The MeatStick X Meat Thermometer is one of the many smart wireless meat probes to hit the market in recent years.
These wireless meat probes offer the ability to monitor your food in an oven, smoker, or grill without being tethered to a thermometer via a probe cable.
Most of these models will have some type of sensor in the food probe portion with a sensor in the handle to monitor the cooking chamber temperature.
These smart wireless meat probe thermometers will offer Bluetooth connectivity with a few models offering both Bluetooth and WiFi options.
The MeatStick X Meat Thermometer is a dual-sensor, smart wireless thermometer with Bluetooth capabilities out of the box.
There is the option to connect the Meat Stick Thermometer to WiFi if you have a spare smart device to set up a WiFi link.
If you don’t have a spare mobile device lying around you can also purchase the WiFi Bridge separately for an additional $65.
The successor to the original MeatStick, the MeatStick X has a reportedly improved Bluetooth wireless signal of up to 260 feet.
A built-in signal extender in the MeatStick charger is what gives the MeatStick X this extra wireless Bluetooth signal range.
The MeatStick X has an internal temperature sensor located around 1.5 inches (it’s actually closer to 2 inches) up from the pointy tip of the probe as well as an ambient temperature sensor that is touching the steel cap at the end of the ceramic handle.
This dual-sensor technology allows you to track the internal temperature of a piece of meat as well as the cooking temperature simultaneously.
How does the MeatStick X stack up to the other smart wireless meat probes on the market?
After extensively testing and comparing these thermometers over a few months I have observed a few of their strengths and weaknesses.
In fact, all of these thermometers share the same shortcoming.
In this review of the MeatStick X meat thermometer, I will discuss this deficiency as well as the features, usability, accuracy, durability, and price to determine if it will be a helpful addition to your cooking arsenal.
The MeatStick X Meat Thermometer
The MeatStick X is manufactured by Soma Labs LLC, a company based in La Canada, California. The original MeatStick was released in 2019 and has gone through a few design changes since then.
One of the most notable adaptations is the introduction of the wireless extender in the charger of the MeatStick X, giving it a much stronger Bluetooth signal, up to 260 feet according to the company.
The wireless range is subject to each individual user’s home environment, so 260 feet can be thought of as a best-case scenario.
After using the MeatStick X over the last three months I’ve witnessed a consistent wireless range of 150 to 200 feet.
A good wireless signal range is nice, but there are other features that go into making a great thermometer.
First and foremost is the accuracy of the thermometer. More on this in a minute.
Another key consideration is the usability of a thermometer. How easy is the thermometer to use?
User experience and functionality of the mobile app are critical when it comes to smart wireless meat probes because that is where all of the control and information are located.
The MeatStick app is one of the best apps I’ve used in terms of walking the user through the cook setup process.
The MeatStick app gives you all of the information you need right on the main screen; current food temp, target food temp, current cook temp, target cook temp, and a graph showing both the internal food temperature as well as the ambient cooking temperature.
A thermometer with a strong Bluetooth signal with an easy-to-use mobile app is a great start.
That brings me to one of the weak spots of this thermometer, the ambient temperature sensor isn’t accurate.
I’m not just picking on the Meat Stick. The other smart wireless meat probes I’ve tested, the MEATER Plus, the Tappecue AirProbe2, and the Yummly Smart Meat Thermometer all have the same issue with the ambient temperature sensor.
I’ll explore this topic more in the accuracy section below.
Features and Components of the MeatStick X
Here is everything that comes in the box of the MeatStick X:
- One MeatStick
The probe is made of stainless steel and the handle is ceramic. The probe part where the sensor resides can withstand up to 212°F and the ceramic handle can withstand temperatures up to 572°F.
- One MeatStick X Charger/ Signal Extender
The charger takes 2-AAA batteries and needs a minimum of 4 hours to charge fully, with a battery life that is claimed to be 24 hours or more. It also acts as a Bluetooth signal extender. There is a magnetic back on the charger.
- One User Manual
- No Batteries Included
Here are the specifications of the MeatStick X:
- MeatStick Probe Length: 5 inches including handle. 3.5 inches without the handle.
- MeatStick Probe Width: 6 millimeters (0.5 inch)
- Dishwasher, Sous Vide, and Deep-Fry Safe
The first-generation MeatStick was given an IPX7 waterproof rating. According to a company spokesperson, they decided not to get officially rated again as it’s misleading in what it actually means as it doesn’t translate to actual use cases.
- Temperature Measuring Range: Meat Sensor- 32°F to 212°F (0°C to 10o°C)
The MeatStick needs to be inserted up to its handle to keep the meat sensor and the internal battery safe from high levels of heat.
- Temperature Measuring Range: Ambient Sensor 32°F to 572°F (0°C to 300°C)
The ambient temperature sensor touches the stainless steel round cap on the end of the stick’s handle. It is recommended that you don’t use the MeatStick over an open flame while grilling as a flare-up could ruin the ambient sensor in the handle.
- Wireless Signal Range: Up to 260 feet.
The extender/charger needs to be placed within 6 feet of the MeatStick X when it’s in a closed oven or smoker.
