You won’t find any Bluetooth meat thermometers under $30 that can rival the Lavatools Carbon Lite Bluetooth Meat thermometer.
I’d thought I’d seen some uniquely-designed meat thermometers before I ran into the Carbon Lite meat thermometer.
The device that the probe plugs into is a square that measures 1 3/4 inches on all sides and acts as the power button as well as the doneness indicator.
The doneness indicator is an illuminated halo of light that changes from green to yellow to red the closer your food gets to being done.
Definitely interesting. This type of set up puts the onus on the phone app to handle all of the interaction between the user and the monitoring of food.
There is no screen to look at to check the temperature on the device itself, everything is on your phone or mobile device. But that’s the point behind the lighted doneness indicator on the device itself.
The premise is that once you set your desired temperature on the mobile app, the device will then guestimate when your food is done and relay that information to you through its lighted halo doneness indicator.
Is this system better than the traditional way of doing things or is this thermometer being fancy for fancy’s sake?
Good question. I’ll answer these and a few more in my review of the Lavatools Carbon Lite Bluetooth Meat Thermometer.
Lavatools Carbon Lite Bluetooth Meat Thermometer
There are only a few companies you can trust when it comes to buying a decent meat thermometer. I’m not just saying this. I’ve tested a lot of them, and I steer clear of a majority of them because the quality and value are just not there.
I decided to test out their version of a Bluetooth thermometer based on my positive reviews of their other thermometers. I have to admit I was skeptical because of the way it looked and the illuminated doneness system.
But, they have gained my respect for their products, so here we are.
I also noticed that the dual-sensor probe that the Carbon Lite utilizes is the same as the one their Element Oven Thermometer uses.
I really like the fact that you don’t have to mess with a separate probe to monitor your grill temperature. That’s because the dual-sensor probe monitors the ambient temperature in the probe handle.
What else does the Carbon Lite thermometer feature?
Features of the Carbon Lite Meat Thermometer
Here are all the pertinent features and specifications of the Lavatools Carbon Lite Meat Thermometer.
- Carbon LITE Bluetooth Thermometer
- One dual-sensor probe
- User Guide
- Magnetic stand
- Two CR2032 batteries
- Grill clip for probe
- Carbon Mobile app for Apple and Android
- The Carbon Lite utilizes Bluetooth Smart 4.0 technology.
- The Bluetooth range is claimed to be 115 feet. (line-of-sight with no obstacles)
- Compatible with iPhone 4 and newer, iPad 3 and newer.
- Compatible with Android 5.0 or newer.
- 800 hours of battery life.
- 4-foot probe cord
- Tip sensor temperature range up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Ambient sensor temperature range up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit.
Usability of the Carbon Lite
How easy is the Carbon Lite thermometer to use? Like any new gadget it takes some time to become familiar with its features.
However, it really is pretty simple and straightforward to use. To turn it on just press down on the center button until the illuminated halo blinks green. To turn it off you will do the same, holding down the button until the halo stops blinking.
From there you can set up your profile and cook with the preset USDA or Gourmet settings or customize your own.
The doneness estimator will also work with the illuminated halo on the device to let you know when your food is close to being done by changing to yellow.
The app uses an algorithm that measures how fast the temperature is rising in relation to your target temperature and then spits out an estimated time based on this information.
When your food gets to within 15 degrees of being done the light on the device will turn to yellow
There’s a lot to play around with in the app in terms of settings. There’s a standalone timer, stopwatch, Hi and Low-temperature alarms, real-time graphs with historical graphing.
You won’t find many Bluetooth thermometers in this price range with this type of functionality from their mobile apps.
This brings me to the Bluetooth range of the Carbon Lite thermometer.
The Bluetooth Range of the Carbon Lite
This is the Achilles heel of this thermometer, the Bluetooth range isn’t the best. Reported to be 115 feet with no obstacles, you will probably get a range of 30 feet or so with a few walls in-between.
One tip that will help you is to always stand the device body upright and in the direction of your phone. This will vastly improve your signal range.
Now, I know this will vary with every person’s unique home setup, but I would say after 2 or 3 walls the Bluetooth signal will be lost. I tested this quite a few times, with different devices, Apple, Android, same result.
This isn’t a deal-breaker, this type of range is usually enough for most cooking situations. If you’re a hardcore griller who does a lot of long smokes this thermometer probably wouldn’t suit you.
If you’re a weekend griller or just cooking a chicken for dinner on the grill then the Carbon Lite will be more than capable.
Accuracy and Durability
I tested the accuracy of the main sensor of the Carbon Lite’s dual-sensor probe in a sous vide water bath along with the Fireboard 2 Drive meat thermometer.
The main sensor was spot-on, measuring close to the Fireboard 2 Drive’s temperature readings. As far as the ambient temperature sensor in the handle, it is less accurate to start but falls in line after some time in the oven or bbq.
The ambient sensor tends to be a good 10 to 15 degrees off to start when compared to other thermometers measuring the same chamber temperature. I believe this is due to the ambient sensor located in the thicker handle area of the probe.
The thickness of the metal in the handle inhibits an accurate reading to start with but it will gradually creep to where it needs to be.
I rate the Carbon Lite’s dual sensor probe extremely accurate in the main sensor and accurate (eventually) in its ambient temperature.
I really have no recommendations for alternative Bluetooth meat thermometers in the under-$30 price range. To be frank, the ones that I’ve seen are complete garbage.
As I said from the outset, you will be hard-pressed to find a Bluetooth meat thermometer in this price range with the features and functionality of the Lavatools Carbon Lite Bluetooth Meat Thermometer.
The dual-sensor probe is accurate and the mobile app is easy to use with plenty of features. The spartan design with the blinking colored lights might not be your thing, but it gets the job done.
The Bluetooth range might be lacking for those of you that have long distances to cover between your backyard and living room.
This thermometer isn’t for everyone. It is great at what it was designed for, monitoring the temperature of a single piece of meat as well as the cook chamber.
If you need more probes and bells and whistles then there are many, more expensive, options for you to choose from.
As far as I’m concerned, I consider the Lavatools Carbon Lite a great value at its current price point.