Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore
Thermometers are an essential tool for accurate cooking. They can help you dial in the temperature of sugar syrup, maintain a consistent oil temperature for deep frying, and—of course—nail the ideal temperature for roasted, seared, grilled, or smoked meat. For basic kitchen tasks, we like instant-read thermometers. We’ve also reviewed basic leave-in probe thermometers, which are ideal for in-oven use. They’ll also work in an outdoor cooking situation, like a grill or smoker. But for accurate grilled and smoked meats (especially large cuts), a wireless grill thermometer can make the experience easier and less stressful, allowing you to monitor temperatures from afar.
We put 19 to the test—actually, six tests—to find the best wireless grill thermometer in multiple categories. We evaluated them on accuracy, ease of use, and design. These thermometers fell into two categories: wired, with a wireless receiver you can carry with you to monitor progress even when you’re not at the grill; or a totally wireless receiver that sends information to an app on your phone. Ultimately, the type that’s best for you depends on how much information you want to digest (wireless apps tend to offer more data) and how much money you want to spend.
The Winners, at a Glance
At $69, this Bluetooth-compatible thermometer is a steal. Our tests proved it to be intuitive to use with an incredible Bluetooth range before its signal was interrupted (about 50 yards). It was incredibly accurate too and is simply the best Bluetooth thermometer you can buy for under $100.
The Thermoworks Smoke is easy to set up, use, and monitor. The exterior affixes easily to the grill via a magnet, and the display is large and clear to read, with plenty of real-time information for monitoring your cooking project. Two separate alarms can be set at once, and you can use two different probes, either for monitoring one piece of meat, or to monitor the meat and the ambient temperature in the pit. At under $100, it’s affordable, too.
This technology-rich thermometer is sleek and attractive, with an interactive, video game-esque app interface. The base is minimalist without a display screen, alerts, or notifications; it’s all accessed through a robust (but easy-to-use) app. Although the immediate appeal of this device is in its aesthetics, we were most impressed by the app, which was approachable enough for beginners, but accurate enough for an experienced cook.
With six separate probes and a delightfully brainy app interface, this is the most serious wireless grill thermometer we tested. You can name, track, and store information from your smoking sessions, making this thermometer ideal for those looking to cook multiple cuts of meat at once, and learn from past projects. It’s a little splurgy compared to the other thermometers we tested, but if you’re ready to level up from a basic model, you can’t do better than this one.
Serious Eats / Russell KilgoreSetup and Programming Test: We read the manufacturer’s instructions and set up the thermometer, including adding batteries and familiarizing ourselves with the buttons, probes, and compatible apps (when applicable). We evaluated the thermometers for features, design, and ease of use.Immersion Circulator Water Bath Test: To observe the accuracy and consistency of a thermometer over time, we set up a water bath to hold at 134˚F, then inserted a probe two inches into the water a total of five times. We recorded the temperature reading immediately and averaged the results (disregarding the reading with the most variable result) to evaluate whether the probe gave consistent and reliable readings.Boiling Water Test: To test the thermometers’ accuracy at boiling temperature, we heated a pot of water to 212˚F and inserted the probe into the water in the center of the pot. We averaged four readings to determine if the thermometer could accurately and consistently register a boiling temperature.Ice Water Test: After filling a plastic deli container with ice water and letting it sit for three minutes to properly chill, we repeated the methodology from the water bath and boiling water test, taking five readings and averaging the four most consistent. Pork Loin Grill Test: After the above basic functionality tests were completed, we tested the thermometers in a grilling environment. We seasoned and seared pork tenderloin on a grill, then inserted a thermometer probe into the center of the meat. We set the thermometer’s alarm to go off once the pork loin reached 134˚F, and, when applicable, set a stopwatch in the app to monitor the time it took. Wireless Capabilities Test: We tested the range on the models with receivers by walking away from the grill with the receiver in our hands, monitoring whether the connection was interrupted or stalled. For the models with app connectivity, we walked with our phones and observed whether the app’s real-time updates were halted or disconnected in any way.
What We Learned
Wired vs. Wireless Connectivity Is a Personal Choice
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore
Our list of winners includes thermometers that are both wired and wireless (the connection to the probe is attached to a device that sits on or nearby the grill, along with a separate receiver) and exclusively wireless (you can monitor and adjust the settings and target temperature from an app on your phone). When looking at our list of test subjects as a whole, there were standouts and low-performers in both categories, so the type of model you end up with should be primarily a matter of preference. Folks looking to minimize the grilling or smoking experience will want to avoid high-tech models, like the MEATER Plus and the FireBoard 2. But if you go nuts for data (and push notifications), thermometers that make use of apps are great picks.