Usability of the MeatStick X
The MeatStick X is very easy to use, even if you are new to operating a Bluetooth meat thermometer.
The mobile app will walk you through every step of the cooking process. The MeatStick app is available in both Apple and Android formats.
To begin a cook you will press the setup cook button on the main screen.
You need to place the MeatStick in the charger and press the button on the charger to activate the stick.
You can’t place the probe in your meat first and then try to connect, it will not work.
Once you’ve paired your MeatStick with the app, it will ask you what cooking method you are using to cook your food.
Options include air fryer, grill, smoke, oven, stove, sous vide, and deep fry.
After selecting your cooking method you can then choose what type of meat you are cooking. Then you can select what type of cut of meat.
Then you’ll be given the cook temperature setting options for your cut of meat.
After that, you’ll be prompted to insert your MeatStick completely into the meat up to the handle.
The main display screen has all of the information you need to know what’s going on with your food.
There’s the current temperature and the target temperature for both the internal and ambient temperatures. There’s the elapsed cooking time as well as the remaining cooking time.
The remaining cooking time function isn’t accurate as the time will jump around quite a bit during a cook, so I wouldn’t trust it too much.
You can also see how much battery life you have left on the main display screen. The battery has never died during any of my cooks, even the ones lasting over 6 hours.
The temperature graph shows both temperatures and gives you the ability to scroll through the cook and view different points in time with corresponding temperatures.
There is also the ability to store many of your past cooks on the app. I currently have 38 cooks stored.
I consider the app and its usability to be the biggest strength of the MeatStick.
Connecting to WiFi
I must apologize as I was under the mistaken assumption that you could only connect the MeatStick to WiFi utilizing the additional WiFi bridge.
You can connect the MeatStick to WiFi if you have an additional smartphone or tablet at your disposal.
You don’t need to set up anything special other than download the MeatStick app for any device you wish to connect to the internet.
Once you download the MeatStick app and are connected to the internet it will send your cooks into The MeatStick Cloud.
You can then access your cook and stick data from another device if you’re using the MeatStick app and connected to the internet, even via cellular.
If you don’t have a spare device and want WiFi connectivity there’s is the option to purchase the MeatStick WiFi bridge.
I will split the accuracy section into two sections considering there are two temperature sensors inside the MeatStick X: an ambient temperature sensor in the handle and an internal temperature sensor located between 1.5 to 2-inches up from the pointy end of the probe.
Ambient Temperature Sensor
It brings me no joy in stating that none of the smart wireless meat probes I’ve tested are accurate in terms of their ambient temperature sensor located in their handles.
I’ve reached this conclusion after too many test cooks to count. If I had to guess at a number it would definitely be over 50.
I really want this technology to work. No wires and the ability to monitor your meat remotely? That sounds great.
Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re there yet.
I noticed during these many cooks that it takes a while for the ambient temperature sensor to come up to temperature.
Even when given enough time, the probes were still anywhere from 20 to 40°F off from the actual chamber temperature.
One of the temperature tests that I subjected all of the wireless meat probes to was cooking a chicken breast in a 350°F oven.
As you can see in the image above, the MeatStick’s ambient temperature sensor is measuring 249°F, even after more than 15 minutes in the oven. (The FireBoard 2 Pro in the foreground is displaying 340.9°F.)
Here is an image of the same cook at almost the 50-minute mark.
The ambient temperature is still quite a bit off from the other thermometers tracking the oven temperature, displaying 303°F.
I’m not just picking on the MeatStick, here are the other smart wireless meat probes at the same points in their cooks:
Why are the ambient temperature readings of these smart wireless probes so far off the mark?
Is it the proximity of the sensor to the meat causing it to be in a heat shadow as the ambient temperature around a piece of meat is cooler than the rest of the chamber?
Perhaps, but the ambient temperature readings were still off even cooking something as small as a bratwurst on a wire rack in a 350°F oven.
I know there is going to be some temperature variance between what your oven reads and the actual temperature at the food level, but judging from the other highly accurate temperature probes nearby, I still think the ambient temperature sensors need some fine-tuning.
Internal Temperature Sensor
The internal temperature sensor of the MeatStick is pretty accurate when measured in a water bath alongside other highly accurate meat thermometers.
However, it is the placement of the MeatStick’s internal sensor between 1.5 to 2 inches away from the pointy probe tip that makes it difficult to reach the thermal center of your meat.
And if you can’t reach the thermal center of your meat, to begin with, your temperature reading will be an inaccurate estimate of your meat’s doneness.
When you insert a temperature probe to monitor a piece of meat you want to get as close as you can to the middle of the meat, or the thermal center.
Traditional temperature probes will place the temperature sensor at the tip of the probe, making it easier for you to judge how far to insert them.
All of the smart wireless meat probes; the MeatStick, MEATER Plus, Tappecue AirProbe2, and the Yummly, have their internal temperature sensor located at varying lengths up from the tip of the probe.
In the image above you can see that the MeatStick’s sensor placement is higher up on the probe than both the MEATER and the Tappecue AirProbe2.
