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Best Automatic BBQ Temperature Controller – Flame Boss vs BBQ Guru

The joy of smoking can go horribly wrong if the temperature isn’t consistent throughout the smoking process.

And so many things can change the temperature: Diminishing charcoal, external air temperature, quality of smoker (e.g., does it leak?), or trouble figuring out the air vent settings.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the stable temperature control of an indoor oven outdoors in your smoker? Well, you can.

Close up of Flame Boss 300, in our opinion the best bbq temperature controller

In the 2000s, the first automatic temperature controllers (ATCs) for BBQs and smokers were created to manage the temperature of both pit and food throughout the cooking process.

In this article, we search for the best bbq temperature controller, discussing in detail the two leading models on the market – The Flame Boss vs BBQ Guru.

We’ll cover the origin, workings, and benefits of an ATC. Then we’ll follow with a product review of these 4 top models from the top 2 manufacturers:

High End

Mid-Range

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.

What is an Automatic Temperature Controller?

An ATC gives a smoker the consistent heat of an indoor oven. Set a temperature and it stays there, thanks to adjustments to the flow of oxygen into the smoker.

The ATC frees you to go and do other things, monitoring and adjusting the cooking process as needed from wherever you are – in the house, at the store, or on the job – via a wifi connection.

No more being tied to the smoker! This video by Grill Girl shows how it works.

Things to Look for When Choosing Your ATC

Features – There may be more than what you’re going to use and are reflected in the cost. Be sure you won’t be paying for something you’re not going to use (like cloud sharing your cooks – more on that later)

Accessories – Included would ideally be additional food probes since most ATCs can track more than one food per session.

Other nice-to-haves: heat-resistant gloves, manual, or a battery pack in case you want to use your smoker away from home where there are no electrical outlets.

Materials – An ATC would ideally be water and grease-proof. Most models are made from heavy, durable plastic. Probe tips should be sturdy enough for repeated use and easy to clean. You want the TAC to look and feel ‘industrial’ for want of a better description.

How a Smoker Temperature Controller Works

Basically a small computer, the ATC runs one probe to the grill grate for monitoring the ambient temperature of the grill and another probe into the food to track cooking progression to perfect doneness.

It takes the information given it (food and pit temperatures) calculates time and optimal temperature for food to reach the proper doneness.

Besides being connected to the probes, the ATC is also connected to or has an inbuilt variable speed fan that is firmly fixed to a bottom vent, to control the amount of air that can flow into the BBQ or smoker.

Based on the readings from the probes, the device directs the speed of the fan to control the ambient temperature inside the cooker, by controlling the amount of oxygen given to the fire.

The fan speed will vary in response to the temperatures, fanning the flames higher or starving them lower, so the temperature remains consistent and food is not over- or undercooked.

So you set the desired temperature for the food(s), the temperature for the grill/smoker that the food should cook at, and the desired cook time.

Alarms sound and alert you to take action when:

  • The temperature varies too far above or below your setting
  • It’s time to turn/baste/otherwise manage the food
  • There’s a problem like a power outage
  • The food is done

Some ATCs are very basic, others are capable of being their own network. These super-tech ATCs enable really remote monitoring.

Not only are alarms sent by text or email, it’s possible to monitor everything from any web browser using any internet-capable device (smartphone, tablet, computer).

Networking ATCs also allow you to keep a history of your cooking sessions, share pictures and results with other grill-fans on recipe and cook sharing websites. And yes, there are apps for that.

Amazon Alexa users can connect their ATC and get updates on cooking progress or direct the ATC to change settings via ‘Alexa skills.’

What are the Benefits and Pros & Cons Of Using an ATC?

Help is needed for your smoker or grill to have the steady, consistent temperature required for consistent cooking, because temperatures can fluctuate by 10s or even hundreds of degrees, depending on the grill and the environment.

This translates into under-, uneven-, or over-cooked food and subsequent loss of bragging rights on cook sharing sites.

