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Ovens are notoriously unpredictable when it comes to temperature. Who hasn’t moved into a new place and popped in a pizza only to find it burnt, even though you used the same recipe and time increments as your last pie? Every oven is different, and the surest way to avoid a cooking catastrophe is to buy an oven thermometer and calibrate it, so you know the temperature is correct.
There are a number of choices on the market today, from old-fashioned analog to more high-tech digital. Most hang from the oven shelves, while others stand freely, and certain models can even read ultra-hot temperatures, allowing you to not only get accurate readouts in the oven, but also in the grill.
One important quality to look out for is the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certification. NSF was founded in 1944 to ensure companies comply with strict standards concerning material, design, performance, and safety. All of our choices are NSF-approved.
Oven thermometers help maintain precision and consistency every time you bake, roast, or broil—no more guessing where the hot spots are or whether your display reading reflects the actual interior temperature of your oven. Have peace of mind knowing those chocolate chip cookies will come out crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside—just the way you intended.
Here are the best oven thermometers.
Rubbermaid Oven Thermometer
Durable stainless steel construction
No need for battery
Readings sometimes fluctuate
Rated for commercial and home kitchens, it is hard to find a more dependable oven thermometer than this one from Rubbermaid. It is constructed from durable stainless steel with a shatterproof display and provides readings between 60 and 580 degrees Fahrenheit and 20 to 300 degrees Celsius. This comes in handy when baking or utilizing recipes with non-standard temperatures.
Not only is the Rubbermaid Instant Read a workhorse, but it also offers the versatility of standing on its base or hanging on a shelf in your oven. The oversized face facilitates easy reading of temperature, even through the oven door. In addition to your oven, this model can also be used in toaster ovens, grills, smokers, or any heat-based food appliance because of its wide temperature range. Best of all, it reads temperature instantly—no batteries required.
Size: 3.75 x 2.5 x 1.5 inches | Temperature Measurement: Celsius and Fahrenheit | Placement: Hanging or freestanding
Taylor Precision Products Classic Series Large Dial Oven Thermometer
Easy to read
Warming, roasting, and baking zone marks
Stainless steel construction
Not dishwasher safe
Not an instant-read temperature
Gets hot after use
Taylor Precision Products has manufactured kitchen measurement tools for nearly 170 years now, so you bet the brand's classic thermometer will have your back on that next foray into soufflés. It features a large dial with an extra-large colorful dial featuring zones for warming, baking, and roasting clearly marked on the face. It is easy to read and measures temperatures between 100 and 600 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as up to 350 degrees Celsius.
Design is an important factor with this model. It is constructed of strong stainless steel and can be oriented for side and front readings. Choice of placement is easy, as it can be hung or placed on the oven rack. The stable bottom will keep it from toppling over.
Size: 8 x 1.5 x 4.9 inches | Temperature Measurement: Celsius and Fahrenheit | Placement: Hanging or freestanding
Winco 3-Inch Dial Oven Thermometer
Easy to read
No Celsius marks
A good oven thermometer is easy to read, and the Winco delivers. The large display has clear Fahrenheit markings that shift from black to red when the common temperature of 350 degrees is achieved. It does not have precise Celsius settings, but there are marks for “Hold,” “Bake,” and “Roast,” as well as the FDA's HACCP food safety guidelines for holding and cooling temperatures for hot foods printed right on the face.
Attached via a built-in hook or standing panel, placement of the Winco is easy. The stainless steel construction provides durability, and the budget price point makes it an attractive option. The temperature range is 50 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Size: 5.06 x 1.56 x 8.44 inches | Temperature Measurement: Fahrenheit | Placement: Hanging or freestanding
KT THERMO Large 3-Inch Dial Oven Thermometer
Easy to clean
Resists high temperatures
No Celsius marks
Does not set on oven rack easily
With the sweet spot range of 100 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, the KT Thermo oven thermometer is also a great option for your grill. It registers cool enough temperatures all the way to blistering hot (600 degrees Fahrenheit), making for easy calibration. The face is uncluttered with large numbers to facilitate reading, even through an oven door.
The stainless steel body comes with a simple, rotating hook that locks onto an oven rack, as well as a base if you prefer to keep it freestanding. It does not register Celsius temperatures, but the face does have a graduated color wheel that is marked for “Warm,” “Bake/Roast,” and “Broil” settings. The KT Thermo is a compact, attractive choice for those looking for one tool that can toggle between grilling and oven cookery.
Size: 3.78 x 3.15 x 1.97 inches | Temperature Measurement: Fahrenheit | Placement: Hanging or freestanding
AcuRite Stainless Steel Oven Thermometer
Handles high heat
Starts registering at 150 Fahrenheit
Another high-heat winner, the Acurite can shift between outdoor grilling and oven roasting with ease. Unfortunately, it does not start registering until 150 degrees Fahrenheit, but it does reach 600 degrees Fahrenheit for those fiery barbecues. The face has markings on the interior for Celsius temperatures 70 and 350 degrees, even though it is not advertised.
