The Best Smoker Thermometers for Mastering Temperature Control

The Best Smoker Thermometers

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I think you’ll agree with me when I say:

Trying to cook BBQ without an accurate smoker thermometer setup is like driving a truck on ice at night. With your eyes closed. It’s REALLY hard to produce perfect low and slow BBQ when you can’t keep the temperature of your smoker consistent.

And if you think you can rely on your smoker or grills built in thermometer then you are in for a world of disappointment and dry overcooked meat.

You can avoid a lot of bad BBQ and dramatically simplify the temperature control for your next smoke by following some simple setup instructions and getting your hands on a quality wireless smoker thermometer.

We’ve reviewed the best smoker thermometers available and compared them to help you make the right decision.

  • Probes included 2
  • Probe Length 47"
  • Range 300 ft
  • Warranty 2 years
  • Probes included 2
  • Probe Length 47"
  • Range 300 ft
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  • Probes included 2
  • Probe Length 36"
  • Range 300 ft
  • Warranty 90 days
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  • Probe Length 78" meat + 36" pit
  • Range 300 ft
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  • Probe Length 78" meat + 36" pit
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  • Probes included 1 (with capacity for 4)
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  • Range 150 ft
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  • Probes included 1 (with capacity for 4)
  • Probe Length 24"
  • Range 150 ft
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  • Probes included 1
  • Probe Length 47"
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  • Warranty 2 years
  • Probes included 1
  • Probe Length 47"
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The 6 Best Smoker Thermometers Reviewed

1. Best all around smoker thermometer –
Thermoworks Smoke

Read our full review

Smoke WiFi Thermometer

Thermoworks are like the Apple of thermometer companies. Rather than rushing to market, Thermoworks have carefully studied what people didn’t like about the competition.

The Smoke thermometer successfully improves on all of the issues we have with other thermometers in this guide like the Maverick ET-733 and the ThermoPro TP-08.

Just like Apple, Thermoworks have succeeded by taking what everyone else was doing, but doing it better.

With a slightly higher price point, this unit is marketed for “competition BBQ teams and professional chefs”.

It makes an outstanding choice for amateur pit masters as well.

When you hold the transmitter in your hand you can really feel the difference in quality. The rugged housing on the transmitter, and protection added to the probes results in a really durable thermometer.

Thermoworks Smoke Thermometer

The Smoke comes with 47″ pro series cooking probe and a 47″ Pro-Series Air Probe & Grate Clip. Both probes are rated for temperatures up to 700°F

While the price point may put it outside the budget of some backyard pit masters, keep in mind that once you’ve replaced the probe on your Maverick ET-733 a few times, the price of the Smoke won’t seem as steep!

What we like:

  • Large LCD Screen – Makes reading temps from a distance easy, even if your eye-sight isn’t what it used to be. You can also press once on the receiver and the LCD screen lights up and makes it easy to read in the dark or in high glare.
  • Simple to operate – The Smoke just turns on and ‘works’. We barely glanced at the quick start guide before we were selecting our temps. Especially when compared to both the Maverick ET-733 and the Thermopro TP-08 which both require careful reading of the manual.
  • Accuracy and speed – The 4-5 second read time puts this thermometer into instant read territory. More importantly for us, the plus or minus 1.8°F accuracy for temps up to 248°F makes this the most reliable smoker thermometer on the market.

What we don’t like:

  • Can only make adjustments on the transmitter – It would be nice if you could adjust your min or max temperature alarms from the comfort of your house.
  • Extra cost to add smart tech features – You can purchase an optional add-on WiFi Gateway that connects your Smoke to your homes internet and allows you to check your temps and create fancy graphs from your phone.

Neither of those are deal breakers. You usually don’t need to change your temps to often, so having to do it at the transmitter isn’t a huge problem.

And I found the receiver was more useful than checking the temperatures on my phone, and it doesn’t drain your battery like a lot of bbq apps do.

