Thermometer technology, like all tech, continues to grow and improve at an almost exponential rate. Every week, we see a new temperature measurement system, thermometer style, or brand new thermometer tech on the market.
Over the past few months, our Pitmasters at SMS have been lucky enough to dive into two top-rated Smart Wireless Thermometers, the Meater Pro and the Meatstick X.
These thermometers offer the ability to monitor your oven, smoker, or grill without a single wire involved, which is a pretty incredible feat.
While these thermometers are definitely similar in design and functionality, they definitely differ slightly from one another, and we figured a full-on Smart Thermometer Showdown was in order.
If you want to check out our individual reviews for the Meater Plus or MeatStick X, we've done a great job of going in-depth on what makes these thermometers unique and how they work. If you want to see how these thermometers compare, read on!
MeatStick vs. Meater; A Wireless Smart Thermometer Showdown
MeatStick Wireless Smart Thermometer
The Meatstick X is an incredible meat thermometer, and our staff loved using it. It's hard to come up with reasons not to like this smart thermometer probe with a super simple design, rugged build, excellent battery life, and range.
We liked using the Meatstick X so much that we included it in our Best Meat Thermometer list, which included over 50 thermometers for competition and 100+ hours of total barbecue testing.
What we liked.
- Quick Charging
- Intuitive smart app design
- Runs on a single AA battery
- Great battery life
What needs improvement.
- Ok Wireless Range
- Internal temperature only reads internal temps up to 212°f
Cooking with the Meatstick.
The Meatstick X has a nice but utilitarian design. It's made of rugged black plastic and has only one button on the face.
The back is magnetic and contains the battery compartment, which luckily runs on two AA batteries. Sadly, the MeatStick X doesn't come with batteries, so you'll have to ensure you have a few on hand to get the thermometer charged and started.
Once charged, connecting the app to the Meatstick X is a breeze. Open the app on your phone and follow the instructions to set up your smart wireless thermometer.
Once connected to the MeatStick X, the smartphone app walks you through setting temperature ranges and alarms.
Thanks to the dual probe design, the MeatStick X and all of the MeatStick products can monitor both the internal meat temperature and the temperature of your cooking chamber thanks to the ambient sensors embedded in the ceramic handle.
The internal thermometer probe can measure temperatures up to 212°f, while the ambient sensor can handle cooking temps up to 572°f. This means you can use the MeatStick to do a lot of things, but it won't necessarily work for deep frying, which may be a turn-off.
Setting a cooking program or an alarm is super simple. For internal temperature alarms, you can set both a final temperature alert and a pre-temp alert which lets you know when your meat is getting close to being finished. This can be super helpful if you're searing steaks in cast-iron skillets or on a grill because the finishing temperature can approach much faster than with smoked meats.
The ambient temperature sensor helps measure the ambient temperature of your cooking chamber. We used it to keep track of high and low-temperature situations in our smoker for our purposes.
We cooked some incredible Pork Belly Burnt ends when testing the MeatStick X, so we set a range of 240 to 290°f for most of our cooking process.
Beyond setting programs and wireless alerts, the Meater app uses the data from the wireless probes to visualize your cooking progress in a very convenient fashion. The graph is front and center on the app display. It's easy to read and quickly discern information about the heat profile of your cooking process, which is excellent for understanding and improving your barbecue or really any style of cooking.
The MeatStick X has a very respectable range of 260ft, and throughout our tests, we found this to be an understatement at times.
Once we connected the MeatStick X to our smart device, we found it challenging to get the thermometer to drop its signal. The backyard we were using for testing is not a vast space, but neither is it small. We were able to stay connected everywhere in the yard and up to the home's second floor.
The Wireless range of the MeatStick X definitely outstrips the stock range for the Meater Plus. At almost double the projected wireless capability, it's got a ton of long-distance functionality, and that's before you get a product like the MeatStick Wifi Bridge involved.
MeatStick Wifi Bridge
The MeatStick Wife Bridge is a useful little accessory that allows you to expand the range of your Meatstick arsenal. By connecting the wifi bridge to your local wifi network, you can monitor up to eight sticks from almost anywhere.
About the size of a deck of cards, with a small led readout, the Wifi bridge doesn't look like much, but it packs a punch and pushes the thermometer's connectivity past its extended Bluetooth range.
The ability to link multiple probes to the same app is always excellent. Still, the ability to monitor your barbecue from outside your home is what we like to think of as the Gold Standard of thermometer tech.
While we never recommend leaving a pit unattended, there will always be times when you need to run out in the middle of your cook, and when you do, you'll be able to track the progress of your barbecue from anywhere you go!
Meater Wireless Smart Thermometer
Meater makes a stunning thermometer. These thermometers set themselves apart with a well-designed wood-tone thermometer base, fun design elements like a magnetic battery enclosure, and an overall sturdy build quality.
While they may not have quite the range of the MeatStick thermometers, they can expand that range with features like the Meater Link and with added accessories like the Meater Block.
What we liked
- Easy to use Smart Phone App
- Completely Wireless Operation
- Great battery life
- Dual sensors allow you to monitor internal temperature and ambient temperature.
What needs improvement
- Maximum internal temperature only reaches 212°f
- Charging can take a while
- Range only 165 ft
Using the Meater Plus.
One area where the Meater line of smart wireless thermometers shines is in the design department.
By melding a high-quality probe design with a finished bamboo charging block and smart design elements like a magnetic battery compartment, Meater has created a really fun and beautiful meat thermometer.
The front of the charging base is super clean, with a single button to connect the thermometer with your smart device and a tiny led light that can inform you of the charging status of your thermometer.
On the back of the Meater Plus and Meater, you'll find the magnetic battery compartment, which, as silly as it sounds, was one of our favorite design elements of this thermometer.
The magnetic bamboo battery lid covers two AAA batteries, which were included with the Meater Plus, unlike the Meatstick X. In addition to a magnetic battery cover, the back of the Meater and Meater Plus contains magnets that allow you to lock the thermometer to any magnetic surface conveniently.
Once powered on, you'll need to charge your Meater Plus for at least 6 hours before your first use. While this is a bummer, it's not a consistent issue because the probe charges whenever stored in the battery base, so it's almost always ready to go!
Connecting the Meater thermometer to the app is straightforward.
Once the battery for the meater is charged and ready to go, remove the probe from the base, press the button on the face of the Meater charging block, and open the Meater smart device application.
The app will walk you through connection and setup; then, it's time to get down to some smoking.
Setting up a temperature range/alarm is super easy. Thanks to a dual-sensor design, the Meater line of thermometers can measure internal temperatures using the internal sensor and the temperature of your cooking chamber with the ambient sensor.
The internal sensor can only measure temperatures up to 212°f. In contrast, the ambient temperature sensor can handle temps up to 576°f, making it perfect for measuring the temp of your oven or smoker.
Unlike other "wireless" thermometers, completely wireless probes like the Meater Plus and the Meatstick are not built to be used with deep fryers or candy making. If you want to deep fry foods and use the Meater probes, you can always insert them into the food once removed from the fryer, but you'll still need to wait for the Meater app to connect and provide temperature data.
You could potentially use these probes for brewing or sous vide cooking, but you'll need a thermometer clip to keep the thermometer from falling into the pot.
Setting Alarms and Cooking Presets.
Like with the MeatStick X, the Meater app can walk you through setting up cooking programs for all of your meater products. You can quickly set temperature ranges for both the internal probe and the external ambient sensor and cooking alarms for your products.
We tested the Meater Plus on a Smoked Beef Coulotte, so we set up a classic brisket style program.
We set the ambient sensor for a range of 240°f to 290°f, a pretty standard beef smoking range for us, and then set the internal finishing temperature to 206°f.
While the wireless range for the Meater Plus is about half the of the Meatstick X, it is still large enough to handle most cooking situations.
The range for the original Meater is much worse, and in reviews, most users claim it only reaches around 10 ft. During our tests with the original meater, we could keep it connected up to the 50ft suggested range, but only if our phone was within sight of the thermometer. Through walls or doors, the thermometer would disconnect.
We found it fairly simple to keep a steady connection with the Meater Plus from almost anywhere in the backyard throughout our tests. Things get a little more complicated once you add barriers like walls and doors.
Luckily, you can expand the utility of the Meater with the Meater Link. By leaving a smart device within range of the wireless thermometer base, you can use it as a "wifi repeater" and monitor the progress of your cooking session from a second or third smart device connected to the same wifi network and the Meater app.
Tracking and Visualizing Cooking Progress.
In addition to convenient temperature range alerts and temperature alarms, the Meater app allows you to visualize the progress of your smoker, oven, or sous-vide set up in a convenient line graph format.
Using the graph function, you can quickly see how small changes in your cooking process affect the temperature and timing of your proteins/products. This can help you make more intelligent, more directed choices regarding things like wood additions, temperature ranges, and the effect of techniques like wrapping, mopping, or rotating your proteins.
The Meater Block is an expanded version of the Meater thermometer, with a much larger base, about the size of a tablet or smart device, to accommodate the four included probes; the Meater Block is made for individuals who want to be able to keep track of multiple proteins or products at the same time.
Along with its larger size, the Meater Block has more extensive power requirements and runs on 4 AA batteries included in the packaging.
The range for the Meater Block is the same as the wireless range for the Meater Plus, 165 ft, but again you can expand the range of your thermometers by using the Meater Link feature; you just need a second smart device to do it.
Available in 2 or 4 probe models, the Meater Block will always have four charging ports available, so you might want to go with the two probe model if you already have a Meater probe at home. On the other hand, the Meater Block is about the price of 3 Meater probes, so you essentially get one for free!
Which Wireless Smart Thermometer is right for you, the Meater or the MeatStick?
Both of these Wireless thermometer systems have their high points and drawbacks.
The Meater line of Smart Thermometers are beautiful, well-designed products that feel cutting edge while also retaining a "rustic" aesthetic with a warm wood finish and clean design. At the same time, the Meatstick line of thermometers feels more like a modern design that aims to deliver a fluid, seamless thermometer experience.
Both of these systems make it easy to quickly and efficiently measure the temperature of your smoker or oven and products cooking inside without a single wire involved.
With excellent battery life, beautiful app design, and decent wireless range, either of these thermometers will help make your cooking processes more precise and consistent.
If you really like a clean aesthetic, minimal design, and a wood grain finish, then the Meater is probably the choice for you. While you may be sacrificing some wireless range, you can always extend it with the Meater Link feature. The Meater thermometers are gorgeous accessories that will draw a ton of comments and questions at your next cookout or barbecue comp.
On the other hand, if you don't really care about things like magnetic battery compartments and bamboo charging blocks, the MeatStick line of smart thermometers is a solid choice. With a more comprehensive wireless range, the ability to link up to eight sticks together, and a slightly thinner probe overall, it's pretty clear why we included the MeatStick X on our Best Meat Thermometer List.
Ike in Maryland says
Any thoughts on which might be better suited to work on a grill rotisserie?
Does the meatstick give you time to go, the amount of time before the cook is finished? That's one of the best features of the meater
Tim Bates says
It does. I've used mine a handful of time (not a heavy bbq cooker). It does recalculate the remaining time based on internal temp/target temp/ambient temp. So don't expect it to say 1:45 remaining and set a timer to it. Then again I'm using a charcoal/wood smoker and I'm challenged trying to maintain a steady temp in my bullet smoker.
WTF needs an internal temp above 212, seems like a reason to hate, come-on man.