0 Items
Select Page

The Pros, the Cons, and the Facts About the 10 Best Instant Read Thermometer Ratings For 2019.

This updated Top 10 Instant Read Thermometer Ratings Guide for 2019 includes four new first-time entries to this list that I am excited to share with you.

Can any of these new entries replace last year’s choice for the best instant read thermometer?  You will have to read on to find out.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever overcooked a chicken breast, left it sitting on the barbeque for two minutes too long, and suffered through a dried out hunk of meat for dinner.

Overcooking or under-cooking meat is a common enough mistake to make, and especially worrisome in the name of food safety.  But there is an easy way to avoid this problem from ever happening again, and that way is by using an instant read food thermometer.

I put together this top 10 instant read thermometer rating guide to help you choose the best grilling and food thermometer to fit your budget and needs.

Why This Guide Will Be Helpful For You

Checking your food’s temperature has never been as easy as it is today.

Thanks to technology that is always improving, thermometers aren’t the slow analog probes of your parent’s’ kitchen.

The days of the pop-up turkey button or analog leave-in meat thermometers are truly behind us.  The instant read electronic thermometers day in the sun has finally arrived.

“As always, my goal is to save you time and money by doing all the research and testing for you, so you don’t have to.”
Nowadays you have many options, and one of best and most reliable of them are instant read thermometers.

With such a vast number of products to choose from, being properly-informed on the different instant read thermometers is more important than ever.

There is a broad price range between brands and the features change along with the price.  You can surely get exactly what you’re looking for in an instant read thermometer if you know what you are looking at.

That’s where I come in!

This product overview acts as a buyer’s guide to ten of the best instant read meat thermometers on the market today.

I’ll show you what features to look for and give you many options of different instant read thermometers and price ranges along the way.

”Make sure to keep reading after the final review for a buyer’s guide to help you with your decision when it’s time to make your purchase.”

Why Are Instant Read Thermometers Needed?

To start with, they take the guesswork out of cooking and are hands down the most important and most used tool in any professional kitchen.

With an instant read digital thermometer, you can be sure about the timing during every step of the preparing and cooking process for every piece of meat you cook.

They are also a great way to increase your confidence in a wide range of grilling and kitchen cooking tasks.

But perhaps the most important and logical reason to invest in a good instant read thermometer starts with food safety 101.

There is no more second-guessing yourself when you have an instant read digital thermometer, so you can avoid the foodborne bacterial “danger zone.”

There is nothing worse than getting yourself, or worse, one of your loved ones, sick because of undercooked and contaminated meat.

Lastly, a professional chef friend of mine once told me:

“Being a good cook requires good ingredients, being a phenomenal cook requires an instant read thermometer!”

The Rating Criteria – Best Instant Read Thermometer Ratings

What matters most in a good instant read thermometer is speed, accuracy, and clarity.

The first questions to ask are, “How quickly can I turn it on and easily see an accurate temperature reading of my food?”

One that slowly inches upwards towards the current temperature, and in some cases leaves you guessing, could be the difference between your food is cooked perfectly and “oh crap, I left the meat on too long….again!”

The main criteria I took into consideration when reviewing these thermometers are:

Accuracy And Precision

Any instant read thermometer with an accuracy reading of under ±1°F is considered very good.

Anything between ±1°F and ±1.9°F is considered good.

Anything ±2.0°F and above is considered ok to bad.

I also took into account the ease of reading said temperatures.

Speed

Any instant read thermometer with an average read time of 3 seconds or less is considered very good.

Anything between 4 and 5 seconds is considered good.

Anything between 5 and 7 seconds or above is considered ok to bad.

Temperature Range

Any instant read thermometer with a temperature range of -40 ~ 482°F or better is considered very good.

Anything between -4°F to 480°F is considered good.

Anything between 32 ºF to 392 ºF is considered ok to bad.

(Note: if you are planning to use your thermometer only for grilling and have no need for below freezing or up past hot frying oil readings, this may be something you can disregard.)

Build Quality And Battery life

I took into account the durability and longevity of the unit as well as battery life for each thermometer reviewed.

4,000 – 5,000-hour battery life is considered very good.

3,000 – 3,999 is considered good.

2,999 and below is considered ok to bad.

Usability And Features

Is the thermometer easy to use, and are the controls easily accessible and user-friendly?

Does it come with any extra features like backlighting readouts, a rotating display letting you see the readout in any position, an auto shut-off feature, and are they splash proof?  This is just to name a few.

While extra features are by no means a deal killer on what makes the best-rated instant read thermometers, they are considered “nice-to-haves” and factor into my ultimate decision.

Price

I considered price compared to the value you receive when comprising this list and provided a wide range of options ranging from top of the line high-end models to ultra-low cost but highly rated and functional models.

Real User Feedback And Reviews

Lastly, I took into account verified purchasers’ feedback and reviews.

