We've recommended a Thermapen for more than a decade, but there's new competition. Is it still the best digital food and meat thermometer?
Last Updated Sept. 1, 2023.
The ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE is our favorite instant-read thermometer and has been for years. It’s fast, accurate, and easy to use. It has all the handy extra features we like (a long folding probe, a simple backlit display that rotates depending on your orientation, and an automatic sleep mode) and none that we don’t. It’s expensive, but it’s incredibly durable and should last a long time. Our favorite midprice option is the Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo. It’s a tad slower and a tiny bit less accurate than our top choice, but it still has many of the features we like in a thermometer. Finally, the best inexpensive option is the ThermoWorks ThermoPop 2. This no-frills model is quick, accurate, and dead simple to use—a bargain for the price.
What You Need to Know
Every cook should have an instant-read thermometer. A good thermometer is a kitchen essential that takes the guesswork out of cooking and baking. It reads the internal temperature of your food quickly, letting you know exactly what’s going on in your food as it heats up and making it less likely that it’ll over- or undercook. Many of us put out our thermometers to work on a daily basis, using them to take the temperature of everything from expensive prime rib roast to simple caramel sauce.
There are different types of instant-read thermometers, but we stopped evaluating old-school dial thermometers long ago—they’re slow, imprecise, and often hard to read. For quick, accurate measurements, digital models are the only way to go.
We’ve tested dozens of digital instant-read thermometers over the years. All the models we tested have two basic parts: a metal probe that sticks into the food and a handle that houses any controls. And there can be a big difference between the best models and the worst. Here’s what we’ve learned.
What to Look For
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.
Hannah is an executive editor for ATK Reviews and cohost of Gear Heads on YouTube.
Valerie is an assistant editor for ATK Reviews. In addition to cooking, she loves skiing, traveling, and spending time outdoors.
Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.