Remote Thermometers

Published September 1, 2010. From Cook's Illustrated.

Overview:

With a remote thermometer, you can monitor the temperature of your food without holding a lonely vigil at the grill or oven. To evaluate the latest choices, we oven-roasted chickens and charcoal-grilled whole beef roasts—from a distance—with three brands, including the manufacturer Taylor’s successor to our onetime, now-discontinued favorite. All models are two-part devices: a temperature probe attached to a base that rests outside the oven or grill, and a pager you carry with you. With each, we could roam more than 100 feet, even behind walls (though we lost the signal when we went upstairs). Otherwise, the results were mixed. One thermometer, for example, features two probes—handy for keeping an eye on both light and dark meat—but also preset doneness temperatures (a feature that often leads to overcooked meat) that were hard to override. The new Taylor model also had a downside: Its pager does not display temperature, instead buzzing and vibrating first when the food is 10 degrees away from being done, then again when it’s… read more

With a remote thermometer, you can monitor the temperature of your food without holding a lonely vigil at the grill or oven. To evaluate the latest choices, we oven-roasted chickens and charcoal-grilled whole beef roasts—from a distance—with three brands, including the manufacturer Taylor’s successor to our onetime, now-discontinued favorite. All models are two-part devices: a temperature probe attached to a base that rests outside the oven or grill, and a pager you carry with you. With each, we could roam more than 100 feet, even behind walls (though we lost the signal when we went upstairs). Otherwise, the results were mixed. One thermometer, for example, features two probes—handy for keeping an eye on both light and dark meat—but also preset doneness temperatures (a feature that often leads to overcooked meat) that were hard to override. The new Taylor model also had a downside: Its pager does not display temperature, instead buzzing and vibrating first when the food is 10 degrees away from being done, then again when it’s fully cooked. But its accuracy—a thermometer’s most important feature—and intuitive setting mechanisms were the best of the bunch, sending it to the top of our ranking.

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  • Product Tested

    Results Key:

    Good ★ ★ ★ Fair ★ ★ Poor
  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Recommended - Winner

    Taylor Wireless Thermometer with Remote Pager Plus Timer

    The most accurate, inexpensive, and easy-to-use model—though its lack of a temperature readout on the pager was a drawback. Instead, it buzzed and vibrated when the food was 10 degrees away from the desired doneness temperature, then repeated those actions when the meat was fully cooked.

    • Accuracy ★★★
    • Ease of Use ★★★
    • Transmission Distance ★★★

    $21.95

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  • Recommended with Reservations

    Maverick Redi-Chek Dual Probe Remote Thermometer

    Although this thermometer was extremely accurate and had two temperature probes, its design was less than ideal. Buttons were not labeled clearly, and overriding the preset cooking temperatures was tricky. The pager unit would receive transmissions from the base only if the base had been turned on first, before the remote, a step that we repeatedly forgot.

    • Accuracy ★★★
    • Ease of Use
    • Transmission Distance ★★★

    $79.99

  • Not Recommended

    CDN Wireless Probe Thermometer and Timer

    This model’s temperamental alarm-setting process was vexing, and its audible signal was startlingly shrill. Overriding the too-high preset temperatures for meats was difficult and time-consuming. A user-unfriendly setting mechanism sent us repeatedly riffling through the manual for guidance. (Note: Earlier, we incorrectly stated that preset temperatures could not be overridden.)

    • Accuracy ★★
    • Ease of Use
    • Transmission Distance ★★★

    $44.99

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