This Handy Kitchen Gadget Is Essential For Cooking All Your Foods Are Cooked Perfectly

by Ileana Morales Valentine

Your oven's built-in thermometer isn't always accurate, so to check that you're baking at the right temperature, get one of the best oven thermometers. By hooking onto an oven rack or standing on a sheet pan, an oven thermometer accurately reports your oven's internal temperature as the built-in thermometer can only measure the temperature of where it's located in the oven's construction.

Most oven thermometers can withstand and measure up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, but for even hotter temperatures, say for an outdoor pizza oven or grill, you'll want a high-heat oven thermometer.

If it's the internal temperature of meat you're after, a meat thermometer is what you'll need. Your options range from analog, probe meat thermometers to a wireless meat thermometer. Digital meat thermometers without probes cannot be left in the oven, so, you'll only see leave-in digital meat thermometers in this list as they're more versatile.

For either type, temperature readings should be quick and easy. The dial or digital display should be wide and legible with a highly visible indicator — the bigger the face the easier to read. Backlit digital displays are also helpful for use in lower-light settings.

Some thermometers are NSF-certified, which is a designation from the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), an internationally-recognized, independent product testing organization that subjects products to regular testing. An NSF-certification helps to ensure products perform accurately to ensure food safety.

Note, every thermometer below gives temperature readings in both Fahrenheit and Celsius, but I'll use only Fahrenheit for clarity and consistency.

With that, here are the best oven thermometers and best meat thermometers to help you out in the kitchen.

The Best Oven Thermometers

To check that your oven is set to the right temperature, a great and easy tool is an analog oven thermometer that is placed inside the oven to provide instant readings without batteries since it can withstand the heat.

  • The Overall Best Oven Thermometer

This NSF-certified Rubbermaid oven thermometer is loved for being easy to read and use. With a range of 60 to 580 degrees, increments are clearly marked on the large dial. This highly rated oven thermometer has more than 3,800 Amazon reviews, and shoppers love this thermometer's accuracy and value for under $10. Highly durable with stainless steel construction and a shatterproof lens, you can either stand this upright or hanging it from an oven rack.

Fans say: “I thought my oven was a bit hotter than what I had dialed in. This proved it. Bread is coming out much better - nicely browned instead of dark. It hangs from the rack (I put it near the front), so [it] doesn't take up any room and it's easy to read...Highly recommend for an accurate reading of oven temps.”

  • The Best Oven Thermometer For High Heat

This pick is the high-heat version of the most accurate thermometer according to America’s Test Kitchen; its temperature range is 150 to 750 degrees. The large 2.25-inch dial with a red indicator needle is easy to read, and the wide base and two-way hook allow the ProAccurate thermometer to be placed anywhere in the oven. NSF-certified, this commercial-grade stainless steel is a durable thermometer. The laboratory-quality glass lens made to withstand high heat furthers the product's longevity.

Fans say: “Gonna make pizza? Need a thermometer that reads high temperatures? One that is well-constructed? Look no more. This is the one.”

  • The Most Versatile: A Dual Laser Digital Temperature Gun

Another option to consider is a no-contact digital thermometer, which can monitor oven temperature as well as check surface temperatures throughout the house, including those that may be dangerously hot or cold to touch.

This pick has the widest temperature range on the list: -58 to 1022 degrees and is highly rated with more than 7,000 reviews. Reviewers particularly love the versatility for less than $30.

The LCD screen is backlit for visibility, and dual laser guidance helps target the area being measured. The automatic shutoff feature helps to extend battery life. This pick arrives with a preinstalled 9V battery and a user manual.

Fans say: “This thing is fun. I pointed it at everything: the stove, the oven, the radiator, the faucet, the windows, the cat... it was correct within a couple of degrees and helped me figure out that my oven sucks at keeping its temperature [...] For the price, you can't beat this product, and I guarantee if you buy it you'll find a million things you suddenly need to know the temperature of.”

While oven thermometers monitor your oven's ambient temperature, meat thermometers can help improve food safety by reporting the internal temperature. Knowing this temperature can help prevent both overcooking and undercooking meat. The probe is placed inside the meat's thickest part, and the display, either analog or digital, reports temperature from either inside or outside the oven or grill.

  • The Best Overall Meat Thermometer

Insert this meat thermometer's stainless steel probe into what you're cooking, shut the oven door, and thanks to an extra-long, high-heat silicone cord, monitor real-time temperatures with a flip-top digital display that sits on the counter or mounts to the oven door with magnets. Cook's Illustrated loves this accurate oven thermometer for its value, and Serious Eats is a fan of its kink-resistant cable, long probe, and the included pot clips.

Its temperature range is 32 to 392 degrees, and it comes with a AAA battery and a USDA safe-food-temperature cooking chart. Bonus features include a memory function that records the last temperature, a 24-hour timer usable with or without the thermometer, and an optional alert setting for a specific temperature.

Fans say: “This is probably one of my best kitchen investments. I test drove this on a prime rib roast and it did not disappoint...The temperature was accurate and the roast came out beautifully without having to babysit it...I would definitely repurchase it.”

The Best Meat Thermometers

  • The Best Analog Meat Thermometer

An analog thermometer cannot remain in the oven while the meat is cooking, but instead requires you to open the oven to insert the thermometer into the meat. However, opening the oven can allow heat to escape, which isn't great for particularly temperature-sensitive meats or recipes. But for a low-tech, budget meat thermometer, Rubbermaid's instant-read thermometer is hard to beat.

The dial is marked with easy-to-read, magnified increments and a highly-visible red indicator for temperatures between 0 and 220 degrees. The stainless steel probe measures internal food temperatures instantly and without batteries.

This NSF-certified, dishwasher-safe thermometer has a shatterproof lens, a protective storage sheath with pocket clip, and a flat edge on the dial so the thermometer won't roll off a countertop. Reviewers love that this thermometer can be calibrated by hand to ensure accuracy over time.

Fans say: “I am so pleased with this meat thermometer after going through several battery operated ones. Works perfectly and no batteries to replace!”

  • The Best Wireless Meat Thermometer

If you love to grill but don't want to babysit the meat, consider adding the best remote meat thermometer to your grilling toolkit. This thermometer is highly rated on Amazon with more than 6,000 reviews and comes with a timer and dual probes which allow you to monitor meat temperatures in an oven, grill, or smoker from up to 300 feet away.

The stainless steel probes are specially designed to report temperatures more precisely and quickly. The splash-proof receiver with a large, backlit LCD display flashes and beeps when food reaches the desired temperature and also displays the oven's temperature.

For ease of use, the receiver has preset temperatures for nine types of meat and their optimal cooked temperatures according to the USDA. With a temperature range of 32 to 572 degrees, the probe and wires can actually withstand up to 716 degrees.

Accessories include a receiver belt clip, a rubber sleeve case, and four AAA batteries.

Fans say: “The first time I used it, I was grilling chicken breasts and legs...The breasts were done almost 10 minutes earlier than the legs. In the past, I would have been opening the grill to check the internal [temperature] with an instant read thermometer, slowing the cooking process by letting out the heat. Now I just used the instant read thermometer to verify the ThermoPro TP20 was correct, which it was. It allowed me to cook my meal to the ideal temperature without babysitting it AT ALL, which is huge!”

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