Instant read thermometers are a must have addition to any kitchen. When cooking an expensive steak you don’t want to overshoot the mark and ruin that expensive piece of meat. You want the best meat thermometer for the job and an instant read thermometer is the most accurate. But which instant read thermometer? We searched online reading reviews, read customer feedback, watched comparison videos and ultimately found that the Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo was the best instant read thermometer for the money. You can spend twice as much and get a slightly better thermometer but ultimately we couldn’t justify the large difference in cost for the small difference in performance. If you’re looking for the absolute best and cost is no object then the ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4 is your best choice. It’s not cheap but it edges out the Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo. Continue reading to learn why the differences between our top picks and decide what instant read thermometer is the best fit for your needs.
The Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo is our pick best instant read meat thermometer for the money. It performs extremely well and is priced right. It’s splash resistant, can lock in on a temperature within 4 seconds, has a magnetic back for conveniently mounting on a magnetic surface, and is impregnated with a silver anti-microbial to help keep it sanitary. It also can last up to 4000 hours on a single battery, is great for righties or lefties, has an auto wake functionality, and has a backlight that illuminates via a motion sensor. The probe flips out similar to a pocket knife which is much better than having to keep track of a separate sheath for protecting the probe when not in use. It’s a reasonably good size and easy to handle.
The OXO Good Grips Thermocouple Thermometer has many of the same features as the Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo but was a little more finicky to use. It can lock in on a temperature slightly faster but that wasn’t enough to overcome the slightly awkward way that you have to fold out the probe. It isn’t backlit but it does have very easy to read white numbers on a black background which makes up for that deficiency. If the Javelin doesn’t tickle your fancy then the OXO Good Grips Thermocouple Thermometer is a good alternative.
Instant read digital thermometers are the only thermometer you can use to be certain that your reading an accurate temperature in the center of your meat. Other thermometers are slow to react and are far more inaccurate.
No. Instant read thermometers aren’t designed for that kind of use. They are designed to check temperatures and not constantly be left in food while cooking.
The best way to test the accuracy of a thermometer is with ice water. Place the thermometer in ice water for several minutes. If it reads 32 degrees then it is accurate. If not then it may need to be calibrated.
You can calibrate an instant read thermometer with ice water. Place the thermometer probe in ice water for a few minutes to ensure the probe has come to the same temperature as the ice water. When you check the temperature it should read 32 degrees. If it doesn’t you should adjust it to read 32 degrees and you’re done.
The best place to test the temperature of a whole chicken is between the leg, breast, and thigh deep in the thickest meaty spot. Chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees so that it is properly cooked but still moist.
The best instant read thermometer that is still reasonably priced is the Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo. It is 90% of the absolute best rated thermometer, the ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4. The Thermapen cost twice that of the Pro Duo and we can’t justify recommending it to the average home chef. The Pro Duo is more than accurate enough, fast to respond, easy to use, and reasonably water resistant. If you don’t mind spending double the price to have the best of the best then the Thermapen is the choice for you. This meat thermometer could make sense if you’re a professional chef or do a lot of serious cooking. Even then it really isn’t necessary but certainly is nice to have.
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