Review – Thermapen V4:
After a thorough testing process, it’s finally time for: Review – Thermapen V4.
Way back in 2013 when I bought my Weber Kettle and Weber Smokey Mountain, I knew that I needed a thermometer to check the temperature of the food to ensure it wasn’t under cooked or overcooked. With a bit of research it became clear that the preferred choice amongst the BBQ community was the Thermapen V3.
Why pay more?
There were far cheaper thermometers available so why were people paying more for the Thermapen?
- Quality: Built and tested by hand in the UK.
- Accuracy: Each Thermapen is shipped with it’s own calibration certificate.
- Speed: Fast read and display of food temperature within three seconds.
- Hygiene: The Biomaster case contains silver based particles to reduce bacteria growth.
The fast read and display of food temperature is important – to check the temperature of the food you are cooking you will need to open the lid of your grill and when you do that it can cause a temperature fluctuation, either adding time to a low and slow cook or causing a spike in temperature on a ceramic grill. As you will check the temperature of the meat in a few places, the quicker you can do it and then bring the lid down the better. This is one of the key areas the Thermapen excels against cheaper thermometers.
Takes the guesswork out of cooking:
I bought my Thermapen V3 back in June 2013 for £42 and have used it for the majority of my cooks ever since. It’s been a key tool for making sure my food has been cooked enough, but also to make sure it’s not overcooked and dried out.
One of the myths thrown around about British BBQ is that you will eat burnt sausages and burgers or get food poisoning from under cooked chicken. There is a lot more to British BBQ than burgers, sausages and chicken but if we play along with that perception then the Thermapen is a key tool to avoid under cooking the chicken and poisoning your guests. Cook the burgers and sausages a little differently and they won’t be black on the outside and raw in the middle but, again, the Thermapen will help you cook them to the correct and safe temperature.
This is my green Thermapen V3, it’s never far from reach when I am cooking.
The temperature probe folds out and rotates 180 degrees from it’s closed position with temperature readings possible as soon as the screen lights up (normally once the probe has been moved out from the closed position a short way).
Fast forward five years and my Thermapen V3 has seen a lot of action but is still on it’s original set of batteries!
I have seen a few folk using the Thermapen V4 so when ETI offered me a Thermapen V4 I was keen to give it a try.
When the Thermapen V4 arrived, it came with a handy wall mount which I placed right next to my grills:
It was quite funny but I was obviously so attached to my V3 that it took me a few weeks to actually use the V4 but once I made that move it’s taken over all temperature checking duties ever since.
So, let’s have a look at the V4. It looks similar to the V3 doesn’t it?
Screen looks similar as well.
V3 / V4 comparison:
They are quite similar in size, the V4 is slightly longer and slightly thicker too:
- V3 (Green): 19mm x 47mm x 153mm
- V4 (Blue): 19mm x 50mm x 157mm
The display on the V4 looks a bit smaller than on the V3:
- V3 (Green): 46mm x 20mm
- V4 (Blue): 35mm x 25mm
When the screen is on the V4 looks plenty big enough though.
Two major differences with the V4 over the V3:
1: The screen rotates depending how you are holding it. The photo below shows the screen rotated 90 degrees but it also rotates right round so left handed people can use it and see the screen too.
2: The screen is backlit. I have lost track of how many times I have been cooking in the dark (Autumn and Winter) and checking the Thermapen screen with the torch on my phone! The problem is solved on the V4 with a backlit screen. There is a light sensor built in that only activates the back light if required which is handy as it saves battery power.
|Thermapen V3||Thermapen V4|
|Size:||19mm x 47mm x 153mm||19mm x 50mm x 157mm|
|Display:||46mm x 20mm||35mm x 25mm|
|Time to display temperature:||Up to 3 seconds||Up to 3 seconds|
|Battery life:||1,500 hours||3,000 hours (100 hours with backlight)|
|Battery:||2x 3v CR2032 Batteries||1x AAA battery|
|Temperature Range:||-49.9C to 299.9C||-49.9C to 299.9C|
|Guarantee:||2 years||2 years|
|Water resistance:||IP65 Water Resistant (With boot)||IP66/67 Water Proof|
V4 in Action:
This was a chicken cook, aiming for 75c. Should have washed the charcoal off my hands before I took the picture!
Pork Loin cook – aiming for 60c.
Steaks, aiming for 55c (Medium Rare).
It says a lot about the quality of the Thermapen V3 and it’s importance in my cooks that it took me a while to switch over to the V4, but the V4 is now used in all my cooks.
The addition of a backlight is great, it’s light outside most evenings at the moment but it will be a big help on the darker nights. No more scrambling for the phone torch!
The addition of a rotational screen is also a big help, saves me twisting my head round to read the screen!
Is it worth upgrading from a V3 to a V4? That’s a tricky one as the V3 is a cracking bit of kit. If you are cooking in the evenings then it’s worth it for the backlight. I was looking at buying another Thermapen so one could live in the kitchen because quite often I couldn’t find mine in the BBQ hut as it had been brought inside. Buying a V4 for BBQ and bringing the V3 inside makes a lot of sense.
If you don’t have a Thermapen or you want to upgrade from a cheap probe which one should you buy? Probably the V4 for the backlight and rotational screen. If £64.80 for the V4 is too much then the V3 is cheaper at £51.60 but Thermapen regularly have clearance sales on discontinued colours. The orange V3 is currently £36 on their site which is a bargain.
Either way, whether it’s a V3 or a V4, get one of them. They are more expensive than cheaper Chinese kit but they are quality items, made in the UK and built to last. I consider them an essential piece of kit for anyone grilling or smoking.
If you want to buy a Thermapen V4 click on the picture below:
If you want to buy a Thermapen V3 click on the picture below:
Thermapen can be found on the following Social Media Accounts: