SDB® Digital Cooking Probe Thermometer

This review has been updated. See below for my updated comments.

Original Review: If you’ve ever seen cooking shows like Good Eats or especially America’s Test Kitchen, you know they use one of those fancy instant read thermometers called the Thermapen to take quick, accurate temperature measurements of their food. I’ve always wanted one of those, but they can be pretty pricey. I have a couple other probe thermometers that work okay, but I’ve wanted to get one of those cool instant read models like they use on TV.

This is not the Thermapen, and it’s not really an “instant” read thermometer either, but it’s a pretty functional, reasonably fast and – in my unscientific tests – seemingly pretty accurate alternative.

Let’s talk design first. It’s a nice size with a spring-loaded foldable probe for easy storage. It takes one AAA battery and actually comes with two in the package! It’s a nice bright orange color so it will be easily recognizable in a kitchen drawer. It has two nice, firm buttons – one for on/off and another for holding the temperature so you can remove the probe from the food and still take your reading. The unit is even magnetic so you can stick it to the fridge, and features a meat temperature guide, though I’m not sure how accurate the given temps on this chart are to current U.S. food guidelines.

So how well does it function? Pretty good. Again, it’s not an “instant” read but it’s pretty fast. Comparing it to my current go-to probe thermometer in a variety of foods, it was usually within a degree, most often within a third of a degree, so it seems to me to be fairly accurate. In a pot of boiling water, it registered 213 degrees. If you were using it in candy making or other applications where super-precise measurements were critical, you may want to test it in a pot of boiling water to see how accurate a reading you get and adjust accordingly.

Overall, I consider this a pretty good budget alternative to those pricey instant read thermometers.

Review Update 11/3/16: After only three uses, this product has become useless, if not thoroughly dead. Now when I open up the probe, if the screen appears at all, it registers funky readings then blanks out with horizontal lines across the screen. By funky numbers I’m talking -50F when I’m holding it out in room temperature air, but even those funky readings only stay on the screen for a fraction of a second before the screen blanks. I’ve attempted several things to perhaps salvage the device – new batteries, finessing the probe’s unfolded position, toggling the C/F switch – but all to no avail. I am thoroughly disappointed in this purchase and would not at all recommend purchasing it.

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