We’ve said many times the single most important tool a BBQer or griller can own is a thermometer. The Thermapen IR is a great new product that combines two professional grade thermometers in one extremely handy unit. On one end of the Thermapen IR is the Super-Fast thermocouple penetration probe. This probe is used to measure the internal temperature of what you’re cooking. On the other end of the Thermapen IR is a non-contact infrared thermometer that can take the temperature of just about any surface you’d like without touching it. Which is just cool! This is great for taking the temp of the surface of a grill grate, for example, to see if you have the temp high enough for the perfect sear. Then you can use the probe for taking the internal temp of the steak- it’s a win/win!
The Thermapen IR looks much like the Thermapen classic. It sports a non-backlit full rotation display. This means no matter which way you hold the Thermapen IR the numbers orientate themselves for correct viewing. This display can be set to °F or °C. The unit is powered by 2-CR2032 batteries which come installed. The unit is ready to go right out of the box. White is the only color option for the Thermapen IR. Because of the lens opening needed for the infrared feature of the IR this unit is not waterproof. It is rated to a protection level of IP54 which means is can take a fair amount of liquid spray from any direction. The Thermapen IR has a sleep mode- this is great because it saves the batteries. The unit will go to sleep in 30 seconds after the last reading take from ether the probe or the infrared side if no movement is detected. The IR will wake back up once moved.
The instant read side of the IR is the same heart and soul of the Thermapen line. The probe is a K Type thermocouple. It’s operating range of the probe is -58° to 572°F with a response time of 2-3 seconds. I’m often asked if the speed of a thermometer is really all that important? My answer “Yes!” While a slow thermometer is certainly better than no thermometer, having a fast one really does help improve your efficiency in the cook area. A quick read means you can take multiple reading in a really short amount of time!
Opposite the probe on the Thermapen IR body is a small round lens opening. This is the non-contact infrared reader. You simply point the lens at what you want to take a reading of and hit the button. The Infrared operating range is -58° to 661°F with a response time of 1 second. The distance/target of the IR is 5:1. This means that if the unit is held 5” and from the target the thermometer is measuring a 1” circle on the target. If the IR is held 10” away it is reading a 2” circle on the target and so on. The IR has a variable emissivity of .01 to 1.0. The default setting is .95
Emissivity: What is that?
I do want to take a minute and cover emissivity. Honestly, adjusting this something that you will not need to mess with but here is a brief “What’s is that?” answer. In very basic terms all objects reflect thermal energy but they do not do it equally. Smooth shiny objects reflect less energy than dark rough objects. The IR has an adjustable emissivity so that commercial users can set this value to the specific materials that they want to measure. The .95 default setting on the IR is a good baseline for what we’re doing in the bbq and grilling world.
The bottom line:
I love having an infrared thermometer. It’s a great tool for the cook area. From measuring the temperature of a pizza stone or griddle to knowing what the temperature is in your cast iron skillet. Knowing the temperature is the key element to not only what you’re cooking but also what you’re cooking in. The Thermapen IR gives you a great option to check your meat and your heat all in one convenient tool. The Thermapen IR sells for 139.00 as of February 2, 2019. Each unit ships with a NIST-traceable calibration certificate for both the probe and infrared so you know it’s accurate. As with all Thermoworks products The Thermapen IR has the greatest customer service in the industry standing behind it.
Would you like to learn more about thermometers in general? Check the articles “Why you need an instant read thermometer…” right here at Grill Girl.
Now get outside and cooks something.
Until next time, Jon
**Affiliate links have been used in this post, which means I could make a small commission if any products are purchased. I only recommend products that I personally use and endorse. (Robyn)
Reviewer, writer, podcast producer. A student of all things outdoor cooking. Charcoal, wood, or gas; it doesn’t matter. Not a big believer in the dogma of outdoor cooking. Loves to restore grills and smokers of all kinds. Resides in Mid-Michigan and understands there’s no offseason in live fire cooking.