There are many ways to check your meat when grilling or smoking, but none is as precise as a smoker thermometer.
It enables you to get your meat to the right temperature without over-cooking or under-cooking it. Since different meats have different ideal cooking temperatures, there also can’t be a better tool for the job than a good thermometer.
This smoker thermometer review focuses on providing you with all the necessary information for choosing the right thermometer. As well as a list of the top offers in the market, to make that choice easier for you.
What to Check Before Buying Best Smoker Thermometer?
For you to make the right choice, you’ll need to understand the different features of smoker thermometers, what they mean, and how they affect your cooking.
Following are these important features to consider when making your choice:
1. Instant-Read vs Wireless Smoker Thermometer
The first consideration you should make is the type of smoker thermometer that you want because you have the instant read type and the more complex wireless type. Each has its advantages and disadvantages and following is a closer look.
- Sensitivity. Instant-read thermometers give results faster than the wireless types that you typically leave inside the meat. Simply sticking a few inches of an instant-read probe into the meat is enough to get results but you’ll need to properly insert a wireless thermometer’s probe really deep.
- Accuracy. Wireless thermometers are generally more accurate than the instant read types. If you plan on smoking or grilling with exact precision, then you need a wireless smoker thermometer.
- Extra Features. Instant-read thermometers are usually basic smoker thermometers and don’t offer you much in features. Wireless thermometers, however often come with meat type settings and other interesting features.
- Price. If you are on a budget, then you’ll have to consider instant-read thermometers because they generally cost less. Wireless versions do cost more but they often come with enough features to make them worth their price.
2. Temperature Range
This refers to the difference between the lowest and the highest temperature that the thermometer can read. All smoker thermometers will read your average grilling meat temperature, so there’s no need to worry. You’ll only need to pay a closer attention to this if you’ve got something special.
A thermometer’s quality depends on how accurately it can read temperatures. This accuracy is given in plus and minus degree-deviations, like +/-2 °F for a maximum deviation of 2 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cheaper thermometers have wider accuracies, often more than 2 degrees, while top-quality ones like Mister Chefer have tighter ranges, often less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Number of Probes
Most of the entry-level thermometers have only one probe while the more advanced ones often feature 2 or more probes, enabling you to watch more than one type of meat at a go.
You’ll even find smoker thermometers with multiple alarms in addition to their multiple probes, and others feature even fancier features but at a price.
5. Ease of use
If you are new to smoking and grilling meats and all you want is a simple thermometer, then feel free to choose any instant-read or very affordable thermometer.
If, however, you love challenges or you are willing to learn new things and improve your life, then feel free to try out a costlier smoker thermometer with its bells and whistles.
7 Best Smoker Thermometers of 2021 Reviewed
1. ThermoPro TP20 (Best Overall)
2. ThermoPro TP-16 (Best Budget Digital Design)
3. Lavatools PT12 (Fast & Precise)
4. DozyAnt Large Face (Stainless Steel Build)
5. Maverick ET-733 (300 Meter Range)
6. Taylor Digital (Best Compact)
7. Mister Chefer (Digital Instant-Read Design)
1. ThermoPro TP20 – Best Overall
- Temperature Range: 32-572 degrees Fahrenheit
- Probe Length: 6.5 inches
- Remote Range: 300 feet
- Color: Orange
ThermoPro’s TP20 is one single thermometer that offers you everything you need to make great food in a compact package. No more guesswork, no more mistakes, simply smoke and grill perfectly with this super package every time.
It’s a wireless system with 2 parts. The hand-held receiver can get up to 300 feet away from the oven and you’ll still be able to keep an eye on your food. You can either program it using temperature or an integrated timer. It will both beep and flash to alert you.
You can also, simply select the type of meat you are cooking and that’s it, the system will take care of the rest. There are up to 9 types of meat you can program here, plus 5 taste types ranging from rare, medium rare, and all the way to well done.
The included dual stainless-steel probes let you watch two types of meat at a go and they connect to the transmitter through 40-inch long stainless steel mesh cables.
Downsides include its high price and the extra time that you need to understand its slightly complex system.
You get everything in this best digital smoker thermometer package, including 4x AAA batteries and a manual. You also get a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty to back it all up.
- Top smoker thermometer with two probes
- Impressive wireless range up to 300 feet
- Comes with 40-inch long stainless steel cables
- ThermoPro backs it with a 1-yr warranty
- Comes with free mouth-watering recipes
- It’s a comparatively costly smoker thermometer
- The system needs some time to learn and understand
2. ThermoPro TP-16 – Best Budget
- Temperature Range: 32-572 degrees Fahrenheit
- Probe Length: 6.5 inches
- Color: Gray
ThermoPro also makes cheaper smoker thermometers like this TP-16 model. It includes lots of features to make it a great buy for anyone on a budget.
It’s totally digital and includes a large LCD, which makes it useful as both a kitchen clock and timer if you like. Else, it features both a count-up and a count-down timer for flexibility.
