Ooni infrared thermometer for cooking

The 5 Best Infrared Thermometer for Cooking

Want a perfectly seared steak or crispy and juicy fried chicken?

An infrared thermometer for cooking is a game changer!

When you’re in the kitchen or behind the grill, precision matters—especially when it comes to temperature. Whether you’re baking a pizza, grilling a steak, or monitoring the temperature of a sauce, an infrared thermometer for cooking can be your best ally. We will explore these handy kitchen gadgets and find out which one is the best fit for your cooking needs.

What is an infrared thermometer and why do I need one?

An infrared thermometer, often referred to as a laser thermometer, is a tool that measures the temperature of a surface without making any physical contact.

This feature is particularly helpful in the kitchen, where the temperature of cooking surfaces, ovens, and food needs to be known accurately and swiftly to ensure optimal cooking results and safety.

Why Choose an Infrared Thermometer for Cooking?

  • Safety: First and foremost, using an infrared thermometer for cooking keeps you safe in the kitchen. It allows you to measure extremely hot surfaces from a safe distance, preventing the risk of burns which are common when using traditional probe thermometers.
  • Convenience and Speed: These infrared thermometers for cooking provide instant temperature readings, which is so helpful in dishes or recipes that need precise heat settings. For example, when searing meat or frying doughnuts, knowing the exact surface temperature of the oil can mean the difference between perfectly cooked food and a burnt disaster.
  • Consistency and Repeatability: Whether you are cooking at home or at work, consistency is a key skill in cooking. An infrared thermometer helps maintain consistent standards by ensuring your cooking environment remains within optimal temperature ranges at all times.

How does an Infrared Thermometer Work?

Infrared thermometers have a lens that focuses the infrared light emitted from all objects onto a detector known as a thermopile. The thermopile absorbs the infrared radiation and turns it into heat, which then gets converted into electricity. The amount of electricity generated is then measured and displayed as a temperature. The entire process happens almost instantaneously, making infrared thermometers so handy for fast-paced kitchens.

The Science Behind the Tech

  • Detecting Infrared Energy: Everything emits infrared energy, which is a type of light that falls outside the visible spectrum; we cannot see it with the naked eye. The amount of infrared energy an object emits increases with its temperature.
  • Capturing the Energy: Within the infrared thermometer, the detector acts much like a lens, focusing the infrared energy onto a sensor that converts this energy into an electrical signal.
  • Converting Energy to Data: The electrical signal generated by the sensor is then processed using a series of calculations that translate it into a temperature reading. This process is quick and efficient, providing an immediate temperature display.

Review of the best infrared thermometers

Best Overall: Etekcity 774 Infrared Thermometer Gun

When it comes to versatility and reliability, the Etekcity 774 Infrared Thermometer Gun stands out as the best overall choice. This model is ideal for home cooks and professional chefs alike, offering a wide temperature range from -58°F to 716°F (-50°C to 380°C). This range covers most cooking needs.

Key Features:

  • User-Friendly: The Etekcity 774 features a backlit LCD screen for easy reading in various lighting conditions, and a simple point-and-shoot operation makes it accessible to users of all skill levels.
  • Speed and Accuracy: It provides temperature readings within seconds, ensuring that you can make quick decisions in time-sensitive cooking situations. The accuracy is within ±2%, making it super reliable.
  • Battery Life: Equipped with an auto-off function to conserve battery life, it’s practical for frequent use throughout busy cooking/prep days.

Extra Features I Love:

  • It’s particularly useful for tempering chocolate or making candy, where specific temperature ranges are crucial.
  • The non-contact feature allows you to measure the surface temperature of foods and equipment without contamination.
Etekcity infrared thermometer for cooking

Best for Pizza Ovens: Ooni Infrared Thermometer Gun

There have been so many developments recently in making pizza that it is becoming more and more accessible for people to make pizza in the comfort of their own homes. Pizza ovens are becoming more affordable but an infrared thermometer is so helpful to make sure you get great pizzas every time.

The Ooni Infrared Thermometer Gun is a great choice. Ooni is known for excellent pizza ovens and their thermometers are just as versatile and accurate. Tailored for the high temperatures that you need in pizza cooking, this thermometer will let you know when your oven has reached the right temperature to get that perfect crust.

Key Features:

  • High-Temperature Range: It efficiently measures up to 1022°F (550°C), which is essential for wood-fired pizza ovens.
  • Targeted Accuracy: The laser guide feature helps pinpoint the exact area of measurement, crucial for evenly heated pizza stones.
  • Design and Durability: Built to withstand the intense environment near a high-heat pizza oven, its solid construction guarantees long-term use.
Ooni instant read thermometer

Best for Grilling: Cuisinart CSG-625 Infrared Surface Thermometer

The Cuisinart CSG-625 Infrared Surface Thermometer is the top pick for those who love to grill. Knowing your grill’s exact temperature can transform your cooking results from good to great, whether you’re grilling steaks, seafood, or vegetables.

