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Cooking is a combination of an art and a science, and precision is key in a lot of aspects. None is more important than the most basic element of cooking: temperature. Getting the right temperature in your grill or smoker in particular is key to ensuring the meat cooks thoroughly without drying out.
A smoker thermometer is the best way to take the guesswork out of that, and the more precise the better.
In A Rush?
- 1 Reviews of the Best Smoker Thermometer for 2019
- 1.1 1. ThermoPro TP-08S Wireless Remote Digital Cooking Meat Thermometer
- 1.2 2. ThermoPro TP-17 Dual Probe Food Grill Thermometer
- 1.3 3. ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Remote Digital Cooking Food Meat Thermometer
- 1.4 4. Soraken Wireless Meat Thermometer for Grilling
- 1.5 5. ThermoPro TP-07 Wireless Remote Digital Cooking Turkey Food Meat Thermometer
- 1.6 6. Inkbird IBT-4XS Wireless BBQ Thermometer for Grilling
- 1.7 7. DOZYANT 3 1/8" Larger Face 550F BBQ, Smoker, Grill Thermometer
- 2 Final Verdict
- 3 What Do I Look For In A Smoker Thermometer?
Reviews of the Best Smoker Thermometer for 2019
While lacking the settings of the TP20, the TP-08S is an excellent meat thermometer for those who want to save a bit of money and don’t mind programming the temperatures individually each time they cook.
- Meat Probes: Probes are 8.5 inches long and use a “step down” design for easy, quick, and accurate temperature readings. The length is important, as it means they penetrate to the deepest part of even large cuts of meat (even a whole turkey) where the internal temperature reading is most important. Wires are rated for 76 degrees Fahrenheit (though not open flames).
- Range: The separated design allows for monitoring your meat up to 300 feet away, controlling everything from the remote control portion (including the built in cooking timer) and letting you relax or attend to other chores or business while still keeping a close watch on your meat’s temperature. Device contains an alarm for if the connection is lost and needs to be checked manually.
- Display: LCD display is easy to read and backlit for use in the day or night equally.
- Rugged Design: Water resistant, shock proof, and dust proof, the device is also sturdy and likely to withstand drops from a reasonable height. As long as it isn’t completely submerged in water or thoroughly drenched it will remain in full working order.
- Settings: The TP-08S suffers from being identical to the TP20…with one major difference: it doesn’t have the 9 presets.
While you can still set everything manually, the settings do take a lot of hassle out of the ordeal, particularly for those not inclined to look up the perfect cooking temperature for each bit of meat they’re cooking at any given time. While otherwise an excellent thermometer, it’s hard to justify downgrading to the TP-08S for only a $10 price drop.
SmokePro is one of the more prominent smoker thermometer brands, and this is one of their most advanced models. Tons of options, easy to use, high quality materials, and a great price.
- Probes: Dual probe design makes cooking multiple different kinds of meat far easier. Each probe is tracked separately, and the readout can be tweaked to read both for different kinds of temperatures.
- Display: LCD display is easy to read and backlit for darker conditions. It can display temperature in both Fahrenheit and Celsius, and the displays are sensibly laid out to be directly next to the meat probes they are giving the readout for.
The readouts can be adjusted separately to different preset meat temperatures for different kinds of meat, ensuring a safe and thorough cook every time. There is also an option for a custom temperature if one of the 6 presets (poultry, pork or veal, ham, beef medium rare or fish, beef medium, and beef well done) doesn’t work for whatever you’re trying to cook at the moment.
- Magnetic: Unit is magnetic, and easily sticks to the oven door, front of the smoker, or any other convenient metal surface. It also has a flip out counter stand for sitting on any horizontal surface.
- Warranty: Unit is warrantied for 1 year by default, or 3 if you register the product with ThermoPro. This covers a common issue with meat probes where they may become inaccurate by a few degrees after a few months of use, and they can then be replaced free of charge.
- Cables: Cables are 40 inches long (3 feet, 4 inches) with 8.3 inch long probes with a “step down” design (they get sharper and thinner about halfway down for quicker and more accurate readouts). The cables themselves are rated for temperatures up to 716 degrees Fahrenheit (though not open flames), so are safe to use so long as you don’t let them hit the bottom of a grill or something while it’s lit.
- It might be sensitive to water intrusion
The wireless remote models are very handy, highly durable, and extraordinarily convenient to use. Of those, the TP20 is far and away the best.
- Settings: The TP20 has a plethora of settings. These include 9 types of meat: beef, ground beef, poultry, chicken, ground poultry, veal, fish, pork, and lamb. It also comes with a catch all “oven” setting, and a “taste” setting that allows you to set a preset cooking temperature for rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, and well done beef. All of these can be tweaked or reset at your desire to fit any nonstandard cooking temperatures.
