After reviewing several bluetooth grill thermometers we selected the Inkbird's 4XS as the value buy for #MeatGeeks.
InkBird IBT-4XS Smart Wireless BBQ best Bluetooth Thermometer Review
Every self-respecting chef and aspiring grillmaster has a reliable meat thermometer in their arsenal, but it’s no longer enough to just read temperatures accurately; a meat thermometer needs to be wireless-enabled and capable of many different smart functions, letting you monitor your meat conveniently from a distance, right on your phone. That’s the idea behind the myriad of WIFI meat thermometers.
While WiFi meat thermometers may offer more wireless range, there are some excellent Bluetooth grill thermometers out there as well. They also tend to be more affordable. We found many of our readers liked the idea of owning a WiFi thermometer but didn’t always want to spend the extra money. This is what lead us on a journey to discover the best Bluetooth thermometer that would provide #MeatGeeks with a true value buy.
This thermometer is the Inkbird IBT-4XS.
Our Value pick
The IBT-4XS is a wireless Bluetooth meat thermometer with four probe channels and compatibility with both iOs and Android phones, meant for use grilling and smoking, as well as cooking in the kitchen. Available for $59.99 on Amazon, it doesn’t offer the same features and sheer capability of more-expensive wireless thermometers (it’s not a digital temp controller, for example), but we did find it to be a smart, capable, and very easy-to-use device, that lets you skip any fancy setup and get right to the good stuff – grilling.
- Simple, easy-to-use design
- 4 Probe Channels – 4 probes included
- Easy, intuitive app interface
- Accurate Temperature Readings
- Magnetic for mounting to grills, fridges
- Works with iPhone and Android
- 12 Month Warranty
Inkbird reached out to us and asked if we would like to test out and review the IBT-4XS for them. While we knew they were a manufacture of temperature controllers we had our reservations. Several of the Bluetooth thermometers we had worked with in the past fell short; either they were too expensive or didn’t function as advertised. Frankly, they weren’t worth the write up or recommendation.
why we selected the inkbird over other bluetooth readers
The Inkbird IBT-4XS comes neatly packaged in small, but surprisingly high-quality, brown cardboard box, that gives it a quality feeling superior to most devices in a similar price range. When you open it, you first see the device itself seated in plastic, and underneath will find 4 temperature probes, a USB charging cable, 2 metal probe clips for keeping them placed securely in the meat, and an instruction manual. Each of the temperature probes comes individually wrapped in plastic, with the cables neatly coiled, and a rubber cap protecting the pointed ends.
The device is small and sharp-looking and features only two buttons – an On/Off switch on the bottom and a touch-button on the front screen (kind of like the touch-button found on newer iPhone models). On the front, you’ll also find the 4 ports for attaching the meat probes, and on the back, a micro USB port for charging.
Upon turning the Inkbird on, you will see the current temperature reading (if any) displayed on the front in large red font, a probe indicator, battery level, Bluetooth indicator if your phone is paired, and a temperature unit display (C or F). You can even rotate the display by tapping the Power/Pairing button twice.
The Inkbird Thermometer has magnets on the back as well, so you can mount the device easily to the side of your grill or oven if you’re cooking inside. And they’re actually quite heavy-duty magnets; the device feels secure and shouldn’t go anywhere, freeing up some space on the counter.
The Inkbird IBT-4XS runs off a 1000 MAH Lithium-Ion battery, which is charged via Micro USB. A USB charging cable is included, and Inkbird really talks up the 1.64 ft length in their marketing materials. Personally, I wish the cable was longer; it’s just a bit too short to charge comfortably on a wall outlet. The battery is supposed to last up to 60 hours of use, but we haven’t had a chance to try that just; the device will go into a sort of sleep mode if left on with no input from a probe. Charging the device fully takes about two hours, and you can’t charge it while it’s turned on and monitoring meat.
Pairing the device to your phone via Bluetooth is exceedingly simple:
- Download the BBQ Go App from the App Store
- Turn your phone’s Bluetooth on
- Follow the instructions in the app – which is as easy as simply pressing the Connect button while the light is flashing.
The app recognized the device right away, and it took about 2 seconds to connect. In the future, your phone and the thermometer will automatically pair when you have the app open, so you can just fire up and go.
It works with both iOS and Android smartphones.
Inkbird says the device has a range of up to 150 feet, and while we didn't measure distance exactly, that appeared to be about right when taking a short walk away from the grill. That should be more than enough distance to head into the kitchen while the food is on the grill or smoker - unless you have a very large yard or live in an apartment complex (like some of us do). In which case we would recommend selecting one of these WIFI thermometers.
Now for the part we've all been waiting for. Here's where most of the previous bluetooth devices we reviewed fall short – after all, you're only as good as data you receive.
