There are few things better in this world than having your pit at the ideal temperature as you turn a big piece of brisket or pork butt into barbecue perfection.
Anyone who has been around a barbecue pit or grill for a while can tell you that the key to quality smoked meats is temperature control and, more importantly, accurate temperature readings.
Grilleye makes a line of very affordable and accurate in-oven smoker thermometers that, while lesser-known than some of the more prominent brands, still do an incredible job keeping track of your barbecue temperatures.
Between the three Grilleye thermometers we had the chance to look at, we preferred the Grilleye Max over the Grilleye and the Grilleye Pro Plus. All three of these wireless barbecue thermometers do an incredible job tracking temperatures and providing accurate readings. Still, the Grilleye Max stood out in terms of usability, price point, and design!
A Barbecue Thermometer Showdown: Grilleye vs. Grilleye Max vs. Grilleye Pro Plus.
Grilleye Ultra Precise Smart Thermometer
What we liked.
- Familiar, easy-to-use smart app design
- Supports up to 6 probes
- Easy to set up
- Bluetooth pairing was a snap
- Great overall range
- Easy-to-read display
- Powered by 2 AA batteries
What needs IMprovement
- No WiFi Connectivity
Setting up the Grilleye Smart Thermometer
I was a little unsure about the Grilleye smart thermometer out of the box, but I definitely came to love it during our testing.
The display is large and round on a rectangular device with a bright cherry red finish. Overall, it gives off serious art deco vibes that, while attractive, are not my aesthetic.
In general, after testing all three of these thermometers, it's clear that Grilleye makes bold design choices.
After unpacking the Grilleye and getting the 2 AA batteries installed into the back battery compartment, we got down to pairing it and getting our smoker lit.
The pairing process was relatively straightforward, and thanks to a familiar app design, it was even easier to get the device set up and ready to go.
All we had to do to get the Grilleye paired was turn on the thermometer and open the Grilleye application. The app asked us to open our Bluetooth connection on our smart device, and the device was paired in under 10-15 seconds.
Cooking with the Grilleye Bluetooth Thermometer
With the Grilleye paired and the smoker lit, it was time to get down to some barbecue.
As with every thermometer we test, we try to use each product in real-world cooking situations to best gauge a thermometer's performance. While theoretical values and results under ideal conditions are great for advertising, what we try to focus on is gaining an understanding of what you can expect to get out of each thermometer at home.
We tested the Grilleye while smoking some brisket-style beef culotte in our texas style offset smoker.
Once the smoker was up to temperature, which we monitored wirelessly from the kitchen while prepping the meat, we loaded our proteins into the smoking chamber and sat back to wait while our smoker did its thing.
Taking wireless Temperature REadings with the Grilleye.
Taking wireless temperature readings with the Grilleye barbecue thermometer was incredibly straightforward. The Grilleye app is almost identical to the applications used by Inkbird, Chugod, and many other barbecue thermometer brands, so it was familiar and easy to navigate.
Setting temperature alarms and preset alerts was incredibly easy. The Grilleye app allows you to customize any preset temperature alarms or set your custom alerts based on your unique cooking situation.
For our tests, we kept one probe set with a temperature range alarm to monitor our pit temperature and used the second probe to set a traditional temperature alert that would let us know when our protein had finished its journey towards barbecue bliss.
Once our programs were set, we got down to testing the range and strength of the Grilleye ultra-precise meat thermometer.
While you can absolutely take temperatures directly from the thermometer base, the beauty of a wireless thermometer is the ability to walk away from your smoker as needed and still monitor your barbecue.
Throughout our smoking session, we attempted readings from distances at or beyond the listed range for the Grilleye, which is 100 m or 328ft. At ground level, we found it was easy to maintain a Bluetooth connection up to and beyond the quoted range, and we had to work to get the Bluetooth connection to drop.
We tested the range further by going inside and taking our smart device to the second floor. The signal began to weaken at this point and eventually dropped entirely.
Visualizing your Barbecue process.
Like many other smokers on the market, the Grilleye thermometer allows you to visualize your smoking process by graphing the temperature readings from your cooking session.
These graphs can help pinpoint when your temperature may have spiked or dropped and can help you better understand how to control your cooking temperature to produce the best barbecue possible.
