Inkbird IBT 26S BBQ Thermometer Review

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A couple of years ago, I reviewed the Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub. At the time, it was one of the only WiFi-equipped BBQ thermometers on the market. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very good at launch as it had a significant amount of teething problems, specifically with WiFi connectivity and the app crashing. To make matters worse, it launched for £150, and they still sell it for £125.

To be fair, it has improved a lot over time, but during this time, plenty of new WiFi-equipped models have launched and for considerably less than £125.

One model is the Inkbird IBT-26S which has two models, one with 2.4GHz and the other with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The model I was sent to review is the 2.4GHz model, and this is listed on Amazon for £80 but with a 40% off voucher, taking it down to £48. Looking at Keepa, £48 appears to be the normal reduced price. That’s over 60% cheaper than the Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub.

While the Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub does have some features that are better than the Inkbird, I have found the Inkbird to be the superior WiFi BBQ thermometer.

Specification / Features

Inkbird IBT 26S
  • Bluetooth 5.1 and 5GHz/2.4GHz WiFi dual connection mode, more stable and efficient
  • Monitor cooking process from smartphone, check food temperature anytime, anywhere.
  • Simultaneous monitoring of multiple foods, convenient and reliable
  • Support high/low-temperature alarms, timers, and device over-temperature alarm
  • Support ℃/℉ selection, temperature calibration, and history export
  • Up to 29 choices of USDA preset meat, perfect for cooking novices
  • Backlit LCD with adjustable brightness, ensuring clear vision at all times
  • With a magnetic back and foldable stand, easy to use and store
  • Temperature Measurement Range: -20℃~250℃/-4℉~482℉ for continuous monitoring; -30℃~300℃/-22℉~572℉ for short-time measurement
  • Battery Life: max. 32 hours (2500mAh / 9.25Wh)
  • USB Type-C Input: DC 5V 1A
Inkbird IBT 26S BBQ Thermometer Unboxing

Design

Inkbird IBT 26S BBQ Thermometer Display

The Inkbird IBT-26S has a plastic body, so you will probably want to be careful where you place this near your BBQ. The included probes have long cables, so I ended up placing it on the floor when I used it.

The back is magnetic, which is useful if you have something like metal doors on your BBQ, or alternatively, it attached nicely to my oven.

Inkbird IBT 26S BBQ Thermometer six probe inputs

There are six ports for the probes, with one being designed for the over, and you get four probes included. This is significantly better than the Weber I previously used.

Inkbird IBT 26S BBQ Thermometer Probes

For charging, this uses USB-C, which is convenient, and they claim the battery will last 32 hours.

The display is large, with a good amount of information displayed. One issue with the display was that I found it difficult to read outdoors on a sunny day, which is not ideal for a BBQ thermometer. You can change the display brightness within the app, and of course, the app shows you all the information, so it is not the end of the world.

App and Pairing

The app required me to sign in with an account, which I find unnecessary for most IoT devices.

You then need to power on the Inkbird by holding down the power button for a few seconds. Then if you tap the power button three times, this puts it into pairing mode.

I had issues getting it to work with WiFi. It found the Inkbird quickly with Bluetooth, but when I provided the WiFi credentials, it wouldn’t connect. If I went back a step, the app wouldn’t be able to see the Inkbird, and I’d have to close the app and then reboot the Inkbird.

I tried connecting to a dedicated 2.4GHz network with my EnGenius access point and the Google Nest WiFi Pro, which combines the bands into one.

Eventually, I managed to get it to work. I’d connect it to Bluetooth, then back out of the set-up process and go into the settings of the device while connected using Bluetooth, and then connect to WiFi from there.

Inkbird IBT-26S vs Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub

I have only reviewed two multi-probe WiFi BBQ thermometers, there may be better comparisons to be made, but this is the best I can do with products I have hand on experience with.

Negatives for both BBQ thermometers

Both devices are far from perfect:

  • I had issues connecting both devices to my WiFi. I got there eventually, but neither was particularly user-friendly.
  • I found they both have issues with connectivity. They seem to forget they are connected. For the Inkbird, I would sometimes have to leave the main temperature screen and then go back into it. It would then have a slow sync, even though it was connected via WiFi.

