The Maverick ET-733 recently made our list of best smoker thermometers. Consistently one of the top selling thermometers on Amazon, it’s easy to see why thermometers form Maverick are one of the most recommended thermometers by professional and amateur pit masters alike.
Despite being so popular, the wireless ET-733 is not without its detractors though. You don’t have to venture far to find stories of probes failing or inaccurate temperature readings. In this comprehensive review we break down all the pros and cons of the ET-733.
Read on to find out if what made us include the ET-733 on our best thermometers list as well as if it’s worth upgrading from the older ET-732.
Maverick Et-733 review overview
This dual probe thermometer allows you to simultaneous monitor the meat and pit temperature from up to 300 feet away.
If you’ve used a wireless dual probe thermometer before then nothing about the ET-733 setup will surprise you. The transmitter connects to the two identical probes which are then placed inside your smoker.
While you can choose from 15 different meat presets (including buffalo & elk) and several degrees of doneness, you’ll probably jump straight to the manual setting. Setup is relatively straight forward. Just select the probe, and then choose the temperature you want. You can also set a temperature range. For example if you’re aiming for 250 then you can set the receiver alarm to go off if the temperature hits 225°F or 275°F
An audible alarm sounds when either a lower or upper limit is exceeded, and it can be switched on or off. The receiver has a backlight that automatically extinguishes after five seconds. Long enough for a quick temperature reading but a little bit annoying if you’re trying to change the setting in the dark.
The range is good, although if the there are concrete walls between the receiver and transmitter I would not rely on the manufacturers 300 ft range indication. The loss of signal alert when you go out of range is a nice feature if this does happen though.
What’s in the box & manufacturer specifications
When you unbox the Maverick ET-733 you’ll find the transmitter & receiver units, 4 AAA batteries, two hybrid probes and two grill clips (used to stabilize your temperature probe off the grill of your cooker).
- Probe wires are 3 ft long and are rated for max temperature of 716°F
- 15 Preset temperatures for Beef, Veal, Lamb, Pork, Chicken and Turkey, Deer, Elk, Moose, Buffalo, Rabbit, Boar, Duck, Bird & Fish
- Customize preset temperatures to personal taste
- Audio alarm alerts you when preset temperature is reached
- Loss of signal alert if you go out of range for more than a minute
- Large 300 ft range
- The receiver will display 32°F to 572°F
- Dimensions: Receiver: 2.5 x 1 x 4.75 in, Transmitter: 2.5 x 1 x 4.75 in
Ease of use
With the ET-733 Maverick have made some nice usability improvements.
- Easily monitor temperatures for each probe. Switch between a range of pre sets or set your own manual temperature which will likely be more useful to you
- Set a high temp and low temp for your pit probe so you can get an alarm when it goes outside of your desired cooking range
- For those of you outside the United States you can easily switch between fahrenheit and centigrade.
Pit masters love to complain about thermometers being impossible to use and bloated with useless features. To read some of the reviews you would think they were trying to disarm a bomb, not setup a thermometer. We investigated to see what was causing people all this trouble:
- Too many features – This doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but if all you want out of a thermometer is to set the desired temperature of your meat, and set an alarm for when the pit temperature gets too high or low then we can understand some of the extra features getting in the way.
- Changing battery requires a screw driver – This shouldn’t be a problem for most people, but if you are smoking away from home keep a Phillips screw driver handy
- Difficult to program – This one we understand as you need to be able to quickly configure your temperatures and then monitor during the day. Unfortunately all thermometers we’ve tested share this problem. If a manufacturer could invest some time improving the usability of their product that would go a long way.
To read some of the reviews you would think they were trying to disarm a bomb, not setup a thermometer.
The first time you setup the Maverick we suggest taking some time to get to know your thermometer controls. Check out this YouTube video to see how to turn on and program the Maverick ET-733.
Accuracy & speed
Obviously accuracy is one of the most important thermometer features. What’s the point using one if the temperature you read is wrong? While it might seem counterintuitive, accuracy and speed are actually closely connected.
The ET-733 generally performs well in boiling / freezing water test. They are most accurate when used for their intended purpose though. So when it comes to measuring your pit temperature the Maverick does a great job. It also performs well for measuring your meat temperature so long as you leave it in while cooking.
There are a few mistakes you can make that will result in bad temperature readings though. Make sure the meat probe is inserted sideways towards the centre of the cut. You want to do this before you start the smoke, then you can leave the lid closed until it gets to your desired temperature.
While it might seem counterintuitive, accuracy and speed are actually closely connected.
An instant read thermometer the ET-733 is not! By the time you get an accurate reading, it may be too late, but if you stick to larger cuts of meat and slower cooking times the speed won’t be a problem.