And, on the subject of the face, the display features a bright white background with large black numbers, which makes it easy to read. The glass can withstand high heat without issue, too. It is easy to clean, has a stainless steel construction, and can be hung from the integrated hook or set up on the base.
Size: 4.25 x 8.5 x 7.25 inches | Temperature Measurement: Fahrenheit | Placement: Hanging or freestanding
Cooper Stainless Steel Bi-Metal Oven Thermometer
Wide temperature range
Difficult to read
The Cooper-Atkins is a mighty giant when it comes to oven thermometers. It includes both Celsius and Fahrenheit readings and FDA HACCP references for cooking guidelines right on the face. The range is 50 to 300 degrees Celsius and 100 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, which is clearly marked on the bright white background, dark numbers, and red graduated color wheel.
This affordable option does present a slightly cluttered interface with all that information in such a small package, but with the built-in hanger and stable base, it is a versatile model that offers lots of bang for your buck.
Size: 0.59 x 1.18 x 0.94 inches | Temperature Measurement: Celsius and Fahrenheit | Placement: Hanging or freestanding
The Rubbermaid Instant Read Thermometer (view at Amazon) is a top choice for mechanized models because of its versatile placement options and wide temperature range. If you are looking for compact size without compromising on features, go for the Cooper Atkins (view at Amazon); it has HACCP guidance, as well as Fahrenheit and Celsius marks, all in a diminutive, stainless steel package.
What to Look for in an Oven Thermometer
This is the single most important factor when deciding which model to purchase. Bright white backgrounds, large numerals, and clear zone markings will help you see the temperature, even through an oven door. If you cannot clearly read the interface, the thermometer is useless.
Temperature Unit and Range
In some aspects, this is a preference. For most cooks, Fahrenheit readings will suffice, but if you consult recipes with less traditional temperature requirements, Celsius marks may help. The more important aspect of this consideration is the range of temperatures. A wide range of temperatures is optimal; 50 degrees to 500 degrees Fahrenheit will cover most traditional recipes, but for high-heat cooking, grilling, or baking, you may want to look for a thermometer that measures up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
There are really only two options here. Oven thermometers either come with hooks to hang from oven racks or a base to stand freely. Some are integrated with both. The best spot for an oven thermometer is close to the food, so if you find one that offers the versatility of freestanding or hanging, that is the way to go.
How do you use an oven thermometer?
Start by putting your thermometer in a cold oven on the same rack (hanging or freestanding) where you will place your food. Set your desired cooking temperature, and allow it to preheat. If your oven temperature is registering lower than the one you set, let it continue heating until it reaches the cooking temperature based on your thermometer’s reading. Once the thermometer reaches your desired temperature, place your food in the oven. Check periodically, and adjust the temperature if needed.
How do you calibrate an oven thermometer?
This might be the most important step you can take toward consistent cooking. Place the thermometer in a cold oven, and preheat it to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. When the oven finishes preheating, check the thermometer and record the temperature difference. Repeat this process five times, increasing the oven temperature 50 degrees Fahrenheit each time. Again, record the differences at each interval. Add the variants together and divide by six. This will give you the average temperature your oven varies, hot or cold. Next time you go to preheat your oven, use this calibration to adjust your oven temperature.
How long can you leave an oven thermometer in the oven?
The simple answer is as long as you want. Oven thermometers are made of durable materials that can withstand high heat.
Where do you place an oven thermometer?
It is best to place it as close to the food as possible for the most accurate reading.
Can you use an oven thermometer in a grill?
Yes, but you must ensure your thermometer has a range between 100 degrees Fahrenheit and not higher than 550-600 degrees Fahrenheit. This will afford accuracy, even when you are smoking food or only have half your grill fired.
How do you clean an oven thermometer?
Over the life of your thermometer, it will encounter oil sprays, baking powder, and other bits of cooking debris. Properly cleaned surfaces will head off readability issues. To make sure you're getting the most accurate readings possible, first check the packaging to be sure any glass is waterproof. Next, make sure the thermometer is cool. Using warm water and mild detergent, scrub using a soft washcloth, and then rinse and dry at once.
If you are dealing with particularly tough stains and the above does not work, make a paste of baking soda and water, and then spread it over the face of your thermometer. Leave that on for about 15 minutes, and then wipe it clean with a soft cloth. Dry immediately. Baking soda is remarkably good at removing virtually any kitchen stain.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Carrie Honaker is a food writer who worked in restaurants throughout college, including La Madeleine in Atlanta, where she relied on accurate oven thermometers for a successful morning bake. Between her experience as a restaurateur and avid home cook, she has calibrated many ovens. She loves her Taylor Classic Oven Thermometer for its readability and versatility, especially on those days when she is moving between grill and oven. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.