PROSSends notifications to your phone when your dish is done. Reliable preset temperature options. Allows you to set timers. Accurate temperature readings.
CONSNo display or alarm sound. Ineffective status lights.
If you recently cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving, then you know it can be a long, tedious process. But rather than circling the oven, waiting for the pop-up thermometer to rise, this year I simply got an alert on my smartphone while watching TV thanks to a connected home thermometer. Like its big siblings the Kitchen Thermometer and the iGrill 2, the $39.99 iGrill Mini from iDevices is a Bluetooth thermometer that allows you to check on the progress of your meal right from your smartphone. It can only measure the temperature of one dish at a time, and it doesn’t have a display, but it’s smaller, less expensive, and just as useful as its larger counterparts.
True to its name, the iGrill Mini looks a lot like a miniaturized version of the iGrill 2 or the Kitchen Thermometer. The base measures 2 by 1.75 by 1.5 inches (HWD) and weighs 1.4 ounces, making it small enough to carry around in your pocket. It has a built-in magnet (and an optional magnetic disc) for mounting in your kitchen, or on the outside of your grill as you’re cooking. It’s powered by an included CR2032 coin cell battery, which is good for up to 150 hours of battery life; that means you can cook a decent amount of turkeys, or a heck of a lot of steaks before needing to change it.The biggest difference between the iGrill Mini and its bigger brethren is that it doesn’t have a display. Instead, what looks like it could be a tiny display on top of the device is really just a Power button. A ring around the button shines green when you turn it on. As you’re cooking, it will progressively change from yellow to orange to red as you get closer to your target temperature. But I miss being able to see the exact temperature at a glance, and didn’t find the color presets to be all that informative. So in order to get any real information, you’re going to need to reach for your phone.
The other notable difference is that the iGrill Mini only supports one cooking probe. The Kitchen Thermometer supports two probes, while the iGrill 2 goes up to four. For the most part, though, just one temperature probe suits my needs just fine, at least for the meals I cook regularly. The included probe attaches to the side of the base via a 2.5mm connector. It’s connected to a 4-foot oven-safe cord, and comes with a plastic wrap case for easy storage.
Pairing and App
The iGrill Mini is compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 mobile devices running iOS 7 or later, as well as Android 4.3 or later. I had no trouble pairing it with an iPhone 5s running iOS 8.1.1.The instruction manual included with the thermometer lists just four simple steps: Download the (free) iDevices Connected app to your mobile device, pull the battery tab on the base, press the Power button, and launch the app. Because it uses Bluetooth 4.0, the thermometer will automatically be recognized when you open the app. It’s a quick, simple process.
Once connected, the app itself works exactly the same as it does with the Kitchen Thermometer (albeit with a slightly more attractive red color scheme). The home screen shows you the current temperature of your connected probe. When you tap on the reading, it brings you to a more detailed view with a graph that shows the temperature measured by the probe over time.
To set a temperature alarm, you can simply tap Set Up Cook, which brings you to a list with dozens of preset temperature options. This is probably my favorite part about the app, thanks to a neat layout and just about every temperature setting you can hope to find. You can also create a custom preset if you’re cooking to a temperature that isn’t available, but aside from cooking your steak to black and blue, pretty much every protein setting is here, along with options for hot smoke, cold smoke, and barbecue.
After setting your desired temperature, you can simply stick the probe in your dish, place your dish in the oven or on the grill, and walk away until it’s done (as long as it doesn’t require any maintenance along the way, in which case you can always set a timer). The thermometer has a range of up to 150 feet to your mobile device, so you can monitor the progress on your phone, and the app will send you a notification once your dish is ready. As mentioned earlier, while cooking the turkey, I received a notification that the thermometer required my attention while sitting on the couch. I opened the app, saw that it had reached the desired 165 degrees, and pulled it out of the oven. The pop-up timer still hadn’t gone off, but another kitchen thermometer verified the temperature read by the iGrill Mini.
The app has some recipes built-in, as well as a social component that lets you share photos of what you’re cooking with other users. The only other thing I missed here is an audible alert from the iGrill Mini itself, like you get on the Kitchen Thermometer. This alert is useful in case you miss the notification on your phone, or someone else is around to hear it.
Accuracy and Conclusions
The iGrill Mini can measure temperatures from -22 to 572.°F. As mentioned above, I got the same temperature reading using the iGrill Mini as I did with a traditional cooking thermometer. It also accurately measured a bath of ice water at 32.0°F, which is the temperature at which ice melts.Whereas the $79.99 Kitchen Thermometer or the $99.99 iGrill 2 feel like a somewhat significant investment, the iGrill Mini almost feels like something you’d throw into your cart on your way to the checkout counter. And I’m pretty sure you’d be glad that you did. While I miss the display and audible alerts on the Kitchen Thermometer, the iGrill Mini does just about everything else for half the price. The Oregon Scientific Grill-Right Bluetooth BBQ Thermometer adds a display, but it costs more than the iGrill Mini and doesn’t send notifcations to your phone. So if you can live without the display (and without a second probe), the iGrill Mini a great addition to your kitchen.