Don't waste good food by cooking it badly. Make sure you never serve up chewy chicken or tough tenderloin ever again by investing in a good quality meat thermometer. Probe-style versions are the most accurate, and we have found some really robust options that won't break the bank. From the old school, dial-style, in-oven thermometers to affordable digital handheld versions to wired models that can stand the heat of a hot cooker, we've covered all the bases for budget-friendly meat thermometers perfect for everyday use.
This excellent value proposition can be used as a handheld solution, but its 6.5-inch probe and 40-inch stainless steel mesh cable can also go in the oven, BBQ or smoker. At the same time, the LCD display unit attaches via a magnetic back. In "Cook Mode," it has USDA preset temperatures for poultry, ham, pork, fish, and three beef settings. It also boasts a handy countdown or count-up timer.
This multi-tasking marvel can not only measure the temperature of your meat but help you move it too. You simply stick the food-safe fork prongs into whatever it is your cooking, and the temperature will be displayed on the clear and easy to read built-in LCD display in Celsius or Fahrenheit. There presents for different types of meat so you can set an alert for when you're done.
This rugged option is shatter-resistant and waterproof to IP67 rating, making for a straightforward cleanup process. It can give you a temperature reading in a little as two seconds and is accurate to +/-1 degrees with a range of -58 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit. The ergonomic shape is comfortable to hold, the large backlit display is easy-to-read, and it has a handy meat temperature guide printed on the front.
This old school option is an excellent lo-fi way to monitoring meat in the oven. You simply insert it into your protein before you stick it in the oven, and this can stay inserted into the meat throughout the entire cooking process. Made of premium stainless steel, it has a large, easy-to-read dial face with useful target cooking temperatures printed on it.
Another two-in-one option, this clever tool, can be used as a standard metal spatula for both indoor and outdoor cooking but has a built-in meat probe to monitor the temperature of what you're cooking. There are five preprogrammed meat types with four doneness levels, and the temperature is displayed on the LCD screen in Celsius or Fahrenheit.
Steak is notoriously hard to get right, and as it's something generally everyone has a strong preference about, investing in a set of specialist thermometers is recommended. This set of four from Cuisinart measures two inches long and registers rare, medium, and well cooking levels quickly and accurately. It's pretty awesome they're dishwasher safe too.
This thermometer's unique selling point is its extra-long 5.3-inch stainless steel probe. The length can be useful if you're cooking especially massive cuts of meat, or if you simply want to stay away from the heat. It can be used for all kinds of proteins and will give you a temp in four to six seconds. There's a sheath included for safe storage.
This is another in-oven option, but with a twist — its dial glows in the dark inside your cooker. With a range of 120 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit or 50 to 100 degrees centigrade, if you position this correctly when you put your meat in, you'll be able to see at-a-glance where your meat's at without opening the oven door and letting heat out.
ThermoPro's affordable TP-03 is a fabulous all-rounder product for general indoor and outdoor handheld thermometer use. It has a 3.9-inch stainless steel probe and a backlit LCD display that will show you the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit in three to five seconds. After use, the probe folds away, and it has a magnet on the back to store it on your fridge door
Arguably a niche product, this is no doubt an incredibly useful tool for anyone who both cooks proteins often and makes their own bread products from scratch. Oven-proof, made from stainless steel with a non-mercuric double laboratory glass column, this has the higher measurements for meat on one side and measurements to help when you dissolve yeast on the other.
Obviously, this is not technically a meat-specific thermometer, but as a heat-gauging tool that can assist you in cooking all different kinds of meat and meat dishes, we've deemed it worthy of flagging. This simply hangs on one of your oven, grill, or smoker shelves and gives you an accurate temperature reading of anything between 60 and 580 degrees Fahrenheit.
Finally, this is not a meat probe exactly, but it's still a useful tool if you deep fry a lot of meat or fish products as it's still all-too-easy to undercook fried food as well. This five-inch probe comes complete with a built-in clasp so that it can hook on the side of a deep-frying pot to let you know when the oil is ready for the food, and so that you can ensure the correct temperature is being maintained.
Our overall staff pick, the ThermoPro TP-16 Digital Thermometer with Timer, comes highly recommended. For its affordable price, you're getting an oven-friendly, accurate probe style thermometer that can also be used as a handheld version and has handy preset meat cooking times built-in.
If you don't want to fuss with programs and worrying about batteries running out, then the dial-style thermometers are perfect for you. The Escali ProAccurate Oven Safe Meat Thermometer has a classic, clean design, while the CDN IRM200-GlOW ProAccurate Oven Thermometer rather usefully glows in the dark.
If you're only going to be using a meat thermometer for the likes of steaks, chicken breasts, and chops, then save yourself some money and grab the simple but effective Cuisinart CSG-603 Steak Thermometers that lets you monitor four pieces of protein at once. We'd steer clear of the "rare" area for chicken, mind...