For folks like us here at realfoodtraveler.com who are serious about cooking (and eating), an accurate food thermometer is essential. Often, however, food thermometers are anything but accurate and a even few degrees off can ruin expensive ingredients. Enter ThermoWorks’ Thermapen®, one of the fastest, most accurate and easy-to-use food thermometers around.
For years, super-fast Thermapen has been the favorite for high-speed temperature reading in professional kitchens. Now, home cooks can have the same accuracy and speed with Thermapen. It’s been rated #1 by a number of test kitchens and magazines and, after testing it ourselves, we can see why.
The Thermapen’s handle is about six inches long and fits snugly in the hand. You raise the five-inch probe, which illuminates the big digital readout and the Thermapen instantly reads the ambient temperature. It’s fast. The specs say that Thermapen reads within three seconds, but we found it is nearly instantaneous.
The Thermapen has a thermal range of -58 to 572 F. and is accurate to less than 1 degree (= or – .7 F). Now that’s accurate. It’s one of the best thermometers for the ever-fussy temperatures required for candy making. An easy-to-read manual includes instructions for performing an ice bath and boiling water test, but we found the Thermapen so accurate, these tests were unnecessary.
It even comes with a “certificate of calibration” with the instrument’s serial number and the results of its accuracy testing signed off by the vice president of ThermoWorks. I don’t know any other food thermometer companies willing to stand behind the accuracy of their product and we’re impressed.
In the many field tests we ran on the Thermapen, we used it on a large pork shoulder cooked on a rotisserie grill. My intention was to pull the roast off the grill when it reached an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. My meat thermometer kept indicating it hadn’t reached that temperature. However, when I inserted the Thermapen, I was alarmed at the 173 degree reading and immediately pulled the meat off to let it rest. Fortunately, it was a fairly fatty piece of meat, so despite being a bit overcooked, it was still juicy. If I’d used only my meat thermometer, this roast would have been ruined. (Needless to say, my standby meat thermometer has been replaced by the Thermapen.)
While the Thermapen can’t be left in an oven like some probes, it’s not necessary because the Thermapen reads instantly. It’s splash-proof and comes with two pre-installed batteries good for 1,500 hours of use. The display notifies users when the battery is getting low.
Also in the battery compartment, you can set the temperature readings between Fahrenheit and Celsius. That’s not as easy as using a little button or switch, but it works and, frankly, how often do you need to make the switch? You can also set the digital display to read tenths of a degree (the factory pre-set is whole numbers). Some models (not mine) come with a backlit function that automatically brightens as it gets darker, something that would be useful for BBQing in the evenings.
Real Bottom Line: Thermapen is the most accurate, fast and easy-to-use food thermometers we’ve ever tested. It’ll set you back about $90, but we think this will be the last food thermometer you’ll ever need. – Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor