7 Best Candy Thermometers of 2021
The only way to precisely make candy is by using a candy thermometer. This is because candy structure is heavily affected by its cooking temperature. So, making candy without a thermometer, is simply gambling.
In addition to displaying the current temperature, many candy thermometers also come with markings on their scales to show you different levels, such as chocolate melting, softball and firm ball candies, plus many more.
There are different types of candy thermometers in the market, so you need a candy thermometer review like this one to give you a list of the top offers out there, and to help you make the right choice.
- 7 Best Candy Thermometers – Review
- 1. Harbor 022 – Best Overall Candy Thermometer
- 2. Lavatools PT12 – Very Accurate & Fast Candy Thermometer
- 3. Gdealer DT1 – Candy Thermometer With Hold Function
- 4. Polder THM-515 – Old-school Candy Thermometer with Zones
- 5. Winco TMT-CDF4 – Budget Classic Candy Thermometer with Pot Clip
- 6. Wilton 1904-1200 – Extra Long Candy Thermometer
- 7. Anpro DT-10 – Best Budget Candy Thermometer
- How to Buy the Best Candy Thermometer
- How To Test Your Candy Thermometer
7 Best Candy Thermometers – Review
1. Harbor 022 (Best Overall)
2. Lavatools PT12 (Very Accurate & Fast)
3. Gdealer DT1 (With Hold Function)
4. Polder THM-515 (Old-school Design with Zones)
5. Winco TMT-CDF4 (Budget Classic Design with Pot Clip)
6. Wilton 1904-1200 (Extra Long)
7. Anpro DT-10 (Best Budget)
1. Harbor 022
2. Lavatools PT12
(Very Accurate & Fast)
3. Gdealer DT1
(With Hold Function)
4. Polder THM-515
(Old-school Design with Zones)
5. Winco TMT-CDF4
(Budget Classic Design with Pot Clip)
6. Wilton 1904-1200
7. Anpro DT-10
1. Harbor 022 – Best Overall Candy Thermometer
- Temperature Range: -58 to 572° F
- Readout Speed: 4-6 seconds
- Material: Stainless steel probe
- Length: 4.7 + 3.9 inches
The Harbor 022 is a cute and stylish digital candy thermometer that makes it easy to take exact measurements quickly and simply. Just stick it in, select Celsius or Fahrenheit, and wait for about five seconds to get a +/- 2 Fahrenheit accurate reading.
It features a stainless steel probe that's 4.7 inches long and attached to the 3.9-inch handle. This makes a total length of 8.6 inches, making it easy to take the temperature in a variety of situations.
The handle is stylishly designed and features a large LCD monitor with two simple buttons for easy control. It will measure temperatures from -58 to 572 degrees F, and it also has a 10-minute automatic switch off feature to save its included battery.
For downsides, it's not waterproof and there are thermometers with faster read-out speeds than its 4-6 seconds.
2. Lavatools PT12 – Very Accurate & Fast Candy Thermometer
- Temperature Range: -40 to 482° F
- Readout Speed: 3-4 seconds
- Material: Plastic and stainless steel
- Length: 4.5 inches
The Lavatools Javelin candy thermometer is so well-made, accurate, and rugged, that it's NSF approved for professional and commercial use. It also gives very fast readings in just 3-4 seconds.
Unlike the Harbor 022 above, this one is splash-proof and comes with an anti-microbial coating to prevent bacterial growth on it. An integrated magnet also lets you stick it easily on metallic surfaces for easy storage.
It features a 60-minute auto-sleep function and its included battery will last for up to 4,000 hours before needing a change.
For cons, it's relatively costlier than the offer above and its probe is also relative short at just 2.75 inches.
Lavatools offers this thermometer in eight bright colors and backs it up with an impressive lifetime warranty, and this makes it one of the best-rated candy thermometers in the market.
3. Gdealer DT1 – Candy Thermometer With Hold Function
- Temperature Range: -58 to 572° F
- Readout Speed: 3-5 seconds
- Material: Plastic & stainless steel
- Length: 7.8 inches (handle) + 4.5 inches (Probe)
A few features make this thermometer stand out as one of the best deep-fry candy thermometers out there. The first is its length and the second is its 'Hold' feature.
The plastic handle measures 7.8 inches in length, then additionally has a 4.5-inch stainless steel probe, making a total length of about 12 inches. This is necessary because it helps your hand stay away from the heat as much as possible.
With the 'Hold' feature, you just press the button and the current reading remains on the screen. You can then read it conveniently after removing the thermometer from a hot or boiling pot.
