If you ever fret at the thought of accidentally serving your friends and family undercooked meat, eliminate your worry by getting a great digital meat thermometer. It’s one of the few tools that will instantly increase your confidence in the kitchen. After testing 37 digital instant-read and probe thermometers, we think the ThermoWorks ThermoPop 2 is the best instant-read thermometer and the ThermoWorks Dot is the best probe thermometer for a home kitchen. Both thermometers are fast, accurate, and reasonably priced, with clear, easy-to-read displays.
No other thermometer under $50 can match the ThermoPop 2’s combination of speed, reach, reliability, and easy-to-read display.
On top of being fast and accurate, the ThermoWorks ThermoPop 2 is also waterproof, and it’s designed to work for both righties and lefties. It can read temperatures ranging from -58 °F to 572 °F, and can easily switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit. The ThermoPop’s backlit display has large digits and automatically rotates in four directions, so you can quickly read it from any angle. Although it’s not the fastest thermometer we tested, it comfortably covers most home-kitchen needs. And it is far, far better than most of the digital thermometers sold for less than $30. We recommend the version with a 4.5-inch probe, but you can also get it with an 8-inch probe, which takes readings a second or two slower.
The Dot probe thermometer stays in your meat while it cooks, allowing you to easily monitor doneness. It also has a strong magnet that keeps it securely attached to an oven door.
If you want a thermometer that you can leave inside your roast while it bakes, or that you can attach to your grill or smoker, we recommend the ThermoWorks Dot. The Dot is accurate, affordable, and easy to use. It has the same wide temperature range as the ThermoPop, and it also has one of the longest probe cables of any of the thermometers we considered. The digital display on the ThermoWorks Dot is easy to read, and you can quickly set an alarm to go off when your meat reaches a certain temperature. We also like the backlit screen, which is handy for outdoor grilling at night.
This thermometer offers a bit more speed, plus temperature alerts, temperature holding, and a fold-up probe that’s handy for taking readings at odd angles.
The Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo instant-read thermometer is the midpoint option between the ThermoPop and the $100 best-in-class ThermoWorks Thermapen One. In our tests, the Javelin Pro Duo was nearly a second faster at reaching a true temperature than the ThermoPop, and its folding probe lets you take readings from odd angles. It has a few features the ThermoPop lacks, such as a beep that tells you when it settles on a temperature, a button for holding the reading, and the ability to track minimum and maximum temperatures. It also displays temperatures down to a tenth of a degree. And unlike the ThermoPop or Thermapen, the Javelin Pro Duo has a magnet that lets you stick it to your fridge or stove, rather than keeping it loose in a drawer.
This was the fastest and most accurate instant-read thermometer we tested. It also offers a rotating screen with a bright backlight, a huge temperature range, and serious waterproofing.
Most people don’t need to spend over $100 on a thermometer. But if you care deeply about speed, or if you have cooking projects that demand to-the-degree accuracy, the ThermoWorks Thermapen One is the easy choice. This buttonless thermometer is completely automatic—it powers on when you pull out the probe, and the bright backlight and rotating screen are motion-activated. It was on average 2 to 3 seconds faster than the Javelin Pro Duo at reading temperatures in the mid-100s (Fahrenheit), where most cooking happens. Thanks to the thermometer’s long probe, you can be confident you’re getting readings from deep within your food.
This single-probe thermometer offers more features, including a timer and volume adjustment.
If you’re looking for a few more helpful features on a leave-in probe thermometer, the ThermoWorks ChefAlarm includes a timer and volume adjustment. Though the ChefAlarm was a couple of seconds slower than the Dot at reading temperatures in our tests, it was just as accurate. We especially liked the convenience of the timer on this model. The digital unit is also hinged, so you can lay it flat or adjust it to a specific angle. Unlike our other picks, the ChefAlarm thermometer comes with a case to hold the probe and the digital unit.