Are you in the market for a new culinary thermometer and are wondering if it is worth it to shell out for the cult-status Thermapen? It’s hard to consume food-related content and not notice every culinary guru using this very popular and iconic thermometer. But could a thermometer possibly be worth over 100 dollars? This article will quickly touch on the main differences between the ThermoPop vs Thermapen ONE and whether these differences make the much higher price tag of the Thermapen ONE worth it.
ThermoPop vs Thermapen ONE Comparison
The ThermoPop and Thermapen ONE are both culinary thermometers made by the brand Thermoworks. Thermoworks considers the ThermoPop a “pocket” digital thermometer, while the Thermapen ONE is not. Both models have an impressive range of -58 to 572°F (-50 to 300°C). They both have back-lit screens, though the Thermapen ONE senses when it’s darker and automatically brightens, while I believe the ThermoPop is always just back-lit. The Thermapen ONE’s display will light up when you pick it up, while the ThermoPop needs to have a button pushed to wake it up or turn it on. The Thermapen ONE also has a brighter display.
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|Temperature Speed||3-4 seconds||1 second|
|Battery Life||~5,000 hours||~2,000 hours|
|Probe Length/Diameter||4.5 inches/0.12 to 0.08 in||4.3 inches/0.13 to in 0.07 in|
|Probe Range||-58 to 572°F||-58.0 to 572.0°F|
|Warranty?||2 Years||5 Years|
The Thermapen ONE usually retails for $105. Though it seems that there are periodically sales. The ThermoPop retails for $35. If you buy more than 5, they are $29 a piece. It might be worth mentioning that I have seen a pop-up on the website offering 10% off in exchange for your email address at the time of writing this article.
The Thermoworks brand really emphasizes the difference in accuracy and temperature-measuring mechanisms inside each product. The Thermapen ONE uses High Performance Type K Thermocouple technology and measures temperature within ±0.5°F accuracy. The ThermoPop has an accuracy of ±2°F and uses thermistor technology, which is the same as other low-cost digital thermometers. The Thermapen ONE comes with a NIST-traceable certificate of calibration and test data, and is regarded as the most accurate food thermometer on the market. The technology used in the Thermapen ONE seems to be unique.
One of the main differences that the brand stresses is the response time. Thermoworks claims that the Thermapen has a ONE second response time, which is the best in the world. This is a faster speed than previous Thermapens. The ThermoPop has a response time of 3-4 seconds. While this may matter if you’re working in a fast paced kitchen or cooking in a timed competition, I’m just not convinced that a few seconds max difference is a big deal for the average person. That being said, one second truly is an impressive response time.
The Thermapen ONE has a five year warranty, while the ThermoPop has a two year warranty. I could not find more specific information about what is covered under the warranty, but I believe that the Thermapen ONE can be repaired while the Thermopop cannot. Note that you cannot return used products.
They both come in a variety of bright colors. The Thermapen has ten choices, the ThermoPop nine. The Thermapen ONE is completely waterproof, while the ThermoPop is only “splash-proof.” The Thermapen’s probe folds into it to keep it clean while not in use, while the ThermoPop comes with a matching probe cover. They both feel fairly sturdy and ergonomic in hand. The ThermoPop has a lithium ion battery that is replaceable and lasts for around 5,000 hours, while the Thermapen ONE takes AAA batteries and lasts for around 2,000 hours. Of course, the Thermapen has a much larger, brighter display with a larger number visible, though the ThermoPop has a very clear, readable display as well. The Thermapen has a patented auto-rotating display that shows the temperature the right way no matter how you flip it (which might be nice for lefties). Though the ThermoPop is lefty-friendly, too.
ThermoPop vs Thermapen Verdict
I just don’t see that the extra features and lightening-fast speed in the Thermapen being a true must-have for the average home chef. In my experience, most home cooks don’t need to know food temperatures down to the decimal and in one second. In my own home, I mainly use a culinary thermometer on chicken and pork for food safety, bread- making, and occasionally when making custards or other desserts and sauces where ingredients need to be incorporated at specific temperatures. In this usage, I find the features offered by the ThermoPop very satisfactory and easy to use. The ThermoPop seems very fast to me and I couldn’t see that the few seconds difference between them would matter much to the average home chef, or even a perfectionist. I can see the Thermapen ONE being very practical for someone doing serious recipe development or a professional kitchen environment, but that isn’t most people.
The ThermoPop is certainly a great step-up from the horribly unreliable old fashioned food thermometers and even cheaper non-Thermoworks-brand digital thermometers currently on the market. One might consider the fact that the Thermapen ONE is waterproof and has a larger display, which may make it worth it for you if you have very poor eyesight, or if you are accident prone in the kitchen. Though I have never found it hard to read the very clear and bright display of my ThermoPop. I do, however, make sure I’m very careful when washing the probe, as to not splash or submerge the display.
I will add that if you are planning to use this tool while barbecuing often, it might be very clumsy and impossible to hold the ThermoPop with a heat protective glove or mitten over the grill. In this case, the Thermapen ONE (or a probe thermometer from Thermoworks) is a better choice, though you could just move your food away from the heat for a few seconds, too.
Overall, this is one of the more rare cases where I find going the cheaper route to be the better deal. Usually in the world of consumer culinary goods, there are stark differences between the less expensive version and the top-of-the-line item that make spending the extra money worth it. But in the case of the ThermoPop vs Thermapen, the ThermoPop does everything it needs to do and more and will keep you very content for years to come. I would completely recommend the ThermoPop over any other low-cost culinary thermometer on the market.