Hands On: ChefAlarm Thermometer and Timer

chefalarmreview

The ChefAlarm Thermometer and Timer Combo from ThermoWorks has some unique features, including the ability to set both high and low temperature alarms.  Other features include: Constant Minimum and Maximum Temperature Displays, User Calibration, Adjustable Alarm Volume, Backlighting and the unit is Splash Proof.  All of this lends itself to making this thermometer and timer combination an amazing tool for homebrewers.

Here’s a Hands on Look at the ChefAlarm along with the optional Pro-Series Temperature Probe.


In the box


Close up


Back up the box


Unboxed, side by side with the included carrying case


Back of the ChefAlarm


Front of the ChefAlarm


Packed up in the included case


Front of the closed case


The backlight, well… backlighting


Overview of features


The ChefAlarm with the optional Pro-Series Needle probe


The ChefAlarm comes with a clip for the thermometer probe


Instructions Page 1


Instructions Page 2 – Click to Zoom


The Pro-Series Needle Probe in the package


Top right of the front of the package.  This probe is Immersible.


Back of the Pro-Series Needle Probe Package


The Pro-Series Needle Probe


The included Pro-Series Temperature Probe (bottom), Side by Side with the Pro-Series Needle Probe (top) temperature probe.

What’s the difference between these two probes?

I think a description from the product page helps here “Only ThermoWorks offers the new Pro-Series Temperature Probes. Built for robust commercial use, they are more accurate, faster and more moisture-resistant than any other alarm probes. ChefAlarm comes with one Pro-Series High Temp Cooking Probe that measures to 572°F with a cable that withstands 700°F short term exposure. Coupled with a molded transition to the S.S. tube, this probe survives commercial cooking use longer than consumer probes. Replacements are still affordable. The optional Pro-Series Mini-Needle probe is a true innovation and is suitable for thin or tiny portions as well as Sous Vide cooking where the probe and cable are immersed. It reads in only 5 seconds so its great for spot checks too. Every kitchen should have at least one ChefAlarm.”

Combine that with the info on the bottom right of page 1 of the instructions sheet… “Avoid Immersion” and the top right of the Pro-Series Needle Probe Package… “Immersible”

Here’s my take on this… The Pro-Series Needle probe has a smaller (needle) probe and it also more moisture resistant.  Both probe and the cable can be immersed where only the probe portion of the included Pro-Series probe should be immersed.


Here’s the probe and part of the cable (Pro-Series Needle Probe) submersed in boiling water.

Accuracy:


|Boiling point varies based on atmospheric pressure.  For this test, my Thermapen (Hands On) shows that boiling water is about 210.9 deg F.


The ChefAlarm (with standard probe) reads 209.3 deg F.  A variance of 1.6 deg F.  That’s within the stated +/- 1.8 deg F specifications.


The ChefAlarm (with Pro-Series Needle Probe) reads 209.3 deg F.  A variance of 1.6 deg F.  That’s within the stated +/- 1.8 deg F specifications.


Ice water is a more reliable reference point.  I usually use my Top Find Vacuum Insulated Growler to make ice water for thermometer testing.  My Thermapen shows 32 deg F.


The ChefAlarm (with standard probe) reads 30.9 deg F.  A variance of 1.1 deg F.  That’s within the stated +/- 1.8 deg F specifications.


The ChefAlarm (with Pro-Series Needle Probe) reads 30.9 deg F.  A variance of 1.8 deg F.  That’s within the stated +/- 1.8 deg F specifications.


The manual says that all compatible probes should read within +/- 2 deg F out of the box.  “However, you can fine-tune the calibration for accuracy better than ±1°F with an individual probe.”.  Calibrating the probe is a simple process and is done using ice water.  Here is the ChefAlarm, after being calibrated, reading ice water perfectly using the Pro-Series Needle Probe.


Here is the ChefAlarm reading boiling water to within around 1 deg F after calibration.

Response Times:

I found the Pro-Series Needle Probe level out at right around 10 seconds when measuring 158.7 deg F water.  I used a video to determine that response time.  That’s a respectable response time, although not eerily fast like the Thermapen.

Mash Tun Use:


I am able to run the the pro-series needle probe right under the lid of my Igloo Cooler based Mash Tun.  This is a big benefit of the Seat Top style cooler.


The ThermoWorks ChefAlarm tracking mash temp like a champ.  It keeps a running high and low tally so you know what has happened over time.  It also features both high and low alarms.

The ChefAlarm from ThermoWorks is a winner in my book.  It’s combination of features and it’s accuracy make it a great choice for homebrewers.  That’s especially true if you to plan to use the alarm features for your mash tun, HLT or brew kettle.

I do recommend adding on the Pro-Series Needle Probe because the probe and cable are immersible.

ChefAlarm TX-1100

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