Have you ever pulled out your chicken from the oven and wondered if it’s fully cooked? Perhaps you’ve taken a knife to cut into the meat to see if it’s still pink inside. But is that really the best method to check? According to the USDA, “using a food thermometer is the only reliable way to ensure safety and to determine desired ‘doneness’ of meat, poultry, and egg products. To be safe, these foods must be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy any harmful microorganisms that may be in the food.” The best meat thermometers will easily tell you the internal temperature of your dish so you can be sure your food is safe before serving.
Using a meat thermometer is not just a way to ensure that your food is thoroughly cooked, but a great way to avoid contracting any foodborne illnesses. The CDC reports, “every year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases.” The number one cause of food poisoning is food that has been contaminated by such bacteria as salmonella or E.coli. Cooking your food to a proper internal temperature will also kill any foodborne pathogens. A meat thermometer can also prevent overcooking, ensuring you get the best flavor from your dish.
Cinch Home Services conducted a poll with over 1,000 people where researchers looked at the ways the COVID-19 pandemic had changed the cooking habits of adults of all age groups within the past year. they found that most millenials are not up to speed on their overall cooking knowledge. The survey finds over 60 percent of all respondents failed a quiz testing their knowledge about all sorts of kitchen dos and don’ts. This quiz included asking adults about the correct temperature for cooking meat, the proper way to handle meat, basic cleaning rules, and general safety knowledge. Regardless of age, 70 percent of the poll did not know what temperature they should cook fresh beef to. Over half of Americans admit they’ve thawed frozen meat in an unsafe way.
Whether you’re a beginner cook, or someone who knows your way around the kitchen, everyone can benefit from having a meat thermometer in their arsenal of kitchen tools. If you aren’t sure which one to purchase, StudyFinds does the research for you as usual. Our list is made up of the top recommendations across 10 expert sources. If you have a staple of your own, let us know which meat thermometer is your favorite in the comments below!
The List: Best Meat Thermometers, According to Experts
The Thermapen One is the updated version of ThemoWorks’ original Classic Thermapen, and has been rated the best overall meat thermometer by many food experts. “Also handmade in England, it gives accurate readings in just one second — faster than any other meat thermometer we’ve worked with,” says Food Network.
This meat thermometer is also Good Housekeeping’s overall top performer, as well as being the winner of their Kitchen Gear Awards. Good Housekeeping states, “It activates the moment you unfold it, and the tapered probe easily pierces thin and thick meats to deliver accurate results in one second.” Another great feature of this thermometer is that it is water resistant, allowing you to fully submerge and wash the device.
“While the Thermapen may be unparalleled in its features and accuracy, it comes at a premium price. For those learning to cook or just looking for something a little more simple or inexpensive, the ThermoWorks ThermoPop has everything you need to get started, and it’s about a third of the price of the Thermapen,” reports Insider. The ThermoPop is simple and easy to use, making it a great option for beginner cooks. Plus, you really can’t beat the current discounted price of $15.99 (from $21.99) on ThermoWorks’ site.
Food & Wine shares the same notion, declaring the Thermopop meat thermometer to be best value overall: “At a highly affordable price, the Thermopop is also a frequent favorite for chefs and home cooks.”
Another thing that makes the ThermoPop “pop” out from the rest is the variety of colors you can choose from, including fun colors such as yellow, orange, and pink. Some additional pros of this thermometer include high accuracy and easy readability. “Accurate, fast, easy-to-read numbers, has a backlight, has a rotating display, can show temperatures in Celsius and Fahrenheit, comfortable for both lefties and righties to use, comes in nine color options,” states Insider.
For another budget friendly thermometer, Kizen proves to be a worthy contender, priced at $19.99 on Amazon. “For such a low price, the Kizen performed surprisingly well. It registered temperature in less than four seconds,” says CNN. Some other features that earn this thermometer extra brownie points are having a manual light option, being easy to calibrate, and having a meat doneness chart directly on the face of the thermometer.
Reaching into a hot oven can be a bit daunting. This is where the Kizen shines, with its long probe length. Tech Gear Lab reports, “it does feature one of the longest probes in our review, enabling convenient temperature checks that keep your hands away from the heat.” Also, “this model features a large, easily readable LCD screen, magnetic backing, and a high waterproof rating (IP67).” So with the long probe and a large, bright LCD screen, you can keep a comfortable distance from the heat and ensure your safety.
Consumer Reports declares this meat thermometer to be the best for novice cooks. “The Yummy smart thermometer splits the difference between the more hard-wired ThermoPro and the more advanced Meater and Meat Stick options. Of the four, the app offers the best user experience, in large part because of its simplicity.” The Yummly also includes a feature that reminds the user to flip their food midway through cooking as well as an alert of when the food is done.
As a beginner cook, you may also be looking for recipes to cook and experiment with. “For a subscription fee gives you access to curated galleries of recipes matching your tastes and dietary requirements, you can also use it with any of your own recipes. Just fire up the gorgeously designed Android or iOS app, which is awash in sumptuous photos and sleek temperature graphics, follow the on-screen instructions, and wait until you receive the alarm and alert that your food is done,” suggests Tom’s Guide.
Some other features that give this meat thermometer extra points are its sleek design, ability to charge quickly and great battery life. Plus, it can simultaneously measure both the internal and ambient temperatures of your dish. “The Yummly Smart Thermometer is one of the first thermometer probes that felt like a departure from traditional thermometer designs,” reports Smoked Meat Sunday.
Thermo Meats writes, “Out of all the thermometers we’ve tested, the only one that meets our criteria of ease of use, accuracy, durability, AND at a reasonable price is the Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo.”
For those who have difficulty reading a small LCD screen, you may prefer the Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo.“It has a large screen and sharp digits and a great automatic backlight,” describes Serious Eats. The thermometer’s probe can also help visibility, along with its ability to beep, which happens when it settles on a temperature. “Its folding probe lets you take readings from odd angles,” states New York Times.
This thermometer also comes with a built-in magnet, which you can easily stick onto your fridge or stove, keeping it handy at all times. So at about half the price of the ThermoWorks Thermapen One, The Lavatools Javelin is worth the consideration.
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. The prices above reflect the retailers’ listed price at the time of publication.