Getting a steak perfectly seared can be near-impossible to eyeball—even if you’re a grillmaster. But a wireless meat thermometer can tell you the exact temperature (and, therefore, the doneness) of your meat, eliminating charred, dry, and burnt bits. Picking the right one, though, can be a challenge. There are instant-read wireless thermometers that give data, well, instantly, as well as Bluetooth-compatible ones that send temperature updates to your smartphone. And then there’s the matter of accuracy and speediness.
“When choosing a meat thermometer, evaluate your cooking process,” says Brooke Lewis of The Shed BBQ in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. “Are you a slow-and-low barbecue [person] or fast-and-fiery flamethrower? Do you predominantly cook in the oven or outside? There are many reliable brands of meat thermometers.”
No matter your cooking needs, there’s a wireless meat thermometer with your barbecuing, roasting, and steak-searing name on it. Here are our top picks.
Features to Keep in Mind
A meat thermometer’s probe is the metal needle that sticks into the meat and reads the temperature. Typically made from stainless steel and always food-grade safe, some probes have “dual action” capabilities that can measure both the internal meat temperature and the ambient temperature, while others only read the meat’s doneness.
Display styles are almost as varied as wireless meat thermometers themselves, ranging from old-school numbered dials to digital instant-reads to displays that appear on your phone via an app. Consider the amount of information you want on the display (temperature, time, etc.) and what viewing angle you need. If consistent information logged over time is the cooking data you drool over, a thermometer with an app will up your grill game significantly. Looking for ease of use and quick temperature reads? A simpler display is more your style.
While temperature ranges vary across models, the best wireless meat thermometers can safely handle the (sometimes super-high) temperatures for all cuts of meat. For novice home chefs, the included apps will explain the ideal internal temperatures for your meat, but it also doesn't hurt to use a reference guide.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: ThermoWorks Thermapen One
The ThermoWorks Thermapen One strikes the perfect balance between the latest technology and convenience, making it the favorite of countless professional chefs, barbecue champions, and food bloggers alike. Slender enough to slide into your back pocket and available in a rainbow of colors, the high-performance probe has an accuracy spec within 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit and takes a full temperature reading in just one second. With an automatic backlight and sensor that changes the display’s brightness in ambient lighting conditions, Thermapen proves that great tools come in small packages. The waterproof wireless thermometer’s auto-rotating display, motion-sensing sleep mode, NIST-traceable calibration certificate, and a wide temperature range of -58 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit will leave you feeling confident that your temperature readings are to-the-second correct.
“The Thermapen is our workhorse in the smoker pits,” says Scott Holmes of Little Miss BBQ in Phoenix. “We use it to pull our turkey and sausages as well as when we’re down-temping our barbecue. We always use the rubber magnetic boot so we can quickly place it on metal walls or beams for quick access.”
Best Non-Digital: Rubbermaid Pocket Thermometer
If you’re more interested in a simple meat thermometer that’s neither battery-powered nor digital, the Rubbermaid Commercial Pocket Thermometer is a great choice. With a stainless steel probe and shatterproof display lens, this meat thermometer is reliable enough to work in both home and commercial kitchens and durable enough to hold up against accidental drops. This meat thermometer skews toward the smaller side (hence the term “pocket”), making it perfect for kitchens with limited storage or to take to a rental kitchen, and the thermometer’s slightly convex display lens makes readings a breeze. Though it takes a few seconds to register the meat’s temperature, this thermometer reads between 0 and 220 degrees Fahrenheit and includes a “user calibration nut” for long-lasting accuracy.
Best Value: Lavatools Javelin PRO
Many top-rated wireless meat thermometers cost around $100, but the Lavatools Javelin PRO manages to deliver serious capability for half the price. With a 100 percent BPA-free polycarbonate body and a high-performance sensor housed in a food-grade stainless steel probe, the Javelin PRO can read temperatures in as little as one to three seconds with an accuracy within 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lefties, rejoice! The Javelin PRO is equipped with an auto-rotating ambidextrous 2-inch backlit display, meaning no craning your neck to gaze at the temperature. This wireless meat thermometer’s “intelligent stabilization alert” also holds the temperature readout once it has settled, allowing for more confidence in the temperature of that filet mignon. With a temperature range of -40 to 482 degrees Fahrenheit, this Lavatools gadget adds even more bang-for-your-buck.
Best Versatility: The MeatStick
No matter how you’re cooking meat—from sous vide to barbecue to deep-frying—the MeatStick takes the guesswork out of the equation: Just insert the probe, leave it there for the entire cooking process, and it will alert you via an app when the meal is ready. This wireless meat thermometer uses dual sensors: One that measures the meat's temperature and a second that measures the temperature of the oven or pit. The internal sensor can display and withstand temperatures up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit and the ceramic handle sensor can display and withstand up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit. “Meatstick handles it all: large proteins or small,” says James Beard-nominated chef Cole Ellis of Delta Meat Market in Cleveland, Mississippi. “It’s durable [and] you can even leave it in the product while smoking. It’s a very convenient and capable smart thermometer.”
The intuitive app not only allows for real-time monitoring, but it will also walk you through the cooking process for every type of meat (even goose!) and set the precise temperature for you. With alerts sent right to your fingertips when oven temperatures might be too high or too low, there’s less need to babysit. Bonus: The app allows you to track all of your cooking projects and make adjustments over time.
Best App-Enabled: Meater
This completely wireless “smart” meat thermometer is Bluetooth-enabled to sync up between the probe and the Meater app, allowing novice grillmasters to receive near-constant updates on how the pork shoulder or filet is cooking without having to open the hood and let out precious heat. Because of this, it’s also one of our favorite instant-read meat thermometers. Those looking to get even more tech-savvy can opt for the Meater Link add-on, which extends the app's WiFi reach past the typical 33-foot range, or sign up for the Meater Cloud, which allows for meat-monitoring via Alexa or a computer. The probe itself is made of stainless steel and is dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze.
“It’s a pretty cool piece of equipment and technology for the home cook,” says Chef Erik Niel of Easy Bistro and Bar in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Colorful and straightforward, The Meater app’s interface uses a guided cooking system to help grill-enthusiasts go step-by-step with cooking their specific cuts of meat, ensuring there’s little chance of dry chicken or singed racks of lamb. You can also use up to four Meater thermometers at the same time, which is especially handy if you’re smoking brisket and sausages simultaneously and need to time out a meal accordingly. The Meater has dual temperature sensors, so it can monitor internal meat temperature up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit and external temperature up to 527 degrees Fahrenheit.