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.