A meat thermometer is a very useful tool for checking that your meat is cooked through. Raw meat can carry pathogens, which are only killed when the meat is cooked to the right temperature.
A meat thermometer takes the guesswork out and gives you peace of mind. The recommended internal temperature for cooked meat varies—beef should be cooked to at least 63 °C, while chicken needs to be cooked to a higher temperature of 74 °C or above. Some meat thermometers have handy annotations to show you if the temperature is cooked to the minimum temperature.
As well as improving food safety, thermometers can also be used to get the right temperature when you want to serve a steak well done, medium or rare, or used to check that a loaf of bread has finished baking.
Meat thermometers consist of a metal probe that is pushed into the thickest part of the meat, and a digital display or dial that shows the temperature.
Things to look for in a meat thermometer:
- Good temperature range: Depending on what you’re planning to use the thermometer for, you might not need a very big temperature range. Some thermometers have a huge range, meaning they can be used to check the temperature of anything from frozen food to oven-baked bread.
- Preset meat settings: Many meat thermometers have preset meat settings so you don’t need to remember or look up the recommended temperatures for different meats.
- Oven safe: Some meat thermometers can be kept in the oven or placed on the barbeque grill so you can monitor the temperature of your meat without having to remove it.
If choosing a thermometer seems confusing, don’t worry! Here’s a roundup of the best meat thermometers currently available in the UK.
Amir Food Thermometer
The Amir Food Thermometer is one of the most popular meat thermometers in the UK. It has a bright red design and uses a digital display to show the temperature reading.
- Shows the temperature with 4-7 seconds
- Digital LCD display
- Collapsible tapered probe
- Shows temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit
- Temperature range of -50 °C to 300 °C
- Accurate to ±1ºF (less than 1°C)
- Takes 1 AAA battery
- Switches off automatically after not being used for 10 minutes
- Takes an AAA battery, which should be easy to get hold of
- Very accurate
- Straightforward, no-frills product that is easy to use
- Auto shuts off when you’re not using it
- Battery isn’t included
- Quite large
If you’re looking for a cheap and straightforward meat thermometer, you can’t go wrong with the Amir Food Thermometer.
Habor Food Thermometer
The Harbor Food Thermometer is a digital thermometer that shows the temperature in just 3 seconds. The metal probe can be folded for storage, and the thermometer will automatically switch itself off after being left idle for ten minutes.
- LCD display
- 10-minute auto shut-off
- Stainless steel probe that can be extended for up to 10.3” (26 cm)
- Accurately measures temperatures between 45ºC and 200ºC
- Choice of seeing the temperature in either Celsius or Fahrenheit
- Gives a quick temperature reading (3 seconds)
- Lists the correct temperature for different meats on the back
- Good price
- It’s hard to switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit as the switch is in the battery compartment
Like the Amir Food Thermometer, this product is a simple and affordable meat thermometer. The chart on the back showing the recommended temperatures for different meats is a very useful feature.
Master Class Wireless Stainless Steel Meat Thermometer
The Master Class Wireless Stainless Steel Meat Thermometer has an analogue dial that displays a rough temperature alongside the recommended temperature for different meats. It’s not as accurate as the digital thermometers reviewed here and doesn’t measure the same range of temperatures, but it should be enough for doing a Sunday roast.
- 5-cm dial with a needle pointing to the temperature
- Shows temperatures between 54 and 88 degrees Celsius
- Backed by a 5-year guarantee
- Strong stainless steel probe
- Simple and easy to use
- Lots of people like the analogue dial
- Can’t be put in the oven (it looks like an oven thermometer, so some people make this mistake)
- Only gives a rough reading—not very accurate
- Temperature markings don’t include chicken
We don’t recommend this thermometer to professional chefs, but it makes a good stocking filler for cooking lovers.
Amir Digital Meat Thermometer
The Amir Digital Meat Thermometer doubles as a thermometer and a timer. It comes with different settings for different meats, and you can even test whether or not your steaks are rare, medium done or well done.