I scoured manufacture and Amazon sites for feedback and comments on 40 plus instant read thermometers to help narrow down this list of the best of the best.

I don’t think any review is complete without taking into consideration actual long-term users and their experiences with using a product.

Top 10 Best Instant Read Thermometer Ratings

I broke down the ten best instant read meat thermometers using the criteria mentioned above.  These thermometers come in a range of prices and come with a variety of features.

Let’s check them out!

 

ThermoWorks Often Has Deals Going On For Their Products.

Click On The Below Deals Banner For All Current ThermoWorks Deals

ThermoWorks Deals

“Editor’s Choice” – Best Overall Instant Read Thermometer – 3rd Year On My List –

#1 Thermoworks Thermapen MK4

Editors’ Choice
Top Features:

✅ 2-3 second readings

✅ High accuracy to ±0.7°F (±0.4°C)

✅ Foldaway thermocouple probe

✅ Intelligent backlight

✅ Waterproof to IP67

✅ Patented auto-rotating display

✅ Motion-sensing sleep & wake mode

✅ 3,000 hour battery life

✅ 10 colors to choose from

You can’t have a top 10 instant read thermometer list without including at least a couple entries from Thermaworks.

They set the gold standard by which all other thermometers are compared.

The Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 has to be my pick of the best quality and best overall performance in an instant read grill thermometer.

Unfortunately, that quality comes at a price.  When you’re shopping for a digital thermometer, you should look at the MK4, if nothing else, as a comparison to some of the best quality available.

The MK4 has one of the most accurate reads around.  It shows within ±0.7°F of the exact temperature.

It also reads the temperature quickly.  There is no waiting for the right read with the MK4, just insert and wait a maximum of three seconds for the temperature to read out.

The Thermoworks MK4 has an automatic rotation display, eliminating any neck twisting or turning just to read your thermometer.  This feature alongside the rotating probe makes it an ambidextrous piece of equipment.

Not only does the MK4 have an automatic power feature, but it also features technology that senses when it is picked up and placed back down.  No more wasting your battery as you wait for the thermometer to turn off; just set it on the table, and the thermometer turns itself off.  Pick it up, and it turns back on.  It is a simple, elegant perk and really adds to the overall worth.

The MK4 comes in a variety of colors, whether you want a subtle color or a bright one that really sticks out, the MK4 is available for you.

PROs
Average read time is 2 to 3 seconds
Temperature range of -58.0 to 572.0°F
Accuracy is ±0.7°F
Battery life of 3,000+ hours
Motion sensor to put it to sleep and wake
Comes with several extra features listed above
Currently has 943+ reviews and a 4.9 out of 5-star rating on the manufacturer website
CONS
At the top of the pricing chart (but worth every penny in my opinion)
The biggest downside to the MK4 is its price.  It comes in at nearly $100 per unit.  You are getting a high-quality product, that’s for sure, but you are paying for those extra perks.
“Top Pick” – Best Mid-Range Instant Read Thermometer – 3rd Year On My List –

#2 Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo Instant Read Digital Thermometer

Top Pick
Top Features:

✅ Large 2″ auto-rotating ambidextrous backlit display

✅ IP65 splash-resistant construction

✅ Intelligent stabilization alert + temperature hold

✅ Integrated magnet for convenient storage

✅ Auto shut-off when not in use

✅ 5 colors to choose from

The Lavatools Javelin pro is a staple of the digital thermometer world.

It has all the features you could want at an understandable price.  It is a worthy upgrade from the original Javelin, which also made our list.

Things to look for in the Javelin Pro Ambidextrous Thermometer vary and give it an overall fair value.

The reading speed is at the top of the list when it comes to the Javelin Pro.  It reads the temperature of a food in two to three seconds.  That is a fast cash in and allows for little time wasted when checking your food.

The temperature accuracy is another feature that is quite good in the Javelin Pro.  It certainly gets the job done, giving a reading that is within ±0.9°F of perfect.  Incredibly, that isn’t even at the top for an instant read grill thermometer on this list.

The Javelin pro has some nice extra features though.  The automatic rotating display means it is no lie when Lavatools says the Javelin Pro is “ambidextrous.”  You can rotate the probe around whether you want to use it in your left or right hand.  You can even point it straight up, and the display will fix itself for you.

A built-in magnet is another nice perk.  Though it seems simple, a magnet really adds to the worth of a thermometer.  It will undoubtedly come in handy down the road.

Another extra feature allows you to “hold” your temperature.  Once your thermometer is reading the temperature, you can press “hold” and then the Javelin pro will continue to show the temperature until you press “hold” again.

