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The axiom “knowledge is power” holds especially true in the kitchen—the more you know about what’s going on inside your food as it cooks, the more you can control the result. That’s why we’re so gung ho about using instant-read thermometers in the test kitchen, as more control means less stress and better results. We’ve learned that it pays to monitor the temperature not only of meat but also of pies, cakes, breads, poaching water, butter, tea, coffee, caramel, custards, and even baked potatoes.



Thermapen® Mk4
#1 Instant-Read Digital Thermometer

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - WINNER
Published in Cook's Illustrated March 2016

The Thermapen Mk4 takes all the accuracy and speed of the Classic Thermapen and adds a few nifty features that improve the user experience: Its display now auto-rotates, lights up in low light, and wakes up when the unit is picked up. It takes a single AAA alkaline battery and is also more water-resistant than the Classic, capable of surviving a half-hour bath.

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SPEED  ★★★        ACCURACY  ★ ★ ★       DURABILITY ★★★       EASE OF USE ★★★


$99.00

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Smoke
Highest Rated Remote-probe Thermometer

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - WINNER
Published in Cook's Illustrated February 2020

Ultimately we chose a pager-style thermometer as our top pick. The ThermoWorks Smoke 2-Channel Alarm was accurate to within 0.1 degrees of a reference thermometer and maintained a stable connection across 300 feet of open space—a reach equal to the length of a football field. We found that it also maintained connection when we went up or down stairs or behind most walls, though the range was a bit shorter when multiple walls were in the way. The receiver paired instantly with its base when we took it out of the package, and large, bright, backlit displays on both the base and receiver clearly display the temperature reading.

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SETUP  ★★★        ACCURACY  ★ ★ ★       EASE OF USE ★★★       CONNECTIVITY ★★½


$99.00

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ThermoPop®
Best Inexpensive Option

RECOMMENDED - WINNER
Published in Cook's Country July 2018

This thermometer was fast, accurate, and easy to hold. It had a few cushy extra features, including a rotating display and a backlight, which came in handy for grilling. The ThermoPop is an excellent inexpensive alternative to the Thermapen.

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SPEED  ★ ★ ★       ACCURACY  ★ ★ ★       DURABILITY  ★ ★ ★       EASE OF USE  ★ ★


$34.00

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ChefAlarm®
#1 Clip-On Thermometer

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - WINNER
Published in Cook's Illustrated April 2014

This thermometer, with an ovensafe probe, was the most accurate among those we tested—plus, it had an intuitive design. It’s the only model we tested that can be calibrated; we also liked the programmable high- and low-temperature alarms, the adjustable brightness and volume, the on/off switch, and the small knob on the probe that stayed cool for over-the-pot adjustments.

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ACCURACY  ★ ★ ★       FUNCTIONALITY  ★ ★ ★        PAN COMPATIBILITY  ★ ★ ★


$64.00

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TimeStick®
#1 Wearable Timer

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - WINNER
Published in Cook's Illustrated January 2016

This model combines a clock, timer (count down), and stopwatch (count up); has direct numerical entry; and easily toggles between the three settings with a clearly marked mode button. Because it’s oriented vertically, it fits comfortably in hand. It’s also lightweight and slim enough to fit in a pocket, and its 38-inch lanyard is both comfortable and long enough to slip easily overhead.

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CLEANUP  ★ ★ ★       ACCURACY  ★ ★ ★      
EASE OF USE  ★ ★ ★      WEARABILITY  ★ ★ ★      


$25.00

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ThermoWorks Fridge/Freezer Alarm (RT8100)
Highest Rated Fridge/Freezer Thermometer

RECOMMENDED - WINNER
Published in Cook's Illustrated May 2017

The most accurate and customizable model in our testing, this unobtrusive refrigerator/freezer probe thermometer not only alerted us when our appliances strayed from the temperatures we designated but also told us when they stayed outside the safe zone for more than 30 minutes. Our only gripes: The display is a touch small, and you must press an extra button to toggle the view from current to min/max temperatures for each probe.

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DISPLAY ★★★        EASE OF USE  ★ ★ ½       ACCURACY ★★★


$29.00