Digital thermometer reommendation please

aliris19April 19, 2012

Hiya's someone recommended a digital thermometer here recently with a link, but I can't seem to find it. Might I trouble y'all to re-post such opinions should you have one? It seems I need one for another reason as well so I guess it's time to pony up. Hopefully it's not too expensive?

Thanks for a link and opinion...

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I don't think many would argue that Thermapen is excellent. It seems grossly overpriced for what it is, but I figure if there were a cheaper option of the same quality, we'd all know about it.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 7:47PM
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Ah, but they have such groovy colors and the price has dropped from $96 to $89.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 8:08PM
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Oooh! I want one! In every color.....!!!!!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 8:14PM
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So .... what's wrong with all their other, cheaper, options?

This one's 19 bucks... but it says you can't immerse the probe, or maybe you can but not really, or not for a long time ... gotta keep the cable dry.

These people have more thermometers than you can shake a stick at And quite the array of probes

This is so way TMI I need a powder. A drink or a lie-down.

I want: something that will quickly, accurately tell me the temperature of water coming out of a faucet. And then I want it to tell me the temperature of my bleeding oven which oh-so-handily doesn't happen to have a visible thermometer and the one I have is cracked, unreadable and doesn't really fit hanging beneath the racks. Oh so annoying.

I guess it would be nice for the once-in-a-blue-moon that I incendiate meat to have a measuring device for it, but optional luxury, that.

I want to know what temperature my "true simmer" is, really. That would imply immersibility I should think.

So a cable looks like a good idea, but it has to not snake anywhere close to an open flame, like across a burner, what ho?

Obviously, it wants to make these readings fairly quickly, and accurately too.

I want this to not really cost more than, say, $20 or $25 all-told.

It seems as if this might actually be possible but honestly, with dozens of products to slog through... are all these gizmos from ThermoWorks comparable in quality and longevity or do you need to shell out big bucks to get lastingness? Seems as if "waterproofness" is the quality that makes the price jump upward maybe?

Why can't you get a little "patch" to paste inside your oven that will phone home readings? All these devices seem to rely on snaking a cable through your oven door -- doesn't that seem unnecessarily 20th century?

Check out this $19 point-and-shoot. Not sure what to use it for but it's definitely cool. or hot. or something.

I can foresee purchasing rigor mortis setting in. No way can I choose from so many!!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 8:46PM
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I love my All Clad probe thermometer
I used a lot of basic ones and had other digital over the years - but the All Clad actually works and has held up.
It was actually a replacement for another failed unit from William Sonoma

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 9:46PM
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I just got the EcoTemp from Thermoworks that will chime when going up to temp, or down to a set temp, so I can use it for yogurt making. I also ordered the accessories to fasten it to a pan, the extra cable and probe to use it in my lower, probeless oven, and the protective case. There was a probe to use with the fridge, but I didn't get that one. It was $40, but the accessories were $4 - $9 each, so I ended up spending about $65.

I haven't used it too many times yet, but it seemed pretty decent... Maybe not as fast as the Thermapen, but does more, for less $$.

Here is a link that might be useful: EcoTemp

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 10:06PM
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Hi Rhome -- yes! I was looking at another one that was quite like this, with interchangeable probes. That one's probe was designed apparently to be able to leave inside the oven. I agree it looks more flexible. And I agree I'd rather exchange price and flexibility for waiting - what - another 3 seconds for the read-out?

Can you please check back in as to how this is working?


    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 11:45PM
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Thermapen is absolutely terrible. It's off by anywhere from 2 to 20 degrees, randomly changing from second to second. I forget what temperature it tells me water boils at, but if I believed it I'd be alerting my nearest physics department.

I have a drawer full of thermometers from every "famous" manufacturer, and none of them peg the boiling point of water anywhere near 212F (I'm at sea level).

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 12:32AM
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aliris - Sorry, I inadvertantly assumed you were looking for an "instant read" thermometer. Since I'm here anyway, I'll summarize my experiences the few digital thermometers I've owned:

Thermapen - I've never questioned its accuracy but I've questioned its advertised speed. "Questioned" but not ready to discredit. Still pretty quick. Don't confuse splash-proof with waterproof. I left mine outside in the rain and while it was never submerged, it filled with moisture and stopped working. ThermoWorks was helpful in advising to remove the battery and let it dry out for several days, adding that if that failed I could send it in for free diagnosis. Fortunately that wasn't needed.

Taylor "instant": Bought and returned within days. Painfully slow.

Polder instant: Reasonably fast, but this one was advertised as dishwasher safe - and it wasn't.