PROs
Average read time is 2 to 3 seconds
Temperature Range of -40 to 482°F
Accuracy is ±0.9°F
Battery Life of 4,000+ hours
When opened fully, it’s 10.5″ long, so your hand keeps away from the heat.
Loaded with useful features
Currently has 955+ reviews and a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Amazon
Currently on Amazon’s Choice list
CONS
A little bulky for smaller hands
Probe hinge is a little tight and can be tough to open with one hand
The Javelin Pro sells at about $54 for any of the five colors of this model you might be interested in.
“Best Buy” – Best Overall Instant Read Thermometer on a Budget – 3rd Year On My List –

#3 Thermoworks Super Fast ThermoPop

Best Buy
Top Features:

✅ Rotating display

✅ Intelligent backlight

✅ Splash-proof design

✅ Big backlit digits

✅ Temp range: -58 to 572°F

✅ Compact design

✅ 9 colors to choose from

The ThermoPop is another product by Thermoworks, but it is barely even comparable.

The two devices follow their own standards and are about as different as they can be while both being instant read thermometers.

The ThermoPop is a very effective small thermometer.  Its probe comes straight out of a small round head rather than folding into the body like with many instant read thermometers.  It comes with a sleeve to cover the probe when not in use.

Like the MK4, the display still rotates when the thermometer is turned and moved, which is a nice detail.  Reading from any angle is convenient.

The accuracy is not nearly as good with the ThermoPop, coming within 2°F of the temperature.  While not a deal killer, it could be better.

It also is a tad bit slower than the MK4, taking up to four seconds to give you a temperature reading.

The 5,000-hour battery life tops all thermometers on this list though and makes this an excellent choice if you are looking for Thermoworks quality at a smaller price.

PROs
Average read time is 3 to 4 seconds
Temperature range of -58 to 572°F
Battery life of 5,000+ hours
Left and right-hand use
Comes with several extra features listed above
Currently has 550+ reviews and a 4.8 out of 5-star rating on the manufacturer website
CONS
Accuracy is only ±2.0°F
On the smaller side
The ThermoPop comes in a variety of assorted colors, sells for about $34, and comes with Thermoworks excellent customer service and support.
“Top Pick” – Best High-End Newcomer Instant Read Thermometer – 1st Year On My List –

#4 OXO Good Grips Thermocouple Thermometer

Top Pick
Top Features:

✅ Foldaway thermocouple probe

✅ Dial that allows you to release the probe without touching it

✅ Rotating display

✅ Waterproof design

✅ Big backlit digits

✅ Customizable between Fahrenheit and Celsius and 1° or 1.0° resolution

✅ Includes a microfiber storage pouch

If you’re interested in the Thermapen Mk4 but want to pay a little less and receive a thermometer with a more modern appearance, The OXO instant read thermometer may be for you – which also has a waterproof body.

With a temperature accuracy of 0.9°F, you can be certain that the OXO Good Grips Thermocouple Thermometer will have one of the most reliable temperature readings.

It also has a very similar temperature range to the Thermapen Mk4: -52 to 572°F.

OXO even eliminated the need to use an on/off button with this model.  Turn the unit on and off simply by unfolding the probe.  Unfolding can be done by pulling the probe or by using a little knob if you’d rather not infect the probe with your dirty hands.

However, one downside to this model is that it has a short battery life.  Compared to instant read thermometers that feature thousands of hours of battery life, 43 hours is somewhat lacking.

But from a rotating screen display to the ability to customize the temperature reading from Fahrenheit to Celsius as well as being able to adjust the screen resolution from 1° to 1.0°, the bells and whistles are on deck.

But more importantly, the OXO is a well-made thermometer with excellent performance and good construction.

For added convenience, the OXO Good Grips Thermocouple Thermometer also includes a microfiber storage pouch with your purchase.

PROs
Average read time is 2 to 3 seconds
Temperature range of -52 to 572°F
Accuracy is ±0.9°F
Comes with several extra features listed above
Although there are still a low number of reviews, currently has 19+ reviews and a 4.6 out of 5-star rating on Amazon
CONS
Battery life is only 43 hours
While the $86 price for the Oxo Good Grips might be a deal-breaker for you and the battery life isn’t grand, this thermometer comes with a lot of great extra features that make it worthwhile.
“Top Pick” – Best 1st Generation Instant Read Thermometer – 3rd Year On My List –

#5 ThermoWorks Classic Super-Fast Thermapen

Top Pick
Top Features:

✅ 2-3 second readings

✅ High accuracy to ±0.7°F (±0.4°C)

✅ Auto shut-off after 10 minutes

✅ Water-resistant design

✅ Auto on/off when you fold or unfold the probe —no buttons!

✅ °F to °C reconfigurable

The Classic Thermapen is the previous generation of instant-read grill thermometer by ThermoWorks.

This was the gold standard for instant-read thermometers before the ThermoWorks MK4 came along.  It comes a little cheaper but doesn’t have quite as many features as the MK4.

The accuracy still holds very well to the classic, coming within .7°F of the exact temperature.

Its folding probe still comes around and allows for left-hand use, but the display doesn’t automatically rotate on the classic model.

It only takes two to three seconds to read the temperature, giving the name “Super-Fast” some legitimacy.

