By: Bill McGrath
The FireBoard Spark is a groundbreaking hybrid of instant-read capability and a cabled temperature probe, coupled with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity that allows it to remotely monitor another FireBoard product as well. The temperatures can be displayed on the rotatable display, and controlled via a web interface or smartphone app.
The Spark has a foldable probe that acts as the instant-read instrument. Response times are quick, but not the fastest observed. The temperature display is seen in the image above. While taking a reading, it will capture and display stabilized temperatures and give haptic feedback to the user in the form of a quick buzz, letting her/him know that a final temperature has been obtained. You can plug in a cabled probe and get the same display, allowing you to monitor a food’s internal temperature. With the instant-read probe opened and a cabled probe inserted, you will see both temperatures displayed and labeled. Having both an instant-read and a leave-in probe built into one thermometer is a new feature that this reviewer hasn’t seen in other products. The usual features like Fahrenheit/Celsius switches and backlighting are also found in this unit.
Using the same phone app – Android or iOS – that operates the original FireBoard or the FireBoard 2, you can configure the Spark to talk to your home router. Using this capability allows you to set temperature alarms and display temperature vs. time plots of the cabled probe. You cannot monitor the instant-read probe using the app. If you have one of the original FireBoards, you can read the temperature of each channel of that unit directly on the Spark’s display, instead of tying up your phone, by selecting “sync mode” from the setting menu. You can also monitor and control the Spark via the FireBoard.io dashboard on the company’s website.
The shape of the Spark allows it to rest at a 45° angle, making it easy to read. The orientation of the display depends on the temperatures displayed: for the instant-read alone, it has four positions; for other modes, it has two. You can select how the display illuminates: bright numbers on a dark background, or vice-versa. You can also choose whether to see temperatures in whole numbers or tenths of a degree. The temperature scale is determined by the source: you can display the local probes in either Fahrenheit or Celcius, but if you’re monitoring a remote FireBoard, the scale displayed on the Spark is the one that has been set on the remote.
The thermometer contains a 2600 mAh Li-ion battery that is rechargeable via a supplied USB C cable. FireBoard claims 12 hours of operation on a full charge. There are magnets in the housing that allow attachment to a cool ferromagnetic surface.
The Spark is capable of scanning NFC tags. At the time of this review, this feature hasn’t been fully documented, so I will only mention that it has this feature. More to come later.
The Spark is attractively finished in a red face with hard rubberized back surroundings. A rubber flap covers the charging and probe ports, giving the unit an IP66 environmental rating, meaning it will withstand light spray, but not submersion or placement in dishwashers. It meets NSF “easily cleanable” standards for food safety.
Tech support can be obtained from the company’s website, via e-mail, or by telephone. Warranty is one year on the Spark. Cabled probes, which are NOT included with the Spark, carry a six-month warranty. See the FireBoard website for probe options.
We have been consistently impressed with FireBoard’s products. They not only meet high-quality standards, but their performance has been excellent as well. You will pay a price for high standards, but you’ll only pay it once. We give Spark a Platinum Medal for pushing the envelope of product capability while maintaining high standards of design and workmanship.
Published On: 1/6/2022
These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.
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