The Best Instant Read Thermometers of 2019

You want meat from a grill or a smoker to be perfectly done without unnecessary risk?

You need an instant read thermometer, and preferably a very fast and accurate model.

My main method to get perfect steaks or hamburgers is to control their internal temperature using an instant read thermometer. I don’t speculate taking into account the size of meat, the thickness, the cooking time or any other methods.

I simply use an accurate thermometer that is the only one out of all the methods to make me 100% sure. Regardless of your experience, it will always be the only proven and confirmed method.

It is a tool that I very often say should be obligatory if you’re thinking seriously about grilling or BBQ.

Based on my experience, I have prepared a guide that will make it easier for you to choose the best instant read thermometer.

Products List

Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo

Lavatools Javelin PRO
  • Very fast and accurate
  • Features rich
  • Warranty: 1 Year

Lavatools Javelin

Lavatools Javelin
  • Decent speed & great accuracy
  • Great value for the money
  • Warranty: 1 Year

ThermoPro TP15

thermopro tp15
  • Budget Pick
  • Decent Speed & Accuracy
  • Warranty: 1 Year

Best Instant Read Thermometer Reviews - ( Updated List )

1. Best Overall Instant-Read Thermometer - Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo

Lavatools Javelin PRO

My number one instant read thermometer that I use the most often. I am very positively pleased with what it has to offer, you can really trust me that you don’t need anything more.

First and foremost, it is a very fast and very accurate thermometer with parameters comparable to the top models with much higher prices. Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo is a version for those more demanding and those who take cooking very seriously.

I think that there is no reason to overpay and look for something better, to me personally this is the top tier. If you decide to do your own careful analysis of competitive models then you’ll quickly understand that I’m right.

It can read the temperature in just 2-3 seconds with accuracy of 0.9 degree F.

Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo also comes with plenty of features and solutions that increase the comfort of use. I’m talking about, among others, Auto-Rotating Ambidextrous Backlit Display ( big and clear ), Integrated Magnet for Convenient Storage, Intelligent Stabilization Alert + Temperature Hold, auto-off system and more.

On top of great parameters, another solid argument is great quality, resistance to splashes and durability.

Lavatools offers whole 3 years of warranty for this model which is also great news. I will also just add that Lavatools is a very serious and trusted company that has a very professional approach to each customer.

What I like:

  • Very fast and precise temperature reading
  • Top Value for the money & trusted brand
  • A wide range of temperatures
  • Many useful functions, high quality, great durability and very good warranty

What I don't like:

  • The rotating screen does not block in one position

All of that makes me consider this not only the number 1 mid-priced thermometer, but also the number one among all the instant read thermometers. I’ve been using it for a very long time now and I am really satisfied which is why I recommend it to everyone.


2. Best Basic Instant Read Thermometer - Lavatools Javelin

Lavatools Javelin

A basic instant read thermometer that is slightly slower and half as big, but very accurate. It doesn’t come with many interesting and neat features, but it makes it cost half as much as its more feature-rich model Javelin Pro Duo.

It is more than enough for those much less demanding and who cook less.

It can make measurements within 4 seconds with accuracy of 0.9 degree F.

As you can see, it is nearly two seconds slower than Javelin Pro Duo, but is it really that much?

The basic Lavatools Javelin model is much smaller and comes with a slightly smaller but still very clear display. The small size has its upsides and downsides, first and foremost it takes less space, uses less battery and is easier to store or bring along on a trip.

On the other hand, though, smaller size sadly means a shorter probe which might be less convenient and noticeable when measuring temperature in a very hot environment. For example, during very hot grilling of steaks or hamburgers, where the hand holding the thermometer will be too close.

Instant read thermometers from Lavatools are characterized by precision, quality and durability, which is why I believe that it’s a good thing to have this actually inexpensive model in your equipment.

What I like:

  • Great value for the money
  • 1 Year Warranty
  • Basic features

What I don't like:

  • It's basic instant read thermometer without any special features

To me, however, the most important thing is how it works and I have to admit that I am very pleased with it. For this kind of money you get a small-sized yet very accurate and pretty fast instant read thermometer which is what you actually need in your kitchen.


3. Budget Pick - ThermoPro TP15

thermopro tp15

A perfect position for those who want to buy a pretty fast, small-sized and accurate instant-read thermometer at the lowest possible price.

I was very positively surprised by the fact that at this kind of price you can buy a 100% waterproof thermometer that you can wash without worry. I have to admit that you won’t find something like that in many much more expensive competitive models.

I was also very positively surprised with the parameters of this model. ThermoPro TP15 can read the temperature within 3-4 seconds with accuracy of 0.9 degree F.

Despite its small size, it has a pretty long probe. The display is also very clear despite its small size. When it comes to the construction, it is not a solid and durable thermometer which at this kind of price is completely understandable.

Another positive thing is one year warranty with the ability to extend this period to 3 years if you register the product on the official website after the purchase.

ThermoPro is the leading manufacturer of thermometers available at low and medium prices. Their products are great and, what is most important, available at a price adequate to the quality, I personally own a few of their models.

What I like:

  • Best Value for the money ( budget pick )
  • 100% waterproof
  • Reading temperature speed & accuracy
  • Trusted brand & warranty

What I don't like:

  • Small and Slim
  • No additional features

It has pretty much no additional features as it is a basic, simple version of a budget instant read thermometer, the purpose of which is to conveniently and relatively quickly read the temperature.


First of all, what is an instant read thermometer ?

It’s a tool that works great in the kitchen as well as in grilling or smoking, among others. It allows to easily and quickly read the accurate internal temperature of meat.

By quickly I mean within a few seconds, better models within less than 5 seconds whereas the leading models as fast as within 2-3 seconds.

In order to read the temperature, you have to stick the probe in the meat and wait for a moment, once the measurements stabilize you can pull out the probe.


Why do you need an instant read thermometer ?

It’s a tool that works great during grilling or smoking when you want to make sure that the meat is really done.

Personally, I mostly use an instant read thermometer when grilling, especially steaks or hamburgers. As you know, steaks can be prepared at several degrees of being done which isn’t so easy if you don’t know the temperature inside meat.

What helps me in such situation is an instant-read thermometer that in a few seconds ( I have the fastest models ) can read the temperature of the piece of meat I’m interested in. It works great when I grill a lot of meat at the same time when it’s even harder to get focused and prepare perfect food.


Tips for buying an instant read thermometer

Budget – Thermometers can be divided into three price ranges within the $10 to $100 range - budget pick, middle price and top quality pick. Right at the start you should decide which price category suits you the best, and it will be much easier for you to pick the right thermometer.

Speed – The domain of instant-read thermometers is that they can read the temperature very fast. Pay attention to how fast the model you’re interested in can do that. I’ll just say that the fastest models can do it within 2-3 seconds whereas the acceptable time is below 5 seconds.

Accuracy – In this regard the choice is much better as even the cheaper models offer a pretty decent accuracy. Check out the measurement accuracy range so that you don’t end up disappointed later.

Temperature Range – An advantage of this type of thermometer is the ability to read both very low and high temperatures. Look for the best temperature range, which will make it a very versatile tool in your kitchen.

Features – What matters the most are of course the parameters but if you have a little bigger budget then it’s a good idea to buy something that offers plenty of valuable solutions that increase convenience. I won’t list the features here as there’s a lot of them, I’ll just say that the most valuable feature is 100% resistance to splashes.

Warranty – It’s a good thing to have a warranty in case of any malfunctions after the purchase. The leading manufacturers offer as many as 3 years of warranty for their products.

Probe length – Personally I prefer longer probes when I use a thermometer during grilling. A short probe reduces the distance between hands and the source of heat ( furnace ) which in case of very high temperatures might be unpleasant.


Advantages of an instant read thermometer

Speed of measurements – That’s the point of this tool, to take the fastest measurements of temperature inside the meat. Currently the fastest models can do it in just 2-3 seconds, which is a pretty good result.

Accuracy – An accurate temperature is important when cooking, which is why another advantage of this type of thermometer is its precise readout and in such a short time too.

Convenience and simplicity – There is no rocket science about how to use this thermometer, just stick the probe in the meat, wait a moment and you’re done. You don’t have to connect to any device or read instructions to understand anything.

Price – Comparing the average price of an instant read thermometer to a medium-class gas grill, it is easy to come to the conclusion that it is a very cheap tool. That is one of my arguments when I say that everyone who takes cooking seriously should have such tool at home.


Instant read vs Leave in Probe Thermometer

These are two types of digital meat thermometers that in theory were made for the same purpose – to check the temperature, but in practice each of them works completely differently and is used in different situations.

That is why I will repeat that the best solution is to have each of them in your equipment.

Instant Read Thermometer

It was designed to quickly and easily read the temperature of liquids or food, in our case grilled or smoked meat. It consists of sticking the probe in the meat for example for a few seconds to measure the temperature.

After a few seconds the thermometer has to be removed and the readout on the display checked.

The faster an instant read thermometer the better, what also matters is accuracy. It is important for the temperature measuring time to be below 5 seconds, the best models only need 2-3 seconds.

You want to buy an instant read thermometer? I really recommend models from the Lavatools and ThermoPro manufacturers, personally I mostly use their thermometers and am very pleased in every regard.

The main characteristics of instant-read thermometers

  • Speed and accuracy
  • Great for fast and convenient temperature reading
  • Inexpensive
  • Durable
  • Come with plenty of interesting features
  • Work great during fast grilling of large amounts of meat

Leave-in Probe Thermometer / Smoker Thermometer

This type of thermometer was designed for the purpose of monitoring the temperature throughout the entire smoking process – from start to finish. It means that you stick in or attach the probe before you start cooking and only take it out when it’s over.

It allows you to control the temperature until the moment the meat is done, you will hear about it thanks to the alarm.

The best models are the ones that make it possible to remotely monitor the temperature, sadly the cheapest models don’t come with that technology, which is a shame as it is the greatest characteristic of this type of thermometer.

If you’re considering a purchase of a smoker thermometer then I recommend buying a slightly more expensive wireless version, I guarantee that you won’t regret it.

The main characteristics of Leave-in Probe Thermometers

  • Accurate
  • Great for monitoring the temperature throughout the entire cooking process
  • Wireless models make it possible to remotely control the temperature
  • They come with plenty of interesting features and pre-programmed settings for all types of meats
  • Also available at decent prices
  • Work perfectly for many hours of smoking

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