The 4 Best Candy Thermometers

Whether you're making gooey caramels or sugary lollipops, having the best candy thermometer is a great way to ensure your delectable creation turns out like the recipe photo and not a messy blob on the counter.

One of the biggest considerations when shopping around is temperature range. Soft candies like saltwater taffy, marshmallows, and gummy worms typically cook between 250 and 265 degrees Fahrenheit, while hard candies like suckers and nut brittles do best in the 300 to 310 degree range. All of the thermometers I've included below can go to at least 572 degrees. (As a bonus, this means you can use them as digital meat thermometers, too.)

After temperature range, think about accuracy. There's no point in having a thermometer if you can't trust it. Most manufacturers list a "margin of error," which indicates how many degrees it might be off by. The best options will have a margin of error of 2 degrees or less.

Lastly, think about speed. There's no reason to sit around waiting for your thermometer when there are so many options that work quickly. Ideally, it should be able to render a reading in less than 10 seconds, and preferably faster. On my list below, I've only included choices that can get a reading in seven seconds or less.

Apart from these factors, there are a number of bonus features to consider like built-in alarm clocks, voice readings, waterproof screens, and other extras. Check out my list of the best candy thermometers below to find the one that's best for you.

1. The Best Overall

Temperature range: -58 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit

What makes it great: With a 4.3-star rating and more than 100 reviews, this is one of the more popular candy thermometers on Amazon. It only costs $12, yet fans say it's super fast, producing readings in 4 to 7 seconds with its foldable probe. It has a wide temperature range that makes it ideal for treats ranging from hard candies and lollipops to marshmallows and gummy bears. In terms of accuracy, it's one of the best digital candy thermometers, too, coming within 1.8 degrees (though this accuracy is only cited for temperatures from -4 to 392 degrees). As a bonus, it has a handy magnetic back so you can stick it to the fridge, along with a hole for hanging.

What fans say: "It is fast, accurate, and easy to use.... I have used it side-by-side with a very popular, and expensive, instant read thermometer and it works almost as fast and is just as accurate. It is a great less expensive alternative to other instant thermometers."

2. The Best For Caramels

Temperature range: -58 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit

What's great about it: If you're a lover of gooey delights, this digital spatula hybrid is one of the best candy thermometers for caramels you can find. The unique design blends a digital thermometer with a silicone spatula, making it perfect for soft, sugary treats like syrups, caramels, and rich fondues. With a temperature range of -58 to 572 degrees, the two-in-one kitchen gadget is outfitted with a sharp instant-read display on the handle with simple one-touch operation. When it's time to wash it, just pop the silicone piece off the end and rinse it out in the sink. (Note that, like the rest of my picks, it can't go into the dishwasher.)

What fans say: "It is difficult to get the right caramel consistency, but this spatula was accurate. I was able to make candies that were hard enough to wrap while being soft and chewy. My other thermometer would get foggy and difficult to read. [Not] so with this device. I had a great experience."

3. The Best Thermometer With An Alarm

Temperature range: -58 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit

What's great about it: If you have a little more money to spend, this high-quality instant-read candy thermometer is a great mid-range option. In addition to the features that the previous model has, it also boasts a convenient alarm that sounds when it reaches the right temperature (so you don't inadvertently turn your soft saltwater taffy into rock candies). Able to measure within 1 degree of accuracy, it also has a handy voice button that reads the temperature out loud when you press a button. It's fully waterproof, so you can rinse it under water, and the case is super durable. It comes in a foam-lined box with two CR2450 batteries and four Velcro pieces so you can hang it in your kitchen.

What fans say: "It reads really fast, typically in 2-4 seconds. It is extremely accurate, love the voice option and the light for that matter. For the price you will not find a better digital cooking thermometer!"

4. The Best Infrared Thermometer

Temperature range: -49 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit

What's great about it: This top-grade infrared thermometer has a wider temperature range than the others on this list, going from -49 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit. Reviewers say it's extremely accurate (within 1.8 degrees, according to the manufacturer) and exceptionally fast, offering readings in half a second. The crisp, backlit screen makes it easy to read, and it has a low-battery alert function to let you know when it's time for a replacement.

What fans say: "I cook [a lot] and use this constantly to easily check temperatures of everything from heated oil to candy to fry pan surfaces an others.... Simple, intuitive and most importantly, the temperature readings are as accurate as anything I get from a plethora of other thermometers I have, none of which are as simple and sturdy as this."

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