Hands On Review: ThermoWorks ChefAlarm Thermometer and Timer

thermoworks chefalarm review

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.

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Hands on Review ChefAlarm + Pro-Series Temperature Probe

In the boxClose upBack up the boxUnboxed, side by side with the included carrying caseBack of the ChefAlarmFront of the ChefAlarmPacked up in the included caseFront of the closed caseThe backlight, well… backlightingOverview of features, Click to EnlargeThe ChefAlarm with the optional Pro-Series Needle probeThe ChefAlarm comes with a clip for the thermometer probeInstructions Page 1,  Click to EnlargeInstructions Page 2, Click to Enlarge

A Look at Two ChefAlarm Probe Options

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.

ChefAlarm Accuracy Tests

|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.  My Thermapen is showing an ice water bath at 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.

ChefAlarm Response Time Tests

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.

Using the ChefAlarm to Track Temps in Compatible Mash Tuns!

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.  This will not work with coolers that have screw-type lids.

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.

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Make sure the components you use are compatible and rated for your intended application.  Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application.  Always read and follow manufacturer directions. tag:lnksfxd review:chefalarm tag:tpr

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