Using a thermometer when grilling or smoking helps you ensure that foods are cooked to safe temperatures. Even when you’re cooking low and slow, you want a thermometer that’s fast so you can hit your preferred doneness for the perfect flavor and texture.
That's why the pros in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Culinary Innovation Lab put meat thermometers to the test. We have tested nearly 50 thermometers over the years, and for our most recent test, we put 10 grill thermometers through controlled temperature tests and used them on the grill while cooking steak. The picks that came out on top were easy to use, had clear displays, provided quick response times and, most importantly, produced accurate readings.
Based on our tests, these are the best grill thermometers you can buy in 2022:
Our top picks
- Perfect accuracy scores in Lab tests
- Thin probe works for many foods
- Display autorotates
- Can't be left in food during cooking
The Javelin Pro got perfect scores on our accuracy tests, and it gave results in less than three seconds. But it's also our top pick for best grill thermometer because it works for large cuts of meat like a pork butt but is also thin and nimble enough for a fish fillet.
The lightweight handle has an ergonomic design, and the display autorotates, making it comfortable for right- and left-handed users. It's splash-proof and features a one-touch backlight option for improved readability. We also love the smart design: it has a hole for hanging for simple storage and is magnetic for quick access when you're at the grill.
• Accuracy claim: ±0.9°F
• Temperature range: -40°F (-40˚C) to 482°F (250°C)
• Power source: Lithium metal battery
• Battery life claim: More than 4,000 hours
- Suggests doneness temperature based on meat
- Temperature readings can take up to 10 seconds
While this wasn't our fastest digital instant-read thermometer, it did give accurate temperature readings. What we like most about it is that for less than $20, you get a little of the functionality of higher-end thermometers because it lets you select a preset doneness level for seven meat types — meaning the safe or recommended temp is at your fingertips — or set your own target temp. It features an alarm to let you know when your meat has hit its target temp and folds up neatly for easy storage.
• Accuracy claim: Not provided
• Temperature range: 32°F (0˚C) to 392°F (200°C)
• Power source: 2 AAA batteries
• Battery life claim: Not provided
- Bluetooth capabilities for remote monitoring of up to 4 probes
- Probe can stay in meat during cooking
- Dishwasher safe
- Each probe can track only one food at a time
The Meater+ is one of our picks for best meat thermometers, and it's also very well-suited to grilling. You can leave this wireless digital probe in large cuts without having to untangle wires or make room for a hub. The probe relays the internal temperature, and the external sensor reads the ambient temperature. It pairs with an app via Bluetooth so you can monitor the temperature without being tethered to the grill — the manufacturer claims a range of 165 feet.
The intuitive app lets you choose the desired doneness of what you're cooking and then estimates the time it will take to cook it, and it will alert you when it's time to rest the food so that you have the perfect texture. Our pros love that the handy storage case is also a charging station.
• Accuracy claim: ±1°F
• Temperature range: Maximum internal temperature for probe: 212°F (100˚C); maximum ambient temperature for external sensor: 527°F (275˚C)
• Power source: 1 AAA battery for the charging station
• Battery life claim: More than 24 hours for the probe; more than 100 charges for the charging station
- Affordable and intuitive
- App can be used in 8 languages
- Must remember to turn the hub off when not in use
This easy-to-use multi-probe grill thermometer is a steal for the price. The rechargeable hub has a simple on/off switch for its display screen that cycles through the readouts for each probe, keeping you informed about the progress of your cook. It scored well in our accuracy tests and had quick response times for the probes. In addition to the three probes, it comes with an ambient temperature probe that tracks the temperature in your grill or smoker so you can adjust the heat as needed to control your cook.
This multi-probe pick connects wirelessly with its well-designed app, which lets you monitor the probes as a readout or scroll through them as graphs. We love that the app has helpful (and cute!) iconography that makes it easy to set a cook time or select doneness alerts for different proteins as well as BBQ smoke, hot smoke and cold smoke.
• Accuracy claim: ±2°F (1˚C)
• Temperature range: 32°F (0˚C) to 572°F (300˚C) for short-term measurement; 32°F (0˚C) to 482°F (250˚C) for continuous monitoring
• Power source: Lithium polymer battery
• Battery life claim: 40 hours
- Displays temp on device and via app
- Versatile; can be used with leave-in probe
- Probe sold separately
Our pros were impressed with the versatility of this grill thermometer, which scored well in our accuracy tests. It has a straightforward instant-read base with a thin tip that works well for multiple foods, and it includes the option to attach a probe (sold separately) that you can leave in food during cooking.
