For all those 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 got 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 information on a fancy kitchen gadget that we’re beginning to see more and more with not only professionals but even novice culinary enthusiasts that are looking to better their craft – a cooking thermometer.
A handy tool to measure the exact temperature of your meat, roasts, bakes 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.
So, the wait is finally over! I’m here with my analysis and I hope all your questions on its functionality, benefits, battery life and durability are answered by reading on what I promise is a no information barred completely honest review!
What I’d like to say at the onset is that for some readers, this cooking thermometer may seem superfluously expensive and not even necessary, while for some other it may be worth every cent spent.
It absolutely depends on how sold you are on the idea of using a cooking thermometer. I’ve broken down this review for you on many factors that come into play if you’re looking to pick up the Thermapen MK4 and also given you a sneak peek on other products from the Thermoworks family. So here it goes!
How does it work?
Unlike other cooking thermometers, the MK4 Thermapen uses the thermocouple technology which is what enables it to display food temperature in as short a time as 2-3 seconds.
Other instant-read thermometers in the market that cost significantly lesser than the MK4 Thermapen usually take nothing less than 20-25 seconds 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 your oven, staring at the reading of your cooking thermometer in a full blast of heat to the face isn’t really our idea of appreciating what we’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.
Well, I figured my review would be incomplete if I didn’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 difference 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. It also helps dish out irresistibly smooth pies and other desserts with a sleek finish to them thanks to its perfect temperature monitoring system.
It is certainly an all-rounder when it comes to a kitchen gadget. It can work across a temperature range of -49.9 degrees Celsius to 199.9 degrees Celsius, having covered for all your hot and cold dishes.
Product Specifications & Features
The Thermapen MK4 displays food temperatures in a matter of a couple of seconds in both 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 sleek, compact thermometer that comes in a variety of colours.
It is slightly larger than the average cooking thermometer in the market, but that’s no reason to complain. It requires no setting up or calibrating, just slip in a single 1.5 volt AAA battery and it is ready to get to work. What we like best is the fact that this cooking thermometer comes with no buttons, no 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 on unboxing except for a 20-page guidebook on instructions of usage. It is fairly power efficient, clocking in an 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 and gets started and also goes on a sleep mode automatically when you put it down – a huge saving grace for someone like me who often tends to forget to power off appliances.
This also saves you from all the effort of recalibrating a temperature reading device, as the next time you pick it up it isn’t slugging on the old reading.
It provides a reading that’s just 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit above or below the exact temperature of your food. 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 the dearth of proper reading light.
Coming to settings customisation, the Thermapen MK4 allows you a fair bit of customisations in in switching off the auto-shut functionality, let’s you choose between Fahrenheit and Celsius, enabling/disabling the display of a decimal point among other such minor customisations.
The probe of the Thermapen MK4
The probe of the Thermapen Thermometer is around 4.3 inches in length 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 far too deep to get the right temperature of your food.
Just identify the thickest region of your dish and a poke that’s few centimetres deep should do the job. Once you are done with it, simply fold it into Thermapen MK4 for it to be 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 easily. It can withstand up to IP 66/67 of water pressure. Having said that, this product is definitely going to require manual cleaning as 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 make yourself abreast with post-purchase.
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 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 characteristics
- Customisable display and features
- It comes with a user guidebook
- It is an expensive product
- It is not dishwasher safe
We’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 small factors that can tell them apart.
The Thermapen MK4 sports a handy backlight that the Classic Thermapen misses. So this means you will have to make do with a torchlight in the event of a dark heater/oven. This Classic Thermapen also does not boast of 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 and consistent water exposure, something the Thermapen MK4 comes out of untouched.
So if you are willing to compromise on these additional features of the Thermapen MK4, you could look at the Classic Thermapen that 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 the ideal product to be measuring the temperature of your food, what it does do is give you an accurate insight into the temperature of cooking surfaces to help you get the best out of them.
This is ideal for those of you who love perfection in your dishes, whether our of professional needs or personal passion and need insight into surface temperatures before laying out your food on 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 this 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 its look and feel and probably 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 the works that come together to help enjoy 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 in baking but aren’t quite sure of temperature settings for various dishes and 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 is ideal to help you on your way.
It would be beneficial to have an accompaniment 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 backlights and 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 in 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!