If you really want those smart thermometer features, the WiFi Gateway is a good option, or you might want to consider the new ThermoWorks Signals 4-Channel Wi-Fi/BlueTooth Thermometer which works with the ThermoWorks BBQ app out of the box.

The outstanding build quality, user friendly design, and the best in class probes make the Smoke our top pick for any serious smoking enthusiast.

Get the latest price on the Smoke.

2. Runner Up – Maverick ET-733 Long Range Wireless Dual Probe BBQ Meat Thermometer

Read our full review.

The Maverick ET-733 has been one of the most popular thermometers for both backyard and professional pit masters alike for what seems like forever.

Featuring two probes and a 300 foot range (in the open), the Maverick combines excellent temperature accuracy and solid construction.

It’s easy to use without a lot of fiddling with confusing settings.

The backlit LCD screen might have been considered large when it was first released, but it’s showing it’s age now when compared to the Smoke.

While the ET-733 only represents a small upgrade over it’s predecessor the much loved ET-732, we still think it’s worth paying a little extra for the newer model if you’re in the market for new thermometer setup.

For the extra cash you get an upgraded interface with better preset temperature options.

What we like:

  • Two multipurpose probes – that can be setup any way you want. Where as some thermometers give you one dedicated meat and one grill probe which gives you less flexibility.
  • Trusted brand – Maverick is an established brand and you can rely on outstanding customer support. The same can’t be said for some of the cheaper options available online.

What we don’t like:

  • Short warranty period – The 90 day warranty is much shorter than other thermometers in this guide.
  • Screwdriver required to change batteryThe battery compartment on the transmitter requires a screwdriver to get into which can be annoying if you are away from home.
  • Probe read time – Because the probe can be on the slow side to read it is not as good for getting a quick read on thin meat like ribs or chicken. This won’t be a problem when smoking pork butts or brisket though.

Other than that, the build quality is outstanding and the temperature error tolerance of 3°F allows you to keep a vigilant eye on your meat and smokers internal temperature.

Get the latest price from Amazon.

3. Best budget smoker thermometer – ThermoPro TP08 Wireless Meat Thermometer

Read our full review.

ThermoPro TP-08S Wireless Remote Digital Cooking Meat Thermometer Dual Probe for Grilling Smoker BBQ Food Thermometer - Monitors Food from 300 Feet Away

For monitoring internal smoker temperature throughout a cook the wireless ThermoPro TP08 offers the best mix of range, features and durability at the budget price point.

With dual probes you can easily monitor internal temperature and meat temperature from up to 300 feet away.

The 6.5″ food probe and 3″ bbq probe are rated to be accurate within 1.8°F

If you’re serious about your barbecue, you know that maintaining a consistent, low temperature is key for cooking perfect meat.

The ThermoPro TP08 gives you the main features you need so you can get on with your day, mow the lawns and drink some beers without worrying about temperature flare ups going unnoticed.

The wireless thermometer packs an epic 300ft range into a lightweight device you can easily carry in your pocket. Set your own manual temperature settings for each probe and then monitor on the 1.5×1.3 inch LCD display.

The receiver will flash and beep when either your meat or smoker temperature goes above your programmed temperature range. This is insanely useful if you plan on smoking for a party or getting stuff done around the house while you’re cooking.

Hand holding ThermoPro Tp08 in front of Weber Smokey Mountain

ThermPro also sell a similar product called the TP20 for a little bit more cash.

The only real difference is that the TP20 comes with temperature presets. We prefer to set our own temp alarms, and since this is our budget pick our money goes on the TP08.

What we liked:

  • Focus on core features – This is our budget pick so we appreciate that the TP-08 delivers the main features you need (easy to read display, temperature alerts, lost link warning) and doesn’t pack in lots of gimmicks.
  • Excellent accuracy – The one thing you don’t want to compromise on is accuracy. The TP08 measures temperature within a few degrees when tested with a high-end thermometer.

What we don’t like:

  • Slightly confusing button setup – The button configuration could use some simplification as we had to study the user manual a few times to work out how to program it.
  • No up or down buttons – Adding some up and down arrows would be a great addition for when you overshoot your desired temperature as it can be frustrating to have to go back around.

