REVIEWING ONLY THE TOP DIGITAL TEMP READERS ON THE MARKET IN 2018
Wi-Fi wireless THERMOMETERS are ideal for smoking & grilling
Today, just about everything now comes WiFi-enabled. “Siri, locate my toothbrush for me.” So it’s only natural that you can get WiFi thermometers for grilling and smoking. Similar to regular smoking probe but with a few more tech-laden features, a good WiFi thermometer eliminates one of the most tedious and time-consuming parts of smoking and grilling – constantly checking the grill and taking the temperature. If you're looking for a reliable smart reader under $60, jump over and check out our favorite Bluetooth thermometer.
SELECTING THE BEST TEMPERATURE READER
THE WI-FI BUYERS GUIDE
BENEFITS OF A SMART TEMP READER
It’s not that you don’t like checking the grill and enjoying the aroma, but when you’ve got a long smoking session going on – you know, 10 or 12 hours – it’s nice to be able to step away from the grill for extended periods of time. Achieving a perfectly smoked, tender piece of meat is nigh impossible without keeping an eye on the precise temperatures at which it’s cooking. Too hot, and you’ll leave the meat overcooked, dry and chewy. Opt for cooking low and slow. With a WiFi thermometer, you can set temperature alerts letting you know your beef is getting close, and when the pit temperature gets a little too warm.
With some models, you can even control the pit temperature remotely. In this case, a WiFi connection will come in handier than a Bluetooth one. While Bluetooth limits you to 100-200 feet from the grill, WiFI gives you essentially infinite range on your smartphone, giving you complete control over those low and slow temperatures, while you watch the big game inside or run errands downtown.
There are a lot of WiFi Thermometers to choose from, but if you’re into serious grilling and smoking, you’ll want to consider a few of the best on the market, specially designed for pitmasters like yourself. We’ve reviewed the best on the market below.
QUICK REVIEW REFERENCE CHART
# of Probes
Battery or Cord?
Graphs, logs, temp alerts
Graphs, logs, alerts
Graphs, logs, alerts, remote control
Graphs, logs, alerts
Charges via USB
Graphs, logs, alerts, cloud sharing, remote control
Pit Viper Fan
5 BEST WI-FI SMOKING & GRILLING THERMOMETERS FOR 2018
Smaller and more portable than both the Tappecue and the Flame Boss, the ThermoWorks ThermaQ WiFi is another high-quality choice for a WiFi thermometer. Unlike the other two, this device fits in the palm of your hand, instead of needing to be bolted onto the side of the grill.
The ThermaQ works with two, 2-channel Type K Thermocouple probes, capable of reading temperatures anywhere from -328 to 2502F. We doubt you’ll ever need that, but should it happen - you can be assured you won’t break it. It’s rated accurate to within .07 degrees.
App: After connecting the ThermaQ to you WiFi router, you can download the Thermocouple app and effortlessly begin tracking temperatures. Features include High and low alarm tracking, maximum and minimum temperature controls, as well as temperature graphs and logs right on the app. You can also monitor these on the LCD display itself. When the temperature on either probe reaches or passes either limit, the number on the screen will flash, and you can set an audible alarm to go off. When you’d like to read the logs and graphs, simply export them to your email.
Durability? The ThermaQis impact-proof, splashproof, and rated to IP55, which means it is completely closed off from dust and grit, and is water-resistant but not waterproof. Don’t leave it out in heavy rain, but it can handle day-to-day moisture. A few drops or spills off the grill shouldn’t cause problems. This thing is built to last.
The ThermaQ runs off AAA batteries, instead of the power cable that other devices do. Thus, it’s very mobile and easy to move around. You will have to replace the batteries, but not very often; ThermoWorks claims that the ThermaQ can get 3000 hours of battery life from three AAA batteries. Not bad at all.
Cons: One potentially large weaknessof the ThermaQ, however, is that, unlike the Flame Boss and the Tappecue, you cannot control pit temperature remotely. This may not matter to you, but it may seem pointless to others to be able to monitor the pit but not control it; what good does it do if you’re away from home? Another feature we’d like to see would be some kind of cloud storage or any other way back up your cooking info, logs and temperature graphs; you must keep the ThermaQ app open your phone, and export the log, or lose it.
