posted September 23, 2022
MEATER Block Review
BBQ Friends! Today, we’re taking a look at the MEATER Block, a 4-probe Wi-Fi-enabled thermometer that is completely wireless. You read that right! Completely wireless. Meater markets the Block as a “No wires, no fuss” system, but how does it hold up against the tethered competition? Are the probes accurate? How far can the probes be from the Block before they crash and burn? Well, folks, I’m here to find out.
MEATER sent us this equipment for testing and review purposes, however, all opinions are our own.
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MEATER Block Specs
- Bluetooth LE 4.0 wireless connection
- Maximum internal temperature: 212°F (meat)
- Maximum ambient temperature: 527°F (cooker)
- Stainless steel and ceramic construction
- Water resistant and easy to clean
- Dishwasher safe
- Rechargeable: Over 24 hours of continuous cooking
- Dimensions: 130mm length and 6mm diameter
- Numbered for easy identification
Block Charger Specs
- Built-in WiFi repeater extends range over your home network
- Directly connects to the MEATER Cloud for on-the-go monitoring
- Store and charge your MEATER probe
- Charges MEATER using 4x AA batteries
- Power alternatively using Micro USB for long cooks
- Real wood to match any kitchen or outdoor decor
- OLED display with touch capacitive control to cook without the app
- Max outdoor operation temperature: 140°F
- Dimensions: 132mm L x 39mm W x 157mm H
- iPhone and iPad apps for iOS 10.3 and later
- Android app for versions 5.0 and later
The MEATER Block
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Now that we’ve got the specs out of the way, let’s take a good look at the MEATER Block and what it has to offer in this competitive thermometer market.
If you’re like me, the first thing you’ll notice after peeling back the packaging is that the Block is absolutely beautiful! I love the bamboo construction as it matches a ton of other parts of my indoor kitchen and outdoor grillin’ space. Usually, I keep all of my thermometers and probes stuffed in a drawer or box to hold back the clutter. Not so with the MEATER Block!
The Block feels well constructed and has survived several drops from my clumsy hands at this point, and the 4 included probes feature that same attention to detail. Those probes are individually numbered and come with tags to help you keep track of where they live on your pit. In addition to tracking internal temperatures, each probe features an ambient temperature sensor that I found less than useful. More on that in a bit.
The MEATER App
We can’t tell you anything about MEATER without mentioning their app and cloud connectivity service. Now, the Block can be used either in Wi-Fi or standalone mode, with all the data you’d ever need available on the built-in screen for the latter. Where this tech really shines though is the MEATER app. In the world of Wi-Fi-enabled grilling equipment, usually, the app is a weak point. Not so here.
The app works well once connected and fully set up. While I did experience a few issues, I can’t say that it was the app that was at fault. More on that later.
Besides the beautiful design and smooth operation, the MEATER app has one notable feature above many of the competitors in this space. If you look closely inside the 3/4 circle graphic within the app you’ll notice a time estimation readout. MEATER uses a special algorithm to help calculate this, and I actually found it to be pretty accurate! I mean, it’s not exactly correct, but it got pretty dang close which is good enough in my book.
Using the MEATER Block
Using this thing is super easy. As I mentioned earlier, you can use the Block in either standalone or Wi-Fi mode.
The standalone mode gives you all the information you need for your cook right on the built-in OLED screen. It works well if you’re in an environment where Wi-Fi isn’t in use.
Wi-Fi mode does exactly what you’d think. Once connected to your network, the Block connects directly to the MEATER cloud, allowing you to monitor your cook from anywhere you please! This is my preferred method when using this unit mostly due to the app.
Once you’ve picked your mode, grab your probes and stab some meat! That’s all there is to it. You’ll be able to see internal temperatures from each probe as well as ambient temperatures. If you’re in Wi-Fi mode, check out the cook estimation feature and have a look at the graph to keep track of your cook!
Listen, you can’t review a thermometer and not talk about accuracy, right? The internal part of the probe works flawlessly; coming within a degree or two of my calibrated testing setups, but that ambient sensor is something else…
I used this thermometer for hours and hours. I ran test after test after test, and I can honestly say I’m not impressed.
During all of my testing, I experienced accuracy issues. The ambient sensor is completely useless. I mean, readings were at least 30 degrees off on each probe, each test I ran. I tested the ambient sensor placed above meat, aimed away from the meat, in preheated potatoes, and dipped in ice water. In every scenario this system displayed inaccuracy. Why even include this functionality if it doesn’t work? I can just imagine a novice BBQer trying to run their pit off of these sensors and ruining their expensive brisket or having a cook take hours longer than it should have. It gives me anxiety.
Look, this couldn’t be a MEATER review without mentioning the rampant connectivity issues these experience. This specific issue is widespread and well known. Granted, the Block now features better probes than previous versions, but this lessened issues only slightly.
No matter how close the Block was to each grill I tested it on, I was plagued with constant disconnect notifications on that obnoxious buzzing rectangle in my pocket. I placed the block 2 feet away, 12 inches away, 6 inches away, and laid it on the dang lid of the grill to try and curb this problem but it was all in vain. No matter how close the block was, I got connection issue notifications every few minutes. Eventually, I would completely silence and turn off the vibration on my phone in annoyance, making all the alarm and cook notification functions within the app pretty much useless.
Now, I don’t believe this to be an issue with MEATER’s hardware or software at all. It’s just an inherent issue that comes with trying to get a wireless signal to work through metal grills. Metal does a really good job of blocking Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals, and in the world of wireless probes, it just is what it is. There’s no real way to get around this issue without bigger antennas and more power; something that’s just not feasible when designing a small temperature probe.
What We Like
Here are some of my favorite things about the MEATER Block:
- Build Quality – Every piece of the Block feels well-built and has a premium feel
- Wireless Probes – This is a pro and a con for this unit due to the connectivity issues I’ve experienced. Full wireless is nice though, especially if you’re cooking on a rotisserie.
- The App – Usually in the thermometer space, apps range from “mediocre” to “just fine.” MEATER has done an incredible job developing their app and it really shows.
What Could be Improved
- Ambient Temperature Accuracy – Out of the box, not one of the four included probes has an accurate ambient temperature sensor.
- Connectivity – Even with the Block within inches of the grill and within feet of the router, the probes experienced connectivity issues every few minutes.
- Price – The Block is expensive at $349 and there are multiple options with wired probes that will perform better for your money.
Great Recipes for the MEATER Block
Do you have the Block, or are you planning on buying one in the future? If so, I recommend trying these awesome recipes on your grill.
- Cajun Smoke-Fried Turkey
- Smoked Spatchcock Chicken with Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce
- Hot and Fast Brisket
MEATER Block: Final Thoughts
In conclusion, I think that the MEATER Block is a fair performer. It works well in standalone mode and in Wi-Fi mode, provided that you get the Block exactly where it needs to be to satisfy the Bluetooth connection to the probes and connection to the router. It satisfies my techie side being completely wireless and the app is very well built.
Run a rotisserie? This thermometer is absolutely for you. Love the cleanliness and utility of being completely wireless? This thermometer is for you. If you need accurate ambient readings and don’t mind a few wires running out of your grills, I’d definitely look elsewhere. There are multiple Wi-Fi-enabled options with wired probes out there that will do the job without the frustrating connectivity problems and give you an accurate pit temperature.
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