Despite a few flaws, the TP-08 is an excellent choice if you don’t want lots of fancy features and want to save a bit of cash.

For your money you are getting great range, easy pairing and accurate temperature readings.

We are sufficiently impressed with the ThermoPro TP08 to name it our best budget smoker thermometer.

Get the latest price on Amazon.

4. The best Bluetooth thermometer for checking temperatures on your phone – Weber iGrill 2 Bluetooth Thermometer

Read our full review.

Weber iGrill 2 Thermometer

While the other thermometers included in this guide do an excellent job at monitoring temperatures, they aren’t exactly the most exciting pieces of technology (Smoke + Gateway excluded).

That’s where the iGrill 2 comes in.

Instead of using radio style WiFi technology to connect to a hand held receiver, the iGrill 2 uses Bluetooth to pair the thermometer unit to your phone or tablet. All you need to do is install the free app, and then you can start monitoring temperatures on your phone.

The iGrill app comes with some other cool features as well, including the ability to give each probe a nickname so you can easily monitor multiple pieces of meat, or meat + grill.

The unit comes with 2 meat probes and allows you to add up to 4 total (you can order individual iGrill probes off Amazon or the complete iGrill starter kit which includes the two meat probes and an additional ambient probe).

We were initially put off Bluetooth style thermometers because of widely reported issues with the connection dropping, and very low range. But the iGrill2 has made us reconsider.

After acquiring the company from iDevices, Weber have completely rebuilt the app from the ground up. While the first few versions had their problems, the recent releases have addressed issues with connection dropping.

You still won’t get the same range as a radio style thermometer like the ThermoWorks Smoke. But so long as you don’t have too many walls between you and the unit you should be OK.

We recently looked at the best bluetooth thermometers available and named the iGrill2 the best option if you want to get your smoker temps on your phone.

We should also point out that Weber sell another thermometer called the iGrill 3.

While you might expect this to be an improved version of the iGrill 2, it’s actually only compatible with their range of Genesis II and Spirit II gas grills so you should ignore it unless you have one of those grills.

What we like:

  • Improved Bluetooth range & pairing – The iGrill 2 connects to your device in under 2 seconds, and while range is still lower than some of the WiFi thermometers in this guide, with 150 ft you can still go about your day without to much concern of losing connection.
  • App keeps improving – One of the main benefits of owning a Bluetooth thermometer is the manufacturer can keep making the product better through app updates. I like how the app lets you give each probe a name (e.g. brisket or pit), so you always know which temp is what.
  • Four probe capacity – Gives you a lot of flexibility whether you want to measure multiple smokers, or lots of different pieces of meat at the same time.

What we don’t like:

  • Drains phone battery – You’ll want to keep the app running on your phone, which can drain your battery. If your phone goes to sleep the Bluetooth connection drops.
  • Range can be an issue – Seems to vary a lot depending on your house and setup but some people struggle with connection dropping before the advertised 150 ft.

Other than the range and a few issues with it draining the battery on your phone, the iGrill 2 is a great thermometer for for tech heads, or people who just want the convenience of checking temps on your phone.

Click here to get the latest price from Amazon.

5. The best quality single probe thermometer – ThermoWorks ChefAlarm

Che Alarm bbq thermometer

Read our full review

For most people looking for a quality smoker thermometer setup, we think the Smoke is a better product.

However, if you only need a single temperature probe you can’t look past the ChefAlarm.

The build quality, durability and ease of use are all an upgrade over either the Maverick or ThermoPro.  

With a stainless steel braided 47″ probe cable, sturdy silicone buttons and strong hinge mechanism you are getting one of the best temperature monitors money can buy.

You also get a count-down and count-up timer.

Most barbecue thermometers require a long time to gain an accurate temperature reading. While this is fine if you’re leaving it sitting in a brisket over 16 hours, there are many times during your barbecue adventures where you’ll want to make a quick read.

