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What is the difference between Bluetooth and WiFi meat thermometers? And since we’re here, what are their similarities? Does any of it matter?
If you’re looking to get a meat thermometer that connects to your phone these are questions you’ve had along with plenty of others.
There are plenty of options to choose from when you’re shopping for a meat thermometer that will allow you to walk away from your oven or grill for more than five minutes.
When shopping and researching all of these thermometers you will begin to see certain patterns. The first thing you’ll notice is that WiFi meat thermometers are noticeably more expensive than the Bluetooth models.
Another thing you’ll notice immediately is that the term “wireless” is used to describe a multitude of different thermometer technologies. Here are three examples:
The ThermoPro TP25 is a Bluetooth thermometer.
The Meater Plus Wireless Meat Thermometer has both WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities.
The Maverick XR 50 Remote BBQ Alarm Thermometer is neither Bluetooth or WiFi enabled. It is a wireless transmitter-to-receiver meat thermometer, commonly referred to as a remote meat thermometer.
As you can see it can get pretty confusing real fast. But like most new things, they become easier to understand the more time you spend with them.
Today I’m going to show you why it’s important to know the differences between Bluetooth and Wifi meat thermometers. I will also explain what things to look for when shopping for either thermometer types as well as tackle the pesky wireless subject.
Check out my latest review of the BBQ Guru UltraQ WiFi BBQ Temperature Controller.
What is a Bluetooth Meat Thermometer and What Are Its Capabilities?
Bluetooth meat thermometers connect to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth technology.
Great. What is Bluetooth technology? I’ll try not to get too sciencey.
Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard that uses short-wavelength radio waves. Think of it as an advanced walkie-talkie between your smartphone and whatever device you’re connecting to.
All Bluetooth devices use the 2.4 GHz (Gigahertz) to 2.485 GHz radio band because that is the range that they are allowed to operate in. This frequency range is unlicensed and used for all Bluetooth applications. The GHz (Gigahertz) doesn’t refer to power like your computer’s processor but actually refers to the number of times a radio wave oscillates over the course of a second.
The frequency at which these devices operate is important so that they don’t interfere with other things such as cellphones operating at 1.9GHz. or a radio station operating at 1.7 GHz.
Ok, so now that we have a basic understanding of Bluetooth, let’s discuss the range of Bluetooth thermometers and why it seems to vary so much.
For that discussion, I will let the smart people from Bluetooth explain:
I’ll bet you are even more confused after watching that. Don’t worry, I’ve found that the range of your Bluetooth meat thermometer will most likely be dependent on a few key factors.
- How many obstacles do you have between your smartphone or tablet and your thermometer? Are there a bunch of walls and trees in between you and the thermometer?
- The sensitivity of the receiving device. (your smartphone or tablet)
- How many other Bluetooth devices are enabled around you?
- The Bluetooth chip inside your meat thermometer. (more on that in a second)
Let’s take a look at how some of these factors can affect your Bluetooth meat thermometer’s signal.
What Determines the Range of a Bluetooth Meat Thermometer?
The range of Bluetooth meat thermometers until recently was around 30 feet. With the advancements in Bluetooth chip technology that range has advanced by quite a lot. The recent release of the ThermoPro TP25 Bluetooth Meat Thermometer in January 2020 is an example of this advancement.
The TP25 boasts of a best-in-class Bluetooth range of 495 feet because of its advanced Bluetooth chip technology. This is probably a good time to interject and discuss the factors that can affect you at home trying to achieve this range with your smartphone.
Obstacles such as walls, trees, and other large objects are some of the things that can distort a Bluetooth signal. But beyond the obvious obstacles, the biggest contributing factor to receiving a Bluetooth signal on your smart device is the signal sensitivity of the device itself.
I tested the Bluetooth range of the TP25 on an 8-year-old iPad, a Google Pixel 2 phone, and an iPhone 7. Each smart device had different results. I had high expectations for the Google Pixel 2 phone as it has the newer Bluetooth 5.0 technology with advanced range.
The Google Pixel 2 phone was the worst with a reception of around 100 feet. (Google has had issues with the Bluetooth range of the Pixel models.)