Other than that, the ThermoWorksThermaQ is an extremely high-quality, durable WiFi thermometer. ThermoWorks quality at an affordable price.
- Cannot control temperature remotely
- Saving logs and graphs without cloud can be clunky
- Accurate, high-quality probes, rated for high temperatures.
- IP55 rated. Dustproof, splashproof, impact-proof.
- Magnets help attach easily to side of grill/counter.
- Battery life can be expected to be 3000 hours on AAA batteries.
The Fireboard is a relative newcomer to the Wi-Fi Thermometer scene - compared to some of the others - but it packs an impressive punch for its price. It’s convenient, easy to use, and has all the latest smart features you’ve come to expect from a smart thermometer. It’s also surprisingly small - only about the size of a pack of cigarettes and tipping the scale at about 4.5 ounces.
VERSATILITY AND UTILITY
If you like to cook lots of meat simultaneously, the Fireboard may be your best option; it works with up to 6 different temperature probes, which can be used as either meat probes or ambient probes for the pit itself. The included probes are RTD PT-100 probes - which are known for their accuracy; Fireboard rates them to within ±0.7°F, close enough to ensure perfection everytime. Temperature range is -94 to 752ºF.
The Extreme BBQ ($249) package includes 2 ambient probes, 6 food probes and 2 grill clips, while the less expensive kit comes with 1 ambient probe, 2 food probes and a grill clip. Each probe has a 6’ long cable for reaching out of the grill comfortably.
The Fireboard is compatible with different kinds of probes, including Resistant Temperature Detectors (RTD) and 10k and 100k thermistors. Being able to switch probes allows for more accurate monitoring of different temperature ranges; RTD’s cover larger range while thermistors are more precise, and it can be useful to be able to switch out the probe depending on what meat and at what temperature you’re cooking.
Like a lot of the other thermometers we’ve looked at, the Fireboard comes with two ways to keep an eye on your meat; with the built-in LCD Display shows live probe temperature recordings, remaining battery life, and connectivity status right on the display itself. Or, on your phone or tablet, via WiFi. The system connects with your router easily, and you can then use either your laptop via your browser, or on your smartphone/tablet, with the FireBoard app. This cloud connectivity lets you keep an eye on your meat whether you’re having a drink by the pool or shopping in town, miles away.
The Fireboard also pairs with Bluetooth effortlessly, giving you a range of up to 100 feet. While this isn’t nearly the range that WiFi/cloud connectivity gets you, it’s useful for when WiFi is unavailable; say, at the park or the beach.
Actual functions of the Fireboard include temperature threshold alerts, individualized for each probe, letting you know when either your meat or smoker has reached the minimum or maximum temperature. There is also a graph function; every five seconds, data from each probe is updated and compiled into a graph, letting you see peaks, dips and averages over time. You can rename both the probes and the graphs to your liking within the app, before exporting to .csv files.
In all, there is quite a bit of capability in the app; you can show the minimum and max temperature for each probe, hide a probe, and customize alert alarms. Set them to go off after a certain time or when temperatures last longer than you’d like, and the alerts can be sent via the cloud or via SMS text message when you don’t have WiFi in range.
Actual functions of the Fireboard include temperature threshold alerts, individualized for each probe, letting you know when either your meat or smoker has reached the minimum or maximum temperature. There is also a graph function; every five seconds, data from each probe is updated and compiled into a graph, letting you see peaks, dips and averages over time. You can even rename both the probes and the graphs to your liking within the app, and export the graphs and logs into .csv files. Actually, there is quite a bit of capability in the app; you can show the minimum and max temperature for each probe, hide a probe, and customize alert alarms. Set them to go off after a certain time or when temperatures last longer than you’d like.
CONTROLLING PITT TEMPERATURES
The Fireboard can control the smoker’s pit temperature, with some additional hardware. You’ll need to purchase a separate cable designed to control the fan, in addition to a fan if you don’t already have one. Fireboard’s cable works with 12v fans and features a 2.5mm barrel plug. Pair it with a fan and ambient probe to monitor the pit temperature, and then adjust temperature accordingly, straight from the app.
