Thermometer Fun

I just got back from 2 weeks of dyeing class with Carol Soderlund. One of the objectives of the class is to figure out which variables in the dyeing process are important. One of those variables is temperature. In a separate discussion on an email list, we started to talk about thermometers for taking temperatures. Since I own 3 types of thermometers, I thought I would do some testing to see how accurate each was.

For this exercise I used three thermometers; Omega OS540 Infrared Thermometer, Taylor 9842 Instant Read Thermometer, and Redi Chek Remote Thermometer.

Temperature of Ice water using 3 thermometers

Temperature of Ice water using 3 thermometers

I started by taking the temperature of ice water. The ideal temperature of ice water is 32˚ F. The Instant Read  and the Redi Chek thermometers were a very consistent temperature of 33˚ F and 33.4˚ F. The Infrared thermometer was 29˚ F. I was using a semi-translucent container. The Infrared thermometer jumped around a little depending on where I pointed it. When I lined the container with a white cotton napkin, the infrared thermometer had a much easier time keeping a consistent temperature and by adding more ice I got the Instant Read and Redi Chek to read 32˚ F and the Infrared to 28˚F.

Temperature test of Boiling water.

I then boiled water in a metal container.  The ideal temperature of boiling water is 212˚ F.  Again, the Instant Read and Redi Chek thermometers were very accurate at 212˚ F. The Infrared temperature jumped all over. Unfortunately I believe the reflective surface of the electric kettle I used was causing the laser to pick up the temperatures of surrounding items.

I also tested the temperatures of my 3 irons with the Infrared and Instant Read thermometers. Two of the three irons had shiny bottoms and caused the Infrared thermometer temperature to jump all over depending on what additional surfaces it was picking up. The one that had a mat finish had more consistent readings, but when I placed the Instant read thermometer on the sole plate, I got very different readings than the Infrared.

The end results is that the Infrared Thermometer was fun, but I don’t think it is very accurate in many situations, and in all instances read low. I will have to do more testing to determine when it is accurate to use, since it is Really instant and fun. The Instant Read Thermometer was very quick at arriving at temperature. The Redi Chek was not as quick, but it could be left unattended. They both were accurate.

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