Thermoworks ChefAlarm Review

Thermoworks ChefAlarm with its probe attached next to its carrying case and included pot clip
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The Thermoworks ChefAlarm is a single-probe cooking thermometer and timer that has garnered top ratings from respected authorities such as America’s Test Kitchen and others.

This isn’t really surprising, Thermoworks is known for producing the highest quality thermometers on the market today.

The ChefAlarm is no exception. It has plenty of features that will save you time in the kitchen and allow you to tend to other tasks while your food is being monitored accurately.

Side view of the Thermoworks ChefAlarm

Due to its single probe, the ChefAlarm is best utilized when you are cooking with a consistent, reliable heat source.

I would consider the ChefAlarm a great option if you do a lot of cooking in the oven or on a propane grill or pellet smoker.

If you do a lot of meat smoking with charcoal or wood where you need to monitor your cooking chamber’s temperature fluctuations, then a multiple-probe thermometer like the Thermoworks Smoke is a better option.

Thermoworks also produces the DOT Simple Alarm Thermometer, which is another single-probe thermometer, albeit with fewer features.

In this review of theThermoworks ChefAlarm, I will discuss its features, usability, accuracy, durability, and price relative to similar thermometers. I’ll also compare it to the less-expensive DOT thermometer and examine their differences.

Front view of the Thermoworks ChefAlarm

Check out the ChefAlarm at Thermoworks.com

The Thermoworks ChefAlarm Cooking Alarm Thermometer

The Thermoworks ChefAlarm has a lot of features that you’re not going to find in another typical kitchen thermometer.

It features both hi and low-temperature alarms, continually updated minimum and maximum temperatures, a timer, an adjustable volume alarm, a calibration button (not that you’ll ever need it), and a high-temperature, ultra-accurate probe.

All of those features as well as a splash-proof body that is rated IP65 water-resistant make the ChefAlarm a nice addition to anyone’s kitchen toolkit.

If you are unaware of Thermoworks as a company, they are the premier maker of thermometers in the marketplace today. I’ve done many reviews of their products and I can tell you that no other company can match their quality and expertise.

Displaying the ChefAlarm's display screen

You’ve got about all the information you’ll need right on the screen.

Features of the Thermoworks ChefAlarm

The Thermoworks ChefAlarm cooking thermometer packs a lot of information onto its display screen. Here are all of the previously mentioned features:

  • Hi and Low-Temperature Alarms
  • Continuous Minimum and Maximum Temperature 
  • Timer
  • Adjustable Volume
  • Calibration Button on the back
Displaying the three buttons on the back of the ChefAlarm, power button, Celsius/Fahrenheit button and a Calibration button.

Calibration button on the back.

Specifications

  • Temperature Monitoring Range- -58 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Accuracy – +-1.8 up to 248 degrees Fahrenheit, +- 3.6 from 248 to 392 degrees Fahrenheit
  • IP Rating- 65
  • One Pro-Series 6 inch Thermistor-type probe with 47 inches long cable
  • Probe Cable can withstand up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Takes 2-AAA batteries (included), 5000 hours operating time
  • Countdown Timer from 99 hours
Displaying the buttons on the front of the ChefAlarm

Don’t be afraid of the buttons, they’re easy to use and you don’t need to read a Tolstoy-esque length instruction manual.

Usability of the Chef Alarm

Whenever I encounter a meat thermometer with multiple buttons I cringe. Why? Because that often means I have to get out the manual and spend 30 minutes to see how it works before I use it.

The ChefAlarm is intuitive and straightforward and you can pretty much figure out the buttons without the manual’s help.

To set the high and low-temperature alarms you simply press “set temp” and the low temp alarm will start blinking. If you press it again, the high temp alarm will start blinking.

You then use the arrow buttons to adjust them to your liking. The rest of the buttons are this straightforward as well and I don’t feel the need to go through them.

The device has magnets on the back that will attach to metal surfaces and the display screen hinges up and down for easy visibility.

The alarm volume is adjustable with the highest volume setting being plenty loud.

I will say that screen isn’t the best-illuminated screen I’ve encountered, but it gets the job done.

Thermoworks ChefAlarm with its probe attached next to its carrying case and included pot clip

The screen is illuminated in this shot believe it or not.

Accuracy of the Thermoworks ChefAlarm

I tested the accuracy of the ChefAlarm against its family member, the Thermapen MK4 Instant-Read meat thermometer.

The Thermapen MK4 is a thermocouple-type thermometer that is the most accurate and highly-rated meat thermometer on the market.