The Drive Fan cable is PID-enabled, allowing you to set custom settings and control the fan automatically. It will learn the smoker’s settings and automatically adjust itself, drivin fans anywhere from 0-100% of their power for the most accurate heat. There’s even a built-in speaker on the cable for audio notifications.
Downsides? Nothing’s perfect. The FireBoard FBX11 isnot weatherproof or waterproof, meaning you couldn’t leave it outside if the skies were to open up on your next smoking session. If you’d like to do that, you can always stick it in a plastic bag - but the ability to withstand rain and freezing temperatures would be welcome. The probes themselves are water-resistant, however.
Otherwise, the FireBoard is a high-quality, modern smart thermometer. It’s the newest and sleekest of the bunch and comes with an equally attractive price tag.The ability to work with different temperature probes, as well as the Bluetooth compatibility or when WiFi isn’t in range, add some versatility and extra features not found in a lot of other thermometers. Get an additional fan and pair with the fan controller cable, and you’ll have an all-in-one smoking and grilling monitor and control that you can access from virtually anywhere.
- Not weather/waterproof
- Versatile – up to 6 temperature probes at once
- High-quality, accurate RTD probes
- Works with 10k, 100k thermistors
- Tons of smart features and controls
- Small and durable
- Option to control pit temperature via drive fan, app (purchased separately)
# 3 flame boss 300
Flame Boss is trusted name in the smoking world. And for good reason. The Flame Boss 300 is a high-quality, durable smoking thermometer. It comes in two versions – one with a fan to help control the internal temperature of the grill, and one without.
First, the build: The Flame Boss 300 attaches to most drum, Barrel, Cabinet and Offset Style grills and smokers, such as Weber Smokey Mountain, Char-Griller offset and barrel, just to name a few. You can attach it easily by grabbing a ¾” pipe fitting at your local hardware store.You’ll have to drill holes in the grill to attach the pipe fitting, but if you can handle that, you’ll have a solidly attached thermometer ready for grilling. The body is solid, made of metal, and built to withstand high temperatures.
Probes:Once that’s done, you’re ready to start grilling and smoking. The thermometer comes with 2 probes – one to check on the temperature of the meat, the other smoker’s actual temperature. You can purchase, and connect up to 4 at once. They’re made of industrial-duty platinum rated for temperatures up to 575F.
Accuracy/Control:The built-in PID controller learns the settings of your smoker for the best control and accuracy; it knows when you open the lid, and if you have the fan version, shuts off the fan to maintain a smooth temperature.
Smart Alerts:The set, pit and meat temperatures, as well as current blower speed, can all be monitored quickly from the LCD monitor on the front. Which is handy, but not why you’re buying it. The Flame Boss connects to the internet via WiFi, letting you monitor temperature remotely in two ways; via iPhone or Android, or on your web browser on any device. You can set alerts to send you a text message when it’s done, and program it to turn down the heat once your food hits a certain temperature. There are cooking graphs,so you can obsess over your meat even more, and you can even connect it to your Amazon Echo and just ask Alexa how the barbecue is doing. And since it uses WiFi, you don’t have to be anywhere nearby to monitor and control it.
There’s a few other handy features built in, such as a timer and alarm, the ability to turn down the heat to keep food warm until its ready to eat, and an auto-save feature that returns the pit to its proper settings should the power unexpectedly go out. The whole thing is dead simple to use; simply set it and forget it. And the build quality is seriously sturdy and tough.
CONS: The only drawbacks to the Flame Boss’s sturdy design are that you need to:
- have a power outlet close at hand
- you will need to drill holes in order to attach it to your grill. Many people can also find the setup of the WiFi and software a bit clunky; it’s not the same as just flipping on app and pairing via Bluetooth. However, the bombproof construction and extended freedom of the WiFi make up for that.