The iPad performed better at around 200 feet. The iPhone 7 had the best reception at over 300 feet.
This leads me to what I like to call the “it’s not you, it’s me” problem with Bluetooth meat thermometers. You could have a thermometer with advanced Bluetooth range like the TP25 and it won’t matter because your smart device is horrible at picking up signals.
Your device’s ability to receive Bluetooth signals is definitely something you should consider before purchasing a Bluetooth meat thermometer.
WiFi Meat Thermometers: Welcome to the Cloud
WiFi meat thermometers are different from Bluetooth meat thermometers in that they are directly connected to the internet. You don’t need to be connected to the internet to use a Bluetooth meat thermometer.
The Flame Boss WiFi Meat Thermometer is a great example of a WiFi meat thermometer.
A WiFi meat thermometer connects to the internet just as you would connect your phone to a coffee shop or bar’s Wifi. You input the Wifi name and password and your thermometer is connected.
Having your meat thermometer directly connected to the internet has a lot of advantages over Bluetooth meat thermometers. The number one advantage is the unlimited range between your smartphone and your thermometer. As long as your thermometer is connected to an internet router and you have cell reception you can track the pork butt in your smoker from anywhere in the world.
The other major advantage of WiFi meat thermometers is the ability to send data from your cooks to the cloud. If you are budding pitmaster and want to get better at cooking brisket, you’re going to want to keep track of your cooks.
This will inform your cooks in the future. You can anticipate the “stall” stage of your brisket cook and then decide to wrap it, or not. You can see how your brisket’s temperature reacts to being wrapped.
All of that data is now stored in the cloud. Pretty cool.
WiFi meat thermometers are capable of working in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency ranges. However, you will get the best results if you keep the frequency at 2.4Ghz. This frequency will have a better range for the signal. For devices that aren’t transmitting much data like a meat thermometer, this range works best.
However, a higher price tag is attached to these added features and added functionality. Setting up a WiFi configuration for a device is costlier than if it were just Bluetooth compatible.
Wireless Meat Thermometers
The term Wireless Meat Thermometer is used to refer to the whole category of meat thermometers that connect wirelessly to another device, be it an internet router, phone or transmitter. This can get confusing. Let’s sort this out.
We’ve already discussed Bluetooth and WiFi meat thermometers so I’m fairly confident you know what those are. However, there is another type of wireless meat thermometer out there to complicate things. These are known as Remote Meat Thermometers. These are thermometers that have both a transmitter and a receiver included. They also use radio waves to transmit signals between each other.
A popular example is the ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Remote Digital Meat Thermometer.
In my experience, the wireless remote meat thermometers will have a longer range than most Bluetooth meat thermometers. The ThermoPro Tp20 will go up to 300 feet no problem, as will the Veken 4 Probe Wireless Remote Meat thermometer.
Remote meat thermometers are a good option if you’re just looking for a thermometer that will alert you to temperature alerts from the grill. If you want more functionality out of your thermometer then a Bluetooth or WiFi meat thermometer would be a better choice.
WiFi vs Bluetooth Meat Thermometers: Which One To Choose?
If you are a hardcore grilling enthusiast that does a lot of extended cooks like cooking a brisket then a WiFi meat thermometer would be your best choice. You can keep track of your cooks by storing your information in the cloud.
A WiFi thermometer like the Fireboard 2 Drive Meat thermometer even has a dedicated website online for its users to store their cooking data.
Bluetooth thermometers are starting to gain traction on WiFi thermometers in this area, however. The ThermoPro TP25 Bluetooth Meat Thermometer allows you to export data from your cooks to your email or wherever you choose.
If you don’t need a meat thermometer to connect to your smartphone or internet router then a remote meat thermometer is also a great option. The ThermoPro TP20 is your best option when it comes to remote meat thermometers.
As you can see there are indeed differences between Bluetooth and WiFi meat thermometers. Which one you choose depends on what you need your meat thermometer to do for you. Luckily, I have reviewed all of the good ones and you can check out my reviews of them here. Thanks for reading.