An ATC uses a variable speed fan – or simply switches one on and off – to control airflow, keeping an oxygen balance that allows steady cooking and moist, evenly done food. A consistent smoker temperature = more consistent results in your food.

PROS

  • Even temperature throughout the cooking process
  • Ability to monitor both the grill and the food being cooked
  • Long-distance monitoring
  • Removes guesswork of when food is finished

CONS

  • Something else (expensive) to buy
  • Something else which could glitch (but top manufacturers provide excellent customer service)
  • Learning curve of setting up a network/WiFi connection

Where is an ATC is Used?

Pellet, gas and electric smokers do not need a smoker temperature controller as they either have them built in (pellet and electric models) or are easy to set to a fixed temp (gas.)

So ATCs are almost exclusively for charcoal smokers – though there are some attempts at ATCs for wood burners.

So there are two ATC types which fit either one of:

  1. Ceramic, kamado smokers such as the Kamado Joe
  2. Water smokers or kettle grills

BBQ Guru Vs Flame Boss

These are the two most well-known, reliable products on the market.

Are there others? Sure, but they’re newcomers, and haven’t yet made much of a dent in the market compared to these forerunners. So we’ll limit our discussion and review to these leaders of the pack.

The Companies

Although there are many, and more emerging companies that manufacture automatic temperature controllers, we will only focus on the 2 companies that are by far the most well established and successful, with universally agreed the best products.

BBQ Guru

Based in Warminster, PA, BBQ Guru, (www.bbqguru.com) was founded in 2003 by Shotgun Fred Pirkle, founder of ThermoOmegaTech®, a manufacturer of control valves, thermal actuators, safety showers, and rail freeze protection valves.

A thermodynamic engineer, Fred responded to a friend’s challenge of creating a control valve for grills by creating the first BBQ Guru.

His love of barbeque inspired him to help everyone to achieve excellent results from their grill or smoker.

Fred’s love of giving extended beyond barbeque; he started a scholarship program at his alma mater, Sam Houston State University. Every year since his death in 2012, friends host a KCBS BBQ Cook-Off to continue to raise funds for the scholarship. [SOURCE: ShotGunFredBarbeque.com/about-fred/]

Flame Boss

Based in Apopka, FL, FlameBoss, (www.flameboss.com) was founded in 2013 by Roger Collins, a computer engineer and smoked barbecue fan.

Dissatisfied with multiple nightly forays to check the temperature of his smoker, Roger married his day job with his interest in electronic engineering to develop a smoker temperature controller which would eliminate the need for those late night trips to the smoker.

Naturally, his friends wanted one too, and their friends and demand mushroomed from there so Roger partnered with his brother Michael for what would be their second successful business venture. [SOURCE: https://www.flameboss.com/about_us/]

Product Range

Both BBQ Guru and Flame Boss have a number of slightly different products in their ranges, with varying feature sets and of course at different price points.

Let’s take a look at the most popular models from each:

BBQ Guru Products

The portable PartyQ which runs on AA batteries is designed for small to medium-sized cookers. It only monitors the temperature of the pit.

The DigiQ plugs into an outlet and not only monitors pit temperature, there’s a probe for monitoring meat temperature, too.

Available in green or black, the DigiQ has a ramp down setting and can support two fans to accommodate large smokers. An optional battery pack is available.

The CyberQ runs on a power pack and can monitor up to 3 meats in one cook session (with the purchase of additional probes).

The CyberQ has wifi capability, allowing tracking, controlling, and recording of cooks. It also allows sharing cooks, including pictures, on social media platforms and communicating with other smokers. It’s networking ability also enables notifications and monitoring via text, email, the internet, and Amazon Alexa.

