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If you’re looking for a thermometer to see you through the grilling season or just to have on hand when you’re cooking meat or other foods in the kitchen then you might be interested in an instant read type of thermometer. There are a lot of instant read thermometers available to buy so it’s easy to get overwhelmed at all of the different options you can get.
We’ve put together our Top 10 Best Instant Read Meat Thermometers 2018 to narrow down the field for you and to show you our favourites.
Check out Our Top Choice the Lavatools PT12 Javelin Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer
We’ll be looking at 3 things to look for in an instant read thermometer whether you want to use it on the grill or for baking or checking liquid temperatures. We find most people choose and instant read thermometer firstly because they’re small you can hold them in your hand and it gives you a quick temperature reading. They are also looking for it to be accurate and be reasonably priced.
Quick Temperature Read
When you are using an instant-read thermometer it’s a hand held unit that has a probe to test the temperature of hot food so you want the numbers to come up on the display quickly so you have your hands near the heat for as little time as possible. Thermometers tend to take anywhere from 2-10 seconds to get a temperature reading and that is how much time the heat is escaping from your oven or bbq so really, the quicker the better.
This really speaks for itself. If you are trying to cook meat to a consistent level every time you cook it you need that temperature to be accurate consistently too.
Most instant read thermometers can’t be calibrated so you have to presume they are as accurate as they are advertised to be but you can check it by simply by using it to check the temperature of iced water (32F/0C) or boiling water (212F/100C). The level of accuracy is usually advertised, usually +/- 1 or 2 degrees so you can compare. If you are 1 or 2 degrees out and you are aware of it you can compensate for it when you are cooking but having it be as close as possible is what we all really want.
We all want products to be as cheap as we can get them but of course it needs to be made to a standard to do the job. Cheap isn’t always nasty and you can get some good thermometers from $10 upwards but some aren’t made to the best quality. Sometimes you have to pay a bit more for better accuracy and warranty but it’s always best to check some customer reviews as you can get a good feel for how well the product works.
Top 10 Best Instant Read Meat Thermometers 2018
1. Top Choice – Lavatools PT12 Javelin Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer
The Lavatools PT12 Javelin Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer is our No1 Top Choice because it offers a good quality, well made thermometer which has a 3-4 second readout and offers accuracy of +/- 0.9F. This comes in a under $25 which is a reasonable cost and customers agree as it has almost 3000 5 star reviews.
The PT12 comes in 6 colors if you like to have matching kitchen tools and it’s made of 100% BPA-free polycarbonate with an anti-microbial coating making it safe around food and the body is 4.5 inches long which fits easily in the hand. The probe is 2.8 inches long made from 18/8 food-grade stainless steel and is narrower at the tip where it houses the sensor. This makes it easy to insert into your meat or other foods without leaving large holes.
The exterior is splash proof to IP65 standard so you don’t have to worry about leaving it lying in the kitchen and getting a little wet. The thermometer turns on when the probe is opened up and the LCD display shows large numbers that are easy to read. You turn off by closing the probe or it will auto shut off after 1 hour. The thermometer has a magnet on the back so that you can store it on any magnetic surface or pop it in your cutlery drawer. All in all it has all the features that you need at a good price and it’s proven itself with buyers.
- Accurate to less than 1 degree
- Fast readout in less than 4 seconds
- Good price
- Magnetic back
- Shorter probe than some
- Main weakness around probe joint
- No temperature guide printed on the thermometer
2. ThermoPro TP03A Digital Food Cooking Thermometer
The ThermoPro TP03A Digital Food Cooking Thermometer is another folding probe type of instant read thermometer. It offers a readout within 4-7 seconds and an accuracy of +/- 0.9F. The price offers very good value and is worthy of consideration.
The TP03A has a red plastic body with an on/off button on the front next to the display. You also have a button on the back to change the display from Fahrenheit to Celsius depending on your preference. The probe is 3.9 inches long made of food grade stainless steel with a step down tip housing the sensor.
The probe is released by pressing the button at the join and it will pop the probe out so that you can extend it to the angle you prefer up to 180 degrees and close it when you’re done. If you forget and lay it down on the worktop it will automatically turn off after 10 minutes to save the battery.
There is an LED display for your temperature reading which isn’t the largest of screens so if you have trouble with smaller numbers you might need to check for a thermometer with a larger display. The numbers are clear to read and don’t take long to display. A great budget choice with a lot of 5 star customer reviews.
