Author Topic: Infrared thermometer suggestions?  (Read 11271 times)

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Offline Grilling24x7

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Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« on: October 13, 2009, 06:47:50 AM »
I think I have an oven temperature issue and I'd like to see if I'm actually achieving 550 degrees.

I've seen a wide range of these infrared thermometers on Amazon/ebay.

Some go for about $20 and some are pretty pricey.

I don't want to spend over $50 for one of these.   Can anyone comment on the quality of the lower end IR thermometers?

such as this one:  http://www.amazon.com/IRT0421-Non-Contact-Infrared-Thermometer-Targeting/dp/B0017L9Q9C/?tag=pizzamaking-20

John


Offline JConk007

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2009, 07:15:13 AM »
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Offline Grilling24x7

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2009, 11:51:49 AM »
Actually, I just realized that they sell "oven thermometers" that register up to 550 degrees.  Since this is the max my oven says it can go to I should be able to just use one of these to gauge where my oven is.  And its only 10 bucks.  However, it's not nearly as fun as the infrared gun!

Offline pacoast

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2009, 02:02:27 PM »
Either will tell your approximate oven temperature; it really depends on the budget you set for this. The infrared is more expensive, but also more accurate, flexible & easy to use. If you decide to go the IR route, an alternate to the Harbor Freight one & about the same price is this one on Amazon.

.

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2009, 02:07:46 PM »
Actually, I just realized that they sell "oven thermometers" that register up to 550 degrees.  Since this is the max my oven says it can go to I should be able to just use one of these to gauge where my oven is.  And its only 10 bucks.  However, it's not nearly as fun as the infrared gun!

Grilling24X7,

Based on the product reviews on amazon.com (there are 63 of them!) that gun seems like a good buy.  One of the poorer reviews was made by a person wanting to measure internal body temp!  I guess he was upset when he discovered that internal and external temps are different!   :-D

DH has bought a lot of stuff from Harbor Freight and his comment is that you get what you pay for with them.  The low prices they offer are often indicative of low quality items that break quickly.  I know that at Walgreen's, the kitchen appliances and electronic gadgets are "factory seconds" which are sold cheap and break quickly, so I'm assuming that, based on DH's comment, it is much the same with Harbor Freight.

As for the oven thermometer that goes to 550o, it will measure air temp in the oven, whereas the IR will measure only surface temps of walls and stones.  I just made pizza for my daughter and her friend on Sunday and, while I was finishing up a canning lesson (Spicy Dilled Beans!) I let the oven preheat for almost 2 hours at 550.  I don't know what the oven air temp was, but my Raytek showed the stone temp at 665o!  Great pizza!

This is the model I bought and IIRC, I paid about $65 on amazon.com, but a search doesn't pull it up on that site right now.  FWIW, I LOVE it and use it for more than just pizza... for instance, I also use it to make sure the frying pan is at the correct temp before I sear meat... and much more.

~sd
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Offline BurntEdges

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2009, 04:46:44 PM »
I have the Harbor Freight model as noted by JConk above.  It works great.

To me, an IR gun has become a very necessary & basic measurement tool, much like a digital scale or measuring spoons.  You will know exactly what the temperature of your stone was when you loaded the pizza on it.  When things are going well, it lets you know where you were so you can repeat the bake next time.  And when things go poorly, you'll know what temperature didn't work for you.  I also use it to measure my finished dough temperature after mixing, and to measure temperatures when doing a room temp ferment.  The more you pursue this hobby, the more the purchase of an IR gun becomes inevitable.  It just takes some of the guesswork out of an effort that is already full of variables!

Take whatever money you were going to spend on an oven thermometer and put it towards an IR gun - you'll see the the difference dollar-wise won't be a whole lot more.  If I used an IR gun professionally, I'd spring for a top end model; but for the home pizza baker, there's several very competent units for less than $50 (USD) delivered.

The link to the Raytek one is here: http://www.amazon.com/Raytek-MT6-MiniTemp-Infrared-Thermometer/dp/B000O80B5M/?tag=pizzamaking-20

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=96451

http://www.amazon.com/Mastercool-52224A-SP-MSC52224A-Infrared-Thermometer/dp/B000TM7HXC/?tag=pizzamaking-20

http://www.amazon.com/Non-Contact-Infrared-Thermometer-Laser-Aim/dp/B000HWZTGG/?tag=pizzamaking-20


Offline mmarston

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2009, 05:37:44 PM »
Here's an $80 one I got from Sears that goes to 1000f and has a two year guarantee.