Maverick remote (wired probe): Temp readings unpredictably inconsistent, and the count-down timer is an absolute joke. "Ten minutes till ready. Fifty minutes till ready. Five minutes till ready. Thirty minutes till ready. Past done. Past done. Past done..." The last few warnings are typically the only truth this POS speaks.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 12:46AM
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marcolo - Missed your post before my latest. You should absolutely get in touch with ThermoWorks; you've obviously got a lemon and by all accounts they stand behind their products.

When you measure down to tenths of a degree there will be instantaneous fluctuation within a pot of whatever, but what you describe is far beyond that excuse.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 1:02AM
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I love my Thermapen.

Other cheaper options not as quick or accurate.

Splashproof does not mean waterproof.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 3:31AM
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Thermapen is not the right piece of gear if you want to check an oven temp. It is designed to be inserted into food. I have one, but have only had it since late last year so no comment on durability yet, though it seems well built. It is VERY accurate, 207.5F for boil, which is what it ought to be at my altitude and I get a solid reading out of it within a couple seconds. So, so far I am happy with it.

Yet I still miss my old Polder, a two piece affair with a probe designed to be left in the food while cooking and a remote display and alarm that you could set to go off when the food had reached the proper temp.

It was a degree or so off, but no big deal, and it was convenient to shove it in the bird and walk away, knowing the alarm would go off when it was time to pull dinner out of the oven.

I melted the probe lead using it in my BBQ and haven't replaced it, but I probably will. Some cooking chores are better accomplished with the Polder Alarm setup than having to use a one-shot, hand-held, device like the Thermapen.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 4:12AM
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I absolutely do not have a lemon with the Thermapen. Check around for reviews on the web. Multiple reports say it does not work for steaks, chops, burgers or anything cooked on high heat, whether on the stovetop or a grill. There's a whole site for people with those Egg grills, and while the Thermapen became a cult item there, lots of people say their steaks got much worse after buying one. The fanboys try to pin it on user error or the inherent Heideggerian uncertainty of food temperature, and suggest using the tool as a "guide." Nobody is going to pay a hundred bucks for a guide. And I did have one instant read cheap thermometer that was dead on (lost it in my move) so the problem is not some sort of philosophical issue regarding thermometers in general. The POS just doesn't work.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 8:29AM
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The steaks got worse after buying the Egg or the Themapen? Cause if their steaks got worse because of their thermometers then they have blame issues.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 11:44AM
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If your Thermapen is not consistently giving you accurate temperatures of boiling water within +/- .72 deg F as advertised, then there is something wrong with your Thermapen. Period. There's nothing subjective about it. I can assure you that for $90, mine would have been returned the day I got it if it wasn't calibrated correctly.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 3:01PM
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When we got our sous vide apparatus (that can maintain water temps within 0.5 degrees) I did (and do) a lot of double-checking with our Thermapen (mostly to confirm that the water bath has a consistent temperature in all parts, with no cold or hot spots). The digital display on the PID-controller listing the temp of the thermocouple was always within about 0.5 degrees of the temp I'd check with the Thermapen (and usually within about 0.2 degrees).

In addition to confirming for me the uniformity of the temps in the water bath, I considered this confirmation of the calibration of both the Thermapen and the thermocouple. The possibility that they could both be wrong by the same amount in the same direction across a 60F degree range (our sous vide temps range from 130 to 190) is extremely unlikely.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 4:04PM
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Okay, just got done uploading a video test of the Thermapen to Youtube. It's about two minutes long, and what I do is submerge the probe in icewater and then in boiling water. Please forgive the clumsy camera but I was holding the phone with one hand and trying to watch both the screen and see what I was doing with the probe.

According to Accutrek GPS on my iPhone the elevation of my current location is ~2622ft MSL and that puts the boiling point of water calculation at 207.3 degrees F.

The Thermapen gave me about a half to a degree variance at the cold end in successive measures and the same reading in boiling, 207.1 to 207.2 is what I saw both times. Whether that accuracy suits you or not is your call, but it seems okay to me.

If you are not seeing something very similar with your unit then I would call the company and get them to send you another one, Marcolo.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 5:37PM
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After I got done with the video I was browsing and saw this video. I was not doing the ice bath thing quite right; this might account for at least a portion of the error at the cold end.

If anyone cares I will repeat the test for the cold side.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 6:13PM
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Nice video! I was remembering HS science classes when your ice bath didn't register quite as expected. If you do decide to re-film, I'd recommend making a bigger deal about your altitude and what the charts say your boil temp should be.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 7:40PM
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That was a great video from Thermaworks. I liked his point about not calibrating when within magnitude of error. Thanks food and Mojavean for demonstrating your thermometer itself. Did ya really shell out $90 for that thing? ;) Can I use it to take my kids' temperature? ;;))

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 11:49PM
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