Maverick ET-733 Redi-Check Review

Maverick ET-733 Redi-Check
This dual-probe transmitter/receiver is designed for simultaneous food and oven monitoring from a remote location. The two probes are identical and either can be used for measuring food or oven/smoker temperatures.
 
The rain-proof transmitter attaches to the two probes which would then be routed into the cooking unit - one placed into the food being cooked, and the other clipped to a grill to monitor ambient temperature. The receiver simultaneously displays both probe temperatures along with upper and lower alarm limits. An audible alarm sounds when either a lower or upper limit is exceeded, and it can be switched on or off. The receiver has a backlight that automatically extinguishes after five seconds.
 
You can set both upper and lower alarms, or you can use the food mode and select from 15 different meats and several degrees of doneness. (The ability to select a meat and doneness level is the main difference between this unit and its brother, the ET-732. Otherwise they are nearly identical.) The doneness is overrideable to your preferences. You can work in °F or °C.
 
The accuracy of the unit is good. The response times are slow, but that is not a problem for a leave-in probe as temperatures change slowly anyway. Learning the setup is simple enough, and the unit remembers your settings when powered off. 
 
The manufacturer's contact information, including address, telephone number and website, is found in the instruction booklet. The limited warranty is for 90 days.
 
We highly recommend this unit for its reasonable price, operational thoroughness and ease of use. All the important bases are covered by the reputable manufacturer.
 
Meathead's Notes from the Field:
 
"One nice feature if you have a large pit or cook a lot of meat, you can run two or more 733s (and 732s) as long as they are synchronized away from each other. They can then be brought together without mixing up the signals.
 
Complaints are few. As wit so many other electronic gizmos, there are more features built into this one than I need, and that only makes it complicated to learn. But if you sit down with the manual you can figure it out. I've also got to complain that the battery compartment of the sender requires a phillips head jewler's screwdriver to open while the receiver pops open with a finger. If you depend on one of these while you are at a BBQ competition, you'd better remember spare batteries and the tiny screwdriver. Finally, I am baffled that they have been unable to cure the problem of probes failing when they are submerged for washing. You must wash them with a soapy sponge and be careful water doesn't get into the junction between the cable and the probe. The new probes are better than every before, but they are still not bullet proof.
 
Note. Like its predecessor, this device is a thermistor and it has a plus or minus error tolerance of 3°F. It is also slow to read and it is not good at reading thin pieces of meat like chicken legs, pork ribs, or steaks and chops. It is best for big thick cuts such as pork butt, beef brisket, turkey breasts, and roasts. For thinner cuts you should get an instant read thermometer like the Thermapen.
 
IMPORTANT! This thermometer is bundled with the Award Winning AmazingRibs.com All-Weather Meat Temperature Magnet that I wrote. There are other companies selling this thermometer on Amazon, and some are falsely promising the magnet. You can ONLY get the Meathead designed temp guide with this thermometer by clicking the link below."
Thermometer Function: 
Leave in Food
Leave in Cooker
Wireless Remote
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: 
$69.99
Included: 
Transmitter, receiver, 2 probes, clips, manual, AmazingRibs.com Compact Meat Temperature Guide
Probes: 
2 meat/oven probes: length: 6" (152mm), shaft: 0.185" (4.7mm), cable 6' (1.8m)
Accessories: 
Longer cable lengths are available at extra cost.
Battery type: 
4xAAA - included
Battery life: 
not specified
Min / Max: 
32 to 572°F (0 to 300°C)
Ambient operating temperatures: 
not specified
Display precision: 
At 32ºF it actually reads: 
Probe 1: 34, probe 2: 34
At 130°F it actually reads: 
Probe 1: 131, probe 2: 131
At 225°F it actually reads: 
Probe 1: 228, probe 2: 226
At 325°F it actually reads: 
Probe 1: 327, probe 2: 325
Speed from 32°F to 212°F: 
27
Speed from 212°F to 32°F: 
30
Size of numbers in display: 
Temperature: 0.44" (11mm)
Water resistance rating: 
Transmitter: yes, Receiver: no
Alarms: 
Visible, audible
Weight: 
Transmitter & probes: 4.7oz (134g), Receiver: 3.4oz (96g)
Logging: 
No
C/F Switch: 
Yes
Backlight: 
Yes
Adjustable: 
No
Auto shutoff: 
No
App: 
No
Colors: 
White, red, burgundy, silver, grey, black, copper (shown)

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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 AmazingRibs.com 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

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