Monday, July 4, 2011

Master Forge Wireless Thermometer

Remote probe thermometers are a vital tool for barbecuing and roasting large cuts of meat. Unlike instant read thermometers, these units stay in the meat during the cook and give you constant readings of the internal temperature.

Unfortunately, the hail storm at the end of April broke my drawer containing my remote probe units and all of them were ruined by the rain. I recently purchased my first replacement, a Master Forge Wireless Thermometer (Model0023557). Master Forge is Lowe's Home Improvement Stores' brand of grills and grilling accessories. I purchased it for $29.99 which is about $10 more than the usual wired models I have bought in the past.

Here's what you get for $30.
So far I have used it about 28 service hours. I have used it for bbq and roasting pork butts, brisket, chicken, and beef roasts. It is early but I have formed some initial impressions of this unit. 

  • It registers accurate temps. I double check with my Thermapen at the end of cooking.
  • It works within the 100ft range advertised. I can leave my grill and get readings on the receiver anywhere in my house, even on the second floor.
  • It has a braided wire lead to the probe. The plain braided leads be used in higher cooking temps. Several cheaper units have plastic or rubber sheaths around the cable but those are typically limited to cooking temps below 400f.
  • The pre-programmed settings are useless to me, I just use the manual programming mode to set the target temps. For example, the lowest preprogrammed target for pork is 160f. That is pork dust if you are doing a pork loin.
  • Battery life is okay so far.
  • I like the styling and size of the unit. The downside is that it is the size and shape of a smart phone so be careful not to try to answer your thermometer when your phone rings :)
Love the portability of the wireless receiver.
This seems to be a good unit and I am satisfied with it so far.  It works as promoted.

For about $5 dollars more and plus shipping, I could have bought a Maverick ET-73, the gold standard for remote probe thermometers. That unit includes a dual probe so you can monitor the meat temp AND the cooking temp. I'll get one of those too, it was just easier to buy the Master Forge unit since it was readily available at Lowes.

UPDATE:  I have gone through two of these units and found they aren't durable.  Both have developed quirks, such as displaying some temps as Celsius when the actual temperature shown is actually in Fahrenheit, display blanking out, and locking up.  Others have reported not being able to get any support for this unit in terms of replacement parts or assistance despite it being Lowes store brand.  I would recommend that you look at other units than the Master Forge. 

15 comments:

  1. I checked the Master Forge out on line, but it had bad reviews from users. Did you hear about the new Polder ET-372?

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  2. My remote temp sensor is not as elaborate as yours, but it gets the job done. I hated the "instant" read thermo. First, it was not instant; second, it was not accurate.

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  3. @ Vickie: You calling me a techie geek? ;)

    @ Rod: Actually I had not, I was in Lowes, saw it and bought it because I needed one. Just read them, wow. Guess I got lucky since all of theirs died on first use. I kept the receipt and if it dies, I'll be taking it back.

    @ Stephen: Instant reads can be great. The Taylor Weekend Warrior and the Thermapen both have less than 6 second read times and are highly accurate. But a lot of them are junk!

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  4. What a great thermometer for the price Chris. Looks so high tech in your pocket. Hope you are having a great Independence Day.
    Sam

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  5. I didn't even know things like this existed. You chefs are a geeky bunch!

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  6. Given the fact that my dad hates getting off the couch to walk the twenty feet to the grill...I think he needs this. Although in reality, he probably needs that twenty feet of cardiovascular activity more.

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  7. I love it! I think I might have to stop at Lowes on my way home from work today!!!

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  8. I have a wireless talking thermometer. It has a female voice and I have it set to speak French. I do not speak French but it sounds sexy.

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  9. Like Rod, I checked the reviews online (not good). I think you lucked out with yours, Chris! I love the idea of a remote probe, so I am going to do a little research before buying one. Thanks for this post!


    Kim in MD

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  10. Hi,

    It is bad News that the hail storm at the end of April broke my drawer containing my remote probe units.............

    Thanks,
    wireless thermometer reviews

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  11. Too bad they don't stand behind their product. No longer displaying temperature after less than a year of use. Calling Master Forge "we no longer carry parts for that. Contact your Lowe's store." Think I will be happy not to donate to the Lowe's crap fest again.

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  12. @tc That is a disappointing response from them and a strong argument for companies like Maverick, Thermoworks, and Accurite. I'll try to contact Lowes and update the post about that.

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  13. Lowe's is good at replacing products that are not functioning properly. They replaced my Master Built electric smoker after 1 1/2 years use due to smoke leaking out around door seal.

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  14. Bought one yesterday, 21st April, at my local Lowe's. Model SBQ-5491-CU (Item #0245256) The unit works as advertized with one major exception: it's not accurate at temperatures above ambient. Before using it in a 2-3 hour smoke, it compared it's reading to an Extech Easy View 11A thermometer with type K thermocouple. At room temp, the Master Forge was generally within 1-2 degrees of the Extech. When tested in a mug of boiling water, the Master Forge read consistently 10-12 degrees F below the Extech, even taking into account a slower response time for the Master Forge instrument. During the cook, it continued to read 10 or so degrees below the Extech. Both probes were located exactly in the same location, held in place with the same clip.

    Maybe I got a bad one-off. Be sure to check it against another, reliable thermometer before using it.

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