If you are in the market for a meat thermometer, you won’t go far wrong in choosing the Thermapen Mk4. It is accurate, works very quickly, is easy to use, and is durable. A meat thermometer is essential in every kitchen as serving underdone meat could lead to illness and overcooked meat simply isn’t tasty. In this article, we will be taking a detailed look at the Thermoworks Thermapen Mk4 instant-read thermometer. It is one of the more expensive thermometers in the market, but it does have a lot going for it as we will show you.
The Thermapen Mk4 is used by professional chefs because it is extremely accurate. It can read temperatures to +/- 7 degrees of accuracy for most temperatures. This is impressive, isn’t it? To make things even better, the thermometer only takes 2 – 3 seconds to read the temperature. This means that you only have to open the lid of your grill for a few moments and you, therefore, won’t let out too much precious heat. The Thermapen Mk4 uses technology recommended by the USDA for meat products so you can be assured that it is safe to use.
It is quite big, but it fits easily and comfortably into your hand. The display rotates so you can read it at whatever angle you are holding it. You can set the screen rotation to either 360 degrees, four-way rotation, or to 180 degrees, two-way rotation. In addition, you can switch off the rotation mode completely.
The Thermapen Mk4 has a backlight, so you can read it even if it’s dark. When you pick it up, the light switches on and when you put it down, it shuts down, so saving on battery power.
Other settings include a choice of reading the thermometer in either Fahrenheit or in Centigrade. There is also a setting that turns off the decimal reading on the display. You don’t really need to distinguish between say 220,1F and 220,6F. There is also a setting where you can customize the time the thermometer takes to switch off.
The Thermapen Mk4 comes in a choice of 10 different colors so you are bound to find one to suit your style. Having different colors of thermometers is useful in professional catering as you can use different colors for different types of meat. This helps to stop cross-contamination. It is useful if you are busy in the kitchen and don’t have time to wash the probe each time you test the temperature of your food.
The Thermapens are all tested before they are shipped and as a result, have a NIST calibration certificate. This means that they should all give accurate readings. There is an option to calibrate the thermometer yourself, but this can often lead to inaccurate readings. Professional chefs may be more inclined and trained to do this as their livelihood depends on serving perfectly cooked meat. Of course, you don’t want to poison anybody, but as the thermometers are tested before they leave the factory, this should be sufficient for most cases.
Each thermometer is hand-assembled with great care and it is traceable by its serial number.
The Therapen Mk4 is expensive, but Thermoworks say that this is because it uses a thermocouple sensor instead of a thermistor sensor. Thermocouple sensors give a more accurate reading. However, this may have been an advantage some years ago, but now most thermometers, even less expensive ones, use the thermocouple sensor.
Another advantage of the Thermapen is the way in which you can store it. It is important that you put it away carefully so as not to break the probe. The probe on the Thermapen folds in so is extremely easy to store. This is even more important than your temperature being out by half a degree or so.
ThermoPro TP18 Ultra Fast Thermocouple Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer for Grilling BBQ Smoker...
- Ultra-fast and accurate: Digital meat thermometer for grilling features advanced thermocouple technology that provides 2-3 seconds response time; 4.0 inches food grade probe thermometer guarantees an accurate temp reading to ±0.9 degree Fahrenheit (±0.5 degree Celsius) with a wide temp range of 14 degree Fahrenheit - 572 degree Fahrenheit (-10 degree Celsius - 300 degree Celsius)
- Lock Function: Kitchen thermometer can lock the current temp when the probe is removed from food and keep the temp displayed, no more dangerously peering into the oven or grill
- Large backlit display: Cooking thermometer features backlight LED display with large luminous digits to let you see clearly while cooking in the evening indoors or outdoors; 90 seconds auto-off to save battery life; batteries included
- Convenient storage: Digital food thermometer with foldaway probe, features a magnetic back to allow you to easily attach to refrigerator or any metal surface; a hanging hole for your kitchen hooks or a lanyard
- Calibration: Calibration function adjusts your instant read thermometer probe sensor back to the correct accuracy, making this kitchen thermometer which lasts a lifetime
Last update on 2020-12-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- It is easy to use. It has sleep and awake modes, it instantly rotates so you can read the display, and it has a back light so that you can read it in low light. The LCD display is large and clear.
- It reads the temperature in 2 – 3 seconds. This is particularly important as you don’t want to keep the lid of your grill up for too long as heat will escape. If you are grilling something which has to be precisely cooked, like a steak, for example, instantly being able to read the temperature is important. It can make all the difference to the doneness of the steak. Of course, you don’t just have to use the thermometer when grilling outdoors. It works equally well on your stovetop and in your fryer.
- The sensor is close to the end of the sensor which is important if you are measuring the temperature of thin meats like ribs.
- It is durable and strong. It comes with a thick protective casing and an IP67 waterproof standard. It won’t be easily broken and nor will it be affected by drops of rain.
- It comes with a 2-year warranty on the body of the thermometer and a 6-month warranty on the probe. Thermoworks has an excellent service department and will mend your thermometer for a price when it is out of warranty. This is useful to know because you are spending a bit more on a meat thermometer and you will want to know that somebody will be able to mend it quickly and easily if needed.