BBQ Guru the company also carries a line of smokers and grills with related accessories, BBQ sauce, rubs, and injections, and tools, knives, apparel, smoke wood, and thermometers. But specific to the automatic thermostat controller they can supply:

  • Extension cords
  • Power pack
  • Vehicle adapter
  • Jumper cord
  • Carrying case
  • Magnet mount
  • Fans, adaptors, splitters
  • Mount brackets, kill plugs, eyelet kit, and alligator clips

FlameBoss Products

FlameBoss only does temperature control, offering a few versions of kamado or universal smoker controllers:

The 100 series are basic models requiring you to be near enough to hear alarms notifying you of cooking stages, problems, or when the food is done.

The 200 and 300 series are wifi capable, allowing management from a distance over any network.

Controllers, adapters, and blowers can are available for purchase separately. Accessories include:

  • Y-cable for additional meat probes
  • 12-volt battery pack
  • 6 ft. Platinum thermometer probes

Comparing Their Offerings

SIMILARITIES

  • Products designed by engineers
  • Products developed by barbecue lovers
  • High-quality products that focus on the task of regulating grill/smoker temperatures
  • Efficient use of charcoal
  • Can connect to amazon Alexa, for monitoring cooks and changing settings via ‘Alexa skills.’

DIFFERENCES

  • BBQ Guru has many useful products which aren’t related to temperature management, FlameBoss’ tunnel vision is only on making superior ATCs
  • You may find better deals and have a teeny bit more consistency in temperature holding with the Flame Boss.
  • Setting up a FlameBoss product is fractionally simpler than a BBQ Guru
  • Flame Boss leads are bent, BBQ Guru leads plug straight in, needing extra space below the ATC, so the leads don’t pull on the plug. Flame Boss leads tuck out of the way more easily, reducing the risk of damage.

Flame Boss vs BBQ Guru – What People Say About Them

General opinion for products of both companies is basically “I LOVE this product!!”

Other frequent comments include “works well,” “quick and accurate reading,” “simple to use,” and “easy to navigate.”

If you’re both an avid smoker/griller and social media user, the CyberQ’s cloud-sharing technology should make it your favorite.

The ability to brag beyond your immediate circle of friends and nemeses is too good to pass up! If an international circle of smokers is your ideal, you’ll love the CyberQ and BBQ Guru website ShareMyCook.com.

Flame Boss users loudly proclaim it as “the standard” for automatic thermostat controllers.

Which Model is Best For You?

For the most part, which model you decide is the best bbq temperature controller for you comes down to your budget and screen color choice when comparing similar models head to head.

If you’re a tech fan and want to geek out with Amazon Alexa and the cloud, both the CyberQ and FlameBoss 300 are right for you.

If your interest is focused on a good cook, without wi-fi enabled bells and whistles, the basic models of both – the PartyQ and Flame Boss 100 – are sufficient.

Common Concerns to All Temperature Controllers

There’s always going to be a few people encounter problems with tech items.

The issues we could find though are few and far between, with most down to user error and not following recommended usage instructions, or not quite having learnt the intricacies of device setup.

However, we’d be remiss not to mention some of the issues customers have encountered.

The Temp Runs Away and Gets too Hot

Some users have complained that the temperature runs away and way over the setting, despite following instructions.

If your vents are all but closed, and the controller cannot control temp, it’s usually that your smoker isn’t sealed correctly though and is not a fault of the temperature controller.

Air is leaking in so the controller cannot do its job. This obviously needs to be fixed by checking seals, replacing them if necessary, double checking vent positions, and using kill plugs if required.

Keeping Your Temp Controller in Top Performance / Overcoming issues

  • Keep probes clean. Dirt can have an insulating effect and cause lower-than-true readings. This leads to the grill being too hot and your food is more likely to become overcooked.
  • Never exceed the thermometer’s maximum temperature rating. This is possibly the number one killer of a digital grill thermometer!
  • Keep the fan inlet and outlet clear of dirt, ash, debris, etc.
  • Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s advice about the positioning of your top vents.