Wireless Range Was Key When Using an App
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore
If you’re grilling with a wireless probe thermometer through an app, maintaining connectivity as you roam about your yard (or patio, beach, campsite, or whatever), is crucial. The thermometers we liked best could maintain an impressively far-reaching connection (up to 350 feet, for the ThermoWorks Smoke). The connection was strongest when we stayed outdoors. Walls tended to interrupt the connection, however, the Smoke again excelled with the ability to work indoors, as long as the receiver was kept with us. Some models, like the MEATER Plus, pinged to let us know they were back online once in range again. We tested the receivers’ and apps’ effectiveness in alerting by measuring decibel level, favoring models that recorded higher values.
Accuracy Was Standard; the Difference Was in the Special Features
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore
With a couple exceptions (the Yummly Smart Thermometer and the ThermoPro TempSpike Wireless Meat Thermometer), all the thermometers we tested were accurate enough for us to confidently recommend. For most cooks, a few degrees won’t make or break a smoking session, so on the point of accuracy alone, we can confidently recommend many of the models in our review. But the bells and whistles (or rather, alarm bells and app functionality) is what set our winning models apart.
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore
The ThermoWorks BlueDOT, for example, maintained a clear connection up to 50 yards from the grill during our wireless capabilities test. Generally speaking, you’ll pay more for flashy added-benefits, as evidenced in the price difference among our winners: the most basic design, the Thermoworks Smoke Remote BBQ Alarm Thermometer, doesn’t have the option to control and monitor your meat from an app, but it was also the least expensive.
The Criteria: What We Look for In a Wireless Grill Thermometer
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore
The best wireless grill thermometers are easy and intuitive to set up, program, and adjust—whether that was done on the device display screen or through an app. Their alarms are loud and clear, with decibel ratings over 80—this was particularly crucial in evaluating wired thermometers, as cooks may not be directly near the display when the meat reaches the target temperature. Finally, if an app is required for use, it should be data-rich, easy to navigate, and glitch-free.
The Best Wireless Grill Thermometers
What we liked: This thermometer may not have it all, but it comes close. The base is outfitted with a truly simple, intuitive-to-use display screen that can be programmed with the push of a couple of buttons. But download the app, and you have access to more precise and data-filled information about the cook time and temperature. The app can be used to dial in technique, with places for notes, and comparative graphs of cooking time and adjusted target temperatures; you can even share a grilling session with another device. A unique feature was the ability to set a minimum temperature; this would alert you to the need to add more fuel to the fire, in the case of an unexpectedly-long grilling session. The alarm is loud and clear, with a decibel rating of 91.5.
What we didn’t like: With the option for only one probe, you can’t monitor ambient grill temperature as you cook the meat.
Price at time of publish: $69.
Type of connectivity: Wired connection with a digital display and app accessibilityApp compatible?: YesNumber of probes included: 1Type of base: Magnetic base with digital display, as well as an app
Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore
What we liked: Although this thermometer is comparatively simple, we appreciated its highly accurate readings, and the ability to monitor both the internal temperature of the meat and the ambient temperature of the grill or smoker. The base contains all the relevant information needed for cooking to temperature, and its display screen is large, clear, and very easy to read (and adjust). The wireless receiver has an impressive range—about 350 feet from the grill.
What we didn’t like: There’s no stopwatch or count-up function, so if you want to track how long it takes to cook, you’ll need to set a stopwatch or use your phone. Although the main device has four different alarm volume options, the wireless receiver only comes with one, which we measured at 10 decibels less than the main device.
Price at time of publish: $99.
Type of connectivity: Wired connection with wireless receiverApp compatible?: NoNumber of probes included: 2 (for meat and ambient temperature)Type of base: Magnetic main receiver; wireless receiverSerious Eats / Russell Kilgore
What we liked: This handsome, minimalist thermometer is a looker, and comes in a few different models (the difference is in the wood stain on the base); it’d be great for gifting. We were impressed by the data-rich app, which was somehow full of metrics and notifications without feeling cluttered or overwhelming. Also of note was the real-time adjustments to the projected cook time, as the probe clocked the meat’s progress.
What we didn’t like: The design on the actual device may be too spartan, as there’s no readout or display at all on the probe and its attachment. The app may be too talkative for some, with push notifications and updates coming in hot. We also noted that, although there were 11 different tones to choose from when setting the target temperature, the actual alarm was quiet, and would be hard to hear if the cook’s phone was not on their person.
Price at time of publish: $100.
Type of connectivity: Wireless connection accessed through an appApp compatible?: Yes; app required for useNumber of probes included: OneType of base: Holder is for storage only; temperature is monitored through the appSerious Eats / Russell Kilgore
What we liked: A previous winner in our leave-in probe thermometer review, the FireBoard 2 is an undeniably serious tool for folks looking to cook multiple cuts of meat at one time. It comes with six unique probe ports (and six probes, so you don’t have to buy the extras separately). The probes themselves are a generous five inches, with six-foot-long cables, giving them a large reach. In the app, you can name, track, and analyze the results of your smoking sessions to determine what works and what needs tweaking. There’s also a small port on the base that connects to a fan, which can be controlled via the app to adjust the temperature.
What we didn’t like: At almost $200, this thermometer is the most expensive on our list. Although there is also a readout display on the wireless receiver base, it’s small and much less detailed than the app; you should plan on having your phone handy to monitor progress.
