Our top pick from last year's report, the iDevices Kitchen Thermometer, retains its top spot -- but it's now known as the Weber iGrill Kitchen Thermometer (Est. $80). This smartphone-compatible thermometer has an undeniable "neato" factor going for it, but we're most impressed by it taking top honors from one of the nation's most prominent test kitchens. In another hands-on test, Megan Wollerton, writing for CNET, found that the iGrill Kitchen Thermometer was always within 2 to 4 degrees of the professional-grade thermocouple thermometers she used as controls.
Overall user feedback indicates that the iGrill thermometer's interface could use a few improvements -- but in general, users love the way its smartphone capability sets them free to wander the house, as long as you download the Weber iGrill app. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices and, because it's free, you can download it to check for compatibility before you buy the actual thermometer.
The thermometer itself comes with two probes with 4-foot cords that can withstand temperatures up to 620 degrees Fahrenheit; the probes can measure from -22 to 572 degrees. The probes plug into the iGrill's base, which also displays a temperature readout; reviewers say it's well-lit and easy to read. But the real star feature is this thermometer's ability to send Bluetooth push notifications and audible alarms to your mobile device, as long as you stay within its 100 to 150-foot range. (Be warned, that range may diminish markedly if you go behind a brick wall or other substantial barrier.)
You can use the iGrill app to access a number of preset temperature settings or program (and store) your own; the app will alert you once the probes register your target peak temperature, or when they register temperatures outside a set minimum/maximum range. The base also beeps to alert you, but reviewers say it's not very loud, so you may not hear it unless you're standing quite close.
Users also like that the iGrill thermometer can monitor two probes at once, a feature that comes in especially handy when cooking turkeys, roasts and other large cuts of meat. A couple of included probe wraps -- spools to help keep the cables out of the way -- are handy, but don't put them in the oven; they'll melt. Replacement probes cost about $25, and a tougher Pro Meat Probe (Est. $25), which measures up to 620 degrees F, is available if you don't want to worry about babying the stock probes.
Our runner-up for best wireless meat thermometer, the Maverick ET-732 (Est. $70) also has two probes, each with a 3-foot cord that's heat-resistant up to 716 degrees Fahrenheit. One of the probes is designed to go into the meat while the second clips to your grill to monitor the air temperature, although the two probes are basically interchangeable. The Maverick ET-732 is a favorite of "Meathead" Goldwyn at AmazingRibs.com; it's also recommended by a prominent test kitchen, although they do express some reservations because it took their testers a while to figure out the interface.
Many reviewers like that the Maverick ET-732 bucks the wireless thermometer trend toward requiring smartphones. The transmitter and display unit communicate using radio frequency (RF) transmission, which has significantly better range than the Bluetooth technology used to pair with smartphones. In theory the RF signal can reach 300 feet -- double a smartphone's Bluetooth range -- although that decreases sharply once you put walls and other obstacles between the transmitter and receiver. The receiver will let you know if you wander out of range.
There are a few mixed user reviews about the Maverick ET-732's performance, mostly complaints about the probes failing; but Goldwyn points out that those failures are often due to people either not reading the instructions (an absolute must-do with this device) or not handling the probes correctly, which starts with pressing hard enough on the connector to make sure it really snaps into place, then being careful not to get liquid on the braided steel cable that connects the probe to the transmitter. Replacement food probes for the Maverick ET732 are available for about $20 each.
In October of 2016, ThermoWorks, which dominates every other category in this report, introduced a remote thermometer that goes head-to-head with the Maverick ET-732. Keep an eye on the ThermoWorks Smoke (Est. $100), which comes with two probes -- one for food temperature, the other for air temperature -- that communicate with the remote receiver using a RF signal, much like the Maverick ET-732.
You can take the ThermoWorks Smoke's remote receiver up to 300 feet away from the transmitter, and the manufacturer says you can pair multiple receivers with the single transmitter. Bill McGrath, writing for AmazingRibs.com, ran some hands-on tests with a pre-release copy of the Smoke and found that not only did it live up to the promised transmission range, the receiver was also quick to warn you if you've wandered out of range.
The Smoke uses the same relatively sturdy temperature probes that come with the top-ranked ThermoWorks ChefAlarm and DOT thermometers, with tips that withstand up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit and cables that are meant to withstand up to 640 degrees Fahrenheit.
McGrath calls out quite a few excellent features on this remote meat thermometer, including the high/low temperature settings, a backlit display with large, easy-to-read numbers, and the ability to recalibrate the receiver if it's been dropped or doesn't seem to be working quite right. Early user feedback indicates that so far this device is a particular hit for people who use their grills a lot and those who want to be able to monitor meat in a smoker overnight. In our next update, we'll take a look at the expanded user feedback for this device and determine how it matches up against our current best-reviewed Weber iGrill Kitchen Thermometer.