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This is a review of the ThermoPro Lightning Meat Thermometer. It is an instant-read thermocouple thermometer that can reportedly give you full temperature readings in one second or less.
I’ve reviewed the top instant-read meat thermometers on the market to determine which ones are worth your hard-earned cash.
Is the ThermoPro Lightning worth your time and money?
Best Feature- Its temperature reading response time is indeed fast.
Worst Feature- There isn’t one. If I had to complain (like I am now), I am disappointed that the waterproof rating is just IP65. That is still a great rating, but I was hoping for an IP67 at this price.
Thermomeat’s Verdict- The ThermoPro Lightning is fast, but still not as fast as the Thermapen ONE. It does beat the Thermapen in response time up to the last few degrees, where the Thermapen then pulls ahead. The factory calibration also isn’t quite as accurate as the Thermapen as it needed some fine-tuning to measure temperatures comparably. Its current price ranges from $69 to $99. It’s a good deal if you can snag it at $69, but I would rather have the Thermapen ONE if you’re paying $99 for a thermometer.
In this review of the ThermoPro Lightning Instant-Read Thermocouple Thermometer, I’ll examine its features, usability, accuracy, durability, and price to determine if it is indeed worth a purchase.
ThermoPro Lightning Overview
The ThermoPro Lightning (model TP622) Instant-Read Thermocouple Thermometer is the latest participant in what I like to call the “Meat Thermometer Speed Wars” perpetuated by influencers and social media personalities.
This was inevitably going to happen with newer and faster technology coming to market with each passing year.
The emphasis on response time has reached a fever pitch since Thermoworks released the Thermapen ONE.
The Thermapen ONE will give you full temperature readings in one second or less. Not long after the latest Thermapen release, FireBoard released their brilliant and very fast SPARK thermometer.
ChefsTemp, an up-and-coming thermometer brand, also released the Finaltouch X10 Instant-Read Meat Thermometer during the past year. ChefsTemp claims it to be the Word’s Fastest thermometer because of its superior technology and one-second readings.
That brings us to the ThermoPro Lightning, the latest thermometer with the one-second response time claim.
Before I dig into the Lightning’s response time claims, I want to discuss how the Lightning compares to the previous instant-read thermometer releases from ThermoPro.
If you’re unfamiliar with the ThermoPro brand, they produce many highly-rated thermometers and have excellent customer service.
I’ve reviewed many of ThermoPro’s instant-read meat thermometers and I’ve recommended quite a few of them.
The Lightning shares many of the same features as older ThermoPro models. It has a 180° auto-rotating display, motion-sensing sleep and wake modes, 90-second automatic shutoff, calibration function, and IP65 waterproofing.
The ThermoPro TP620, TP19, and TP19H models also share all of these features.
What sets the Lightning apart from those thermometers?
The main and most obvious difference is the response time. The TP620 and TP19 feature 2 to 3-second response times and are not as fast as the reported one-second response time of the Lightning.
The other main difference is the large rubber anti-slip grip that wraps around the thermometer.
The body of the Lightning is also larger than the other models with a little more weight to it as well.
Let’s take a look at all of the features of the ThermoPro Lightning. Don’t worry, I’ll discuss the one-second response time below as well.
Features and Specifications
Here are the important features and specifications of the ThermoPro Lightning.
- 4-inch stainless steel probe
- Thermocouple type sensor
- Temperature range- -58°F to 572°F
- Temperature Tolerance +-0.9°F (per user’s manual)
The user’s manual states a temperature tolerance of +-0.9°F, however, ThermoPro’s marketing claims it to be within +-0.5°F.
- Reported One-Second Temperature Reading Response Time
- IP65 Waterproof rating
- Motion-sensing Sleep/Awake Mode
- 180° Rotating Screen
- Calibration Function
- Takes one AAA battery (included)
- Lock Function
- Celsius/Fahrenheit Switchable
- Built-in Magnet
The most important feature of any thermometer is its accuracy. It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles a thermometer has if it is inaccurate.
Accuracy is a thermometer’s sole purpose, everything else is extra.
Is the ThermoPro Lightning accurate? I tested Lightning’s accuracy against many highly accurate thermometers in multiple water baths of varying degrees of temperature.
These thermometers included the Theromoworks ThermaQ 2, ThermaQ WiFi, ThermaQ Blue, FireBoard 2 Pro Thermocouple thermometer, FireBoard 2 Drive, FireBoard SPARK instant-read thermometer, the Thermapen ONE, Thermoworks Signals, and the OXO Thermocouple thermometer.
I observed the Lightning to be consistently 0.4°F to 0.8°F under the general consensus of temperature measurement, which is still a good showing considering the quality of this group of thermometers.
This is the Lightning’s factory default calibration setting. Luckily, Lightning has a calibration function that will allow you to adjust it.
After a little calibration adjustment, the Lightning registered more comparable temperatures in relation to the other thermometers.
I would consider the Lightning to be accurate, and potentially very accurate with some adjusting through calibration.
Before I discuss the Lightning’s one-second response time I want to mention the other features pertaining to its usability.
The 180° automatic rotating screen is very responsive and the red LED screen is great in that you don’t have to worry about pressing a backlight button.
The digits on the screen are also easily visible when you hold the thermometer at weird angles as well. On some thermometers, the digits will completely disappear when you turn it at a 45° angle, this isn’t the case with the Lightning.
