Slapping meat on the barbie while enjoying a tinny is a perennial summer rite – although there’s always a risk that those chicken legs, pork chops and sausages might not be either a) cooked thoroughly or b) cooked in the just the way that you and your BBQ party guests would like.
Enter the smart thermometer: Bluetooth-equipped temperature monitoring gadgets that you can pair with your smartphone or tablet and ensure that the grub you’re cooking up is grilled, roasted or baked to perfection. Yes, smart thermometers aren’t just for barbies – you can use them when cooking in your kitchen too. Heck, you can even use them when making cold foods, such as ice-cream. It's all in the temperature monitoring, you see.
How to buy the best smart thermometer for you
All smart thermometers use probes – long, needle-like devices that can be used to measure the temperature both inside and outside whatever it is that you’re cooking. Most smart thermometers come equipped with two probes, enabling you to either monitor two separate food items (handy if you’re grilling a steak for you and a mate), or to measure both the core temperature of the food, and the ambient temperature.
Each probe connects to the thermometer using a dedicated port, with the most expensive models coming with up to four or even six ports – although you’ll usually have to pay extra for the probes.
One of the best things about smart thermometers is that they take some of the guesswork out of cooking. Download the appropriate app for your smartphone or tablet and you’ll be able to choose from presets that include food type, temperature and cooking time – and whether you’d like your food rare, medium or well-done – with alarms alerting you when the food is up to temperature or the cooking time is up. Most apps also enable you to choose from these settings manually too, and some even include recipes to inspire you.
Anything else? Many smart thermometers include grill or pan clips to ensure that the probes stay in the right position when you’re cooking, and some include magnets that enable you to securely attach it to the outside of your oven, cooker or barbecue.
Others also include separate displays – enabling you to keep tabs on your food without having to have your phone or tablet on you – handy if you’ve left it indoors, it’s wet out, or if your phone or tablet has simply run out of juice.
That cover’s it. Now lets take a look at your smart thermometer options…
Our pick of the best smart thermometers to buy today
Salter Cook Bluetooth Cooking Thermometer 593 WHCR
Stylish kitchen thermometer with two probes and Bluetooth connectivity
No. of probes: 2 | Power supply: 1x CR2032 battery | Compatibility: iOS, Android | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 | Voltage: not stated | Dimensions: 16x16cm | Weight: not stated
Salter is a well-known kitchenware brand with a long-established history of meeting cook’s needs. This Bluetooth thermometer is no exception. Its stylish and compact white ABS plastic body looks every inch the kitchen accessory, and includes two separate ports for connecting the stainless probes supplied – one for food temperature; and one for ambient oven temperature. Designed for temperatures ranging from -25 to 250-degrees C, it also includes a magnet on the back so you can easily attach it to your oven, cooker or barbecue.
Team the Salter Cook with your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth and you’ll soon see how well thought out this device is. The free Salter Cook app (for iOS and Android) is slick, easy to use and comes with a range of built-in recipes with easy-to-follow instructions and colourful pictures to inspire you. And you can easily add recipes from BBC Good Food, All Recipes and the Food Network, or manually enter your own.
Choose a recipe, and the app will automatically set the right temperature and cooking time for you, with LED lights by each port on the thermometer also lighting up when the food or your oven reaches the right level. The Salter Cook app also includes separate temperature and timer options too. And if you team it with the Salter Cook scale (available separately) you’ll also be able to use it to weigh your ingredients.
Stylish and packed with useful features, including the ability to monitor up to six different foods at a time
No. of probes: 2 (can monitor up to 6) | Power supply: 2x AA batteries | Compatibility: iOS, Android | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 | Voltage: not stated | Dimensions: 12.7x2.5x9.5cm | Weight: 290g
Made from aircraft-grade aluminium and coloured a deep gorgeous red, the GrillEye is certainly one good-looking piece of kit.
It’s also one of the most fully-featured thermometers here: it comes with six ports, enabling to monitor up to six different food temperatures at any one time (although only two probes are included). It also boasts a dual LED display – with one portion showing the current temperature; the other the target temperature, enabling you to keep an eye on both.
As with the Maverick iChef ET-735 (below), having a built-in display lets you monitor your grub even if you don’t have your smartphone or tablet on you, which is a useful thing to have.
