Since the invention of thermometers, there have been many advancements within the field. Not only are they more accurate these days but they are also much faster at producing a reading. With this day in age, we want things much faster which is why you need to own the best instant-read thermometer that money can buy.

In this article, we will go over the different types of instant-read thermometers as well as what to look for when purchasing a new one. We will also cover some of the models available for purchase on the market today and which one may best suit your needs and wants.

How to Choose the Best Instant Read Thermometer

When choosing the best instant-read thermometer, two factors come into play. Accuracy and reliability. You want to make sure that the thermometer will work every time you need to use it and will give you the very best accurate readings. Of course, there are several other functions and features to think about, but these two are the most important.

Back in the day, you were not able to place a thermometer in the oven to keep track of the temperature of a turkey. The readings would come out wrong and the thermometer would become damaged. But now there are specific oven thermometers that will keep track of the temperatures without harming the actual device.

First and foremost, it is crucial to purchase an instant-read thermometer that comes with a guarantee or some kind of warranty to protect it from damages or defects. Thermometers do tend to wear out over time or small problems could arise such as being exposed to high heat in which the readings could become compromised.

This is when you will need to replace the thermometer and a warranty will do just that. If it does not come with a warranty then make sure that either you don’t spend too much money or that they come highly recommended by previous users.

You also want to make sure the thermometer is safe from other elements. It is a huge plus if the thermometer can be exposed to high temperatures, waterproofed or resistant and may be exposed to sunlight for long periods of time. These factors could easily damage the thermometer or throw off the readings which is something you don’t want to happen.

An instant-read thermometer that comes with a sheath or box for storing will also come in handy to protect it when it is not in use. You also want to make sure the instant read thermometer is able to gain readings specific to what you will be using it for. For instance, if you are wanting to make candy, you will need to measure substances such as melting sugar at extremely high temperatures. Then you will need an instant-read thermometer that will gain readings up to 1000 degrees. But if you are wanting to gain a reading from a steak you just cooked on your electric grill, then a thermometer that goes up to 400 degrees will be just fine.

Construction and Design

There are many different types of instant-read thermometers all with many different designs and constructions. The features vary from one another so make sure you find a thermometer that will achieve everything you want to accomplish. That could be the classic single prong thermometer in which you stick into the food to gain a reading, a digital thermometer that you place in an oven, electric griddle or grill outside or a hands-free digital laser thermometer where all you have to do is point the thermometer laser at the food item and it gains a reading from the surface.

Any of these types of thermometers will gain a reading instantly but are used for different types of cooking. Some may be more accurate than others though.

A thermometer with an alarm or auto settings will come in handy when you just want to set it and forget it. There are even some thermometers that will sync up with your phone or tablet and you can control the settings using an app without having to stay in the kitchen or outside on the grill constantly.

Some of those types of instant-read thermometers will even allow you to control the temperature settings if allowed like an electric grill or specialized oven. For the most part, almost all instant-read thermometers are digital but some come with a backlit display or a led screen to help read temperatures in the dark or at night.

Most thermometers are battery-powered as well so it is important to purchase one with an auto on/off function. You may forget to turn the thermometer off sometimes which in turn can really drain the batteries fast. Also, some thermometers are resistant to weather elements as well.

If you happen to leave your thermometer out on the grill and it rains, owning one that is either waterproof or water-resistant may save you the trouble of buying another new thermometer. Dust and dirt can also get inside the thermometer and cause it to stop working as well so having a tightly sealed thermometer or one that is at least resistant will come in handy.

9 Best Instant Read Thermometers

Thermapen Mk4

Thermapen Mk4

The Best Instant Read Thermometer

The first instant read thermometer on the list is the best in the biz. It is able to gain accurate readings in as little as 2 seconds. The thermometer is about $100 but it does come protected by a warranty.

The thermometer gains readings using a 4 ½ inch metal probe that can be inserted into any type of food. The led screen is also backlit for easy readings at night or in the dark. It also toggles up or down so you won’t have to flip the thermometer upside down to read the temperature. It has a sleep and wake mode that turns the thermometer off when put down and wakes when it is picked up. This saves on battery power but is not needed because it has 3000 hours or battery life. The thermometer is also waterproof, dust proof and heat resistant. The thermometer comes in 10 different colors and contains no buttons so it is very user friendly.

Pros

  • The thermometer is waterproof, dust proof and heat resistant.
  • It has an auto on/off mode when it is picked up or put down.
  • Is able to gain readings within 2 seconds up to 600 degrees.
Cons

  • While it does come protected by a warranty, it is quite expensive for a thermometer when compared to others.

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Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo

Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo

The Next Best Thing

The next instant read thermometer is very similar to the previous one in a lot of ways. It also is able to gain readings within 2 seconds. It is also about half the cost of the other one but is not protected by any kind of warranty.

The thermometer is able to gain accurate readings using the 4-inch metal probe within 1 degree. The digital screen is also backlit to gain readings in the dark or at night. While it doesn’t have a sleep mode it does have 4,000 hours of battery power, so just turn it off when done using it. The metal probe is able to swing 360 degrees to reach hard places and will also retract against the body. There is also a circle ring to hang on a hook or nail on the wall. It is also water resistant to a certain degree.

Pros

  • The thermometer is able to gain accurate readings within 2 seconds.
  • The 4-inch metal probe is retractable and swings 360 degrees for hard to reach areas.
  • There is a circle hole on the thermometer to hang on the wall or grill outside.
Cons

  • While it is about half the cost of the previous thermometer, it does not come protected by a warranty.

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Thermoworks ThermoPop

Thermoworks ThermoPop

The Little Brother Instant Read Thermometer

This instant read thermometer is the smaller and cheaper version Thermapen Mk4. It only costs about $40 but is not protected by a warranty.

