FireBoard Labs Spark Instant Read Thermometer Review
Here at Angry BBQ, we’ve said it on numerous occasions and we’ll continue to say it until we’re blue in the face: A quality instant-read thermometer is one of the most important tools (if not the most important) you can have as a home cook, grillmaster, or backyard pitmaster. It’s vital for both food safety…
Here at Angry BBQ, we’ve said it on numerous occasions and we’ll continue to say it until we’re blue in the face: A quality instant-read thermometer is one of the most important tools (if not the most important) you can have as a home cook, grillmaster, or backyard pitmaster. It’s vital for both food safety and ensuring you’re cooking your food to the proper temperature.
So when FireBoard Labs reached out to us about reviewing their Spark instant-read thermometer, we jumped at the chance. We not only enjoy getting to test new tools, but we also want to be able to give our readers as many options as possible. We want you to be as informed as possible when it comes to making purchasing decisions. Check out our comparison of the top six instant read thermometers on the market today.
So let’s take a look at the Spark’s feature set, its accuracy, and the ownership experience.
FireBoard is based out of Kansas City, Missouri. The company takes a bit of a unique approach, manufacturing its own printed circuit boards and assembling its thermometers at the company’s headquarters. FireBoard also makes the FireBoard 2, a wireless meat thermometer, along with helping make the controller for the S-series pellet grills of Yoder Smokers including the YS640s Competition pellet grill.
So let’s dive in and take a look at the specifications, features, performance, overall fit and finish, and the ownership experience of the Spark.
|FireBoard Labs Spark
FireBoard Spark Specifications
|Operating Temp Range
|-13° to 140°F (-24° to 60°C)
|6.25L x 1.44W x 1.1D (inches)
|Li-Ion 2600 mA battery (12+ month life with normal use)
|Fahrenheit or Celsius. 1.0° or 0.1° increments.
|1 second (0.6 second time constants and 0.4 second display refresh speed)
|Temp Reading Range
|-58° to 572°F (-50° to 300°C)
|Temp Reading Accuracy
|Plus or minus 0.7°F (0.4°C) between -4° to 392°F (-20° to 200°C)Plus or minus 1.8°F (1.0°C) full range
|194×64-pixel LCD screen
|Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, FireBoard Cloud-enabled
|Water Resistance Rating
|One-year limited warranty
|Probe, Quick-Start Guide, USB-C charging cable, AmazingRibs.com Food Temperature Guide, NIST-traceable calibration certificate
The FireBoard Spark delivers accurate temperatures quickly, giving you readouts in one second that are accurate within 0.7°F. That ensures that you can ensure your steaks are a perfect medium-rare so the only thing getting seared is your steak’s exterior, not your hand or arm.
You can trust the accuracy of your Spark thanks to the included NIST-traceable calibration certificate. The National Institute of Standards And Technology has processes to ensure that any device, in this case the Spark, is evaluated properly versus standards and the results are verified and traced.
Essentially, that means that FireBoard isn’t making baseless claims about the accuracy of the Spark. A signed calibration certificate proves your Spark was tested and verified meaning each Spark thermometer is as accurate as FireBoard states.
The accurate reading is displayed on a large LCD backlit screen that is easy to read no matter the lighting. The display can be configured for either Fahrenheit or Celsius as well as displaying in increments of 1.0° or 0.1°. You can switch between the display settings using the function button built into one end of the Spark. The display is also auto-rotating so no matter what direction you’re holding the thermometer, you’ll be able to see the numbers. Plus, the display will hold the three most recent readings and show them to the side of the main readout.
One of the most interesting and unique features of the Spark is its way of letting you know when it has determined the correct temperature. FireBoard designed the Spark to provide haptic feedback, or a combination of vibration and a strobing light built into the front of the thermometer, to signal when it has confirmed a stable and correct temperature. After it vibrates, it will store that temp on the left side of the screen. See pics above.
Another unique feature of this thermometer is its ability to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Now why would you need that feature in an instant-read thermometer? Well, FireBoard designed the Spark to also serve as a display unit for other FireBoard devices. So if you’ve got a full FireBoard setup, you can use your Spark to display readings as well. Mike has a Yoder YS640S pellet grill which uses a Fireboard controller internally, and he can use his Spark as a display monitor in the house while he has his Yoder cooking. Mikes Fireboard app shows the Spark and the Yoder configured.
Finally, the Spark also has a port for FireBoard’s proprietary leave-in temperature probes so you can use the Spark as a meat thermometer during a smoking session. It does not come with an included probe so you do have to purchase one from FireBoard if you want to utilize this feature. It does make the Spark a versatile two-in-one thermometer for when you’re grilling or smoking.
Overall Fit And Finish
The Spark is one of the more unique-looking instant-read thermometers I’ve reviewed. Most opt for a streamlined, smooth exterior. The Spark is more of a blocky design, but that makes it quite easy to hold, especially with the rubber coating on the ends of the thermometer. The charging and probe ports are tucked safely away behind a little cover to ensure you don’t accidentally splash liquids into the delicate electronics.
