Thermometer help, suggestions, opinions

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Original poster
Jun 29, 2007
Greetings all.

Today I am seasoning my new Char-broil H20 water smoker. I've installed an extra thermometer to the side as I've been searching this forum and the general consensus is that the factory one is pretty inaccurate (readings are warm, ideal, and hot.) The new one has been placed on the side about 1.5 to 2 inches above the water pan and grate. It is a Grill Life thermometer and I grabbed it at the local hardware store for about $4.

The dilemma is this:
As it is running now the factory needle is at the upper end of "hot" which would be fine by me as I am trying to season the grill anyway. The one I just installed however, is hovering around 225. The number range on this starts at 50 and ends at 600.

Which one is more trustworthy? Also, would it matter that the factory gauge is located on the upper part of the lid? I can't pin down an exact difference in temps as only one has numbers, but if "ideal" tops out at 250, there is a pretty significant difference here.

Any suggestions aside from "stop being a cheap bastid and buy a remote thermometer!" ? (I do plan on doing this eventually, but would prefer to put it off for a few weeks.)

Any sort of tests for my secondary thermometer that would help me get an idea of whether or not it actually works?

Thanks in advance and happy grilling!
Hello from california. The highest one should be the hottest since heat rises. To test the accuracy of a theremometer it was suggested last week to bring watter to a boil and see how the thermometer reads it. The temperature of water is a pretty constant temp. You just have to adjust for sea level. At sea level 212 at 6000 ft if i remeber right it was 206.

The main temperature is that of the meat to know when it is done.

Hope this helps or heads you in a direction.
Your problem may not be as bad as it appears. I would assume if your thermometer reads low-ideal-hot the ideal range will be more in the 185 to 215 range as it would be a common range for most smoking and would allow the lower end to be used to better control for cold smoking.
There could be 15 to 25 degrees difference between your new unit and the one that came with your smoker. You can find out after your finished by removing them and doing a boiling water temp check. Hope that helps.
Many thanks for the advice. I'll give the boiling water thing a shot later tonight to see where I stand. No matter what happens I'm throwing in a rack of spare ribs tomorrow and then I'll see what happens. Even bad ribs are better than a good bowl of ramen.
place a pot of water on the stove, get it boiling. place the thermo in the water, making sure it does not touch the pot at all. it should read 212°. i checked both of mine before i mounted them in my smoker. i also tested my meat thermos this way, they are 2° off and 3° off- close enough for government work.
you want the thermo in the smoker at food level, just above the food rack. mine are mounted roughly 2" above the rack. on the new smoker i am building, i am placing them closer to 1" above the rack.
i just bought a $3.95 acu-rite oven thermo from wally world (see my pics under weather forecast in pork) you can move it around and check. my grate temp before i put the meat on was reading 300 @ the mid point of the pit while the lid temp was just to the left of ideal so i trust the grate temp. i too am a cheap/broke bastid. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.