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/ProductDisplay?partNumber=03450466000P&storeId=10153&catalogId=12605
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Offline JConk007

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2009, 08:23:04 PM »
I have the top end Fluke IR @ like 200 $ !! but I got it from work so I dont care. I do care about the temp of the hearth and dome and its so cool to see what works and what doesnt temp wise inside and out.  and the different temps inside  the WFO. as far as Harbor riegh ir  SD I know you are not fond of that model ( same post earlier when it was like only $29 on sale!) )but as mentioned for the home baker it is fine I buy "stuff" there all the time useful cheap stuff like bungee cords, hammers, tarps... how bad can they be? as far as tool and techno, yes they are cheap. But the average home owner who uses it once for 1 project is better off with this type of product. They dont buy the $399 fein multi master ( like I did doy) they buy the $45 multi use tool at harbor freight same functions and attachments!  til it breaks  :'(
john
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Offline pacoast

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2009, 09:35:35 PM »
If you have the top end Fluke IR thermometer (model 576) it cost a couple thousand dollars more than you think it does. The Fluke IRT's in the $200 range are probably the Model 63 or 66's. Even the model 68 is still $600.

.


Offline Grilling24x7

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2009, 07:05:08 PM »
What fun little gadgets!  Maybe Santa will add one to my stocking!  :)

Offline JConk007

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2009, 09:20:44 PM »
PACoast.
OOPs I meant the top end for measuring asphalt temps. Thats my business, but who cares? it works great? What I was trying  to say was, if I did not get it from work, I would probably go with the harbor freight thats all. NO WAY I would spend thousands I would built a portable oven first:)
but its a nice unit anyway sorry for any confusion.
John
« Last Edit: October 14, 2009, 09:25:15 PM by JConk007 »
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Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2009, 09:58:42 PM »
John,
I guess my theory is why spend $30 for a cheap IR that may very well break after a year (or less) when you can pony up $50 for one that will last for a long time?  The Raytek on amazon is only $48 with free shipping!  Guess I spent too much time at Walgreens doing returns on cheap, broken appliances for pissed off customers!   ;)  If you can afford it, buy something of a reasonable quality so that it will last a while.   I don't think you can really compare hammers, tarps and bungee cords to electronics.  And I don't think we're talking about the "average homeowner" who is going to use it once... we're talking pizza fanatics who will use it multiple times weekly!  I'll shut up now.   ;D

pacoast,
Thanks for the link to the Raytek on amazon.  Don't know why it wasn't there when I searched it.

~sd
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Offline pacoast

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2009, 10:16:18 PM »
John, I guess that came out wrong on my part. I didn't mean so much to give you a hard time. You are right, you don't need a super expensive IRT & large amounts of money would be better spent elsewhere. All I meant to point out is that you might be holding onto a $2000 thermometer from work & not realize it.

Anyway, as general advice to anyone looking at thermometers.. as with most things if you can find the money to buy something more mid-line, perhaps $50 or $80 you'll probably get a thermometer that is better designed & more durable. The bottom of the line models work, but are cheaply made and perhaps fragile. They may not be so much a bargain if they don't stand up to regular use /abuse & die after the first year or two.

.

scott123

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2010, 03:05:46 AM »
I'm bumping this thread because I'm shopping for an IR thermometer and have a question.

So, other than JConk, is there no one here with a model that will go high enough (1100ish) to give them dome temps?

Are there any models out there that will give me dome temps (up to 1200, if possible) for less than $100? I don't have a WFO yet, but, when I do, the thought of having to buy another thermometer doesn't hold much appeal for me.

Offline dms

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2010, 12:59:47 PM »
I'm bumping this thread because I'm shopping for an IR thermometer and have a question.

So, other than JConk, is there no one here with a model that will go high enough (1100ish) to give them dome temps?

Are there any models out there that will give me dome temps (up to 1200, if possible) for less than $100? I don't have a WFO yet, but, when I do, the thought of having to buy another thermometer doesn't hold much appeal for me.

There are relatively few IR detectors in use in thermometers. (The reason there's such little variation in specs.)  None of the cheap ones go that high, as far as I know.  Give it a couple years, though, and they will.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2010, 12:08:39 AM »
I have this one. The specs say 1000F, but I've had it over that. $79. It works very well. They have another one that is spec'd to 1400F for $99.

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_03450466000P

Craig
« Last Edit: February 25, 2010, 12:16:40 AM by TXCraig1 »
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Offline GotRocks

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2010, 05:21:04 PM »
Just an FYI on the subject of Non-Contact Infrared thermometers'
There is one little annoyance with any IR thermometer that I have found which can make them impractical for restaurant or home use..
They cannot accurately read the temperature accurately when pointed at a shiny or reflective object such as stainless steel.
My instructor for my Serv-Safe re-certification course was singing the praises of IR units during class, And I brought up the fact that they do not work on stainless steel. He doubted my comments and he was disagreeing with me and stating that I was obviously using the unit wrong, or it was out of calibration. About 15-20 minutes later, a stainless steel coffee urn was brought into the room for our lunch break meal.
So I had him try the IR thermometer on the outside of the urn, the thermometer read 74F when it was pointed at it.
The coffee inside was near 190F, and when i pressed a thermapen against the side of the urn, it read very close to the temperature of the liquid inside.

