Whether you're baking a pot roast or grilling up steaks, you need to know how hot things are when you're cooking meat, so you can be sure that it's done and safe to eat (and to avoid overcooking it, too). That's why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using a reliable thermometer when you cook or grill. When searching for the best digital meat thermometers, there were two key factors that I kept in mind:
- Accuracy: There's no use having a thermometer if you can't trust what it says. High-quality options typically have a margin of error listed by the manufacturer. When shopping around, make sure the one you pick is accurate within 2 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
- Speed: This is also critical. If you have to wait forever to see the temperature on the screen, you're much more likely to burn your food. Look for digital thermometers that can render readings in five to six seconds or less.
Beyond accuracy and speed, it's helpful to consider the temperature range — particularly on the high end (up to 572 degrees is preferable) — and what kind of batteries the device takes. The latter is a matter of personal preference, but check before you buy so you know what type to keep on hand.
Now that you have a better idea of what to look for, check out the best digital meat thermometers below to find the best fit for your kitchen.