is supported by our Pitmaster Club. Also, when you buy with links on our site we may earn a finder’s fee. Click to see how we test and review products.

LavaLock® ATC-1 Thermostatic Controller Review

Share on:
LavaLock® ATC-1 Thermostatic Controller Review
The LavaLock® ATC-1 is an easy to use thermostatic temperature controller designed for use with a wood- or charcoal-burning grill or smoker. It features a control box that accepts four included temperature probes and connects to a power supply and a fan. There is no wireless connectivity for this unit.
The control box is nicely made of anodized extruded aluminum. The large lit display shows the current temperature of each food probe as well as its individual alarm temperature. The pit temp shows the target temperature as well as the current temperature. There is a small thermometer icon next to each probe’s readout that flashes when that particular probe has reached its setting or the pit temperature is out of range. This range is plus or minus 20% of the pit target temperature. If any food temperature exceeds its target, a green light will shine and an audible alarm will sound, and the sound is mutable. The four probes, the power supply, and the fan all plug into jacks on the side of the controller.
The fan is a 34 cfm (cubic feet per minute) unit, the largest I’ve seen on controllers designed for cookers like the Big Green Egg (BGE) or the Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM). It is designed to be compatible with a number of different smokers in this size class using adapter plates that are included. The fan also has a gate valve that allows you to throttle the fan output or close it off completely at the end of the cook.
LavaLock® makes a number of products aimed at the barbecue market, including seals and heat deflectors. I installed a set of seals on the top surface of the cylindrical section of my WSM as well as on the door. I removed the water pan and inserted a FireDial heat deflector in its place. The seals worked as advertised. I had no way to make any objective evaluation of the FireDial. I did notice that the four hour test seemed to use less fuel than I would normally expect, a possible result of using these two products.
The test was conducted over a four hour period using an 18.5″ WSM fueled with Kingsford charcoal briquettes. Weather was fair with temps in the mid-70s. The target temperature was initially set at 225°F. The large fan brought the temp up to this value quickly. After one hour, I upped the setting to 250° for another hour, then dropped it back to 225°, then finally set it to 180°. Each change was made manually in order to test the transient response of the controller. What we’re looking for here are smooth transitions without temperature overshoot. The controller passed all tests. The graph below shows the temperature vs. time plot. Click on the graph to see a larger version.
Lava Lock ATC-1 Temperature vs. Time
The unit comes with four probes: one pit probe with a mounting clip and three food probes. Each has a generous 80″ (2m) cable covered with a plastic sheath rated to 356°F. This temperature rating is more than adequate for use in a smoker, but I’d be leery of using it near direct heat. Temperature accuracy was acceptable.
The feature set of this product is basic but will probably meet the needs of most cooks. It cannot be programmed to change the temperature profile automatically, nor does it have any timer functionality. It lacks the ability to be monitored and controlled remotely using a smart device app, but that won’t stand in the way of conducting a long cooking session while maintaining accurate temperature control. What it lacks in bells and whistles it makes up in simplicity of operation, and all the essential features are there.
The controller is covered by a one year limited warranty. The fan and power supply are covered for six months, and the probes for three months. There is no contact info nor an address in the user’s pamphlet, but their website is easily found via Google.
Overall, this is a nicely-made, functional temperature controller that will meet the needs of many users at a reasonable price.
  • Thermometer Function:
    Thermostats/Temperature Controllers
  • Item Price:
    $ 149.95
  • Where to buy (buying from this supplier supports this website):
  • Probe:
    Pit: length: 2" (5cm), diameter: 0.2" (5mm), cable: 80" (2m); food: length: 6" (152mm), diameter: 0.2" (5mm), cable: 80" (2m)
  • Battery Type:
    AC adapter
  • Safe Operating Range:
    Not specified
  • Min & Max Temp:
    32 to 356°F (0 to 180°C)
  • Display Precision:
  • Actual Temp at 130 Degrees:
    food:129, pit:129
  • Actual Temp at 225 Degrees:
    food:224, pit:222
  • Actual Temp at 325 Degrees:
    food: 321, pit: 321
  • Speed from 32 to 212 Degrees:
  • Numbers Display Size:
    Digits: 0.25" (6mm)
  • Water Resistance Rating:
    Water resistant but not waterproof
  • C/F Switch:
    Built in CF switch
  • Backlight:
    Built in Backlight
  • Color Options:
    Anodized aluminum
  • App:
  • Logging:
  • Included:
    Controller, 4 probes, fan and mount, power supply, mounting adapters, storage bag, instructions
  • Alarms:

Published On: 8/23/2019 Last Modified: 2/9/2022

  • Bill McGrath - Bill McGrath is's Thermometer Maven. He has sophisticated equipment, an electrical engineering degree from Cornell University, and an MBA (almost) from UC Berkeley. Despite being mostly retired, he is still the person responsible for developing and updating all of ExxonMobil's training modules.


High quality websites are expensive to run. If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and a lot of freebies!

Millions come to every month for high quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 2,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club. But please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get MANY great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial, and help keep this site alive.

Post comments and questions below


1) Please try 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 for comments...


These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

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.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys:

The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted

Napoleon’s 22″ Pro Cart Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the 22″ Pro Cart a viable alternative.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special

Groundbreaking Hybrid Thermometer!

Thermapen One Instant Read Thermometer

The FireBoard Spark is a hybrid combining instant-read capability, a cabled temperature probe, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. We gave Spark a Platinum Medal for pushing the envelope of product capability while maintaining high standards of design and workmanship.

Click here to read our comprehensive Platinum Medal review

Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker

Green Mountain Grills Trek smoker

Green Mountain Grills Trek smoker

Green Mountain’s portable Trek Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it’s also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Trek from your smart phone or laptop.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order

Surely you know somebody who loves outdoor cooking who deserves a gift for the holidays, birthday, anniversary, or just for being wonderful. There he is, right in the mirror! Here are our selections of best ideas, all Platinum or Gold Medalists, listed by price.

Click here to see our list of Gold Medal Gifts

The Efficiency Of A Kamado Plus The Flexibility Of The Slow ‘N Sear Insert

kamado grill
Built around SnS Grill’s patented Slow ‘N Sear charcoal kettle accessory, this 22-inch kamado is a premium ceramic grill that brings true 2-zone cooking to a kamado.

Click here for our article on this exciting cooker

The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy

The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers because temperature control is so much easier.

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them

Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners

3 burner gas grill

The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King’s proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Click here to read our complete review