 meats or 5 meats and the temperature of the cooking device if you are using the oven probe. The app will display graphs that visually represent the elapsed time and the fluctuations in temperature.
Note: The device should remain close to your grill or smoker for the duration of your cook. The base has a magnet on the back, so you can easily stick it to a cool spot on your smoker or grill or any nearby metal surface.
INKBIRD IBT-26S 5G Performance and Testing
I tested the INKBIRD IBT-26S with a variety of meats, including steaks, chicken, pork loin, and tri-tip. I have not been able to do a long cook recently due to bad weather, but I will provide an update on the performance when I can.
I found that the IBT-26S was a reliable, fast, and accurate wireless meat thermometer, even when put to the test against my ThermoWorks Smoke Remote BBQ Alarm Thermometer.
Let’s dive into the testing and performance.
App Functionality & Ease of Use
A big part of the INKBIRD IBT-26S experience is the ability to utilize the 5G connectivity and monitor your meat from wherever you have a reliable smart device connection. In that aspect, the app worked like a champ.
While setup and the connection were easy, I wish there was a little more documentation on how to navigate and adjust the settings of the app. The device is completely controlled by the app after all. If there is documentation somewhere, it is not easily found, and I think INKBIRD should consider this.
Overall, while there was a definite learning curve to the app, the basic settings were easy to implement, and it worked well.
Testing Different Types of Meat with the INKBIRD IBT-26S
When it comes to grilling, each type of meat requires different cooking times and internal temperatures to achieve the perfect doneness. That’s why I wanted to put the INKBIRD IBT-26S to the test with various types of meat, and the results were spot on.
Here are my findings:
The food probe temperature sensors provided consistent readings for each different type of meat I tested.
I found that the IBT-26S was able to accurately track the temperature of all the meats tested as well.
- Beef – I tested it with different cuts of beef and found that it provided accurate temperature readings, allowing me to cook my steaks and tri-tip to my desired temperatures.
- Poultry – Chicken, and turkey can be tricky to cook. Undercooking can pose health risks while overcooking can result in dry meat. However, with the INKBIRD IBT-26S, I was able to monitor the internal temperature of my chicken easily and my family and I were rewarded with juicy and tender BBQ chicken thighs.
- Pork – Once again, the IBT-26S performed admirably with a pork loin, providing accurate temperature readings throughout the cooking process.
All in all, I was very happy with the results.
Accuracy of Temperature Readings
During my testing, I compared the readings from the thermometer with other trusted temperature probes, and I was delighted to find that they were consistently aligned.
The thermometer’s high precision was especially welcome as even a few degrees, either way, can be the difference between a perfectly cooked medium-rare steak and an overcooked one.
Probe Response Time
I found that the INKBIRD IBT-26S offers a rapid response time, delivering temperature updates in seconds. This speed is invaluable, especially when you need to make quick adjustments to your cooking process.
With real-time readings, I was able to make sure that my meat was cooked perfectly, avoiding any unpleasant surprises.
My version of the IBT-26S came with only 4x Meat Probes and did not come with an Oven Probe so I was not able to test the accuracy and read time of the oven probe. In the future, I plan on ordering an oven probe separately and will provide an update after testing.
Range of Wireless Connectivity
The Wi-Fi connectivity of the INKBIRD IBT-26S also impressed me with its range and stability. It seamlessly connected to my Wi-Fi network and provided a continuous and reliable connection throughout my cooking sessions.
This extended range allowed me to monitor my food and cooking progress from virtually everywhere within my home. I was even able to check on my tri-tip I was smoking when I made a quick run to the local grocery store.
I did have some issues with the Bluetooth connectivity. It would drop randomly even when I was within feet of my cooker. If I went into the house, maybe 15 feet away, I would almost always get an alert that I lost Bluetooth connection. I would clear the alert and it would start right back up within seconds.
After reaching out to INKBIRD, I was informed that if you turn on the Bluetooth but lost your Bluetooth connection, the app will keep notifying you unless you turn off the Bluetooth connection.
