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How Do I Choose the Best Electronic Thermometer?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2016
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If you are in the market for an electronic thermometer, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the wide array of choices available. In order to determine which electronic thermometer is best for you, it is helpful to understand the most common thermometer types and to think about which type best fits your needs. Most household electronic thermometers fall into two categories: medical thermometers and kitchen thermometers. The category of kitchen thermometers can be further subdivided into meat thermometers, candy thermometers, and refrigerator thermometers. Once you know which category of thermometer you need, narrow down your choices by thinking about which special features are priorities.

Should you need a product that can measure body temperatures, you will want a medical thermometer. Modern electronic medical thermometers are available in many forms, from a simple stick-like instrument that is inserted under the tongue, into the armpit, or into the rectum to a handheld device that is inserted into the ear canal to a pacifier-like instrument that is held in the mouth. Plenty of these come with a range of “bells and whistles” and a corresponding hefty price tag, but many medical experts advise that in the case of medical thermometers, simple is often best. Even thought the stick-style thermometer may have the fewest features and the lowest price, these experts say, it is often the most foolproof, and consequently tends to give the most accurate readings.

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To find the best electronic thermometer for kitchen usage, you must first determine which category of kitchen thermometer suits your needs. As its name suggests, a meat thermometer measures the internal temperature of pieces of meat, and is thus an important tool in preventing food-borne illness. A probe-style meat thermometer usually features a small display unit which rests on the counter, and a metal probe which is connected to the display unit by a long, heatproof cord. While this design allows you to keep track of your food’s temperature without opening the oven, probe-style thermometers are often costly. If you wish to save money and do not mind periodically opening the oven for a temperature reading, consider a stick-style meat thermometer, which is inserted into a piece of meat and then removed once you have gotten a reading.

For a device that can be used to measure the temperature of confections and cooking oil, you should seek the type of electronic thermometer known as a candy thermometer. A candy thermometer is usually tube-shaped, and features a clip which allows it to be hung from the side of a saucepan. If the end of this type of thermometer rests too close to the bottom of a saucepan, its temperature reading will not be accurate. Therefore, when selecting a candy thermometer, you should seek a product with a very snug-fitting clip.

Finally, if you wish to prevent food spoilage by keeping track of the temperature inside your refrigerator or freezer, you should look for an electronic thermometer designed for refrigerator use. When shopping for this type of thermometer, you may wish to consider models which have built-in suction cups, which allow them to be mounted to your refrigerator’s inner walls so they do not occupy shelf space. For quick and easy readings, you may also wish to seek a product with a fog-proof display.

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