I like testing Thermoworks products because they make my job easy. I prepared a sous vide water bath around 129 degrees Fahrenheit and the results are below.

Comparing the accuracy of the ChefAlarm against the Thermapen MK4 in a sous vide water bath.

Pretty darn close, I think we’re good.

I wouldn’t expect the ChefAlarm to read the same thing as the highly-accurate MK4 thermocouple thermometer, the fact it is in the same ballpark is quite impressive.

Like all of the Thermoworks thermometers, the ChefAlarm is very accurate.

Durability

The ChefAlarm’s body is a nice and sturdy polymer shell that has an IP rating of 65. This means that it’s protected against low-pressure jets of directed water from any angle.

So, it should handle most kitchen situations and a possible sprinkling of rain outside by your grill.

The hinge could be a possible issue as most electronics with hinges are susceptible to internal wires becoming bent over time. However, with the Thermoworks 2-year warranty guarantee and best in class customer service I am not concerned.

The Pro-Series temperature probe is rated to handle temperatures up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you follow meat thermometer handling and care best practices like not throwing it in your drawer or leaving the probe cable laying on a hot grill the ChefAlarm should last a long time.

I would consider the ChefAlarm durable and should handle most cooking situations.

Price

One of my favorite quotes is from Warren Buffet, who states that “price is what you pay, value is what you get.” Are there less expensive thermometers than the ChefAlarm?

Yes, but what value are you getting for that? You will be hard-pressed to find any thermometers outside the Thermoworks ecosystem that will be as accurate and dependable with the best customer service in the business.

I’ve never had to worry about any of the thermometers I’ve purchased from Thermoworks, they are solid.

I liken it to an offensive line in football. If you never have to worry about them it means they are doing their job and doing it well.

That being said, the ChefAlarm retails in the $60 range. Thermoworks has frequent sales on their website, so you might even snag it for a lower price.

That leads me to Thermoworks lower-priced, simplified single-probe thermometer, the DOT. How does the DOT compare to the ChefAlarm? Let’s see.

The ChefAlarm vs DOT

The ChefAlarm and the DOT are both single-probe thermometers and that is where the comparisons end. These two thermometers are designed for two different types of cooks.

The Thermoworks ChefAlarm on the left and the Thermoworks DOT on the right

The ChefAlarm gives you a plethora of options with its multiple buttons interface and 6 different display screen sections.

The DOT has three buttons with two display screen sections, the current temp of your food, and your desired temperature.

Here are the key differences between the ChefAlarm and the DOT:

  • The ChefAlarm has high and low-temperature alarm capabilities, the DOT does not.
  • The ChefAlarm has a timer, the DOT does not.
  • DOT has a brighter screen.
  • The ChefAlarm has a 6-inch Pro-Series Probe and the DOT has a 4.5-inch Pro-Series Probe.
The DOT's 4.5 inch probe on the right and the ChefAlarm's 6 inch probe on the left.

The DOT’s 4.5-inch probe on the right and the ChefAlarm’s 6-inch probe on the left.

  • The ChefAlarm has a calibration function, the DOT does not.
  • ChefAlarm comes with a zippered case and a pot clip, the DOT has no accessories.

If you’re looking for a straightforward, highly-accurate oven thermometer that you can set and forget then the DOT is perfect for you.

Comparing the screen brightness of the Thermoworks ChefAlarm (on right) versus the Thermoworks DOT

The DOT wins this one, it has a brighter screen.

If you require more information like minimum and maximum cooking temperature history, high and low-temperature alarms, and a timer, then the ChefAlarm is your thermometer.

I like them both and I think it depends on how you operate in the kitchen. Do you prefer a simplistic design over one with more buttons and information? That’s what you have to decide for yourself.

Final Thoughts

I have to admit I was skeptical of the ChefAlarm at first because I was unsure how it set itself apart from the Thermoworks DOT.

They are both single-probe thermometers capable of monitoring a single food item.

However, the more I dug into the features of the ChefAlarm I started to see how it was more than just the DOT with a timer attached.

The amount of information that the screen conveys, with continuous maximum and minimum temperatures along with hi and low-temperature alarm settings, is useful for more than just cooking meat.

When you put all of the features together with the alarm you have a versatile kitchen tool that is helpful with cooking not only meat but also in baking and sous vide applications as well.

I can see why America’s Test Kitchen and the French Pastry school view it as an indispensable part of their cooking arsenal.

If you’re in the market for a versatile kitchen thermometer that you can use in oven-roasting, baking, and monitoring sous vide food, the ChefAlarm would be a great choice.