Its array of colors is bright and pleasant, allowing it to be easily spotted in a cluttered cooking utensil drawer.

If you are looking for a highly accurate, quick-reading thermometer without too many special bells and whistles, this might be the one for you.

The Thermapen is extremely well made, offering top of the line performance.

PROs
Average read time is 2 to 3 seconds
Temperature Range of -58 to 572°Fn
6 colors to choose from
Comes with extra features listed above
Currently has 362+ reviews and a 4.8 out of 5-star rating on the manufacturer website
CONS
Display is not backlit
Display does not rotate
Battery life is only 1,500 hours
The Classic Thermapen costs about $79, putting it in the higher price range.  That price comes with quality, durability, and accuracy we have come to expect from ThermoWorks though.
“Best Buy” – Runner Up Best Instant Read Thermometer On A Budget – 3rd Year On My List –

#6 Lavatools PT12 Javelin Digital Instant Read Thermometer

Best Buy
Top Features:

✅ 3-4 second read time

✅ Large 1.4 display

✅ Built-in magnet to stick it to your refrigerator or oven.

✅ Auto shut-off after 60 minutes of disuse

✅ Splash-proof, BPA-free construction

✅ Lifetime warranty

The Lavatools PT12 is like the Javelin Pro’s little brother.

Coming in with a bit fewer features, the PT12 is more of a bare-bones instant read grill thermometer.

It is still quite accurate, reading within .9°F of the exact temperature.  It takes a bit longer to read the temperature though, holding on point between three and four seconds.  That is still pretty quick but not quite as quick as the Javelin Pro.

The PT12 still comes with a built-in magnet, giving it that nice convenience that isn’t always available in other models.

With a temperature range of -40 to 482°F, this meat thermometer is also effective to use in fryers or for making bread, candy, coffee, and homebrews.

As a bonus, the Javelin Pro is BPA-free, features an antimicrobial additive to inhibit 99.9% of pathogenic growth, and is designed in California.

Lavatools also provides a lifetime warranty on this product.

PROs
Average read time is 3 to 4 seconds
Temperature range of -40 to 482°F
Accuracy is ±0.9°F
Lifetime warranty
Battery life of 4,000+ hours
Currently has 4,202+ reviews and a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Amazon
Currently on Amazon’s Choice list
CONS
Display is not backlit
Very bare bones with no real extra features to get excited about
While the PT12 is lacking a couple of features, it comes at half the price of its big brother and its performance is still quite good.  You can grab one for about $27.
“Runner Up – Best Mid-Range Instant Read Thermometer” – 1st Year On My List –

#7 Taylor Precision Products Duel Temperature Thermometer

Top Features:

✅ Measures both internal and surface temperatures

✅ Temperature range of -67 to 482°F

✅ Auto shut off for longer battery life

✅ Splash-Proof

✅ Vinyl carrying case included

The Taylor Precision Products Thermometer is a dual temperature thermometer that can be used for both infrared and standard thermocouple temperature readings.

This allows you to measure both internal and surface temperatures.

The surface infrared reader is great for checking hotspots on everything from the stove, oven and your grill.  It also features adjustable emissivity for reading dark, reflective surfaces.

The 5-inch long stainless-steel probe is great for all types of food and folds closed when not in use.

The infrared can measure temperatures between -67 and 482℉, while the probe can handle between -67 and 626℉, making this a very versatile temperature-measuring device.

Additional features include a temperature hold button, a splash-proof design, and auto shut-off after 15 minutes to help preserve battery life.  It runs off of two AAA batteries.

Apart from the thermometer itself, you will also receive a nifty vinyl carrying case included with your purchase.

PROs
Dual readings for both surface and internal temperatures
Splash-proof design
Auto shut-off
Temperature hold button
Versatile design
Currently on Amazon’s Choice list
CONS
Display is not backlit
Small display screen
The Taylor isn’t cheap at around $58, but when you consider the fact that it is actually two thermometers in one, it helps take the sting out of the price somewhat.
“Best Alternative To Higher Priced Foldable Thermometers” – 1st Year On My List

#8 Mister Chefer Waterproof Digital Meat Thermometer

Top Features:

✅ Foldaway probe

✅ IPX7 waterproof design

✅ USB rechargeable – no more switching out batteries!

✅ 30-second auto shut-off

✅ Big backlit digits

✅ Touch-button control

✅ Includes storage bag and e-book

Having to change out the batteries in an instant read thermometer can be annoying, particularly if the battery life has a short span.  With the Mister Chefer Waterproof Digital Meat Thermometer, there’s no need to worry about buying a bunch of batteries; just recharge it via USB!

Featuring one of the quickest read times, you’ll get your temperature with this Mister Chefer thermometer in just two seconds flat.  So far on our list, this thermometer is one of the quickest-reading devices.

The wide temperature range of this meat thermometer of -58°F to +572°F is great for any use.  The thermometer has an accuracy of +/-1 degrees, which is solid enough.

