When ThermoWorks released the original Smoke wireless thermometer a few years ago it quickly went to the top of our list of best smoker thermometers where it’s stayed ever since.
With the release of the Smoke X, ThermoWorks has resisted the urge to cram WiFi features in and instead decided to double down on build quality, increased range, and signal strength.
Let’s delve into everything there is to know about the Smoke X4 and see how it compares to the original Smoke and the more futuristic Signals.
ThermoWorks sent me a free Smoke X4 in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thermoworks Smoke X Overview
I got the Smoke X4 to test out. The only difference between the X2 and the X4 is the number of probes so this review will apply to whichever model you are looking at.
Straight out of the box I was impressed with what I saw. A large heavyweight transmitter with a huge LCD screen and a receiver that didn’t feel like it would break if I knocked it a bit during use.
You can also check out this video unboxing and review I did.
Having three meat probes included on the Smoke X4 is a great feature, I am often cooking different cuts of meat for parties and if I’m cooking steaks to different doneness, I can individually monitor each steaks internal temperature.
The included color grommets to place on each probe is a nice little touch.
Then there is the ambient temp probe to keep a track of your smoker’s temperature. The ability to set a low and high alarm is always a great feature in any thermometer.
I think Thermoworks laid everything out well when designing this unit, they thought of what was needed, and what really wasn’t and had the end user in their minds the entire time.
What I like:
- The biggest plus for me is the instant plug and play, no apps to download, no linking necessary. I took both units out of the box and they were synced and ready to use within seconds.
- The rugged design and backlit screens are perfect for outdoor use.
- The 6,562 feet range is incredible.
- The accuracy and the ability to calibrate is a great addition.
- The ability to pair up a billows fan unit is a handy feature.
- Allowing more than one receiver to be paired with the transmitter can be a handy feature for BBQ team.
What I don’t like:
- Where do I store all the wires once I take it all out of the packaging? I know I can purchase a storage case separately, but I feel this really should be included in the base product.
- I found the ambient temp probe on my unit didn’t fit snug enough into the grate clip and took some time to balance it in there.
There’s also no WiFi, Bluetooth, or app connectivity. For some people this will be a relief as there’s no hassle connecting to your network, pairing mobile apps, or dealing with weak WiFi signals from your house.
So if you want a rock-solid connection, best in class build quality, huge range, and signal strength along with four probes this is a great option.
What’s in the box
The Thermoworks Smoke X4 is packaged very well. The packaging has various key features like the range of use and optional extras printed on the packaging. With the clear plastic panes, you can see exactly what the transmitter and receiver units look like.
Inside the box, you’ll find:
- Smoke X4 Transmitter x 1 (with batteries)
- Smoke X4 Receiver x 1 (with batteries)
- Pro-Series High Temp Cooking Probe x 3
- Pro-Series High Temp Air Probe and Grate Clip x 1
- High Temp Silicone Color Probe Rings x 8
- Neck Lanyard x 1
- Instruction Card with Chef Recommended Temperature Chart x 1
|Probe Range||-58 to 572°F (-50 to 300°C)|
|Cable Max Temp||700°F (300°C)|
|Accuracy||±1.8°F (±1.0°C) from -4 to 248°F (-20 to 120°C)|
±3.6°F (±2.0°C) from -58 to -4°F / 248 to 392°F (-50 to -20°C / 120 to 200°C)
±5.4°F (±3.0°C) from 392 to 572°F (200 to 300°C)
|Transmission Range||6,562 feet line of sight (1.24 miles/2 kilometers)|
|Transmission Rate||30 Seconds|
|Water Resistance||IP66 Splash-Proof|
|Battery||Smoke X: 2x AA – 330 hrs. or power with optional AC adapter. Receiver: 2x AA – 1,800 hrs|
Accuracy and read speed
I’m not going to mince words here. I expect anything from Thermoworks to read accurately and quickly.
I have been using Thermapens for years, not only at home but also on the BBQ competition circuit and on television, and I have become so used to great features from a thermometer that I’m ruthless when comparing other options.