Inkbird IBT-26S Pros vs Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub

The main advantage this has is that it comes with four probes as standard. This allows you to monitor the temperature of the BBQ itself and then three separate pieces of meat. Or in my case, I used three probes on one large chicken.

With large cuts of meat, or a big chicken, using multiple probes is very handy. I found that it was easy to not place the probe into quite the right place with the Weber and end up with incorrect readings. So, with my large chicken, I had three data points to be sure.

Furthermore, Weber wants over £20 per probe if you want additional probes. That’s ridiculous. Inkbird sells a four-pack kit for £30 or a single probe for £15, but you can pick them up on eBay for cheaper. A single probe is about £12. Some of the older models have probes as cheap as £8, and I’d imagine the IBT-26S probe price will also decrease.

The Inkbird app isn’t as attractive as the Weber app, and it doesn’t have the cooking guides, but it does have a handy graph showing you how quickly the food temperature is rising and the highest/lowest temperature. Which I expect would be useful over long cooks or to monitor the ambient BBQ temperature.

Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub Pros vs Inkbird IBT-26S

The main advantage I found with the Weber was that it has comprehensive guides for various meals, including pulled pork, beef brisket, rib of beef, steak, whole chicken, lamb and fish.

The app will also provide additional assistance, such as notifying you when the food is ready to flip.

In-Use

Inkbird IBT 26S BBQ Thermometer In Use

The weather has been inclement recently, but I managed to use this a couple of times. I haven’t had the opportunity to do a long and slow cook yet, but I expect the performance will be the same.

With a large chicken, I used three probes in the meat, then the fourth to monitor the ambient temperature of the BBQ. This reassured me that the meat was cooked properly.

When starting the cook, you can select high and low temperatures. There are four presets, and I used the chicken preset, this is obviously not as good as the guides the Weber app has, but it is not hard to Google cook times and temperatures then manually set them.

I did have a few connectivity issues. When nearby, it seems to use Bluetooth, then it will lose connection when I move away. But it is sometimes slow to connect to the WiFI, I would have to go back into the home screen then back into the device.

Inkbird IBT 26S BBQ Thermometer Cooked Chicken Result

The notifications seemed to come through reliably, even with the occasional connectivity issues.

When it hit the temperature, I was notified via the app, and the thermometer started to bleep. You can clear the notification in the app, but the thermometer continued to make a loud bleep, which was a bit annoying for my neighbours. Obviously, I should have taken the meat off at this time, but I was waiting for other things to cook, so I had to clear the temperature settings to stop the bleeping.

Price and Alternative Options

The Inkbird IBT-26S is listed on Amazon for £80, and at the time of writing, there was a 40% off voucher available.

The 5Ghz (‎IBT-26S-5G) model is available for £10 more, also with 40% off.

Inkbird then has the IBT-4XC at £65 with 20% off, this is more basic, but it is IPX5 rated, which can be useful if you are trying to do a slow cook with inclement weather.

The Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub is still sold for £125, making it hard to recommend over the Inkbird. The older, better-reviewed Weber iGrill thermometers, which are Bluetooth only, range in price from £54 to £102.

The four-probe Meater Block or single-probe Meater Plus are arguably the best options on the market, being wireless probes that connect via WiFi. They are priced accordingly, at £240 for the Block and £95 for the Plus. There are some cheaper alternative brands that replicate this design but they are generally Bluetooth, such as the ThermoPro TempSpike for £62.

Overall

The Inkbird IBT-26S has a few annoyances, but I found they were relatively minor in the grand scheme of things and forgivable, considering the attractive price point.

In particular, I find the Inkbird IBT-26S to be far superior to the Weber Smart Grill I have reviewed, and it is over 60% cheaper.

Overall, I think the Inkbird IBT-26S is superb when you consider how affordable it is and the functionality it provides.

INKBIRD IBT-26S Smart BBQ Thermometer Review

Summary

I think the Inkbird IBT-26S is superb when you consider how affordable it is and the functionality it provides.  

Overall
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  • Overall - 80%
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Pros

  • Up to 6 probes and 4 probes included
  • App generally works well, with good notifications and a handy graph for the historical temperature
  • Bargain price

Cons

  • Difficulties connecting to WiFi during set-up
  • Some intermittent connectivity issues while in use

Last update on 2024-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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