At the beginning of September, ThermoWorks announced the release of the latest member of the Thermapen family — the Thermapen Mk4. Soon thereafter I was able to acquire one for review, and I have definitely put it through its paces. Here is what I found:
The Thermapen Mk4 takes the Classic Thermapen and adds some long-requested features while retaining aspects that make the Thermapen brand one of the most respected in the industry.
- Auto-rotating display.
- Auto-sensing backlit display that will turn on/off on request or in low light conditions.
- Motion-sensing sleep/wake mode functionality
- Configurability of degree resolution/temperature measurement unit/sleep mode.
- Increased battery life.
At an initial glance, the specs for the Thermapen Mk4 and the Classic Thermapen appear the same. However, there are some differences that should be highlighted:
- While the Classic Thermapen is water-resistant, the Thermapen Mk4 uses IP66/67 enclosures, making it waterproof up to 1m submersion and waterproof against water jet sprays. If you’re interested in what the numbers mean, a good explanation can be found here.
- The Thermapen Mk4 now uses one AAA battery instead of the two CR2032 batteries used in the Classic Thermapen.
- The Classic Thermapen has a 10 minute auto-shutoff that can be disabled, and the Thermapen Mk4 has a configurable auto-sleep mode that ranges from 10 seconds to 3 minutes.
- With the battery change, the Thermapen Mk4 touts a 3,000 hour life before the battery has to be changed (note: this battery lifespan assumes that the backlight is not being used). The Classic Thermapen can be used up to 1,500 hours before batteries need to be changed.
- The probe on the Thermapen Mk4 is 0.2 inches shorter than the Classic Thermapen (4.3 inches long versus 4.5 inches).
- Also as a result of the battery change, you will need a small Phillips head screwdriver to take off the battery compartment door and access the area for changing sleep mode/unit of measurement/etc. (located on the end of the Thermapen opposite the probe).
I have been using the Thermapen Mk4 since receiving the unit in September, and I am happy to say that it works as advertised. The first thing I noticed when using it is that even though the weight is the same as the Classic Thermapen, it is noticeably heavier with the the AAA battery in it. Other than that, it performs just like the Classic Thermapen. The rotating display is handy, and the backlight functionality is very useful whenever I’m cooking in the wee hours of the night.
The change of battery type should prove to be a benefit overall. In addition to providing extra running time, consumers are more familiar with the AAA battery type (even though the CR2032 can be found at most retailers).
Should I Buy It?
Do I recommend the Mk4? Absolutely! Should you buy the Mk4? It depends. With the introduction of the Mk4 at a price of $99, ThermoWorks has dropped the price of the Classic Thermapen to $79. You get the same temperature measurement performance in both models (accurate readings within one degree Fahrenheit in 3 seconds or less), so this is not an issue here. It comes down to whether or not the additional features in the Mk4 are worth the price increase.
(NOTE: The links to purchase the Thermapen Mk4 and Classic Thermapen are affiliate links. Purchasing through those links will help to support Big Wayner’s BBQ Blog.)