If you want your caramel to be soft and your toffee to be crunchy, you need one important gadget: a candy thermometer.
But how do you pick the best candy thermometer? Don’t worry, we’ve done the research for you. After reviewing all the options, we think the Lavatools PT12 Javelin Digital Instant Read Candy Thermometer is the best option, but we also reviewed four other exceptional options. We will also discuss what you need to consider before buying a candy thermometer.
Both professional confectioners and at-home candy makers know that candy thermometers are an essential tool for candy making. Your candy needs to reach the exact right temperature during the cooking process. Otherwise, the texture and taste will be completely off and you will have to start from scratch.
Let’s dig into the reviews of this essential candy-making product!
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What is a Candy Thermometer?
A candy thermometer is a handy kitchen tool that is used for making jam, toffee, caramel, and other candies. Candy thermometers can read temperatures up to 400°F. This is much higher than a meat thermometer, which often only reads up to 200°F.
When making candy, you need to boil sugar to a specific temperature. This process is fun but challenging!
The temperature is extremely important in candy making. If your candy is off by just a few degrees, the entire batch can be ruined.
You can use a candy thermometer to make sure your candy gets to the exact right temperature before you remove it from the heat.
Top 5 Best Candy Thermometer Reviews
Ready to find the best candy thermometer for your candy-making needs? These are all slightly different but you can’t go wrong with any on this list! Let’s take a moment to look at these candy thermometer reviews so you can decide the best option for your kitchen.
The Lavatools PT12 Javelin Thermometer is a metal digital thermometer. The display is a 1.4″ easy-to-read screen. Once you place the probe in the candy, you will get a reading in just 3-4 seconds. This thermometer is accurate within ±0.9°F.
This digital candy thermometer also works well for meat, oil fryers, and coffee. If you don’t make candy very often, this is a great multi-purpose thermometer to have in your kitchen.
It also comes in eight different colors,including red, black, and purple, so you can select the one you like best. Additionally, this thermometer has a magnet on the back, so it can be conveniently stored on your refrigerator.
This high-quality thermometer comes with a 3-year lifetime warranty. The battery can last for 4,000+ hours of use before it needs to be replaced. This thermometer is NSF approved for home and professional use.
You will notice that the Lavatools PT12 Javelin Digital Instant Read thermometer is covered in a splash-resistant material. So, the thermometer won’t stop working if oil or other liquids splash onto it. It also has a Zeomic silver-based antimicrobial additive to stop the growth of more than 99.9% of bacteria and pathogens.
Overall, the Lavatools PT12 Javelin Digital Instant Read could be used as a professional candy thermometer. Home bakers and professional candy makers will enjoy that it is easy to read, extremely accurate, and convenient to store.
- Easy to read digital screen
- Gives reading in 3-4 seconds
- Accurate within ±0.9°F
- Magnet allows for easy storage
- Can be used for recipes other than just candy
- Some users said it took longer than 3-4 seconds to deliver the temperature reading
The Gourmia GTH9185 Digital Spatula Thermometer is a unique, but very effective, candy thermometer. You will quickly notice that this candy thermometer looks different from most others on the market. This is a 2-in-1 kitchen tool that doubles as a candy thermometer and a stirrer.
The silicone spatula can be removed to reveal the long metal probe of the candy thermometer. Simply stick this into your candy and the accurate temperature will be displayed on the digital screen. This thermometer gives a quick and accurate reading, even at high temperatures. This thermometer can read between -58°F and 572°F, which makes it ideal for candy-making.
But, you don’t have to remove the silicone spatula to get a temperature reading. As you are stirring your candy or chocolate, you can keep track of the accurate temperature on your screen.
The paddle is made from BPA-free 100% food-grade ABS plastic and silicone material. You don’t have to worry about any harmful toxins from the spatula affecting the candy you are making. The spatula is also easy to disassemble, which makes it easy to clean.
Overall, the Gourmia GTH9185 Digital Spatula Thermometer is a fun multi-purpose candy thermometer. This would make a great gift for a home baker, but it is not a professional-grade candy thermometer. It is accurate and easy to read. Plus, you can keep track of the temperature as you continue to stir your candy.
