ThermoWorks ChefAlarm Review
When everyone and their mothers say something is the best, especially on the internet, it's easy to get a little suspicious. After we took ThermoWorks' ChefAlarm for a spin, we couldn't disagree with the world wide web of meat thermometer users. We recommend this turkey thermometer for most people, despite the price tag, because of its accuracy, build quality, wide array of features, and overall ease of use.
How Does It Work?
Let's talk buttons, shall we? The ChefAlarm has a few tricks up its sleeve, so it has more buttons than the average meat thermometer.
The back of the display has a dedicated On/Off button, a Celsius/Fahrenheit button, and a "CAL" button for calibration. On the front, the "HR" (hour), "MIN" (minute), and "CLEAR" buttons are exclusively for setting a countdown timer. The hour and minute buttons only go up, so the clear button is handy for us butterfingers out there.
The "TIMER" button starts and stops a stopwatch. Pressing "SET TEMP" once will allow you to set a low temperature alarm and hitting it a second time will let you set a high temperature alarm. The "ALARM" button lets you turn the alarms on and off.
Finally, we have our obvious buttons: "VOLUME" (yes, silent is an option!), a light bulb illustration for the backlight, and two big up and down buttons for setting the temperatures.
- The ChefAlarm was the only thermometer we came across that gives you temperatures to a tenth of a degree. You won't really need this level of accuracy for your bird, but we found it helpful when calibrating the boiling point (211.1°F at our elevation).
- The thermometer is designed well. It looks great, it feels great, and it fits in one hand, despite being one of the larger thermometers we looked at. It also comes in nine different colors, allowing it to blend into your kitchen decor.
- The braided stainless steel cable is heat safe up to 700°F and has a flexible fray guard on both ends. This attention to detail can help to extend the life of your probe.
- ThermoWorks also sells a variety of probes that can not only serve as backups, but have specialized features for different uses.
- The thermometer is easy to place within reach. Unlike other thermometers with kickstands, the screen on the display snaps up so you can read it on your counter. When flat, two Herculean magnets can keep the display secured on your oven or fridge.
- The screen is backlit and big enough to display your temperatures and timer. The easier it is for you to glance at your thermometer, the less time you have to spend thinking about your turkey.
- This thermometer comes with case! In rare form for a corded digital thermometer, the ChefAlarm comes with a sturdy case that houses the display, cord, and the included pot clip. Corded probes, especially stainless steel ones, are generally hard to store and poor storage conditions can affect their lifespan.
- You can set a low alarm. Though this is more important for making things like yogurt or ice cream, low alarms can be useful when cooling foods down or dealing with wonky ovens.
What Could Be Better?
- There are a lot of numbers to look at when you start using the ChefAlarm. This can be initially overwhelming, but after playing with it for a couple of minutes, we found that the learning curve was fairly intuitive.
- You need to hold down the On/Off button in order to turn off the display. Hitting the button while the thermometer is on just turns on the backlight momentarily. Considering there's a light button on the front of the display, this function felt a bit redundant.
- The price tag. As the second most expensive thermometer we're recommending, the ChefAlarm's cost might be tougher to swallow than dry turkey. We still believe it's a great investment that will help you cook many family dinners.
Warranty and Customer Support
ThermoWorks products can only be returned if unused and bought directly from the manufacturer. As long as you buy your Thermoworks product directly from the company or through an authorized dealer*, however, you're still eligible to receive repair and replacement support under their two-year warranty.
*Note: Thermoworks products are not available on Amazon.