What we like:

  • Fast read times – At around 5 seconds to get an accurate read the ChefAlarm is lightning quick. This time puts it into instant read thermometer range (more on that below).
  • Splash proof design – Especially useful if you have an itchy trigger finger and tend to misfire on that spritz bottle…
  • Large screen is easy to read – You can always see your min and max temps as well as the current temp on the large backlit screen.

What we don’t like:

  • Setup can be confusing the first time – The only real complaint with the ChefAlarm is that programming it can still be a little confusing (we suggest reading the manual even though we know you won’t).

Otherwise if you only need to measure your pit or a single piece of meat the ChefAlarm is a fantastic choice.

Just keep in mind that the Smoke or Maverick ET-733 will give you more flexibility with 2 probes included, if you need to monitor pit and meat.

Get the latest price at the Thermoworks website.

6. Best instant read thermometer – ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

Read our full review.

Instant read thermopen

While our above picks do a fantastic job of monitoring your pit and meat temperature over a long time period, sometimes you need to read a temperature fast.

When you need to quickly measure the temperature of steak, burgers, fish, chicken or ribs the ThermoWorks Thermapen works wonders.

While currently going for just under $100 on the ThermoWorks website, you might be asking yourself why we even included this on our list of best smoker thermometers.

The short answer is that the Thermapen excels in all the areas the other thermometers we’ve covered do not.

What we like:

  • Measures temps insanely fast – You can get an accurate temp reading under 2 seconds. Especially useful if you want to take the temperature at multiple points at once.
  • Beautiful functional design – Everything has been designed to make this tool easy to use. The digital display has large numbers which are easy to read at a glance
  • Smart sensor placement – Compared to other instant read thermometers the sensor is quite close to the end which allows you to easily insert into any section of your food. This allows you to measure things like ribs where the meat is too thin for normal leave in style thermometers.

What we don’t like:

  • Price – This is a super high quality, professional grade thermometer, and this is reflected in the price.

If you’re willing to sacrifice a few seconds of speed, the ThermoPop is a good option at a fraction of the price. Check out our guide to the best instant read thermometers.

It’s incredibly handy to be able to get an instant read while your cooking.

Even when I have a leave in probe running, I’ll often check the temperature at a few points in the meat when I’m getting close, as the temperature can be quite different depending where you probe it.

Leaving the lid open for a long time to get an accurate reading is going to be a really bad idea, so the super fast read time on the Thermapen is a life saver.

Your wife might think your nuts for splashing out this much on a single thermometer. But luckily this tool is just as useful in the kitchen, or for making candy.

I even used this thermometer to check the water temperature for my newborn son’s bath and bottle (although looking back that might have been overkill!).

When it comes to instant read thermometers every second is vital. So for getting an accurate temperature read in the shortest amount of time the Thermapen cannot be beat.

Get the latest price at the Thermoworks website.

The rest of the competition

We considered dozens of different thermometers that didn’t make our best of list. Here are some of the stand outs we couldn’t include in the full write up.

Maverick M Remote Smoker ET-73 – The older Maverick has a lot of fans among the smoker community, however the (barely) 50 foot range outside, and almost zero range through house walls was a deal breaker for us.

ThermoPro TP20 – The TP20 is more expensive than the TP08 we recommended for our budget pick. For the extra price you get some meat preset options that let you pick what you are cooking and it’ll automatically set your alarms. We recommend setting your own alarms at the USDA recommendations are often different to correct “done” temps for smoking.

MEATER – At first glace the MEATER looks very appealing. It’s the only truly wireless thermometer we’ve tested. Instead of probes connected to a transmitter that sits next to your grill, the MEATER packs all the electronics into the single, wireless probe. This pairs to your phone which acts as the receiver. The biggest issue is limited range. Find out more in our detailed MEATER review.

Maverick ET-735 – We’re normally a fan of technology, especially if it promises to improve our barbecue. The ET-735 is a “smart” wireless thermometer which is supposed to connect to your Android or Apple phone. Feedback hasn’t been great though, with lots of people having problems not being able to connect their device.

At close to the price point we think there are better value thermometers.

ThermoPro TP16 – For the price this themo could be tempting, but the temperature accuracy leaves a lot to be desired and the pre programmed setttings are inaccurate. Annoyingly you cna’t easily switch off the alarm without flipping it over.

Ivation Long Range Wireless Thermometer – For around the same price point as the Maverick ET-733 you get similar features but with a relatively hard to use interface. Setting target temperatures is flat out annoying as you have to start over again if you go past your desired temperature.

What about infrared thermometers?

Infrared thermometers are handy devices for getting an accurate temperature on a surface area.

Usually, when barbecuing or grilling we are more concerned with monitoring the ambient temperature in our pit or grill, and the internal temperature of the meat so IR thermometers aren’t as useful.

They do come in handy if you need to measure the temperature of your pizza stone, as you can stand back and check the temp from a safe distance.

We recommend the gun style Fluke 62 MAX Plus IR Thermometer thanks to its excellent durability and accuracy.

Fluke 62 MAX Plus IR Thermometer Price: $132.21 Buy Now from Amazon Fluke 62 MAX Plus IR Thermometer We may earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no extra cost to you. Last Updated: October 17, 2019

If you don’t need to keep as safe a distance, ThermoWorks sell a version of the Thermapen which includes IR capability which is also worth considering.

Check out our full guide to the best infrared thermometers.

Who this guide is for

If you want to smoke brisket, pork butt, turkey, whole chicken or any other large protein then this guide is focused on you.

We’ve focused on selecting the best digital thermometers to take away some of the hassle of monitoring temperature over 8+ hour cooks.

Cooking the best BBQ requires two important things:

  • You need to maintain a consistent low (usually around 225° – 250°F) internal temperature.
  • You need to monitor the internal temperature of your meat as the protein starts to break down so you can pull it off the smoker to rest at the ideal temperature.

If you’ve ever tried to smoke while getting stuff done around the house while relying on a wired thermometer then I fell your pain.

The only time I tried to do this I got real sick of running outside every 10 minutes to make sure my Weber Kettle’s temperature hadn’t suddenly spiked.

Luckily any of the bbq thermometers in this guide like the Smoke or ThermoPro TP08 kill two birds with one stone.

So long as you set them up correctly at the start of your cook you will be able to monitor the progress of your meat and the internal temperature of your smoker wirelessly from the same LCD receiver.

If you want to grill or barbecue smaller items like ribs, chicken pieces, or fish then most of the advice in this guide will still apply, but you might want to consider only investing in a single probe and instant read thermometer.

How to setup your wireless thermometer for measuring temperatures

Setting up your wireless meat thermometer correctly at the start of your cook takes a lot of stress out of cooking barbecue.

With the right setup you will can monitor your ambient grill temperature and the progress of your meat without constantly opening the smoker.

Even opening your smoker every half hour can release valuable heat and effect the cooking process.

Ideal thermometer placement for barbecue

To get an accurate ambient grill temperature, you need to measure the air temperature where you meat is sitting just above the grate.

The goal is to know the accurate temperature where the food is. Placing the probe too close and the cold hunk of meat will affect the reading, too far away and the temperature won’t be accurate.

thermometer probe placement for barbecue
Typical probe setup on a Weber Smokey Mountain

The best spot to setup your ambient temperature probe does depend on your exact cooker and might take some trial and error.

These are a few best practices to consider for placing your meat and smoker temperature probe:

  • Keep the ambient probe raised off the grill and close to the meat to ensure you’re getting the most accurate temperature.
  • Most smokers run hotter in the middle and lower at the edges so make sure you’re not getting a false reading by placing the probe too far from the meat.
  • But also be careful that the internal temperature probe is not closer than a few inches from the meat to avoid false readings.
  • Most smoker thermometers will include a simple probe clip that attaches to your grill grate.
  • Insert the meat probe into the thickest part of the meat, ensuring that it isn’t touching any bone.

If you don’t have one, you can buy a simple thermometer probe clip for a few bucks. Or go the DIY route and scrunch up a ball of tin foil which you can nestle the probe into.

