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Dec 11, 2011 08:58 PM

Thermapen or Maverick thermometer? Or do you recommend another?

I'm finally buying a thermometer for the oven and stove top. I've read that Thermapen and Maverick both make good thermometers. I've also read that most thermometers tend to become less accurate over time and that glass thermometers are to be avoided at all costs. Any thoughts on the two brands? Any recs for other high quality and reliable brands? I have no problem spending money on this as I plan to use the thermometer for at least a decade if not more. Finally, is it better to get a separate thermometer for the oven versus the stovetop or can one do the both well? Thanks!

Actually I need a thermometer soon to make caramel for a dessert I'm hoping to try soon. I've read getting the right temperature for this caramel is somehow important.

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  1. Getting the proper temperature for caramel is not somehow importhant, it's critical! Too low and you have soup and too high and it's burnt, it's a very small window. The instant read thermapen would be best for this. You also need to account for the type of vessel you are making the caramel in, the tendency of the vessel to hold or release heat. Copper is ideal, but the alternative is typically enameled cast iron because it's so slow to heat, you reduce the likelyhood of burning. The copper heats up fast but also cools as soon as it's removed from the heat source.

    The Thermapen will not work in the oven however, it has a plastic body that is not for in oven temperatures. For the oven you need something with a remote thermocouple like the Maverick.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mikie

      Thanks so much for the info. From the reviews I've read, Thermapen seems to be the best choice for the candy/stovetop thermometer. I need to figure out what to purchase for the oven. Your suggestion for Maverick thermometer was helpful. I had heard Maverick made good thermometers, but didn't know too much more than that.

    2. Hi, luluimoolah:

      I was in your position, trying to decide, right before Thanksgiving. The indie store near me carried Thermapen and Taylor "instant reads", but was out of stock on the Thermapen. The clerk basically sold me on the Taylor as better. It's the same "pocketknife" design, but it has a larger display (brightly backlit), it fits my hand better, has a smaller-diametyer probe tip, takes regular (vs. $$ camera batteries), and is certificated as calibrated to FDA standards . It was also a lot more inexpensive--I saved enough that I could buy the Taylor AND a Thermoworks oven thermometer for less money than the Thermapen by itself.

      On the short debit side, mine is an ugly color, and it takes 5 seconds to stably register (vs. 3 for Thermapen).



      1 Reply
      1. re: kaleokahu

        Thanks. I'll definitely keep Taylor in mind now based on your review. I had heard Taylor was pretty good, maybe not as good as Thermapen, but still a good alternative. It's good to get a confirmation.

      2. Maverick is a manufacturer that makes various thermometers while Thermapen made by Thermoworks is a specific instant read thermometer. Which maverick did you have in mind?

        5 Replies
        1. re: bbqJohn

          For the candy/stovetop, I was thinking the Digital Candy Thermometer by Maverick. Not to sound silly and dorky, but I read somewhere that Alton Brown uses this one. And I think to think he's a little more reliable than other chefs when it comes to kitchen tools not to mention that from what I can tell he's not trying to hawk the merchandise for cut of the profit. Also, I came across a few mentions about Maverick making good and reliable thermometers.

          1. re: lulumoolah

            Is it the CT-03? I have both a Thermapen and a Maverick ET-73. I believe the CT-03 is intended to sit in your candy/oil and will beep you when it reaches the desired temp

            The Thermapen is not intended for that type of use. A Thermapen is not intended to stay in the food and monitor temps. It is intended to stick into food when you think it's ready like a standard food thermometer.

            1. re: bbqJohn

              Yup, it's the CT-03 Maverick digital oil and candy thermometer. For the Thermapen, I'm considering the NEW SPLASH-PROOF SUPER-FAST™ THERMAPEN™. I read reviews for a caramel dessert recipe I want to make and Thermapen was recommended by several people.

              1. re: lulumoolah

                The CT-03 is a different product than the Thermapen. You can use the CT-03 to leave in the carmel to monitor the temps while you can't do that with a Thermapen as it will turn itself off after a couple of minutes.

                Again CT-03 to monitor temps as the food is cooking while the Thermapen is to check for your desired temp when you think it's done.

                I have had my maverick and Thermapen for about 5 years and they have taken a beating. The Maverick is used for monitoring my BBQ/Smoker or food in the oven. The Thermapen for both home and work. I have had the Thermapen dropped in a barbeque and an ice bath and it's still working.

                1. re: bbqJohn

                  Thanks so much for the advice. I think I may go ahead and purchase both and depending on what I'm making, I use the appropriate one. There are quite a few recipes I've been wanting to make but couldn't because I needed a thermometer.

        2. Taylor, Polder and Cooper are all industry standards in commercial kitchens.....

          btw...even expensive items break and fail......especially the digital products.

          4 Replies
          1. re: fourunder

            I've read mixed reviews on Taylor, Polder and Cooper. All are highly recommended, but it seemed that compared to Thermapen and Maverick, they had were prone to become less accurate over time sooner. I know that even expensive items break and fail, but I would prefer to get a product that seems less likely. I don't need all the bells and whistles, but I will pay for a quality and reliable product.

            If digital products have a high fail rate over time, then that leaves me with glass thermometers, unless there's another type of thermometer I'm unaware of. As for glass thermometers, I keep reading that they are easy to break. Given that my kitchen is small and I can be a bit of a klutz, I can see myself dropping the glass thermometer.

            1. re: lulumoolah

              I have at least a half dozen Instant Read pocket thermometers....all over 10 years old and they all work fine. When you do a search online, they will show up for $19.95. You can purchase them in restaurant supply house or Outlet Mall Houseware/Cookware store for 7 bucks. The Candy Thermometer is usually around 10-12 bucks.

              Should you break, lose or it it fails.....the replacement cost is inexpensive.

              1. re: lulumoolah

                I've had instant read thermometers by taylor and polder, and both failed in under a year without abuse or user error.

                I've had a thermapen (waterproof version) working just fine for 3 years now. The justification for the thermapen's price seems to be their reliability and durability. I've heard they also have good customer service, but I haven't personally needed to use it.

                1. re: lulumoolah

                  Wish Taylor was still the same company it was in the 60s and 70s.

              2. I have found the recomendations from the following web site to be quite reliable.

                I have the Thermapen and it is a fast reader and very accurate, great for checking a temperature. I also have an inexpensive Taylor to stick into the meat while it's on the smoker, speed is not an issue here, and a very accurate Fluke to measure air temperature in both the smoker and the gas grill. You really can't cook if you don't know the temperature. My new, less than a year old, gass grill thermometer is off by about 40 degrees in the 325 range.