Combustion Inc CPT Review: Almost Perfect…

The Combustion Inc Predictive Thermometer (CPT) is relatively new to the market. I hadn’t even heard of it until a few months ago. Because wireless thermometers are all the rage these days (rightly so) and because MEATER and Typhur recently released new products in this niche I reached out to Combustion Inc. to see if we could get our hands on a CPT to test. I’ve had a chance to use the CPT on a few cooks now and based on my experience this wireless meat thermometer is nearly perfect. Nearly.

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TL;DR

Pros

  • 8 temperature sensors helps the CPT predict exactly when your cook will be complete
  • Regular software updates
  • Powerful application
  • Simplified and Integrated USDA Food Safe Algorithms

Cons

  • No WiFi (Bluetooth only)
  • Expensive

Use Cases

  • Fantastic for BBQ and long cooks
    • Brisket
    • Pork butt
    • Ribs
  • Perfect for grilling
    • Burgers
    • Steaks
    • Chicken
    • Fish
  • Great for long oven bakes
    • Thanksgiving Turkey
    • Christmas ham

Quick Verdict

The Combustion Inc. CPT wireless thermometer has 8 temperature sensors and a whole lot of smarts. It’s thin, durable, and cleans up really easily. The Bluetooth works really well and has great range especially when compared to the MEATER Plus. The app has lots of useful information, but could be a bit more intuitive. All things considered, this is a really phenomenal wireless thermometer. We just wish it had WiFi so we could monitor our cooks when we aren’t at home.

What We Tested

Thermometer

Range-Extending Booster/Probe Charger (with clip)

Display (with backlight and integrated stand)

Performance

Setup

screenshot of Combustion app, showing the home page

Something interesting happened the very first time I went to use the Combustion CPT on a cook – the thermometer, the booster, and the display all required software updates. I was equal parts annoyed and intrigued. While I really wanted to start using it straight out of the box, I was super excited at the prospect of a temperature probe that gets smarter and better over time.

The firmware updates were very quick and seamless. I have had to update all of them another time (2 updates in 2 months – if that isn’t product support, I don’t know what is) and the process was seamless yet again. When you first open the app on your phone it says “Listening for Thermometers…” – that’s your queue to take the probe out of the holder/charger if you haven’t already. As soon as you do that the probe connects to the app and you’re ready to get it setup for a cook!

screenshot of Combustion app, showing the software updates

If all you want the probe to do is monitor cooking temps, then you just go ahead and insert it in your meat at least to the 3 lines on the barrel of the probe. If you want it to predict when the meat will reach a certain temperature and/or alert you when your food has reached that temperature, you will need to select which USDA Food Safety algorithm you’d like the CPT to use: Simplified or Integrated. As an engineer, this is where things start to get really exciting for me.

Like a number of wireless meat thermometers, the CPT’s Simplified food safety mode will allow you to select the type of meat you are cooking. Based on your input, the CPT will alert you when the Core internal temperature of your meat has reached the USDA “safe” temperature (essentially the temperature at which harmful pathogens are instantaneously killed). These are the standard temperatures listed on popular grilling guides. While these “instantaneous” food safe temperatures are what most of us are familiar with, the USDA also publishes tables that dictate the time that a particular type of meat must be held at a given temperature to kill a high enough percentage of pathogens to be considered safe to eat. 

screenshot of Combustion app, showing the simplified screen

While the USDA instant food safe temperature for chicken is 165°F you can actually cook chicken to 150°F, but you have to hold it at that internal temperature for a longer period of time. The CPT Integrated food safety mode takes advantage of these USDA time and temperature tables. When you select integrated mode you will again select the type of meat you are cooking, but you will also enter your preferred internal temperature (say 130°F for beef). When you tell the thermometer to “predict” it will monitor temperatures and integrate the amount of time spent at temperatures that kill pathogens so it can tell you when your steak is 130°F AND food safe. Game changer.

screenshot of Combustion app, showing the integrated screen

Function

side by side comparison of Meater probe and Combustion CPT probe

You can control the CPT from the Combustion Inc. app or from the display (sold separately). The CPT probe is noticeably thinner (4.8MM in diameter) than the MEATER+ or the Typhur Sync (both 6MM in diameter). The probe holder/charger for the CPT is much smaller than the MEATER+ probe holder/charger and the Typhur Sync (though the Sync holds and charges (2) probes, functions as a display, and has WiFi).

side by side comparison of Typhur probe, Combustion CPT probe, Meater probe
Typhur probe, Combustion CPT probe, Meater probe (L to R)

The Combustion Inc. CPT also doesn’t need to be inserted as far as the MEATER+ or Typhur Sync to function properly (about 2” minimum insertion depth for the CPT versus 2.6” on the MEATER+ and Typher Sync). This gives you greater flexibility in probe placement and potentially in the cuts of meat that you can effectively probe. In addition to the reduced minimum insertion length, the CPT monitors the temperature gradient across multiple sensors to identify which temperature sensor represents the “True Core” (the coldest portion of your meat), the Surface temperature, and the Ambient temperature. These are then identified in the app.

