Digital vs. Analogue Meat Thermometers: Which Are Better?

Meat thermometers are generally the best way of checking the how well cooked your meat is. As I’ve discussed previously, cutting the meat open with a knife is a bad idea. And accurate touch testing is a difficult skill to master.

So I guess the question for any aspiring BBQ chef is not whether to buy a meat thermometer, but which one.

Well before you start looking at individual models (and yes, there are some massive quality differences), it’s best to decide whether you want to go for a new-fangled digital thermometer, or a good old-fashioned analogue one.

So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each. Hopefully that will help you decide which type is best for you:

Digital Thermometer

Digital Instant Read Gauge

Digital Meat Gauge

Digital Meat Gauge







Digital Meat Thermometers



Good models have features that can make your cooking life easier, such as a beep alarm when your meat has reached a preset temperature. They are generally more difficult to calibrate and some models can’t be calibrated at all.
They generally have large, easy-to-read displays that can be read in low light. This can be particularly helpful if you’re using it in the oven, as you don’t need to open the oven door and pull out your food to read the temperature. With all of the cheap electronics coming out of certain parts of the world, some people don’t trust them as much (often with good reason).
It’s 2014; some people are just used to and prefer things being digital. When they do malfunction, they tend to do so with a far greater degree of inaccuracy than analogue models.
They require batteries, which can of course, go flat.


Steak Gauges Set of 4

Individual Steak Gauges

Analogue Meat Thermometers



They use an old-fashioned mechanical mechanism, as opposed to an electronic one, which some people prefer. They tend to have small dial displays that can be very difficult to read from a distance, or in low light.
They are easy to calibrate. They generally don’t have any additional features, such as letting you know when you’re meat is done.
No batteries required.


A couple of additional meat thermometer tips:

  • Test the accuracy of your thermometer by placing it in boiling water (HINT: it should read about 100°C!).
  • Don’t trust the thermometers that come installed as part of your BBQ lid. For one thing, they only give the temperature at the lid level; not the temperature of the meat or the hot plate. Secondly, they are notoriously cheap and inaccurate.

So there you have it. By now you should have a fairly good grasp of the pros and cons of the two types of meat thermometers. In reality though, as long as you buy a decent quality product that accurately reads the temperature and is well made, it comes down to personal preference. You’ll find a range of meat thermometers to choose from at

What do you think? Do you use a digital or an analogue meat thermometer? Which one do you prefer and why?

Marian O'Neill

Marian O'Neill

Managing Director at
My name is Marian O’Neill and I am the owner of All BBQs. My working life commenced as a primary school teacher, however the majority of my career has been in business with my husband. I love BBQ cooking and decided to follow my interest and open an online BBQ superstore after much research revealed how difficult it was to find good quality, australian made BBQs. At we specialise in Australian made BBQs, wood fired pizza ovens and outdoor kitchens. We strive wherever possible to provide high quality Australian made products.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Jimmy July 5, 2016, 10:33 pm

    There’s certainly a great deal to know about this subject.
    I love all of the points you have made.


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