A good thermometer is an essential tool for any BBQ cook and whilst there are many different types out there, an instant read thermometer is probably the most useful. It gives you that final confirmation that your food is at the perfect internal temperature and ready to come off the grill. The Thermapen 4 is probably the fastest, most accurate instant read thermometer on the market today. It is packed with little features that will make it a big deal in your BBQ tool kit.
Key Features of the Thermapen 4
360° Rotating Screen
Similar to the technology in your smart phone, The Thermapen 4 features a 360° rotating screen that allows you to view it from any angle. No more tilting your head to read the temperature. The Thermapen 4 senses which orientation it is being held in and automatically adjusts the screen to suit. The default setting for this feature is 360° rotation (landscape, portrait, inverted landscape, inverted portrait) however you can adjust this in the settings to allow only 180° rotation (landscape or inverted landscape) or to lock the screen in any of the orientations above.
The Thermapen 4 now features a smart back-light which will sense the ambient light levels and turn on the screen’s back-light accordingly. The back-light will remain on unless no movement is detected for 10 seconds. You can also manually activate the back-light by placing your thumb over the sensor beside the screen. This is a great feature for those night time cooks when an LCD screen can be very hard to read.
With the progression of smart phones, we have all become accustomed to nursing a battery through the day and trying to stretch every last percentage from it until we can re-charge again. Luckily, the Thermapen 4 takes care of this for you. It has a built in sensor that will detect when the pen has been put down and automatically turn it off. You can also customise the setting for this feature in the menu to determine how long the Thermapen 4 needs to be stationary for before it turns off. As soon as the Thermapen is picked up again, the screen comes to life and you are good to go again.
The Thermapen 4 is now IPP66/67 rated. If you are anything like me, you won’t have a clue what this means so I have done a little research for you.
IPP66 Rating – Able to protect against powerful water jets
IPP67 Rating – Able to protect against immersion up to 1M
So if you leave your thermapen sitting out beside the BBQ and the mother of all rain showers starts, it will be fine. If you drop it out of your pocket into a bucket of brine, it will be fine. Drop it into your bowl of BBQ sauce and need to rinse it off, it will be fine. I think you get the idea.
This is a feature that you will never think about until you have an accident and you’ll be glad it has it.
Now for the geeky part! Technical information might not get you excited however it will give you some insight into the amount of research and design has gone into the Thermapen 4 to make it the best instant read thermometer out there today.I won’t list all the numbers here, you can find them on the Thermapen 4 website, but I will talk about some of the specs and why they are important.
The Thermapen 4 measures temperature via a micro thermocouple located at the very tip of the probe. A thermocouple is basically a pair of heat sensitive wires that create a voltage when heat is detected. A combination of this thermocouple and the reduced tip size mean you only need to insert the probe to a depth of 3mm to get an accurate reading. This is great for reading internal temperatures on thin cuts of meat like steaks or burgers. Some other instant read thermometers require the probe to be inserted up to 13mm for an accurate reading.
The Thermapen 4 has been calibrated to be accurate to within +-0.4°C with a range of -49.9°C to 299.9°C.
I have already mentioned that the Thermapen 4 is probably the fastest instant read thermometer on the market however I want to explain a little bit about how it works. When meat is probed, the Thermapen 4 will give you a reading that is -0.4°C to +0.4°C of the actual temperature within 3 seconds. After using the Thermapen 4 I have found that it can be as low as 1-2 seconds but 3 seconds is an average reading.
The temperature will not lock in after 3 seconds as the Thermapen continues to narrow down the reading towards the actual temperature. Slight movements in the probe and the changing temperature within the meat can sometimes mean the Thermapen won’t lock a temperature. I’ve found that this is more likely to happen on foods you are cooking hot and fast and a reading within the range of +-0.4°C is more than accurate enough for any cooking I’ve been doing.
The Thermapen 4 is a little bulkier than some other instant read thermometers out there but in my opinion, this is a bonus. I’ve owned thermometers in the past that are a little hard to hold as they are so small and the Thermapen fits perfectly into your hand. It is 50mm x 157mm x 19mm and weighs 120 grams. The LCD screen is 39mm x 25mm making it really easy to read.
The body of the Thermapen 4 is made from ABS Plastic and is designed to be smooth with very few seams. This is to try and avoid the build up of food in these seams that can lead to bacteria. As an extra defence against this, the Thermapen 4 has Biomaster Antimicrobial Technology built into the casings. This means pure silver is mixed with the plastic during the manufacturing process to it can’t wash off. This technology is proven to reduce the growth of bacteria such as MRSA, E.Coli and Salmonella but up to 99.99%. I won’t get into the details of how this works but let’s just say that bacteria and Silver do not get on.
The Thermapen is available to buy directly from the ETI website for a price of £60 and comes with a 2 year guarantee. It is available in 10 different colours (Grey, Pink, Green, Orange, White, Purple, Yellow, Red, Black and Blue) and shipping is FREE throughout the UK.
Each Thermapen comes with a fully traceable Certificate of Calibration.
The Thermapen 4 is an expensive thermometer compared to most others on the market however most other instant read thermometers don’t compare! I’ve owned a few in the past from cheaper supermarket models to recognised BBQ brands but I don’t think any of them come close to the quality, speed and accuracy of the Thermapen 4.
After using it for a while I can tell that every part of the design has been carefully thought out. My only criticism would be that I would have liked some form of pocket clip on the back of the unit to help hold it in my pocket. ETI sell a leather pouch with a belt loop but I’m not sure if this is the most convenient solution.
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