The Mister Chefer Waterproof Digital Meat Thermometer features automatic shut-off after 30 seconds, a touch-button for easy control, and a waterproof body with large, backlit numbers.

With a generous lifetime warranty, storage bag, and e-book included with your purchase, you can ensure this Mister Chefer thermometer will be a wise $29 buy.

PROs
Average read time is 2 seconds
Lifetime warranty
Heavy-duty construction
Although there are still a low number of reviews, currently has 62 reviews and a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Amazon
Currently on Amazon’s Choice list
CONS
Battery life is only 13.5 hours (using the rechargeable battery)
The $29 price for this waterproof Mister Chefer thermometer is a great deal as it brings favorable value to the table in a sweet looking design.  The battery life is disappointing, but being rechargeable, this makes up for it.
“Best Low-Cost Instant Read Thermometer” – 1st Year On My List –

#9 Habor Instant Read Digital Meat Thermometer

Top Features:

✅ 4-6 seconds readout time

✅ Temp range of -58℉ to 572℉

✅ 4.7″super long probe

✅ Foldaway probe

✅ Meat temperature chart on back of thermometer

✅ Customizable between Fahrenheit and Celsius

Whether you need your instant read thermometer for grilling or baking, the Habor Digital Meat Thermometer is a reliable and affordable selection.

It features the same temperature range as the ThermoWorks ThermoPop (-58 to 572°F). However, the temperature reading time is approximately a few seconds off.

On the downside, this Habor thermometer’s lower cost comes at a price: less accurate temperature readings.  Accuracy is ±1.8°F, which if you remember earlier, we discussed that ±1.9°F is at the end of the ‘good’ range for accuracy.  But you’re getting what you pay for.

Coming back to the positives, this Habor LCD screen device features a long handle to ensure you keep away from the heat.

Habor was also generous enough to add a reliable meat temperature chart on the back of the thermometer for quick reference.  On top of that, you have the ability to switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature readings.

Being under $13, this instant read thermometer has plenty of features and is reliable enough to be a steal.

PROs
Average read time is 4 to 6 seconds
Temperature range of -58 to 572°F
Accuracy is ±1.8°F
When opened fully, it’s 10.3″ long, so your hand keeps away from the heat.
Currently has 1,799+ reviews and a 4.4 out of 5-star rating on Amazon
Currently on Amazon #1 Best Seller list
CONS
Display is not backlit
Not waterproof
For just around $13, it’s hard to beat the price of the Habor Instant Read Thermometer.  But the costs of a more affordable thermometer mean less accurate temperature readings and a longer temperature read time.
“Runner Up – Best Low-Cost Instant Read Thermometer” – 3rd Year On My List –

#10 ThermoPro TP03A Digital Food Cooking Thermometer

Top Features:

✅ Temp range of -58°F ~ 572°F

✅ Accurate to ±0.9°F

✅ Auto-off after 10 minutes

✅ Hook attachment for hanging

✅ Foldable design

Last, but not least on our top 10 list, we have the ThermoPro TP03A, which is an Amazon Best Seller.

It is one of the cheapest foldable thermometers available yet still offers many of the same features as others at the top of our instant read thermometer list.

The TP03A is a small, instant read thermometer that comes within ±0.9°F of perfect accuracy in its temperature readings.  The readings can take up to four to seven seconds to come through though, meaning it is one of the slowest of the foldable thermometers on our list.

It has a ten-minute safeguard for the battery, turning itself off after ten minutes of inactivity.  It also has 180° of rotation in the probe itself.

The body also features a nice hook to hang the thermometer onto something when not in use, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have a built-in magnet.  You can always install a magnet yourself, but if you are always trying to find your utensils, knowing it will be hanging on the wall is a sure way to make it easily locatable.

ThermoPro includes a three-year warranty with the purchase of the TP03A.

PROs
Average read time is 4 to 7 seconds
Temperature range of -58℉ to 572℉
Accuracy to ±0.9°F
3-year warranty
Comes with extra features listed below
Currently has 7,639+ reviews and a 4.4 out of 5-star rating on Amazon
Currently on Amazon’s Choice list
CONS
Display is not backlit
Body is not splash-proof
The TP03A costs around $13.  Really a steal at the price, but you don’t get quite the quality of some of the other thermometers available.

Quality Instant Read Digital Thermometers That Just Missed The Cut

The following digital thermometers all scored well and each has their benefits but had at least one flaw that prevented them from being featured on the above list.  That is not to say that they are not worthy products and shouldn’t be considered.  Just know what these limitations are.

Like the rest we took a look at, these thermometers vary by price, features, and pros and cons.

Let’s take a look:

“Bonus Pick”

BONUS #1 Smak Digital Instant Read Thermometer

Top Features:

✅ Foldaway probe

✅ Waterproof design

✅ Auto shut-off after 10 minutes

✅ Backlight switch

✅ Hold min/max function

✅ Antibacterial probe

✅ Large hanging hole

✅ Integrated magnet for convenient storage

✅ 6 colors to choose from

Looking for a thermometer that features a ribbed handle design for better gripping?  Check out the Smak Digital Instant Read Thermometer.