Being a ThermoPro product, it’s quite accurate with a +/-1.8 °F precision, making it a top-rated smoker thermometer. It also comes pre-programmed with USDA-approved temperatures for various meats. This should make your cooking experience easier and more pleasurable.
The probe is stainless steel and has a step-down design for more precise temperature measurements. It will also withstand temperatures up to 716 degrees Fahrenheit.
Its drawback is that you’ll have to stick around while cooking because there’s no wireless feature. It also has a single probe.
Being quite compact, however, you can easily carry this thermometer around, like taking it camping or for a barbecue. It comes with a 1-year coverage.
- A compact & easy to use smoker thermometer
- Attractively priced and a great budget option
- Features a large LCD and digital functions
- Includes a higher-quality probe with cable
- Backed by a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty
- It has only one probe
- It’s not a wireless system with a receiver
3. Lavatools PT12 – Fast & Precise
- Temperature Range: -40 to 482 degrees Fahrenheit
- Probe Length: 2.7 inches
- Color: Red
Lavatools is one of the best smoker-thermometer makers and their offer here, the PT12 Javelin is very high quality and worthy of the Lavatools name.
You get a highly precise and compact device that measures just 4.5 x 1.4 inches and includes a 2.7-inch long probe. This makes it easy to carry around, plus Lavatools includes a magnet to let you hang it along with your kitchen knives.
It delivers a temperature reading in 3 seconds on average, and with a super high accuracy of +/-0.9 °F. It also has a wide measuring range, starting from minus 40 degrees, up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit.
On the downside, it comes with a single probe and you’ll always have to open your smoker or oven, stick this thermometer into it, take your reading, and then either decide to continue cooking or not.
The good news, however, is that its battery will last a very long time, and Lavatools even backs this package with a lifetime warranty.
- Delivers very fast instant-read responses in 3-4 seconds
- Produces very accurate readings of +/-0.9 °F
- Long battery life with auto-Off feature
- Backed by a lifetime warranty from Lavatools
- There’s only one probe available
- You always have to stick it into the meat to read it
4. DozyAnt Large Face – Stainless Steel
- Temperature Range: 100 – 500 degrees Fahrenheit
- Color: Stainless steel
You could be the type that loves classic designs. So, to give your smoker or grill a really old-school look, DozyAnt offers you the best solution here, and it’s ready to install and use.
All you need is a 7/8-inch hole for installation and you’re good to go. The face reads the internal temperature from 100 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and it’s graded in white, blue, and red colors to show the ideal temperatures for BBQing and smoking.
If you love precision and efficiency, then this is maybe not the best thermometer for you. This is because its accuracy is far reduced from what you’ll get from the other thermometers in this smoker thermometers review. It also lacks a timer, alarm, and wireless functionality.
On the positive side, it’s easy to use and it comes at a low and attractive price.
- The large-faced thermometer is easy to read
- Built using stainless steel for maximum durability
- The price is very low and attractive
- Easy to install into your smoker
- It needs a prior installation into the smoker
- You will never get the meat’s inner temperature using this
5. Maverick ET-733 – 300 Meter Range
- Temperature Range: 32-572 degrees Fahrenheit
- Probe Length: 7 inches
- Remote Range: 300 feet
- Color: Black
Here’s another product to look at for those considering the best wireless smoker thermometers to buy. It comes as a complete wireless package to offer you maximum convenience up to 300 feet.
The transmitter comes with two probes which can withstand temperatures up to 716 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the thermometer itself will only measure up to 572 degrees.
For the receiver, you get a large display with lots of controls to conveniently set up your monitoring either with a temperature or with one of the 15 types of pre-programed meat and poultry types.
You can completely adjust any of the programs to your liking, but you’ll need to do a little learning first to understand the system. This is because it’s more complex than most other thermometers in the market.
The downside is that it comes with only a 90-day warranty, which is the shortest on this list but it’s still a warranty anyway. You can additionally choose from five different colors and the package comes with batteries included.
- Fully digital and programmable smoker thermometer
- Includes a wireless feature up to 300 feet
- Comes pre-programed for 15 types of meat
- The receiver includes a stand for your convenience
- The warranty period is only 90 days long
- It’s the costliest thermometer in this review
6. Taylor Digital – Best Compact
- Temperature Range: 32-392 degrees Fahrenheit
- Probe Length: 6 inches
- Color: Gray
This one is a simple but portable digital thermometer. Its main feature is its fold-down design, which enables you to fold down the top for a compact and safe storage.
When using it, however, the flip-opened top cover acts as a stand-up display, allowing you to leave it comfortably on the countertop while taking temperature measurements.
It’s an instant-read thermometer, so you can’t stick its probe in and leave it there for monitoring. But it comes with a list of ideal meat temperatures on the back, so you’ll always have a reference.
Its cons include a silicone cord for the probe and a lack of pre-programmed features and settings.
You get both target and real food temperatures displayed on the LCD, there is a clock function with a timer, and Taylor backs the entire thing up with a 1-year warranty.