- Stainless steel probe and cord can withstand heat up to 450ºC and 250ºC respectively
- Countdown timer
- Uses 2 AAA batteries
- 9 preset cooking settings including settings for chicken, beef and lamb
- 4 settings for steaks: rare, medium rare, medium well done and well done
- Small but still easy to read
- Select different presets depending on the meat you’re cooking
- Check whether your stake is rare, medium rare and so on
- 45-day money-back guarantee
- Light and compact
- Doesn’t come with batteries included
The best thing about this product is its preset cooking settings, which makes it really easy to check whether or not your meat is cooked to the right temperature.
Savisto Meat Thermometer
Unlike the other products reviewed here, the Savisto Meat Thermometer features a fork rather than a single probe. It gives an accurate temperature reading within 10 seconds to help you avoid under- or over-cooking meat. This product is quite large, so it’s better for joints of meat rather than using for barbecues.
- Manual with recommended temperatures for each meat
- Uses 2 AAA batteries
- Sturdy and well built
- Very large (35 cm long)
- You need to be careful not to splash the LCD screen when washing the prongs
- Slow compared to other thermometers
This fork thermometer is good for large joints of meat, but it feels a bit too big for most other things. It’s also a bit slower to give an accurate temperature when compared to other thermometers.
Perfection Meat Thermometer
This versatile meat thermometer can be placed inside the oven itself, so you can monitor the temperature of your meat without having to open the oven door. This means you won’t alter the oven’s temperature by opening the door to check how well cooked the meat is.
- Takes 2 AAA batteries
- Preset temperatures for different meats
- Set your own custom temperatures
- Countdown timer with an alarm
- 7-inch meat probe
- Choice of Celsius or Fahrenheit
- Comes with a spare probe
- Instructions are easy to follow
- Choice of preset settings for meat
- Easy to set up and use
- Beeps when the meat reached the required temperature
- Display can be hard to read, especially when it’s in the oven
This thermometer has an impressive range of features, and can be used inside the oven itself. It’s also great for using when doing a barbecue.
MeasuPro Instant Read Internal Meat Thermometer
The MeasuPro Instant Read Thermometer lets you select from preset settings for different meats including pork, beef and chicken, as well as settings for doing steaks rare, medium rare, medium and well done. It has a magnetic back, which means you can easily attach it to the grill or oven.
- Takes 1 AAA battery
- Measuring range of 0°C to 200°C
- Pre-alert when it reaches 10 degrees below the target temperature
- Preset settings are very convenient as you don’t need to keep looking up the recommended temperatures for different meats
- Very durable—doesn’t mind getting splashed with water
- Choice of Celsius or Fahrenheit
- Beeps when the temperature reaches the required temperature
- Useful and well written instructions
- Consistent and reliable accuracy
- LCD screen is easy to read
- Maximum temperature reading is 100 Celsius
This thermometer from MeasuPro is an excellent all-round meat thermometer. Its only flaw is that it has a maximum temperature reading of 100 Celsius, which is fine for meat but not for baking.
You can’t be careful enough when it comes to cooking meat. Whether you’re cooking in your home kitchen, on the barbecue or in a restaurant, a meat thermometer is a great tool to have. The thermometers reviewed here are all very affordable and easy to use, so there’s no excuse for not having one.
Best meat thermometer for budget shoppers: Harbor Food Thermometer
This is one of the cheapest meat thermometers available, and it’s very straightforward and easy to use. If you just need a basic thermometer, this one is a good choice.
Best meat thermometer overall: MeasuPro Instant Read Thermometer
This thermometer is reliable and comes with a useful set of functions. Please note, it’s not a good choice for baking as it only reads temperatures up to 100 Celsius.
Other things to consider
If you’re buying a meat thermometer, you should also get some probe wipes such as these Genware Safe Probe Wipes. These will let you easily clean the probe between uses, which is very important in preventing pathogens from spreading through the kitchen.