Not-so-instant read thermometers

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Joined Jun 11, 2013
I have a couple of (what are supposed to be) 'instant' read thermometers. None of them seem to be 'instant' and I stand there waiting. Some are better than others; however, what qualifies as 'instant' read?
 
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Joined Dec 28, 2017
Thermapen would be instant read, as in it takes around 3 seconds. I have this one which takes around 4 seconds and is pretty accurate, plus it costs like 5 euros. It is not as good as a thermapen but for its price it is great
 
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Joined Sep 26, 2017
Instant read is anything that you can stick into the food and get a temperature reading whenever you want.

The opposite would be the constant read, something that have to be kept touching the food the whole time you're cooking.

Like this:

meat thermometer.jpg
 
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Joined May 25, 2015
I have a couple of (what are supposed to be) 'instant' read thermometers. None of them seem to be 'instant' and I stand there waiting.
There is no such thing as "instant" because you can't defy the laws of physics. All contact thermometers need time to have the heat from the item being measured transmitted to the probe then measured. The slowest will be the mechanical thermometers that have a bi-metallic spring that winds and unwinds moving a pointer on a dial. Electronic ones are much faster, but it still takes a few seconds for the probe tip and thermister inside of it to be heated then the electronics to calculate and display the temperature. So there really is no such thing as an instant read, it's only in comparison to the mechanical ones.

Keep in mind also that there are non-contact infrared thermometers such as the Taylor 9523 https://www.webstaurantstore.com/ta...ter-49-to-750-degrees-fahrenheit/9139523.html
These are as close to "instant" as you can come but their uses are different than contact thermometers in that they are suitable for measuring surface temperatures such as flat tops and the outside of food.

I hear Thermapen https://www.thermoworks.com/Thermap...MIqevCpMiu2QIVBkwNCh3NwQdhEAAYASAAEgKBcPD_BwE mentioned all the time when someone mentions "instant read thermometers". Its turn-offs for me are the steep price ($99.00) and that it's marketed to consumers (which probably explains the high price).

We use Taylor 9878Es https://www.webstaurantstore.com/ta...hermometer-1-5mm-diameter-probe/6089878E.html
I can't vouch for whether it's as fast as the Thermapen since I never used a Thermapen, but it's pretty damn fast. At $16 compared to $99 what difference does an extra second or so make anyway? It comes in colors and does everything important that the Thermapen does. And I can carry it in the pencil pocket on the sleeve of my chefs coat.
 
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Joined Mar 9, 2013
Used to use Thermopens for BBQ Comps but switched to Javelin..good quality for 1\3 price..
 
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Joined Jun 11, 2013
Thank you for your suggestions. Looks like I get to do a little shopping for a new thermometer. I wish there had been a way to check out how well the thermometers I own really work and how quickly they respond.
 
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
There is a way: boiling water.

Boils a pot of water
Plunge thermometer into pot
Watch dial... should read whatever temp water at your altitude boils. You can see the response time.

Alternatively... pot with ice water...

I recently did this and found my Mechanical instant read thermometer was off by quite a bit, as I had suspected. I think I de-calibrated it by holding the meter head and wiping the probe. Now I don’t wipe the probe using a gorilla grip.
 
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Joined Jun 11, 2013
I recently did this and found my Mechanical instant read thermometer was off by quite a bit, as I had suspected. I think I de-calibrated it by holding the meter head and wiping the probe. Now I don’t wipe the probe using a gorilla grip.

That's an excellent point. I know every oven and stove I've used required some time to get used to and understand its quirks and inaccuracies. Now I'm wondering if my 'instant' read thermometer is off . . . in addition to being on the slow side. I was using it last week to make stuffed chicken breasts and they were overdone a bit.

In addition to being damaged, I also wonder if 'instant' read thermometers wear out. I have one that I remember being better than it is now.
 
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Joined May 25, 2015
The "better" mechanical thermometers can be recalibrated by holding the head and turning the nut on the back where the probe attaches, essentially turning the dial to correspond with the pointer for either boiling water or an ice bath. For the rest, they are so cheap that you just replace them.
The electronic ones have a calibration feature and you should check them every once and a while- easy enough to do when you have some boiling water going.
 
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