Auber SYL-2615 Thermostatic Controller Review

Auber SYL-2615 Thermostatic Controller Review
Auber Instrument's latest entry into the charcoal barbecue temperature controller market is the SYL-2615. It adds to the features of its earlier entry, the SYL-1615, with a food probe and programmable steps to allow autonomous cooking cycles. It communicates with the user either via its panel display and buttons or an app that runs on either Android or Apple phones. The remote operation requires an Internet-connected Wi-Fi router, something most of us have. When set up for the Internet, the status of the controller can be viewed and controlled from the phone app anywhere that has Internet service. Cooking parameters can be remotely set as well. 
Connecting the controller with the router is very simple: connect to your router with your phone via Wi-Fi. Using the app, enter your router's SSID and password and everything happens automatically, taking about 30-60 seconds. After that, just power up the controller and it connects to the router without further prompting. You can communicate with the unit anywhere an Internet connection is available. No complicated IP address entry required. I think it's magic, and it works.
Once connected, any setting can be made using the phone and the app: temperature targets for the cooker or the food, cooking times, operating parameters, you name it. You can also make these inputs via the front panel display and the push buttons, but it's a little clunkier. The unit displays both the cooker and the food temperature, along with the fan output and the programmed step parameters. The latter refers to the ability to set up three stages of cooking. Each stage is completed when either a time period elapses or a food temperature is reached - your choice. At the end of each stage, the next stage begins. So, you could set the controller up to maintain 275º for two hours, then reduce the temp to 225º and continue until the food temp reaches 203º, then reduce the cooker temp to 160º for three hours, then shut down. You can also use the controller to just hold a desired temperature indefinitely and manage times yourself. You can also set audible alarms for high and low cooker temperatures and a target food temperature. (Currently, the audible part is only available on the controller, not the app, but the manufacturer says that feature is coming.) The controller senses when you open the lid, and it delays the onset of fan output that would otherwise result in temperature overshoot. This feature can be defeated in the configuration menu.
The control unit measures 4.4x3.3x1.3" (113x83x33 mm). An AC-to-DC power supply is included. I used an optional battery pack from Auber to avoid running an extension cord. I recommend the battery pack - it will run the unit for more than two days at full fan output, or longer in real-life applications.
The fan mounts to one of the lower vents in the Weber and plugs into the controller. The controller allows you to set the fan operation to one of three modes: pulse width modulation (percentage of time fully on and percentage of time fully off), proportional fan speed, or a manual mode where you set the fan speed yourself. The standard unit comes with a 6.5 cfm fan, although my tests were conducted with a larger 10 cfm fan. I requested the larger fan because I had had trouble getting my WSM up to 325º (163ºC) last Thanksgiving (using an Auber SYL-1615) and I wanted to try the larger fan. (The manufacturer says the smaller fan will do the job.)
The temperature probes use PT1000 RTD sensor technology. The probe cables are 6' (1.8m) long, making them easy to use outdoors. They are sheathed with a white material instead of the usual wire braid. The cooker probe has a clip to attach it to the grill grate. The food probe is an L-shaped unit with nearly 6" (14.5cm) penetration, and the tip is smaller in diameter than the shaft. The accuracy of the probes was within one degree Fahrenheit over the range tested: 130 to 325ºF (54 to 163ºC).
