Published Sunday, June 01, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.

With an instant-read thermometer, you'll never again overcook a steak or undercook a chicken. Our test cooks use our top-rated instant-read thermometer many times a day.

Highly Recommended
  Thermoworks Super-Fast Thermapen 211-476

Simply the best: fast, accurate, and easy to use. The Thermapen also has the widest temperature range (-58 to 572 degrees).

  Maverick Redi-Chek Professional Chef's Digital Thermometer DT-01

While this no-frills model is rated to only 302 degrees, it accurately registered temperature in 350-degree frying oil. While every reading was accurate, the lack of a calibration function might spell trouble down the road.

  Polder Instant-Read Thermometer 371

This looks much like the CDN Q2-450 (complete with short probe), but its response time was four seconds slower. Otherwise, very serviceable.

  Fieldpiece SPK1 Thermometer

The swing-out pocketknife-style probe makes for comfortable high-heat temperature measurements, which the broad range permits (-58 to 392 degrees). No calibration function.

  Comark PDT300 Thermometer

While this thermometer does offer a self-calibration button and produces speedy readings, its short probe and limited range (-58 to 300 degrees) makes taking temperatures for deep-frying and candy-making out of the question.

Recommended with Reservations
  Taylor Classic Instant Read Thermometer 9840

Slow response time is the biggest concern with this thermometer. No calibration function.

Recommended with Reservations
  Thermoworks RT-301 Thermometer

A relatively low maximum temperature of 248 degrees and the lack of a calibration function are drawbacks.

Recommended with Reservations
  DeltaTRAK 11000 Thermometer

The slow response time is this thermometer’s biggest flaw. It does, however, come with a calibration function and a probe of adequate length.

Recommended with Reservations
  Cooper-Atkins Waterproof Digital Thermometer DPP400W

Its relatively poor showing in accuracy tests is a practical flaw; a calibration function would help. The short (2 3/4-inch) stem is a more serious drawback, as is the slow response time. The tiny buttons can be hard to manipulate.