All Maverick thermometers have a tolerance of plus or minus 3-4ºF, and are most accurate within the typical food doneness range, with a larger tolerance range at the minimum and maximum temperatures.
For a thermometer that is so commonly used and recommended, the build quality of the ET-733 is hotly debated. While some people say they’ve gone through several thermometers in a few months, others have used the same Maverick for several years without any issues.
Issues with the build quality usually fall into a few areas:
- Probes failing
- Difficulty with the on / off switches due to cheap construction
- Issues with the receiver and transmitter not linking
You can fix the last issue by ALWAYS turning the receiver on before the transmitter. Start doing this and it should link up perfectly every time.
We have thoroughly investigated the issue with probes failing and believe this can be avoided in 99% of cases with a bit of knowledge. Unfortunately temperature probes do tend to be on the delicate side, so knowing how to treat them properly can help extend the life of your new thermometer.
Most probe failures come are due to exposure to water.
While some people say they’ve gone through several thermometers in a few months, others have used the same Maverick for several years without any issues.
While the mainufacture says the ET-733 is “Rain-proof”, this unit is definitely not waterproof. It can probably handle a few drops of rain but if you think that it might rain then we suggest placing the transmitter inside a clear plastic zipper seal bag. Preferably you would also leave the transmitter where water can not drip on the container where the wire is sticking out.
Avoid leaving the transmitter in direct sun light as this can cause it to overheat. It goes without saying not to ever submerge the probe in water. The best way to clean your probes is wipe them down with a paper towel.
This is an area of weakness for all barbecue probes though, so we can’t knock the Maverick ET-733 specifically for not being more water resistant.
The best way to use the ET-733
The ET-733 really excels when used in a smoker thermometer setup. When used to measure the pit temperature and meat temperature during a low and slow cook, the best features of the Maverick are able to shine, while the limitations are minor.
We would warn against using the Maverick for when you need to quickly check temperature. If you buy a Maverick to measure the temperature of your steak or fish then you are going to be disappointed. The response times are too slow to quickly get a temperature reading, so your steak might be over done by the time the unit can give an accurate reading.
This isn’t a problem with low and slow cooking where the temperature changes gradually.
The Maverick ET-732 vs the ET-733
If you already own a ET-732 you probably want to know if it’s worth upgrading to the ET-733. Or if you are in the market for a new smoker thermometer you probably want to know if the ET-733 is worth the extra $15-20.
While the ET-733 was released back in 2013 as a direct upgrade to the older model, Maverick still sell the ET-732. Let’s find out what’s different in the newer model.
- The receiver on the ET-733 is much larger. The larger screen makes it easier to do a quick temperature read, and makes configuring your temperatures a bit easier.
- While the ET-732 came with designated food and bbq probes, the ET-733 gives you more flexibility with two hybrid probes
- You can go up and down when setting temperature. While it seems petty this drove us crazy with the ET-732. If you overstepped your temperature by a degree, you had to go all the way back around again.
- You can override the preset temperature doneness settings for different types of meat. This is nice because out of the box the presets aren’t up to date wit the latest USDA safe doneness temperatures.
The larger screen and better controls are definitely nice enhancements. It’s good to see Maverick listen to the issues most people had with the ET-732 and make some small improvements rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.
Probably the largest improvement is the added flexibility of having two dual probes instead of designated probes. This means you can monitor two cookers, or two pieces of meat, or one cooker and one piece of meat. This is especially useful if you upgrade your pit thermometer in the future. You could keep the Maverick to measure multiple pieces of meat at once or if you want to run multiple smokers at the same time.
If you already own an ET-732 and it’s still going strong the ET-733 probably isn’t enough of an upgrade to bother with. On the other hand if you want to expand your setup then the versatility and larger screen make the ET-733 a no brainer.
Should you buy the Maverick ET-733?
If you haven’t already got a dual probe thermometer, or you are using an older thermometer like the ET-72, then the Maverick ET-733 is a smart purchase. Even though the interface takes a little while to learn, the large screen, temperature accuracy and build quality all make it worth while at this price point.
If you are currently using an instant read thermometer and lifting up your smoker lid every 30 minutes to check the temperature, then switching to the Maverick will be an absolute life saver. The 15 presets and being able to override them are nice to have as well.
If you are smart and treat your probe well, you can expect multiple years of use. If you do have any problems, Maverick are well renowned for their excellent customer service and the ET-733 comes with a standard 90 day warranty.
While the enhancements over the ET-732 are relatively small, for the price difference it’s still a no brainer to buy the ET-733.
Where to buy
The easiest place to buy the Maverick ET-733 is on Amazon, but you can usually pick it up from most barbecue stores.
If you ever need to replace the thermometer probes and you are outside of warranty, you can pick up a set of two replacement probes.