A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
Annabelle is an experienced food writer and editor. She focuses on common sense, easy to replicate recipes formulated
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ThermoPro makes quite a few great meat thermometers and meat probes; all of which are well worth recommending. Two of the best are the TP08s and the TP20, who are equally good in a lot of ways.
TOO equally, actually, in a lot of ways. At first glance, they appear identical. At second and third glance they do too, leaving a lot of people confused as to whether the two are the same product with different names, or maybe one is a new version of the other.
Surprisingly, neither is correct, and couldn’t be further from the truth. There are actually huge differences between the two that make them suited for vastly different tasks. These differences are subtle in terms of appearance though, and hidden well deep in the product descriptions. Hopefully, this quick guide will help enunciate those differences a lot more clearly.
1. TP08s Features
The TP08s is a dual probe wireless meat thermometer.
It has a pair of very high quality stepped down meat probes. The cables are very durable, and are heat resistant up to a whopping 716 degrees Fahrenheit, so you don’t need to worry about overheating them under any reasonable circumstances; the only heat source that would regularly exceed those temperatures is a brick pizza oven (which can reach temperatures exceeding 800 or even 900 degrees Fahrenheit.
Both probes can be used to monitor a different thing each. The classic use is to stick one in your meat to monitor its temperature, and then leave one hanging a bit freer to read the ambient temperature of the grill or smoker interior, so you can watch out for any large temperature fluctuations.
However, you can easily just use the two meat probes for two different kinds of meat, and enjoy the flexibility of the different readouts.
This thermometer is wireless, as mentioned, and has an impressive 300 foot range, so you can easily sit comfortably inside while your smoker cooks without having to worry about losing signal at certain points in the house (though it is still better to remain relatively close with as few obstructions between you and the probes as possible).
The TP08s comes with lower settings on its heat alarms, so you can go down to a much lower temperature with it.
The readout is accurate to within 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (decent, but not great) and can read temperatures between 32 degrees and 572 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees to 300 degrees Celsius).
Finally, the TP08s has a pretty good price, coming in at just a little under the TP20, which we’ll talk about below.
2. TP20 Features
Much here is the same.
The TP20 is also a dual probe wireless meat thermometer. It has the same 300 foot range on the wireless portion, and the probes can likewise be used flexibly; two meats or one meat with room for reading the ambient temperature.
The construction of the meat probes is identical. They’re stepped down, with very high heat resistance (716 degrees Fahrenheit) and the same temperature range as the TP08s.
The TP20 has the ability to scale up to much higher temperatures on its presets before the alarms go off.
The TP20 comes equipped with a few nice quality of life features, particularly the presets. There are a ton of presets for commonly cooked meats, so you don’t need to set the thermometers by hand every single time you go to cook.
The TP20 is also built to be splash proof, giving it a bit of added durability in the kitchen. Finally, the TP20 is a little bit more expensive than the TP08s.
Read more: Thermopro TP20 Review.
So What’s The Difference?
The main difference here is those heat alarms. It may not seem like a huge difference between them, but it significantly shifts what jobs the two thermometers are suited for the.
The TP08s is much better suited as a dedicated smoking thermometer. If all you need is a meat thermometer for smoking, you can’t go wrong with it. It’s relatively inexpensive compared to other models, and gets the job done with aplomb. All of its features make it an all around good meat thermometer that excels at smoking; so think of it as a more specialized model.
The TP20 is instead a much more well rounded option. However, due to its high heat alarm, it makes for a very poor smoking thermometer, since you simply cannot set it to a low enough temperature to effectively smoke with; the alarm will be going off all the time.
However, the TP20 is a lot more user friendly in every other conceivable way. It’s more durable given its splash proof construction, and is just all around easier to use. It has a larger display and both up and down arrows on its temperature settings, so you can adjust with more ease. The TP08s instead has only up arrows; this means you can sometimes accidentally overshoot your target while setting it, and have to wrap ALL the way back around to get it right.
The TP20 also comes with a ton of presets, so you can just smack a single button and call it a day.
So, it really comes down to one thing. If you’re planning to smoke meat a lot, get the TP08s, full stop. The TP20 simply isn’t suited for that task.
For everything else, the TP20 is a ton better, and only a little more expensive, so if you don’t plan to do a lot of smoking it will serve you a lot better. Though the argument can be made that the TP08s excels at smoking and is decent for grilling and the like, so it is the more versatile model.
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