A thermometer is a thermometer right? Many people think that because they’re all designed relatively the same, they all will as a result have the same functions and capabilities.
Well, sorry to say, you’re going to have to give a bit more thought into selecting a thermometer for your smoker. For anyone that is a little lost with how they can choose the best thermometer for their smoker then you’re in the right place to easily narrow down your search.
First things first, take a look below at a quick comparison table of the Top 5 Best Thermometers for Smokers. We’ll follow this up by highlighting differences between thermometer types and finally bringing you detailed reviews of the Top 5 smoker thermometers including some pros and cons.
- Benefits of Owning a High Quality Smoker Thermometer
- Thermometer Types
- Best Thermometers For Smokers
- Smoker Thermometer FAQ
Benefits of Owning a High Quality Smoker Thermometer
We’ve highlighted the words high quality for obvious reasons. You can go out and buy any ol thermometer for your smoker but if you want to get the maximum benefit from your unit then you’ll want to invest in a high quality thermometer. What exactly makes a high quality thermometer? We’ll get into that in our FAQ at the end of the article which will focus on some main buying considerations, but for starters, take a look at a few of the benefits of owning a high performance smoker thermometer.
- Improved Accuracy
- Takes away the guesswork; simply set it and forget it
- Wireless/Bluetooth connectivity provide better temperature control
- Higher functioning probes
Thermometers For Smokers – Core Features
|Model||Main Specs Probe Range (Degrees F/C) Transmission Range (ft)||What’s Included?||Price|
|Thermoworks Smoke||Probe R: -58 to 572 / -50 to 300 Transmission R: 300||Transmitter, Receiver, (2) Pro series high temp probes – with braided stainless steel & strain reliefs, Grill clip, Lanyard, Instruction manual||Price|
|Maverick ET-733||Probe R: 32 to 572 / 0 to 300 Transmission R: 300||Illuminated transmitter, Receiver, (2) Probes, (4) AAA Batteries||Price|
|iGrill 2||Probe R: -22 to 572 / -30 to 300 Transmission R: 150||Readout, Stand, (2) Probes with storage reels, (2) AA Batteries, Magnet mount, Quick-start instructions||Price|
|ThermoPro TP08||Probe R: 32 to 572 / 0 to 300 Transmission R: 300||Transmitter, Receiver, (2) Probes, (4) AAA batteries, Owners manual||Price|
|Maverick ET-732||Probe R: 32 to 572 / 0 to 300 Transmission R: 300||Remote transmitter with LCD display, Radio frequency receiver, (2) Probes, Temperature magnet||Price|
Thermometer designs have changed significantly from the first models that were released. Now-a-days, as with other tools, the thermometer has become influenced by its exposure to technological advancements and innovation over the years. There are three categories of thermometers we can use to classify, they are Instant Read , Infrared, and Wireless.
Traditionally the most common type of thermometer and the one we are all fairly familiar with. Typically this type of thermometer is placed directly in the food to obtain an instant reading of the overall temperature. Another form of the instant read is an Ambient Probe which can be placed inside the smoker. These thermometers require no previous knowledge to operate and are simple to read. The downside is that all they do is read the temperature and nothing more. If you want to stick with the simplicity of the instant read thermometer but would like more of an accurate read, you can purchase an instant read digital model.
Normally found being used in commercial kitchens, the infrared thermometer uses a simple point and shoot system. The temperature measurement is obtained by detecting how much infrared energy is coming off the product that is cooking/smoking. These thermometers are often more expensive of an investment.
The whole idea of a smoker is to place your food inside and be able to walk away while still monitoring its progress. This is where the wireless type of thermometer is a great option for smokers. You can connect them via wireless network or Bluetooth and even are able to upload temperature tracking information to a cloud for reference later on. If you’re looking for a highly accurate thermometer that won’t allow your food to overcook suddenly then the wireless models are the best.
Best Thermometers For Smokers
To save you the hassle of reading countless reviews in hopes of finding the best thermometer for your smoker, we’ve done the work for you and have identified the top 5 best thermometers for smokers based on customer reviews. We’ve compared price, features, readability and accuracy as these are some of the main considerations required to finding the best thermometer.
A dream tool for outdoor cooks looking to maximize the performance capabilities of their smoker. The Thermoworks Smoke thermometer comes out on top for being the best combo thermometer that excels in speed and accuracy of its readings. The transmitter and receiver on the Thermoworks Smoke thermometer work together over radio frequencies; allowing you to be up to 300 ft away from the transmitter without fault in function.
Thermoworks is a leader in innovation and technology and functions similar in away to how Apple does by having taken over the market in smart phones. Thermoworks is taking the world of thermometers by storm and going one step further all the time, leaving their competition in the dust. This model offers solutions to problems that other models such as the Maverick ET-732 (featured below) have experienced.
Marketed as a thermometer for professionals, bbq and smoking enthusiasts, this thermometer is incredibly durable and provides accurate results, +/- 1.8 degrees F up to 248 degrees F, throughout the cooking process. The high price, is seen by some as a downfall, however when you consider the full capabilities of the unit, you’ll be left wondering why it isn’t priced higher. Design features include a large LCD screen with lights, making reading temperatures from a far or in the dark easy, 2 probes, and a rugged outer construction on the transmitter. The overall build and high quality along with smart design, make it the best thermometer for smokers on the market today.
