One of the easier thermometers to hang, it gets high marks for accuracy and large-print numbering.
At 2.5" wide, the dial is relatively small, and the black type may be hard to read through a blackened oven door.
Versatile thermometer can be hung or stood upright. Reads a broad range of 150°F to 550°F. A practical addition to any kitchen.
Reports of a few "lemons."
Made of durable stainless steel. Can be mounted two different ways. Precise and reliable.
Some owners complain that it takes too long to come to temperature.
At 4.5" wide, this thermometer has the largest dial of any model we tested. It delivered accurate readings in Fahrenheit and Celsius and was easy to clean.
The narrow base may slip between oven grates, and the hook may come loose if the rack is bumped.
At more than 3" wide, the large, clear dial is easy to read. It boasts the largest temperature range (from 100ºF to 600ºF) of all thermometers we tested, for peace of mind while roasting and broiling.
Some owners have noted the dial yellows and becomes harder to read with age.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We all have cooking fails — like when your muffins come out sunken in the middle instead of perfectly domed, or when your elegant macarons look more like flat, crispy pastel coins. However, these kinds of issues are often caused by your oven temperature, rather than any mistake you've made. Want consistent results every time? Then it’s time to try an oven thermometer.
Using an oven thermometer is the expert’s trick for getting the recipe just right. If your oven hasn’t been properly calibrated, your oven’s temperature reading can be off by 50º F or more. Keeping an oven thermometer in your oven at all times or simply using one every three months to check for accuracy are easy solutions to your cooking woes.
But do a cursory search of oven thermometers, and you’ll find a dizzying array of options — the majority of which look basically the same. So, how can you tell the winners from the losers?
Our in-depth shopping guide has all the tips you’ll need to find the right oven thermometer for your requirements.
Your oven’s built-in thermometer only reads the temperature in one place, which doesn't take into account hot spots, temperature cycles, and the position of the heating elements, so it can be inaccurate. However, with an oven thermometer, you can position it anywhere you like inside your oven. Taking the temperature right in the middle, where you cook your food, is best.
Using an oven thermometer helps ensure that your oven is heating up high enough to cook food safely.
An oven thermometer gives you the peace of mind that your oven has heated to the correct temperature for whatever recipe you're making, causing fewer recipe disasters. This is especially important for recipes that require precise temperatures to get the desired result, such as soufflés.
If you run a restaurant or commercial kitchen, you may be legally required to use an oven thermometer to check that your oven is heating food to a safe temperature.
The majority of oven thermometers have one of two display types. They either have a dial display, where a hand points to the correct temperature, or a bulb display, where the liquid inside the bulb rises to show the temperature. Although dial displays are the most common, they tend to be slightly less accurate.
The main drawback of bulb-type oven thermometers is that they are more challenging to read than dial thermometers. But not all dial thermometers are created equal. A good rule to follow: the larger the dial’s face, the better the readability.
Some oven thermometers can display temperatures as low as 50º F. and as high as 600º F., but others have smaller temperature ranges. Make sure the temperature range works for you. For instance, if you bake bread or pizza in your oven, you'll probably want a thermometer that goes up to 500º F.
The majority of oven thermometers have a hook on top to attach it to an oven rack. Ideally, you want your thermometer to face the front of the oven, so you can read it through the door. It should also come with a base to stand it up in your oven, if you prefer.
Food safety is important. Some oven thermometers give you food-safety information or guidelines, in accordance with the hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) method that most restaurants and food manufacturers use. For instance, it might show the safe zone for heating or reheating food. This is great for home kitchens as well as professional settings, because food safety should be important for everyone.
Ideally, you should buy an oven thermometer that's accurate to within no more than 15º F.
Some oven thermometers display temperatures in Centigrade in addition to Fahrenheit, whereas others use only Fahrenheit.
Never handle your oven thermometer when it's been in a hot oven unless you use oven mitts or tongs.
Oven thermometers are generally similar in price. We've seen basic dial oven thermometers that cost as little as $3 to $4, but the majority are priced between $6 and $8. A small number cost up to $10 or $12, but you typically don't need to spend this much. Bulb oven thermometers cost the most — usually between $10 and $15.
Position your oven thermometer, so you can read it with the oven door closed. If you're constantly opening the door to check the thermometer, you'll let out the oven's heat and cooking will take longer.
An accurate oven temperature is extremely important for baking. If you regularly bake cakes, cookies, or muffins, we would highly recommend using an oven thermometer, even if you're fairly sure your oven is accurate. An oven that’s just 10 or 20 degrees off the mark could ruin a recipe.
Place your oven thermometer in your oven before turning it on. This allows it to read the temperature as your oven heats and may give more accurate results.
When we write our shopping guides, we're forced to whittle our shortlist down to our top five products. However, there are even more out there worthy of your consideration.
For starters, we like the Taylor Thermometer Oven Guide, which has a bulb design, instead of the more common dial option. It generally gives exceptionally accurate readings, but the bulb can be hard to read in poor lighting.
With a temperature range between 100º F. and 600º F., the Cooper-Atkins Stainless Steel Oven Thermometer is great for high temperatures but not so much for low ones. It generally gives consistent results, though some users complain that the dial is too small to read easily.
One of the features we love on the KT Thermo Large 3” Dial Oven Thermometer is the 360-degree swivel hanging hook, so you can hang it at any angle and still be able to turn the dial, so it faces forward for easier reading. It features an impressive range of 50º F. to 600º F.
Q. Are oven thermometers waterproof?
A. Since a large amount of steam can build up in an oven, especially when cooking moist foods, a quality oven thermometer should have some degree of water resistance. They usually aren't waterproof enough to survive being submerged, but they can stand up to steamy oven conditions.
Q. How can I tell if my oven thermometer is accurate?
A. This is a tough one. If you think your oven temperature is off but you're not sure by how much, how can you tell whether your new oven thermometer is giving the correct reading? If you strongly feel your recipes still aren’t turning out right even after you have tried cooking with your new oven thermometer, you can purchase two more oven thermometers from different brands and see if they give the same reading. If at least two out of three have the same temperature reading, then you have your answer.
Q. Will my oven thermometer show the correct temperature as soon as my oven has preheated?
A. It usually takes an oven thermometer a couple of extra minutes to display the correct temperature after the oven has preheated. So, wait a little while before you check the temperature, then adjust your oven as necessary if the temperature isn't matching up with what you set the oven to.
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