If you don’t have an instant-read digital thermometer in your kitchen, you are missing out. These handy gadgets are one of our most-used kitchen tools, useful for everything from quickly checking the internal temp of a piece of chicken in the skillet, to monitoring a roast in the oven or some ribs on the grill.
But which instant-read digital thermometer should you get? Whatever your budget, here’s what we recommend.
Our Top Picks
At the sweet mid-range price point of $34, it's hard to top the ThermoPop!
It reads temperatures in 3 to 4 seconds with temperature accuracy of ±2.0°F, has large backlit digits great for checking temps in darker conditions, and has a rotating display so you can read it at any angle!
It also comes in nine fun colors. It's a fantastic thermometer that will be just right for most home cooks.
ThermoPop, $34 from Thermoworks
When it comes to probe-style alarm thermometers, I'm a big fan of the DOT from Thermoworks. (Thermoworks really does make some of the best thermometers on the market.)
While there are more expensive probe-style thermometers with plenty of bells and whistles (we share some upgrade picks below), the DOT's simplicity is part of its appeal. Just set your target temperature, stick the probe into your food in the oven, and DOT beeps when it hits that temperature. It reads temperatures up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit, and has a long 47-inch cable so you can comfortably set the thermometer on the countertop.
Use it for roasting, baking, smoking, candy making, home brewing, sous vide, and more. It's a top-notch essential tool that won't break the bank.
DOT, $36 from Thermoworks (currently down from $43)
Budget Digital Thermometers Under $20
When it comes to budget thermometers, what you sacrifice in speed and accuracy can be made up for in dollars saved—and sometimes that's what counts.
Emma has used her thermometer from CDN since culinary school, which provides temperature readings in six seconds.
CDN Thin Tip Digital Thermometer, $18 on Amazon
This thermometer comes with six preset temperatures for specific foods as recommended by the USDA.
ThermoPro TP-16 Digital Probe Thermometer, $19
Digital Thermometers Between $30 - $50
Our two top picks, the ThermoPOP ($34) and DOT Probe Thermometer ($36), fall into this mid-tier category of digital thermometers. But there are a couple of other thermometers worth mentioning in this level as well!
The Lavatools Javelin features a very fast 1-3 second response time with an accuracy better than ±0.9°F, which makes it slightly faster than the Thermopop. Like the ThermoPop, the display auto-rotates so you can read it in any position, but a nice added feature is that the Javelin beeps when it finishes reading the temperature.
Lavatools Javelin Digital Thermometer, $55 on Amazon
With more features and a longer probe, Thermoworks ChefAlarm is a step up from the DOT probe thermometer. It includes adjustable high and low alarms, a timer, and always-on minimum and maximum temperatures, which make it great for when you need to know when the food goes above or below the desired temperature range, like when making yogurt or tempering chocolate.
ChefAlarm Cooking Alarm Thermometer, $54 from Thermoworks
Top of the Line Digital Thermometers Between $80 - $100
If you're going to go all-in on a digital thermometer, these are the two to know.
The popular and exceptionally well-reviewed Thermapen is the best-in-class digital thermometer. It's not cheap, but for that price you're getting everything you'd want in an instant-read thermometer: lightning-fast speed (less than two seconds), unsurpassed accuracy to ±0.7°F, auto-rotating display, motion sensing sleep and wake modes, and all without any buttons to worry about.
The Thermapen is also one of my One Simply Terrific Things.
Thermapen MK4, $84 (regularly $99) on Thermoworks
For a top of the line probe thermometer, Thermoworks' Smoke has all the features of the ChefAlarm but enables you to use two probes: one to measure the internal temperature of the meat, and one to measure the surrounding air temperature of the grill, smoker, or oven. The Smoke also comes with a separate receiver, so you can monitor those temperatures and get alerts from the comfort of your couch.
Smoke 2-Channel Leave-In Probe Thermometer, $99 from Thermoworks