The simple workaround is if you successfully connected the device to Wi-Fi, they suggest that you could turn off Bluetooth to solve this problem.
Easy enough. If you are already connected to Wi-Fi, there is no need for a Bluetooth connection anyway.
The INKBIRD IBT-26S 5G PROs & CONs
- 5G Connectivity: The INKBIRD IBT-26S stands out with its advanced 5G connectivity, providing faster speed and lower latency compared to previous models. This provides a more efficient and seamless connection between the thermometer and your smartphone, enhancing the overall user experience.
- Versatile Connectivity: The INKBIRD IBT-26S offers both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity options, providing flexibility and convenience in monitoring your cooking from a smartphone.
- Multiple Probe Support: With up to 5 meat probes and 1 oven probe the IBT-26S allows for simultaneous monitoring of various foods, with accurate temperature readings for each.
- Feature-Friendly App: The INKBIRD app offers a range of useful features, including USDA preset meat recipes, high/low-temperature alarms, countdown timers, and remote temperature monitoring, enhancing the cooking experience for both beginners and experienced cooks.
- Visualized Temperature Chart: The temperature chart in the app provides real-time temperature changes and stores data for up to 1 month in the cloud, allowing for easy tracking and analysis of your cooking history.
- Adjustable LCD Backlight: The IBT-26S features an LCD screen with adjustable brightness for clear visibility of temperature readings in various lighting conditions.
- Long Battery Life: With a built-in lithium battery boasting a capacity of 2500mAh, the IBT-26S can continuously work for up to 32 hours on a full charge, which is plenty of time for a long smoking session.
- Limited Bluetooth Range: While the IBT-26S offers a stable Bluetooth connection, the range may be limited compared to Wi-Fi connectivity. You may experience a decrease in connection quality or range when moving further away from the device.
- App Interface: Some people may find the INKBIRD app interface slightly complex, requiring a learning curve to navigate all the available features and settings. However, once familiarized, the app provides comprehensive control over the thermometer.
- 90-degree bend “Elbow” type probes: I’ve never been a fan of the 90-degree bend probes as they take up too much space in my opinion. I prefer a straight shot probe usually. I may be nitpicking at this point, as they still work very well, so your mileage may vary on this point.
INKBIRD IBT-26S Warranty & Support
The INKBIRD IBT-26S carries a one-year warranty against defects in either components or workmanship. INKBIRD will either repair or replace the product without charge at its discretion.
If you have any problems or questions about INKBIRD or their product, you can contact them via firstname.lastname@example.org or by going to their webpage.
Final Thoughts on Our INKBIRD IBT-26S 5G Review
Would I recommend the INKBIRD IBT-26S?
Yes, I would!
The speed of the 5G Wi-Fi connectivity is worth it alone. Although I had issues with the short range of the Bluetooth connection, having 5G Wi-Fi as a backup connection more than makes up for it.
And if you plan on staying close to the grill while cooking, the IBT-26S works great as a stand-alone temperature monitor as well. No wireless connection is needed. With the large and clear backlit display, keeping an eye on the progress of your food is easier than ever.
I will definitely be adding the INKBIRD IBT-26S to my list of trusted wireless probe thermometers.
So if you’re looking for a reliable wireless meat thermometer that delivers fast and accurate temperature readings, check out the INKBIRD IBT-26S. You won’t be disappointed.
If you’ve had any experiences with the INKBIRD IBT-26S, positive or negative, don’t hesitate to share them in the comments below. Let’s keep the conversation going!
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A backyard warrior, certified carnivore, lover of good whiskey, self-proclaimed grill master and I’m Living The Grilling Life!
I have a passion for cooking with live fire and smoke, no matter the weather. I’m a real person just like you, who loves outdoor cooking and BBQ. Food, fun, and time spent with family and friends are what it’s all about! It is my mission to take my passion and knowledge for outdoor cooking and all things BBQ and share this expertise in techniques and grilling equipment with you. In other words, Living The Grilling Life!