Instant-read thermometers under $40?

Thermapen is on my wish list, but my better half is reluctant to shell out for it. Any suggestions for something more affordable that is, most if all, accurate? Many thanks!

Persuade her/him that the Thermapen is worth it. It is.


I agree, I put off getting one for a good year or two but now I can throw everything else away. It’s that good.

Thirded. Bought a cheap knock-off that broke just a few months in. Have a Thermapen now.

Totes worth the expense.

There are copies out there that look like the Thermapen and have specs similar for far less money. Can it be done for less, no doubt

I own two thermapens. One is in my pocket as I type while I monitor mojo chicken on the grill. Am I glad I have it? Damn straight. Could a substitute be had for less? Most likely

Most home cooks can get along without an instant-read thermometer. I do not need my roast to be 154F… somewhere over 140 but a bit under 160 is just fine. And I can wait the 30 seconds the $10 model might take to get there.

My BIG splurge 4 yrs ago was a $25 probe with cord model, from Thermoworks, the maker of Thermapen that’s made for use inside the oven. The digital readout is precise and there’s no reason it can’t be used outside the oven. Truth be told, I hardly ever use it since I’m pretty good at telling when things are done, by the aroma.

That one’s pretty nice, too. I like the outside display.

I agree. Few Britons use temperature, preferring the more traditional cooking by weight/time and our recipes will rarely include temperature. I use my Thermapen from time to time but my partner simply won’t use it, regarding her judgement as better than the science.

Have you looked at their Thermopop thermometers?

I have a Thermopop and like it just fine. I prefer my son’s Thermapen, but haven’t bothered to get one for myself because the Thermopop is almost as good.

Here’s Kenji’s take on it:

I’ve been using a Taylor one for years and years now and I works great. Yes, it may take max ten seconds to come up to temp but I’ve had no failures when using it. And we’re REAL picky that our meat not be overcooked. I’ve used a Thermopen at my daughter’s but just can’t bring myself to spring for it. Maybe if this one ever dies I will.

That’s the one I had, also for years and years, although the readout changed to Celsius a couple of years ago for no apparent reason, with no way to change it back. Would have bought another at that point, but not one in the store read the same temp as any of the others, so I decided to stick with converting degrees C to F, as mine worked fine otherwise.

Now THAT’S my kinda frugality! Good for you.

I picked up a Polder unit at Sur la Table for $10 on sale six months ago and it seems to work just fine.

Thanks all for the suggestions.

Just wondering: Has anyone used any of the less-expensive ThermoWorks pocket instant-reads? Thanks again!

See my reply above and link to Kenji’s article on Serious Eats. I like it quite a bit. It’s pretty fast and accurate. My son’s ThermoWorks if faster, but not that much.

Add me to the Taylor list. Here’s the folder I use most:

Four seconds is fast enough for me.

Yep, for years my precious Thanksgiving turkey only had one of those $10 (or however much they cost these days) Taylor thermometers to keep it from turning into a choking hazard more dangerous than mochi. It worked fine, but you have to be patient since it does require a good 15 - 20 seconds to read the temperature, and for Pete’s sakes, don’t have limp noodle arms that accidentally brush against the scorching oven door.

I put the Themopen on my Xmas wish list last year and my sister got me one, so all is happy in my world. They have occasional sales that make the investment slightly more wallet friendly. You should keep an eye out on their website.

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I have a thermapen and a pocket thermapen. My thermapen is an old model they made that is not waterproof like the current one. Mine stopped working at one point probably due to water. I took it apart and messed with it and eventually it started working again but before I fixed it I bought the pocket one for $25 on Amazon. I think it works just as good. I think it is a few seconds slower, maybe two seconds. I use the pocket pen more than the original one, I don’'t know why. Maybe I don’t trust the one I broke open and toyed with even though I tested its accuracy. I see that the price of the pocket one on amazon has risen to $60 so it does not fall into the under $40 bracket you want. The only thing that I do not like about it is the way you turn it off. It is simple enough to do but for some reason I tend to forget to turn it off. It is also two pieces, the pen and cover, which is not as nice as having just the one piece.

Thermapen often has open box and refurb sales that lower the price to about $65 - $70. I agree with others who say it’s worth saving up and getting the real deal.

It really is a great tool.