- Easy to read digital screen
- Quick and accurate temperature reading
- 2-in-1 kitchen gadget that doubles as a candy thermometer and stirrer
- Made with BPA-free and food grade materials
- Doesn’t feature a clip to rest thermometer on side of pan
- Screen can get black as it gets hot
- The handle is short
The Habor 022 Candy Thermometer is one of the best mid-range candy thermometers on the market. This thermometer has a temperature range of -58°F and 572°F, so it can reach the temperature required for making candy. The long 4.7″ probe is also great for sticking into a pot without worrying about burning your hand in the process.
This digital thermometer has an easy-to-read screen. The reading is delivered quickly, usually within 4-6 seconds. It is accurate within ±1°C. It also features a protective sheath, which makes it really easy to store this thermometer.
When you finish using the thermometer, simply clean the probe with a damp cloth and place it in the sheath. To extend the battery life, don’t leave it in the food longer than it needs to be.
The battery is already included in this thermometer. To extend the battery life, it includes a 10-minute auto-shut off function. This candy thermometer also features a 2-year warranty. This candy thermometer is available in silver, red, and blue so you can select the color you like best.
Overall, this is an affordable candy thermometer that can also work for meat, yogurt, and other food items. The readings are quick and accurate. The thermometer isn’t waterproof and can occasionally mess-up if it gets too wet. But, the thermometer comes with a 2-year warranty if you experience any issues.
- Easy to read digital screen
- Delivers temperature in 4-6 seconds
- Accurate within ±1°C
- Includes a 10-minute auto-shut off function
- Some users said the thermometer felt flimsy
- Readings can be temperamental
- Probe can break easily after significant use
- Sensitive to water
The Polder THM-515 Candy/Jelly/Deep Fry Thermometer is a great analog candy thermometer. It is made from rust-proof stainless steel so you can stick it in your candy without worrying about it getting damaged. It also features a clip, so you can stick it on the side of your pot for easy reading. This thermometer is dishwasher safe which also makes it very easy to clean.
You will notice that the thermometer features helpful markers, including “Deep Fry, Thread, Soft Ball, Hard Ball, Soft Crack & Hard Crack” stages. It can read temperatures from 90°F to 400°F. Although this isn’t an instant-read thermometer, it is extremely accurate. Unlike most of the other thermometers on this list, this is a great deep-fry thermometer. But, since it doesn’t feature a probe, it can’t double as a meat thermometer.
If you are looking for an affordable and high-quality candy thermometer, you can’t go wrong with the Polder THM-515 Candy/Jelly/Deep Fry Thermometer. It features an insulated handle that doesn’t retain heat. This means you won’t accidentally burn yourself when you try to remove the thermometer. This thermometer is a useful tool for any at-home candy maker.
- Features six helpful temperature markers
- Can read temperatures from 90°F to 400°F
- Doubles as a deep fry thermometer
- Made with an insulated handle
- Analog, so it isn’t a quick-read thermometer
- Some users said that the red liquid separated after use
- Some users said the temperature was off by 3-5 degrees
- The numbers can wash off after being in the dishwasher
The CDN DTC450 Digital Candy/Deep Fry/Pre-Programmed & Programmable Thermometer is a digital thermometer with a stainless steel probe. It features a large display screen that delivers a fast and easy-to-read temperature.
This thermometer is unique because it features a dual-process screen. When you are making candy, reaching the exact temperature is critical.
On this thermometer, you can program the temperature you are trying to reach. The screen will display this number and the current temperature. You will receive alerts before, during, and after you hit the desired temperature.
This thermometer also features a clip, so you can attach it to the side of your pot. There is a heat shield that helps protect the thermometer from retaining heat. The thermometer is also easy to clean, simply wipe the probe with a damp cloth. The storage sheath also features a temperature guide for quick reference.
Overall, this is a high-quality professional-grade thermometer. It was designed specifically for candy-making. The temperature alerts ensure that you will reach the desired temperature for your candy. The clip allows your to continue stirring without also having to hold the thermometer.
- Easy-to-read screen
- Dual programmable and includes temperature alerts
- Clip allows you to attach it to the side of your pot
- Stainless steel probe is easy to clean
- Screen can be hard to read if there are any shadows
- Screen can go black if it reaches a high temperature
- Short battery life
- Some users said the clip wasn’t strong enough to stay in place
Types of Candy Thermometers
As you’ve probably noticed, there are a few different types of candy thermometers on the market. Let’s look at the different types so you know what to look for when you select your candy thermometer.
Analog candy thermometers are a cheap and reliable option. These are typically made with a fluid that travels up a tube to indicate the temperature reading. These can be made out of glass or metal. The only downside is that these can take a few minutes to give an accurate reading. Also, it is sometimes hard to correctly read the number on the analog candy thermometer.