As one of the fastest on our list, you can expect temperature readings on this thermometer within about 2 to 3 seconds, according to the manufacturer.

The temperature range of this thermometer is pretty wide at -58 to 572°F, making it reliable for just about anything you’re whipping up: pastries, meat, drinks, alcoholic beverages, deep-fried treats, you name it.

Convenience is a big plus with this model.  It features a large hanging hole as well as a magnetic back for storage.  Flip between Fahrenheit and Celsius temperatures to your liking.  If you’re using the thermometer in the dark, just flip the backlight switch.

Thanks to its long handle and the 180° rotation of the probe, keeping safe while using the Smak Digital Instant Read Thermometer is easy.

To top it off, Smak gives you six gorgeous color options to pick from and a three-year warranty along with your purchase.

PROs
Average read time is 2 to 3 seconds
Temperature range of -58 to 572°F
3-year warranty
Comes with extra features listed above
Currently has 320+ reviews and a 4.7 out of 5-star rating on Amazon
Currently on Amazon’s Choice list
CONS
Reports of temperature readings taking longer than 2 to 3 seconds
You can get the Smak Digital Instant Read Thermometer for about $25 – not a bad deal for a sleek, waterproof design and plenty of added features.
“Bonus Pick”

BONUS #2 Mister Chefer Instant Read Thermometer

Top Features:

✅ Foldaway probe

✅ Waterproof design

✅ Auto shut-off after 10 minutes

✅ Auto shut-off when probe retracted

✅ Backlight switch

✅ Hold min/max function

✅ Antibacterial probe

✅ Large hanging hole

✅ Integrated magnet for convenient storage

The Mister Chefer Instant Read Thermometer is basically identical to the Smak Instant Read Thermometer.  Like the Smak, it features a ribbed handle design, tri-button control system, foldaway probe, and oversized hanging hole and integrated magnet.

Just like the Smak Instant Read Thermometer, this Mister Chefer device also has a temperature range of -58 to 572°F.  The average read time is also identical at 2 to 3 seconds.

Similar functions the two models have include a backlight switch, auto shut-off feature after 10 minutes, hold min/max function, and the ability to choose temperature readings in both Fahrenheit and Celsius.

However, what makes the Mister Chefer Instant Read Thermometer stand out from its Smak twin is that it costs less and has a lifetime warranty.

As for the accuracy, ±1°F isn’t that bad considering this instant read thermometer is priced quite low.  Just make sure to calibrate it for best accuracy.

PROs
Average read time is 2 to 3 seconds
Temperature range of -58 to 572°F
Accuracy is ±1°F
Lifetime warranty
Currently has 421+ reviews and a 4.4 out of 5-star rating on Amazon
CONS
Reports of temperature readings taking longer than 2 to 3 seconds
Not completely waterproof as Mister Chefer says
Currently priced at about $19, the Mister Chefer Instant Read Thermometer is a great alternative to the Smak Instant Read Thermometer.  However, the reviews aren’t quite as high, and there are more cons mentioned among users.
“Bonus Pick”

BONUS #3 Kizen Instapen Pro Instant Meat Reader Thermometer

Top Features:

✅ Foldaway probe

✅ Waterproof design

✅ Auto shut-off after 10 minutes

✅ Auto shut-off when probe retracted

✅ Backlight switch

✅ Hold min/max function

✅ Antibacterial probe and Large hanging hole

✅ Integrated magnet for convenient storage

✅ Voice temperature readings

If you like the design of both the Smak Instant Read Thermometer and the Mister Chefer Instant Read Thermometer, you’ll also like the design of the Kizen Instapen Pro Instant Meat Reader Thermometer.  Again, it looks pretty much the same, minus the ribbed handle.

The average read time and temperature range of the Kizen Instapen are the same as both its Smak and Mister Chefer lookalikes.  The accuracy is also the same as the Mister Chefer model.

Features the trio all have include auto shut-off after 10 minutes, a waterproof body, a backlit screen, the ability to pick between Fahrenheit or Celsius, among other features.

One neat feature of the Kizen Instapen is that if you have difficulty reading your temperature whether to due vision problems or attempting to read in the dark, there is a voice feature.  Just push the voice button to have your temperature conveniently read to you.

You might notice that the Kizen Instapen is more expensive than its Smak and Mister Chefer counterparts, but better reviews prove that Kizen’s version has greater quality.

