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Today I’m reviewing the MEATER Plus Long Range Smart Wireless Meat Thermometer. You’ve probably encountered the MEATER thermometer when shopping around for meat thermometers. It definitely stands out from the rest. It looks like a fancy pen in a wooden case.
But it’s not a fancy pen. It’s a thermometer that you can stick in meat in the oven or grill with no wires attached. This novel approach has definitely attracted the attention of many grilling enthusiasts. I mean, what’s not to like about having a thermometer that is just a probe that sends all the temperature information to your smartphone?
To top it off, the MEATER probe tracks two temperatures simultaneously. The pointed probe tip tracks your meat temperature and the black end sticking out of the meat tracks the ambient temperature. It then sends this information to its Smart App that can estimate when your meat is done and warn you five minutes ahead of time.
This all sounds great, I think we’re done here. Well, not quite. While the MEATER meat thermometer has all these great features, a thermometer’s value sometimes is in the details.
After using the MEATER for over two months I have dug deep into the details of this thermometer.
When I’m looking to buy a meat thermometer I look at five areas to see if it’s worth my money. The five areas are:
- A thermometer’s features. (Does it have any features that set it apart from others?)
- The usability of a thermometer (How easy is it to use?)
- The accuracy of a thermometer.
- A thermometer’s durability. (Will the thermometer last or is it cheaply made?)
- A thermometer’s price relative to the competition. (How expensive is it? If it is, what makes it so?)
The Features of the MEATER Plus Smart Wireless Meat Thermometer
The features of a meat thermometer are what can set it apart from the competition. Let’s take a look at what the MEATER Plus meat thermometer brings to the table. The MEATER only comes with two physical components, the temperature probe, and the charger/Bluetooth signal repeater. These two components work in conjunction with the MEATER app or what they call a “Guided Cook System.”
Here are these important features:
- A five-inch probe that has two sensors inside. The pointed tip monitors meat temperatures up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The black end measures the ambient temperature of your cooking chamber. The black end is heat resistant up to 527 degrees Fahrenheit.
- A charger that acts as a repeater for the Bluetooth signal. Made out of bamboo, the charger runs on an alkaline AAA battery (that it comes with, thankfully).
- A free smart device app for iOs or Android devices. The app helps guide you through your cooks by allowing you to set temperature alerts depending on what you’re cooking. The MEATER app has a lot of great things going for it and I will explore this further next.
- A purported 165 ft Bluetooth wireless range. I’ll also explore this in the usability section
The MEATER Smartphone App
When you have a thermometer like the MEATER that is just a probe you better make sure that the connected smart app is up to par. The MEATER app is up to par and might just outshine the wireless probe for the best feature of this thermometer.
The smart app has the most extensive list of meat options I’ve seen in a thermometer app.
Case in point, the app includes the elusive Secreto cut of pork. What is Secreto? It is a pork skirt steak, which is extremely hard to find unless you’re in Spain, where Secreto is popular.
I don’t know about you, but most of the skirt steak I’ve encountered isn’t thick enough to insert a thermometer. I’m not sure how that’ll work with a thermometer that needs to be inserted 2.5 inches into food to protect its delicate electronics.
Still, a pretty thorough catalog of meat options.
After you download the MEATER app from the Apple or Google Play stores you will be guided through a setup process for your MEATER.
The most important step in the process is signing up for the MEATER Cloud via your email and testing out your MEATER link connection.
You can also connect the MEATER to Alexa if you’re one of those people that has Alexa do their bidding.
So, how easy is the app to use? Let’s take a look.
The Usability of the MEATER Plus
How easy is the MEATER to use? It’s not terribly difficult at first glance. You just insert the probe into your food and connect it to the MEATER app on your phone right?
Well, that’s a start.
The key to connecting the MEATER probe to your smart device is to make sure the charger/WiFi connector/signal repeater is standing up and facing in the direction of your device.
This will fix some of the connectivity issues you might experience. Another tip is that your wireless range will be extended by quite a bit if you do have an extra smartphone or tablet to connect to.
As for the usability of the app, it’s pretty easy to use. If you are cooking steak you would go to the beef section of the app and choose the steak option.
Next, it gives you EIGHT different steak options. For this example, I’ll use the Tomahawk option. Then you are given an option of what temperature you want.
If you want to cook your steak to 135 degrees, adjust it to 135 degrees and press the done button. Then the MEATER smart cook system uses the internal temperature of your steak and the ambient probe temperature to determine when it will be done.
This is an okay idea, but for me, there are still too many other variables involved for this to give you an accurate time estimate. The temperature fluctuations of your cooking chamber, as well as the size of your meat, are just two variables that could throw this estimation off.
As of right now, I use the MEATER just like any other thermometer. I will use the temperature alert feature and disregard the Smart Cook time estimate.
