If you don’t have much time and just want to find out what the best BBQ temperature controller is, then I recommend the Flame Boss 500-WiFi Smoker Controller as the best one.
If there’s one key aspect to barbecuing, it’s control. If you have control over the cooking process, you’ll end up with delicious meat cooked to perfection.
The best way to have control is through the temperature. Luckily, there are some great BBQ temperature controllers on the market that give pitmasters ultimate control over their barbecue. And with ultimate control comes stunning food.
What Is a Temperature Controller?
BBQ temperature controllers adjust the temperature of your grill or smoker. They do this via a fan that connects to your intake vents. By controlling the level of oxygen fed through to your smoker grill, they can make subtle temperature changes.
They also monitor the temperature. Depending on the type of smoke controller, they can give you different types of feedback on how your meat is cooking – from its internal temperature and the ambient temperature to the projected end time of the cook.
The best BBQ temperature controllers are well designed, easy to use and give you precise details on how your meat is cooking. Some high tech smoker temperature controllers even have in-built apps and give detailed performance graphs.
By monitoring the internal and ambient temperatures and making subtle changes through airflow, temperature controllers can achieve incredible results.
Why Do You Need a Temperature Controller?
We all know barbecuing is a thrilling experience. From the heat of the flames to the sizzle and smell of incredible cuts of meat, it’s a sensory cooking experience like no other.
Still, without the end result, the experience means nothing. And the only way to get great results is to control the temperature.
Getting a slow, steady, consistent temperature over a long period of time gets you stunningly succulent meat. If you’ve ever tasted smoked meat that’s been carefully cooked, you’ll know what I mean.
Monitoring the temperature and making subtle adjustments is all part of the BBQ game. It can be hard to get right. That’s why many switch to gas grills.
Still, charcoal grilling produces a different level of flavor. And the best way to get results and to maintain control is to use a BBQ temperature controller.
From easy to use plug-and-play BBQ controllers to incredible state-of-the-art temperature control units, there’s something for everyone. So, if you want to consistently cook meat to a melt-in-your-mouth standard, a BBQ temperature controller could be the way to go.
BBQ Temperature Controller Review
Whether you’re after a basic budget temperature controller to keep tabs on backyard BBQs, or a super high-tech controller for a slow-cooked masterpiece, there’s a gourmet gizmo to suit your needs.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most popular smoker temperature control systems on the market and find the best BBQ controller for you.
A straightforward, no-frills BBQ temperature regulator, the Pitmaster IQ is a simple piece of kit that connects to pretty much any charcoal or wood fueled barbecue grill. Set your desired temperature on the dial and sit back and let the Pitmaster IQ do its thing – just like a regular kitchen oven.
The kit comes with a blower box, an air tube, a 6-inch temperature probe, and a pit adapter kit. Installing it is a cinch thanks to the clear instructions. The probe does seem a little flimsy, though. Replacements are available for a reasonable fee, although it would be nice to have a probe that’s built to last.
Some barbecue enthusiasts might have issues with the analogue sensor, especially as most of the competition uses digital. Also, for accuracy, it’s not the best on the market. Still, for a solid low priced BBQ controller, the Pitmaster IQ is a very good option.
- Very affordable and good value for money.
- Easy to install and connects to most BBQ grills and smokers.
- Great for those looking for a straightforward way to get tender, perfectly cooked meat.
- The probe isn’t built to last.
- The analogue temperature gauge isn’t as precise as the digital readers on other models.
- Accuracy is poor compared to more expensive smoker temperature controllers.
With a name like ‘Flame Boss’, this piece of kit definitely instills confidence! And there’s a reason to be confident. This little gizmo is a really fantastic piece of kit.
It’s a high-end, state-of-the-art little BBQ controller that even comes with its own Flame Boss mobile app. You can also link it up with Amazon Alexa and Google Home for voice command control. Mobile alerts and an intuitive online cooking dashboard give you complete control over your cook.
The kit includes a WiFi controller with blower and grill adapters, a high temperature meat probe, a high temperature pit probe, and two probe cord organizers. This smoker temperature control system supports up to three probes, which you can buy separately, for maximum control.