- Must power outlet close by. Does not run off battery
- Holes must be drilled to attach to grill
- Setup of app/Wifi is difficult, clunky
- Tough, sturdy, metal build
- Comes in two versions: With fan, and without
- Works with up to 4 probes at once
- Attaches to grill
- PID controller for accuracy and even cooking
- Smart Features; alerts, notifications, auto-save
#4 Cyber Q
The CyberQ Cloud Thermometer from BBQ Guru is also new to the barbecue scene, but already proving to be another excellent choice for a meat thermometer. BBQ Guru is a respected brand in the barbecue community, from their own smokers to their various temperature control systems, such as the DigiQ and PartyQ. The CyberQ is thebiggest and baddest in their line, and the first to integrate cloud storage and social media sharing.
Built-In Blower:The CyberQCloud comes with a built-in blower fan, called the Pit Viper, that controls the internal temperature of the pit. This makes it excellent for controlling remotely; you can simply monitor on the website and app, and go about the rest of the day. You can monitor it remotely and dial up or down the temperature whenever the situation calls, or you can set it and forget it, letting the automatic temperature control do the work.
An adjustable metal plate lets you control the amount of air coming, which is handy if you have multiple smokers; you can adjust the fan to fit each smoker’s different size and properties. The fan, unfortunately, does not change speeds. It attaches via to the side of the grill via grill adapter.
Digi-Q kit for the green egg
he DigiQ DX2 temperature control system is designed to hold the desired temperature in your Big Green Egg for hours on end – and is so advanced it will even gradually lower the cooking temperature so foods won’t overcook. It is better than a personal valet because it never takes a day off!
Easy Monitoring and Smart Alerts: Text, email and audio alerts pop up when your meat hits the right temperature, and when it gets too hot or cold.The CyberQ is even capable of being controlled from your Amazon Echo. Just ask Alexa how your food is doing.
A cool feature, that BBQ Guru uses on some of their other temperature controls, is Ramp Mode. Ramp Mode senses when your food is getting close to being finished, and will gradually ramp down the heat, resulting in a juicier, more tender piece of meat. Open Lid Detection senses any sharp drops in temperature from opening the grill, and automatically smoothens out the heat to avoid any sharp spikes in temperature.
Social Media And Sharing:As with most WiFi Thermometers these days, you can easily record and track your smoking sessions on a graph and log, exporting them to email or sharing them on social media. In fact, that’s one of the main selling points of the CyberQ Cloud; other thermometers can do most of the same functions, but not all of them can upload and share on social media. ShareMyCook.com allows you to monitor and record your sessions cooks from your computer or tablet. You can also join the BBQ Guru community, where you can create and share recipes, upload pictures, and comment and rate other cooks.
A few drawbacks to the CyberQ? For one, it isn’t waterproof, which is unfortunate,seeing as how it’s meant to be used outside. Setting up the Wifi can be difficult, according to some people, and the interface buggy; the device has the tendency to occasionally overshoot the temperature.
But, if you’re looking for an otherwise good thermometer, accessible from almost any device, with cloud sharing and easy access to social media, and the ability to control pit temperature, the CyberQ is a good choice.
- Difficult setup
- Not waterproof
- Software can be buggy
- Built-in Pit Viper fan controls pit temperature
- Smart Features; Open Lid Detection, text alerts, Alexa integration
- Cloud sharing, Sharemycook.com for connecting with other barbecue enthusiasts
The Tappecue is the original WiFi thermometer; it was monitoring meats and tracking temperatures before it was thing. For that reason, it may lack some of the smart features that newer thermometers have, but there’s a reason people are still using it.
By hooking the Tappecue up to your home Wi-Fi network, you can sync it – via Tappecue app – to any device you like – smartphone, tablet, or PC. You can then monitor both the meat’s and the grill’s internal temperaturefrom virtually anywhere with internet access. Unlike Bluetooth devices, there is no limit to how far you can wander, as long as the Tappecue is within range of your home WiFi. Alerts let you know when your meat is done or when the smoker has gotten too hot. And what if you don’t have Wifi? Offline mode lets you check on your temperatures up to 180 feet away with the internal antenna.
WEATHERPROOF BUILD QUALITY
The Tappecue features a weatherproof body, designed for whatever the elements – and the grill – throw at it. The outside is a thick polycarbonate, and the jacks are protected by a layer of foam. Rainwater, dust or grease can’t get in. Two sturdy feet on the bottom keep it standing upright.
