ThermoWorks Thermapen IR Review

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The ThermoWorks Thermapen IR has both an instant-read temperature probe and an infrared sensor in one package. It features a rotating display to enable easy reading in any orientation. 
 
The temperature probe is a fast thermocouple with a thin tip to facilitate quick readings. The probe folds in and out like a pocketknife. The unit turns on or off when the probe is extended or folded away. It will go into sleep mode if not handled for 30 seconds, and turn back on when picked up if the probe is extended. It will not turn on if the probe is closed. The probe hinge rotates 180º. Our tests showed that response times were among the best in the industry and that accuracy was exemplary.
 
The IR, or infrared, sensor, is activated by a Scan button. Aim the sensor at the surface you want to read and press Scan. It will capture min/max temperature readings, which are accessed via the adjacent Mode button. The capture ratio is 5:1, meaning that at 5" from the target, it will read an area in a 1" diameter circle. We do not have the equipment to measure the accuracy in the IR mode, but the manufacturer says that it will be accurate to within 1.8ºF (1ºC). The emissivity setting is adjustable by the user. Emissivity describes how well the surface you are reading emits infrared energy or heat. Shiny surfaces, like aluminum foil, have low emissivity while dark surfaces typically have higher emissivity. You can adjust the emissitivity setting to match the surface you are reading if you know its value. For most applications, the default setting will yield satisfactory accuracy.
 
The display will rotate in 90º increments, depending on the unit's orientation. There is no backlight on the display. The resolution, 0.1º or 1º, and the temperature scale, F or C, are both user-configurable.
 
Because the IR sensor must be open to the environment, this thermometer does not have the water resistance of other Thermapens, so care must be taken not to exceed its IP rating of 54, which translates to dust protected and immune to splashing water, but not submersible. We leave it to you to decide if the IR capability compensates for the reduced water immunity of this unit versus the standard Thermapen.
 
The unit comes with a two-year limited warranty and a calibration certificate. It is solidly built, like all ThermoWorks products. Contact information comes with the product, including e-mail address, website, telephone number and snail-mail address.
 
We give this unit a Platinum Medal for build quality, performance and utility.
Thermometer Function: 
Hand-held
Infrared Gun
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: 
$129.00
Included: 
Thermometer, instructions, calibration certificate
Probes: 
Length: 4.3" (110mm), diameter: 0.13" (3.3mm), tip: 0.06" (1.5mm)
Accessories: 
Cases, silicone boots
Battery type: 
2xCR2032 (included)
Battery life: 
1000 hours typical (mfgr.)
Min / Max: 
IR: -58.0 to 662°F (-50 to 350ºC); Probe: -50 to 572ºF (-50 to 300ºC)
Ambient operating temperatures: 
-4 to 122ºF (-20 to 50ºC)
Display precision: 
0.1º or 1º
At 32ºF it actually reads: 
32.0
At 130°F it actually reads: 
130.0
At 225°F it actually reads: 
225.0
At 325°F it actually reads: 
324.8
Speed from 32°F to 212°F: 
2
Speed from 212°F to 32°F: 
3
Size of numbers in display: 
0.5" (12.5mm) or 0.375" (9.5mm) depending on orientation
Water resistance rating: 
IP54 - dust resistant, splash resistant
Weight: 
4 oz. (120g)
C/F Switch: 
Yes
Backlight: 
No
Adjustable: 
No
Auto shutoff: 
Yes
Colors: 
White
Sensor: 
Thermocouple

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Bill McGrath

Bill McGrath is AmazingRibs.com'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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