The display is underrated in my opinion and is overshadowed by all the fuss pertaining to the response speed.
The ability to view the display in low light situations is the one area where the Lightning exceeds the Thermapen ONE. The Thermapen does have a light sensor and will turn on the backlight but it’s nicer not having to worry about it all.
It’s time now (finally you say) to examine the response time of the Lightning.
ThermoPro Lightning’s Temperature Reading Response Time
It might seem hypocritical of me to denounce the attention given to response times by others and then include my own section on response times.
And I agree with you. However, the difference in my case is that this section is buried deep in a review article versus a full video on YouTube focusing primarily on response speed, treating accuracy as a side feature.
In the instruction manual of the ThermoPro Lightning there’s a specifications section. In that section there is an asterisk next to the one second response time.
Here’s what it says in the small print.
*Response Time defined as the time it takes for ThermoPro thermometers to read from ambient temperature (77°F or 25°C) to within 1.8°F (1°C) of the final temperature of an object (150°F or 65°C).
Therefore it might seem suspect when it is claimed by the company in marketing that these are “full readings in one second or less.”
However, their claims are true that the Lightning gets to within 1.8°F in a second or less.
The pictures below show my response time testing of the Lightning next to the Thermapen ONE. The final temperature in this test is 132.3°F.
As you can see in the picture above, the Lightning jumped ahead to an early lead. This assumes that my insertion of both thermometers was at the same time.
However, the Thermapen ONE jumped ahead of the Lightning, going from 116.1°F to 132.3°F in the same time it took the Lightning to go from 131.0°F to 131.9°F.
The Lightning did hit the 132.3°F shortly thereafter. Was it one second overall? No, but neither was the Thermapen ONE.
The main takeaway from this experiment is that both thermometers are incredibly fast, with the Thermapen ONE claiming victory right at the finish line.
Below is another time trial as seen via time-lapse photos.
As you can see, the same scenario played out as above, with the Lightning taking the early lead and then losing in the end.
I don’t think your steak will get cold with either thermometer checking its temperature.
What about accuracy?
Accuracy is the most important feature of any thermometer. Is the Lightning accurate? Yes. Is it very accurate?
It can be after some calibration tweaking.
How do I determine a thermometer’s accuracy? I compare it to what multiple other highly-accurate thermometers are displaying when measuring the temperature of a water bath.
I consider a thermometer to be accurate if it is within +- 1°F of the average temperature displayed by all of the thermometers measuring any given temperature.
I also consider a thermometer to be very accurate if it’s within +- 0.3°F of the average.
After some calibration adjusting, the Lightning came within this range. I’m not ready to declare it very accurate but I’ll be updating this review after I’ve had more time with the Lightning.
I give it a passing grade for now on its accuracy.
The Lightning features an IP65 waterproof rating. An IP65 rating correlates to protection against lower-pressure jets of water, meaning that you can probably wash it off under the faucet.
Not that I encourage that. A paper towel and some bleach water or 409 will do the trick.
This is good protection from moisture. However, if the Lightning wants to be priced in the Thermapen range it will need an IP67 rating to compete.
An IP67 waterproof rating equates to protection against full water immersion up to 3 feet for 30 minutes.
Will anyone actually need to do this to their thermometer? No. But it is a higher level of moisture protection than just running it under a faucet.
Another durability point in Lightning’s favor is the nice rubber grip around the outside of the device’s body.
This makes it easy to grasp and the rubber also acts as another layer of protection against water.
I’ve yet to encounter a durability issue with any of the ThermoPro thermometers that I own. They make quality products and their customer service is great.
The Lightning is covered by a limited one-year warranty that you can extend for three more years when you register it on the ThermoPro website.
It is hard to pin down a price for the ThermoPro Lightning since it’s new and there have been multiple deals on it. Prices have ranged anywhere from $49 to $99.
A regular price of $99 puts it in direct competition with the Thermapen ONE.
It would be foolish to think that price doesn’t come into play when making a purchasing decision. Spending even $50 on a thermometer is hard to swallow for most people.
Although I like the Lightning, I don’t like it for $99.
I wouldn’t recommend the Lightning at this price and would advise you to go with the Thermapen ONE.
What about at $69? If this is your top price point for a thermometer then the Lightning represents a good value.
At $49? A great value.
It might not be fair to the Lightning to place it into direct competition with the Thermoworks Thermapen ONE, but its current regular price of $99 makes it so.
Any new meat thermometer over $50 is going to invariably be compared to the Thermapen. At a price of $99, the price of a Thermapen, a thermometer will then be expected to surpass it in every category.
Does the Lightning surpass the Thermapen ONE? No. I do like its display screen visibility at night by the grill a lot better than the Thermapen, but that’s it.
Let’s go through the categories then.
Accuracy? The Thermapen ONE is unsurpassed in accuracy and comes with its own NIST-traceable certificate of calibration.
The Lightning needs some recalibrating to measure temperatures comparably to the Thermapen.
Speed? The Lightning is very close but the Thermapen is still faster to the final temperature.
Durability? The Thermapen has a much better IP67 waterproof rating compared to the IP65 of the Lightning. This was one area I was hoping would be upgraded by ThermoPro.
Convenient features? The Lightning’s display is bright and visible, but the display only rotates 180° versus the 360° rotation of the Thermapen ONE.
It’s a good buy at its discount price of $69 and I recommend it with this price in mind.