Product Roundup and Mini-Reviews

When the word “engineered” is used, we automatically think of something made with strict guidelines, high-quality materials, and precision assembly.

Flame Boss and BBQ Guru were created by engineers, so right off the bat, there’s some assurance of products built to do what they do, incredibly well.

For this review, we’ll take a close look at four very well-made controllers from industry giants BBQ Guru and FlameBoss.

High-End Automatic BBQ Temperature Controllers

There’s nothing wrong with having champagne tastes when it comes to buying an ATC. These products are meant to last, and if you plan to use them frequently, you’ll find you’ve made a good investment.

High-end means both cost and features; here we’ll look at two high-end automatic temperature controllers and two as-good, just not so expensive ATCs from both companies.

Flame Boss 300 wifi Review

Flame Boss 300-WiFi Universal Grill & Smoker Temperature Controller

The flagship model from flame boss.

First Impressions – Look And Design

‘About its business’ is our first impression of this controller. Its wide stand gives it a solid look; it’s not going anywhere. It will be there, doing its job while you’re elsewhere.

It is held by a solidly stable stand which allows the ATC to be tilted up or down for at-a-glance reading. The stand has holes for attaching it to a surface for permanency if desired. The green LED screen is just the right size for displaying the vital information you need to know. Push buttons are easy to move through the menu and adjust settings.

We really like how the plugs are designed to swing back and down, minimizing risk of damaging the plugs. Overall, a solid, competent-looking device.

What’s In The Box, Plus Options

The 300 model comes with:

  • 110-240 Volt AC Power Adapter
  • Two temperature probes (one pit and one meat probe)
  • Universal blower
  • Manifold with blower adapter
  • Fasteners to attach manifold
  • Product manual

Optional buys:

  • Y-cables
  • Additional meat probes
  • 12-volt battery pack for optional cord-free use

Functionality and Features of Thermometer

The Flame Boss 300 fits a wide variety of drum, barrel, cabinet and offset style charcoal smokers and grills and smokers and is ideal for low-and-slow cooking. Small variations of 2-3 degrees above or below the set temperature can be expected but are not a problem.

Each temperature probe is made of industrial-grade platinum and are rated to work in temperatures up to 575^F. Buying additional probes and Y-cables lets you cook three cuts of meat in one session.

The FB-300 is capable of learning. The more it’s used, the better it learns how your smoker works; this means you will have fewer tweaks to make in future cooking sessions.

You won’t have to guess when to check on things; the Boss 300 will text you if the temperature drops or rises too far from the Set temperature. But there are two features which help keep the temperature steady.

When the Flame Boss 300 wifi senses the grill lid open, it stops the fan, preventing a surge of air which would stoke the fire too high (Open Lid Detection feature). If the power is disrupted, the ‘Power Glitch Safe’ feature ensures the unit resumes at the Set temperature.

Your smartphone can receive alarms, and there is an app which allows you to change the temperature, be alerted to problems, make cooking session notes, view current and saved cooks (including graphs), and brag on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.

Ease of Use

Out of the box

  1. Attach manifold over smoker’s air vent
  2. Attach the blower to manifold
  3. Attach the stand to the 300
  4. Plug blower into the 300
  5. Insert the temperature probe into the meat, plug into the 300
  6. Attach clip to grill grate, connect at the other end into the 300
  7. Set desired temperature and time
  8. Enjoy the time you’ll have for doing something other than trotting back and forth to check the temperature

WiFi

Set up may be a little daunting for those who aren’t comfortable with manipulating network settings. But five pages of the manual cover the process pretty thoroughly and with pictures. Basically, you

  • Open the wifi menu on the 300 to be sure it’s set to ON
  • From the wifi menu, select Access Point
  • On your tablet or computer, open wifi settings
  • Look for the flame boss id, select it as your network
  • Download the app to a tablet, PC, or smartphone and connect to a wifi service.

