What Is a ThermoPop?
ThermoPop is a pocket-sized digital, instant-read food thermometer produced by ThermoWorks, a producer of a variety of temperature tools designed for both home and professional use.
More affordably priced and compact than their more sophisticated offerings, notably its cousin the ThermaPen, the ThermoPop acts as a useful and intriguing entry model in the ThermoWorks digital thermometer line up.
Design and Ease of Use
Looking something like a colorful lollipop, the ThermoPop is nicely rounded and pretty compact as far as digital thermometers go.
At just 7 inches in total length, and 1.8 inches at its widest, it is pretty easy to handle and keep around the kitchen. With its pen-like cover on you can more or less fit it into your shirt pocket if you really feel the need to show off your kitchen gadgetry, although it’s likely its display will protrude from the top and ruin your attempts at culinary fashion and accessorizing.
With the device display and casing being only about a couple inches around, most of the ThermoPop’s size is taken up by its probe.
At 4.5” long, its probe is a decent size (especially compared to other competing compact meat and food thermometers) and it makes it quite easy to plunge into a thick cut of beef for maximum accuracy or reach into a pot of water without scalding.
The probe does use a thermistor sensor, as opposed to a more expensive thermocouple sensor, which keeps the cost down but can have an effect on accuracy and speed, which we discuss later on.
The head of the unit is dominated by a sizable display. At nearly an inch wide, the ThermoPop is easy to read even in more difficult kitchen conditions. It is also backlit, which makes for easy reading if you decide to take a temperature in the back of an oven or other dark area.
The display stays on for about 10 seconds, which is a nice touch and that prevents having to needlessly take multiple readings, and interestingly the ThermoPop will rotate the readout at the button.
Press a button located on the back, the display’s temperature readout will rotate 90 degrees keeping it rightside up and easy to read as you move the device around, which is kind of cool.
Aside from being fun to play with, it can be quite useful if you have to insert the meat thermometer in an awkward position and need to read it at a glance.
The ThermoPop also remembers how the display has been rotated, which is helpful if you’re doing repeat temperature tests on the same food item, since you don’t have to keep rotating the display every time you reinsert.
Speed of Temperature Reading
The ThermoPop is actually quite fast.
In general our tests found it to take about 3 to 4 seconds to display a reading, which is in line with the manufacturer’s specifications.
Many digital food thermometers can take up to 10 seconds (or longer) to give a read out , and even the quicker, instant reads can take 7+ seconds.
Now it’s true, there are faster options out there if you’re willing to pay for them – Thermoworks itself produces some that take as little as 2 seconds.
But overall this is quite speedy, being very quick for the average user who probably is not working in a line kitchen, especially for a sub-$50 digital thermometer
Thermopop Temperature Range
The ThermoPop does actually measure a very wide range of temperatures, from -58 °F (-50°C) to 572 °F (300°C), which is far more than most meat and food thermometers in its price range.
This allows the ThermoPop to be used for a greater range of cooking purposes, making it a great choice if you’re grilling, smoking, cooking, or baking meats.
Because it can measure well over 400 °F (204 °C), this means that the ThermoPop can also be used for specialized tasks like making candy, oil frying or really pretty much anything except really high temperature cooking, like campfire cooking or some dutch oven uses.
This makes ThermoPop far more versatile in the kitchen than many other meat and food thermometers you’ll find out there, as they often max out at 400 °F (204 °C).
ThermoPop is guaranteed accurate to ±2°F(1°C),m with a slight dropoff at higher temperatures – ±4.0°F (±2°C) after 248°F (120°C).
This is pretty standard accuracy for an instant read thermometer, but on the better side of accurate for devices at this price range.
Certainly, you can get thermometers that can measure within tenths of a degree, for example thermometers with ±0.7°F (0.4°C) accuracy or even lab grade technology that can do even better than that, but those are usually far more expensive and often difficult to calibrate and use for most casual chefs or home cooking needs.
Unless you’re tempering fine chocolate or need to adhere to very precise food service codes, these are probably overkill.
In our opinion, ThermoPop’s level of accuracy isn’t really a deal breaker, especially at this price point. For day to day cooking, grilling, smoking and even for some candy work, Thermopop’s accuracy should do just fine.
