You may feel inclined to use a third-party thermometer to measure your grill's temperature. Keep in mind that our grills are created to work with our thermocouples and RTDs and take into account variables such as variance, fluctuation and hot spots. Third-party thermometers often read vastly different temperatures from one another, and while they can be helpful accessories, they should not be used as a replacement for the pre-installed parts.
When using a third-party thermometer, understand that placement is key. The primary reason third-party thermometers read differently from your grill's thermocouple is the placement of the thermometer. For an accurate reading, place the thermometer near the grill’s thermocouple, elevated above the grill grates. The grill grates hold heat and can be much hotter than the grill’s internal air temperature. If a thermometer is placed too close to the grates, it will produce inaccurate readings.
Different spots in your grill may also vary in temperature. It is normal for a grill to have hot spots varying from 10 to 15ºF from the provided temperature reading. Areas near key points of air flow, such as near the chimney or near the vents in the back, will consistently vary in temperature.
Like many cooking methods, Traeger grills cook on an average, meaning that there will be temperature fluctuations. The temperature will rise and fall around the set temperature, averaging out over the duration of the cook to your desired temperature. For non-WiFIRE grills, the temperature can vary from 20 to 25ºF; whereas, WiFIRE-enabled grills can fluctuate 5 to 20ºF. These fluctuations are normal and not cause for concern.
If your grill is having fluctuations above the designated range, look to our Temperature Swings article for more information.
To understand how to test your grill's RTD or thermocouple, check out RTD & Thermocouple.