Read our review of the top meat thermometers on the market so you get succulent meat, cooked exactly to your liking, every time.
Find out more about our BBC Good Food reviews.
Oxo Good Grips leave-in meat thermometer
Best bits: Easy to use, handy temperature guide
Features: In-oven probe, probe cover for storage, temperature/meat guide, degrees C
Comments: If digital gadgetry is not your thing then this ovenproof thermometer gets full marks for a no-frills temperature tester. You can stick the probe into the meat before cooking and then check as and when. We liked the shaded tip that helps judge how far to insert the probe and most of all, the handy plastic case which has a quick reference guide to the temperatures for different meats, from medium-rare to well done.
Andrew James digital fork thermometer
Best bits: Easy to use, price, doubles as carving fork
Features: digital, temperature/ meat guide, degrees C
Comments: This fork was so simple to use, we barely needed the instructions. You pre-select the type of meat, then the level of ‘doneness’, poke the fork into the meat and it’ll beep if it’s up to temperature. Rare to well done is indicated on the display when testing, as well as the temperature itself. The fork design allows this to be used for carving and makes for easy insertion.
Best for…gadget lovers
Best bits: Monitoring via mobile, two probes, suitable for a variety of cooking tasks
Features: Bluetooth connectivity, timer, pre-sets, in-oven probe, wide temp range -40° to +250 C, degrees C or F
Comments: This thermometer will sync to an app on your Bluetooth-enabled phone. The app gives easy access to a variety of functionality and we found it surprisingly fun to play with. There are options for pre-setting to your specific meat and ‘doneness’. You can also set a timer to go off around the time it’s due to be ready, plus an earlier timer if you like – useful if you want to coordinate other parts of the meal. For those who like to entertain, having two probes is great, allowing you to cook more than one joint or test two different food types.
Available from Amazon (£111.32)
Best for…pro cooks
Best bits: Simplicity, durability, suitability for a range of cooking tasks
Features: Long battery life (3000 hours), waterproof, wide temp range -49.9 to 299.9 C, available in degrees C only and C or F (models vary), backlit
Comments: Originally designed for the professional kitchen, this is a durable choice for the confident cook. There are no bells and whistles, just a superfast (three second) temperature reading. The thin probe means that you don’t get a big hole where you’ve inserted, ideal for dishes like beef Wellington. The wide temperature range means that it can be used to test jams, sugar and oil as well as chilled dishes. The probe folds down like a penknife for easy storage (which also turns it off) and the antibacterial casing comes in a variety of colours.
Available from Thermapen (£64.80)
Salter 5-in-1 Digital cooking thermometer by Heston Blumenthal precision
Best bits: menu options and suitability for a range of cooking tasks
Features: Wide temperature range -45 C to 200 C, options for meat, confectionary and deep-frying, measures oven temp as well as food temperature, countdown to roast temp target, degrees C or F
Comments: This thermometer took a little more concentration than the others on first use but offers a good range of features with settings for different meats and their respective ‘doneness’, sugar and oil temperatures. It gives Heston’s suggested temperatures as well as USDA guidelines (which are considered the most up-to-date food safety recommendations). Once we got the hang of it, the versatility and range of information made this very appealing.
Best…budget in-oven thermometer
Lakeland Oven probe thermometer
Best bits: Price
Features: Timer, in-oven probe, degrees C or F
Comments: This is a basic but functional bit of kit. It’ll monitor the temperature of the meat throughout cooking. You can set the alarm to go off at a target temperature and there’s a timer that’ll run simultaneously which is useful when coordinating your cooking. The thermometer doesn’t give selections for different meats so you need to have this information to hand. The instruction booklet is clear but it would be handy to have temperature guidelines for Celcius as well as Fahrenheit.
For all of the products mentioned in this review, various retailers have been suggested by our affiliate partner Monetizer 101 and are not suggested or chosen by BBC Good Food. For more information on how these retailers are selected and the nature of our partnership, please read the Monetizer101 FAQ page.
For juicy, succulent roasts, a meat thermometer is a kitchen must. It takes the guesswork out of reaching that perfect level of ‘doneness’, so if you’re looking forward to a medium-rare fillet of beef, that’s exactly what you’ll get. For occasions, like Christmas, you can check a big bird is thoroughly cooked taking the stress out of whether it’s safe to eat and knowing the meat will still be tender and moist.
Remember to test the thickest part of the meat, away from bones, fat or gristle for the most accurate reading. Digital probes can’t be immersed in water so a good tip is to clean them with an antibacterial wipe or sterilise in boiling water.
What should I buy?
First you need to decide if you want digital or not, some people prefer a low-tech option and these are perfectly functional. Digital versions can vary from basic to elaborate. If you want a simple display then you don’t need to spend a lot of money but gadget fans may opt for more. In either case, we think it’s useful having a guide to temperatures and what they equate to for different meats, so you know if the meat is cooked to your liking. Keen cooks may want to choose a thermometer with a broad temperature range allowing them to test sugar, oil and perhaps also chilled dishes.
What we looked for…
Ease of use: A good instruction booklet and simple functionality were essential.
Accurate readings: We tested a number of thermometers in each joint of meat and dropped any that didn’t tally.
Ease of storage: Probes that tucked away or had a protective sheath were given extra points.
Added features: Thermometers that offered more than a simple thermometer were well-rated, and we took price versus functionality into account.
Use your meat thermometer…
More advice on buying kitchen kit
This review was last updated in October 2018. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you swear by your meat thermometer? Share your product recommendations with us below, and also keep yourself occupied with one of our delicious meat recipes.