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This is a review of the Inkbird IRF-4S Remote Meat Thermometer. It is a wireless meat thermometer utilizing an RF (radio frequency) signal to communicate between its transmitter and receiver units.
I’ve bought and reviewed every top remote wireless meat thermometer in the last four years to determine which are the best to help you with your cooking needs. I’ve tested and analyzed the Inkbird IRF-4s Remote Wireless Meat Thermometer to see if it’s any good.
- Best Feature- Strong wireless signal. It’s not 1500 feet, but most people would be happy with half that distance.
- Worst Feature- The transmitter unit is small and lightweight, with a small, unlit display window that’s capable of only displaying one temperature at a time.
- The Takeaway- Although the signal is top-notch, the small, lightweight transmitter body and unlit display are something you would find on a much cheaper thermometer. The temperature readings also lag behind similar thermometers. There are better options on the market.
In this review of the Inkbird IRF-4s, I will discuss the features, usability, accuracy, durability, and price to determine its value. I’ll also share some alternatives if you’re in the market for a remote wireless meat thermometer.
|INKBIRD 1500FT Wireless Meat Thermometer IRF-4S||View on Amazon|
|ThermoPro TP829 Wireless Meat Thermometer fo||View on Amazon|
|ThermoPro TP27 500FT Long Range Wireless Meat Thermometer||View on Amazon|
|Maverick PRO-Series XR-50 Remote BBQ Alarm Thermometer||View on Amazon|
Inkbird IRF-4S Overview
Best used as a grill thermometer or bbq thermometer, the Inkbird IRF-4S Remote Meat Thermometer has all of the features that are generally included with this type of thermometer.
It comes with three food probes and one ambient probe.
It also comes with two grate clips and two USB cords to help charge the batteries of the transmitter and receiver.
As you can see in the marketing photo above, it appears that the transmitter unit on the right has a backlit LCD screen, but this isn’t the case.
While the receiver unit of this thermometer is decent enough with most of the features you expect in a remote meat thermometer, it is the transmitter part that leaves a lot to be desired.
The transmitter actually has no backlit LCD screen, which makes it hard to read the small display window.
Of course, the whole reason behind a remote wireless thermometer is that the Receiver is the main device you look at and take with you to track your food remotely.
Still, many of the other remote wireless meat thermometers give you plenty of display information on both the transmitter and receiver units.
And if they don’t, as in the case of the ThermoPro TP829, they at least give you four screen sections and a backlight to visually track your progress away from your receiver.
The transmitter also has no color-coordinated ports and corresponding probes to keep track of which probe is which on your grill.
This might not seem like a big detail as I write this, but imagine tracking the internal temperature of multiple pieces of meat and trying to figure out which probe is leading to what port and then deciphering what it says on the receiver.
I will give the transmitter kudos for its actual signal transmission capabilities. The wireless signal is stronger than many of the other remote wireless thermometers I’ve tested.
Features of the Inkbird IRF-4S
Here are the important features of the Inkbird IRF-4S Remote Meat Thermometer.
- The transmitter and receiver are rated IPX5 waterproof.
- Preset Temperatures
The receiver gives you the option of eleven different preset temperatures.
- Magnetic Design
The transmitter does have a magnet on the back to attach it to metal.
- Four-section display for the receiver unit with timer section.
The receiver contains all of the programming functions. The transmitter unit has a small, unlit display that rotates between probe temperatures.
- A reported 1500-foot signal transmission range between transmitter and receiver.
The RF wireless signal is the strong point of this thermometer. The signal should be more than enough for most situations. I obtained a signal 750 feet away, with the transmitter placed in my kitchen.
- Four stainless-steel probes.
There are three food probes and one ambient temperature probe. The food probes are 5.5-inches long and have a measuring temperature range between 32°F and 572°F ( 0-300°C ) The probe cables are 47-inches long and heat-resistant up to 716°F.
- Hi and Low-Temperature alarm functions.
- Rechargeable lithium battery for both units.
I’m a huge fan of this type of power option over traditional batteries. It is then curious as to why the transmitter doesn’t have a backlight with USB charging available.
- The backlight is on the receiver unit only.
The backlight will stay on for 15 seconds when the button is pushed. There is no backlight for the transmitter unit.
How easy to use is the Inkbird IRF-1s? The receiver unit has all of the buttons that control the functioning of the thermometer.
Let’s go through a typical cook using the buttons on the receiver. To start you need to pair the transmitter and receiver units. This should happen automatically once they are both turned on and within range of each other.
To set a preset temperature alarm for each probe you will first need to press the PROBE button. Pressing it each time will cycle through the four probe sections on the screen.
Once you’ve selected your probe you will then need to set your alarm function by cycling through the settings by pressing the MEAT button.
There are eleven options to go through, curiously, three of them are chicken, ground poultry, and poultry. All of them are preset at 165°F. I think it is safe to say they could just go with a poultry preset and call it good.
Thankfully, one of the presets is a program function that lets you set your own temperatures for food.
To set HI and LOW-temperature alerts for smoking you will cycle through the probes as described above and then press the OVEN button. Pressing once will allow you to set the HI temperature alert and pressing it again will let you set the LOW-temperature alert.