The receiver updates every 30 seconds, so no matter where you are in the cook, you’ll be assured accurate information.
The base unit has no lag at all. So if you are wanting to take a cut of meat to an exact temperature, when the transmitter is within a degree or two, get closer to the base unit and you’ll be rest assured to get a perfect cook.
The Patent pending 915MHz radio frequency is normally better than 2.4GHz at penetrating walls and physical barriers. This was tried and tested by myself just wandering around my yard and house. I never noticed a dropout.
The ability to calibrate the unit is an added bonus. New from the factory, your Smoke X4 will read within ±1.8°F even after changing probes so you should never really need to use the CAL function.
However, you can fine-tune the calibration for accuracy better than ±1°F on each channel. Although the unit I tested was accurate right of the box, I looked at the instructions to re-calibrate and they were as easy as pressing a couple of buttons.
Experience using the Smoke X
After using the Smoke X on a handful of cooks, here are some of the key things that stood out to me.
- The huge transmission range of up to 6,562 feet. I find nothing more annoying than dropouts when using a thermometer. Especially when sneaking off to the beer fridge.
- Large LCD screen is very nice for us vision impaired, be it by eyesight or too many drinks near the BBQ.
- The backlight screen for when you are up early or staying up late
- The ability to adjust the alarms sounds level, nothing worse than getting up early and having the alarm blaring the wife seeing me having breakfast beers while smoking, so thank you Thermoworks.
- The added little extras of magnets on both the base unit and the receiver, making it mountable to any metal surface, or the little flip out stand on the transmitter unit if you want to sit it on a table next to your smoker.
One minor annoyance is that there is a 30 second delay if you use the receiver to turn off the alarm on the transmitter.
How the Smoke X compares with the original Smoke
If you are still on the fence between the original Smoke and the Smoke X I think it really comes down to a few key features.
- Range – Smoke X gives you 6,562 feet line of sight plus much better signal strength with next gen RF wireless tech to avoid annoying dropouts.
- Four probe capacity – The original Smoke only supports two probes while the Smoke X4 lets you monitor up to four temps at once.
- Support for Billows – You can connect a Billows BBQ temperature control fan kit which is a great way to manage temperatures on a charcoal smoker (just make sure you get the specific Billows kit for use with Smoke X).
There are a few other minor improvements including a slight bump in IP waterproof rating from 65 to 66, silicone color bands to easily identify each probe
What about WiFi and app connectivity?
One important note is that there is no WiFi or App connectivity with Smoke X, and ThermoWorks have said they have no plans to release a WiFi adapter as they did with the original Smoke Gateway.
Smoke X is for the user who doesn’t want to hassle with connecting devices to Wi-Fi, setting up routers, pairing with mobile apps, or dealing with unreliable Wi-Fi, but wants a super strong signal from their backyard to anywhere in their yard and home on a remote receiver.ThermoWorks Staff
If this feature is important for you, then you want to go with the Signals thermometer which uses WiFi and Bluetooth.
I quite of like this design approach as there’s a lot of people that just don’t want to bother with using an app on their phone.
Smoke X comes paired out of the box so it’s total plug and play with no setup required.
Should you buy the Smoke X?
The Smoke X is a great product, but whether or not I would recommend it really comes down to whether or not you’re going to take advantage of a few core features.
The unit as a whole package is rugged and feels like it could be put through the rigors of completion BBQ and easily hold up in a commercial setting.
You can pair multiple receivers to the one transmitter. So in competition BBQ, everyone on the whole team can have his or her own unit. No more mistakes if anyone dozes off after a few too many daddy juices during a long cook.
Accuracy of readout at ±1°F on each channel and a range of an incredible 6,562 feet line-of-sight which gives you the freedom to keep track of your cook at a greater distance and signal strength to penetrate walls and obstacles, so you can mingle while cooking and never worry about not getting alerts.
I can see why this unit is geared towards the high ends user but I can also see my mates who brew beer, deep fry food and just keep track of everyday cooks will see this as an important tool to have in the kitchen, as well as the BBQ kit.