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Inkbird IBT-6xs vs IBT-4xs: Wireless Pit Thermometer Showdown!

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In-oven thermometers are one of my favorite bbq/grilling accessories. I’ve been using a digital pit thermometer for 2 years now and it has helped me create consistently amazing barbecue and grilled meats. I’ve been looking to upgrade to a wireless model with a phone app for a while now and I had the opportunity to take the Inkbird IBT line of Bluetooth thermometers through their paces.

If you are looking for a great smoker thermometer the Inkbirt IBT-4xs and 6XS have a ton of great features that make it easy to justify the purchase of a new BBQ toy for your smoking adventures!

Inkbird Thermometer Showdown

Inkbird is a brand standard in the world of thermometers, smart sensors, and temperature controllers. With products that range from hygrometers to temperature controllers for gardening, home brewing or farming, to a variety of high-quality thermometers like the IBT-4xs and IBT-6xs, Inkbird definitely knows the business of temperature measurement.

If you are looking for a new pit thermometer, both of these blue tooth multi-probe thermometers would make a great addition to your setup. The real difference between these two lies in their aesthetic and total number of probes. Both employ the same app to regulate and read your pit temp, they both have a great temperature range and feature rechargeable micro USB batteries.

Inkbird IBT-6XS Bluetooth Thermometer

Of the two thermometers I’ll be reviewing today, the 6xs is the more feature-rich model and it’s the pricier option. With 6 probes, three probe clips, and a sleek, small design with a magnetic backing, the Inkbird IBT-6XS is a really attractive thermometer.

I used the IBT-6XS for an entire day of smoking a few Sundays ago when I decided to pop a brisket on my offset barrel smoker in preparation for the return of Football. Over the course of the day, I got to utilize the Inkbird BBQGo application to track my pit temp and maintain my barbecue from almost anywhere in my home.

Over the course of the smoke, I came to really enjoy using the IBT-6XS and even though it did have some frustrating elements, I would definitely consider continuing to use this thermometer as my go-to, pit temp sensor.

What we like:

  • 6 probes
  • The small design keeps the thermometer base out of the way.
  • Easy to use app interface
  • 150 ft wireless range
  • Included air temp probe designed specifically for pit temp.

What we didn’t like:

  • Dark color palette makes this thermometer easy to misplace.
  • The removable base is difficult to reattach.
  • No removable batteries.
  • The braided metal probe cable is easy to crimp
  • No cable keepers for the temperature probe
  • No carrying case.

What’s in the box?

Inside the box for the IBT-6xs I found:

  • 1 IBT-6xs thermometer base
  • 1 air temperature probe
  • 5 food temperature probes
  • 3 probe clips
  • 1 micro USB charging cable
  • 1 users manual

Look and feel.

The first thing I noticed about the IBT-6xs was its small size. This digital thermometer is 2.5 inches x 3.4 inches and 1 inch tall, making it one of the smallest bbq pit thermometers I’ve ever used. In comparison, my regular pit thermometer is about the size of a large smartphone, and this thermometer is about the size of a baseball.

The majority of the thermometer is flat black and it has a red outer base that it fits snugly into. The base contains the magnetic backing making it easy to affix the thermometer base to the sideboard of your smoker or to the front of an oven if you’re using it inside.

Shape wise the IBT-6xs Bluetooth meat thermometer has a hexagonal design and the temperature probe outlets are located at the corners of the shape along the perimeter of the thermometer unit and you can use up to six probes at one time.

The LCD screen display is large and takes up the majority of the face of the thermometer. The readout is slightly dim, especially in highly lit situations like a backyard in the afternoon sun, however, this isn’t really an issue for me because I tend to use the Bluetooth app to check my temps rather than the base itself.

All of the thermometer probes included in the IBT-6xs package are made of high-quality stainless steel and feature braided metal cables. I love probes like this but sadly, without a probe spool or something to wrap the wires around when in storage, they can become crimped and knotted together.

The meat probes themselves are all very nice, and I love the inclusion of an ambient air temperature probe that is specifically built to measure ambient temperatures. Furthermore, the probe clips make it easy to affix them to a grill grate to get the most accurate grill level air temp reading possible. This also helps keep the air temp probe clean and grease-free where possible.

Using the IBT-6xs.

Using the IBT-6xs was a pretty straightforward proposition as I’d been using a Bluetooth meat thermometer setup for quite a while and overall the design and app interface for the IBT-6xs was incredibly similar to my last model.

After I unboxed the IBT-6xs I got my pit lit and up to temperature, then got down to the business of preparing my brisket.

I use a pretty simple process for my brisket and prefer a texas style rub. I slathered the entire brisket with yellow mustard, rubbed it down with a mixture of butcher grind black pepper and kosher salt.

While the pit was heating I set up the IBT-6xs and got my phone connected to the BBQGo application I’d downloaded from my app store. The set-up was simple and once I was sure the app was connected, I placed a probe clip into my smoker and ran the air temp thermometer probe to the clip. Interestingly, when I turned on the IBT-6xs it was measuring in Celsius, and when I connected the BBQgo app it automatically changed into Farenheight.

I monitored the pit temperature and once it reached 250°f I loaded in the brisket, filled my water pan, and inserted a second meat probe into the brisket before closing the lid.

Pit thermometers increase temperature accuracy.

Over the course of the afternoon, I continued to measure the temperature of the pit from my phone while tracking the temperature of my brisket as well. The ability to track my pit and product temperature simultaneously has been a game-changer for my barbecue.

Using an air temperature probe has allowed me to increase the temperature accuracy of my pit readings, creating more consistency in my pit temperature overall. Most of the analog pit temperature gauges that come with store-bought smokers are useless primarily because of their placement.

Pit thermometers need to be placed at the level of your product, not on top of the smoker. Heat rises, and in an offset barrel smoker like mine, the included probe is placed at the top of the lid which ends up giving me temperature readings that are ~100 degrees higher than the air temperature at grill level. This is less of a problem in a vertical smoker, but you still want the most accurate pit temp readings possible, and a thermometer like the 6xs can really help.

Keep that pit closed for faster barbecue.

Early in my barbecue travels, I had a problem with opening my pit. I was enamored with the process of smoking and barbecue and I couldn’t help but take a peek as often as I could. I also loved taking the temperatures of my product to track its progress.

Using a bbq thermometer like the IBT-6xs makes it easy to keep the pit closed and ensures a consistent pit temperature that doesn’t drop or plummet every time you open the door. By giving me the ability to track the temperature of anything in my smoker, the 6xs really makes it easy to leave the pit alone except for the occasion mist or mop from a sauce or bottle of vinegar/juice mixture. This in turn speeds up the time it takes to produce incredible barbecue because your product isn’t being slowed by temperature variations.

Final Thoughts on the IBT-6XS.

Using the IBT-6xs to help keep an eye on my Sunday brisket was a breeze. The battery was well charged out of the box and made it through the day without issue. Though I don’t love the fact that I can’t swap batteries out of this thermometer, I would also hate to have to deal with button/watch batteries as well, and this model is way to small for anything but those types of power solutions.

The temperature probes were well made, easy to use, and the BBQGo app made it a snap to keep an eye on my pit and product at the same time. I do wish they had included a storage solution for the temperature probes and an overall storage solution for the entire setup. As of now I’ve got my model stashed in the box it came in but, it’s not really built for long-term storage and I anticipate having to find a more permanent solution.

In terms of performance, this little thermometer handled a full day in the smoker with zero issues. The probes were easy to clean with a warm soapy rag, and the BBQ app was a breeze. With features like presets, custom temperature settings, a count-down timer, and graphs to help you visualize your temperature profile, this thermometer can add a level of accuracy to your next cook that will help step up your barbecue to the next level.

Inkbird IBT-4XS Bluetooth Thermometer

Even though the IBT-4XS is slightly larger than its bigger brother, I actually liked the look and feel better than the 6XS. I employed the 4XS over the same Sunday smoking session I used the 6XS and using them side by side was really nice, because overall they are almost identical in functionality, even though the 4XS has 2 less probes.

While using dueling pit thermometers might have been overkill, using both of these models simultaneously gave me the ability to compare the accuracy and the Bluetooth range for the app connection. Overall, the 4xs was incredibly easy to use, and for its price, it’s a great option for anyone who wants a new bbq thermometer but doesn’t plan on smoking a ton of different products at once.

What we like:

  • Larger design makes this thermometer easy read and locate
  • Easy to use app interface
  • 150 ft wireless range
  • Included air temp probe designed specifically for pit temp.

What we didn’t like:

  • No removable batteries.
  • Only 4 probes
  • The braided metal probe cable is easy to crimp
  • No cable keepers for the temperature probe
  • No carrying case.

What’s in the box?

Inside the box for the IBT-6xs I found:

  • 1 IBT-4xs thermometer base
  • 1 air temperature probe
  • 3 food temperature probes
  • 2 probe clips
  • 1 micro USB charging cable
  • 1 users manual

Look and feel.

While the 4xs is larger than the 6xs this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When I see overly small electronics it always brings me back to that scene from Zoolander with the cell phones. I like small electronics, but I don’t like sacrificing functionality for size where possible.

The 4xs meat thermometer is the perfect size for the job and if it had the ability to handle 6 probes it would be the hands-down winner in this comparison. At 3.3 inches x 3.3 inches and 1 inch tall, this thermometer resembles one of those round buzzers that you get when your put on a wait at some restaurants.

The LCD display on the 4xs is larger and it takes up the majority of the face of the thermometer base. The probe outlets are all located along the bottom edge of the thermometer and the screen cycles through each probe that is connected to the base at one time.

On the display there is a second smaller number located at the bottom left corner that tells you which probe is currently being displayed, however, like with the 6XS, it’s easier to use the BBQGo app to take temperature readings than the thermometer itself.

Both the 6xs and 4xs have a rotatable reading display that automatically shifts when you turn or move the thermometer into a new position.

The probes are made from sturdy, stainless steel and come with braided steel mesh cables. The ambient temperature probe is blunted and can only be used for taking ambient temperatures, while the meat probes are all sharp and pointed.

Like with the 6xs I wish Inkbird had thought to include a storage solution for the cables as well as the entire setup overall. When stored together braided metal wires have a tendency to knot and get bound together and there is always the opportunity for the wires to crimp making them brittle and temperamental.

Using the IBT-4xs.

Using the 4xs on my Sunday Brisket smoking adventures was pretty straightforward. I’d already downloaded the app for the 6xs and the IBT-4xs uses the same one. To connect the 4xs I simply turned off the 6xs, exited out of the app, and then reconnected to the 4xs the same way.

Once the brisket was slathered, rubbed, and ready to go, I loaded it into the heated pit and got the thermometer probes situated. Next, I opened the app and set the air temp probe to the BBQ Smoke preset, and adjusted the values for my personal preferences. I wish that the folks at Inkbird would allow you to manually enter temperature values with your keyboard when updating preset programs, sadly you have to use the up and down arrows on the screen to adjust the high/low settings.

Lastly, I set the brisket probe to a custom temperature setting that I labeled Brisket. I set the program to be a peak alarm that was meant to go off when the temperature reached a specific value and then set that temperature for 206°f which is my preferred brisket pull temp. When setting a custom preset, you are able to enter the temperature value using your keyboard which made the process even faster.

Once my alarms were set, I sat back and relaxed while monitoring the temperature of my smoker from the comfort of my couch (it was the first Sunday of football after all).

Ambient Temperature Probes = Accurate Pit Temperature.

As I stated earlier, my first smoking adventures with my offset barrel smoker were disasters. I don’t cook on anything fancy, and the storebought offset barrel I use came with a pretty terrible pit thermometer. Once I discovered digital pit thermometers like the IBT-4xs I really started to improve my cooking, and just generally speed things up.

The first thing I realized when I began using my pit thermometer is how much the placement of your thermometer probe can increase the accuracy of your readings. If you arent reading the pit temp at grill level then you’re almost certainly getting an inaccurate reading.

The probe clips that come with both the 6xs and 4x make it easy to keep track of the exact temperature at grill level meaning you know the temperature your product is cooking at to the degree. The probe clip sits securely between the bars on your grill grate or oven rack if you are using the thermometer inside, and you slide the ambient temperature probe into the hole in the clip.

Temperature Range.

The temperature range for both of these thermometers is the same at 32°f-572°f, which is more than enough for almost any cooking or barbecue situation you could imagine. I try to keep my pit temperature around 250°f-275°f for most of my cooks, sometimes I’ll venture into the 300s for things like chicken or turkey, but rarely higher than that. It is nice to know that you could use this thermometer for brewing, candy making, or deep frying if necessary, but I’ve always found that bbq smoke is a uniquely permeating substance and it’s best to have a separate thermometer or at least probe for those situations.

Final Thoughts on the IBT-4XS.

Even though the IBT-4xs has fewer probes than the 6xs I think I enjoyed its design more overall. It is small enough to store easily but large enough to read at a glance. The probes all connect in the same general place and it’s super easy to tell which probe’s information is currently being displayed.

The BBQGo app is a dream to use and with tons of features/customizations, it’s easy to really dial in your cookign process and start making better barbecue right out of the box. Thanks to a pretty large Bluetooth range I was able to take readings from almost everywhere in my home and this meant I spent less time opening my pit and more time getting sides ready and watching the game.

I still wish that Inkjbird had opted for a replaceable battery rather than a rechargeable option, I’m forgetful and I know would forget to recharge the battery in between cook sessions and end up with a dead thermometer.

The lack of a cable storage solution and an overall storage case is frustrating, but you can find cases available online or just keep them together in a ziplock storage bag if needed.

Overall, the 4xs is a great thermometer that will help you create incredible bbq time after time, it just has a few issues that for some may be deal-breakers.

Using the BBQGo App.

At the heart of both of these thermometers is the BBQGo app and in reality, this will be the way you interact with the IBT-4xs and 6xs most often. Going into these tests I was already familiar with using a Bluetooth-connected application to control my pit thermometer and it was nice how similar the inkbird app was to the thermometer I’d already been using.

Setting up your new IBT-4xs or IBT-6xs is super easy, just download the BBGGo app from your AppStore and turn on your Bluetooth connection before opening the app. The BBQGo app will guide you through the connection process which takes 3 seconds to 1 minute, and then automatically move you forward to the temperature display panel.

On the app, you can see all the current temperature probe readings as well as any programs, or presets you have to go at that time. I like to use temperature settings for each probe I have running at any one time and building custom presets can help immensely. For example, when smoking brisket and ribs at the same time I can set individual presets with the unique peak temperature alerts that will inform me when it’s time to pull and rest each product.

Furthermore, I can set a temperature range for my ambient temperate probe to make sure my pit always stays within a specific temperature range. The high and low alarm automatically informs me when my pit temp falls below a certain temperature or when it goes too high because of a recent wood addition or even a flare-up.

Each probe also has a timer function that provides a count-down timer helping keep track of cook times and the cooking process overall.

Finally, once you’ve set a preset to each probe you can see a graph of the temperature readings over the time the program has been set. This is really helpful for seeing how consistent your pit temperature remained over the course of the cook. Consistent pit temps are a building block of good barbecue and with the BBQGo app you can really track your progress and make informed decisions about future bbq projects.

The Bluetooth range for the BBQGo app is listed at 150 feet from the base, but I definitely found that number to be on the lower side. I was able to get readings from almost everywhere in my entire house and even my front yard. Obviously, results vary, but I found the range to be more than adequate for all my barbecue needs.

Which thermometer should you get?

Both of these thermometers offer a number of benefits and they can really help your barbecue process reach new heights of accuracy and quality. While neither model has a removable battery, their battery life is strong enough to make it through even an 8-hour brisket cook, just make sure to recharge it between every smoking session to ensure you always have a thermometer that’s ready to go.

If you want a thermometer that’s easy to use, and you don’t plan on smoking more than 3 separate items simultaneously, then the 4xs should be more than capable enough to handle the job. On the other hand, if you do plan on smoking up to 5 separate items then the 6xs is definitely the thermometer for you.

Both of these models come with one ambient probe, a rotatable led screen, and wireless Bluetooth connectivity, so it really comes down to how much you plan on smoking at one time. Regardless of which model you choose, as long as you can keep the battery charged these wireless thermometers will help you create more consistent, better tasting barbecue for years to come.

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