The MEATER products contained in this review were purchased by The Naked Whiz Publishing Empire through the original MEATER Kickstarter project. The MeatStick products contained in this review were purchased directly from The MeatStick web site. No condsiderations, financial or otherwise, were solicited from or given by either Apption Labs or Soma Labs.
Shortly after we published our review of the MEATER Block, we became aware of The MeatStick which is remarkably similar to the MEATER products. They both have a standalone probe option which connects to your smart device via Bluetooth. They both have Bluetooth repeater option to extend the range of the probe to your smart device. And they both have a WiFi bridge option which can connect your probe to a network and the internet that allows you to monitor your probes from anywhere you have internet access. Rather than produce an exhaustive review of The MeatStick, we thought we'd produce this comparison between the two products, hitting the major features of both to allow you to decide which you might wish to purchase.
Before proceeding, you might want to read our in-depth reviews of The MEATER Probe, The MEATER+ Probe and The MEATER Block.
The MEATER probe and The MeatStick probe are quite similar, as you might expect.
Probe Design The MEATER probe and The MeatStick probe are very similar in their design. They consist of a stainless steel probe that serves as one of the electrical connections for charging. The probe shaft also houses the meat temperature sensor and temperature-sensitive electronics like a lithium battery and other circuitry. They are all housed in the probe below the minimum insertion line that is etched into the shaft (circled in red in the photo at right). This ensures that the temperature-sensitive components are kept inside the meat which will never exceed 210°F.
Above the stainless steel shaft is a ceramic section that houses a Bluetooth antenna and ambient temperature sensor (what most of us would call the pit temperature sensor). And finally both probes have a metal cap that serves as the second electrical connection for charging. The cap is also connected thermally to the ambient temperature sensor.
One difference between the two probes becomes evident if you have multiple probes such as with the MEATER Block or the MeatStick Wifi Bridge Set. In the case of the MEATER Block, each of the four probes has a different number etched into the end of the probe. The probe number is communicated to the MEATER App so that you can tell them apart. The MeatStick WiFi Bridge Set probes have a colored band around the top of the ceramic section, and you will receive two different colors. If you order additional probes, you can specify the color. The probe's color is communicated to the MeatStick App, so you can tell them apart.
MEATER Block probes are numbered.
Meatstick probes have colored bands.
Physical Measurements The MeatStick probe is bigger and heavier than the MEATER probe. As a result, you will need to make a bigger hole in the meat you are cooking since the distance from the tip of the probe to the minimum insertion line is greater, and the diameter of the probe shaft is larger. The MeatStick probe's minimum insertion line being over an inch further from the tip than the MEATER probe might limit the size of piece of meat you can cook with it if you want the tip of the probe to be at the center of the meat.
MEATER MeatStick Overall Length 130mm / 5.1" 151mm / 5.9" Tip To Minimum Insertion line 67mm / 2.6" 94mm / 3.7" Shaft Diameter 5.1mm / 0.2" 6.4mm / 0.25" Probe Weight 10 grams / 0.35 oz 16 grams / 0.5 oz
Probe Battery Life The MEATER probe's battery will last between 24 and 72 hours. The MeatStick probe's battery will last for 24 hours.
Probe Accuracy The typical method for testing food probe accuracy is to immerse the probe in boiling water and compare the result to the actual boiling point of water. This is not possible with either the MEATER food sensor or The MeatStick food sensor since the Apps stop reporting the temperature before you get to the boiling point of water in order to warn you that you are about to exceed the maximum temperature for the probe. Similarly, you can't test the ambient sensor on these probes in boiling water as the probes are not waterproof.
The best we can do in the case of the food sensors, is to compare the probe's final readings at the end of a cook with our judgement of how done the meat ended up. When we cooked an eye of round roast to medium (145°F) the MEATER probe registered 145°F when the meat was rested and ready to slice. The MeatStick probe read 142°F. Here is a photo of the finished roast and as you can see, it was ended up looking pretty much like a medium piece of beef should look with a firm pink center:
As far as the MEATER and MeatStick ambient temperature sensors go, there is not much point in trying to measure their accuracy since they will invariably read low throughout most of your cook due to the proximity of the ambient sensor to the meat. Only towards the very end of the cook will the ambient sensors read anything close to the actual temperature in your cooker. Therefore it goes without saying that you shouldn't try to use the ambient sensor readings to control the temperature of your cooker. The real purpose of these ambient sensors is to give the Apps a reading on the temperature of the air immediately surrounding the meat in order to help predict the finish time of the cook.
The Charging Block
The MEATER charger is a solid-feeling piece of laminated strips of bamboo. It has magnets on the back to allow attaching it to a metal surface. On the back is a magnet-secured cover which hides the compartment for the single AAA battery. On the front is a button which, when pressed, shows the status of the AAA battery. The MEATER LED doesn't show the status of the probe's battery, rather it shows the AAA battery status. However, since you should be storing your probe in the charging block, it should always be fully charged.
