Creating wonderful candy creations requires the cook to track temperatures very precisely. Each stage of the process—from the thread stage to the hard crack stage—requires precision or the candy simply won’t come out quite right. Fortunately, there is such a tool for maintaining temperatures throughout the entire candy process, and that tool is a candy thermometer. The best candy thermometers not only help the candy maker maintain control over their candy-making process but can also be used for other purposes as well, such as checking the temperature of boiling water for pasta or monitoring the temperature of hot oil for deep frying. Let’s take a closer look at some of these thermometers, and find out which ones are the best.

Quick Summary of Candy Thermometers

 Best Overall 
OXO Good-Grips Glass Candy Thermometer
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 Best Value 
Defull Hanging Hook/Pot Clip Candy Thermometer
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 Best Affordable 
Polder THM-515 Candy/Jelly & Deep Fry Thermometer
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OXO Good-Grips Glass Candy Thermometer

 Best Overall 

We’ve seen people use many different types of thermometers for candy cooking or deep frying. Some of the thermometers we’ve seen people use are meat, laser gun, and even oven thermometers. Unfortunately, none of those are the right tools for either deep frying or making candy, so the results are usually unpredictable. The only way the consumer is going to get predictable results that result in quality candy being made is by using the best candy thermometer they have available. One that will hold up to regular use, clips easily to a pot and above all other considerations, delivers accurate readings. This thermometer is such a model.

This glass thermometer is approximately 16.5×4.25×1.5-inches in size and feature graphics that are large and easy to read. Easy enough to read when standing back from the thermometer, which is quite refreshing considering that many thermometers require the cook to almost be on top of them to read the temperature. This thermometer’s measurement markings are delineated and marked in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. This makes it easy on the cook’s eyes and allows them to easily distinguish when their candy is at the proper temperature. It’s also marked with a guide that lists common temperature settings that show when the temperature has reached soft ball stage, caramel and deep fry temperatures.

Another thing that we liked about this model was that it had a clip that was extra-long and could easily be used to clip the thermometer to several different types of pots. And because this thermometer also has a rounded foot, it’s also less likely to scrape along the bottom or the sides of the pot the way other thermometers do. And because it has a large handle located on top of it, the cook can easily remove it from the candy or jam mixture or fry oil without having to worry about handling a hot thermometer. Although this thermometer does need to be hand-washed and can’t be washed in the dishwasher, it’s still a great tool for measuring candy temperatures.

PROS:

  • It’s a well made thermometer.
  • It reads temperatures very accurately.
CONS:

  • None

Defull Hanging Hook/Pot Clip Candy Thermometer

 Best Value 

Not everyone uses their candy thermometers in the same way. While most people like to hook the thermometer to the side of a pot, other people like to hang their thermometers down into their candy confections. That’s why it’s probably a good thing that this thermometer is capable of doing both things. It’s equipped with a hook-type handle that allows it to be dangled into a pot, and it also has a clip that allows it to be hooked to the side of a pot or pan.

Our experience with this thermometer was that we got very accurate readings from it when it was dangled into the center of the pot than when it was clipped to the side. We’re unsure if that’s because heat from the side of the pot is transferred through the thermometer’s clip, but it was only off by a degree or two when it was clipped, so in our opinion, it’s not a big deal.

One thing that we liked about this thermometer was that it was made with stainless steel construction that was rust-proof and seemed like it would hold up well to many years of use. Although this does make the thermometer very hot when it’s being used, it has an insulated handle that makes it easy to remove after it has served its purpose. It’s a thermometer that’s approximately 10.59×1.9×0.36-inches, it’s easy to handle and it’s temperature markings are easy to read–even from a distance. Its temperature range is marked in both Fahrenheit and Celsius, and it reads temperatures accurately anywhere from 100 to 400-degrees Fahrenheit.

This thermometer is also supposed to be dishwasher-safe, but we would recommend that consumers hand wash all of their candy thermometers to ensure that they don’t break during a dishwashing cycle. Since this product has been thoroughly calibrated and tested before it left the factory, it’s generally accurate within +/- 4-degrees, and the one we had was even more accurate than that. Having said that, we feel that this thermometer is a good value and should provide the consumer with the accuracy and performance they expect out of a candy thermometer. Although there are better thermometers available for candy making, this is a great value model that isn’t very expensive.

PROS:

  • It’s a well made thermometer.
  • It works well.
CONS:

  • Doesn’t take as accurate of a temperature from the side of a pot as it does from the center of a pot.

Polder THM-515 Candy/Jelly & Deep Fry Thermometer

 Best Affordable 

Even though we have to admit that this candy thermometer doesn’t look like the most durable one available, it does work well and is easy to use. Our main complaint with this thermometer was that the end of its thermometer ball is left exposed and this can create a situation where it gets cracked or broken during use or while being cleaned.