There’s a slight issue with the quality of the probes, which are a little delicate. Also, the temperature readings can sometimes be as much as 10ºC off. That said, it’s such a well-designed, ingenious little temperature control system, these seem like minor quibbles.
- So much control offered in such a small device, from timer alerts to cooking graphs.
- Supports up to three meat probes for high quality, high volume smoking.
- Brilliant design, from the actual smoke controller to the onboard app interface and online interface.
- The probes could be built to a higher standard.
- Temperature readings are generally accurate but could be better.
One of the best budget BBQ controllers on the market, the DigiQ DX3 is easy to set up and even easier to use. A straightforward smoker controller, this little high-tech device is well designed, with a nice simple interface.
It keeps the ideal ambient temperature, using an excellent fan system. This means it’s perfect for low and slow cooking. Still, the accuracy of the temperature readings could be better, although it’s good enough at this price point.
The supplied temperature probe is very well built. This is a big plus, as fragile probes can often let down other BBQ temperature controllers. The connector clip for the pit lead is a little flimsy though.
One good feature is that you can adjust the volume of the alerts. So, if you’re right down the bottom of the garden, you can set it to a big loud beep to get your attention! Another great feature is the ‘ramp’ mode. This lowers the heat when your meat is 30ºC from being done, producing beautifully tender meat.
- Very affordable and good value for money.
- Great fan system that’s perfect for slow smoker fan control.
- Well built BBQ temperature controller probe that should stand the test of time.
- Ramp mode slowly lowers the temperature toward the end of the cook.
- Not the most accurate BBQ temperature controller.
- Instructions could be more detailed.
- The clip for the pit lead is poorly made.
This BBQ temperature controller is one of the cheapest and most straightforward on the market. There’s just one button! It couldn’t get any simpler than that.
The kit includes four probes – three meat probes and a pit probe – so you can keep tabs on internal meat temperature as well as ambient temperature. There’s no mount with this BBQ temperature controller, meaning it can slip and slide all over the place. It’s a small issue, but something that can take the shine off of the cooking experience.
A bigger issue is that the fan isn’t the best. It struggles to maintain a temperature with some smoker models. Also, the temperature accuracy can be as much as 15-20ºC off. That said, it’s well designed and very easy to use. If you’re on a budget and want a no-frills smoker control system, this could be the one for you.
- Compatible with up to four probes – perfect for those big backyard barbecue parties.
- Very reasonably priced.
- Extremely easy to use.
- The fan isn’t great and can be pretty lackluster when used with certain smokers.
- Temperature accuracy isn’t the best.
- No mount for the BBQ controller device, meaning it moves all over the place.
Another budget BBQ temperature controller, this one is specifically designed for use with Big Green Egg smokers. So, it’s not got the adaptability of some of the other smoker temperature controllers on this list. Still, it’s a great piece of equipment for certain pitmasters.
It comes with an AI-enhanced PID control program. This can compensate for ambient temperature drops caused by weather changes, the lid opening, etc. It also comes with a built-in buzzer that can be set for both low limit and high limit alarms. Overall, it’s a pretty easy to use BBQ temperature controller with a straightforward setup.
One issue is the fan. It often struggles to maintain a consistent temperature. Also, the user interface is pretty clunky and basic. Especially when you compare it to some of the higher end BBQ temperature controllers on the market.
So, while it may be a little basic and lack the sophistication of some smoker temperature controllers, the Auber Instruments PID is a decent choice for those looking for a good budget BBQ controller.
- The low price point makes it ideal for those on a budget.
- AI-enhanced PID control program is a neat little addition.
- Easy to set up and use.
- Isn’t compatible with as many smokers and grills as other models.
- The fan could be better.
- Clunky user interface.
While each of the BBQ controllers on this list will definitely make an impact on your outdoor cooks, there’s one that brings a different level of control.
The Flame Boss 500-WiFi Smoker Controller brings a blend of design, accuracy and technology that other BBQ controllers just can’t compete with. Buy one and you won’t be disappointed.