I will delve into the Smart Cook technology the more I use it and update you if I find any new insights.
Storing Your Cook History for Later
The Meater smart app does store your cook history for later, however, it only stores it to your device and you aren’t able to export the data. So if you are a person that likes to keep your cook data on a desktop then this might not be the right thermometer for you.
The Bluetooth Range of the MEATER Plus Compared to the Original MEATER
After experiencing negative feedback on the Bluetooth range of their original MEATER thermometer, Apption Labs is back with the MEATER+165ft Long Range Smart Wireless Meat Thermometer. This newest version of the MEATER touts a range of up to 165 ft line-of-sight distance.
That’s a lot better range than the original MEATER, which only had a range of 33 ft. Still, there are many factors that will determine every individual’s specific wireless range.
With that being said, I was definitely keen on trying out the range of the updated MEATER.
To test the Meater’s connectivity I placed the probe inside my smoker outside, with the charger/signal repeater on the side shelf. It definitely is a line-of-sight Bluetooth connection as I did walk away about 25 feet, but when I went around the corner I lost connection.
Do You Need the MEATER Charger to Connect to a Device?
No. You can connect the MEATER probe directly to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth.
A Better Way to Connect: Connecting to WiFi and the MEATER Cloud
This connection problem can be remedied if you have a second phone or tablet at your disposal. You would then use this second device as a connector to your home’s WiFi network. Then you would be able to access your thermometer pretty much anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection.
The connection chain would go like this:
- Probe inside grill sends a signal to…
- The wooden charger/signal repeater which sends the signal to..
- Your smartphone or tablet which is connected to your home’s WiFi.
- Your Meater Cloud account now has your cook information that you can access anywhere you get an internet signal with any other smart device with the MEATER app.
I think this is a better way to connect than dealing with just Bluetooth only. This is a definite upgrade from the original MEATER which wouldn’t allow you to do the scenario above.
The Accuracy of the MEATER Plus Meat Thermometer
Since the MEATER has two temperature sensors, an internal temperature sensor for food and an ambient temperature sensor in the handle, I will split the accuracy section into two parts; the internal sensor and the ambient sensor.
The Internal Temperature Sensor
The actual location of the internal temperature sensor is around 2 millimeters up from the probe tip. This is important in that you can get closer to the thermal center of most cuts of meat to monitor their internal temperature.
The internal temperature sensor of the MEATER Plus is located further down from the handle than other similar wireless meat probes such as the Tappecue AirProbe2 and the MeatStick.
The distance between the handle and the internal temperature sensor can be thought of as the effective length of the thermometer in terms of measuring the thermal center.
For instance, if you have a chicken breast that is 5 inches long, the thermal center will be somewhere around 2.5 inches, or in the middle.
If the distance between the handle and the internal temperature sensor of your meat probe is less than that, you’re not getting an accurate reading of the coldest part of your chicken breast.
The image above shows the location of the internal temperature sensors of the MEATER Plus (blue), the Tappecue AirProbe2 (green), and the MeatStick (yellow) when inserted into a 5-inch chicken from the right.
The MEATER Plus’s internal sensor actually went past the thermal center (green, where the AirProbe2 ended up), but because you don’t need to insert the MEATER up to the handle, you can draw it back to hit that spot.
What about the accuracy of the MEATER’s internal temperature sensor?
I tested the MEATER in a water bath (only the probe tip was submerged about an inch) against the most accurate meat thermometer on the market, the Thermoworks Thermapen MK4.
As you can see from the picture below the MEATER measured the water temperature pretty close to the Thermapen.
What about in real cooking scenarios?
In of my many test cooks, I cooked a brisket in the oven for over 6 hours with the MEATER Plus, Fireboard 2 Pro, and the Thermoworks Signals WiFi thermometers monitoring the internal temperature.
As you can see in the image above, the MEATER Plus is displaying an internal temperature of 202°F for the brisket compared to 203°F on the Thermoworks Signals and between 202°F and 204°F on the FireBoard 2 Pro.
I would consider the internal temperature sensor accurate when it is close to the meat’s thermal center.
The Ambient Temperature Sensor
The ambient temperature sensor of the MEATER Plus is located in the handle.
One of the things that I’ve noticed reviewing all of the smart wireless meat probes is that their ambient temperature sensors take a while to “come up” to temperature.
And when they have been in the oven or smoker for over 30 minutes, they’re still off by a good 20°F to 40°F.
Some of this can be attributed to the evaporative cooling of the meat and the proximity of the ambient temperature sensor. However, this “heat shadow” shouldn’t be a factor when cooking something as small as a bratwurst.
I tested the ambient temperature sensors of all the smart wireless meat probes in a series of bratwurst cooks in the oven.
The bratwurst was effective in shielding the delicate instruments inside the pointy food probe part while tracking the oven temperature.