- Intuitive menus
- Close to instant read (4-5 seconds)
- User friendly
- Water resistant
- Long lasting and durable: The probes are longer, durable and more accurate than the competition
- Controls are on the transmitter, making it impossible to adjust min and max temps remotely. Not too much of a problem since you usually set the temperatures beforehand
- No timer
Coming in at second place for flexibility in function, the Maverick ET-733 has an edge up when it comes to its probes. Equipped with two identical probes which allows you to monitor two points at once, this model allows you to program everything with the receiver. Although this unit is slightly less user friendly than the Thermoworks Smoke, once you become familiar with the Maverick ET-733, it will become easier to use. The transmission receiver can monitor the temperature, up to 300 feet away which makes it the same range as the Thermoworks but for less of a price! This model also includes a timer, sound alerts, and is water and splash proof.
- Hybrid probes: Easy to control
- Withstands heat up to 716 degrees F
- Backlit screen: Displays time and temperature settings
- Pre set temperature settings: Although there are 15 temperature settings to choose from, they still aren’t as accurate as some reviewers would like
Introducing a unit that uses Bluetooth rather than WIFI technology in order to pair the thermometer to a tablet or phone. The iGrill 2 monitors temperatures from your phone with the simple and quick installation of the free app. With this thermometer, there is no longer a need to stand next to your unit watching and monitoring food and ambient cooking temperature during the entire duration. One of the best features of the iGrill 2 is its huge reading range, from -22F to 572 F, which can be obtained from any one of the 4 probes. Simply set the thermometer and walk away, with up to 20 hours of battery life you’ll never have to worry about foods under or over cooking as a result of a dead battery. When you’re food is approaching the set temperature, an automatic alarm with sound, letting you know your product is close to being finished.
Reviews on the Smart Device app, rave about how customizable the unit is for setting each probe independently. Choose from a selection of settings for specific doneness or set an alarm to sound once a set temperature has been reached. You also have access to a temperature and item graph which can be exported and used for reference later on. Another notable extra smart feature is what they call ‘Global‘, this option allows you to share experiences and photos with other users of the iGrill 2 through social media platforms such as Facebook.
- Bluetooth compatible with any Android 4.3 device or greater.
- Auto-shutoff: 8 hours. When no probe is connected, the device will shut down after 5 minutes
- Battery conservation: When the device is far from the transmitter, the unit goes into sleep mode to preserve the battery
- Range is not as long as other units such as the radio style Maverick ET-733
Reviewers love this thermometer for its simplicity, affordability and ability to offer full temperature control. There is nothing fancy about the ThermoPro TP08 but when it performs as one of the most accurate thermometers on the market, often stifling the competition, it doesn’t really need to do a whole lot more. What’s even better about this bad boy is that its extremely low cost and provides incredible value for the price.
The ideal user of this thermometer is someone who has a solid knowledge of cooking temperatures and the time required to reach these temperatures. Since you are limited by settings, the user must have more know how with this thermometer than with others in the list. You will need to set the temperature, yourself since there is no setting to simply select the desired doneness. If you have an understanding of proper times for different products then you’ll have no problem achieving accuracy with this thermometer.
- Incredibly accurate
- Low cost
- Not overly fast at reading temperatures
- A beginners cook may have problems initially with under cooking or over cooking items if they do not have a solid understanding of temperature and time settings.
What sets this Maverick model apart form the Maverick ET-733 we’ve featured higher in our list? Although it’s the best choice for the money, the ET-733 has slightly better probes and have more features overall than the Maverick ET-732. Many smoker thermometer reviews comment that this unit has sufficient features and is priced lower than the others, making it a top choice for the value it offers. The range on the thermometer is also far greater than most and its ability to monitor at high temperatures is second to none.
Both probes plug into a radio frequency (RF) transmitter module that sends temperatures to a receiver that can then be taken in hand. There’s no more need to stand next to your smoker waiting for your food to cook; with this thermometer you can continue to monitor the progress of your product while away from the smoker.
- Heat resistant up to 716 degrees F
- Timer: Counts up and down
- Out of range alert: When the radio frequency signal is lost, you are notified by a sound
- Temperature settings can be saved
- The probes are not very durable: Reviews claim they are prone to break
Smoker Thermometer FAQ
Do smoker thermometers guarantee 100% accuracy?
Nothing is every a 100% guarantee however if you choose a digital thermometer which can be set to an exact temperature, such as the Thermoworks Smoke then your accuracy rating will be closer to 100%. It is important to note that all thermometers for smokers do change in accuracy depending on the temperature range. For example, maybe from 32 – 150 degrees. F, accuracy is +/- 1 whereas, between 150 – 300 F, accuracy may vary +/- 2.
What kind of smart features are available on smoker thermometers?
Features that are classified as ‘smart’ can be anything from wireless/bluetooth convectively, timer and sound settings, or something more sophisticated such as the ability to connect with other users. This feature for example is one of the most talked about on the iGrill 2.
Are dual probes better to have?
If your thermometer comes with 2 or more probes, this is often very desirable as it allows you to measure the temperature of different products simultaneously. Accurate readings can be obtained from each specific product.
The best thermometer for smokers is one that is accurate, allows for the input of temperature settings and is easy to use. If you’re serious about smoking foods and you want top accuracy and performance with having to do little, then the Thermoworks Smoke will be the best pick for you.
For a slightly more budget friendly option, those who already have a good understanding of temperature controls and time required to smoke different types of meats will be happy with the ThermoPro TP0 8.
Personally, after going through numerous thermometer reviews, we would highly lean towards either the iGrill 2 or Maverick ET-733 if looking to purchasing an all around high performing and durable thermometer for your smoker.