The data for both the instant-read and probe can be viewed on the large, clear display, which autorotates for easy viewing at any angle, or via a smartphone app. The app lets you view each number as a readout but also offers a graph mode for the probe. We did notice that the app lagged very slightly behind the device itself but was accurate within seconds.
• Accuracy claim: ±0.7 ̊F (0.4 ̊C)
• Temperature range: -58˚F (-50˚C) to 572 ̊F (300 ̊C)
• Power source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
• Battery life claim: More than 12 months of normal use
- Fast and accurate in Lab tests
- Easy-to-read backlit display
- Comes in 9 fun colors
- Can't be left in food during cooking
The ThermoPop aced our accuracy tests, and it gave readings quickly in less than four seconds. This digital thermometer has a little trick up its sleeve: The straightforward display rotates with the push of a button, making it easy to read from any angle. It's also backlit, which helps in low-light situations. Even better: It's splash-proof and compact for storage. It comes with a sleeve that prevents pokes and includes a clip for easy stashing in a shirt pocket on an apron.
• Accuracy claim: ±2°F (1°C)
• Temperature range: -58˚F (-50˚C) to 572 ̊F (300 ̊C)
• Power source: Lithium battery
• Battery life claim: 5,000 hours of normal use
The experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Culinary Innovation Lab test thermometers in controlled temperature tests to determine accuracy as well as in action on the grill to assess ease of use. For each thermometer, we assess 10 data points; those with apps are evaluated for two additional data points. For this round of results, we spent 14 hours charging, reading, syncing and testing.
For the first controlled temperature test, we bring water to a boil in a stainless steel pot and measure the temperature of the water in the same location with each thermometer; to ensure accuracy, we compare these numbers to the known boiling point for the elevation of the test site and the atmospheric pressure of the test day. The second controlled temperature test is similarly conducted, with very icy water used to assess the thermometer's accuracy at measuring low temperatures.
When testing on the grill, we probe thick sirloin steaks and evaluate the doneness of the meat and the overall experience of using the thermometer, as pictured above. We note how easy it is to read the temperature, how simple it is to set up and connect with an app (where applicable) and note special features like notifications or automatic shut-off. In addition, we evaluate whether it is simple to install the batteries and quick to charge (as applicable), whether the probe or tip is easy to clean and the helpfulness of the user guide and app (as applicable).
✔️ Temperature accuracy and range: Clearly, you want a grill thermometer that will help you ensure food safety as well as preferred doneness. Look for thermometers that are advertised with an accuracy within ±2˚F, which is a range of accuracy most good thermometers can promise.
✔️ Temperature range: You also want to consider the range of temperatures the thermometer can report — and withstand. Thermometers with a narrow range can have good accuracy and are helpful for smaller foods that need short cooks and quick response times. But a wider temperature range is handy for bigger foods with longer cook times so you can track from cool starting temps to full doneness. As for what the thermometer itself can withstand, read the use and care instructions to determine the uppermost temps to ensure the device can handle direct cooking as well as flare ups.
✔️ Probe size: Probe length is important for reaching the thickest part of the food so you can accurately determine doneness, but you'll also want to look for a thin tip that won't damage the cut. A thin tip is still helpful for piercing the meat cleanly, but the overall diameter of the shaft will be larger than the tip with less consequence to the food. For thin items like fish or chicken breast, a shorter probe is fine, but for thicker items like a large steak or a pork shoulder, a longer probe — around five inches — is better.
✔️ Interface: Whether it's a simple display screen or a connected app, the thermometer's interface is your means of communication with what you're cooking. You want at-a-glance readability so you can make quick decisions about adjusting the heat or placement on the grill or removing the food for resting or serving. Take a look at the packaging; for many thermometers, there'll be a sticker that lets you see how the display will appear when in use. You can also watch product videos or preview the app to see if you like the interface and the data it provides!
✔️ Battery life: Consider the way you cook when shopping for a grill thermometer. Do you want a quick check of your chicken thighs, or do you want to be able to go low-and-slow on a brisket? Either way, you want your thermometer's battery life to be able to keep up with the task at hand. Some grill thermometers have replaceable batteries while others require charging. Check the manufacturer's claims about battery life for a ballpark of how long you can use the device per grilling session.
Sarah Wharton has been editing recipes and applying her food knowledge to stories for 20 years. She has been cooking professionally and testing kitchen gear since 2016. She has also worked on the content team for a cooking tools brand, where she learned the behind-the-scenes reasoning for what makes a gadget great. She loves a medium-rare steak and consistently uses a thermometer to ensure it.