Also, notice that the handles of the probes are lined up. I placed them this way because you can only insert these probes up to the handle.
Here is what the same measurement test looks like on a 5-inch long chicken breast. (inserting from the right side)
The Tappecue AirProbe2’s sensor (green) lined up perfectly with the exact thermal center of the chicken breast, right at 2.5 inches.
The MEATER’s sensor (blue) went past the thermal center, but because you don’t need to insert the MEATER all the way to the handle you can draw it back a bit.
That leaves the MeatStick (yellow).
As you can see, its sensor was nowhere near the thermal center, and this explains why in most of my tests that the MeatStick starts out with a higher temperature reading than the other thermometers.
Notice in the image below the temperatures of the MeatStick, MEATER Plus, and Tappecue AirProbe2 thermometers at the beginning of pork shoulder cook on the Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker:
Here’s another image of the mobile apps of all three smart wireless probes towards the beginning of a cook involving a whole chicken roasting in the oven.
So, while the actual sensor in the MeatStick is accurate, it is its placement that causes it to inherently read higher temperatures.
I’m not quite sure if they hit the thermal center with their MeatStick in the steak above.
The MeatStick X has the same temperature thresholds as the other smart wireless meat probes; a limit of 572°F for the handle and a limit of 212°F for the metal probe section.
These temperature restrictions keep the temperature sensors safe.
There is also an internal battery located in the metal probe part of the MeatStick and one of the reasons why you’re reminded to insert the probe all the way to the handle before each cook.
The Meat Stick claims that it is highly durable, claiming to withstand high heat and the ability to withstand submersion in a deep fryer as well as sous vide applications.
The Meat Stick also claims on its website that it is “The only dishwasher and sous-vide safe smart wireless meat thermometer on the market.”
I’m not sure if they know about the Tappecue AirProbe2, which has these capabilities as well as a stated IP67 waterproof rating.
The AirProbe2 also has no internal battery to worry about and runs on a super-capacitor that charges in 10 minutes with a 4 to 10-hour runtime depending on the cooking environment.
This allows you to use it in pressure cookers if you so desire.
A device with an IP67 rating can withstand full immersion in liquid for up to 30 minutes with no harmful effects.
Keep in mind that sous vide cooking isn’t considered full immersion as there is the barrier provided by the sous vide bag or Ziplock bag and assuming the probe isn’t sitting in a marinade.
As stated earlier in the review, the first generation MeatStick had an IPX7 rating, which is equal to an IP67 rating in terms of moisture protection (the first digit in an IP rating refers to protection from moving parts and foreign bodies)
I have encountered no problems with the MeatStick over the course of testing and consider it very durable.
I would place it a very close second behind the AirProbe2 in terms of durability.
I would place the MEATER Plus third because of its “water-resistant” rating and inability to be used in a deep fryer or air fryer. It can be used for sous vide applications, however.
One thing to note is that the MEATER doesn’t need to be inserted all the way to the handle, but to the notch that is located 1.5 inches down the probe from the handle.
The Yummly is firmly in last place with an IPX4 rating. You can’t use it for sous vide or any type of deep-frying.
The IPX4 rating is also considered water-resistant, but the Yummly needs to be inserted all the way to the handle.
The MeatStick X has a retail price of $99.99 at the time of this review.
The MEATER Plus also costs $99 while the Tappecue AirProbe2 retails for $79. Both the MEATER Plus and the AirProbe2 can also be connected to WiFi if you have an extra mobile device to act as the liaison.
What About the MeatStick Mini?
The MeatStick Mini is a smaller version of the MeatStick, but only has an internal temperature sensor with no ambient temperature sensor in its ceramic handle.
At 95 millimeters in length and 40 millimeters shorter than the MeatStick, I’m not quite sure how the MeatStick mini is going to reach the thermal center of most cuts of meat.
As you can see from the image above, the internal temperature sensor is located, yet again, a decent distance from the probe tip.
This relegates the MeatStick mini to monitor the internal temperature of the outer part of your meat and nowhere near its thermal center.
Given its diminished length and sensor placement, I am not sure what I would use this thermometer for.
Oh, and it currently costs the same as the MeatStick X. Moving on.
The MeatStick X Meat Thermometer has a nice Bluetooth wireless signal range and a great mobile app, with the ability to add WiFi functionality by utilizing a spare smart device to connect to the internet.
The MeatStick also has an ambient temperature sensor that isn’t accurate.
The internal temperature sensor is pretty accurate but the placement of the sensor gives the user a false idea of the lowest temperature of the meat during cooks. The placement of this sensor thus makes it inaccurate.
Moving the sensor closer to the tip and working on the accuracy of the ambient sensor would make the MeatStick a more enticing purchase.
A company spokesperson was kind enough to reach out and let me know that their team is working on a new generation of MeatSticks to tackle these issues.
This is great news and I really look forward to it because there is a lot to like about the MeatStick.
For now, I would place the MeatStick X Meat Thermometer behind the Tappecue AirProbe2 and the MEATER Plus in terms of value for all of the reasons discussed in this review.