Best meat thermometers – on test

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

Best for…simplicity

Oxo Good GripsOxo Good Grips leave-in meat thermometer

Best bits: Easy to use, handy temperature guide
Price: £15
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.

Buy from John Lewis


Best… value

Andrew James thermometerAndrew James digital fork thermometer

Best bits: Easy to use, price, doubles as carving fork
Price: £8.99
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


Best for…gadget lovers

Bluetooth thermometerCDN Bluetooth dual probe thermometer & timer

Best bits: Monitoring via mobile, two probes, suitable for a variety of cooking tasks
Price: £50.28
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.

Buy from Amazon


Best for…pro cooks

ThermapenSuperfast Thermapen 4

Best bits: Simplicity, durability, suitability for a range of cooking tasks
Price: £60
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.

Buy from Thermapen


Best…all rounder 
**STAR BUY**

Heston meat thermometersSalter 5-in-1 Digital cooking thermometer by Heston Blumenthal precision

Best bits: menu options and suitability for a range of cooking tasks
Price: £49.99
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. 

Buy from Salter


Best…budget in-oven thermometer

Lakeland meat themometerLakeland Oven probe thermometer

Best bits: Price
Price: £15.99
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.

Buy from Lakeland

Buyer’s advice

Why buy? 

Barbecue meatFor 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…

BrisketEase 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… 

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

More advice on buying kitchen kit

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The best hand blenders

This review was last updated in March 2017. 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@bbc.com. 

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

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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