ThermoWorks ThermaPen Classic Review

The Thermapen is a rapid-reading handheld digital thermometer designed for testing food temperatures. Its sharp point and quick response make it a good choice for testing doneness. It cannot be left in the oven or grill while cooking. The probe opens like a folding knife, and the unit turns on and off as the probe is extended or closed. The unit will shut itself off automatically after 10 minutes to conserve the battery, but this feature can be disabled via a switch in the battery compartment. Temperature can be expressed in either Fahrenheit or Celsius, selected by a switch located in the battery compartment. The temperature can be read to either a whole degree or to 0.1 degree, again selectable via a switch in the battery compartment. The user's manual is logically arranged, easy to read, and thorough. Small changes to the calibration can be made if needed. The unit comes in two models, one with a backlight, one without. Battery life is significantly shorter on the backlit model. Accessories available at extra cost include a zipper wallet, a wall bracket, a leather wallet and a protective silicone boot. A one-year warranty covers the product, although personal experience with the company suggests that they are quite liberal about covering problems even after the warranty has expired. The manual includes an address and telephone number for the manufacturer, as well as website links. A certificate of calibration is included. This thermometer is one of our favorites. Its quick response time, accuracy, long battery life, good customer support and quality of manufacture win a Gold recommendation. Meathead's Notes from the Field: "The "Lamborghini of instant read thermometers" is what Harry Soo of SlapYoDaddyBBQ calls the Thermapen, and he should know because he is one of the winningest competitors on the BBQ circuit. Another nice thing about the Thermapen is that the company stands behind it. My first (an older model) began to malfunction after eight years. Probably had nothing to do with the fact that I had dropped it half a dozen times. I called them, gave no indication that I was a writer, described my problem, and rather than hit me up for a repair bill, they told me how to fix it."
Thermometer Function: 
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: 
Thermometer, Manual, Quick-start guide, certificate of calibration
Length: 4.5" (114mm), diameter: 0.130" (3.3mm), tip: 0.068" (1.7mm)
Battery type: 
CR2032x2 (included)
Battery life: 
1500 hours (mfgr claim)
Min / Max: 
-58 to 572ºF (-50 to 300ºC)
Ambient operating temperatures: 
-4 to 122ºF (-20 to 50ºC)
Display precision: 
At 32ºF it actually reads: 
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: 
Speed from 212°F to 32°F: 
Size of numbers in display: 
0.55" (14mm)
Water resistance rating: 
Yes, but not submersible
3.4 oz (135g)
C/F Switch: 
Auto shutoff: 
14 colors are available.

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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 electricians' training modules.

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