An instant-read thermometer is one of the most important parts of any good barbecue setup but it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. While there are plenty of high-end thermometers you can spend a ton of money on, there are also some really great options that won't break the bank.
The TP15 digital meat thermometer by Thermopro is a great example of a high-quality, fast reading thermometer that can be had for less than the price of most movie tickets. With an easy-to-read display, a simple, classic design, and super quick temperature readings, the TP15 is a great choice for anyone who is getting into barbecue or looking for a great backup thermometer.
Thermopro TP15 Digital Meat Thermometer.
What We Liked:
- Backlit display
- Low cost
- Hold function
What We Didn't Like:
- No probe cover
- Uses button batteries
Look and Feel:
While many of the most popular Thermopro models are folding probe style thermometers, the TP15 is of the classic probe style thermometer design. With a long stationary probe and a smallish rectangular readout/control panel the TP15 meat thermometer is has a pretty straightforward and familiar design.
The display is a small rectangle about the size of a small pack of gum. The body of the display is bright red with white trim and the back of the thermometer has a magnetic backing for easy storage, as well as a convenient suggested doneness chart. The battery cover is a small circle and can be opened with a coin or a screwdriver.
The TP15, like a lot of smaller thermometers, takes a button-style battery, which can be frustrating especially when the thermometer battery runs out because they aren't necessarily something you'd keep on hand. Luckily, the battery life is pretty strong and as long as you turn the thermometer off after you are done it should last for a long while before it needs to be changed.
In addition to the magnets on the back of the thermometer, the back of the body is fashioned into a circular kitchen hook so you can hang the thermometer directly from a hook on your smoker or somewhere convenient in your kitchen space.
On the front of the thermometer body, you'll find the digital readout, power button, backlight button as well as a calibration/hold button. The power button doubles as a temperature format selector to switch between Fahrenheit and Centigrade.
The calibration feature is a really convenient function that gives you the ability to return your TP15 to factory calibration if it happens to lose accuracy over time. While the TP15 is incredibly accurate out of the box, all thermometers can lose their edge over years of repeated use. To re-calibrate the TP15 simply place it in a glass of ice water and follow the instructions in the user's manual. If you misplace your manual the calibration instructions can be found on the Thermopro website.
The probe itself is longer than most fixed probe thermometers which makes it easy to get to the center of even the larges protein. Made from food-grade stainless steel, the probe can handle high heat situations from the oven to the grill or your smoker. It can also be used for brewing beer, deep-frying, or candy making. Just make sure to clean it well before using it in a new recipe or application.
- Built-in calibration function
- IP6X Waterproof Rating
- Reading Time: 3-4 seconds
- Temperature Range: -58 °F ~ 572°F (-50 °C ~ 300 °C)
- Power Auto-off Time: 10 mins of no use
Using the Thermopro TP15.
I recently spent a Sunday afternoon turning a bone-in pork shoulder into a really special batch of North Carolina chopped pork and I decided it would be a great opportunity to put the TP15 instant-read meat thermometer through its paces.
I rubbed the pork shoulder with a really awesome pork rub I like, got the smoker up to temp, and relaxed while my pork butt began the slow process of becoming barbecue.
One of the building blocks of good barbecue is keeping the pit closed. While it can be tempting to take a peek at your product while it smokes, this leads to temperature variation which slows down cooking time. Even, consistent temperatures create better bark and better barbecue. This is why instant-read meat thermometers are a key component to any decent barbecue setup.
When you open the lid you want the thermometer to read as fast as possible so you can close the pit and keep that temperature consistent. Over the course of the day, I took a number of readings with the Thermopro TP15 cooking thermometer, and what I found was a super snappy response time. On average it took around 3.5s for the reading to stabilize, but the initial reading was usually only 2-5 degrees of the final stabilized reading.
The precise sensor found in the TP15 probe is incredibly sensitive which allows the thermometer to almost instantly ready the internal temperature of whatever you're cooking. Fast readings = better barbecue.
The TP15 has a very long probe with a thin tip which makes it easy to get it deep into the center of larger proteins like pork shoulder or brisket. I inserted the TP15 into the shoulder right along the blade and only needed to go about halfway to reach the direct center of a 10lb pork butt.
Overall, I found the display easy to read with large, dark numbers. The backlight is easy to use but really doesn't produce a ton of light. The muted yellow light seems to leak out of the sides of the display, but it is more than sufficient to see the temp reading in the low light of your pit or if your barbecue happens to run into the nighttime hours.
One really nice feature enjoyed immensely was the waterproof construction of the TP15. Grilling or barbecue can be a messy business especially if you find yourself mopping or readjusting your proteins by hand. Your utensils tend to get sticky, and the ability to run this thermometer directly under running water thanks to its IPX6 waterproof rating is really convenient.
The biggest feature I wish thermopro had addressed in the design of this thermometer was the lack of a probe cover. Folding probe smoker thermometers like the TP18 or TP19 have no need for a probe cover thanks to their design, fixed probe thermometers like the TP15 on the other hand can always benefit from a protective cover to help keep the probe safe when it's stored in a drawer or a knife kit if you're on the go. While certainly not a deal-breaker it would have been a nice addition.
Should you buy the Thermopro TP15 Digital Waterproof Instant Read Meat Thermometer?
While there are certainly flashier, and more expensive instant-read thermometers on the market, if all you need is a quick temperature reading, and don't want to break the bank, the Thermopro TP15 should absolutely be on your list.
The TP15 is easy to use, it's inexpensive, and it does a really good job taking temperature readings quickly and efficiently. This is a great thermometer for anyone who is new to barbecue or grilling, or if you want to add a backup thermometer or two to your setup. I always like to have a backup thermometer on hand, especially if I'm at a competition, you never know when your thermometer might give up the ghost and leave you without a great way to check the doneness of your product.
At the end of the day, the TP15 makes it easy to add precision and accuracy to your cooking while keeping the price tag as low as possible. It may not be the flashiest option on the market but it gets the job done.