Kitchn Love Letters

I Splurged on This Instant-Read Thermometer and It Was the Best Decision I’ve Ever Made (Psst! It’s $30 Off Right Now!)

updated Nov 27, 2022
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Credit: Faith Durand

I think it was after my fourth super-cheap instant-read thermometer that I thought enough. Eventually, they all just stopped working — not turning on or giving wildly inaccurate temperature readings. And, to be honest, I didn’t think it was worth paying the money to have any of them get re-calibrated.

I’m a professional gear tester and I tend to invest in my kitchen: I’ll spend big bucks on a coffee maker, knife block, trash can, and dish rack. Why had I been avoiding buying an actually decent instant-read thermometer, then? It’s the key to ensuring a roast chicken emerges without any dryness in sight and bread turns out perfectly baked, with no gummy, underdone insides.

So, I did it. I splurged on a $100 instant-read thermometer. And it was one of my best kitchen-related purchases to date.

The Thermapen Mk4 — currently on sale for $69.30 for Cyber Monday — is the Rolls Royce of thermometers. It’s beloved by food writers and recipe testers and editors and chefs — and for good reason. It’s incredibly accurate and fast and has a backlight that turns on automatically when you use it, so it’s still easy to read temperatures in a cavernous oven. The readings are nice and big and the auto-rotating display means you can read the thermometer even if you insert it upside-down. It has an autowake function that means as soon as you extend the probe, the thermometer turns on. And as soon as you close the probe, the thermometer turns off. No on/off buttons to worry about!

Credit: Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
My Thermapen with its trusty, magnetic silicone boot on.

What else? The Thermapen has a 3,000-hour battery life and is waterproof (for up to 30 minutes) because, well, kitchen accidents happen. And if you ever need to have it recalibrated, Thermoworks offers that service, too.

I also highly suggest buying this silicone boot for your Thermapen. The boot has magnets on the back, so you can hang it up on your fridge, and I love its lanyard, which means I can easily carry the Thermapen around my neck when I’m outside grilling or just wildly moving about the kitchen. These wipes are super-handy, too, for easily cleaning your thermometer’s temperature probe.

And if a Thermapen is out of your price range, the brand’s ThermoPop is, in my opinion, the best budget-friendly instant-read thermometer out there, on sale right now for $12.60 (normally $35).

Do you have a Thermapen? Do you love it just as much? Tell us about it in the comments!