Unlike most consumer controllers, Auber's has a detailed set of instructions that allow you to get the most out of your unit. You can select from pre-programmed controller parameters, known as PID (proportional, integral and derivative) coefficients, for various cookers, or you can input your own parameters and save several sets of them. The instruction manual gives a detailed description of the function of each parameter to help you manage the settings. However, I found the pre-programmed values gave excellent performance, so few users will want to fiddle with this level of control. The SYL-2615 does not have the self-calibration feature of the SYL-1615, but I doubt that it will be missed by many users.
To test the functionality of the SYL-2615, I put three pounds of unlit Kingsford Competition charcoal briquettes into the fire ring of an 18" Weber Smokey Mountain, and lit an additional two pounds of the same charcoal in a chimney. I poured the lit charcoal on top of the unlit fuel. There was no water in the pan, and no food either. I clipped the temperature sensor to the center of the top grate alongside another sensor used to draw the graph below. The top vent was fully open and the bottom vents, except where the fan was mounted, were closed fully. Ambient temperature was in the mid-60s Fahrenheit (18ºC), winds were light and variable. I programmed the controller to run for 90 minutes at 225ºF (107ºC), then go up to 325ºF (163ºC) for another 90 minutes, then drop back to 225ºF (107ºC) for another 90 minutes, then shut off. I wanted to see how well the controller would handle these transitions. (Click on the graph below to see a larger version.)
Graph of Temperature vs. Time for the Auber SYL-2615
As you can see, the controller brought the temp up quickly to 225ºF (107ºC), and maintained it closely. When the controller commanded 325º (163ºC), the temp rose fairly quickly. (A couple of the kinks in the curve while the temperature was rising were due to my removing the mid section of the cooker to redistribute the fuel closer to the fan input.) After 90 minutes elapsed, the controller reduced the fan output to zero and the temperature dropped back to 225ºF (107ºC). At this point, the controller powered up the fan again to maintain the temperature. Both transistions were smooth, with little overshoot or sag. Overall, excellent performance.
As I mentioned earlier, the accompanying documentation is excellent. I was working with a preliminary draft of the instructions and an early version of the app. By the time you read this, final versions should be available to fill in a few gaps that were present in the draft/early versions. Even they exceed what most manufacturers provide - something near and dear to my electrical engineering heart.
Accessibility of the manufacturer is important to me. Contact information, including company name, address, telephone number, e-mail address and website are included in the documentation. The controller and blower fan come with a one-year limited warranty. The probes are warranteed for 90 days.
At $275, the Auber SYL-2615 is priced competitively, perhaps at the lower end of the scale for Wi-Fi-enabled devices. Performance is excellent. Build is very good. This is my new favorite thermostatic controller for charcoal-fueled cookers. A solid Gold Medal!
Thermometer Function: 
Leave in Food
Leave in Cooker
Wireless Remote
Thermostats/Temperature Controllers
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: 
Controller, fan, pit and food probes, power supply
Pit probe: 3.5" (9cm) long, 0.156" (4mm) diameter, 72" (1.8m) cable; food probe: 5.75" (14.5cm) long, 0.156" (4mm) diameter, 0.12" (3mm) tip, 72" (1.8m) cable
Battery type: 
Optional Li-Ion battery, otherwise AC
Min / Max: 
-99 to 660ºF (-72 to 350ºC)
Ambient operating temperatures: 
0 to 100ºF (-18 to 38ºC)
Display precision: 
At 130°F it actually reads: 
At 225°F it actually reads: 
At 325°F it actually reads: 
Speed from 32°F to 212°F: 
Size of numbers in display: 
0.25" (7mm)
Water resistance rating: 
Light rain only
Controller: 5.3 oz (150g)
Yes, in app and device
C/F Switch: 
Auto shutoff: 
Smartphone, tablet
Other features: 
Multi-step programming