The ATC automatically connects. No need to download software, just open any web browser to a specified URL. There is also an option to connect to Amazon Alexa, have temperatures of your cook read out, and instruct Alexa to change temperature settings.

Who Is This Model Best Suited to?

This model is suited to those who like lots of frills and functionality and don’t mind paying for them.

Alternate Models

Other brands or models might suit you better if you want more tech or no tech at all. If you’re not willing to blow a small budget, you may prefer the Boss 100, which doesn’t have wifi capability but is a non-trivial amount cheaper.

What We Like About the Flame Boss 300

  • Speedy set up
  • Thorough product manual
  • Keen temperature consistency
  • Simple design
  • Sensible stand and cord arrangement

What We Don’t Like About the Flame Boss 300

  • The probes can be less than sturdy. But customer service responds quickly and well to any problem; replacements are easy to come by.
  • Having to buy extra probes if you want to monitor multiple cuts of meat.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

BBQ Guru CyberQ Cloud Review

CyberQ Cloud BBQ Temperature Controller, 1 Digital Meat Thermometer and 1 Pit Probe, Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Adapter and Pit Viper Fan

The top model of ATC from the BBQ Guru stable.

First Impressions – Look and Design

Our first impression is mixed; it doesn’t look at all like a serious tool. The name and logo draw attention away from the dark blue LED with its white writing. First thought is that the size and colors would make it harder to monitor settings quickly.

A closer look shows only two settings are visible at a time; scrolling is required to see the pit temperature and fan speed. What is nice are the clearly labeled ports, so there’s no guessing which plug goes where.

The look seems to suggest it’s less important to look at this ATC physically because it’s designed as a cloud-based tool. The wifi capability allows remote monitoring by any internet capable device – phone, tablet, or computer.

What’s In The Box, Plus Options

  • Controller
  • 2 probes, one pit, one food probe
  • Carrying case
  • Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Adapter
  • Pit Viper Fan

Functionality and Features

The CyberQ manages temperatures from 32^ to 457^F, allowing for multiple cooking styles. Stainless steel probes tipped with moisture- and smoke-resistant thermocouples which are safety rated for up to 500^F.

WiFi capable, the CyberQ can also be set up with an IP address, making possible monitoring away from home through any web-based device. It can also be set up as a hotspot, handy in the event you and your grill are away from home and need to set up in a WiFi-free area.

This ATC was designed for use on the BBQ Guru community website ShareMyCook.com. The site not only allows picture and cook sharing, but it also allows you to graph and monitor three foods in one cooking session, make notes and store cooking sessions.

It offers management through voice control when connected to Amazon Alexa.

When the lid is opened, the fan speed is reduced to prevent significant temperature swings and the resulting recovery time (Open Lid Detector feature). The Ramp Down feature prevents overcooking; as food temperature increases, the pit temperature decreases.

When temperature varies too much either way (default is 50 degrees), the CyberQ sounds an alarm. You can silence the alarms can be by pressing any button.

On the CyberQ, the backlight will blink when the unit receives a command via WiFi. Press any button to silence an alarm. If you’re annoyed by the beep when you press a button, it can be turned off.

When the timer counts down to zero, CyberQ will shut off the fan, hold the pit temperature 200^F and send alerts by a flashing message and beeps (choose # times). Ramp mode feature gradually decreases pit temp when food is within 30^ of the target temperature.

The CyberQ can also learn the smoker or grill, increasing the stability and accuracy of its performance over time. This again leaves less tweaking for you to do in future cooks.

Ease of Use

Out of the box

Connecting the CyberQ is reasonably straightforward. Setting alarms and temps isn’t very complicated; but, the network setup can leave you in need of a fan to cool down.

Who is This Model Best Suited to?

Wifi setup may be a little daunting; the CyberQ may best suit those comfortable with configuring network settings. It’s a tech-lovers delight!

Alternate Models

If you want simplicity for your small grilling needs, consider a junior member of the family, the portable, battery-operated PartyQ.

