7 Best Candy Thermometers – Reviews & Buying Guide
The only way to precisely make the type of candy that you want is by using a candy thermometer. 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'll 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 – Reviews
- 1. Harbor 022 – An Easy-to-use Digital Candy Thermometer
- 2. Lavatools PT12 – Rugged, Fast, Accurate, & Digital
- 3. Gdealer DT1 – Impressive Thermometer with Hold Function
- 4. Anpro DT-10 – A Great Budget Candy Thermometer
- 5. Polder THM-515 – Old-school Thermometer with Temperature Zones
- 6. Winco TMT-CDF4 – Another Classic Candy Thermometer with a Pot Clip
- 7. Wilton 1904-1200 – The Longest Thermometer on this List
- How to Buy the Best Candy Thermometer
- How To Test Your Candy Thermometer
7 Best Candy Thermometers – Reviews
1. Harbor 022 Instant Read Digital Candy Thermometer
Simple and easy-to-use digital thermometer, it works well as a candy thermometer with its 4.7-inch stainless steel probe and a fast readout period of 4 to 6 seconds
2. Lavatools PT12 Javelin Digital Instant Read Candy Thermometer
Here's a universal food thermometer that's fast, water splash-proof, includes a magnet for easy storage, is highly exact and comes with a lifetime warranty
3. Gdealer DT1 Instant Read Candy Thermometer
Its 'Hold' button freezes the temperature reading on the display, so you can read it later in comfort. It's also very long and includes a backlit display and a 3 to 5-second readout time, to make it one of the best candy thermometers out there
4. Anpro DT-10 Straight Digital Candy Thermometer
A simple and usable budget thermometer, ideal for those who want the lowest priced thermometer for candy making. It comes in a straight design with a 4.9-inch probe and a 2-year warranty
5. Polder Stainless Steel Liquid-Filled Candy Thermometer
If digital isn't your thing, then you're not alone. This classic candy thermometer comes with everything you need for a traditional candy making setup. It's stainless steel, features temperature zones, and comes with a pot clip
6. Winco Deep Fry & Candy Thermometer
For the absolutely low-priced but high-quality candy thermometer, this is a great offer to check out. It comes with a pot clip, a dual scale, and temperature markings to make your life easier
7. Wilton High-Precision Candy Thermometer
As the longest thermometer in this list, this is definitely what you need if you've got heavy-duty candy cooking to do. It features a red medium for easy visibility and includes temperature zone markings
1. Harbor 022 – An Easy-to-use Digital Candy Thermometer
Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)
- Temperature Range: -58 to 572 degrees 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, which 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 578 F, and it also has a 10-minute automatic switch off feature to save its included battery.
You can either get it in this Elegant Silver option or in Pimiento Red or Purplish Blue. Habor backs this best digital candy thermometer with a 3-year warranty.
2. Lavatools PT12 – Rugged, Fast, Accurate, & Digital
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
- Temperature Range: -40 to 482 degrees F
- Readout Speed: 3-4 seconds
- Material: Plastic and stainless steel
- Length: 4.5 inches
The Lavatools Javelin candy thermometer is so well made 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 the growth of bacteria 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.
Lavatools offers this thermometer in eight bright colors and backs it up with an impressive lifetime warranty, which makes it one of the best-rated candy thermometers in the market.
3. Gdealer DT1 – Impressive Thermometer with Hold Function
Editor's Rating: (4.1 / 5)
- Temperature Range: -58 to 572 degrees 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 so your hand stays 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, so you can read it conveniently after removing the thermometer from a hot or boiling pot.
Other important features include its fast readout time of 3-5 seconds, the backlit display with a 12-second timer, the +/- 2 F accuracy, and a 1-year warranty from the manufacturer.
4. Anpro DT-10 – A Great Budget Candy Thermometer
Editor's Rating: (4.1 / 5)
- Temperature Range: -58 to 572 F
- Readout Speed: N/A
- 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 a great deal.
5. Polder THM-515 – Old-school Thermometer with Temperature Zones
Editor's Rating: (3.9 / 5)
- Temperature Range: 90 to 400 degrees F
- Readout Speed: N/A
- 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 degrees Fahrenheit.
One interesting feature it comes with is the pot clip attachment, which lets you clip it tightly to the pot and continue your cooking without needing to hold the thermometer with one hand.
It also comes with all the relevant temperature zones printed on it, such as deep fry, hard crack, and softball. To make things easier, one side of the thermometer is in Celsius, while the other is in Fahrenheit, making it a truly professional candy thermometer.
6. Winco TMT-CDF4 – Another Classic Candy Thermometer with a Pot Clip
Editor's Rating: (3.7 / 5)
- Temperature Range: 100 to 400 degrees F
- Readout Speed: N/A
- 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 thermometer.
This makes 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.
7. Wilton 1904-1200 – The Longest Thermometer on this List
Editor's Rating: (3.3 / 5)
- Temperature Range: 60 to 400 F
- Readout Speed: N/A
- Material: Stainless steel
- Length: 14.7 inches
This candy thermometer from Wilton is the last item in this review and the longest, as well. 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 who are making large batches in large pots. It will measure temperatures from 60 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and its red medium makes it easy to read.
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.
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 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 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 degrees.
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 F to 240, 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's it's 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 degrees F or 100 degrees 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 degrees for instance, and you need to work with 240 degrees. You'll then subtract 9 from 240, making 231. Now, when you're cooking and your candy reaches 231 degrees, you'll know it corresponds to the 240 degrees in the recipe.
The same goes for the other side. If the water boiled above 212 degrees or your reference temperature, then you'll need to add the deviation to whichever temperature the recipe says.
So, if the recipe needs 300 degrees, for instance, and the water boiled at 220 degrees 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 degrees.
We've reached the end of this candy thermometer review and you've seen the very best offers out there for helping you make candy and for other kitchen duties, as well.
You've also seen the digital and the analog offers, including their different advantages and disadvantages.
In making the last choice, therefore, it's left for you to pick the candy thermometer that best suits your cooking style and additionally meets your needs as possibly best.