Where it lacks is in accuracy, because many offers are more accurate than its +/- 2° F accuracy. It's also not nice looking, although it comes with impressive features.
Other important features include its fast readout time of just 3-5 seconds, the backlit display with a 12-second timer, and the lifetime warranty coverage from the manufacturer.
4. Polder THM-515 – Old-school Candy Thermometer with Zones
- Temperature Range: 90 to 400° F
- Material: Stainless steel & glass
- Length: 12 inches
You could be one of those people who don't fancy digital systems. So, this offer brings you a traditional thermometer with the liquid in the glass, just as it was made for ages.
The entire construction is stainless steel, guaranteeing that it will neither rust nor break in your hands. It's also dishwasher safe and measures temperatures from 90 to 400° Fahrenheit.
One interesting feature it comes with is the pot clip attachment. This lets you clip it tightly to the pot and continue your cooking without needing to hold the thermometer with one hand.
It has its cons as well, and this includes its longer readout time and the lack of smart features on it.
It comes with all the relevant temperature zones printed on it, such as deep-fry, hard crack, and softball. To also make things easier, one side of the thermometer is in Celsius, while the other is in Fahrenheit, making it a truly professional candy thermometer.
5. Winco TMT-CDF4 – Budget Classic Candy Thermometer with Pot Clip
- Temperature Range: 100 to 400° F
- Material: Glass & stainless steel
- Length: 11.7 inches
Here's another classic candy thermometer, complete with all the temperature zone references and at a lower price than the Polder THM-515 thermometer.
This places it among the top choices for people who are on a budget but still need the best candy thermometers. You can also get it in a double or triple pack with small cost savings.
It's made of stainless steel and features a red liquid in the glass tube. Of course, it doesn't have the readout speed of digital thermometers, but it comes with a pot clip that lets you attach it to your pot, while you go about your business.
The graduation is both in Celsius and Fahrenheit, plus you get six temperature markers, including softball, soft crack, deep fry, etc.
6. Wilton 1904-1200 – Extra Long Candy Thermometer
- Temperature Range: 60 to 400° F
- Material: Stainless steel
- Length: 14.7 inches
This candy thermometer from Wilton is the longest in this review. It measures 14.7 inches and comes with clamps to help you attach it to the side of your pot.
Obviously, this is best for those making large batches in large pots. It will measure temperatures from 60 to 400° Fahrenheit and its red medium makes it easy to read.
For downsides, it's not dishwasher safe and it lacks smart digital features.
However, you get both Celsius and Fahrenheit graduations on either side of the glass, plus there are temperature zone markings to let you know when its soft or hardball, as well as thread, soft and hard cracks.
7. Anpro DT-10 – Best Budget Candy Thermometer
- Temperature Range: -58 to 572° F
- Material: Plastic & stainless steel
- Length: 7.97 inches
For those searching for the best candy thermometers at the best possible price, this offer from Anpro could make your day. It's a rather simple and straight to the point thermometer, but it comes with everything necessary.
The 3-inch handle includes an LCD and the control buttons, while the stainless steel probe is 4.9 inches long, giving you enough length to check hot foods without burning your hand.
Most of its other features are average, such as its 10-minute auto shutdown, a temperature range between -58 and 572 degrees F, and a storage sheath to protect the probe.
This offer's major downside, however, is that you can't help but notice how cheap the thermometer looks, especially its plastic parts, but then, it really is a very low-priced digital candy thermometer, and therefore, a great deal.
How to Buy the Best Candy Thermometer
The very first candy thermometers date back to thirteenth century Germany when Bennet Muzilla used them to measure the temperature of his sugar solutions in 1272.
They've evolved since then, and come in very different sizes, shapes and designs today. You'll also find that most candy thermometers work using different principles.
To make sense of all the diversity, and be able to pick the right thermometer that'll meet your needs, you'll need to gain a better understanding of candy thermometers and their most important features.
They're as follows:
1. Analog vs Digital
The first major difference that you'll find among candy thermometers is their functioning principle. Today, you can differentiate between analog and digital devices, and here's a look at each.
Analog Candy Thermometers are from older technologies and include both the liquid-filled and the spring dial thermometer types. Important is that each type of thermometer comes with the correct markings on its scale.
Digital Candy Thermometers are those that use digital electronic circuits to work. They'll often have digital displays and press buttons for menu selection and use. These digital models such as the Harbor 022 can also offer smart functions that you won't get on an analog thermometer.
2. Automatic vs. Manual Calibration
One thing you can always be sure of is that your thermometer will offer a false reading from time to time. You can either get rid of it or recalibrate it if it offers the option.