- Great price
- Accurate to less than 1 degree
- 4-7 seconds to temperature display
- Uses regular AAA battery which are cheaper to buy
- Plastic seems flimsy
- Small display screen
3. GDEALER Instant Read Thermometer
The GDEALER Instant Read Thermometer is another folding probe type thermometer that is in the affordable budget range under $20. This thermometer can give you a reading on the display within 4-6 seconds and offers an accuracy of +/- 1F.
This GDEALER thermometer comes in 2 colors and is made from food safe ABS plastic with a stainless steel probe of 4.5 inches. The probe opens up 180 degrees and can be used in an angled position if required.
On the front of the thermometer you have an on/off button, a hold button, the LED display and they have managed to put a meat temperature chart on the front too which is very helpful for beginners. The LED display is not too large but clear to read and you have a hold button on the front so if you press it before you remove the probe it will keep the temperature on the display so you can read it properly.
The thermometer is powered by a AAA battery and the switch to change from Fahrenheit to Celsius is situated in the battery compartment. There is a power save function which turns off the display after 10 minutes. You have a magnet built in to store an a metallic surface or just hang it on a kitchen hook.
- Low price
- Accurate to within 1 degree
- Quick read within 4-6 seconds
- Meat temperature guide on the front
- Small display compared to others
- Some issues with the probe staying shut
4. Maverick Pro-Temp Commercial Thermometer PT-100
The Maverick Pro-Temp Commercial Thermometer PT-100 is a professional grade folding probe thermometer. This has been designed and made for use in a commercial setting so the plastic of the casing is strong enough to handle being dropped on a hard floor but the price reflects it at just over $50.
The readout on the PT-100 is quick, within 3 seconds and it offers an accuracy of within 1degree Celsius. The thermometer is 7.4 inches long when closed and had a small reversed display with a dark background and white numbers and there is a meat temperature guide on the front. The probe is 5 inches long made of stainless steel and a stepped down tip.
The thermometer turns on when the probe is opened and turns off when it’s closed although it has a battery saver by automatically turning off after 3 minutes, it is powered by 3 x AAA batteries. You can choose Fahrenheit or Celsius by pressing the small opening on the back with a pen point. It is splash proof to IP44 but it’s not waterproof so don’t immerse it. This is a quality product with a certificate of calibration meant for a commercial kitchen but available to you.
- Displays within 3 seconds
- Accuracy to 1 degree Celcius
- automatic turn off after 3 minutes
- Some people found it slow to stabilize
5. CDN DTQ450X Digital ProAccurate Instant-Read Thermometer
The CDN DTQ450X Digital ProAccurate Instant-Read Thermometer is a probe type thermometer but it doesn’t fold up. This thermometer can get a reading within 6-8 seconds.
This doesn’t offer an accuracy detail because it has calibration capability so you can check it often and if it is reading a little too much out you can check and re-calibrate it easily using a glass of iced water.
The probe on this thermometer is 5 inches long and it has a small head which houses the control buttons and the display. There are 5 buttons for control, the on/off button, the button for changing between Fahrenheit and Celsius, there is a hold button to lock in the temperature while you get a chance to read it, a max button which will record the maximum temperature reached and can be reset if you press for 3 seconds and last but definitely not least is the calibration button.
The display is small but relatively easy to read. It has an auto-off feature after 10 minutes to save battery life and the thermometer is shock proof so can handle being dropped. You have a protective sleeve with a pocket clip for ease of carrying around with you and it’s at a budget price of less than $20.
- Easy to read display
- The calibration capability
- Budget price
- Calibrating errors
- Item stopped working after a few uses
6. Mister Chefer Electric Food Thermometer
The Mister Chefer Electric Food Thermometer is a folding probe type of thermometer and is a good price managing to come in under $20. It gives you a reading within 4 seconds and offers accuracy within +/-1F.
The thermometer has a casing of 6.1 inches made of strong ABS plastic and a probe of 4.5 inches long made of stainless steel with an anti-bacterial coating on the tip. There are 4 buttons on the front of the thermometer for control options and of course the display which is a reasonable size. There is a very basic meat temperature guide printed on the front.
There is an on/off button although the thermometer will start when you open the probe too. It has an automatic switch off after 10 minutes or you can close the probe. The next option is a C/F button so you can choose whether to read in Fahrenheit or Celsius.
The next button controls the back light. If you are working in a low light area you can press the light button to be able to read the display easier. The last button offers a voice option which will tell you the temperature, again great in low light or if you are a little visually impaired. The probe can be used in an angled position or opened up straight making this a versatile thermometer.