What We Like About the CyberQ Cloud

  • Speedy set up
  • Relaying temperature adjustments by voice command (alexa)

What We Don’t Like About the CyberQ Cloud

  • Super technical IP configuration
  • No alerts to power failures
  • Fan output isn’t recorded or graphed
  • Damper needs to be cleaned almost right after use to avoid sticking

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Mid-Range Automatic BBQ Temperature Controllers

If you’ve no desire for all the wifi and cloud bells and whistles of the top models coming from Flame Boss or BBQ guru, they both have more economical, less feature-rich models in their range that are still excellent automatic temperature controllers that work well.

We’ll take a look at these now.

Flame Boss 100 Review

Flame Boss 100 Universal Grill & Smoker Temperature Controller

The mid-range but still quality ATC from Flame Boss’s range.

First Impressions – Look and Design

The FB-100 looks like its green-display FB-300 sibling but with two notable exceptions – a yellow instead of green LED display and the absence of “WiFi” in the upper right corner.

We really like the stand which holds it steady for viewing readings at a glance and for entering commands. Of course, it’s also handy enough to be held.

What’s in the Box, Plus Options

The 100 model comes with:

  • 110-240 Volt AC Power Adapter
  • 2 temperature probes (1 pit, 1 meat probe)
  • Universal blower
  • Manifold with blower adapter
  • Fasteners to attach manifold
  • Product manual

Optional buys: Y-cables and additional meat probes.

Fits many drum, barrel, cabinet and offset style charcoal grills and smokers

Functionality and Features of Thermometer

The FB100 is designed to be used in drum, barrel, cabinet, and offset charcoal grills and smokers. It has most of the features and functions of the FB300. But there are a few differences.

This is the old-school model for those who like some, but not much, tech. It does without texts, emails, the internet, or Alexa.

You’re still notified when food has finished cooking but by an alarm rather than text message. Another alert tells you when it’s time to turn, baste, or otherwise intervene in the cooking process. It gets the job done.

The FB100 features a manifold with a blower adapter and high-temperature tape to seal off unused intake vents.

Ease of Use

Out of the box

Attach the stand to the unit, attach the blower to the grill. Insert one probe into whatever’s cooking, and clip the second probe to the rack. Set the time and temperature. Walk away.

Who is this Model Best Suited to?

Someone who likes no-frills functionality, who only wants to monitor temperatures as accurately and uncomplicatedly as possible.

It’s also good for the cost-conscious shopper who also wants high quality. The FB100 is ideal for at-home cooks preparing a small meal, too.

Alternate Models

If you have a ceramic grill (Big Green Egg, etc.) you’ll want the Flame Boss 100-Kamado.

What We Like About the FB100

  • Alligator clip as pit probe
  • L-shaped plugs reduce pull on cords make it easier to keep them back and out of the way
  • Display shows everything you need to know at a glance

What We Don’t Like About the FB100

  • The plastic casing isn’t waterproof
  • Pit probe can give a falsely high reading, causing fan to unnecessarily slow

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

BBQ Guru DigiQ DX2 Review

DigiQ BBQ Temperature Controller, Digital Meat Thermometer, for Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Adaptor, Pit Viper Fan

Let’s take a look at the mid-range offering from BBQ guru, the DigiQ DX2.

First Impressions – Look and Design

There’s a lot of heavy marketing going on on the front of the DX2, but not enough to distract the eye from the red-lettered viewing window.

Having labels for the plugs across the bottom of the unit announces how easy the DX2 can make things for you.

What’s in the box, plus options

The DX2 comes with:

  • 120 V AC cord adaptable to 12V DC
  • Two temperature probes (one pit, one food probe)
  • Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker adapter
  • Pit Viper fan
  • Vent plug
  • Storage bag

Functionality and Features of Thermometer

Designed to fit Weber grills and smokers, the DX2 is part of the DigiQ series which stands out by its offering of 4-color choices.