The red and black color scheme is distinctive and reflects FireBoard’s color scheme. The display is large and bright which means you don’t have to squint to read it at anytime day or night. From factory the brightness is set to medium, but we recommend moving it to high. No matter the sunlight, you will see the display perfectly.
The Spark is IP66 water-resistant which means it can handle being splashed, but you cannot submerge it at all. You can wash the probe itself with soap and water, but if the main body of the thermometer gets dirty, you’ll want to wipe it off with a damp cloth and wipe it dry. We suggest to wash the probe off with a wet and soapy cloth, and do not throw the Spark into the kitchen sink full of water.
FireBoard also designed the Spark with magnets built into the back of the thermometer so you can stick it on any magnetic surface for storage. I keep it on the vent hood over my stove so it’s always easily accessible.
FireBoard Spark Features
One of the most important features of any instant-read thermometer is the display. The Spark has one of the best displays I’ve seen. The numbers are large and easy to read, the display itself is bright, and it auto-rotates so you can read it no matter what way you turn the thermometer.
The addition of seeing the three most recent readings is a nice touch as well. That allows you to see a temperature even if you somehow contort yourself to check something and you can’t see the display.
You’ll be sure the temperature will be retained due to that haptic feedback I mentioned earlier. The vibration and light strobe will let you know that the Spark has found the stable internal temperature of whatever you’re temping.
Now as the Spark is the first FireBoard device I’ve gotten to personally test, I can’t speak to using the other unique features. However, I will say that if you have FireBoard products, the Spark is the perfect instant-read thermometer to pair with the rest of your devices. The ability to function as both an instant-read and leave-in meat thermometer is really nice. Then you factor in that it can serve as a display for other FireBoard thermometers, and it’s an incredibly versatile part of a FireBoard-centric arsenal.
Spark Ownership Experience
You could hop on FireBoard.com and read about all the features that the Spark has, but those features are only good if the thermometer is quality. With the time that I’ve had using it, I can give you my thoughts on how it works for me.
The Spark is an accurate, easy-to-use instant-read thermometer. The Quick-Start Guide has all the information you need to get the most out of the Spark, but it comes out of the box ready to go if all you’re concerned about is getting a quick and accurate reading in Fahrenheit.
All you have to do is gently pull the probe out of its notch and swing it out to turn the Spark on. Insert the tip of the probe into the thickest part of a cut of meat, and the Spark will vibrate and flash the light to let you know when it’s found the exact temperature.
Not only did the Spark go through the NIST certification to ensure that it is as accurate as FireBoard says it is, it is also independently tested and certified by the National Science Foundation to be food-safe and easily cleanable for use in a commercial kitchen. While it cannot be fully submerged, it is still easy to clean. FireBoard recommends lightly spraying with soap and water and wiping down the thermometer for best results.
Spark Accuracy Tests
Okay, we’ve talked about how the Spark is accurate and backed by the NIST. That’s all well and good, but can we see that accuracy in person? We can by testing it in boiling water and ice water. Here’s how it went for me. FYI: We’ve conducted this test with all instant read thermometers we’ve tested.
Boiling Water Test
Here’s the science: Water boils at 212°F at sea level. The boiling point decreases one degree for every 500 feet of elevation over sea level. I live in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina. It is 600 feet over sea level, so water boils at almost exactly 211°F at my house. All you need to do is bring a pot of water to a boil and dip the probe in. So how did the Spark fare?
Right on the spot. 211°F and no issues.
Ice Water Test
The ice water test is just as simple as the boiling water test without all the heat. I took a mason jar, tossed in a good amount of ice cubes then covered the cubes in cold water and let it sit for a moment to stabilize. Then I carefully put the probe in as to not jam it against any ice cubes. The Spark got the temperature it should, 32°F.
So the Spark is as accurate as FireBoard says it is.
Customer Care and Warranty
The FireBoard Spark comes with a one-year limited warranty. You can reach FireBoard support by calling 816-945-2232 or emailing email@example.com. I have not had any reason to reach out to FireBoard support during my time with the Spark.
Would We Recommend The FireBoard Spark?
I have enjoyed my time using the Spark to check internal temperatures. It performs well in both the speed and accuracy category. I especially like the size and readability of the display and the haptic feedback.
I would recommend the Spark even more heartily if you have a FireBoard leave-in meat thermometer or purchased a FireBoard leave-in probe. The Spark is a great instant-read thermometer, but its true potential is unlocked with these extra products.
What We Like…
- Large, bright, and auto-rotating display
- Haptic feedback with both vibration and light flashing when the temperature is stabilized
- USB rechargeable battery so no need to replace batteries
What Makes Us Angry…
- It doesn’t make us angry, but you only get the full experience with other FireBoard products
Wrapping It Up
The FireBoard Spark is a quality instant-read thermometer with some unique features that I haven’t seen on other thermometers on the market. It’s both easy and comfortable to use. If you have other FireBoard products, the Spark becomes even more versatile with the ability to perform as both a display unit for the FireBoard unit and even as a leave-in thermometer with the purchase of a FireBoard probe.
|FireBoard Labs Spark
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