Overall, the ThermoPop felt pretty solid and well made in our hands. The seals around the device were all molded in and the buttons had a pleasing and solid push to them.
The Thermopop is rated as an IP66 Enclosure, which basically means that the Thermopop has been tested and rated against dust and debris, as well as being able to stand up to powerful jets.of water.
This means it should do just fine being rinsed off or splashed with water or other liquids. In fact, we cleaned ours off in the sink with no real issue.
That said, keep in mind that, while it may be water resistant to some degree, the ThermoPop is not waterproof.
It is not rated against immersion into water or liquids, so we wouldn’t recommend dropping it into soapy water or hot oil any time soon.
Is the ThermoPop oven-safe?
No, the thermopop is not an oven-safe thermometer.
It is an instant read thermometer, it is meant to be used to take temperatures periodically before being removed.
The ThermoPop’s operating range is only rated to about 190°F (88°C) according to its manual, which means you can’t leave it in the oven, grill, smoker, or any other high heat source without it getting damaged or destroyed.
Is the ThermoPop Dishwasher Safe?
No, the ThermoPop is also not dishwasher safe.
While the ThermoPop is rated at IP66, meaning it can survive jets of water and splashes, it is not submersible in water.
And while it can probably withstand the 130-150 °F heat of a dishwasher, it’s generally not a wise idea to expose it, or any other instant read thermometer, to that kind of heat for a prolonged period of time.
In fact, the combination of high intensity water jets, harsh soaps and heat make dishwashers notoriously bad for most electronics and kitchen gadgets (as well as many knives, and higher end pans).
Instead, like many other probe thermometers, it’s probably best to just wipe it down by hand, sponging it with soapy water for example and maybe give it a gentle rinse after.
ThermoPops and Induction Cooktops
Interestingly, like most other digital thermometers (and many other electronic devices in fact) induction cooktops can cause the ThermoPop to have fluctuating temperatures or have other weird effects, like blanking out completely, due mostly to the oscillating magnetic field that affect the digital components inside.
Past years have reacted with some surprise and even panic when coming across this effect when trying to measure the temperature of a pan or pot while cooking, so it is something to be aware of.
There’s a very simple answer, however – turn off the induction stove before using your thermometer or move your food to another location.
Price: How much does a Thermopop Cost
Overall, the ThermoWorks ThermoPop costs about $35, which won’t exactly break the bank.
Is the ThermoPop worth the price?
Overall, as an instant read thermometer, we think the ThermoPop represents pretty good value for money and is a great buy.
For less than $50, it offers a very quick temperature read with decent enough accuracy for everyday users.
It can measure a far wider range of temperatures than many competitors out there, up to nearly 600°F, which gives it far more versatility in terms of cooking usage than many competitor’s products.
The ThermoPop is compact and well made, with an easy to read screen that cleverly rotates for easy viewing at the push of a button, and pretty durable as well.
From what we’ve seen, as well as the reviews of many past customers, as long as you don’t submerge it in water, pop it in the over or throw it in the dishwasher it will stand up to most kitchen and backyard uses pretty well.
That said, as with everything, the ThermoPop does have its downsides.
Like most instant read thermometers, it’s not oven safe or dishwasher safe, and because it uses a thermistor sensor, its accuracy is good but not really anything to write home about, at around ±2°F(1°C).
While this is just fine for most users who, honestly, will likely never need precision to the tenth of a degree from their instant read thermometers, there are models that offer slightly better accuracy, although they are usually slower and cost much more.
For less than $50, you probably won’t find too many instant read food thermometers that will beat the Thermopop.
Sure, you can buy models on Amazon for about the price, but they probably won’t be as fast, as accurate, as well made or be able to measure as wide a range of temperatures as the Thermopop, limiting their usefulness in the kitchen.
Whether making sure your chicken is done, your brisket just right, or even if you’re in the mood to melt a little sugar and do some candy making, the ThermoPop will help you get the job done right and just a little bit quicker.
Steph Acevado Having previously worked as a line chef for almost 5 years, Steph is our go-to expert for all things food and meal prep related and is a self-described knife nerd. When she’s not helping people learn to prepare exquisite dinners at home, she’s probably serving up some hot pockets for her twin boys or jogging with her pup Moose around her house in upstate New York.