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Earlier this summer, we invested in an digital meat thermometer.   I’ve ever only used the standard thermometers and never gave much thought to it.

ThermoWorks Original Cooking Thermometer/Timer

That changed awhile ago, when watching Americas Test Kitchen, and they reviewed a number of various thermometers.

As with all their live reviews, they test each product for different factors.

I don’t remember everything they talked about regarding the thermometer, but you can watch the episode at their site if you have a membership.

If it’s recent, you can probably watch it without a membership.

The one we purchased (Taylor) was not reviewed, but here’s the results of the ones which were reviewed – you can check out the full review here:

Recommended with Reservations:

  • Polder Classic Cooking Thermometer/Timer
  • Maverick ET-8 Roast Alert Oven Roasting Thermometer
  • Maverick ET-83 Dual Probe Roast Alert

Not Recommended:

  • Acu-Rite Programmable Digital Meat
  • Taylor Commercial Remote Probe Digital Cooking Thermometer/Timer
  • BonJour Compact Meat Thermometer
  • CDN Touch Screen Probe Thermometer/Timer
  • Polder Preprogrammed Cooking Thermometer
  • CDN Combo Probe Thermometer, Timer & Clock
  • CDN Programmable Probe Thermometer/Timer

The one I use is Taylor that I got from Amazon, and I can’t tell you where it fits in the above.  According to Amazon Reviews, it got an average of 3/5 stars – not great, so I’m not going to recommend it for you.

If anything I trust Americas Test Kitchen – they test their products for months to ensure longevity and accuracy.  Plus they got 4/5 stars on Amazon out of 146 reviews.

Obviously, my goal is not to sell you the one I have, but to share with you a few advantages of using a digital thermometer as I have found in my own kitchen.

Why Digital?

I find using a digital thermometer is easier to read.  Just like when you are taking your own temperature when sick with the flu, a digital display is just easier.

Secondly, these digital thermometers sit outside of the oven.   What this means is I don’t have to keep opening the oven door to get a read on the temperature.

Every time we open that door heat escapes.  Digital thermometers have a metal probe at the end of a long insulated wire which plugs into the console.    You insert the probe into the meat and shut the oven door.

Don’t worry about the door not being able to shut all the way – it will and you’ll be fine.  Keep the thermometer on the counter or wherever is convenient.  Mine came with magnets but my oven door is not magnetized – so it sits on the counter. Works great.

Features

Most thermometers like these include timers which is great because it’s an all in one gadget.   They can also be pre-configured for temperatures of various meats.

For mine, I just turn it on, set the temperature I want and once the probe recognizes that the temperature of meat is the same as what I set, it starts beeping.  You can ignore this by turning the Temp. Alert button to Off.

You can also use the thermometer as just a timer, which is a nice touch.   Since mine is magnetic I keep it attached to our refrigerator and it’s out of the way (plus it won’t get lost in our junk drawer).

The only downside and I’m not sure if it’s related to just ours or all of them, but the ON/OFF button is hard to move.  Something I find annoying, but can easily overlook.

Costs

Ours was about $18, but the Top Recommended one from Americas Test Kitchen was $19.00.   Not a bad price in my opinion if it works and is accurate.

If I were an avid meat eater, I’d probably get the ThermoWorks, but I’m fine with our Taylor and works fine for our Roasted Chicken which we have about once every two months or so.

One thing that I learned from America’s Test Kitchen is that it is a good idea to purchase an extra probe – first in case the original probe is inaccurate (this is not uncommon) and secondly because the wires can break from being in drawers and being tossed around over time.

Here’s to happy cooking!

Liz