The digital kitchen thermometer is an effective solution for getting the most accurate food temperature in a matter of seconds. However, it is standard practice for most digital thermometers to say “LO” when turning on the device. But what does it mean?

Technically, “LO” on a digital thermometer means “Low Temperature.” For instance, kitchen thermometers are designed to measure temperature when inserted inside the food, so the temperature is usually lower when the thermometer is outside the food.

This article has detailed answers as to why your digital thermometer says “LO.” There is also information about how you can fix this. So, strap yourself, hold onto your hat, and ride the waves as you learn more.

Why does the digital thermometer read “LO”?

There are two possible instances when your digital thermometer reads “LO.”

Therefore, a “LO” reading can be either of the following:

  • Your digital thermometer is triggered to read the food temperature before correctly putting it in place. For instance, it will read the air directly in front of its sensor.
  • You might have exposed your digital thermometer to an extreme drop in temperature while the unit itself is “cold.’

A “LO” reading on your digital kitchen thermometer means “Low Temperature.”

For instance, kitchen thermometers are designed to measure temperature when inserted inside the food, and as such, they might give a lower temperature reading when placed outside the food.

How Do You Fix “Lo” Reading on a Digital Thermometer?

You can fix the “LO” reading on your digital thermometer using either of the following fixes.

1. Use the Digital Thermometer Correctly

Before using a digital thermometer in the kitchen, you must carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions.

For instance, follow the following tips to use your kitchen thermometer correctly:

  1. Test the thermometer. Use boiling water or ice water to confirm your thermometer is accurate.
  2. Calibrate the thermometer. Read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to adjust your digital thermometer, as required. This helps in ensuring you do not get ‘LO’ reading.
  3. Place the thermometer properly. Placement is very vital in avoiding getting the ‘LO’ temperature reading. The digital thermometer should be inserted in the thickest part of the food. However, you must ensure it does not touch gristle, fat, or bone.
  4. Do not rush it. Be sure to wait for the recommended time for your type of digital thermometer.
  5. Clean your digital thermometer. Check the thermometer sensor for cleanliness. If it is dirty, use rubbing alcohol to wipe it gently and leave it to dry.

For meat products, such as roasts, chops, veal steaks, lamb, pork, and raw beef, use the digital food thermometer before removing your meat from the heat source.

2. Reset the thermometer

You can also reset your digital thermometer to warm it up.

For instance, you need to remove the batteries from your digital thermometer and place it in a warmer location or direct sunlight for at least one hour.

However, before using the thermometer again, clean the sensor, probe, and probe cover thoroughly using an alcohol swab.

For instance, ensure they have no dirt buildup, as any dirt buildup will give a false temperature reading.

It is also vital to use your digital thermometer as intended. For instance, you should insert it properly insert the food.

Why Does the Digital Thermometer Say “HI”?

A “HI” reading on a digital kitchen thermometer means “High temperature.”

For instance, your digital thermometer might have been exposed to an acute spike in temperature, and the entire unit is “hot.”

How to Get Rid of “HI” Reading on a Digital Thermometer

You can get rid of the ‘HI’ reading by resetting your digital kitchen thermometer.

For instance, remove the batteries from the thermometer and put the thermometer in a colder, dimly lit place.

You can then allow the unit to cool down for 30-60 minutes.

However, before attempting to use your digital thermometer again, ensure the sensor is thoroughly cleaned.

You should also gently clean the sensor, probe, and probe cap individually using an alcohol swab.

Doing this helps remove any dirt buildup on them, as any dirt buildup will give a false thermometer reading.

Besides, as a general rule, you should avoid leaving your digital thermometer near heat sources such as near radiators or direct sunlight for a long period.

Can Low Batteries Affect Digital Thermometers?

As long as your digital thermometer is ready for measurement and used properly, it will give the same measurement accuracy.

However, when its battery power is too low, you will see a ‘low battery’ symbol and will not perform any temperature measurement until the battery is replaced.

Final Thought

A “LO” reading on your digital thermometer means “Low Temperature.”

It is a common issue with most food thermometers, especially if you do not use your food thermometer as intended.

Thankfully, it is usually a simple fix to get it to start properly reading.