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Best Wireless Meat Thermometers

By: Lisa Maloney on November 07, 2017

Wireless meat thermometers are getting smarter than ever

Our runner-up from last year's report, the Maverick ET-732 (Est. $70), has moved into the top spot thanks to a profusion of positive user reviews and a coveted gold medal rating from "Meathead" Goldwyn at AmazingRibs.com. The Maverick ET-732 is actually a barbecue thermometer, but that means it's tough enough to be used in the oven or smoker, too. It comes with two probes -- one for measuring meat temperature and the second designed to clip to your barbecue or oven grill and monitor air temperature. Both probes have three-foot cords that are heat-resistant up to 716 degrees Fahrenheit, although the receiver's display maxes out at 572 degrees Fahrenheit.

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, and it comes with a stand that doubles as a hanger.

The Maverick ET-732 packs a "just right" suite of features that give you lots of options, but don't make it too confusing to use. You can set the backlit receiver unit to count time up or down, to signal when your food hits a certain temperature, or to alarm if the air temperature goes outside a defined range -- or all of the above. Alarms are both audible and visual, the timer uses a different sound than the temperature alarms, and the wire on the meat probe can be inserted up to 6 inches into the meat -- enough to safely test even giant cuts of meat.

There are a few mixed user reviews about the Maverick ET-732's performance, mostly complaints about the probes failing; but a reviewer on AmazingRibs.com 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. Some users also report that any issues they had were caused by the four AAA batteries included with the thermometer; replacing them solved the problems. Replacement food probes for the Maverick ET-732 are reasonably priced at about $12 to $20 each, and it has a 90-day warranty.

If you want to use your smartphone with your meat thermometer, our top pick from last year's report, the Weber iGrill Kitchen Thermometer (Est. $80), has an undeniable "neato" factor going for it. It's also one of the nine meat thermometers chosen as finalists in a comparative test from YourBestdigs.com, and showed good accuracy in a hands-on test from CNET.

Overall user feedback indicates that the iGrill kitchen thermometer's interface could use a few improvements to cut down on its fussiness -- but self-described "gadget geeks" love the way its smartphone capability sets them free to wander the house, as long as you download the iOS/Android Weber iGrill app. Because the app is free, you can download it to check for compatibility before you purchase the 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. Replacement probes cost about $15.

Another strong contender in this category is the ThermoWorks Smoke (Est. $100), which has 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, found that the unit lived up to its promised range and was quick to warn you if you accidentally wandered too far with the receiver. It also packs useful features like a large, backlit display, high/low temperature alarms and the ability to recalibrate the receiver. There isn't much user feedback for the ThermoWorks Smoke, but 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.

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. Replacements typically cost $16 to $21.

New in this year's report, we have another new contender on our radar: the ThermoPro TP20 (Est. $60). This device's receiver reads RF signals from up to two probes at once, with a range of 300 feet -- assuming there are no obstacles like solid walls in the way. The TP20 comes with two 6.5-inch steel probes, each with a little more than three feet of steel mesh cabling. The display measures from 32 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit, although the probes and cables can withstand up to 716 degrees -- so you can use this thermometer for just about anything except chilled foods.

So far, user feedback indicates that the ThermoPro TP20's features almost always work as expected. These include a large backlit display, a count-down/count-up timer, manually adjustable temperature alarms, and memory to save those settings when the unit is off. It'll also let you know if it loses its connection to the probes. Where the TP20 sometimes goes wrong is the probes, which can be replaced for $10 to $15 each. We find the usual smattering of concerns about accuracy issues too, but in general the user feedback is so positive that we're going to watch this unit closely and consider it for a higher ranking in next year's report. The ThermoPro TP20 runs off four AAA batteries and is covered by a one-year warranty.

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