- Meat Probes: Dual meat probes have a “step down” design for quicker and more accurate temperature readings, attached to the main sensor apparatus. Both can be used independently when cooking multiple different kinds of meat, or the same meat to different temperatures (such as if one person wants a medium rare steak and the other well done).
- Range: The dual device set up means you can tweak temperatures and check cooking time remaining and internal temperature from up to 300 feet away, meaning you can relax indoors or in your favorite spot without having to get up to check the readout every few minutes.
- Display: Display is LCD and backlit for easy reading day or night, and has clear and precise readouts for each of the 2 meat probes.
- Rugged Design: While not rated for submersion, the TP20 is splash proof and water resistant, in case something goes awry or it suddenly begins to rain. It is also shock proof and dust proof, so you don’t need to worry about delicate bits getting destroyed by dropping it in the dirt.
- Size: The TP20 is a large, bulky device and may be hard to store. Moreover it is two distinct pieces, meaning one or the other could be lost, leaving you (in either case) with a worthless product. While unlikely to remain lost given the size, it is possible to temporarily misplace one of the sides, running the risk of overcooking your meat.
Soraken’s not a brand with a lot of choices, but this one is great enough to cover any dearth of choices. The most simultaneous meat probes around, all easy to use with a great and very responsive app for convenient monitoring.
- Settings: The Soraken Wireless Meat Thermometer has the most settings of any thermometer on this list. The 6 meat modes are: veal, lamb, fish, hamburger (ground beef in general works), chicken, beef, turkey. It also boasts 3 smoke modes (cold smoke, hot smoke, and BBQ smoke) and 5 taste modes (rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, and well done). That amount of versatile presets is quite nice to have on tap for any circumstance when cooking.
- Probes: This thermometer comes with 4 different probes (color coded) that can each be tracked separately by the device app for cooking a plethora of different dishes at the same time. Excellent for varied spreads, like someone cooking sausages, a rack of ribs, a chicken, and a brisket for a large gathering of people with varied tastes.
- App: The thermometer is app controlled and can be monitored from up to 100 feet away (70 feet outdoors). As mentioned before it can track up to 4 different kinds of food at once and has easy, clear readouts for each at the same time. Everything is controlled from here, from the temperature settings to cooking alarms, making it a convenient one page set up for complex meals.
- Warranty: Unit is warrantied for 12 months, giving you a bit of peace of mind about potentially breaking it.
- Magnetic: The main thermometer section has a magnetic backing and can be placed on any metal surface.
- Probe Size: Probes are slender and short, making them difficult to poke into large meats (like whole turkeys and hams) and get an accurate reading from deep inside them, where they longest cooking time is needed to reach the correct temperature.
The TP-07 is a great model, but compares unfavorably to the above SmokePro meat thermometers in a few ways, primarily its durability and safety features.
- Display: LCD display is easy to read and set, with 8 meat modes (pork, beef, chicken, veal, lamb, poultry, and fish) and 5 taste modes (rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, and well done) as well as a custom temperature program mode. The display changes colors from blue to green to red as the meat thermometer approaches the set temperature, making it easy to determine roughly what’s going on at a glance from far away.
- Range: Unit is a two piece model with a 300 foot range. Devices are synced at the factory so they come out of the box ready to use, which is a nice touch.
- Warranty: Unit is warrantied for a year by default, and up to 3 years by registering the product. This is especially handy for replacing meat probes, but al0so covers other kinds of damage.
- Meat Probe: The probe is a single probe design, which is an issue when most units these days have at least two. The probe itself is small, slender, and crooked inconveniently. The size makes it unsuited for larger meats (like whole turkeys and hams). This alone would be fine enough to potentially justify the purchase, but people report a widespread issue with the probes breaking somehow and failing to read temperature properly. The warranty takes the sting out of this slightly, but replacing probes every few months is hassle any way you slice it.
- Lack of Safety Features: Unit is not shock proof, splash proof, and dust proof like similar products from the brand. This makes it a far less durable thermometer and more prone to breakage from unexpected weather events or accidents.
A few fundamental design flaws hold Inkbird’s digital meat thermometer back from greatness. With a few redesigns (and better meat probes) it could be one of the best around, but as it stands is a poor purchase option.
- Magnetic: The Inkbird IBT-4Xs has a strong magnetic backing, letting it be conveniently clipped to any surface nearby your smoker, grill, oven, or other cooking device.
