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New Member - Thermopen MK4 vs Thermopen IR

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    New Member - Thermopen MK4 vs Thermopen IR

    I am happy to join the pit from Nashville. I have been cooking my way through Meathead's book over the last couple of years which has really elevated my cooking. I started smoking on the cheap with my Pit Barrel (which I love), but I am looking to start upgrading my cooker repertoire in the future.

    Question for the group - Thermoworks has a sitewide sale going on right now for 20% off one item. I have been using a thermopop, but i am ready to take a step up. I mostly grill and smoke on the pit barrel but have been experimenting more with cast iron cooking both at home and for camping. Would a combo thermometer like the thermapen IR be helpful, or would it be better to go with the MK4 and add a dedicated infrared thermometer later.

    Thanks in advance

    Welcome to the Pitmaster Club! Happy to have you here, thank you for your support. Boy, that's a tough call. I have a separate IR and absolutely love it, but that was before they came out w/ the T-pen IR combo unit. Hard to say what I would have done in your shoes. Keep in mind, the Thermapen IR combo only comes in white and is not waterproof or backlit, if those matter to you.

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      Welcome to The Pit Ryan. The combo tool will save some $$, but by buying the separate tools, you will have two tools.


        I use an IR gun and a thermapen constantly. Combining them would be nice but what holds me back is that the combo one is not water resistant like the thermapen. Don’t know if I’d end up killing it.

        Also the mk4 uses alkaline standard batteries instead of button lithiums.
        Last edited by Polarbear777; May 16, 2020, 09:02 PM.


          I'm not the one to really ask, but I would say a dedicated infrared, and the MK4 as a stand alone thermo. I have them all. Probably one of the very first to have the Thermopen IR when it came out. But alas, mine to this day is broken. Ha, this reminds me to call Thermoworks and see if they will warranty something this old! Funny, the IR portion of my IR works flawlessly. The temp probe is dead and has been since I opened it. My fault for not sending it back. Just lazy. But it don't have the reach of your more dedicated IR thermos like a Fluke (best), or others. The little IR works great for temping a hot plate or something you can hold it directly over, but reaching deep into a pizza oven is not its forte.

          I agree with RonB. Two tools.

          Some is good. More is better.


          • Polarbear777
            Polarbear777 commented
            Editing a comment
            I didn’t know the range was limited. That’s a big deal.

          • lonnie mac
            lonnie mac commented
            Editing a comment
            Ah, I probably said that wrong. I don't "know" if it's as good as a more pro IR like a Fluke or others. Part of the problem is that it has no laser tracker. So you never really know what the heck you are really pointing it at, such as at a steak comp, and your are trying to not only read the temp of your Grill Grates, but the temp at the very tippy top of your Grill Grate rail. My Fluke can do that.The Thermo IR is more point and shoot. But a dang useful tool to play with.

          • Ryan D
            Ryan D commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks lonnie! this was the insight i was looking for. You should call thermoworks. The first thermopop they sent me never turned on. 1 call and i had a new one in a few days. Their customer service was really good.

          Welcome from Colorado. Personally, I’d keep the two separate. You’ll use the Thermapen 98% of the time and the IR for things like griddle temps and to see if you can find the cat in total darkness.


            They had to make compromises when they made the Thermopen/IR I would forgo it and get one of each.


              Greetings from South Africa


                Welcome from Virginia!


                  This question got my curiosity. I have a thermal gun. But I really never used it on my cooks. Ijust don't see the added value of them. I never fry in oil. And on a hot plate it is easy to see the oil heating up as it starts to crawl and move. And just a drop of water or a little onion chip will boil instantly. SO for me I really want to hear where people use their IR meters. And maybe get some usage of my meter.


                  • surfdog
                    surfdog commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I use mine for griddle & pizza stone temps. The latter being the most significant use.

                    If I just need the griddle “hot,” I don’t worry about and do like you do. OTOH, I don’t want it TOO hot if doing something like pancakes though.

                  • klflowers
                    klflowers commented
                    Editing a comment
                    On the griddle.

                  • SmokeyGator
                    SmokeyGator commented
                    Editing a comment
                    On the griddle, when cooking with cast iron, getting a rough idea how hot my gas grill is, checking the temperature of pizza stones, and so on.

                    Also to check the temperature of the AC outflow to make sure the “delta t” is good (should be 30 degree drop more or less, but not colder than 45 or so). Not sure how that works out in Celsius. Also they are good for checking to see oh warm or cold air leaks out of your windows, requiring caulking.

                  Welcome from Maryland


                    When looking for an IR gun, be sure to get one whose range exceeds 700-800°F, common searing temps. The ThermoWorks one exceeds 1000°F in range. The first IR Gun I bought (from Lowe's) did not go over 500° as I recall. I gave it away.

                    The MK4 is worth the investment. Backlit display is more useful than you would think, as is the motion-sensing on/off, and the auto rotating display. But for me, the waterproof feature alone makes it worth the extra bucks over the Classic Thermapen.



                      Welcome from Minnesota, IMO buy both as already stated by other Pit Members.


                        Welcome from south Texas! Looks like you have a consensus here already.


                          Welcome to the Pit from Dallas! I have an infrared thermometer and find it helpful whenever cooking in a pan indoor or outdoors or when using grillgrates. I use a thermopop and sometimes wish it was faster.
                          Last edited by LA Pork Butt; May 17, 2020, 11:26 AM.



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