When you open the app, you will see four different temperatures displayed – one for each of the four probes. There’s a selection of presets you can choose from – such as Beef, Chicken, Pork, Hot Smoke, etc – and several preset temperatures for each, e.g. Rare (125F), Medium-Rare (130F), and so on. You can delete these presets, customize them, and add your own temperature settings.
Each probe can be set differently, and you can set both timers and desired temperatures for each one; the app will alert you either when the temperature is reached, or the timer is up. You can even choose different colors for each of the probes to help keep track of them.
The small round icon (shown in the previous screenshots) keeps track of the progress of the meat as it gets closer to it’s target temperature.
At the top, there is also a menu that displays current Firmware version, lets you toggle between F and C as your preferred mode of temperature display, as well as turn off notifications if the device and phone become disconnected (out of range, dead battery, etc). You can set an Alarm Interval for repeating temperature alarms for the same probe and enable or disable the alarm ringtone or vibration. You can even change the language to German, Spanish, Italian, French or even Dutch.
Lastly, there is a Temperature Graph function, which lets you keep track of your grill and smoke sessions in a handy chart.
Overall, it shows that this device was manufactured by a company with experience in home automation technology. The entire app interface is very simple and easy to use and should have you out on the grill with little in the way of setup.
Where the rubber [meats] the road: Putting the inkbird to use
So how does it fare on the grill? To test the Inkbird IBT-4XS out, we fired up the grill and threw on some top sirloin steak (but not before seasoning them with gratuitous amounts of salt and pepper). Inserting the probes was as easy as it should be; the probes are about 5” long, which makes them perfect for sliding into the center of a thick steak and still large enough for larger pieces of meat such as brisket or a whole chicken. Be methodical when inserting though; the probe poked through the side of one of our steaks, giving an inaccurate temperature reading and saying it was done long before the center of the steak had reached the desire temperature. (That goes all for thermometers and meats, of course).
The probe cables are about 4.9 feet long each, which is great when using very large grills and smokers where your thermometer needs to be far away from the heat.
For regular grilling, however, we found that they are just too long, and tangle with each other easily, especially when flipping the steaks. This would be less of an issue when smoking for long periods of time but was quite frustrating. There isn’t necessarily much any thermometer could do to prevent this issue, but some kind of cordwrap, or organizer would be nice.
The quality of the braided cables, however, seems more than adequate for a thermometer in this price range.
Included in the package are two metal clips in the same style as many other meat thermometers. These clips can be used to mount the probes to the grill and take its ambient temperature reading. Doing so is very simple and gave a steady reading that matched the grill’s own.
With the temperature probes firmly planted in the thickest part of the steak, the Inkbird gave us a pretty accurate internal temperature; Inkbird says it’s accurate to +/- 2F, and using a regular kitchen meat thermometer to judge, we’d say that’s pretty accurate.
We set each the probes in each of our steaks to the Beef preset, to a 120F Rare. We had a few problems getting the readings right on our first steak, as the probe was not correctly inserted and was poking out the other side into the grill. The IBT-4XS promptly let us know that the steak was well-overdone, flashing and buzzing until we removed the steak and fixed the probe. From there it was relative smooth grilling.
For some reason, however, the device only alerted us when one of the steaks had reached its desired temperature of 120F. While my phone vibrated and the device itself beeped quite loudly with that steak, it was completely silent when the second steak reached 120F, even letting the temperature creep past the target. After playing with the settings, we couldn’t figure out whether this was human error or a glitch, but after testing out the device a few more times, we couldn't recreate this issue. Perhaps there was a setting we had forgotten to customize.
And how did the steaks turn out? Upon removing them from the heat and letting them sit for several minutes, we sliced into some perfectly rare steaks – seared on the outside but still juicy and red all the way through.
Seeing as how easy it is to overdo steak – getting it a bit too late and eating it medium or medium-well – Inkbird does its job.
For the price, the Inkbird IBT-4XS provides an excellent value for a wireless Bluetooth meat thermometer. Most grilling fanatics and amateur smokers may never need the quality, features and robustness of the more expensive thermometers out there, like the Tappecue or Flame Boss. In that case, the InkBird fits the bill perfectly. It’s extremely easy to setup and use, it reads temperatures quite accurately, and while not bombproof, is well-built and durable enough for everyday use.
There are a few things we would like to see, such as weatherproofing and impact-resistance. And the cables are a bit long, becoming easily tangled when dealing with multiple pieces of meat. It would also be nice to have some kind of color coding so you can more easily keep track of which probe is plugged into which port at a glance. You can set different colors for each probe on the app, but there is nothing included to mark the physical probes.
For the price, however, the Inkbird IBT-4XS is a solid meat thermometer. While there are other similar Bluetooth thermometers available at comparable prices, the Inkbird offers more probes than most, and has a much simpler interface.