Last Updated Jan 2020 – For all of you who have been writing in to check whether the Thermapen MK4 Thermocouple thermometer is worth shelling out your dough for, I’ve finally gotten down to writing a comprehensive Thermapen MK4 review after using it for over a week with all my baking orders.
But for the uninitiated wondering what the Thermapen MK4 is, here’s some insight on a fancy kitchen gadget that we’re beginning to see more and more of with not only professionals but even novice culinary enthusiasts looking to better their craft – a cooking thermometer.
A handy tool to measure the exact temperature of your meat, roasts, baked goods, and other cooked food, cooking thermometers are a great way to make sure your food is neither overcooked nor undercooked. The Thermapen MK4 is the newest addition to the world-class range of cooking thermometers by Thermoworks.
Ok, the wait is finally over! I’m here with my analysis and I hope all your questions about functionality, benefits, battery life, and durability are answered by reading what I promise is a no holds barred completely honest review!
What I’d like to say at the onset is that for some readers, this cooking thermometer may seem needlessly expensive and not even necessary, while for some other it may be worth every penny.
It absolutely depends on how sold you are on the idea of using a cooking thermometer. I’ve broken down this review into the many factors that may come into play if you’re looking to pick up the Thermapen MK4 along with some sneak peeks of other products from the Thermoworks family. So here goes!
How does it work?
Unlike other cooking thermometers, the MK4 Thermapen uses thermocouple technology which is what enables it to display food temperature in as short a time as 2-3 seconds.
Other instant-read thermometers on the market that cost significantly less than the MK4 Thermapen usually take 20-25 seconds or more to throw up a temperature reading for your food, which means there is really nothing instant about the reading.
Craning for half a minute over the oven, staring at the reading of the cooking thermometer with a full blast of heat to the face isn’t really my idea of appreciating what I’ve diced up, and the Thermapen MK4 comes as a welcome relief from that.
What I’ve consistently noticed about chefs, bakers and cooking enthusiasts who swear by cooking thermometers is the fact that they own one for meat, roasts and steaks and another for cakes, pies and other desserts. They defend this by saying that they’ve had far too many candy thermometers snapping when trying to poke them into meats.
I figure my review will be incomplete if I don’t address this concern. Suffice to say that you can throw away multiple cooking thermometers if you’ve got yourself the Thermapen MK4. I’ve used it on the toughest of steaks and softest of pies, and it just glided right through with no difficulty or resistance.
While this product is the best Thermapen meat thermometer in my opinion, it can, in fact, be used just as well to check the temperature of brewed beers, wines, syrups, chocolate sauces and other liquids that require monitoring. Also, it can help dish out pitch-perfect pies and other desserts thanks to the excellent temperature monitoring system.
It certainly ticks all the boxes when it comes to a kitchen gadget. It can work across a temperature range of -49.9 degrees Celsius to 199.9 degrees Celsius, covering your bases for both hot and cold dishes.
Product Specifications & Features
The Thermapen MK4 displays the food temperature in a matter of seconds in either Celsius and Fahrenheit readings (based on your choice) on a spacious LCD reading screen. Coming with an auto-rotate display that doesn’t make you crane your neck at odd angles to get the right reading, the Thermapen MK4 is a convenient, compact thermometer that also comes in a variety of colors.
It is slightly larger than the average cooking thermometer on the market, but that’s no reason to complain. It requires no set up or calibration, just slip in a single 1.5 volt AAA battery and it is ready to get to work. What I like best is the fact that this cooking thermometer comes with no buttons, switches or clips.
Just turn open the probe to get it started.
It weighs around 120 grams and measures 1.97 inches in height, 6.2 inches in width and 75 inches in diameter. It does not come with any accompaniments upon unboxing except for a 20-page guidebook with instructions for usage. Also, it is fairly power efficient, clocking on average of a couple of thousand display hours before wearing out its batteries.
What I liked best is the auto-on and auto-off motion sensor that senses when you pick the Thermapen MK4 up to get started and also goes to sleep mode automatically when you put it down – a huge saving grace for someone like me who tends to forget to power off appliances.
This also saves you from all the effort of recalibrating this nifty temperature reading device, as the next time you pick it up it isn’t stuck on the old reading.
Furthermore, it provides a reading that’s just 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit above or below the exact temperature of your food. And for those ovens and heaters that don’t have an inbuilt light source, the automatic backlight of the Thermapen MK4 is a huge saviour.
Trust this intuitive device to turn on when it senses a dearth of proper reading light.
Regarding settings customization, the Thermapen MK4 allows you a fair bit of customization in allowing switching off of the auto-shut functionality, letting you choose between Fahrenheit and Celsius, and enabling/disabling the display of a decimal point among other minor customizations.
