Which oven thermometer is best?
Anyone who has ever cut into undercooked chicken or burnt a cake knows the importance of attention to detail when it comes to preparing food. The proper cooking temperature can be the difference between a delicious, homemade meal and a house full of smoke with pizza delivery on the way.
A high-quality oven thermometer is a kitchen essential. Even those who only cook or bake occasionally will benefit from the additional accuracy these inexpensive devices provide. From professionals to hobbyists, the AcuRite Stainless Steel Oven Thermometer is the best, most well-rounded choice for those looking to get the most out of their oven.
What to consider before you buy an oven thermometer
- Dial thermometers. Like large, outdoor thermometers, these devices have an arrow that moves around their face to indicate the current temperature. They are simple and easy to read.
- Bulb thermometers. These traditional thermometers contain a tube of colored liquid, usually alcohol, that rises and lowers. The level of this liquid is compared to a series of numbers and lines along the tube to determine the temperature.
- Digital oven thermometers. These digital thermometers, often called meat thermometers, contain electronics, a digital display and a metal, temperature sensing probe. These devices do not go inside of your oven and are best used to inspect the internal temperature of specific foods to ensure doneness.
Consider carefully what your expectations for oven usage are to determine what type of thermometer will work best for your purposes. Be sure to select one that reaches temperatures high enough for the food you intend to make.
While your oven’s built-in setting will let you know when its interior space reaches the desired temperature, they are rarely accurate and different areas inside your oven will actually be at various temperatures. An oven thermometer can be used to determine which parts of your oven get the hottest. You can use this information to rotate food to ensure even cooking or to cook more than one item at a time using slightly different levels of heat.
Certain undercooked foods can result in illness, making food safety important for everyone. However, if you intend to produce food commercially, it may be a legal requirement to use a high-grade oven thermometer.
What to look for in a quality oven thermometer
Accuracy is the number one reason to use an oven thermometer. Be sure to select a model from a reputable, well-known brand. An inaccurate oven thermometer will leave you wondering where you went wrong.
Dial thermometers are much easier to read than bulb thermometers, but they tend to be slightly less accurate. The larger the dial face and print, the quicker you will be able to determine the temperature.
Consider what kind of cooking or baking you do most frequently. Select an oven thermometer that can register temperatures throughout the range you plan to be working in.
Ease of cleaning
Oven thermometers can get messy, with accumulated food and grease splatter making them difficult to read. Choose a model that has a smooth, easily cleaned surface to not add another time-consuming task to your list of kitchen chores.
Reputable oven thermometer brands will be made from high-quality, kitchen-safe materials like glass and stainless steel. Stainless steel is non-toxic and will not rust.
Select an oven thermometer that is large enough to easily read but will not become an obstacle. Oven thermometers get very hot, so be sure the one you choose won’t put you at risk of coming into contact with it as you work.
How much you can expect to spend on an oven thermometer
Even high-end bulb oven thermometers are very affordable, with the most expensive models usually not costing more than $15. Most oven thermometers will cost $3-$12.
Oven thermometer FAQ
Q. How do I clean my oven thermometer?
A. Oven thermometers are made to withstand very high temperatures and humidity. However, they aren’t designed to be completely waterproof. Wipe off your oven thermometer with a clean, damp cloth if it becomes dirty. Never dunk your thermometer in water or run it through the dishwasher.
Q. Do I really need an oven thermometer?
A. It depends on how serious you are about accuracy and success when it comes to cooking and baking. The thermometers built into the appliances are good enough for most people, especially if they keep a close eye on their food and get to know their oven’s quirks. However, those who prepare food for commercial purposes or experiment with different recipes should use an oven thermometer for the best results.
Q. Does it matter where in my oven I put the thermometer?
A. Generally speaking, the center of the oven where you most often place food is the best location for your oven thermometer. Be sure your thermometer is visible when the oven’s door is shut, and don’t put it in an area where you may accidentally touch it.
What’s the best oven thermometer to buy?
Top oven thermometer
What you need to know: With a temperature range up to 600 degrees, this model is an excellent, all-purpose oven thermometer.
What you’ll love: This thermometer is easy to hang and its face has handy labels that indicate warming, baking and roasting temperatures.
What you should consider: This thermometer’s face is on the small side and may be hard to read through your oven’s window.
Where to buy: Amazon
Top oven thermometer for the money
What you need to know: This thermometer has a large dial, making it easy to read in dark ovens.
What you’ll love: The ability to hang this thermometer on a hook, clip it to an oven rack or simply place it on its base allows it to fit in any oven.
What you should consider: Some users have noted that this thermometer takes longer than they would like to indicate the temperature.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: A great thermometer for grills, smokers and ovens alike.
What you’ll love: Rubbermaid’s reputation for quality means this oven thermometer will provide accurate readings and stand up to heavy use.
What you should consider: This thermometer’s dial design is crowded. Its excessive lines and numbers can make quick readings a challenge.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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