Food safety experts call 40º to 140ºF the danger zone, where bacteria thrive, doubling every 20 minutes. I was shocked to find my refrigerator registered 44ºF. But I’m not alone: A recent survey found that 80% of home refrigerators were set too warm.
A basic refrigerator or freezer thermometer is a small investment to make sure you’re storing food at the proper temperature and maintaining peak quality. I particularly like this Chaney Instrument model 03128 because suction cups mount it to the side wall of the fridge or freezer, out of the way, unlike other versions that hang from a rack or perch on a shelf. At only 5 inches long, the stainless-steel thermometer has blue bars indicating the ideal temperature for your freezer (–10º to 0ºF) and refrigerator (33º to 40ºF). Retail price is $10, and you can buy it at Amazon.com.