A thermometer is a small tool but it’s probably one of the most important ones to add to your cooking equipment. It’s the only reliable and science-proved way to determine how well your food is cooked.
If you think that the best smoker thermometer is an unnecessary luxury, then you’ve found this article at the right time. Read to learn about the importance of smoker thermometers, how to pick the best one, in addition to my favorite recommendations.
What is a Smoker Thermometer?
A smoker thermometer is a tool that measures the temperature of the core of the meat. It guarantees that whatever you’re cooking has reached the perfect state.
Eating undercooked meat or poultry is a health hazard and you can’t tell that your meat is cooked just by looking at its color. Overcooking meat is another issue that you can avoid using a good thermometer. It will tell you that it’s time to serve the food before it turns into an inedible leather-like consistency.
Without a smoker, determining the status of the food you’re cooking is a matter of luck. A dome thermometer, which you might already have on your smoker, is measuring the temperature of the air above the food you’re cooking and not the temperature of your ribs, steaks, fish or poultry.
How to Choose the Best Smoker Thermometer?
Before I start recommending my favorite thermometers, let me list down some features that you should consider when you’re shopping for one.
Types of Thermometers
There are several types available on the market. Each one of them has different pros and cons.
Digital instant thermometers are perfect for beginners. They’re very fast and will give good results, especially if used when the food is almost done.
For someone interested in something more accurate, the analog thermometers are more suitable. These need to be calibrated but there’s no margin for error. I recommend them to someone who knows enough about cooking times and smoking temperatures.
If you’re a social butterfly, then you need to buy a wireless thermometer. You don’t have to check the thermometer manually as it can deliver the readings to your smartphone.
Number of Probes
A single-probe thermometer is simple but might not deliver the most precise results. A good thermometer should have at least 2 probes to deliver accurate readings.
One of the probes will measure the temperature of the smoker itself, while the other one will measure the temperature of the meat you’re cooking. If you’re cooking more than one type at the same time, then you need to buy a thermometer that has several probes.
A highly accurate thermometer will help you adjust the temperature of your smoker or grill to avoid serving food that has been over or undercooked. Cheaply made thermometers are misleading and might cost you the price of a good and expensive piece of meat that you’ll eventually toss away.
A leave-in thermometer is a great choice. It will keep on reading the temperature throughout the entire cooking time. However, if you can’t buy this, then choose a thermometer that delivers fast real-time results.
Fast thermometers are convenient because you don’t have to keep the lid open for long. When you lift the lid, the smoke and heat escape and this might jeopardize your whole smoking experience.
Luckily, the world of grilling and smoking is evolving and providing BBQing enthusiasts with more versatile and practical tools. You can buy a thermometer with several impressive features for a good price.
Having a timer is a big plus, especially for beginners because it alarms you when meat is done. If your thermometer comes with a backlit LCD, you’ll be able to do late-night and overnight smoking wherever you go.
How to Use a Smoker Thermometer to Get an Accurate Reading?
Even if you buy the best smoker thermometer, there are still a few things that might mess up with your readings. Here are my tips to help you get accurate readings every time.
- Your smoker will probably be hotter in the middle. Make sure that the probe is placed somewhere between the middle and edges.
- Don’t let the probe touch the smoker itself.
- The initial coldness of the meat you’re cooking might give false readings. Don’t place the thermometer too close if it’s a single probe model.
- Maintain the status of your thermometer after every use. Don’t dip it in water as this might ruin it for future readings. Use a piece of cloth to wipe it clean.
- Make sure that you don’t extend the maximum rating on your thermometer.
- Store the temperature properly. Don’t bend the wires.
My Top 5 Smoker Thermometers
As you cooking different cuts and types of meat, a smoker thermometer will help you get the desired results every single time. Here are my favorite products on the market.
For those who like taking part in the party as well as smoking, this wireless thermometer from ThermoPro is the right pick. It can deliver accurate readings up to 300 feet away and features an LCD that displays all relevant icons. The backlit LCD would be really helpful when I’m smoking at night.
You can either keep it standing on a nearby table or attach it to your belt for immediate access to the readings. The readings are displayed in Celsius and Fahrenheit, saving you the hassle of conversions. I find this feature extremely useful for beginners who follow online smoking guides that suggest the recommended time and temperature for several cuts.
Moreover, this thermometer allows you to choose between 9 meat types and 5 doneness options so you have a guideline to follow even if this is your first smoking experience. Once the meat reaches the desired temperature, the thermometer will start to beep and backlight will be switched on. The maximum temperature is 572°F or 300°C.
Once you go out of range, the thermometer will start beeping to warn you. However, all this beeping might get a bit annoying, especially to guests trying to enjoy the backyard party. Beginners would appreciate having more presets and options. Nevertheless, you can always experiment with various cuts and set the temperature or time manually.
- Simple setup and for tabletop or belt-attached unit.
- Backlit LCD for different light settings.
- Alarms that keep you updated of your smoking progress.
- Multiple meat and doneness preset options.
- Limited presets.
- The alarms are a bit annoying.
This smoker thermometer from Saroken is the perfect choice for someone who’s cooking different types of meat at the same time. It supports up to 6 probes and comes with 4 high-quality probes so you can monitor all the food you’re cooking at the same time. The probes have wraps for convenient storage.