Foil wrapping the probe can greatly extend it’s life.

Dome temperature VS grill temperature

If you’ve just splashed out hundreds of dollars on a new smoker you might be tempted to ignore our advice and use the built-in thermometer on the dome.

Please do not do this. 

Even if you buy a top of the line smoker, virtually every manufacture cuts corners on the dome thermometer. More importantly, these dials measure the temperature in the air space way above the food you are cooking.

For a comprehensive explanation of why you should not use the built-in thermometer we referred to the experts:

ThermoWorks, Dome Temperature vs Grill Temperature

“Look at the stem of your dial thermometer when it’s installed in your cooker. You will see 1” to 2” of stem positioned right near the top of the dome or hood.

Temperature is being averaged over the length of that stem and read on the dial. Even if it’s accurate, it will be giving you the temperature in the air space well above the food you are cooking.

Heat is rising from the coals beneath and dissipating through the metal or ceramic of your cooker’s top. It is frequently as much as 50°F cooler at the dome thermometer’s location than it is where your food is cooking.”

How to avoid destroying your new thermometer

While researching the best BBQ thermometers we noticed a fair few angry customers complaining about their probes failing after only a few uses.

With proper use you should get at least a few years use out of your thermometer probes.

So long as you buy a quality bbq thermometer (like one of those mentioned in this very guide), following a few simple steps should help ensure the longevity of your new thermometer and probes:

  • Do not submerge the probe to wash it. You can wipe the cord down with a paper towel but submerging it in water can and will cause the probe to fail.
  • Don’t go over the temperature rating. This shouldn’t be a problem if your cooking low and slow as the thermometers in this guide are officially rated for over 700°F.
  • Store the probes neatly and avoid crimping the wires.

Wrapping it up

Choosing the best smoker thermometer can be a tough task.

Especially if this is your first setup then all different specs, probes and features can be super confusing.

While it costs a little bit more than the competition, after extensive testing we are confident that the Thermoworks Smoke 2-Channel is the best thermometer for most pitmasters.

Hopefully we’ve made it easier for you to make the right choice. Let us know how you go in the comments below.

Last update on 2019-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Joe Clements

Joe Clements

As the son of a vegeterian, I grew up dreaming about meat. Now as the founder and editor in chief of Smoked Barbecue Source I get to grill, barbecue and write about meat for a living!I'm sharing everything I learn along the way on my journey from amateur to pitmaster.

6 Responses

  1. Last year, I bought the Maverick ET-733 Dual Probe Thermometer. I treated it carefully and kept it in pristine condition, including storing in a pencil box case when not in use.
    I smoked 7 briskets with it and it never performed consistently as I double-checked both probes with other temperature instruments with proven accuracy via ice water and boiling water tests. The programming is also very counter-intuitive. The process of changing settings is very illogical. There are hard to escape from loops that defy common sense when trying to change settings. Setting a temp target of 160 degrees for the wrap and then changing the setting to 185 degrees to begin spot checking is never a simple process.
    Then there were the temperature reading issues. I would switch the probes and would get inconsistent readings from before and then would get an occasional reading where they both matched the previous temperature they were reading before.
    I contacted the manufacturer. I talked to a customer service rep who could care less about the accuracy issues I encountered and was totally disinterested in helping me. Finally, she said I could send the unit back at my cost and they might get around to testing it in the next few months.
    After all of this aggravation, I boxed the Maverick up and stuck in the junk corner. I then went and bought a Smoke which has been accurate and trouble free, enabling me to smoke and produce many tender and juicy briskets (I do 2-3 a month).
    In hindsight, I wish I had never bought the Maverick and wasted my time and money. It is an inaccurate, flimsy made thermometer. Maverick could care less about their product and customer once the uninformed customer bought it.

    1. Hey Joe, thanks for the comment. I agree with you that the Smoke is more accurate and sturdy than the Maverick. That said the Maverick is still a decent thermometer, and you may have just been unlucky to get a dodgy unit.

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