PROs
Average read time is 2 to 3 seconds
Temperature range of -58 to 572°F
Accuracy is ±1°F
Lifetime warranty
Currently has 67+ reviews and a 4.8 out of 5-star rating on Amazon
Currently on Amazon’s Choice list
CONS
Not adaptable for left-handers
The Kizen Instapen Pro is currently priced at about $28.  With fewer complaints from customers and the addition of voice temperature readings, this Kizen instant read thermometer might be better than our latter two bonus listings.
“Bonus Pick”

BONUS #4 ThermoPro TP15 Waterproof Cooking Thermometer

Top Features:

✅ Hold temperature function

✅ Waterproof design

✅ Auto shut-off after 10 minutes

✅ Backlit display

✅ Hanging hole

✅ Integrated magnet for convenient storage

If affordable cost is important to you, the ThermoPro TP15 Waterproof Cooking Thermometer might be the right fit for you.

While affordable, you can expect an average temperature range, a perfect temperature accuracy of ±0.9°F, and a good read time of 3 to 4 seconds.

You also have the option to switch your temperature readings from Fahrenheit to Celsius. Regardless of which you choose, the backlit screen display is easy to read.

But before you consider purchasing it, know that the probe isn’t foldable.  However, the long, slender design of the TP15 makes it still easy to store.  The addition of both an integrated magnet as well as a hole for hanging gives you other options to store your instant read thermometer.

Apart from the thermometer itself, you’ll also receive a one-year warranty from ThermoPro, which is plenty for a thermometer this affordable.

PROs
Average read time is 3 to 4 seconds
Temperature range of -58 to 572°F
1-year warranty
Accuracy is ±0.9°F
Although there are still a low number of reviews, currently has 27+ reviews and a 4.8 out of 5-star rating on Amazon
Currently on Amazon’s Choice list
CONS
Probe doesn’t fold
Under $14 yet with an average 4.8 out of 5-star rating and a title on Amazon’s Choice list, the ThermoPro TP15 has the basic features you’ll need in an instant read thermometer.
“Bonus Pick”

BONUS #5 Kizen Instant Read Meat Thermometer

Top Features:

✅ Foldaway probe

✅ Meat temperature chart on front of thermometer

✅ Waterproof design

✅ Auto shut-off after 10 minutes

✅ Auto shut-off when probe retracted

✅ Backlit screen

✅ Antibacterial probe

✅ Temperature-reach alarm

✅ Integrated magnet for convenient storage

Get fast read times and temperature accuracy within one degree with the Kizen Instant Read Meat Thermometer.

One of the best features this Kizen thermometer features is an alarm when your food has reached your desired temperature.

You can find other great features on this instant read thermometer from an integrated meat temperature chart and a backlit screen to an antibacterial probe and a built-in magnet for storage.

Like some top-rated thermometers, the Kizen Instant Read Meat Thermometer includes two auto shut-off features: shut-off when the probe is folded and shut-off after 10 minutes – whichever comes first.

Even for its lower price point, Kizen is generous enough to include a lifetime warranty with the purchase of this model.

PROs
Average read time is 2 to 3 seconds
Temperature range of -58 to 572°F
Accuracy is ±1°F
Lifetime warranty
Currently has 436+ reviews and a 4.4 out of 5-star rating on Amazon
Currently on Amazon’s Choice list
CONS
On the larger side
The Kizen Instant Read Meat Thermometer flaunts both great aesthetics and nice features.  For $18, you’re getting your money’s worth.  With excellent customer service from Kizen, you’ll get the help you need if you experience any issues with their thermometer.

Buyer’s Guide – What To Look For In An Instant Read Thermometer

Instant read thermometer ratings depend greatly on the features of the thermometers.

With technology getting better every day, it can be tough to find the newest and best products out there.

Here are some of the features you should look for in an instant read thermometer:

Accuracy

The entire purpose of a thermometer is to know the temperature of your food.

An inaccurate thermometer won’t help you cook a sauce to perfection or grill up a steak to its most succulent temperature.  Luckily, most instant read thermometers come within 1°F of perfect accuracy.

When you are shopping for a thermometer, it shouldn’t have to be calibrated like older analog thermometers.  The product listing should also tell you how accurate it is.  If not, you can be pretty sure it isn’t a very accurate thermometer.

Speed Of Temperature Reading

The term ‘instant read’ is a bit misleading in the field.  No thermometer can read the temperature completely instantaneously.

Even though that is a little exaggerated, some instant read grill thermometers give a faster read time than others do.  The range can vary from two seconds to over ten seconds.

That is a quite a variance, so it is worth knowing the estimated read time of a thermometer before you purchase it.  Trust me, having to hold your hand over a blazing hot grill and waiting to get a final readout for a long period of time can get pretty uncomfortable.

Temperature Range

Temperature range is another feature that may mean different things to different purchasers.

You must first know how you plan to use your thermometer.

Grilling, baking, and roasting do not require extreme lows or extreme highs.  If that is all you’re planning to use the thermometer for, then anything ranging between 32°F and 350°F is sufficient.

If you are planning to use this for extremely hot or cold liquid, candy-making, or for checking the temperature of hot frying oil, much wider temperature ranges from -58.0 to 572.0°F are required.