The thermometer will use the core temperature to determine when your meat is ready. The ambient and surface temperature help you (and the thermometer) understand the amount of heat being applied to the meat so you can control your cooking and the thermometer can more accurately predict when the meat will be done. One of the main selling points of wireless thermometers is the fact that they at least attempt to predict when your food will be done. The CPT also tries to do this, but for long smokes we haven’t found the predictions to be particularly helpful or accurate. For shorter cooks they work great because they tell you when the food is safe to eat. Hopefully the accuracy of predictions for longer cooks will improve over time – we shall see.

screen shot of prediction screen in Combustion app

The CPT has the ability to function as an instant-read meat thermometer. While I haven’t independently verified the accuracy of the probe I do suspect that it would work in a pinch, but you do notice some lag due to the Bluetooth connection. I don’t think I’m ready to ditch my Thermapen ONE or Typhur InstaProbe just yet, but still a very handy feature!

I wanted to get an outside opinion on the CPT so I lent it to a friend of mine. He used it while he was cooking some baby back ribs and a pork butt. This is what he had to say about the Combustion Inc. CPT:

“Worked without glitches or hiccups. The app was easy to download and connect. It was a lot of fun for someone like me that likes all the numbers, but the app was sorely lacking analysis especially for the on-app graph. I wish you could hold and drag and see what the temperature was an hour ago. The predictive part of it was off by a little over an hour for 10 lb pork shoulder. It could have been because the smoker’s temp was fluctuating a lot, but I don’t know. For chicken and steaks it would be awesome.”

Wireless

The Combustion Inc. CPT utilizes bluetooth to wirelessly communicate to your display unit and/or phone (or tablet). The bluetooth range and performance are both pretty solid (substantially better than the MEATER+). We had a couple issues cooking chicken in a covered pan on the stove, but haven’t had any real issues while grilling or smoking. Overall, the CPT is much more reliable than the MEATER+ in our testing and comparable to the bluetooth only range on the Typhur Sync. I do wish the CPT had WiFi capability like the Typhur Sync. Unlimited range and the ability to monitor your cook while you are away from home offers an amazing level of peace of mind. Combustion Inc. does state on their website that the CPT will be able to connect to the internet via an update that should be coming in February 2024. 

screenshot of Combustion App announcement

I just hope that means true WiFi and not something like MEATER Link where you can connect to WiFi, but you have to do so via a spare smart device (think a second phone or tablet left near one of your CPT devices). Combustion Inc.’s CPT does have something called MeatNet where each Combustion Inc. device (probe, probe charge, and display) each talk to each other and act as range extenders. Apparently, this works quite well because we haven’t had any significant issues with the bluetooth connection.

Cleaning

Cleaning the CPT is a breeze. The first time I used the CPT was on a longer cook and by the end of it the canary yellow end of the probe was almost black. When it had cooled I scraped at it a bit with my thumbnail and nothing came off. I loved the yellow because it’s very bright and attractive so I was disappointed that it might be permanently discolored after just the first use. I dropped it in a sink full of warm, soapy water for a few minutes (no risk there because the CPT is IP68 rated!). When I pulled it out of the sink the soot slid right off the ceramic end and it looked brand new. Because of the IP68 rating, the CPT is also dishwasher safe!

Price

The basic CPT (probe and holder/charger) currently costs $149. This is $30 more than the all-new MEATER 2 Plus and $50 more than the MEATER+. The set that we received includes two probes, two probe holders/chargers, and a display. This bundle currently costs $349. This is $130 more than the two probe Typhur Sync. 

Who Is It For?

If you’re a pit master or grill master who loves data the CPT is designed for you. It gets frequent updates and provides tons of information to help you really dial in your cooks so you can continue perfecting your craft.

Final Thoughts

Long story short: I love the Combustion Inc. CPT. Is it perfect? No. But it is improving all the time due to frequent firmware updates and it provides so much data that is necessary if you really want to learn and grow as an outdoor chef. And the “Integrated” food safety algorithm is a game changer especially for short cooks like chicken, fish, and burgers.

Photo of author

Adam Truhler

I am the resident Patio Daddy-o and outdoor chef for my wife and 5 children! I’ve been grilling for 15+ years and smoking meat for over 7 years. Grilling is a part of my family’s cooking culture. I have butchered and grilled Ribeye and New York Strip steaks and smoked brisket, ribs, pork butt, and sausage for multiple events with 70+ attendees.

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