Smart thermometers are nothing new in the world of outdoor cooking. The ability to monitor food doneness remotely via a mobile app has been a game-changer, or untethering the cook from the grill or smoker.
But smart thermometers are notoriously clunky, and getting them to connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi with your device and work as advertised can be challenging, if not downright frustrating.
INKBIRD is trying to mitigate that frustration by introducing the first 5GHz Wi-Fi thermometer. When they contacted me to review the INKBIRD IBT-26S 5GHz Wi-Fi thermometer, I was excited to see if the new technology would make my cooking more convenient, my food juicier, and make everything taste better.
INKBIRD provided this unit for me to test and review but did not intervene in any way with my testing. I'm sharing my personal opinion about the thermometer.
The INKBIRD IBT-26S 5GHz Wi-Fi thermometer boasts promises of accuracy and convenience. So let's explore how the thermometer and app work during real cooking scenarios, delve into the features and benefits of the thermometer and explore what sets it apart from similar offerings in its price range.
What comes with the INKBIRD IBT 5GHz Wi-Fi Thermometer?
Clever, contemporary packaging is the first thing you notice, revealing a well-crafted device with multiple food probes.
Each of the four probes has a color-coated collar you can assign to different desired doneness - like white meat and dark meat in a chicken or turkey. Multiple temperature probes allow you to monitor different foods simultaneously, giving you the insight of eagle-eye control over your cooking process.
Getting started with the INKBIRD IBT-26S thermometer requires an app.
This thermometer has an intuitive mobile app required to use the device entirely. The INKBIRD app is available for both iOS and Android. I scanned the QR code and was registered in a couple of minutes.
What is 5GHz Wi-Fi Technology?
5GHz Wi-Fi technology, also known as the fifth generation of wireless technology, is the latest advancement in mobile telecommunications. It is designed to provide faster data speeds, lower latency, increased network capacity, and improved connectivity compared to previous generations.
Integrating 5GHz Wi-Fi technology into a digital probe thermometer connected to an app can offer several benefits over a traditional digital probe thermometer without wireless connectivity.
Here are some advantages:
- Real-time Data Monitoring: With 5GHz Wi-Fi connectivity, the digital probe thermometer can transmit temperature data in real-time to your phone or any connected app or cloud-based platform. This enables users to monitor the temperature remotely and receive immediate notifications or alerts if the temperature hits a specific number.
- Data Logging: The digital probe thermometer can automatically log temperature data over time and transmit it to the app or cloud. This allows you to quickly and simply access information from your previous cooks which may help you budget how long it will take before you get to slice into the brisket.
- Convenient integration: Smart devices are always by our side, so the ability to monitor temperatures with a device that's already in your pocket is highly convenient.
Multiple Food Probes Allow for Simultaneous Monitoring:
The thermometer truly shines with its ability to accommodate multiple food probes. This means you can keep a close eye on various items on your grill or in your smoker simultaneously, whether cooking various types of meat or juggling different components of a complex recipe. This thermometer ensures each probe provides a different reading based on its placement. You monitor the food until it's perfectly cooked and eliminate the guesswork, resulting in consistently mouthwatering results.
Does the INKBIRD 5GHz Wi-Fi Thermometer Allow for Simultaneous Ambient Temperature Monitoring?
In addition to monitoring food temperatures, the INKBIRD IBT-26S 5GHz Wi-Fi thermometer allows you to keep tabs on the ambient temperature of your cooking environment.
This is a valuable feature for low-and-slow barbecue enthusiasts who rely on cooking with consistent heat over extended periods.
INKBIRD comes with two "V" shaped clips that expand and contract when squeezed, allowing them to fit within the gaps of your grill grates. The clip has a hole you can slide a temperature probe through. When the clip is affixed with the probe slid through the hole, it allows the probe to hover over the cooking surface and achieve a more accurate ambient temperature reading.
Does the Power of 5GHz Wi-Fi Technology Translate to a Temperature Monitoring Device?
What sets the INKBIRD IBT-26S 5GHz Wi-Fi thermometer apart from its competitors is its incorporation of advanced 5GHz Wi-Fi technology.
This innovation translates into enhanced wireless connectivity and faster data transmission between the device and your smartphone. Faster data transmission means less latency and quicker readings.
Unlike other thermometers in the same price range, the INKBIRD IBT-26S 5GHz Wi-Fi offers more reliable and stable connections, minimizing potential disruptions during cooking sessions. This means you can confidently step away from your grill without losing touch with the temperature readings.
How is the INKBIRD IBT-26S Different Than Similar Thermometers?
Two main differences with the INKBIRD IBT-26S set it apart from similar offerings.
- Ease of connectivity: INKBIRD is clearly leveraging the 5GHz Wi-Fi connectivity as a massive point of differentiation between itself and its competitors. The largest discernible difference I notice between this thermometer and other similar offerings is that it starts working on the first try. I may have gotten lucky or just had such bad connectivity experiences with other devices that I wasn't expecting the unit to connect and work without much fuss. Connecting to my local network was simple. It took little more than entering the password to my Wi-Fi into the device, and the 5GHz Wi-Fi did the rest. It gets connected and stays connected, which is what it's intended to do.
- User experience: The app for this device is so user-friendly that other manufacturers need to take note. It offers many features you would expect, like temperature and doneness suggestions for specific cuts and types of proteins. You can build a temperature graph specific to each probe, and each probe can be individually calibrated quickly and simply within the app.
Where does this device fall short?
I haven't logged enough hours yet to find detailed flaws with the IBT-26S. I will say that on the hardware side of things, I appreciate that they include four uniformly sized probes with the unit. During testing, I was monitoring a 6-ounce beef tenderloin medallion. Unfortunately, the probe was too long for this smaller cut of meat.
This problem is not unique to INKBIRD. They could have included a shorter thermometer probe that could fit inside thinner foods like a burger but also probe temperatures in a chicken leg or thigh.
A shorter probe could also do double duty as an ambient probe and fit perfectly with the two ambient probe clips. If I'm creating a wish list of probes, I'd also like to see them make a needle probe available. Needle probes are great for getting into tight areas like between two rib bones. It always surprises me that manufacturers provide probes that are longer and thicker than they need to be.
In a word, reliable.
I found this thermometer to do everything it was supposed to do and more.
When it comes to combining the Internet of Things and cooking, I'm all for the marriage. But more often than not, some aspects of smart devices leave plenty to be desired.
Suppose you're looking for a multi-probe digital thermometer for monitoring everything from boneless pork shoulder to grilled Alaskan salmon or a whole smoked chicken. In that case, the INKBIRD-26S is likely a good decision.
The more you use the device, the more you will uncover little Easter eggs or small surprises.
Without knowing, I set the device near the metal shelf on my smoker and it stuck! There's no sign of it being magnetized, but InkBird thought of that feature. These features, like the magnet, the included ambient probe clips, and many of the app's functions, make this device something you will want to use and not something you're constantly fighting with to keep connected.