Big Wayner Reviews the ThermoWorks TW8060

Several weeks ago, I published a review of the ThermoWorks TW8060 as reviewed by Shane Draper of Draper’s BBQ.  This has easily been one of my most  viewed blog posts thus far, and it is definitely a must-read!  Shane paid very close attention to every facet of the product in testing it out.  When I did my test cook using Socks’ Love Rub, it was a perfect time to review the ThermoWorks TW8060 myself!

A huge thank you to Jesse Black and the fine folks at ThermoWorks for sending me the item to review!  (Image below is courtesy of ThermoWorks)

Physical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 4.8″ x 2.4″ x 1.2″
  • Batteries Used: 3 x AAA
  • Battery Usage: 10 continuous hours

The look and feel of the device is very functional — it fits the feel of a high quality monitoring device.  It is not very heavy, but it does not feel like a cheaply made device.  The unit has six buttons on the front (all clearly labeled in terms of its different functionalities), and it has an adequately sized backlit display.

The unit itself has two channels so as to display temperatures from two different sources.  You’ll notice that the connection points for channels look different than your typical connection points (which usually resemble a 3.5mm headphone jack).

TW8060 Connector Points (pic courtesy of Shane Draper)

TW8060 Connector Points (pic courtesy of Shane Draper)

The reason for the variance in connector style is that this unit uses a miniature Type K Thermocouple.  According to ThermoWorks, using a thermocouple offers more advantages than using a thermistor (what is usually used in the 3.5mm headphone style jacks).  Some of these advantages include the ability to measure a wider range of temperatures, product durability, and resistance to water and water elements — all of which combine to allow the TW8060 to be used in a wider range of situations.

For those of you interested in the differences in thermocouples and thermistors, you can look at articles on Wikipedia for each respective technology. Generally speaking, thermistors are made of ceramics and polymers and offer a degree of accuracy within a relatively narrow temperature range.  Thermocouples, however, are made of two different conductors (metal alloys) that allow for degrees of accuracy over a wider range of temperatures.  One of the noted challenges for thermocouples is the ability to limit error deviation to under 1 degree Celsius.  ThermoWorks reflects this by offering the following accuracy statements for the TW8060:

  • -328 to -148°F: ±0.2% reading + 2°F
  • -148 to 2372°F: ±0.1% reading + 1.4°F

So as you can see, the TW8060 can handle a wide range of temperatures.  Although if your cooker ever gets to 2372°F, then we need to talk…

Usage

Unfortunately, the TW8060 does not ship with any probes — they must be purchased separately.  For this review, though, I received two probes to use.

On this cook, I was cooking two pork butts and a rack of beef ribs.  I used this unit to measure internal temperature of one of the pork butts and the cooking area where the pork was located, and I used my iGrill (review can be found here) to monitor internal temperature of the other pork butt.

TW8060 and the iGrill, side by side

I ran the alligator clip probe through the smokestack of my Bandera smoker and clipped it on to the grate.  The other probe (along with the probe from the iGrill) was run through the door.  Using this device helped me realize that thermometer built in to the door of my smoker…  sucks.  Plain and simple.  I had a 50 degree variance between what the door mounted thermometer said and the temperature measured by the TW8060 (±25 degrees).

Overall, I was very pleased with how the TW8060 operated (and I did cook what my wife deemed as the best pork butt I’ve done yet).  I did have some observations, however…

  • As Shane noted in his review, there is no stand that ships with the unit (although a tripod is available as an accessory for purchase).
  • The cables for the probes are long.  Very long!  While it worked great for running the alligator clip probe down into the cooker, the length of the smokehouse probe got in my way at times as I had to get in and out of the cooking chamber.
  • I would love, Love, LOVE for there to be some way to remotely monitor temperatures with this unit like there is with the iGrill.  Maybe not necessarily through use of an iPhone/iPad app, but maybe with a secondary receiver unit.
  • Price may be an issue.  A casual backyard BBQer may balk a little bit at the price point (ranging from $69 for just the unit itself to $163 for the TW8060 high temp kit — includes the unit, an armored smokehouse probe with a range of up to 660 degrees, and the high temp alligator clip probe).  However, there is no denying the quality and durability of the product.

All in all, I was very pleased with this product.  ThermoWorks has a definite winner on their hands with this unit, and I would highly recommend it if you are looking to take your BBQ skills to the next level.

The ThermoWorks TW8060 is available to purchase at http://www.thermoworks.com/products/handheld/TW8060.html.  On this page you can purchase just the meter itself ($69), a TW8060 Kit ($129 — includes the smokehouse probe and a crocodile clip probe for measuring ambient temperature), or the TW8060 High Temp Kit ($169 — includes an armored smokehouse probe and the high temp alligator clip probe).