Made to Measure: Everything You Need for Precision in the Kitchen
In the test kitchen, we believe that cooking is an exact science—which is why we test even the finest details when developing a recipe. An extra minute of cooking time can spell disaster, and a little more or less of a spice can completely change the flavor of a dish. So, it’s important to invest in quality tools when it comes to keeping time, measuring ingredients, and taking the temperature of foods. In this week’s buying guide, we’ve rounded up the best equipment for precision when cooking. From our favorite digital thermometers to the highest-quality measuring cups, these are tools we rely on day in and day out for success in the test kitchen.
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The redesigned version of the OXO scale is accurate and had all the features that made the old model our favorite: sturdy construction, responsive buttons, and a removable platform for easy cleaning. The screen can still be pulled out nearly 4 inches when weighing oversize items. Instead of a backlight setting, the screen now has brightly lit digits on a dark background, which we found even easier to read than the old model’s screen. OXO also added two display options for weight. Users can choose to view ounces only (24 oz), pounds and ounces (1 lb 8 oz), grams only (2500 g), or kilograms and grams (2 kg 500 g), which comes in handy when doubling a recipe. The scale now uses decimals rather than fractions, so it’s more precise and easier to read.
Comfortable and accurate with long handles, this set nests nicely. The rim of each spoon is flush with the handle so it is easy to sweep accurately. Our only gripe: The oval bowls made measuring liquids slightly tricky.
The spoons were highly accurate with easy-to-read markings. They stayed on the ring securely but could be removed easily. But testers found these spoons bulky and slightly less sturdy than our top-rated metal set.
Accurate and extremely durable, this set snaps together for compact storage. The handles are seamless with the cups themselves, making them easy to level off.
This set had a high degree of accuracy in every size, and it was the most durable plastic set we tested. Long handles flush with the rims aided scooping and sweeping.
BUY FOR $9
The unbeatable traditional version of the Pyrex Liquid Measuring Cup is back on the market.
We wish the measurement markings had more staying power, but we can’t complain about how easy to use and effective this measuring cup is with messy ingredients like honey, yogurt, shortening, and peanut butter.
This reversible ruler-like paddle knife accurately measures and neatly cuts both Elgin-style ("stick") and Western-pack- style ("cube") style butter (though it's too narrow for pound-block butter). Available in chrome or satin finish.
This squat, sturdy triple timer was simple and intuitive, with a dedicated “clear” button and a full 0-to-9 keypad, so testers entered times by typing instead of scrolling. It displayed all of its timers at once, so we could check everything at a glance, and its stainless face repelled messes. Two quibbles: The buttons for toggling between timers were a bit squished together, and the digits on the display could be more visible.
BUY FOR $20
This model combines a clock, timer (count down), and stopwatch (count up); has direct numerical entry; and easily toggles between the three settings with a clearly marked mode button. Because it’s oriented vertically, it fits comfortably in hand. It’s also lightweight and slim enough to fit in a pocket, and its 38-inch lanyard is both comfortable and long enough to slip easily overhead.
The Mk4 takes all the accuracy and speed of the Classic Thermapen and adds a couple of nifty features that improve the user experience: its display now auto-rotates, lights up in low light, and wakes up when the unit is picked up. It takes a single AAA alkaline battery and is also more water-resistant than the Classic, capable of surviving a half-hour bath.
This thermometer was fast, accurate, and easy to hold. It had a few cushy extra features, including a rotating display and a backlight, which came in handy for grilling. The ThermoPop is an excellent inexpensive alternative to the Thermapen.
All copies of this model aced our accuracy tests. It sports a wide, sturdy base and clear temperature markings with large numbers and boldly visible dashes at 50- and 25-degree increments. Its silver face is more prone to glare and light reflection than models with white backgrounds, but it’s still fairly easy to read.
All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.