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!
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!
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.