So, do not point a non-contact thermometer at a shiny surface and expect an accurate reading from it This could be dangerous if you went to check the temperature of a hot stainless steel pan, the thermometer would read ambient temps from the reflection even though the pan is hot enough to instantly sear your skin. This could also happen with oven racks or a shiny oven interior too.
just be careful
A skinny cook is not to be trusted!


Offline Bob1

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2010, 07:24:13 PM »
Gotrocks,
I agree with you.  I have been using IR guns for about ten years and only use them for a reference.  The surface can make them very unpredictable.  They are also not that accurate.  I had to back up my reports against Type K thermcouples and there is no comparison.  I now own two guns, four Fluke thermocouples and three thermopens.  Also keep in mind what you are using it for and try to buy it with in that range.  2% of -20 to 150 is more accurate than 2% 0f -20 to 900.

Bob

Offline dms

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2010, 11:26:52 PM »
Just an FYI on the subject of Non-Contact Infrared thermometers'
There is one little annoyance with any IR thermometer that I have found which can make them impractical for restaurant or home use..
They cannot accurately read the temperature accurately when pointed at a shiny or reflective object such as stainless steel.


IR thermometers measure the amount of long wave infrared emitted by the object they're pointed at.  The problem is that objects are not perfect black bodies, so they reflect some and transmit some of the IR that hits them.  Most cheap IR thermometers have a fixed emissivity of 0.95, which is what many ordinary objects (including most organic matter(it's the emssivity of water), painted surfaces) have.  Surfaces that are reflective to IR, and which don't have an emssivity of near 0.95 aren't going to be measured accurately.  (Stainless steel is about 0.56, Aluminum ranges from 0.05 to 0.8, depending on the state of polish, and how oxidized it is.  firebrick is about 0.75) Better thermometers have adjustable emissivity (but you probably don't want to spend that much), and can be calibrated to the emissivity of the current measurement subject.  The other thing that can often be done is put a target with an emissivity of about 0.95 on the object to be measured, and measured that.  Electrical tape works well for many purposes.  3M used to (may still do, but I couldn't find them in the catalog the last time I looked, a few months ago) sell a product designed for just this purpose.   

This is a very well known property of the thermometers (Every instruction manual talks about it.), and frankly, someone teaching a food safety class who doesn't know this is likely to be unqualified to actually teach that. 

Here's a decent article about IR thermometers in food uses:
http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/article.asp?id=566&sub=sub1

Offline Bob1

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2010, 12:17:51 AM »
dms.
I use one for dough and it works really well.  I also checked the calibration by using ice and checking it against my thermocouple at room temps.  It is a Raytek with a low range and is very consistant. 

I have also used the other rayteks ranging up to $300 (Single Beam & Multi).  In food safety the reliability for uses on refrigerated cases is not great. The variations of temps due to color and texture are tough for getting consistant temps.  The difference of three degrees off is a lot for me even if the surface is reflecting properly.  It can mean the difference from passing and failing an inspection.  It actually cost me a lot of money to pay men to use thermcouples as opposed to IR's.  I compensate by using a dozen probes at $22 a pop and plug them in after they reach temp, this cuts down on the labor.  If they have a good gun I would gladly pay 3 grand for one, but so far the ones up to $300 just don't cut it. 

That being said they are all right for around the house but the Centech I got for $50 at Harbor freight is 8 degrees off the Raytech for $90, so they really need to be checked, and checked on a linear basis.  For an oven with high temps it's not bad, but for random shots at -20 to 45 degrees when accuracy is needed, I hate them. 

Thanks,

Bob

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2010, 11:32:31 AM »
I was looking at this one. http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_03481998000P?vName=Tools&cName=Electricians+Tools+%26+Lighting&sName=Test+%26+Measuring+Tools&prdNo=4&blockNo=4&blockType=L4#specs.

I don't need a super duper IR gun. I just want one that is going to be realiable, and not break with as close to accurate readings as I can get.

brayshaw

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2010, 11:42:27 AM »
This is the one I just brought: http://www.buycatering.com/thermometers/raytemp-3-ir-thermometer-c83d1221.html
Its a good one I think buddy,

Paul
« Last Edit: June 13, 2010, 11:44:16 AM by brayshaw »

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2010, 01:51:01 PM »
And here is the one that I bought.  Works fine.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000TM7HXC/?tag=pizzamaking-20
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Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2010, 03:02:31 PM »
BSO,   I like the looks of the one you have picked out from sears.  I really wish mine went above 932/500.  It becomes useless on the dome when you are really rolling,  which you will be. -marc

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Infrared thermometer suggestions?
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2010, 04:53:11 PM »
I'm most likely going to getting the one from sears because it can go past 932F.