Search Our Ratings and Reviews

Click Search to see all our Reviews and Ratings. Use the filters below to refine your search.

About the features, specs, and technical terms

Adjustable. The accuracy of some thermometers can drift, and these thermometers can be adjusted to bring them back to the correct reading.

Alarms. Some devices can be set to alert the cook when a high or low temp is reached either with an audible alarm such as a beep or a visible alarm such as a flashing display.

App. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled devices have a smartphone or tablet app that talk to the device.

Auto shutoff. If you don't use the device for a set period of time, it will shut itself off to save batteries.

Backlight. Digital thermometers are hard to read at night unless they have a backlight.

Bi-metal dial thermometers. Most bi-metal coil dial thermometers mounted in grill hoods should be called heat indicators, not thermometers. We do not recommend them. They have round clock-like readouts and the sensor uses two strips of metal bonded together and rolled into a coil. Each metal expands at a different rate, turns a shaft, and this provides the reading on a dial. Bi-metal meat thermometers can take up to 30 seconds to give a final reading and because the sensor can be 1/2" long or more they cannot read a specific location in meat. Most thermometers built into grills and smokers are bi-metal, but they are often low quality in order to keep the grill price down. They can easily become unreadable if they fill with smoke and or water. Also, these grill thermometers are mounted in the dome, where the temp can be very different from the temp at the cooking surface, which generally makes these bi-metal dial thermometers both unreliable and misleading.

C/F Switch. Most thermometers have a switch to change the display from Celsius to Fahrenheit.

K-Probes. Some thermocouple thermometers have a standardized spade-like connector for scores of interchangeable probes.

IR (infrared) sensors. Infrared-sensing thermometers measure the energy radiated from a warm surface and convert it to a temperature reading. Some surfaces emit more infrared at a given temperature than others, so some units allow the user to adjust the emissivity setting to fine-tune the accuracy of the thermometer. This should rarely be necessary unless very high accuracy is needed. These units are useful for determining the temperature of a cooking surface like a skillet or griddle.

Liquid filled thermometers. Old-fashioned liquid filled thermometers are very small glass tubes filled with a liquid that sits in a bulb at the bottom. As it warms, the liquid expands. These thermometers are slow but they can be very accurate. Because they do not need batteries, they make good refrigerator and freezer thermometers, but they cannot read a small area such as the center of a hunk of meat well.

Logging. Some thermometers can remember the readings taken over time and create a log that can either be printed or exported to a spreadsheet.

Margin of Error. Most thermometers are considered to be accurate if they are within plus or minus 3°F of the target temperature. High end thermometers are more precise than this.

Min/Max. The minimum and maximum temperatures it is capable of reading. On some devices, especially those which use different probes, the Min/Max can vary with the probe.

Oven. We often use the term "oven" to cover a range of cooking devices, including grills and smokers, which are essentially outdoor ovens.

Popup thermometers. Popups have a compound in the tip that melts at a determined temp and releases a spring that pops the stem up. This type of thermometer often comes pre-inserted in your Thanksgiving turkey. Although there is a chance that it will be accurate, the thermometer will read only one small part of the turkey, may stick, and will likely be set to a high temperature that is meant to prevent litigation rather than produce a juicy bird. The popup thermometer is often to blame when your turkey tastes like cardboard. Throw it out.

Price. Usually the manufacturer's suggested retail price. When that is not available, we use the approximate street price.

Sensor. Thermocouple, thermistor, liquid, and bi-metal. They are each described in detail above and below.

Speed. We measure how long it takes the thermometer to go from 32°F to 211°F and from 212°F to 33°F. But you have to be careful about the time manufacturers quote. Often they use an industry standard called "time constant." That is the time it takes to get to 63% of a full reading, and a full reading takes five times that. So if they say the time constant is 0.6 seconds, as does the manufacturer of the Thermapen, the unit will be precise with a full reading in about 3 seconds. Another factor to consider is how fast the display refreshes itself. The Thermapen refreshes every 0.5 seconds. This means you can slowly insert it and remove it and it will give you a new reading every 0.5 seconds. The Thermoworks K-type Fast Response Meat Probe #113-151, which can be plugged into different meters, is slightly faster with a time constant of 0.5 seconds and precise read in 2.5 seconds. But if you plug it into the MTC meter, which refreshes every 1 second, the probe is actually faster than the meter, and combined they are slower than the Thermapen. Another factor is the conductivity of the medium you are measuring. Food, which consists mostly of water, reads faster than bread, which consists mostly of air. That is because water is a better conductor than air.

