The best meat thermometers on test

Read our review of the top digital meat thermometers on the market so you get succulent meat, cooked exactly to your liking, every time.

Rare roast beef on a bed of potatoes and Yorkshire pudding

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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 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.

When choosing which meat thermometer to 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.

Read on to discover our top buys. For over 200 buyer's guides, visit our product review section and find guides to everything from roasting tins to food processors.

Thermapen

Superfast Thermapen 4

Best for pro cooks
Pros:
Simplicity, durability, suitability for a range of cooking tasks
Features: Long battery life (3000 hours), waterproof, wide temp range, 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 super-fast, 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. 


Buy from Amazon (£64.80)

Heston meat thermometers


Salter 5-in-1 digital cooking thermometer by Heston Blumenthal Precision

Best all-rounder
Pros:
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, 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.

 

Lakeland meat themometer

Lakeland oven probe thermometer

Best budget in-oven thermometer
Pros:
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 celsius as well as fahrenheit.


Buy from Lakeland (£14.99)

Andrew James thermometer

Andrew James digital fork thermometer

Best value
Pros:
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.


Buy from Andrew James (£11.99)

Buyer’s advice

What we looked for when testing meat thermometers

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 temperature gauge were well-rated, and we took price versus functionality into account. 

Pot roast chicken with stock sauce in pot

How to use your meat thermometer

Roast timer tool
How to cook meat safely on the barbecue
Sunday roast recipes
Healthier roast recipes
Barbecue recipes

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This review was last updated in August 2019. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.

Do you swear by your meat thermometer? Leave a comment below...

Comments, questions and tips

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Kingston James
13th Mar, 2016
I bought a food thermometer from Hong Kong when I was stayed there. The quality is very good but price is low. I would like to purchase it now in England. Would anybody can advise where to purchase it ? The brand of the thermometer : Value+ The model number : VT31B
tomlloyd12
28th Jan, 2016
My meat thermometer is a life saver! Really helps judge the cooking of meat to get it just how you like it. I recently swapped my old analogue one for this digital one: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01958NL0S?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00. It's obviously a matter of personal taste, but I much prefer it. It is much easier to read - you can get it right to the 0.1 of a degree celsius!
elizabeth60
29th Apr, 2015
I love my food thermometer. I got a very cheap one from ebay - it takes a little longer to fully register the temperature but no more meals still frozen in the middle while the outside is hot - and good to know when meat etc. is cooked how you like it. It doesn't have to be used only for meat though, knowing when my Christmas cake was cooked by the internal temperature was a revelation. Temperature guides in recipes is a very good idea - what is the internal temperature of a sponge cake?
thompsda3
28th Mar, 2015
I swear by my meat thermometer - no more dry pork, nicely rare beef - great! I also use it for things other than roasts and it would be very helpful if temperature guidelines could be added to your recipes.
mamamade
8th Feb, 2016
How do you use a temperature probe when roasting a chicken? Would you put it into the thick bit inside the leg?
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
21st Mar, 2016
You push the probe into the thickest part of the chicken such as the thigh, or between the leg and breast but you need to avoid the bone.
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