The probe of the Thermapen MK4
The probe of the Thermapen Thermometer is around 4.3 inches in length and made of a type K Thermocouple. It is needle thin and slides comfortably into your pie, cake or meat leaving no sign of its visit. You also don’t need to dig too deep to get the right temperature of your food.
Just locate the thickest region of your dish and a poke that’s a few centimeters deep should do the job. Once you are done with it, simply fold the probe into the Thermapen MK4 so it is safe and out of the way.
Cleaning & Maintenance of the Thermapen MK4
Coming to maintenance, cleaning your Thermapen Thermometer is fairly straightforward. It is water resistant and can be held under a tap to lightly wash off any fingerprints or food stains. It can withstand up to IP 66/67 of water pressure. Having said that, this product is definitely going to require manual cleaning as it is not dishwasher safe.
Regarding battery replacement, while it largely depends on how often you use your Thermapen MK4, a single battery should last easily up to a year, if not more. The product comes with a two-year warranty with terms and conditions that you can familiarize yourself with if you end up getting one.
Now that we have run through all that we need to know about the Thermapen MK4, let’s delve into its pros and cons.
- Accurate temperature reading up to 0.5 degrees +/- Fahrenheit
- Offers a wide range of temperature reading for hot and cold dishes
- Can be used for desserts, bakes, roasts, steaks, brews, liquids and a wide range of other products
- Patented auto-rotating display mechanism
- An intuitive backlight that switches on automatically
- Water resistant product
- Auto-switch off and on based on motion sensory technology
- Customizable display and features
- It comes with a user guidebook
- It is an expensive product
- It is not dishwasher safe
I’d like to talk a little about the other cooking thermometers from the Thermoworks range to give you a comprehensive picture of cooking thermometers, their features and where the Thermapen MK4 stands in the mix.
Classic Super-Fast Thermapen
While this Thermoworks digital thermometer has features, speed, and precision that are similar to that of the Thermapen MK4, there are some important factors that set them apart.
The Thermapen MK4 sports a handy backlight that the Classic Thermapen lacks. So this means you will have to make do with a torchlight in the event of a dark heater or oven. The Classic Thermapen also does not boast the auto-rotate feature that the Thermapen MK4 has, making you strain to find an angle of incision that’s suitable to your neck as well as your food.
One of the biggest differences is that this range of splash-proof Thermapens is just that – splash-proof, and not water resistant. So while it can handle the odd splash of a few drops of water, it certainly cannot be called a water-resistant product that can be dipped into water or undergo consistent water exposure, something the Thermapen MK4 handles admirably.
So if you are willing to compromise on these additional features of the Thermapen MK4, you could opt for the Classic Thermapen which is a cheaper variant of the Thermapen MK4.
This one is a slightly different take in the world of instant-read thermometers. As the name goes, it measures the surface temperature of cooktops, grills, hotplates, dishes & BBQs among other surfaces.
While it is not an ideal product to measure the temperature of your food, what it does do is give you accurate insight into the temperature of cooking surfaces to help you make the most of them.
This is ideal for those of you who demand perfection in your dishes, whether out of professional need or personal passion, and need confidence about surface temperatures before laying your food out onto it.
This product comes with a swivel top that ensures there is a larger surface area in contact with the cooking surface. We would recommend this to those of you who love outdoor cooking on griddles and BBQs and also have some dollars to spare on your passion.
As I’ve stated before, the usability and essentiality of this product depend primarily on how you view it. If you are one of those people who are content with judging your dish on its readiness by look and feel or even the fragrance, then you may not see the big deal about the Thermapen MK4.
On the other hand, there are those who are all about perfection in cooking, texture, fragrance and everything else that works together to distinguish the cooking process.
For those of you, this product will definitely seem tempting.
Having said that, the Thermapen MK4 is also ideal if you are looking to try your hand at baking but aren’t quite sure of temperature settings for various dishes or are quite the novice in the world saccharine delights. In the event that you have just picked up an oven or a heater and are unsure of how to work it to perfection, the Thermapen MK4 can help you on your way.
It would be beneficial to have an accessory that tells you where exactly your dish has reached in terms of its readiness.
You may argue that there are various other cooking thermometers that come at half the price of the Thermapen MK4, but with the Thermocouple technology, water resistant features, intuitive backlight, and an auto-rotate mechanism, I’m quite sure this Thermapen MK4 review gives you a clear idea about all that sets it apart from the score of cooking thermometers on the market.
The choice as a buyer really lies in how much you are sold on the idea of cooking thermometers in the first place. I know I am!