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® ONE
#1 Instant-Read Digital Thermometer

Published in Cook's Illustrated May 2022


Our former favorite instant-read thermometer, the ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4, has been discontinued. We tested its replacement, the ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE, and found that we liked it even better than the old model. We highly recommend the ONE; it is our new winner.

More Info and ordering

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


Highest Rated Remote-probe Thermometer

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.

More Info and ordering

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


#1 Clip-On Thermometer

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.

More Info and ordering

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


#1 Wearable Timer

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.

More Info and ordering

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


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

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.

More Info and ordering

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