Digital candy thermometers are usually more expensive than analog versions. But, these are much easier and faster to read. The temperature is shown electronically on a small screen attached to the thermometer. Some digital thermometers allow you to set your desired temperature and will beep to alert you as your candy gets close to this number.
Candy thermometers can be made out of glass or metal. There really isn’t a difference between these options, so you can choose based on your personal preference. Keep in mind that glass thermometers are a lot easier to break than metal thermometers.
As we mentioned above, you can choose a glass or metal candy thermometer, both are great options. Metal candy thermometers are usually made from stainless steel. Digital metal thermometers have a display screen and a 7-8 in probe, which you will need to place into the candy. Metal analog thermometers usually have a clip so they can attach to the side of your pot.
Infrared thermometers are an interesting option but not the best for candy making. To use an infrared thermometer, you simply point the reader at your food and press the button. This thermometer never touches the item you are cooking and it only gives a surface temperature. But, this can give a slightly inaccurate reading. With candy making, even one or two degrees can make a world of difference, So, it would be better to select a more accurate thermometer to ensure your candy turns out the way you want.
How to Choose the Best Candy Thermometer
With so many options on the market, it can be challenging to know how to pick a candy thermometer. Before you make your decision, keep these three factors in mind.
We can’t stress this enough, accuracy is key for candy making. If you are off by a few degrees, you can accidentally ruin an entire batch of candy. We will discuss accuracy again later in this post, but just know that this is the most important factor for a candy thermometer. Test your thermometer for accuracy with boiling water before you use it to make candy. If it is an inaccurate thermometer, don’t be afraid to return it and purchase another option.
What features are important to you? Do you want a thermometer that can attach to the side of your pot so your hands are free for stirring? Look for a thermometer with a clip. Or, do you want a thermometer that alerts you when you are nearing the desired temperature? Consider a digital thermometer.
Candy thermometers can include a variety of special features. Of course, these often come at a higher price point. Decide on your budget and consider if the features are worth the cost before making your purchase.
Digital vs Analog
Since we just mentioned it, let’s dive deeper into the two main types of candy thermometers: analog and digital. Think about which one is easiest for you to read.
Do you want a cheap thermometer? If so, an analog candy thermometer would be a great option. Or, are you willing to pay more for a thermometer that delivers a quick reading? If you are, consider a digital candy thermometer.
These are the three most important factors to consider before purchasing a candy thermometer. But there are other factors you should think about as well. Consider how often you make candy.
If you make candy often, you might want to splurge for a high-quality thermometer that includes special features. Otherwise, you can consider a cheaper multipurpose thermometer that works for many different recipes.
How to Use a Candy Thermometer
Timing and achieving the right temperature are key for making delicious candy!
First, you’ll want to calibrate your thermometer. Place the thermometer in boiling water for five minutes and note the reading. If it doesn’t read 212°F, remember the difference. You’ll have to add or subtract this from your future readings.
When you are ready, start cooking your candy. Place the thermometer in the pot but make sure it doesn’t touch the bottom (this would give you a false reading). Many thermometers are made with a clip to attach it to the side of the pot. Watch the temperature closely and remove the candy from the heat when it reaches the desired reading.
When you finish, be sure to completely clean and dry the thermometer so it is ready for your next batch of candy.
Why You Need The Most Accurate Candy Thermometer
We’ve mentioned accuracy a few times already, but it can’t be overstated. When you make candy, it is crucial to reach the right temperature. Sugar burns quickly and, unfortunately, if this happens you will have to start from scratch. There really isn’t a way to save your candy once it has been overcooked.
Using a thermometer might make you feel like a professional candy-maker. But this tool is also necessary for the casual home chef. There’s no way around it, if you want your candy to have the right consistency, you need to use a candy thermometer.
Candy making is a science as much as it is an art. And to make your beautiful and delicious candy, you need it to cook at the exact right temperature.
Final Thoughts on the Best Candy Thermometers
As you decide on the right candy thermometer for you, think about the most important factors. How often you plan to make candy? Then, decide if an analog or digital screen is better for your needs.
Finally, consider any special features you might want. And don’t forget to have fun planning the candy you are going to make!
Candy thermometers, especially the five on our list, are an essential tool for professional and at-home candy makers. We really love this option, but it is nice to know that there are so many accurate and affordable candy thermometers on the market!
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