I am looking for a temperature probe. Specifically the kind you put in meat before putting it in the oven and the display is outside of the oven. I've purchased three in as many months and each one has died or started reading incorrectly.

What should I look for in terms of a temperature probe that will last?

  • I haven't had 'em die that quickly, but I've lost a few over the years ... I think they develop a short over time. (or the one time, when I think I melted something inside, as I put it in the oven bare w/out being in something). I'd be happy with a company that sells as 10-pack of replacement probes, so I stop collecting the bases, even if it does mean I have a bunch of kitchen timers.
    – Joe
    Sep 24 '11 at 16:01
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    Shopping recomendations (i.e. what brand should I buy) are off topic. Advice on how to evaluate equipment are considered on topic though (and answers often include brands as examples). I've edited the question so that it is on topic.
    – yossarian
    Sep 24 '11 at 18:07
  • This may be a little meta, but I checked the FAQ before asking the question and it did not mention shopping recommendations as being off-topic. Perhaps "shopping recommendations" should be added to the list of questions that are not appropriate for the site?
    – Andy S
    Sep 24 '11 at 22:32
  • @joe I don't know what you mean by "put it in the oven bare", but if there are indeed thermometers which are supposed to go into the oven, my first suggestion is to buy one where the sensor goes into the oven and all the electronics stay outside.
    – rumtscho
    Sep 24 '11 at 23:50
  • @AndyS, it's general SE policy. There's discussion on meta about it if you search. It comes down to the advice being "too localized" and only relevant in a certain period of time until model xyz is no longer being made.
    – yossarian
    Sep 25 '11 at 1:00

The one piece of advice I can offer, and it is the most essential as far as I am concerned, is to buy a thermometer with a detachable, moreover replaceable, probe.

Some models have the cord and probe permanently attached. Some configure the hardware to allow for replacement of the cord and probe in the (inevitable) event of a failure. Think of it in terms of a DVD/TV combo; one of them will die, don't force the other to carry around a conjoined limb.

I recommend you look for a well rated device (shop around) that has a detachable probe. When the cord gets a short or the probe goes bad, you can swap it out for less than the cost of the whole unit. Aside from that, brand and cost and features are up to you.


If you're killing a lot of probes, the solution is (as mfg says) to get one with cheap, replaceable probes. You might also spring for a lab-grade thermocouple & reader; the readers are hard to kill and engineered to a higher standard than devices for the home kitchen. The thermocouple element itself is easily replaceable, and very durable and hard to kill, since it is just a junction of two metals.

You sacrifice some precision by using a thermocouple, of course; they're only accurate to 1-2 degrees, and readings tend to drift over time, requiring recalibration. However, recalibration takes all of 5 minutes with boiling and ice water, and the overall device is engineered to a higher standard and durability than anything you'll get in a home kitchen.

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