ThermoWorks Classic Thermapen Review

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Classic Thermapen Unboxing with Certification

Thermoworks is one of the biggest and best brands of instant-read thermometers on the market. Their Classic Thermapen is a staple of cooks, grillmasters, and pitmasters all over. I’ve used my Classic Thermapen indoors and out for burgers, steaks, or anything I’ve needed a quick temperature check. 

Having an instant-read thermometer in your arsenal is important whether you’re barbecuing, grilling, or even cooking on your stove or in your oven. It can be the difference between perfectly-done and dried-out steak or chicken. It can also be the difference between the right doneness and food poisoning.

When you’re cooking meat, you’re cooking to temperature, not time. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a professional barbecue competition circuit or just cooking for you and your family at home, you need an accurate and fast thermometer. 

The Classic Thermapen is just that, a classic instant-read thermometer that still sets the standard that all thermometers are judged by. Its sleek and simple design hammers home that it’s only concerned with one thing, getting you a fast and accurate temperature reading.

byb2-table__imageRating 8.0Rating 8.0Classic Thermapen
  • Readings in 3sec or Less
  • Extremely Accurate
  • Splash Proof
byb2-table__imageRating 9.5Rating 9.5Thermapen ONE
  • Readings in 1sec or Less
  • Extremely Accurate
  • 360 Display

ThermoWorks Company Overview

Thermoworks Head Office Building

The Classic Thermapen (and all other Thermapens) are produced by ThermoWorks. They are headquartered in Utah and focus on providing accurate temperature readings no matter who needs them. They cater to home cooks as well as professional kitchens, the processing plants and farms where the food comes from, and even the grocery stores where you buy the food. 

They aren’t limited to the food industry either. They work in HVAC, different manufacturing industries, and even pharmaceutical applications. 

For our (and your purposes,) ThermoWorks is focused on giving home cooks high-quality thermometers based on their work in the field of thermodynamics. The best part is that you can have fast, accurate readings from a device that can slip into the pocket of your jeans or apron. 

Classic Thermapen Review

Classic Thermapen Review

Now it’s time to break down (figuratively) the Classic Thermapen with all its specifications, how it performs, what features it has (spoiler: not many), the look and feel, and the overall experience of owning and using the Classic Thermapen.

ThermoWorks Classic Thermapen Specifications

Operating Temp Range-58° to 392°F (-49.9° to 199.9°C)
Dimensions1.85H x 6.1W x 0.75D inches (47H x 153W x 19D mm)
Battery2 CR2032 (3V) button batteries, 1500 hours
Display SettingsIncrements of 0.1-1 degree. Fahrenheit or Celsius
Measurement Speed2-3 seconds
Temp Reading Range-58.0° to 572.0°F (49.9° to 299.9°C)
Temp Reading AccuracyPlus or minus 0.7°F (0.4°C)
ColorsGrey, Yellow, Green, Red, Blue, and Black
Weight0.25lbs (97g)
Water Resistance RatingSplash-proof, should not be submerged
Warranty2 years 
IncludedThermometer, calibration certificate, instructions, guidebook.

Classic Thermapen Performance

ThermoWorks says that it takes 2-3 seconds for the Classic Thermapen to display the correct temperature. Based off my uses, that’s what it takes. It works well whether you’re temping a burger in a cast-iron skillet on the stove or a steak searing on the grill. It’s accurate to 0.7°F and it comes with a NIST-Traceable Calibration Certificate so I can see that it was properly calibrated.

Thermapen Unboxing with Certification
Proof of Calibration Included in Box

The temperature of your food or liquid is displayed on a 0.55 inch (14mm) LCD screen in the middle of the thermometer. It defaults to increments of 1 degree in Fahrenheit, but you can customize those settings underneath the battery cover. The screen will automatically shutoff after 10 minutes, but you can disable that feature yourself.

byb2-table__imageRating 8.0Rating 8.0Classic Thermapen
  • Readings in 3sec or Less
  • Extremely Accurate
  • Splash Proof
byb2-table__imageRating 9.5Rating 9.5Thermapen ONE
  • Readings in 1sec or Less
  • Extremely Accurate
  • 360 Display

What Does NIST-Traceable Calibration Certified Mean?

While temping a steak at home on your grill might not result in a serious problem if the thermometer is two or three degrees off, ThermoWorks doesn’t care. They design every single device to meet the National Institute of Standars and Technology (NIST) standards. That means the Thermapen you or I was calibrated to meet those NIST standards by a professional in a lab environment.

Each Thermapen also comes with a certificate of calibration confirming the accuracy of this thermometer. 

Overall Fit and Finish

The Classic Thermapen is sleek and smooth while maintaining a minimalist design. The screen is large enough to be easily read and in the middle of the thermometer. The thermometer is splash-proof, but you don’t want to drop it in the dishpan when wiping down the probe. The probe arm tucks away, keeping the probe tip safe and others safe from that sharp point. 

It slides easily into a pocket so it can be readily available and fits comfortably in your hand. 

Classic Thermapen Features

When it comes to features, the Classic Thermapen is as simple as it gets. ThermoWorks wanted to give home users a fast and accurate thermometer, and they did that. If you want the latest bells and whistles, you won’t find them here. You will find an easy-to-use thermometer that does what it’s supposed to and it does it real well.

Instant read thermometers are not meant to be feature rich. If you want a multi probe temperature reading device with alarms, and WIFI, check out their Signals unit.

Classic Thermapen Ownership Experience

You can find every specification and detail online, but it doesn’t provide the real-world experience that you want to know about. What I can tell you is there’s a reason the Classic Thermapen has stood the test of time. It’s reliable and gets the job done every time.

How To Use The Classic Thermapen

Thermapen Classic Checking Temp

Using the Classic Thermapen doesn’t require a degree in thermodynamics. The only people who need that are the people who designed it. The thermometer comes with an instruction booklet as well as a handy guidebook on how to use it. Here’s the quick summary on how to use your Classic Thermapen.

  1. Gently pull the temperature probe from the notch in the rubber lining. You don’t have to force it, it opens easily.
  2. The display will turn on automatically as the probe opens. It will start giving you an accurate temperature reading of the ambient temperature around you.
  3. ThermoWorks designed the Classic Thermapen so that the tip of the probe measures the temperature. That means you don’t have to insert the probe far to get a reading. However, when we are grilling or smoking, we need to check the center of the meat to get the proper reading. You can line up the probe with the outside and figure out the middle from there.
  4. After 2-3 seconds, you will get the accurate reading. Judge that against your target temperature for the specific cut of meat you’re cooking.
  5. Remove the probe and wipe the probe clean before swinging the probe arm back into place.

What NOT To Do With Your Classic Thermapen

  1. Don’t put the Classic Thermapen into water. It’s only splash-proof, and you don’t want to ruin the electronics on this thermometer. Gently wash the probe with a rag and then dry it before putting it away.
  2. The probe arm isn’t designed to bear the weight of a chicken or brisket, so don’t use it to help flip the meat. Use the right tools for the job. The Classic Thermapen is a fast way to check temperatures, not a fast way to help flip meat.

How To Change The Classic Thermapen Display Settings

The Classic Thermapen has four settings that you can configure in the battery compartment. When you open the battery cover, you will find a switch bank with four switches. If you aren’t happy with increments of 1°F and the Thermapen turning off after 10 minutes, this is where you can make the changes.

Changing Classic Thermapen Settings
  1. Switch 1 changes the display from the default Fahrenheit to Celsius and back.
  2. Switch 2 switching between the default increments of 1°F or C to 0.1°F or C.
  3. Switch 3 regulates the Auto-Off feature. It comes enabled, thereby shutting the Thermapen off after 10 minutes of inactivity to help preserve that 1500 hours of battery life. 
  4. Switch 4 is the Trim Adjust switch. ThermoWorks does not recommend using this switch if there aren’t any calibration issues. You can use the switch to set offsets of up to 3.6°F (2.0°C) to counter calibration issues. Don’t touch this unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Customer Care And Warranty

ThermoWorks will take care of any issues with your Classic Thermapen through their customer service team within 5 business days. They include a full manual in the box as well as a guidebook featuring quick-start information as well as other cooking-related knowledge.

The Classic Thermapen comes with a 2-year warranty to help protect you from damages associated with normal use. No 12-month warranty here to worry about.

Would We Recommend The ThermoWorks Classic Thermapen?

Now we come to the crux of the issue. The Classic Thermapen is a no-frills high-quality thermometer. If that’s all you care for, then you should absolutely grab it without hesitation. Or, you could save a couple bucks and consider the ThermoPop 2.  

What We Like…

  • Easy to use
  • Fast reading of temperature
  • Pocket-size to keep at hand at all times
  • Numbers on the display are big and easy to read

What Makes Us Angry…

  • No backlight for grilling at night or reading temps in the recesses of a grill
  • The numbers don’t rotate for when you have to check at an odd angle

Thermapen One vs Thermapen Classic

For me, I’ve been spoiled. I’ve also gotten to use the Thermapen ONE. Now that I’ve used both, I can’t see myself going back to the Classic Thermapen. It’s a great instant-read thermometer, but the ONE represents a concerted effort to make the user experience that much better.

When handling the Thermapen ONE vs the Classic Thermapen, I noticed key differences.

  1. The texture on the ONE felt more secure than the Classic. The rubber lining that runs along the entire body of both Thermapens felt more tacky on the ONE. I felt like I was less likely to have the ONE slip out of my hand than the Classic Thermapen.
  2. I also appreciate the backlight on the Thermapen ONE. Sometimes you’re grilling late and it’s dark out. Sometimes you have to reach into the back of the grill. The automatic backlight is a really nice addition to help in those circumstances.

Speaking of reaching into the back of the grill, the Thermapen ONE has a 360° rotating LCD display. That means no matter what angle you’re holding the Thermapen ONE at, the numbers are facing up.

For an in-depth look at the Thermapen ONE, check out our review.

Our Final Verdict

If you are looking for a fast and accurate thermometer without any care of extra features, the Classic Thermapen by ThermoWorks is one of the best you can find. It’s accuracy and speed are hard to beat by any other thermometer at this price point. You won’t be disappointed if you are looking for a simple thermometer.

If you spend time cooking in low-light environments and need that rotating display, we recommend the Thermapen ONE. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a ThermoWorks thermometer. The care and detail they put into these thermometers makes each of them a high-quality addition to your arsenal.

byb2-table__imageRating 8.0Rating 8.0Classic Thermapen
  • Readings in 3sec or Less
  • Extremely Accurate
  • Splash Proof
byb2-table__imageRating 9.5Rating 9.5Thermapen ONE
  • Readings in 1sec or Less
  • Extremely Accurate
  • 360 Display

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