- Display folds down for compact storage
- The stand-up display makes it easier to work with
- Includes a clock feature with 24-hour timer
- Backed by a 1-year warranty
- The cheapest thermometer in this review
- The probe’s connecting cord is from silicone
- It lacks pre-programmed digital features
7. Mister Chefer – Best Digital Instant-Read
- Temperature Range: -58 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit
- Probe Length: 4.5 inches
- Color: Red & black
This thermometer is very well-designed to give you lots of convenience features, including a fast, 3-second read time, waterproof design, and a high+/-1 °F accuracy.
Its display features a back-light, so you can always get the reading in all light conditions. There is also a C/F switching button, so you can switch between Celcius and Fahrenheit easily.
Another impressive feature is its wide temperature range from -58 to 572° F, which is the widest in this review. It will shut off on its own after 10 minutes and it features both a magnet and a hanging hole for easy storage.
All these features combine to make it one of the best smoker thermometers for meat and poultry, and in addition, Mister Chefer backs it with a lifetime warranty.
- Waterproof thermometer with a lifetime warranty
- Measures temperatures in 3 seconds flat
- Features a high +/-1 °F accuracy
- Offers you the widest temperature range in this review
- It doesn’t offer lots of digital functions
- You can’t stick it into the meat and monitor from elsewhere
How to Test Your Smoke Thermometer?
A thermometer is a measuring instrument, and like most other measuring tools, there’s no guarantee that it’ll always give you a good reading. This is why you always need to test the thermometer by yourself to make sure that it’s working correctly.
You should first test it immediately after purchase and then carry out later tests about once a year or after an abuse like dropping it on the floor.
Your thermometer doesn’t have to show the exact reading that you are looking for. It can read a few degrees higher or lower than expected. So as long as the readings fall within +/-2 °F of the expected results, your thermometer is okay.
You may need to replace the thermometer with a higher-quality model, if your readings are off by +/-5 °F or more, using a conventional smoker thermometer since they’ll hardly offer a recalibration feature.
If you’re using a more expensive model, however, then chances are that you can recalibrate it. Check the user manual in this case or the manufacturer’s website for information on how to proceed.
Below are two methods you can use to test your thermometer. The first method is easier but it tests only the freezing point, while the second method is a little more complicated but it tests the much hotter boiling point, which is nearer to the thermometer’s intended use.
Testing Method 1: The Ice Test
This is a very easy test, although your thermometer needs to read the freezing temperature of 32 °F (0 °C). Simply fill a tall glass with ice cubes, then pour in pre-chilled water and stir for about a half-minute.
Now insert your probe or thermometer stem about 2 inches into the glass and gently stir the water with it for about 15 seconds. It should read 32 °F (0 °C) if it’s correct.
Testing Method 2: The Boiling Water Test
For this method, you’ll need to use an online boiling point calculator to find the estimated boiling point for your particular location and elevation.
This calculation is necessary because the boiling point of water is dependent on the elevation and atmospheric pressure of a specific place, unlike the freezing point in method #1 above, which works at all pressures.
Once you’ve determined your boiling point, bring about 4-inches of water in a wide pot to a boil. Insert your probe about 2 inches into the boiling water and stir for about 15 seconds, then take a reading. If you are using hard water or a narrow and tall pot, then keep in mind that the water will boil at 1-2 degrees higher.
How to Care For a Smoker Thermometer?
You’ll need to care for your smoker thermometer so it can last longer and offer you the most value for your money. Taking care of most smoker thermometers is a simple affair and the major points that you need to pay attention to are as follows:
Tip 1. Always Switch it Off
Most smoker thermometers get powered by batteries, so you want to extend their life as much as possible by always switching them off after use.
Tip 2. Keep it Clean
It’s also good to clean your smoker thermometer after each use. Simply wash the probe in warm soapy water, and then wipe the entire thermometer dry using a damp cloth.
Tip 3. Attach it Wisely
When attaching your probe to a grill, for instance, it’s better to use a clip than to rest it directly. This will avoid ruining it too soon.
Tip 4. Be Careful with Water
You may read that your device is water-resistant, but that does not mean that it’s waterproof. So avoid submerging it fully in water.
Tip 5. Always store it Properly
Always remember to store your thermometer properly after each use. Do not leave it outside after use and keep it away from the rain. Also, avoid having the LCD screen exposed to sunlight for extended periods.
We’ve come to the end of this best smoker thermometers review and the turn is now yours to make a choice.
For the best overall smoker thermometer, you can just go with the ThermoPro TP20, with its 300-ft range, two included probes, and 1-year warranty.
If you’re on a budget, however, then consider the ThermoPro TP-16 with its attractively low price, great design, and impressive digital features.
And when precision is of utmost importance, then the recommendation is the Lavatools PT12. An impressive thermometer with a +/-0.9 °F accuracy, 3 second readout, and lifetime warranty.
In this post:
- What to Check Before Buying Best Smoker Thermometer?
- 7 Best Smoker Thermometers of 2021 Reviewed
- How to Test Your Smoke Thermometer?
- How to Care For a Smoker Thermometer?