The MEATER+ charger is externally very similar to the MEATER charger. The only significant difference is that the MEATER+ charging block also contains a Bluetooth repeater to extend the range of communications between the probe and your smart device. It still contains a single AAA battery and has a button and LED on the front which can be used to determine the status of the AAA battery. The LED also serves to show the Bluetooth connection status between the probe and the charging block.
The MEATER Block contains four charging stations, one for each of the four probes that come with the MEATER Block. The MEATER Block charges the four probes from four AA batteries contained in a compartment on the back of the block or the micro-USB cable. Charging occurs whenever the MEATER Block itself is turned off. There is a battery indicator on the OLED display which shows the status of the AA batteries. Again, since you should be storing your probes in the block with the block turned off, they will always be charging and thus should always be fully charged when you go to use them.
The MeatStick charger is made of orange plastic. The same charger is used for the MeatStick Set, the MeatStick Xtender Set and the MeatStick WiFi Bridge Set. A micro-USB socket is located on one end for powering the charger. There is also a small compartment on the back to hold the roughly 8" micro-USB cable. The MeatStick charger has a multicolor flashing LED to let you know the status of the probe's battery when the charger is powered on:
The Bluetooth Repeater
The Bluetooth repeater for the MEATER+ is housed in the bamboo charging block and powered by the single AAA battery that also charges the probe. The Bluetooth repeater turns on when you remove your probe from the charging block and turns off when you return your probe to the charging block. It takes only 5 seconds for the Bluetooth repeater to boot up and connect the probe to your smart device.
The MeatStick Bluetooth repeater (aka the MeatStick Xtender) is a unit separate from the charger. Like the other components, it is made from orange plastic. Unlike the other MeatStick components, it is not powered by a micro-USB cable. Rather, it is powered by 2 AA batteries. There is a magnet on the back so that you can stick it to a metal surface. The unit is turned on and off with a small switch on the side. Finally, there is a small LED on the front that flashes green while the unit boots up, shows solid green when it is on and active, and flashes slowly when the batteries are low. The unit doesn't have any sort of power timeout, so you have to remember to turn the unit off else you will run the batteries down. It takes the Xtender over 2 minutes 30 seconds to boot up and connect to a probe.
The Wifi Bridge
The WiFi bridge function is provided by the MEATER Block and the MeatStick WiFi Bridge. Although both products provide similar functions, they are quite different in the way of packaging and features.
The MEATER Block is one big block of laminated strips of bamboo which houses four charging ports, an OLED display and keypad, and the WiFi bridge hardware.
The MeatStick Wifi Bridge is a small orange plastic box with an LCD display, a "next" button, and a WiFi antenna.
Here is list comparing some of the major features of the MEATER Block and the MeatStick WiFi Bridge:
|MEATER Block||MeatStick WiFi Bridge|
|Housing||Large solid bambo all-in-one block that contains the charging ports, the OLED display and keypad, and the WiFi components.||Orange plastic box with backlit common LED display and single "next" button.|
|Power||4 AA batteries for charging and running the unit. Micro-USB cable can also power the unit but not charge. Unit has on/off button.||Micro-USB cable. No on/off switch, simply plug in the micro-USB cable.|
|Controls||Touch keypad with on/off switch, tools button, up/down/left/right buttons and enter button.||A single "next" button on top of the unit. It moves the display from one probe to the next, controls the backlight and can reset the device.|
|WiFi Antenna||Built into the block.||Typical external screw-on Wifi antenna.|
|Display||11.9mm x 23mm (0.47 x .9 inches) crisp OLED display, viewable from up to 3' away.||54mm x 29mm (2.1" x 1.1") backlit LED display, viewable from up to 8' away. Probe temperature uses larger characters viewable from 12' away.|
|Data Presentation||Screen shows one item for all four probes, must use left/right buttons to scroll from data item to data item.||Screen shows all data for one probe, must use 'next' button to scroll from probe to probe.|
|Startup Speed||Takes less than 10 seconds to "boot", connect to a network and recognize the four probes.||Takes about 1 minute 45 seconds to boot and recognize a probe. If there is no wireless network available, it can take up to 2 minutes to come up requiring you to then press the "Next" button to switch to Xtender mode and connect to a probe.|
|Connectivity Modes||Connects to your smart device via WiFi where you can monitor its probes using the MEATER App. If there is no network available, it can also work in Standalone mode and display all data on the built-in OLED display. Most if not all of the App functions are available in Standalone mode. Finally, if you want to use your smart device with no network, you can enable the App to pair directly with the MEATER probes, but range is limited.||Connects to your smart device via WiFi where you can monitor its probes using the MeatStick App. Can also be switched to Xtender mode instead of WiFi in the App. If there is no network available, the WiFi Bridge turns into an Xtender allowing you to monitor your probes with the App from a greater distance than just Bluetooth alone would permit. When you turn the bridge on and it finally displays "Check App", you must press the "next" button to get it to switch to Xtender mode.|
|Charging Probes||The Block has four built-in probe charging ports which allow you to charge probes using the 4 AA batteries in the Block. Probes charge whenever the Block is turned off.||Probes are charged using a separate orange plastic charger that requires a micro-USB cable and power source.|
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