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REVIEW: ThermoWorks Thermapen Super-fast Thermometer @ GFC

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Monday, June 02, 2008

REVIEW: ThermoWorks Thermapen Super-fast Thermometer

posted by snekse
My fingers just aren't sensitive enough. And timing only works when all the variables are the same. So what's a dad to do when he's tired of the Thanksgiving turkey or the 4th of July steaks come out raw or over-cooked. Sure you can buy one of those Polder kitchen thermometers, but come on - this is your dad. Show him you love him and get him something he'll be proud to show the neighbors. Get him the Super-Fast Thermapen by ThermoWorks!

So I first heard about this device on CookingForEngineers.com. But after I saw the Cook's Illustrated review, I decided it needed to go on my wish list. How's this for a glowing review from the folks at Cook's Illustrated:
Highly Recommended
Simply the best: fast, accurate, and easy to use. The Thermapen also has the widest temperature range (-58 to 572 degrees).
Luckily for me, someone loves me and shelled out the $80+ for what has become one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.

So what makes the Super-fast Thermapen so special? It's fast. Really fast. It can be in the ballpark in about a second and be accurate to within 1° in under 4 seconds. Most thermometers aren't even in the ballpark in under 4 seconds. This can be very useful when you want to take the temp of something without pulling it out of the oven or items that change temperature quickly. Also handy when you need to take the temperature in several spots on something like a chicken. The small probe helps keep fluid loss to a minimum when you're doing those things. The large digital read out is a nice feature. And the whole thing just looks pretty cool.

It's not perfect, however. First and foremost, it's expensive when compared to the basic kitchen thermometers. But the technology is far different, thus the disparity in cost. The other annoyance is a bit of a design flaw or feature, depending on your point of view. When vertical, the housing lacks a flat bottom that would allow you to stand the thermometer upright in a stable manner. I think it was designed this way to discourage that practice. You'd be pretty upset if Johnny bumped your grill and your Thermapen fell to the ground and shattered. Not that I think that would happen. The casing is pretty durable, but I guess if you left the pen extended, the probe might snap off. Which leaves me to my next gripe.

This is a pen, not a corded probe or one of those newfangled wireless devices. There is no "stab it and leave it, we'll alert you when it's ready" feature on this. So if you want to know when that turkey is done, you have to check it yourself. ThermoWorks does sell a model with interchangeable plugs which includes a corded version, but even that one still lacks an alarm. Not to mention it's the same price as the Super-fast pen, and comes with zero probes in the box.

So if you want to treat your dad this year, consider the Super-fast Thermapen or the grand-daddy of them all plug-mount pen. If you are on a budget, or you just don't like your dad that much, consider getting the CDN ProAccurate Quick Tip Digital Cooking Thermometer DTQ450 which was also Highly Recommended by Cook's Illustrated, but is less than $20. Either way, you should be eating better food in no time.

ThermoWorks has replaced this model with a new, faster, more accurate splash proof Thermapen. Check out our review of the ThermoWorks Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen.

Original ThermoWorks Super-Fast Thermapen

  • Very fast read times
  • Very accurate
  • Thin probe
  • Very cool
  • Expensive
  • Beveled bottom
  • Fixed probe
  • It's not the über-cool plug-mount model
Rating: 90 RELATED LINKS: ThermoWorks Pictures of the super-fast ThermaPen Foodies Guide to Father's Day Gifts The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2009: The Year's Best Recipes, Equipment Reviews, and Tastings Tags || | | | | | | more... |

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