The aluminum control box is designed to hang on the side table of a Weber. It easily handles cooking temps from 32^ to 475^F, so you’re covered for high heat grilling and low-n-slow smoking. Available in black or green.

The more it’s used, the better it works with your pit, the less you have to worry about glitches.

Compatible with Pit Bull or Pit Viper fans, which some vendors may sell packaged with the DX2.

Who is this Model Best Suited to?

Someone who’s only interested in the technology needed to control temperature. Because it can power two fans for large offsets, the DX2 is also suited for someone who wants the flexibility of going from small family cooking to large tailgating or competition events.

Alternate Models

If you don’t have a Weber, the manufacturer offers other models besides the DX2. If you want wifi, go for the CyberQ.

What We Like About the DX2

  • It’s clearly labeled; no guessing or turning the unit on end to see what gets plugged in where
  • Sturdy aluminum body
  • Choice of colors

What We Don’t Like About the DX2

  • Graphics
  • When getting close to the set temperature, it starts rounding temperatures by 5˚f
  • 2-foot power cord may limit smoking locations

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Final Thoughts – and our Pick for The Best BBQ Temperature Controller

So in this article looking for the best bbq temperature controller, pitching the Flame Boss vs BBQ Guru range of products, which in our opinion is the winner? Comparing two excellent products against each other is a win-win situation. And tiring. There’s really little to push one ahead of the other.

Besides budget, personal preference may be the most important decision maker. Is a choice of colors appealing? A stand versus a hanger? LED display color? Those are the niceties which you can wrangle over because, between these products discussed, you’re going to walk away with a high-precision tool which ensures stable cooking temperatures for many hours or just a few.

However, if we had to pick a winner of the roundup and make a recommendation, our choice for the best automatic BBQ temperature controller for a charcoal smoker would be the Flame Boss 300.

Minimal variation from the set temperature, the simplicity of set-up, and wifi capability top the reasons for our choice.

However, it’s pretty close to a coin flip because the BBQ Guru CyberQ is a phenomenally capable controller and must also be recommended.

Automatic temperature controllers bring temperature stability to outdoor cooking. If you’re a fan of outdoor cooking, consider this a key part of your smoker’s toolbox for consistency and the ability to free your attention and hands for other work, entertaining guests, or feet up with a beer!

 

Product image credits: © Amazon.com

Mark Jenner

Hi. I'm Mark Jenner, owner and creator of FoodFireFriends.com.I grill and smoke food outdoors at least three days a week on a wide range of equipment, have done so for years, and love nothing more than cooking good food, over live fire, enjoying it with friends. The aim of this site is to educate and help others to do the same.

10 thoughts on “Best Automatic BBQ Temperature Controller – Flame Boss vs BBQ Guru”

  1. Flame Boss also has an Alexa Skill that allows you to interact with the 300 unit. You write that a difference between the two is that only BBQ Guru has Alexa.

    • Hi Mark,

      I didn’t know this, but just checked and you’re absolutely right! I own the Flameboss 300 wifi with 3 probes, and never knew this. And when I did my research (back at about Easter 2017) it never showed up in my searches. Odd.

      But yes, I stand corrected. I shall edit the article some time later this evening, or maybe tomorrow, so it’s correct.

      Thank you very much for taking the time point this out. Feedback is much appreciated and helps to improve the info on the site 🙂

      Mark.

  2. Really appreciate the write-up! I’m currently looking at getting one of these for my Weber Kettle. It’s been tough to find a side-by-side comparison of controllers, but this article is thorough and well written. Thanks for doing the work!

    • Hi Tony,

      I haven’t yet I’m afraid. I’m still using the 300, but will be getting a 500 within a couple of weeks to play with, and will then update this article.

      I mean, the 300 isn’t even available anymore, which makes the above comparison somewhat pointless now, sadly. Which probably prompted your question? I do hate content going out of date, can be a lot of work to keep it current across the whole site! 🙁

      So yes, I should be able to update the above article in 3 weeks or so, enough time for me to get the new 500, play with it and form an opinion.