Although we didn’t personally have any difficulties with that problem, we imagine that if the thermometer isn’t carefully handled, then someone else may have that problem. With that being said, however, there are a whole lot of things to like about this thermometer, some of which we’re going to chronicle right now.

One of the first things that we noticed about this thermometer is that it had large numbers that were easy to read. This thermometer had a temperature range of 90-degrees to 400-degrees Fahrenheit, and the temperature readings were broken down into six different heating zones: thread, soft-ball, hard-ball, soft crack, hard crack, and deep fry. This thermometer also has a stainless steel body and came with a pot clip that allowed it to be easily attached to pots.

It also has a stay-cool handle that allows the thermometer to be easily retrieved when it has done its job. This is a dishwasher-safe thermometer that doesn’t cost very much but should be quite useful to anyone making candy or deep-frying foods.

PROS:

  • It’s reasonably priced.
  • It works extremely well.
CONS:

  • The thermometer bulb doesn’t look very durable.

A Guide To Candy Thermometers

Anyone looking to make candy is going to want to buy a great thermometer, and we’ve listed some of the best candy thermometers above this guide. However, not everyone will want one of the ones selected above and instead want to choose their own. Our readers shouldn’t worry about that because we have them covered. Below are some of the things that consumers are going to want to consider before they buy their own candy thermometer. We’ve also listed a few general-purpose tips that will allow consumers to keep that thermometer in good condition for as long as possible. Okay, we’ve prattled on long enough, let’s wade right into the depths of this article and get started.

What To Consider When Buying A Candy Thermometer

Even though many people grab the first candy thermometer they see and hope that it works well for their candy-making or deep frying endeavors, there is a better way to go about buying one of these thermometers. And to prove that point, we listed some of the things that consumers are going to want to consider when they’re buying their next thermometer below.

Thermometer Accuracy

The first thing for any cook to consider when choosing a new thermometer is the accuracy of the tool. Due to their very nature, thermometers are never completely accurate, but some of these thermometers come close to being perfectly accurate. In our opinion, any thermometer that comes within a +/- 4-degree Fahrenheit range (or better) is pretty accurate. These are the ones that are factory calibrated and tested to ensure accuracy and are the ones that usually state their accuracy range. If a thermometer doesn’t list its accuracy range, then this might be a thermometer to avoid.

Thermometer Mobility 

It’s also a good idea to choose a thermometer that can be used in more than one location. Some thermometers can only be clipped to the side of a pot, which is fine, but this may result in a different temperature reading that if the thermometer was used in the middle of the mixture. Generally speaking, the middle of any mixture is a more accurate representation of its overall average temperature than the side of a pot. Therefore, it’s important to choose a thermometer that can be used in several different locations. Yes, the thermometer should have a clip, but it should also have a flat bottom that allows it to stand upright and a handle that allows it to be lowered down into the candy if necessary. A good handle will also serve the purpose of making it easier to remove the thermometer when it has served its purpose.

Easy-To-Read Gauge 

The next thing that consumers should consider is how easy the gauge is to read. It’s important to choose one that can be easily read without having to remove it from the candy mixture to do so. Look for models that are large and have a large measurement gauge with clear temperature markings on it. It should also display temperatures in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. If possible, also choose one that has its temperature readings divided into several Candy Temperature Zones. Some of the zones that can be found on some thermometers include the following:

Candy Temperature Zones:

  • Thread Stage: 230-235 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Soft-Ball Stage: 235-240 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Firm-Ball Stage: 245-250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Hard-Ball Stage: 250-265 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Soft-Crack Stage: 270-290 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Hard-Crack Stage: 300 to 310 degrees Fahrenheit.

Candy Thermometer Care Tips

Now that we have listed some of the things that consumers should consider before they buy a new candy thermometer, it’s time to turn our focus to keeping that thermometer in good condition so the candy maker can get years of service out of it. The consumer can buy the best candy thermometer in the world and it’s not going to matter if they don’t take care of it when they’re using it. Below are some tips that consumers should consider to keep their thermometer working well.

  • Test the thermometer before using it by placing it in boiling water. If the temperature isn’t 212-degrees Fahrenheit, then that thermometer is off by that amount, be sure to adjust accordingly.
  • Clean the thermometer before using it and immediately after using it.
  • Avoid placing the thermometer in a dishwasher. In our opinion, all thermometers should be hand-washed. And yes, that includes the dishwasher safe ones as well.
  • Keep the thermometer in a safe location when not in use.
  • Don’t expose the thermometer to temperatures it wasn’t designed to endure.