If you’re a total gadget guy like me, then everything needs to connect to your smartphone. It just feels wrong to buy a new piece of technology and have it NOT connect to your phone. While you can easily install a smart thermostat like the nest to control the temperature in your home, unfortunately the technology in bbq thermometers hasn’t quite caught up yet.
You face a tough decision between buying an older radio style thermometer (like the Maverick ET733) or going for a Bluetooth connected one (like the iDevice iGrill2).
Bluetooth thermometers aren’t without their issues though. Range and connectivity can be a huge problem. Luckily for you we’ve compiled a list of the best available options and all the pros and cons.
So read on to learn everything you need to know before you rush out and buy a new thermometer,
Click to jump straight to each topic
- The Best Bluetooth BBQ Thermometer – Weber iGrill 2 Bluetooth Thermometer
- Best budget bluetooth option – iDevices IGrill Mini
- A WIFI alternative – Thermoworks Smoke + WiFi Gateway
- A Bluetooth alternative to the iGrill 2 – Maverick ET-735 Bluetooth Digital Thermometer
- Wifi vs bluetooth bbq thermometers explained
- Common issues with bluetooth
- How to fix connection issues with your bluetooth thermometer
The Best Bluetooth BBQ Thermometer – Weber iGrill 2 Bluetooth Thermometer
The iGrill 2 from Weber is by far the best option if you want to connect your thermometer to your smartphone or tablet. The standard unit ships with two pro meat probes and it has the capacity to add up to four at once. You also have the option of buying the “pro” kit that comes with 4 probes in a single package.
Weber purchased the iGrill brand a few years ago from a company called iDevices who had already produced the iGrill 1 and 2. The Weber version is essentially the same product with the Weber logo slapped over the top.
Weber sells three versions of the iGrill. The Mini, the iGrill 2 and the iGrill 3. Logically you would think the iGrill 3 was a newer version, but this isn’t the case.
This is how Weber explain the difference:
The iGrill 2 and iGrill 3 are virtually the same unit with the exception that the iGrill 2 can act as a standalone accessory whereas the iGrill 3 is only compatible with the Genesis II and Genesis II LX grills. If you do not own a Genesis II/LX grill, we recommend checking out the iGrill 2
While the Weber brand is almost untouchable in barbecue circles, they still need to prove themselves in their foray into tech. While they stumbled out of the gate (the initial launch of the app had loads of problems), they’ve been continuing to add new features and improve the user experience.
- The increased Bluetooth range and improved pairing (should connect to your device in under 2 seconds) removes a lot of the frustration you experience with other bluetooth thermometers. While the 150 ft advertised range is still much less than the 300 ft range you get with the Maverick ET-733, it’s now enough that you can actually go about your business without worrying about loosing connection.
- Having the ability to use 4 probes with a single unit is great. Easily monitor multiple smokers and / or multiple pieces of meat. Gives you a lot of flexibility for one thermometer. You only get 2 probes, but can easily order more off Amazon.
- Rubber base on the unit has a magnet so it can snap on to your grill surface
One of the coolest features in the app, is the ability to name the different probes. So instead of trying to remember which probe is in the meat and which is in the grill, you can give each a custom name so that when you glance at your tablet or phone you can instantly see the temperature.
The iGrill 2 has a proximity sensor, so when you walk away with your device, it automatically shuts off the display on the base unit. This helps save the battery life when you are using your own device. When you walk back it turns back on.
If you put your phone or tablet to sleep, then the bluetooth connection drops, so you can’t monitor the temperature any more. Not ideal if you’re smoking over night.
While the range seems to be much better for most people, we’ve still heard of people having issues. Our advice would be don’t expect great results if you plan on spending time down in the man cave. If there’s going to be a lot of walls / certain types of material between your phone and the unit, you are going to have issues.
Watch this video to see the iGrill 2 in action. At the 5:02 mark you can see a good demo of how the bluetooth pairing works.
So far we’ve focused on the bluetooth and app, but how does the iGrill 2 perform? It’s capable of measuring between -22°F to 572°F. When tested in boiling water the probes are within 1 degree so it gets the tick for accuracy.
The 48″ probes are a nice feature compared to most other thermometers 36″ probes. The extra length gives you a bit more flexibility for how you setup your pit.
- iPhone 4s and up
- iPod touch 5th gen and up
- iPad mini series
- iPad 3rd gen and up
- Most Bluetooth Smart Ready Android devices
The iGrill 2 gets the nod for best bluetooth thermometer. If you think you will get a kick out of seeing temperature graphs on your phone, and want the convenience of monitoring you’re cook from a single device then the iGrill 2 is the best option on the market today.
If you’re not that interested in the technology, then because of the limitations of bluetooth then we would recommend just going for the Maverick ET-733 and enjoying the more reliable wireless thermometer.
Get the latest price on Amazon.
Best budget bluetooth option – iDevices IGrill Mini
The iGrill mini is a great option if you love the idea of checking your smoker temperature from your phone, but don’t want to splash out for an expensive piece of tech that might not work in your house due to building material.
While it looks similar to the iGrill 2 reviewed above, it’s really more of a little sibling. Some of the key differences are:
- Only comes with 1 meat probe, and you can only connect 1 probe at a time so forget about monitoring your ambient and meat temperature at the same time unless you purchase two of these.
- Gets about 150 hours of continuous power vs 200 hours on the iGrill2
Otherwise the range and the app are the same. Since it’s a fraction of the cost the iGrill mini is a solid option if you already have other temperature probes you can use to monitor the Ambient temperature.
You can always start with one to measure either your pit temp or your food, and then buy another later. But you would probably be better off saving up for the iGrill 2.
If you want to start geeking out and graphing your temperature on your phone then god speed, just don’t expect it to impress those old school pit masters.
