Meat Thermometer Comparison
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Meat Thermometer Buying Guide
What is a Meat Thermometer?
A meat thermometer is a thermometer that is used to read the internal temperatures of meats and other kinds of foods and soups. It can be in digital form or display dials and takes just seconds to use. Digital thermometers are considered more accurate than the dial models. It is a small piece of kitchen equipment with huge abilities that will keep your meals tasting great and your health from being in jeopardy.
Types of Meat thermometers
There are many different types of meat thermometers. Each one has its benefits and drawbacks. Which one you choose to get is mostly personal preference but there are some styles that are better suited to certain tasks than others.
- Instant Read Digital – These are simple to use. Just turn them on, stick into the meat or food you are checking and that’s it. They have very fast response times and are good for thin cuts of meat. These are good choices to check the final temperatures of your dishes. Digital instant read thermometers have features that include auto shutoff, temperature hold and others to make taking temperatures, easy and reliable.
- Leave in Digital – With these kinds of thermometers, the probes are left in the meat during the cooking process. You can monitor the temperature without even opening the oven door. A long cord will attach the probe to a unit that has an easy to read digital screen. The unit can be placed right on the counter next to the oven or can be attached to the oven door via a magnet.
These types of meat thermometers typically have the most features including alerts that you can hear in other rooms, timers, programmable temperatures and much more. Some of these are even wireless and can monitor temperatures from up to 100 feet away from the oven. The wireless aspect will use a smartphone or a wireless device.
- Instant Read Analog (Dial) – With this type of meat thermometer you stick the probe into the meat get the reading and remove the probe. It is to be used towards the end of the cooking process. Analog thermometers are more difficult to read than digital and they don’t have much in the way of extra features. They are very simple and perform just the job of taking the temperature of the meats at the end of the cooking process.
- Leave in Analog (Dial) – These oven safe, simple thermometers can be used during the cooking process. They are oven safe and get stuck into the meat while it is cooking. They can also be used as instant read thermometer.
Meat Thermometer Features
There are several features that you want to look for when you start shopping for meat thermometers.
- Accuracy in Readings – You want to be sure that your meat thermometer provides you with accurate readings. Checking the reviews that other customers have left could give you some information on this point.
- Quick Results – You want to get fast readings from your meat thermometer so you do not need to leave the oven or grill doors open for any longer than necessary. You will find that for leave in meat thermometers, fast readings are not necessarily as important although you do want to ensure that the number you are looking at is what the temperature currently is. The faster the thermometer provides the readings the more accurate your finished product will be with little room for error.
- Large temperature range capability – You want your meat thermometer to be able to handle reading a wide range of temperatures. Ones that can withstand higher than 500 degrees Fahrenheit will be able to be used in an oven and grill where temperatures routinely get that hot. If that same thermometer can read temperatures below freezing, you will have a very versatile thermometer that can be used for both hot and cold foods.
- Auto Shut Off – The auto shut off feature helps preserve your battery life. Most meat thermometers take AA or AAA batteries so any measure in place to help preserve the battery life is a savings.
- Backlit Display Screen – This is not a feature that all digital thermometers have but it comes in handy, especially in lower light conditions. The backlit feature makes reading the temperatures much simpler and faster.
- Easy to Red/Use Controls – Some meat thermometers have a lot of features and capabilities. It is beneficial to you that the controls for these features are easy to read and understand. This will include larger buttons that are easy to see and read. If your meat thermometer is wireless and intended to sync to your smartphone, look for easy to use apps that go along with them.
- Strong Probes – the probe on the end of the meat thermometer is the part that will see the most action. You want it to be able to withstand high temperatures and be sturdy in design. The probes and probe cables need to be durable but in some models can be a real weak point in many meat thermometers. Another good feature to look for is splash resistant cables that can handle exposure to water since they are used in kitchens where getting wet is a definite possibility.
- Audible Alarm – If you have a leave in thermometer you want to be certain that you know when the meat reaches the desired temperature. Having an alarm that you can easily hear is beneficial so it doesn’t get drowned out with the day to day sounds around the home.
- Programmable Temperature – This feature allows you to set the temperatures you want and then you can monitor the cooking until it reaches the temperature that you have set.
- Temperature Hold – This feature allows the meat thermometer to hold the temperature on the display for at least 5 minutes, sometimes longer.
- Timers- A timer feature is very beneficial to keep track of the cooking process and allow the cook to not forget about the foods that are in the oven or on the grill. You can set the timer for however long you want to cook the meat and the timer will sound when it is ready.
Meat thermometers are very important kitchen accessories that help prevent undercooking and overcooking meats and other foods. They are also beneficial for checking the temperature of food that is out on a counter or in a buffet type setting. Food that goes below a certain temperature if it starts off as hot food, or that warms up above a certain temperature can make people sick. It is important to be able to monitor the temperatures of these foods and make sure that they remain in the safe levels.
Meat thermometers come in a variety of sizes, styles and types. Most cooks prefer the digital models but the analog ones can be just as valuable if digital is not available. The top rated choices here are all great additions to your kitchen tools and will help you cook your meals to the perfect temperature without over or under cooking them.
The capability to check the temperature of your meats reduces the chance of food borne illnesses as well, which can happen if meats like pork and chicken are not fully cooked. Professional chefs use meat thermometers all the time and they are used by health department officials and regular home cooks too.
The information in this guide and the three top rated meat thermometers that have been reviewed are provided to give you the information you need to make an informed decision and choose the meat thermometer that will be the best fit for the amount of cooking you do, the kind of cooking you do and the information you need to know.
With the right tools, you will be able to sort through the choices easily, look for the features that are important to you and choose a meat thermometer that you will enjoy using for a long time.