Ah So... I find another topic I have some experience with... I have a PhD degree, sum-***-laude, in burning up instant read thermometers. While I'm relatively new to kitchen cooking per se', I've been barbecuing (slow cooking on charcoal) for a long time... So here's my experience and opinion.
I think I've tried every instant read thermometer on the market :) or so it seems.. and the one I've had the best luck with is the old standby Polder model 362-90 http://www.jr.com/JRProductPage.proc...uctTabShipping
It's the same thermometer Alton Brown uses (I had settled on it before I ever heard of Alton though) and from my experience, it's the most accurate one on the market... Each one will vary and you have to test yours to see, but mine typically have tested out no more than 2 +/- degrees off
... testing in boiling and freezing water.
Sadly I've bought other brands that have been off over 10 degrees or more... This Polder has the added benefit of being a nice countdown timer... I used to use it for monitoring the grill temperature when I barbecue (it's important to keep it between 250-275 degrees for slow smoking) but I've switched to the Maverick (see below) and I now use the Polder in the kitchen for roasting and for deep frying.. it's good for up to 392 degrees, so I rigged a clip to hold it on the side of the cast iron Lodge dutch oven I use for deep frying.
I've run the temp up to about 400 with no ill effects BUT the probes are very sensitive.. you have to be careful they don't touch anything hotter than 400 degrees of the burn up..new ones cost about $10.00. I've lost a LOT of them barbecuing if I'm not careful.. I typically stick the probe through a baking potato and set it on the grill, being careful the wire doesn't touch the grill.
I found the slickest (since sliced bread) remote thermometer I now use.. it's the two probe Maverick http://www.crazysaver.com/mav-et7.html
and if you buy it HERE, you'll save about $20 or more over anywhere else I've found.. plus it has free shipping, no sales tax.. fantastic deal. I have two of them (I keep one as a spare 'cause if I don't, I'll burn one up and have to wait to get another one)... in BBQ you can use one probe for the meat and the other for the grill temp... although I seldom use it for meat anymore... not all pork pulls at the same internal temp, etc.. so I just guess at it and check. The Maverick probe is also more sturdy than the Polder and not as prone to burn up if you goof.
The BIG thing I love about the Maverick (btw, it's also been accurate to 2 degrees +/- of boiling/freezing).. is it's remote.. you hook or set the little transmitter outside the grill or oven.. and it claims to transmit up to 100 feet.. so I don't need to dash outside to check my grill temp.. or check my chicken or turkey.. I can sit and sip some scotch and/or beer and when monitor the temp from inside.. and when the alarm temp you set is reached, it sounds off LOUDLY... so lately I've just been using it with one probe...
IF you can spring for $38.00, I'd just get the Maverick and use it for everything... it's only $12 or so more expensive than the Polder (considering shipping added to the cost of the Polder).. so you'll soon love the remote feature.. surely worth the extra $12 IMHO.
If you REALLY wanna get THE best instant read thermometer.. get this one here:
It's really fast to give you a read if you're carrying one around to check on things.. the others can take up to 60 seconds.. this one reads fast,, and very accurate.. but it should for $80 bucks, huh? Should probably do the dishes too for that price!