Key Features:

  • Optimized for Outdoor Use: This thermometer is specifically designed for the outdoors, featuring a robust design that can handle the rough conditions of grilling outside.
  • Instant Readings: Provides quick and accurate temperature readings, which is crucial for managing the perfect grilling temperature.
  • Ease of Use: With a simple point-and-click operation, it allows you to easily check different parts of the grill to ensure even heating and optimal cooking conditions.
Cuisinart instant read infrared thermometer

Best Industrial: Fluke 62 Max Infrared Thermometer

If you want a rugged and reliable thermometer, the Fluke 62 Max Infrared Thermometer is the standout choice. Built to withstand the toughest environments, this tool offers both durability and precision, making it ideal for use in commercial kitchens, manufacturing processes, and other demanding settings.

Key Features:

  • Rugged Design: The Fluke 62 Max is dustproof and water-resistant, with a rating of IP54, and it can survive drops of up to 9.8 feet.
  • Temperature Range and Accuracy: Capable of measuring from -20°F to 932°F (-30°C to 500°C) with an accuracy of ±1.5% of the reading, it’s suitable for a vast array of industrial applications.
  • Dual Laser Technology: This feature allows for more accurate targeting and consistent results, crucial for professional needs where precision is non-negotiable.

Additional Key Features:

  • Perfect for monitoring mechanical equipment or electrical systems where heat levels can indicate potential issues.
  • Essential in food processing areas where specific temperatures are crucial for safety and quality control.
Fluke 62 max infrared thermometer

Best Temperature Range: ThermoPro TP450 Dual Laser Temperature Gun

The ThermoPro TP450 Dual Laser Temperature Gun offers an exceptional temperature range, making it a versatile tool for those who require a thermometer that can handle extreme conditions from freezing to very hot environments.

Key Features:

  • Extensive Temperature Range: This unit measures from -58°F to 1472°F (-50°C to 800°C), covering nearly all possible cooking and industrial temperature needs.
  • Dual Laser Pointer: Ensures pinpoint accuracy by clearly marking the area being measured, which is particularly useful in complex or detailed situations.
  • Adjustable Emissivity: Customizable emissivity improves accuracy across different surface materials, from shiny metals to matte-painted walls.

Value-Added Uses:

  • Ideal for pastry chefs working with high-sugar recipes requiring precise temperatures.
  • Useful in automotive and aerospace industries for checking engine parts and other components that may experience extreme temperatures.
ThermoPro Dual Laser Thermometer

The 4 Best Infrared Thermometers for Barbecuing and Baking

  1. ThermoWorks Industrial IR with Circle Laser: This model stands out for professionals who need exact accuracy in high-stakes environments. The circle laser targeting can give a visual guide of where the area being measured is to ensure the results you get are reliable.
ThermoWorks Industrial IR with Circle Laser

2. Etekcity Infrared Thermometer Laser Grip 1022: An excellent option for home cooks looking for an affordable yet reliable thermometer. This device is straightforward to use, providing quick and accurate readings that help maintain proper food safety and great results.

3. Cuisinart CSG-625 Infrared Surface Thermometer: This thermometer is specifically optimized for grilling, making it the best choice for people who love to barbecue. It helps maintain an even cooking temperature while quickly and easily getting fast readings.

Cuisinart CSG-625 Infrared Surface Thermometer

Fluke 62 Max: Beyond its industrial applications, this robust thermometer also excels in heavy-duty kitchen use. It’s ideal for professional chefs who need a durable and precise tool to manage the high demands of a busy commercial kitchen.

Fluke 62 Max Thermometer

Each of these thermometers offer unique features based on what your needs are. From day-to-day measurements at home to diverse industrial applications, there is a thermometer that can fit your requirements and give you great results at a reasonable price.


Is an infrared thermometer a high-tech meat thermometer?

An infrared thermometer measures surface temperatures from a distance using infrared radiation. While it can quickly tell you how hot a cooking surface or exterior of food is, it’s not a replacement for a meat thermometer. Meat thermometers measure internal temperatures, which you need to determine the doneness and safety of meats.

Why would I use an infrared thermometer to cook if I need to use a meat thermometer anyway?

Infrared thermometers are invaluable for immediate surface temperature readings, which is essential for tasks like checking frying pan heat before searing meat, or confirming the temperature of oil for deep frying. They complement meat thermometers by allowing you to manage external temperatures that affect cooking results, enhancing both safety and culinary precision.

Are infrared thermometer guns safe to use?

Yes, infrared thermometers are safe to use. They do not emit any radiation; instead, they detect the infrared energy naturally emitted by objects. Since they do not require contact, they also reduce the risk of cross-contamination and burns, making them a safe piece of kit.

What are the temperature ranges?

The temperature range of infrared thermometers varies depending on the model but generally spans from about -58°F to over 1500°F (-50°C to over 800°C). This range makes them suitable for a wide array of cooking and industrial applications, from checking freezer temperatures to measuring the heat of cooking surfaces and hot oils.

Let’s Wrap it Up

Infrared thermometers provide a swift and secure method to monitor surface temperatures, essential for cooking with precision and safety. Though not a replacement for meat thermometers, they play a crucial role in managing cooking environments effectively. For both novice home cooks and seasoned chefs, incorporating an infrared thermometer into your kitchen arsenal can elevate the quality and consistency of your dishes.

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