The maximum temperature is 572°F and the thermometer features a magnet back. I like this feature because you can attach it to a fridge or any nearby cooking appliance for easy access. Thanks to the Bluetooth feature, it will quickly pair with your smartphone and send notifications up to 170 feet away when you’re cooking outside.
With 11 meat types, this thermometer will cover most of the needs of a beginner or professional smoking enthusiast. You can also choose between five different doneness options, so I recommend it to people who will indulge in lots of smoking and need proper guidance.
It will do the conversions on your behalf. When there are lots of obstacles, like inside the house, you’ll start experiencing some problems with the Bluetooth connection. If you need additional probes, you’ll have to pay for them.
- Bluetooth thermometer.
- Includes 4 probes.
- 11 meat types and 5 doneness settings.
- Wrapped probes for safe storage.
- Connection isn’t good when used indoors.
- Suitable for 6 probes but comes with 4.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly thermometer, then you need to check out this smoker thermometer from Rubbermaid Commercial Products. Handling temperatures up to 580 °F, this thermometer will cover various cooking applications while delivering accurate readings.
I recommend this thermometer to smoking enthusiasts who want a durable and affordable thermometer. It’s so versatile so it can be used with any head-based food appliance.
Traditional smoking enthusiasts enjoy working with this thermometer. No hassle of connectivity or a battery running out; just place it where you need to and it will tell you the right temperature. The stainless steel construction and shatter-proof lens can withstand the heat and hardcore use in your cooking area.
It features an easy-to-read scale that displays temperatures in Fahrenheit and Celsius degrees so you don’t have to worry about doing the conversions. You can hang it or make it stand on top of any flat surface. I find this a suitable thermometer for those who like smoking in the outdoors with no hi-tech devices or any annoying beeping.
Because it can’t be paired with any device, you’ll have to get really close to the thermometer to read the displayed temperature. The displayed temperatures are less accurate than the ones you get on a digital model. However, if you’re on a tight-budget or smoking for the first time, this might be a suitable option.
- Sturdy stainless steel thermometer.
- Budget-friendly model.
- Shatter-proof lens.
- You can hang it or place it on a flat surface.
- The readings aren’t as accurate as digital thermometers.
- You need to be close to the thermometer to get the reading.
If you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck, then I recommend that you take a look at the TP-16 thermometer from ThermoPro. It’s simple to use and comes at an affordable price compared to other digital thermometers.
This is a single-channel thermometer that reads temperatures in Celsius and Fahrenheit degrees, with a maximum reading of 572°F. It features a countdown alarm that beeps when the time is out. I love this feature because it helps beginners determine the time needed to cook their meat to perfection even if this is the first time to smoke.
It has six presets for meat and their recommended level of doneness. However, beginners might find this feature a bit confusing since they’ll have to estimate the time and recommended temperature to make the meat reach a different doneness level when desired.
With a single probe, this thermometer delivers limited operation compared to others on this list. However, it has lots of nice features including a large LCD that you can read from a distance, and a magnetic back to attach it to surface.
Being a magnetic thermometer, I find that the switch button is weirdly placed at the back, so you might accidentally press it when you’re securing the thermometer. It doesn’t have a base to be placed on a flat surface.
- Affordable thermometer with big LCD.
- Six presets with meat types and recommended doneness levels.
- Magnetic back.
- Easy to use.
- Comes with a single probe.
- The switch button is placed at the back.
For hardcore users who do lots of smoking, this thermometer from Nobebird offers the most versatile experience with 6 different probes for all your cooking needs. Two of these probes are made of stainless steel while the others are made of silicone so you can pick the right probe according to the food you’re preparing.
I recommend this thermometer to people who love to smoke away from home because it comes in a convenient storage case. The probes are also color-coded so you can easily distinguish between them.
With 11 types of meat and 5 doneness levels, smoking will be easier for beginners and professionals. Once the food is ready, the alarm will notify you so you can stir away from undercooked or overcooked food.
It saves you temperature history so there will be no mistakes even if you’re not that experienced with smoking. Once you buy it, you’ll gain access to the supportive app so you can pair your thermometer with any smartphone.
Thanks to the backlit LCD, you can use this thermometer in the day or at night. The silicone probes can withstand heat up to 482 °F while the stainless steel probes are more durable, functioning in temperatures up to 716 °F. The readings are accurate and I love how it does all the conversions on your behalf.
Although it can be monitored remotely thanks to the Bluetooth feature, you’ll have to go to the unit to silence the alarm. The app is a bit problematic and you’ll have to reinstall it if it accidentally stops working.
- Bluetooth operation and compatibility with a smart app.
- Multiple cooking presets and doneness settings.
- Six different probes to cover all your cooking needs.
- Comes in a case for storage and portability.
- The Bluetooth feature works for monitoring but doesn’t silence the alarm.
- The app doesn’t work well all the time and needs to be reinstalled.
Keeping the guesswork to a minimum, I recommend the Saroken Bluetooth Meat Thermometer as the best smoker thermometer. It comes with four different probes and various presets to make your job easier. Moreover, it allows you to move freely while keeping an eye on the food you’re cooking.
Forget about poking the meat with your hand or with a knife. Depending on the color of the meat or placing your hand over the smoker is misleading. The only way you can tell that your food is perfectly cooked is to depend on a reliable smoker thermometer.