There’s a new kid on the block in the world of wireless thermometers – InkBird. There are already several teams using their gear on the circuit and they sent me one of their IBT-6X units to put through its paces for a Smoking Hot Confessions review. But can the new player really put together a game-changing unit? There was only one way to find out.
InkBird IBT-6X Review: First Impressions
The IBT-6X arrived on my doorstep very nearly packed and when I opened it up I was surprised with how appealing it was packaged. This sounds like a minor thing, but first impressions count and attractive packaging is part of the experience – just ask Apple.
Upon opening the box, I was very pleasantly surprised. It is genuinely refreshing to find a BBQ thermometer that comes with the full amount of probes. That is, this is a six probe unit that actually comes with six probes. So that definitely scores points in my book. Furthermore there are three clips for setting up three ambient temperature probes and a very handy holder / stand for the unit.
The unit itself, although made entirely of plastic, feels very robust and well-built. It feels like it’s ready to take on the hard life it’s going to have as a well-loved BBQ accessory. The probes too, feel solid. The cables themselves are braided metal that feel like they could stand up to being closed in a smoker door.
There’s also a free-to-download app for both Apple and Android. It has a tonne of presets for different cuts of meat. They are all editable, and you can even create your own. Everything is laid out and intuitive so it’s great for even the least technically gifted among us.
But let’s get into performance.
InkBird IBT-6X Review: The Tests
1. The Set Up
The first test for any wireless thermometer is the set up. I was very pleased to find that it was literally a one-touch operation to get my InkBird to connect to my iPhone. I downloaded the very user-friendly app, opened it up and turned on the InkBird. There was literally one button I had to press on the app to activate the Bluetooth connection, and we were off to the races. Happy days.
To start with, I wanted to test ambient temperatures, so I connected two probes and left them on the kitchen bence. They settled to within 0.7C of each other which I was pleased with. For the second part of the test, I wanted to see how they performed in the typical boiled water / iced water test.
To do this, I took two of the Smoking Hot Confessions Tumblers. I filled one with just-boiled water straight out of the kettle and the other with ice and cold tap water. The probe in the boiled water rose to 98C before very slowly falling over the next few hours. The probe in the iced water fell to just above 0C and very, very, very slowly rose back toward ambient temperature.
In short, they are accurate and consistent.
3. A cook out
There is no test more important than a cook-out, and I hadn’t used my Radar Hill Smokers Vertical Offset in a while so there’d never been a better time to grab a brisket and some beefies and put the InkBird IBT-6X through its paces.
I popped out one of the Tel-Tru thermometers to insert an ambient probe and one probe each into the brisket and one of the racks of beef ribs. I was nervous closing the cables in the door of the smoker as many cables get crushed, but I had to find out. I then set about the day tending the fire and, thanks to the InkBird IBT-6X, cleaning the house.
Yes, I said cleaning the house. In the past I have owned wireless thermometers that use Bluetooth and they have lost connection in less than 10 metres. The InkBird IBT-6X impressed though with it’s 30m+ range from the back yard, through the walls of my house and out to the front yard. I only lost connection when I went all the way out to the street to take out the bins. There’s also a very handy indicator on the front screen of the app showing you the strength of the connection between your phone and the unit, meaning that you’ll be able to work out your boundaries. Very impressive indeed.
I did however, run into a few things that I didn’t like. Firstly, the recesses in the stand make it difficult to stand the unit up so you can see if from far away. I found I had to only insert the unit half-way which meant that the probes didn’t fit into the recesses. It didn’t affect the functionality of the unit, it was just annoying.
Secondly, I found that the graph reset approximately every hour. That meant I couldn’t get a nice graph of the whole cook. For most, this won’t matter: you just want to be able to watch the football and check the temperature of your smoker and your meat without having to stop what you’re doing. However, for competitors or BBQ hyper-nerds like myself it will be annoying as you won’t be able to tweak minor details of your process and plot the results.
The last thing is kind of knit-picky. The bluetooth range is very, very good, but it’s not as good as wi-fi. I have another unit that does connect over wi-fi and I can roam anywhere on my property (or even down the street – providing someone is still at home in case of emergency). That said, the InkBird is about a quarter of the price of my other unit, so you can’t have everything.
Overall, throughout the cookout, I found the InkBird to be a very reliable, accurate unit. The app was easy to use and quick to respond. The alarms were loud and clear and there many options for customising them. Even though I only used three probes, the six probes make this unit incredibly flexible. If you have a large smoker you could set up different ambient probes to accurately measure the hotter and cooler zones of your smoker. Alternatively, you could set up three Weber Kettles for instance and have one ambient probe in each grill and one meat probe in each protein, and measure it all from one device. Genius.
InkBird IBT-6X Review: Pros & Cons
- Build quality
- Number of probes
- User-friendly app
- Easy connection
- Bluetooth range
- Stand design needs rethinking
- Graph resets every hour
- No wi-fi
InkBird IBT-6X Review: Conclusions
The InkBird is a great wireless thermometer with impressive build quality and excellent bluetooth range at an incredibly reasonable price point. It is a perfect unit for anybody from a backyard BBQ’er to a caterer due to its number of probes and large, easy-to-read screen. There is definitely a new player on the scene.
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