The GrillEye works best, of course, when it’s teamed with your smartphone or tablet via the free GrillEye app for iOS and Android. Happily this is one of the best smart thermometer apps out there, with a minimalist, uncluttered design that’s easy to use. Bluetooth connectivity is solid with little in the way of dropouts. The only real downer is the lack of a built-in magnet for attaching it to your oven, cooker, etc, although it comes with a rather natty kickstand instead.
The Apple / Beats of smart thermometer design.
Weber iGrill 3
Master your BBQ with this bespoke temperature sensor
No. of probes: 2 (can monitor up to 4) | Power supply: 3x AA batteries | Compatibility: iOS, Android | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 | Voltage: not stated | Dimensions: 5.59x6.6x6.35cm | Weight: not known
The Weber iGrill 3 takes the guesswork out of summer BBQ cooking with the bespoke temperature sensor that seamlessly attaches to the company’s Genesis II and Genesis II LX series gas barbecues. This means that the accompanying Weber iGrill app – which is available to download free for IOS and Android – is able to do a lot more than just measure the temperature: it can even monitor the amount of fuel left in the BBQ’s tank and switch the BBQ’s knob lights on and off.
The Weber iGrill app (which is bit salesy and OTT, to be honest) also enables you to set up multiple timers – and even includes a social sharing element, so you can share your meat feast and see where other Weber BBQ users are, and what they’re cooking up. Or at least it would, if the app didn’t keep crashing all the time.
The iGrill 3 itself is a rounded black and silver Bluetooth thermometer, which includes a proximity sensor so it automatically powers up and down as a paired phone gets closer or further away from it. It also comes with four ports and two temperature probes, giving you plenty of options when it comes to monitoring the slabs of meat grilling away on the BBQ. It also has a wider-than-average operating range, with the probes measuring from -50 to 380-degrees C.
Maverick iChef ET-735
Compact thermometer enables you to keep tabs on up to four different foods at the same time
No. of probes: 2 (can monitor up to 4) | Power supply: 2x AAA batteries | Compatibility: iOS, Android | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 | Voltage: not stated | Dimensions: 1.9x6.4x10.2cm | Weight: 86g
Available in black or white finishes, the iChef ET-735 comes from one of the biggest US kitchenware brands, Maverick. The unit comes with a large colour display and ports for up to four probes, two of which are supplied. Unusually the probes are waterproof, making them easy to clean. The device itself is weather-proof too – perfect for rain-soaked barbecues. The probes have an operating range of -20 to 300-degrees C.
Team it with the free Redi Check app for iOS and Android and you can keep a remote eye on your food via your smartphone when connected via Bluetooth. The app comes with 15 presets for different kinds of meat, and enables you to manually set temperature and timers too, although the app itself is a little complicated to use.
Unfortunately the iChef ET-735 does have a tendency to drop its Bluetooth connection from time to time – although you can always use the built-in display to monitor food temps instead.
It also doesn’t come with any kind of magnet for attaching it to your barbecue, oven or cooker. However, there is a combined kickstand / hanger arrangement on the back that enables you to either use it freestanding, or to hang it from a convenient location in your kitchen or on the barbeque.
WeGrill One ESWG1001
Bluetooth smart themometer, perfect for BBQs, grilling and oven cooking
No. of probes: 1 (can monitor up to 2) | Power supply: 2x AAA batteries | Compatibility: iOS, Android | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 | Voltage: 1.5V | Dimensions: 4x11.5x19cm | Weight: 100g
The WeGrill One is a smart thermometer that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth.
Team it with the free WeGrill app for iOS and Android and you’ll be able to choose from three different cooking modes (rare, medium and well done) based on meat type, and then set the desired cooking time and temperature. The app comes with cooking presets for beef, veal, venison, lamb, pork, chicken, duck, fish and hamburgers.
Using the probe, you can measure the temperature of the meat as it cooks – the app lets you know when your food has reached the right level.
The WeGrill One itself is rather uninspiring to look at, but it does come with two different ports for attaching the probe to, plus you can always attach a second probe if you wish (available separately).
The WeGrill One has a magnet on the back so you can attach it to your oven, cooker or barbecue. The probe is capable of measuring spot temperatures of up to 300-degrees C, and up to 250-degrees C for prolonged monitoring.
It also has a temperature setting range of -25 to 200 degrees C, so you can use it to check the temperature when making ice cream and other cold food too.