I bought cheap fridge/freezer thermometers from eBay and tested it for a couple of weeks so you don’t have to.

Here’s whether those cheap-o fridge and freezer thermometers on sites like eBay and Amazon are any good.

A string of short lasting freezer defrost heaters got me super vigilant how cold (or lack thereof) my fridge and freezer actually are.

Before, I gauged whether my freezer coil defrost heater was dead or about to go out by feeling how cold the jar of pickles was or if the jug of milk was too warm for comfort.

If the flap near the top of the fridge seemed to be spitting out less than normal amounts of cold air and the milk seemed warm, it’s likely frost was building up on my freezer coils again, and I’d need another new defrost heater.

This method, while reliable, is not exactly accurate.

I needed a fridge and freezer thermometer, now.

Go on eBay and Amazon, and you’ll find these types of thermometers, they’re metallic with a bendable metal tab up top with a temperature range that reads from -20F – 85F.

Whatever site you choose, they’re about $5 each with free shipping.

They’re called bi-metallic coil thermometers.

According to the USDA,

“Bimetallic-coil Thermometers contain a coil made of two different metals with different rates of expansion that are bonded together. The bimetal element is coiled, fixed at one end, and attached to a pointer stem at the other end. As the temperature increases, the pointer will be rotated by the coiled bimetal element to indicate the temperature.”

Two pieces of metal bonded together sounds like a recipe for deadset, simple reliability.

So, are they any good?

Well, I bought a pair from eBay for around $8.50 total and made sure they shipped from somewhere in the United States, so I don’t have to wait too long for them to arrive.

These are clearly made in China, so my hopes weren’t too too high.

Well, after several weeks of using them, observing the temps as they sit in my fridge and freezer, I can confidently say these cheap-o fridge and freezer thermometers work just fine.

I’ve even got to know the quirks and nuances of my fridge and freezer temps as the days have gone by.

I know that when it’s relatively cool in the house, my fridge temps should be around 47-ish and my freezer temps should be close to zero.

And, when it’s getting hot and muggy, I should expect to see my fridge temps to struggle to stay below 50, and my freezer temps to do the same with above 0 Fahrenheit.

More importantly, I’ll know at a glance if something is really wrong, in my case, if I see my fridge temps swing past its normal range.

If you’re curious, these probably sell for about $3 each wholesale (like this listing on Alibaba,) whoever’s selling them to you making small amounts of profit after selling hundreds (or thousands of these cheap thermometers a month.)

So if you’re on the fence of pulling the trigger on a couple of cheap thermometers, just buy them.

They’ll work and you’ll never have to guess how hot or cold your fridge and freezer is again.

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