- Fast display time
- Accuracy to 1 degree
- Backlight and Voice function
- Good price
- Looks a bit cheap
- Customers found the temperature not always accurate
7. Habor Instant Read Thermometer
The Habor Instant Read Thermometer is a probe type of thermometer but it doesn’t fold up. It can read you temperature within 10 seconds and offers an accuracy of +/- 2F. It also one of the cheapest at less than $10.
This thermometer consists of the body which is made of black plastic with a LCD display in the centre and 4 control buttons. It’s also designed with a hole at the top so you can hang it on a kitchen hook or store it in your cutlery drawer.
This probe thermometer has a 5.5inch long probe which is made of food grade stainless steel and has a step down tip at the end for faster reading and ease of insertion into your food. You have an on/off button on the front to start your thermometer, but if you forget to turn it off is will automatically do it on it’s own after 10 minutes.
The LCD display is small but it is clear to read. There is a hold button so that you can press it to see what the temperature is if viewing the display is awkward. There is a min/max button so that if you like to see the top temperature it has reached and the standard C/F button so you can choose whether you want to read the temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius. This thermometer can be used for all types of foods and liquids and the longer probe helps you to reach into longer containers safely.
- Low price
- Accurate read
- Easy to clean
- small display
- customers have found it can stop working after a few uses
8. Mister Chefer Best Waterproof Digital Meat Thermometer
The Mister Chefer Best Waterproof Digital Meat Thermometer is a folding probe type of thermometer. This can give you a digital readout within 3 seconds and it has an accuracy of +/- 1F.
The body of the thermometer is made of ABS plastic which makes it durable, it’s 6.1 inches with a large display on the front and 3 control buttons. On the back they have printed a meat temperature guide beside the battery compartment and installed a magnet inside so you can store it on a metallic surface.
The probe is 4.5 inches long and made of stainless steel with an antibacterial coating on the stepped down tip. The thermometer starts reading once the probe has been opened, it has a large display but also offers a backlight button so that you can see the numbers no matter what the light conditions are. It does switch off when you close the probe but also turns off automatically after 10 minutes to save power.
You have a hold button which is also a min/max function so no problem if you can’t quite see the numbers just press and read when you remove the probe. You also have a C/F button which is also a calibration button. You can choose Fahrenheit or Celsius and if you find the temperatures aren’t quite true you can check with a glass of iced water and recalibrate if required. This thermometer is splash proof with a lifetime warranty.
- Large display
- Fast read
- Calibration Capability
- Lifetime Warranty
- some problems with calibration
9. Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo Instant Read Digital Meat Thermometer
The Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo Instant Read Digital Meat Thermometer is a folding probe thermometer. It can show a display in 2-3 seconds and has an accuracy of +/- 0.9F.
The body of the thermometer is made of BPA free plastic and is 6.25 inches long. There is a large LED display and 2 press button options on the front of the unit. The probe is made from 18/8 food-grade stainless steel and 4.5 inches long.
The difference in the Javelin PRO Duo is that it has an auto-rotating display so no matter which side you want to check on the meat, whether you work left handed or right handed you will be able to read the display.
You also have a stabilization alert if you hold the starburst button on the right of the display it will beep when the temperature has stabilized so you can get quickly out of the oven. There is also a motion sensor backlight so you’re covered in low light and there is a power save auto-off if you forget to close the probe. This is splash resistant with a few colors to choose from.
- Large display
- Backlight and auto-rotate
- Stabilization alert
- Probe doesn’t fully articulate for left handers
- Weakness around probe joint
10. Epica Instant Read Digital Meat Thermometer For Cooking and BBQ
The Epica Instant Read Digital Meat Thermometer is a probe type of thermometer but it’s not a foldable probe. It can display a reading quickly within 2 seconds and it has an accuracy rating of +/- 1.8F.
The handle is made from strong plastic and there is also a probe cover made with the same plastic which can also be attached to extend the handle so you can keep your hands a safer distance from the heat. The handle includes the LED display and 2 buttons, the on/off button and a min/max button.
The display is easy to read but it is quite small. You can change the display between Fahrenheit and Celsius using a small button on the back of the handle. The probe is 4.75 inches long, made from food grade stainless steel with an anti-bacterial coating. The probe is very thin and doesn’t produce large holes in your meat which is always a plus.
This thermometer is shock proof and waterproof making it quite durable in the kitchen. This is a low cost version if you don’t want to spend much.
- Quick temperature readings
- Low cost
- Small display
- Issues with the buttons not working after time
No matter what type of instant-read thermometer you’re looking for we should have covered it in our Top 10 Best Instant Read Meat Thermometers 2018. We’ve tried to give you different price ranges and qualities so you have a good choice. Don’t forget to check out our No1 choice first the Lavatools PT12 Javelin Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer.