Wireless pit thermometers continue to be one of the best ways to improve your barbecue game. Whether you are a long-time pitmaster, or just getting into the hobby, adding an in an oven thermometer to your barbecue setup will pay dividends in the long run.
By now everyone on the SMS staff has a favorite wireless pit thermometer and tons of experience testing/reviewing new thermometer tech. Some of our staff prefer the wireless receiver type, while others are more in favor of Bluetooth options with smartphone functionality baked right in.
Regardless of preference, everyone on our staff was absolutely stoked to take a look at the new ThermoWorks Signals. After hours of individual testing, we all agree, the ThermoWorks Signals is an incredible wireless pit thermometer option.
ThermoWorks Signals Wifi/Bluetooth Thermometer.
What we liked.
- Great probe range
- Super accurate
- Sturd probe design
- Bluetooth and Wifi Connectivity
- Very nice smartphone app
- Easy to set alarms and cooking programs
- Compatible with other thermoworks accessories
What we didn't.
- Can't dismiss alarms directly from the app
- No carrying case
Look and Feel
ThermoWorks as a brand has a really specific aesthetic and overall feel to their appliances. While the form factor may change from model to model, the build and materials involved remain similar.
The ThermoWorks Signals is made from the same thick, high-quality plastic that all Thermoworks devices are made from. If you've ever held Thermapen or Thermoworks products it feels very familiar.
With a large, centrally mounted display, and a wedge-like design, the Signals device is easy to read even at a distance. Available in a variety of colors, our model was bright, fire engine red, but you can choose from a ton of different color options.
High temp cooking probes.
The 4 probes included in the Signals thermometer packaging are all high-quality "pro" series thermistor probes. They are honestly some of the most well-built high temp cooking probes we've seen, with really nice high temp plastic wire couplings, and a very nice profile overall.
Normally we like thermocouple probes as most of the SMS pitmasters found them to be more accurate and responsive to temperature changes. I couldn't tell the difference between these probes and other thermocouple-style probes I've used outside of the probe connection. To be honest many of our pitmasters thought these were thermocouple style probes until we began to research the tech specs.
The Signals comes with three protein or product probes. They have a very thin step-down design and a really nice taper to ensure the smallest puncture possible.
The fourth probe is a rounded, high temp ambient air temperature probe that's designed to measure the air temperature in your cooking space.
Along with a grill grate clip to keep the ambient temperature probe elevated, the Signals comes with 4 sets of color-coded silicone rings to help identify each probe when smoking.
Battery and Power Source.
The battery for the ThermoWorks Signals is rechargeable and as a result, there is no battery compartment making the overall build for the Signals unit far more sturdy and water-resistant.
While a rechargeable battery can be frustrating, especially if you've forgotten to charge it, the ThermoWorks Signals uses a USB-C charging cord and charges relatively quickly.
The 12v USB power adapter included with the ThermoWorks signals is well made, and purpose-built to charge it. You can use another charger if necessary but it might not charge as quickly or efficiently.
Testing the Thermoworks Signals.
Once we'd unboxed and gotten a feel for the ThermoWorks Signals, it was time to get down to testing.
Whenever we test a thermometer here at SMS, the goal is to get a feel for how the model performs under real-world circumstances. While overall accuracy and maximum range are important for a wireless Bluetooth thermometer like the ThermoWorks Signals, in our experience, understanding how a product will react in the day-to-day is more important.
To test the ThermoWorks signals we had one of our resident pitmasters take it for a spin during some recipe development smoking sessions.
By this point, we've tested almost every major app-based thermometer on the market, so it's fair to say that the SMS staff has feel for what it takes to make a great thermometer app.
An awesome thermometer smartphone app should be:
- Easy to set up.
- Easy to understand.
- Simple to set, monitor and dismiss alarms.
- Provide the ability to track and graph the progress of your barbecue.
While the ThermoWorks smartphone app is not perfect, it is comparatively really nice. Many apps make it difficult to set up your thermometer or to set/monitor alarms. This is not a problem that the ThermoWorks app suffers from.
Setting up the thermometer was as simple as turning on the Signals base, turning on the Bluetooth connection, and opening up the app.
Upon initializing the app our test phone instantly recognized and paired with the ThermoWorks Signals. From there the app prompted us to set up the WiFi network connection, which was very easy.
WiFi connections have proven problematic in the past with other wireless thermomter models, and it was nice to see an app that worked seamlessly with our wifi router.
Using the ThermoWorks cell phone app was relatively straightforward and thanks to our general familiarity with other thermometer apps it wasn't too tough to get it set up and ready to go.
Setting individual high and low alarms was very simple. Each probe allowed for a number of preset programs/ranges or the ability to build custom cooking alarms.
You can choose between a high/low alarm range or a target temperature which is great for cooking multiple proteins while also tracking the current temperature of your cooking chamber.
You can individualize the set alarms themselves and change alarm volume from the app as well which is a great feature.
The biggest frustration we encountered with the ThermoWorks app was when we tried to dismiss temperature alerts from the app itself. While dismissing the alarm on the app would stop our test phone from vibrating or ringing, it did not stop the alarm at the thermometer base.
We did find that you can choose to silence the alarm completely at the thermometer base, which is convenient if you are relying solely on the app to monitor your barbecue's progress.
While this isn't a deal-breaker, we all agreed, this was a pretty frustrating design flaw.
The graph feature allows you to visualize the progress of your barbecue throughout the smoking session.
Graphing the progress of your barbecue or the pit itself can provide a ton of insight into your process allowing you to better control your fire and barbecue, hopefully resulting in better, more consistent smoked/grilled meats.
The ThermoWorks Cloud is a super unique feature that sets ThermoWorks apart from the competition.
With an easy-to-use interface, an awesome free basic membership that can support up to 5 devices, and the ability to track your bbq from anywhere, the ThermoWorks Cloud is the next evolution in BBQ temperature technology.
There are some drawbacks with the ThermoWorks Cloud, but given the functionality in the free account, it's an awesome added value that's hard to turn down.
At the free level, you can get up to the minute data from your ThermoWorks Signals from anywhere in the world in less than 6 seconds, which is truly incredible. However, at the free level you can only transmit data from your device 1x per hour.
Once you get into the paid tiers you can increase the amount of times you can transmit data per hour depending on what membership level you choose. For more information you can head to the ThermoWorks Cloud info page, or check out this infographic on the pricing tiers!
Overall, the ThermoWorks cloud connection offers a ton of tracking functionality and can help you track the process of your barbecue even when away from home.
Cooking with the ThermoWorks Signals.
We used the ThermoWorks Signals throughout a day spent testing new barbecue chicken recipes. Barbecue chicken is a deceptively simple process, that is actually very difficult to master. Temperature tracking has been one of the ways we've improved our whole barbecue chicken process, and we hoped the ThermoWorks signals could increase that accuracy even further.
Once the smoker was lit, chicken prepped, and the Signals unit fully charged, we got down to testing. First, we set up the ambient air temperature probe and waited until the chamber reached the ideal smoking temperature for the chicken.
Monitoring the smoker temperature from the app was super simple. Once the smoker reached appropriate smoking temperatures we set a temperature range alarm on the app to help alert us whenever the smoker rose above or fell below the ideal smoking range.
After the chickens had been prepped and loaded into the preheated smoker chamber, our pitmaster placed a single probe into the breast of each spatchcocked chicken against the keel bone.
The step-down probe design slides easily into the breast and leaves little puncture artifact when removed.
Once the smoker was buttoned up and the chickens were happily smoking away, it was time to get down to some range testing.
Bluetooth and Wifi Range.
The ThermoWorks Signals connects both to your wifi and your smartphone's Bluetooth connection giving this thermometer a pretty incredible range.
Bluetooth range varies from device to device and is also contingent upon line of site situations. While we've had a lot of luck maintaining Bluetooth connections through walls and around corners, in general, they work best when you can keep the object in sight without obstructions.
Throughout our tests, we remained connected to the local wifi network and to the thermometer's Bluetooth connection, so maintaining a strong signal from anywhere in the house or on the property was easy.
To test the effective range we walked down the street a few houses and attempted to get the wifi connection to drop. The router must have been particularly strong or well placed because we had to get almost half a block away from the house to get it to finally drop.
Once the wifi connection dropped so did our connection to the Signals unit. The Bluetooth range for this thermometer is only ~100ft, so the wifi connection is definitely going to outlast the Bluetooth connection almost every time.
Is the ThermoWorks Signals the right thermometer for you?
While the ThermoWorks Signals Wifi/Bluetooth thermometer certainly has a few issues. Overall, this is a great wireless pit thermometer with a ton of functionality.
Yes, we all wish that you could dismiss alarms directly from the app, but it's not a huge imposition. The build quality, range, and features like the ThermoWorks cloud more than make up for it.
The biggest concern when it comes to the ThermoWorks Signals is the price point. This thermometer is by no means an inexpensive purchase, but in our opinion, as with most Thermoworks products, the price is justified.
Over the years, ThermoWorks products have continued to be some of the most accurate and consistent temperature measurement accessories available. The ThermoWorks Signals is no exception.
If you are looking for a great Bluetooth/Wifi Thermometer and you love the ThermoWorks line of products, this is definitely a very strong option.