The thermometer has some of the same features as its big brother such as a backlit led display for gaining readings in the dark or at night. The stationary metal probe is able to gain readings within 4 seconds up to 575 degrees. The display will also auto rotate and requires no buttons in order for it to work. The thermometer comes in 10 different colors and is water resistant.

Pros

  • The display will auto rotate and has a led backlit display for gaining readings at night.
  • The thermometer will gain accurate readings within 4 seconds up to 575 degrees.
  • Comes in 10 different colors and is water resistant.
Cons

  • While it is significantly cheaper, it does not come protected by a warranty.

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Taylor Precision Dual Temperature Infrared/Thermocouple Thermometer

Taylor Precision Dual Temperature Infrared/Thermocouple Thermometer

The 2-in-1 Instant Read Thermometer

This thermometer is a double threat thermometer because it has a probe and an infrared function to gain accurate temperature readings. The thermometer is relatively expensive and does not come protected by any warranty.

The long 5-inch probe will fold against the body when not in use and is able to gain internal temperature readings of any kind of foods up to 475 degrees. The infrared thermometer will gain accurate readings within 1 degree of any surface up to 600 degrees as well. The digital screen is also backlit to see in the dark or at night and is somewhat water resistant. There is an auto off/on function to save on battery power and a protective sheath to store the thermometer in when not in use.

Pros

  • The thermometer comes with a protective case to store in when not in use.
  • There is a probe thermometer for readings up to 500 degrees and an infrared thermometer for readings up to 600 degrees.
  • The digital display is backlit for reading in the dark or at night.
Cons

  • The thermometer is a little on the expensive side and does not come with a warranty to protect it.

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Lavatools Javelin

Lavatools Javelin

The Basic Yet Sensible Instant Read Thermometer

This thermometer would be a great addition to any kitchen. While it does lack a lot of special features it will get the job done correctly. It is cheap and comes protected by a lifetime warranty.

The 3 ½-inch probe will gain internal temperature readings up to 460 degrees and will also retract against the body when not in use. There is also a hole on the body so you can hang it on the wall or on the grill outside. It comes in 8 different colors and even is magnetic so you can place against any metal surface to stick like the refrigerator.

Pros

  • The thermometer has a hole on the body for hanging on a hook and is magnetic to place on any metal surface.
  • The thermometer will read up to 460 degrees accurately.
  • The thermometer is cheap and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Cons

  • It is not waterproof or dust proof.
  • Does not have any alarms, presets or auto on/off functions.

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ThermoPro TP18

ThermoPro TP18

Another Basic Thermometer

Here is another thermometer just like the last one we showed you which is incredibly similar in its features. It’s also cheap and comes with a 1-year warranty.

The 3-inch metal probe will gain accurate readings within 5 seconds up to 575 degrees and will retract against the body when not in use. It does not have a backlit display but it does have a bright red digital interface which may help out in the dark. There is a lock function to save temperatures and an auto on/off function to save on battery power.

Pros

  • The thermometer is cheap and comes protected by a 1-year warranty.
  • It is able to gain accurate readings within 5 seconds up to 575 degrees.
  • The display is bright red digital and has an auto on/off function to save on battery life.
Cons

  • The thermometer is not waterproof or dust proof.
  • There is no backlit display, preset or alarm functions available.

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Maverick Pro-Temp Commercial Thermometer PT-100

Maverick Pro-Temp Commercial Thermometer PT-100

The Look-Alike Thermometer

This next thermometer is very similar to many of the previous thermometers in several ways but is still near the bottom of the list because of its price. It’s relatively expensive and does not come protected by any kind of warranty.

The stationary 3 ½ inch metal probe is able to gain accurate readings from any type of food within 4 seconds and up to 450n degrees. The thermometer is water resistant, dust proof and shock resistant in case you drop it on the ground. It has a digital led interface that also rotates when needed. There is a lock on function and an auto on/off feature as well.

Pros

  • The thermometer is able to gain accurate readings up to 450 degrees.
  • It is water resistant, dust proof and shock resistant.
  • There is an auto on/off function to save battery power.
Cons

  • The thermometer is quite expensive and does not come with a warranty to protect it.

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OXO Good Grips Digital Instant Read Thermometer

OXO Good Grips Digital Instant Read Thermometer

This is as Basic as it Gets

There is not much to say about this thermometer because it just doesn’t do more than read temperatures. The screen is not backlit but is digital. It is not waterproof or dust-resistant. And it doesn’t have lock on or auto on/off features. It will read temperatures up to 320 degrees accurately and has a built-in temperature gauge for specific foods just like any other thermometer. It is the cheapest on the list but does not come with any warranty.

Pros

  • Is able to read temperatures up to 320 degrees accurately.
  • Has a built-in temperature gauge for specific items.
  • Costs only $20.
Cons

  • Does not come with a warranty
  • Is not water, dust or shock resistant.
  • Has no extra features other than a temperature gauge.

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ThermoPro TP15

ThermoPro TP15

The Best Deal

This is a pretty basic temperature gauge but it is very cheap and will get the job done correctly. It costs less than $20 and comes with a 1-year warranty to protect it.

The thermometer can accurately read temperatures of any food up to 450 degrees within 4 seconds. It has a backlit led display for gaining temperatures in the dark or at night and is also completely waterproof. It also has a magnetic backside and a hook for easy access or storing. Overall a nice little thermometer that you just can’t beat.

Pros

  • The thermometer is completely waterproof.
  • Accurately reads temperatures up to 450 degrees.
  • Costs only $20 and comes with a 1-year warranty to protect it.
Cons

  • Does not have an auto on/off function.

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Conclusion

So lastly, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good temperature reading thermometer. Even a basic one will be reliable enough to get the job done and that’s all you really need.