      Coincidentally, I just set up the 300 for my current cook. We’re doing a lot of ‘moving’ today of heavy objects: pool table, fridges, freezers etc. into the new garage. So I’m cooking beef ribs, pork ribs and lamb ribs for the people helping.

      My Mrs is out shopping, I’m at home with my 3yo daughter, we were playing and I ignored the kamado. Went out to check on it and temp had creeped up to 270f, when I want to hold it at 225f.

      So I just placed a pan full of ice on the grill expander to suck some heat out of it, to bring the temp down quickly, and put the flame boss 300 on to then keep it steady at 225…while I ignore the grill and go back to destroying my dining room table with poster paint, glue and glitter, lol.

      Flame boss 300 and beef ribs on Kamado Joe

  3. Hi Mark,

    I have read your excellent blog as I’m in the market for a temperature controller for my Kamado Big Joe 3. I had narrowed it down to either the Flame Boss 500, or the BBQ Guru CyberQ. So, my question is, if the Flame Boss 300 is equal to the BBQ Guru CyberQ, dose the new Flame Boss 500 surpass CyberQ or have you still not had a chance to review it yet.

    • Hi Huw,

      I’ve had the flame boss 500 for many months now, and have written a review also but due to a VERY busy summer I’ve been unable to keep up with a lot of things and have not managed to post it yet (and update this article.)

      I will have my flame boss 500 review posted before next Monday, I’ll drop a link to it here when I have (and also update this article at the same time.)

      Personally, I love the 500 and would highly recommend it. I also have the Big Joe 3, and it’s in this set up that I use it mostly. It works perfectly for me with the exception of one small thing – but that I found a workaround for:

      If you use the flame boss with the big joe 3 right from the start, from the moment you light the coals and using the flame boss to bring it up to temp, it tends to overshoot the temp by a good 30f (plus or minus…and depending on target temp) and then takes a while to come back down, as is the case with ceramics. Workaround? Set the flameboss to a temp 25f lower than you wish to cook at, and then adjust it higher as it hits it. OR, do what I do, get it up to temp manually and then use the flame boss to keep it there unsupervised.

      For the record, I am in a ton of BBQ facebook groups, and I see the same complaint from the ikamand (from KJ), BBQ Gurus, with other controllers too, so it’s not necessarily a flame boss issue.

      Also, many people say that with repeated use, it ‘learns the smoker’, it learns that it overshoots so with time and as it builds a history and memory, it then takes the temp up slower and the problem goes away. The unit is designed to work this way, to learn the smoker it’s used with. The issue I have is, I also use it with a KJ classic, and sometimes a WSM, so I’m responsible for messing up any learning it does by connecting it with different smokers. Therefore, I cannot complain about this really…but wanted to make you aware of my experience 🙂

      Also, I would be remiss not to point out that some people do report the occasional problem with connectivity to wi-fi, and with updating the firmware of the unit. The wifi thing seems to be related to how the the 2.4ghz and 5ghz wireless networks are set up on the router….but I’ve not seen a solid answer to what is happening here to be honest. And for the record, I’ve personally never had a problem with either of these issues, with the 300 or 500, but on the flame boss group a few people have.

      However, what I always keep in mind is volume of sales compared to number of complaints. I cannot know how many they’ve sold, but the complaints aren’t many, and the flame boss support are VERY responsive and active in the group, jumping straight away onto any issues and working them out. And also, the other controller groups (and even the ikamand) seem to have the same issues. No one unit seems to have more or less issues than the others.

      Anyway, I live my 500, I would recommend it (and will) and will post up my review of my unit before next Monday, I’ll link to it so you can check it out.

  4. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply and in such detail. If you are that happy with the Flame Boss 500 I think I will go the same way but still look forward to reading your review.

    Thanks again,

    Huw.

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