All of the ambient temperature sensors of the meat probes took over 15 minutes to get close to the temperatures displayed by the other highly-accurate temperature probes nearby.
Even then, the ambient temperatures of the meat probes were still lower than the readings of the other thermometers.
Notice in the image below that the MEATER Plus app is displaying an ambient temperature of 312°F compared to the 353°F, 357°F, and 358°F of the other thermometers.
I think the ambient temperature sensor still needs some tweaking in all of the wireless meat probes.
The Durability of the MEATER Plus Meat Thermometer
How durable is the MEATER? Time will tell. According to the company, the maximum temperature that the black ambient tip part of the probe can withstand is 527 degrees Fahrenheit.
The maximum temperature that the internal temperature sensor of the probe can withstand is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. That is cutting it pretty close if you’re doing a pork butt or a brisket, which are usually done in the 203 to 205 degree Fahrenheit range.
The other thing to consider when using the probe is that it needs to be inserted into the food at least 2.5 inches, where the safety notch is located.
If any part of the probe below the safety notch spends an extended amount of time exposed to temperatures higher than 212 degrees Fahrenheit than you might be left with an expensive meat skewer.
So, in terms of durability, I would say that you need to be extremely careful when using the MEATER meat thermometer. Because of the need for the internal temperature sensor to be covered to protect its components, you can rule our cooking anything that won’t let you insert the probe at least 2.5 inches.
Does this make it a bad meat thermometer? Not necessarily. Like most tools and equipment, they sometimes are only as good as their operators.
The MEATER Plus: Price Relative to Its Competitors
It is difficult to rate the relative price of the MEATER because if you want to get technical, there aren’t that many meat thermometers that are truly wireless on the market.
And by truly wireless I mean no wires attached to the probe. There aren’t many.
At the time of this writing, there are only a few other companies producing a thermometer similar to the MEATER Plus. Two similar thermometers being The MEAT Stick and the Maverick STAKE.
The Maverick STAKE is pretty new so I can’t really speak to its features, I will try to get my hands on one in the near future.
As for the Meat Stick, it seems it still has some kinks to work out, with connectivity and inaccuracy issues being reported. Another thermometer to review!
The Maverick STAKE and the Meat stick are a little less in terms of price, so I will be interested to see how they compare when I do get a chance to review them.
Who is the MEATER Plus Meat Thermometer For?
The MEATER meat thermometer definitely has a lot of cutting edge features, although I think it is best used for certain types of cooking scenarios.
If you are someone that does a lot of meat smoking then this wouldn’t be your best option. With an internal temperature sensor that has a threshold of only 212 degrees Fahrenheit, you would definitely run the risk of skirting that line with long cooks.
Briskets and pork shoulder internal temperatures will get into the low 200-degree range towards the end of their cooking process, so I’m not sure how the Meater would handle that. Also, with the ambient temperature sensor right on the surface of the meat, the evaporative cooling on briskets and butts could skew that a bit.
Another thing to consider with the Meater is that you have to be pretty exact when you insert the probe into a piece of meat. I tested the Meater by cooking a whole chicken, inserting the probe into what I thought was the deepest part of the breast.
The Meater hit the 155-degree mark and alerted me to the chicken almost being done. I decided to double-check the temperature with the Thermapen and found other parts of the breast measuring in the 130-degree range.
Does that mean the Meater was inaccurate? No. It just means that, like all other tools, it is only as good as the information it’s being given. I checked the temperature of that same spot with the Thermapen and it read 155 degrees Fahrenheit as well.
So, I would recommend the Meater only to those cooks who feel comfortable in their knowledge of proper probe placement and who will spot check other parts of meat when necessary.
I like the MEATER Plus meat thermometer. I think it has a lot of nice features. Its smart app is one of the best meat thermometer apps in terms of graphing with a large catalog of different meat temperatures.
However, I wouldn’t rely on the Guided-Cook system to tell me when something is truly done for all of the variables I’ve discussed earlier (size of the meat, cook chamber fluctuations, probe placement).
The wireless range on the thermometer itself is decent and is improved dramatically if you are within range of a WiFi signal.
The probe itself is extremely accurate but you need to make sure it’s inserted at least 2.5 inches into your meat to protect its electronics. You also need to find the proper place in your meat to insert the probe to ensure you are truly getting the lowest temperature reading possible.
With the width of the probe, multiple stabs could turn your meat into a mess.
Also, the ambient temperature sensor takes a while to come up to the chamber temperature of the oven, smoker, or grill. Even then, it still doesn’t give you an accurate idea of the chamber temperature, being off by 20°F or more.
A great mobile app with a decent wireless range, an accurate internal temperature sensor, and an ambient temperature sensor that needs some work.
If you’re in the market for a smart wireless meat probe and understand the limitations of the ambient temperature sensor, it’s a good option.