- It is more expensive than other instant-read thermometers but is well worth it if you have the budget.
- Many thermometers have magnets on the back of them so you can attach them to your fridge or above the stove on the vent hood. The Thermoworks Thermapen Mk4 doesn’t have a magnet, but the company does sell a silicone protective boot for their thermometers which has a magnet on the back of it. You can put your thermometer inside the boot and stick it on the fridge. However, it would be good if they incorporated the magnet to the thermometer as it is so much simpler to use.
Thermoworks Thermapen Mk4 Instant Read Thermometer Review – Buyers Guide
How to Use the Thermoworks Thermapen Mk4 Thermometer
Unlike some meat thermometers, the Thermapen Mk4 is simple to use. When you get it, you first have to insert the battery which is a 1.5-volt AAA battery. It will give you up to 3,000 hours of use without the backlight on which is good going especially as the battery is cheap. In addition, this type of battery is easier to source than the coin-type batteries which are often found in thermometers.
When you pick up the Thermapen Mk4, it will switch on and a large LCD display will come on. Immediately, it will start to measure the air temperature. If you are outdoors and want to measure the air temperature inside your grill to check that it’s correct for what you’re cooking, now is the time to do it. The thermometer works equally in the air and inside a piece of meat.
Once you have put your meat on the grill and have decided how long to cook it for, insert the probe into the meat at regular intervals, and you will get a reading in no time at all. You can measure different parts of the meat which is particularly important if you are cooking a large piece of meat. You will want all areas of the meat to be at the correct temperature. The center of the meat is going to take the longest to heat up, so you need to make sure that it is perfectly cooked. The probe is 4.3 inches long.
The temperature range of the Thermapen is -58F – 572F which means that it can measure the temperature of most foods. It will even be able to measure the temperature of a steak which has to be high in the middle. The thermometer is accurate within +/- 7F from -58F – 392F. With higher temperatures, it is accurate to 1.8F. It can read lower temperatures better than most other thermometers out there. Test it out on very cold water which is about to freeze.
It is easy to clean the probe when you have finished using it. All you have to do is wipe it down with a paper towel. It is waterproof to IP67 standards, but there’s no need to immerse it in water as only the probe needs to be washed. Remember that it isn’t dishwasher proof. However, it’s reassuring to know that if you forget and leave the thermometer outside and it rains, it won’t be ruined.
Alternative Instant-Read Thermometers
So, is there much competition when it comes to instant-read thermometers? Well, there are certainly a lot of others out there and we’ll take a look at a few of them here. Thermoworks sells another instant-read thermometer called the Thermopop, which is nearly as good as the Thermapen Mk4, but not quite. For a start, the Thermapen reads temperatures quicker than the Thermopop. While the Thermapen can read temperatures within 2 – 3 seconds, the Thermopop reads temperatures in around 4 seconds. In addition, the Thermapen is more durable than the Thermopop. The casing on the Thermapen is thicker than that on the Thermopop and is more waterproof. The Thermapen is often used in professional kitchens because of its speed and accuracy, while the Thermopop is used more at home. However, the Thermopop is a good deal cheaper than the Thermapen. It is around 1/3rd cheaper which is a big saving if you are on a budget. However, if you do have the money to spend on a thermometer, the Thermapen is a better bet.
Thermoworks still manufacture their Classic Themapen, but it doesn’t have as many features. For a start, it doesn’t auto-rotate nor does it sense sleep and awake mode. It isn’t waterproof and the battery lasts for only half of the battery life of the Thermapen. However, like the Thermopop, it is cheaper than the Thermapen.
The Thermapro TP19 is the only instant-read thermometer that can read temperatures quicker than the Thermapen. The average speed of the Thermapro TP19 is 2.7 seconds compared to 3.6 seconds in the Thermapen. The average speed in ice is 3 seconds in the Thermapro and 3.3 seconds in the Thermapen. In boiling temperatures, the average speed of the Thermapro is 2.7 seconds, while in the Thermapen it is 3.8 seconds. The Thermapro TP19 is one of the few instant-read thermometers out there that surpasses the Thermapen on most counts.
Another thermometer to look at is the Lavatools Javelin PRO. The Thermoworks Thermapen Mk4 has a larger temperature range on both high and low temperatures. The Javelin PRO’s temperature range is -40F – 475F. When it comes to comparing the temperature speed, the Thermapen is faster by 1.1 seconds on both high and low temperatures.
The Taylor – 9867B is extremely like the Thermapen so there is no need to distinguish between them.
Should You Buy the Thermapen Mk4?
If you take grilling and smoking seriously and often, this thermometer is ideal for you. It won’t take you a long time before you wonder how you got on with your last and inferior instant-read thermometer. The Thermoworks Thermapen Mk4 reads the temperature so quickly, autorotates so you can see the temperature from every angle and lights up in low light automatically. You don’t even need to change the battery for at least 2 years. In addition, you can use the thermometer anywhere. There’s nothing wrong with using it on your stove when you are cooking in the winter. The price might be steep, but it is well worth the extra cost.