If your thermometer offers this option, then feel free to calibrate it, else you will need to record by how many degrees the thermometer is off and simply add this divergence to your measurement next time you're using the thermometer.
It's worth noting that digital thermometers are usually more accurate than analog liquid-filled or spring thermometers. So, go digital if you want reliability, but be ready to pay a little more for it as well.
3. Temperature Range
Another thing to keep an eye on is the temperature range. While you'll typically get a candy thermometer with calibrations up to about 400 degrees F, the lower ranges tend to begin around 100 degrees F.
If you plan on using the thermometer for purposes other than candy making, then you should try to get a model with as wide a range as possible, and this usually means temperatures less than 100 degrees F.
You'll have more luck here with digital thermometers, which can even read and display temperatures below zero.
4. Readout Speed
All thermometers are not good enough when it comes to candy making. This is because you need to know as quickly as possible when your sugar solution reaches any specific temperature.
For this reason, thermometers with slow readout speeds are not ideal. You want a thermometer that's as fast as possible, with a 4 to 6-second readout speed being ideal.
In addition to fast readouts, a thermometer should also be as precise as possible. Analog thermometers like the spring dial type are much less accurate than modern digital thermometers, which often have accuracies of up to 0.1°.
Temperature accuracy is very important in candy making because a simple 5-degree difference can turn your lovely chewy caramel into a sweet rock if the temperature goes from 235 to 240° F, for instance.
The different types of candy thermometers that you'll find in the market are from different materials, which come with their advantages and disadvantages.
If you get a liquid-filled thermometer, then be ready to take extra care of it because it's usually made of breakable glass.
Those made from metal, are of course more durable and can withstand rough handling for longer periods than plastic or glass designs. The decision here is entirely yours alone to make.
7. Ease of Use
No matter which thermometer you choose, it's necessary that it is easy to use. Analog thermometers are in this respect better, because they are very simple to use, compared to digital models that often need you to study their manuals before you can use them.
8. Price & Warranty
When it comes to price, you should make a budget and stick to it. Analog models are often cheaper, but the digital ones often come with more features and a longer warranty.
How To Test Your Candy Thermometer
Given the tight temperature differences between making certain types of candy, you should understand that if your thermometer is off by just a few degrees, that you can easily make a mistake.
For this reason, you should make it a habit of always testing your thermometer before use, by following after the step-by-step plan below.
Step 1. Insert Into Pot
The first step is to insert the thermometer into a pot of water and bring the pot to a boil. You should take care that the sensitive tip of the thermometer lies only in the water and that it does not touch the bottom of the pot.
This is important because boiling water measures exactly 212° F or 100° C at sea level. What you want is to get the temperature of the thermometer while the water is boiling.
If you live in an area with an elevation that's different from sea level, then consult the chart in reference #1 at the end of this article, to find out what your ideal boiling temperature is.
Step 2. Give It Some Time
Now give it some time and let the water boil for about five or more minutes to make sure that the thermometer has the exact temperature of the boiling water.
Step 3. Inspect It
After a few minutes, it's now time to inspect the thermometer. It can either show exactly 212° Fahrenheit or the reading could as well be off by some degrees, either higher or lower.
One reason for getting different readings is that higher altitudes make water to boil at lower temperatures below 212° F. So, if you live at sea level and the reading is exact, then there's nothing else for you to do. If it's off, however, then you need to note by how many degrees that it's off.
Step 4. Taking Action
By noting how many degrees off that your thermometer is, you'll now know how much to calibrate it with or what to add or subtract to the readings you are getting when making candy.
So if your thermometer deviates by -9° for instance, and you need to work with 240°. You'll then subtract 9 from 240, making 231. Now, when you're cooking and your candy reaches 231°, you'll know it corresponds to the 240° in the recipe.
The same goes for the other side. If the water boiled above 212° or your reference temperature, then you'll need to add the deviation to whichever temperature the recipe says.
So, if the recipe needs 300°, for instance, and the water boiled at 220° at sea level, 220 minus 212 will make eight degrees, which you'll add to 300 to make 308 degrees correspond to the recipe's 300°.
We've reached the end of this candy thermometers review, and you've seen the very best offers out there for helping you make candy in the kitchen.
For the overall best candy thermometer, the recommendation is the Harbor 022 with its nice design, price, digital control, and 3-year warranty.
If accuracy is more important to you, then the Lavatools PT12 should be it. This thermometer has a +/- 0.9° F accuracy and a fast 3-4 seconds readout time.
And finally, for the budget shopper with a preference for classic design, the Anpro DT-10 should put a smile on your face.