Grilleye Max Wireless Barbecue Thermometer
What we liked.
- Fun design
- Supports up to 8 probes
- Grill clips included
- Easy to pair
- Great Range
- Awesome smart app
- Cloud compatible, access your device from anywhere
What needs IMprovement
- Rechargeable battery
- Only includes 2 probes
Setting up the Grilleye Max Wireless Thermometer.
Out of the box, the GrillEye Max has a very different design than the original GrillEye Smart Thermometer. With a unique, cylindrical shape, a transparent plastic housing reminiscent of the see-through game boy models from the early 90s.
One of the more significant differences between the Max, the Pro Plus, and the original GrillEye Thermometer is the choice of power source. While the OG GrillEye utilizes 2 AA batteries for power, something that the SMS Pitmasters love, the GrillEye Max and Pro Plus use a rechargeable battery.
Rechargeable batteries are an excellent choice for many appliances, but they require you to keep them fully charged. Nothing is more frustrating than turning your thermometer on as you get ready to light your pit only to realize you forgot to charge it after your last smoking session.
The nice thing about the rechargeable battery in the GrillEye Max is that the battery life is robust. One full charge is more than enough to handle multiple long cooking sessions, and we found we had almost a full battery after our testing.
Once the battery was fully charged, we powered on the thermometer and got down to set-up.
Pairing the Grilleye Max
The pairing process for the GrillEye max was straightforward. The first Bluetooth pairing process was a breeze and very similar to the set-up for the original GrillEye. Once connected to Bluetooth, the GrillEye app prompted us to connect to a WiFi network which was again very straightforward.
The app itself is different from the original grilleye app, and overall our Pitmasters liked it more than the previous offering. While not hugely different, it seems in the upgrade, the app designers at Grilleye made it even easier to set temperature alerts and cooking programs quickly!
The WiFi pairing process wasn't strictly necessary, but it did make it almost impossible to lose the wireless signal for the thermometer throughout or testing. Furthermore, once paired to WiFi, you can access the GrillEye Cloud service, allowing you to track your barbecue's progress from almost anywhere!
Cooking with the Grilleye Max Smart Thermometer
Once the smoker was lit and the spatchcocked chicken we were testing was ready to go, we attached the 2 GrillEye probes to the thermometer and placed them inside the smoker. One of the probes went into the heart of the brisket we were cooking, and the second probe was placed in the grill clip to elevate it slightly about the grill level to take ambient temperature readings.
The GrillEye Max and the Pro Plus come equipped with only two probes, but they are some of the nicest probes we've had the privilege to review. The ergonomic probe base, braided steel cable, and step-down probe design make for a great combination, and the metallic red finish is a nice touch.
It's a little annoying that the GrillEye supports up to eight probes but only comes with two probes included. While two probes are more than enough to get started, in our experience, four probes is ideal.
The display for the GrillEye Max is definitely eye-catching, with a cool blue backlight and a classic analog look reminiscent of older computer displays. Beyond the display, the cylindrical design of the thermometer is striking; it looks like a small speaker or clock.
The magnetic base makes it easy to secure this thermometer to any reactive metallic surface, but you must be careful to keep it away from hot places like the top or side of your smoker.
Taking wireless temperature readings with the grill eye max
Thanks to the upgraded app interface, setting temperature alarms is even easier than before!
Using a slider wheel to set your high and low marks for temperature ranges or to dial in a temperature is far preferable to the "up and down" arrows found on the old grill eye app.
Once we had our temperature programs set, with a temperature range alarm for the smoker and a smoker alert, it was time to get down to the nitty-gritty.
As our chickens were slowly transformed into barbecue perfection, we tried to stretch the range of the GrillEye Max to its absolute limit.
Thanks to the hybrid wireless technology with Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity built into the GrillEye Max, it was almost impossible to get this thermometer to unpair from our ios or android device.
While we didn't have time to test out the GrillEye cloud service, the idea that you could keep track of your barbecue from anywhere is a very attractive feature. While we never recommend leaving your smoker unattended, sometimes a grocery store run is necessary, and it can be stressful to leave your cooker in the hands of someone else while you're out.