The overall usability experience was just okay for me. The transmitter has no backlight to see the temperatures on the display, rendering it useless in low-light situations.
The volume of the alarms isn’t the loudest but isn’t terrible. There is no way of adjusting the alarm volume either.
There is also no way to tell one probe from another. There are no colored grommets or different colored probe ports or handles to differentiate them so you know which probe is in your chicken and which one is in your steak.
The transmitter also only shows one temperature at a time, rotating through the temperatures.
The receiver does have a backlight, but it will shut off after 15 seconds no matter what. This makes it frustrating when you are in the middle of setting temperatures for your probes and the light goes off.
The transmission signal is the highlight of this thermometer and is very strong, and capable of penetrating through multiple walls.
What about the accuracy of this unit?
Having previously reviewed four different Inkbird thermometer models I can safely say that they are generally accurate overall.
This model is interesting in that it will sometimes display temperatures in increments of 2 degrees. And when I say sometimes, it seems like most of the time.
In the picture below, the IRF-4S is displaying a temperature that appears to be 1.6 to 1.8 degrees off compared to the other thermometers monitoring the temperature of a water bath of around 133°F.
Raising the water bath temperature by 0.1 degrees finally brought the Inkbird’s reading up to 133°F, closer to the consensus readings of the other thermometers. It jumped a whole two degrees while the other thermometers went up only 0.1 to 0.2 degrees.
Raising the temperature of the water bath even further revealed how much the Inkbird lagged behind the other thermometers.
As you can see in the picture below, the Inkbird is still at 133°F, even after raising the water bath to around 135°F. You can see that the surrounding thermometers have raised their readings by 1.8 degrees during the same time.
A lot can happen in two degrees when you’re tracking meat temperature remotely while it’s cooking on an outside grill.
Although I think this thermometer is in the ballpark in terms of accuracy, this 2-degree interval method of displaying temperatures leaves it lagging behind similar thermometers.
The receiver and transmitter of the Inkbird IRF-1s are rated IPX5 waterproof, which means it should handle some rain and still be ok.
I don’t think that it would survive for hours out in a torrential downpour, but its waterproof rating is satisfactory enough.
Both the receiver and transmitter are extremely light. The only saving grace is that both have a rubber gasket seal running around the outside to keep out moisture and also act as a shock absorber should you drop it.
The transmitter is very small and light and is easily knocked around, especially with multiple probes inserted into it. There is a wire stand that you can attach to the back but it only helps it stay upright and isn’t sturdy enough to hold it in place.
Another strike against the transmitter.
The probes have nice and sturdy curved handles with decent length ( the meat probe is 5.5 inches), with 47-inch cables that are heat resistant up to 716°F.
There is a 1 year warranty with this thermometer. The warranty protects you for 1 year after the date of purchase against defects in workmanship or materials.
The Inkbird IRF-1s has a regular price of around $69. This puts it right in the middle price range of what you can expect to pay for a quality four-probe remote wireless bbq meat thermometer.
Although I am a fan of its robust RF signal transmission range, the usability issues and the lag in temperature monitoring give me concern about paying that much.
There are some alternatives around this price range that you might consider.
Here are a few other remote thermometers I’ve reviewed and recommended.
The ThermoPro TP829 has a very legitimate strong wireless signal that surpasses even the Inkbird’s range. It also has color-coordinated ports and probes with IPX4 waterproofing. See my review of the ThermoPro TP829.
The Thermoworks Smoke X series (the X2 and X4) are the best remote meat thermometers on the market, boasting an insane wireless signal range of 1.24 miles. Yes, you most likely won’t get that amount of distance nor would you need it, but very impressive nonetheless. See my Thermoworks Smoke X4 review.
The ChefsTemp Quad XPro is a remote thermometer that is flying under the radar. A strong wireless signal, IP66 waterproofing, and just solid features overall make this a nice thermometer. See the ChefsTemp Quad XPro review.
The market for remote wireless meat thermometers is very competitive. You need to take into account everything that a thermometer offers before deciding on one.
It’s more than what thermometer has the strongest wireless signal, it is the overall quality of features that will help you cook and monitor your food remotely.
The Inkbird IRF-4s has one outstanding feature, its wireless signal. It consistently averaged in the 700 to 800-foot range during my testing. That’s fantastic and more than anyone would need who doesn’t own a cattle ranch.
The receiver is decent enough but doesn’t give you the same amount of information that other thermometers do on their receivers.
High and low-temperature alarm settings, as well as the current temperature, are clearly visible on most of the quality remote meat thermometers on the market.
On the Inkbird’s receiver, you only get to see your current temperature unless you press a few buttons.
The transmitter doesn’t have color-coordinated probe ports or probes and is small with a small unlit display.
As I stated at the top of this section, the remote wireless meat thermometer market is competitive, and you have to bring your A-game.
The Inkbird IRF-4s, while a decent thermometer, isn’t quite there yet. Product updates to all of the opportunities I’ve listed above could bring this thermometer up to that level.
Until then, there are better thermometers out there.