Price at time of publish: $189.
Type of connectivity: Wireless connection accessed through an app, as well as a receiver with basic informationApp compatible?: YesNumber of probes included: SixType of base: Wireless receiver, as well as an appSerious Eats/Russell Kilgore
ThermoWorks DOT Simple Alarm Thermometer: This minimalist thermometer is the app-free version of the BlueDot that made our winners list. It’s a good base model, although we found minor annoyances, like an overly-fiddly process for setting the target temperature. It’s $45 and worth that very fair price.Weber iGrill 2: With blunt probes, a very quiet alarm that we struggled to hear, and confusing setup instructions, this two-probe thermometer left a lot to be desired.Weber Connect 3201 WiFi Enabled Smart Grilling Hub: This model builds on the Weber iGrill 2, with app-accessed data. We found the app to be necessary for ideal use (the alarm is relatively quiet). But with a similar range to the iGrill2, we don’t think the $140 cost is a good value.OXO Good Grips Chef’s Precision Weber Connect Smart Grilling HubDigital Leave-In Meat Thermometer: This thermometer offers presets for basic cuts of meat, although you can also manually set the target temperature. Its bare-bones features and low score in our accuracy test put this one at the bottom end of our results.Taylor 1478-21 Digital Cooking Thermometer: One of the most simple wireless grill thermometers we tested, this beginner-friendly, no-frills model can be used straight out of the box. However, we were concerned the rubber coating could cause issues when used in very high-heat situations.ThermoPro TP28: This wired thermometer with a wireless receiver has a lot going for it: nice range, loud volume, and presets as well as the option to manually program your target temperature. We docked points for the steep learning curve in setup and first-time use.ThermoPro TP25 4 Probe Bluetooth Remote Meat Thermometer: Four color-coded probes give this app-forward model a step up. The app is data-rich, although it’s not the best model for those looking for a phone-free option, or for cooks who don’t want to grill more than one cut of meat at a time.Polder Classic Combination Digital In-Oven Programmable Meat Thermometer & Timer: At $17, this was one of the least expensive models we tested. Its basic functionality, so-so features, and mildly concerning plastic-handled probe all reflect that.Lavatools Element: During testing, we found this thermometer to be overly complicated, with a requirement a high, low, and ambient temperature be set before monitoring can begin. Multiple trips back to the user’s manual were required when testing.Cuisinart Bluetooth Easy Connect Meat Thermometer (CGWM-043/CBT-100): The setup was simple and the alarm was sufficiently loud, but with a connectivity range that quit at just 20 yards, we weren’t impressed with the wireless component of this wireless grill thermometer.NutriChef Smart Bluetooth BBQ Thermometer: This model was full of good ideas without the follow-through. It has six ports but comes with just two probes, and when the target temperature was reached, we received no notification or alert on our phones.Soraken Wireless Thermometer: The Soraken doesn’t require WiFi to work, which is a bonus in beach and camp settings. But its app was a little too buggy (and confusing to use) to recommend it confidently.GrillEye Max Wireless Smart Thermometer: Troubleshooting setup (along with Bluetooth connection) was frustrating with this thermometer, as was toggling to set target time and temperatures. The device constantly turned on and off during testing, and struggled to stay WiFi connected when close to the grill.ThermoPro TempSpike Wireless Meat Thermometer: We liked this intuitive app-forward thermometer, but found the special features to be frivolous rather than helpful (like 350 sound options for the alarm).Yummly Smart Thermometer: This model relies on an app, which struggled to keep up with the functionality of other models we tested. The only way to adjust sound features is with the volume button on your mobile device—and the instructions suggest keeping it within five feet of the grill for accurate readings.
How do wireless grill thermometers work?
To use a wireless grill thermometer, a metal probe is inserted into the meat, which attaches to a base (kept outside the grill or smoker; sometimes affixed to it via magnets). The probe reads the current real-time temperature of the meat and sends that information to a wireless receiver. The receiver may be a separate piece of technology that can be carried with you, or an app accessed through your phone.
Can you use a wireless grill thermometer in the oven?
Sure! The only safety point you’d need to consider is maximum temperature. But because most grills can get hotter than a residential oven, you’re probably safe to use your grill thermometer inside, for an oven roast.
How do you calibrate a wireless grill thermometer?
Some grill thermometer manufacturers will recalibrate them for a fee (the FireBoard costs about $50). You can also calibrate your grill thermometer at home. Fill a container with ice and top it off with cold water. Let it sit for three minutes, then stir the water and place the probe into the center of the container, at a depth of two inches. The temperature should read 32 degrees; if not, your thermometer needs to be calibrated. Some digital thermometers have a calibration button that can be pushed when a stable temperature (like ice water); that will reset the thermometer. You can also try replacing the batteries to see if that provides a more accurate reading. If you can’t calibrate at home and don’t want to pay the manufacturer to do it, you can just do a little math when calculating and monitoring your desired temperature.