Durability

Do your homework and read reviews of different thermometers, especially from long-term owners.

If one reviewer says something along the lines of, “My last one lasted over 10 years before it finally gave up the ghost, and I loved it,” then you may have yourself a winner.

Unfortunately, higher quality usually means higher cost but not always.  Again, do your homework before making any purchases.

Extra Features

One of the biggest influences of instant read thermometer ratings are the new and improved features the modern models have.

As technology has become more and more approachable, the features of digital thermometers have improved drastically.

Things like automatically-rotating screens, automatic power switches, and temperature holds all add to the value of a thermometer.  Of course, this also often comes with an added price as well.

Just about whatever you are looking for in a thermometer, though, you will find.

Instant Read Thermometer FAQ

User Tips And Product Care Guide For Your Thermometer Investment

How To Properly Insert A Meat Thermometer

The trick to getting the best reading when using an instant read thermometer is to find the coolest part of the meat or the thermometer sweet spot.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the dead center of the meat.  What you are shooting for is the center of the thickest part of the meat.

Start by inserting the probe tip into the thickest part of the meat but go a little further than needed.  Now slowly pull the tip back out until you hit the lowest reading.

How To Test A Meat Thermometer

There are two easy ways to test your instant read thermometer to verify correct readings.  They are:

  1. The Boiling Water Test – Fill a deep pot with water and bring it to a boil. Insert the thermometer probe (not the device itself) halfway into the water without touching the sides or the bottom. The thermometer should read 212 degrees Fahrenheit every time.
  2. The Ice Water Test – Fill a pot or large drinking glass with crushed ice and water so that it is quite slushy. Stir well. Insert the thermometer probe (not the device itself) halfway into the water without touching the sides or the bottom.  The thermometer should read 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

If either of these readings is far off, then Houston, we have a problem.  Calibrating is in order.

Calibrating Instant Read Thermometers

Not all models can be calibrated at home, but for those that can (read your user’s manual), start by setting up either the boiling water or ice water test above.

Insert the probe in the water (only the metal probe, not the whole thermometer or the probe wire).

Next, hold down the reset (or calibrate) button if there is one, or hold the On-Off button for 6 to 10 seconds or until the display reads the correct hot or cold temp.

Pro Tip: If your thermometer does not come with a home calibration option, some manufacturers will do it for you if you send it to them.  It doesn’t hurt to reach out to them to inquire if they will help if your thermometer readings have become inaccurate.

How To Clean A BBQ Thermometer

A paper towel or sponge, a little warm water, and dish soap will normally do the trick to clean your thermometer.

But be careful not to get the actual probe, wires, or body of the thermometer itself overly wet.

Another safe method is to hold the probe in boiling water for at least 30 seconds at 171 degrees Fahrenheit or more.  Harmful bacteria will die when exposed to the high heat.

Pro Tip: Another nice method is using pre-made probe wipes sold online.  Think baby wipes but for your thermometer.  They are specifically made for food probes and are soaked with a cleaning solution that helps kill harmful bacteria that would otherwise cause food safety issues.  The CDN PW-90 Thermometer Probe Wipes are a good example.

Final Verdict – Which Instant Read Thermometer Is Best?

Once again, the Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 is my choice for the overall 10 best instant read thermometer for 2019.

If you can afford the higher price, the MK4 is still the best digital thermometer money can buy.

A close second coming in at almost half the price is the Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo as far as quality and features offered are concerned.

The right instant read thermometer for you might be something different though as there are many quality thermometers on this list.

Whatever you are looking for in an instant read thermometer…

there is certainly a product here for you.

The highest-rated choices on this instant read thermometer ratings list will give you an exceptional quality product that will last you nearly a lifetime.  They will give you every bell and whistle you could want.

The improvements in technology make things like automatically-rotating screens very available on a digital thermometer.  The age-old ideas of looks and simplicity in design continue with many digital thermometers, giving you options of color, shape, and whether the probe is foldable or not.

The biggest factor in choosing a thermometer, though, is the price you are willing to spend.

You can spend between $8 and $100 easily.  The price you are willing to pay will dictate exactly which features you will get, but even the cheaper products on this list will get the job done.  They will at least give you a fairly accurate temperature within a reasonable amount of time.

I hope that this list will help you choose the product that is right for you!

Now It’s Your Turn

As always, if you or someone you know is interested in the latest instant read thermometer ratings for 2019, or you find this information useful, please consider sharing with your cooking and grilling friends or on social media.  Sharing is caring my friends!

If you would like to leave a comment or have a review of your own to share on these top 10 instant read thermometers or others, please do so below. We always welcome your input.

Disclosure

At The Grilling Life, I am committed to researching and writing thoughtful, informative and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your outdoor cooking needs.  If you like what I do, you can support me through my chosen links, which earn me a commission.  This allows me to continue sharing with you my love for all things barbecue.  Your support is truly appreciated.