- Alarms: While most meat thermometers include a high temperature alarm (which this unit does as well), the IBT-4XS also includes a low temperature alarm that goes off if the heat gets too low and needs to be adjusted. Great for grills and smokers without an automatic pellet feeding system or similar feature that regulates temperature.
- App: The device can be controlled from up to 150 feet away outdoors (likely less if it has to go through walls) via an app for iOS or Android phones. This is where the display features really come in. While the actual face of the device only displays the temperature, the app comes with a number of other options and readouts, including a detailed graph showing shifts in temperatures. Handy for troubleshooting heat regulation issues with whatever you’re cooking with.
- Connections: The connectors for the meat probes seem to be finicky. It is pointed out multiple times that you need to ensure they’re properly pushed in to ensure accurate readings. This is likely because it uses very light duty connectors (what look like simple auxiliary cables) as compared to the heavier, “grippier” cables a lot of other meat thermometers use. This can lead to unintended accidents resulting from connectors slipping loose while cooking, especially when hung from the grill or smoker itself.
- Meat Probes: The probes are small and dainty things that are probably just fine for smaller cuts of meat (individual steaks, pork chops, etc.), but won’t really cut it for thicker pieces of meat like a turkey, whole ham, thick roasts (like a Boston butt), or similar things.
The only non-digital thermometer here, the standouts are its cheap price and easy to use nature, but it doesn’t perform the most important function a smoker thermometer really needs. A good supplemental piece, at best.
- Price: This thermometer is incredibly cheap, somewhere between 1/3 and 1/5 of the price of the other thermometers on this list, making it even more affordable.
- Easy Install: Simply screws into an existing thermometer slot on your grill or smoker, with a minimum of tools required. The work of 5 minutes at most.
- Face: Face is accurate from 100 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit with handy indicators for temperature ranges from different kinds of cooking (cold smoking at 100, hot smoking at 200, barbecue between 225 and 375, and various searing temperatures above that). Glass is no fog for an easy, clear reading any time, and has a larger face than the standard with larger text. Great for people with poor eyesight or who just want to see the face from further away.
- Durable: Made of stainless steel on the body and high quality glass for a long lasting thermometer.
- No Meat Probes: Thermometer is just a thermometer and nothing more, meaning it’s not actually as cheap as it appears since you’ll need to buy a set of meat probes anyway. Great at gauging the internal temperature of your grill or smoker, but useless for doing so for the meat itself. This leaves the job half done at best, since the latter function is the main use of all of the other thermometers here. While a nice smoker thermometer, it’s not all that much better than the ones which come standard to most (if not all) grills and smokers on the market.
- Temperature Range: While 100 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit is great for most purposes, there are conceivable reasons you’d want to go up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit or so, which this thermometer will not accurately read out. This makes it more limited than the other thermometers on this list in terms of what you can do with it, if only slightly in this arena.
The Thermo Pro TP-08S is far and away the best bang for your buck here, but great honorable mentions go to the Soraken Wireless Meat Thermometer for its versatility and ease of use, as well as the Thermo Pro TP-20, which is the best of the 2 piece thermometers around, and is great for people who don’t mind spending a little extra for the peace of mind that comes with having the temperature readout in a single, convenient package you can carry around.
All the rest are flawed in one way or another next to those three, with the other Thermo Pro units being outshone by the TP-08S and TP-20, and the Soraken being the only non Thermo Pro branded thermometer that matches or exceeds those units in effectiveness and value.
What Do I Look For In A Smoker Thermometer?
The main thing you want to look for is a clear readout, preferably one you can see any time of the day or night, given how long smoking takes. Backlights are a must and electronic displays in general are a big plus.
That’s the basics, but anything extra is always great. The less devices you need to use at once the easier your life will be, so a good extra to look for is a built in timer to replace any egg timer or similar you might otherwise use.
Aside that, additional meat probes are good, the higher quality the better. The temperature of the grill or smoker itself isn’t the only thing that matters, after all. Getting the internal temperature to the right amount is integral to the art of cooking, especially with such a time investment as smoking entails, where you might be tempted to just dig in to something that really should be left to cook another hour.
Rugged construction is another thing to look out for. Nobody’s perfect, and dropping electronics outdoors can be a disaster with some devices. Try and find something that can survive a fall or two. It’s also good to look for one that’s water resistant or proof in case the weather changes on you unexpectedly.
Make sure to note the price. Most smoker thermometers are on the cheap side; between $20 and $50, but there’s no reason to spend more than you really need to. Likewise a good warranty is always welcome for a product, and a meat thermometer is no exception.
Finally, take note of any nonstandard features that the thermometer might have. Not every feature is worth it for everybody, but they’re always interesting to look at and see things that might tip the scale based on your own needs or preferences over another similar model.