While the GrillEye Max didn't make our Best Meat Thermometer list, it is high on our list of runner-ups, and even with a rechargeable battery, it's still a great appliance that will absolutely improve your smoking process.
Grilleye Pro Plus Wireless Barbecue Thermometer
What we liked.
- Awesome design
- Great app interface
- Easy to pair and program
- Cloud compatible
What needs IMprovement
- Disconnected from the Bluetooth connection at random intervals
- Bluetooth range left something to be desired
Setting up the GrillEye Pro Plus Smart Thermometer
Out of the box, we loved the GrillEye Pro Plus. It was identical in form to the GrillEye Max with one significant difference; the clear plastic case on the GrillEye Max has been replaced with a red and black housing thats much more similar to the color palette for the GrillEye Classic.
Other than that, these two thermometers are almost identical in design. With the same cylindrical design, support for up to 8 probes, WiFi and Bluetooth compatibility, and the same probe design found in all GrillEye Products.
After we completed the initial charging process, we powered on the Pro Plus and got down to smoking some meats!
Cooking with the GrillEye Pro Plus
Once we'd charged the GrillEye Pro Plus, we got our smoker lit and our texas style beef culotte prepped and ready to go.
To pair the Pro Plus, we opened the same GrillEye App we'd used to interact with the GrillEye Max and began the pairing process.
We noticed differences between the GrillEye Max and the Pro Plus during the pairing process. While pairing the GrillEye Max had been a breeze, paring the Pro Plus was a little more complicated. We established the Bluetooth connection after a minute or two, but the WiFi connection was a little more complicated. After a minute or two of fiddling around, we finally got the WiFi connection established and were able to get down to cooking.
Taking Temperature readings with the Grilleye Pro Plus
Taking temperature readings using the GrillEye Pro Plus was relatively easy, but we ran into some issues with the range overall.
To begin, we set our temperature programs using the smart app interface. Using a temperature range setting for the ambient temperature readings and then setting a single temperature alarm for our proteins.
Like the GrillEye Max, the Pro Plus only comes equipped with two thermometer probes but supports up to eight probes simultaneously. While the probes are the same excellent quality we've expected from GrillEye, it was frustrating that they only included 2.
A grill clip for ambient temperature readings is one accessory we always love to see included with any smart thermometer. While you can absolutely lay the probe across the grill grate to take your smoker temperature, the included grill clip allows you to elevate the probe slightly, which helps provide more accurate readings.
While we found the Pro Plus to do a great job when staying close to the smoker, once you started to stretch the range, we definitely ran into problems. We found that as long as Pro Plus was connected to WiFi, the connection to the smart app remained strong, but when you were only connected via Bluetooth, the range was much lower than advertised. While this might not be a problem for you if you plan on only smoking at home or where you know you'll have a strong WiFi signal to work with; if you are planning on taking your show on the road to a catering gig or competition, you might run into problems.
Overall, we liked the Pro Plus, but the GrillEye Max offers the same functionality while improving on the BlueTooth range, and for our purposes, this made all the difference.
Which Grilleye wireless smart thermometer is right for you?
Under normal circumstances, this question is difficult for us to answer here at SMS. Most thermometers we compare stack up really well, and it's easy to point out where one might work better than the other.
In this instance, our pitmasters all agree that the original GrillEye thermometer and the GrillEye Max were excellent barbecue accessories that provided accurate up-to-the-minute readings and were both a breeze to set up.
The GrillEye Pro Plus, on the other hand, was difficult to set-up, lacked an appropriate Bluetooth range, and generally was not up to the standards that these other two thermometers had set.
If you're looking for a wireless barbecue thermometer and want a design that's simple, easy to use, and don't have any need for WiFi/cloud compatibility. In that case, the GrillEye Smart Thermometer is the one for you. With a very attractive price point, tons of functionality, and a smart, unique design, this thermometer is a great way to improve the accuracy of your smoking process and the quality of your barbecue overall.
On the other hand, if the ability to monitor your barbecue from anywhere and support for up to 8 probes is a high priority, then the Grill Eye Max is the best choice. While the Pro Plus is an excellent thermometer, the Max improves upon the design to the degree that's hard to ignore!