The first ever thermometers used alcohol or mercury which expanded as it got warm and contracted as it got cooler. These days probe thermometers work by testing how much electricity flows through them—the hotter the metal, the harder it is for electricity to flow—and this resistance is converted into a temperature, which means greater range, and more accuracy than when you’re using a liquid.

Measures From -50C to 300C

The length of this device means you can take the temperature (in Celsius or Fahrenheit) of your food without getting close enough to get burned or splashed, while the wide range adds versatility. Also available in blue, and in a twin pack. Habor

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At its simplest, a meat thermometer is a long metal probe with a digital reader attached to it. Inserted into food, it will give you a temperature reading. For some foods, getting to the right temperature indicates that they’re safe to eat (in the case of chicken or baby food), for others it means that they’re done to your taste (steak, bread), while in the case of oil, or sugar, it can tell you that you can move on to the next stage of the recipe.

Fast Response

Gives an accurate reading in under three seconds while the folding design and integrated temperature guide make it incredibly practical. Also available in red. DOQAUS

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Obviously, knowing the temperature is only useful if you have an awareness of what temperature the food should be if, say, you want your chicken cooked through or your beef rare. That’s why many thermometers come with a handy reminder guide to internal meat temperatures printed on them. But while the temperatures are set in stone for things like chicken, you may have to use a bit of trial and error when it comes to red meat, as one person’s rare is another person’s medium and, as meat keeps cooking after you take it out of the oven, you may want to consider an “out of oven” temperature, and a “ready to eat” temperature.

Hi-Tech Monitoring

A cord-free probe works with an app on your phone to help predict how long food will take to cook, and alert you when you need to remove it from the heat. Works with Alexa, and even has a cloud function for remote tracking of your meal if you have to step away. MEATER

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While many thermometers just give a snapshot of the temperature of the food at that particular point, some are able to constantly measure the temperature, either using a wired probe (the probe sits in the food and the wire snakes out of the oven to the display) or using a wireless probe that uses bluetooth or wifi to connect to an app. With these types of thermometers, you can set the app or display to notify you when a set temperature has been reached.