Four Cooking Probes
The Tappecue comes with 4 cooking probes, which let you monitor the internal temperature of 4 different pieces of meat, or multiple parts of the roast, at once. Each probe works independently, andcan handle temperatures up to 572 F. A 6-foot wire gives flexibility and range. Temperatures are accurate, within 1 or 2 degrees of other thermometers and actual temperature.
By syncing up to the Tappecue app on your smartphone, the Tappecue is able to track and log your cooking sessions, in the form of temperatures, cooking length, etc. You can export these cooking logs in the form of a CSV or Excel file, learning a thing or two about your cooking and recipes along the way.
One drawback to the Tappecue is its large, slightly clunky size. While there’s no question as to the question of its build quality and accuracy, it is not as easy to set up as a smaller, newer thermometer. It does not run off a battery, and requires a power source nearby, or an extension cord. This does mean the battery will not die during all-day and overnight smoking sessions. Setup and installation is relatively straightforward, but not as much other thermometers; the app is a bit clunky and in need of an update.
- Somewhat bulky design
- Complex to set up
- App is clunky and in need of an update
- Connects via WiFi to PC, Tablet, or smartphone.
- Check temperatures, receive alerts.
- Detailed cooking logs can be exported
- Four probes at once. Probes can be color-coded.
BUYER'S GUIDE 2018 – Updated 7/9/18
What to look for in a wi-fi meat thermometer
What Kind of App/Smart Features Does It Have?
As smart features and tracking are essentially the reason you’re looking at a smart thermometer, you’ll want to find one with all the functionality and features you’d like, and the app to go with it. Almost all will have temperature alerts, and minimum and maximum temperature limits, that pop up on your smartphone. You can keep track of how close the meat is to be being done, and how hot it is inside the grill.
Most thermometer apps will also let you create logs and graphs of your cooking sessions, letting you see what went right and wrong with every smoke, so you can improve for the next time you attempt the perfect smoked brisket. Most have the functionality to export these graphs and logs, while others let you share these online with your friends. Not all, however, will let you control the heat directly form your phone.
Some thermometers can now be controlled via Amazon Echo, letting you check temperatures with voice control and ask Alexa how things are doing. That might be even easier than using an app.
When looking into Wifi thermometers, first take a look at the material it’s made of, the construction design, and how durable it is. Some thermometers and controllers will be made out of metal, while others will feature a durable plastic body or rubber casing on the outside.
You may also want to consider the shape and size of the device itself; some larger thermometers are large and box-shaped, allowing you to stand them up on your grill’s table. Or they can be attached or bolted to the side. Others will be small enough to fit in your hand, so you can set them down anywhere.
Take a look at how the interface is designed. Is it user friendly? Is there a screen for monitoring the temperature, or can you do so only through the app? An easy-to-use setup can make a huge difference when setting up your smoke, as opposed to a clunky, difficult one. You want to be able to change any settings with the push of a button.
Also pay attention to long the probe cords are. Most probes will come with 4-foot or 6-foot long wires, which give them good length and flexibility. The longer the better, especially if you have a large smoker. You don’t want to be fighting for cord length.
HOW MANY PROBES?
Each temperature probe can monitor one piece of meat, or the temperature inside the smoker or grill. Extra large pieces of meat might even require more than one probe inside. While some models can connect to 4 to 6 probes at a time, most only have one or two. You may also have to purchase additional probes to suit your own needs. You should be able to see the temperature of each probe independently on the app.
As mentioned above, accurate readings are very important. Most WiFi smoking thermometers will be accurate within .07 to 1 degree of the actual temperature. Ones that can control the heat may be accurate up to 1-3 degrees. If you aren’t sure how accurate a thermometer is, read some reviews to see what others say.
TEMPERATURE CONTROL OR JUST MONITOR?
Do you want to be able to control the temperature of the smoker, or just monitor it? You want to keep your meat cooking at a slow and steady 225F. This will allow for the juiciest, most tender and delicious piece of meat, as the fat and collagen slowly melt and break down. Some thermometers are capable of controlling the heat using a built-in blower, within 1-3 degrees of the target temperature, while others simply monitor the temperature and let you know when it needs to be adjusted.