Thermistors. Thermistors are usually not as quick as thermocouples. They tend to be thicker, and they can be slightly less accurate, usually with a margin of error of 5°F. These sensors are best for leaving in large roasts and ovens for continuous readings. Thermistor units send a current through a wire in the probe with a resistor in the tip. Its resistance to the electrical flow changes with temperature and the meter measures the voltage across the resistor.

Thermocouples. Thermocouples are the best food thermometers because they're fast and precise with a small sensor, making them ideal for rapid read thermometers. Their margin of error can be less than 1°F. Thermocouple probes have two tiny wires of different metals welded at the tip, most often nickel and chromium (called Type K). The heat causes a tiny voltage to appear across the dissimilar metals, which are connected to a meter that measures the voltage and calculates the temperature.

Water resistance rating. Some manufacturers simply specify that a thermometer is "water resistant," but this is not a regulated description and should be taken with a grain of salt. Some manufacturers use a third party service, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). It rates devices using an International Protection rating code (an IP code). An IP code might look like this: IP65. The first digit quantifies protection against solids like dust, and the second digit quantifies protection against liquids. The digits range from IP00 to IP68. If a thermometer is rated IP65, it was tested and found to be completely protected against dust as well as protected against low pressure jets of liquid from all sides. So it is OK in the rain, but NOT protected against a swim in the BBQ sauce.

Where to buy. We provide links to some suppliers, especially to those who pay us a finder's fee if you buy from them. In some cases, our links provide a Compact Meat Temperature Guide along with the product. You will only get the guide by following the link provided.

Best Value Awards

Gold Medal. Among the best of its type in its price category. A strong buy recommendation if this is your budget.

Silver Medal. A fine product among the best in its price category with only minor shortcomings. Recommended for purchase if a Gold Medal is not available.

Bronze Medal. A good product, better than average, but may be lacking in features or quality compared to higher rated products. Worth considering for purchase if you cannot find or afford a Gold or Silver Medal.

Not Recommended. These are products that we think are poor choices compared to competitors based on price, features, and construction quality.

Not Judged Yet. These are products that may be award caliber, perhaps even Gold Medal caliber, but we do not know enough about them yet to give them an award.

How We Test, Review, and Rate Thermometers

We purchase almost all of the thermometers we review. These are truly unbiased reviews. We do not make or sell anything, and our advertising is sold by third party ad networks. We are not involved in the process. Rest assured that when we recommend a product, it is really because we like it, not because someone has paid us to say so or because the company is an advertiser or sponsor. Manufacturers are never charged to have products reviewed or be included in the listings.

Bill McGrath, an electrical engineer, does all our thermometer testing, ratings, and reviews. He uses special equipment calibrated and rated by the National Institute of Standards & Technology to check the accuracy and speed of thermometers. He uses an ice water bath and a boiling water bath to measure the time it takes each thermometer to go from 32° to 211°F and to go from 212° to 33°F. After taking objective measurements, he evaluates based on subjective criteria such as ergonomics, ease of use, flexibility, warranty, access to support, and build quality. Finally, we consider value when giving our awards.

nist calibration machine

"The instant-read thermometer, used frequently, solves most issues." --Mark Bittman, New York Times food columnist and cookbook author

bbq support

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love. If you like, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazon

...some HTML for the first variant...

our bbq logo

Get Smoke Signals, our free e-letter. No spam. Guaranteed

Enter your email:

If you love barbecue and grilling you do our FREE 30-day membership in our Pitmaster Club. We can up your game.

  • FREE 30 day trial membership.
  • Sneak previews of Meathead’s new book.
  • We block ads from members.
  • Real community. No politics. No flame wars.
  • Monthly newsletter.
  • Video seminars with famous pitmasters.
  • Weekly podcasts with Greg Rempe.
  • Weekly BBQ cartoons by Jerry King.
  • Comprehensive Temperature Guide Magnet ($10 retail).
  • Monthly giveaways of Gold Medal grills and smokers worth up to $2000.
  • Discounts on products we love.
  • Support for!

Post comments and questions below


1) Please try the table of contents or the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can't help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.


Click to ask questions and make comments