Get the latest price on Amazon.
A WIFI alternative – Thermoworks Smoke + WiFi Gateway
Read our full review.
The topic of this article is literally “Best Bluetooth thermometers” so what the heck is a Wifi unit doing in this guide? The answer is simple.
The Smoke was already the best thermometer for barbecue enthusiasts. With the release of the WiFi gateway (sold separately) the Smoke becomes an outstanding choice. You get the range and reliability of a WiFi thermometer, with the connectivity and smart phone monitoring options of a Bluetooth device.
The Gateway is a small box that adds internet connectivity to your Smoke device through WiFi. This lets you see temperatures and alarms on your phone through the Free Smoke App.
The video below shows the Smoke + Gateway in action.
One of the main advantages with Wifi, is that you can leave your house and still check your temperatures on the app. While Bluetooth looses connection very easily, the WiFi option means you can check your temps from anywhere in the world (if you fire up the smoker then fly to another country you might have other problems though…).
The Gateway has enough battery power to last up to 100 hours or you can simply leave it plugged into the wall.
We’ve written enough about the Smoke in other places on this site, so all we’ll say here is that the folks over at Thermoworks managed to address every problem we had with other popular thermometers (small, difficult to read screen, hard to program) and created a thermometer that just works.
This ability to take what everyone else is doing and do it better is why we consider Thermoworks the Apple of thermometer companies.
The only real negatives with the Smoke + Gateway is the price. The Gateway itself is going to cost you the same as the Igrill 2. If you can get over the price though, the build quality, durability, and ease of use is second to none.
A Bluetooth alternative to the iGrill 2 – Maverick ET-735 Bluetooth Digital Thermometer
But how well has Maverick done at creating their Bluetooth thermometer and app? Unfortunately their foray into the world of tech gadgets has been a mixed result. So far.
As a thermometer the ET-735 ticks all the boxes. Like the iGrill 2 you have the ability to connect up to 4 probes (the unit comes with 2). Each probe is 36 inches long which is enough to give you plenty of flexibility when it comes to setting up your smoking area.
The specs claim 160 feet of wireless range which is 10 more than the iGrill 2, but like that thermometer the actual range you’ll get varies a lot depending on factors like what type of material is between the thermometer unit and your device.
It’s a shame manufacturers feel the need to display the range in terms of open air, direct line of sight. The whole point of buying a bluetooth thermometer is so you can wander around the house (or take a nap), and easily check the temperature by reaching into your pocket.
- You can choose from default temperatures or customise them to your liking.
- The app provides notification when target temperature is reached.
- There’s a handy feature that lets you check the battery level in the transmitter
You’re experience with the BBQ Redi-Chek app is what makes or breaks this thermometer
When you talk to owners of the ET-735 they either love it or hate it. Initially the app was pretty poorly received with lots of issues with connectivity and very low range.
But like most tech products you get the advantage of regular updates and upgrades from the manufacturer. There was a new version released in October 2016 that seems to have fixed a lot of the issues with the app.
Get the latest price from Amazon.
Wifi vs bluetooth bbq thermometers explained
Wifi thermometers have been around for ever, and while units keep getting better the technology isn’t very exciting. In the last couple of years we’ve seen an explosion in bluetooth enabled thermometers.
Still offering wireless connectivity, with bluetooth thermometers you can pair them with your smartphone or tablet.
So instead of carrying around a bulky receiver you can check your pit or meat temperature on your phone. These apps also come with some other cool features like temperature graphs, probe naming and custom temperature alerts.
Advantages of using a bluetooth thermometer
- Obviously having the app installed on your phone is the main advantage.
- The phone app that you install gets better with every new release from the company. While the original iGrill app had issues, they rebuilt it for the iGrill 2 and made it much better. Now with each new release issues are ironed out, where as with and old thermometer if you don’t like how something works it’s impossible to change.
Sounds awesome doesn’t it?
In theory connecting your grill thermometer to your smartphone would be a huge upgrade. But before throw your old wifi thermometer in the dump, it’s worth looking at how well bluetooth compares.
Bluetooth was intended to be low power so the signal doesn’t propagate nearly as well as WiFi
The number one issue we have with bluetooth connected thermometers is that what you gain in new features and ease of use, you give up in range.
Common issues with bluetooth
Compared to bluetooth, wifi thermometers are pretty easy to review. While range varies a little depending on the building materials of individuals homes, everything is generally similar.
With bluetooth on the other hand, the device someone is using (e.g. Android or iPhone), the version they are running, the location they are in, the version of the app they are running all influence the quality of the experience.
This explains why you see so many mixed reviews for devices like the iGrill 2. Someone using it on their iPhone 7 might experience flawless connectivity, while those running an older Samsung Galaxy struggle.
If you do decide to go with a bluetooth thermometer, here are some of the common issues you may
- Bluetooth antenna are notoriously lousy in certain types of phones. We’v heard of people get much worse range with the Samsung Galaxy compared to similar phones from HTC, LG and IPhones
- Once you’ve paired your device, the app has to be running for it to stay connected. This can be annoying if you do long cooks and it will likely drain the battery life
- It’s hard to know exactly what range you will get. While the iGrill 2 claims up to 150 feet of range, this can drop way down to 10 feet depending on a range of factors.
- You can lose connection to your phone through the walls of the house. .
How to fix connection issues with your bluetooth thermometer
Bluetooth is still a relatively unreliable technology. When it works it’s fantastic, but we sometimes devices don’t like to play nice.
Since bluetooth is on the same frequency as 2.4 WIFI, having too many devices can cause issues. Fix this problem by making your kids turn their phones onto airport mode…
OK when that doesn’t work you can try following these tips from the experts.
Last update on 2018-03-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API