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When you’re doing anything involving precise temperatures in the kitchen, you need to know that you can trust your tools to accurately tell you the temperature. When we tested the Westinghouse sous vide immersion circulator, for example, we found that it runs about 2° F hotter than it says—which is definitely enough to make a difference in sous vide cooking!
Having a thermometer you can trust makes all the difference. And I’m always on the lookout for one that can withstand the various uses I want to put it through. So when I was assigned to test the Lavatools Javelin PT12 digital thermometer for Cuisine Technology, I was thrilled. Would this finally be the perfect thermometer I’ve been searching for? Read on to find out!
The Lavatools PT12 Javelin digital thermometer is a mid-range kitchen thermometer that promises a lot. It claims to have a 3- to 4-second read time, and an accuracy to under 1 degree Fahrenheit. Plus the nice size of the display screen should make it easy to read.
The Lavatools Javelin’s IP65 rating means that it should offer “protection against low-pressure jets (6.3 mm) of directed water from any angle (limited ingress permitted with no harmful effects).” In other words, minor splashing or steam shouldn’t be a major concern. If you’ve ever had a thermometer start acting up or displaying weirdly due to a small splash, you know how important this is!
While it’s intended as a meat thermometer, Lavatools claims that this device is “also perfect for oil fryers, bread, candy, coffee, and homebrews.” We appreciate that versatility, which theoretically means that this one thermometer should do just about everything necessary in the kitchen!
And if all of that weren’t enough, this thermometer is available in a wide range of colors to suit your kitchen’s look. My copy came in a fairly thermometer-generic orange, but it’s also available in bright green, yellow, purple, and several other colors.
The Lavatools Javelin package immediately looks somewhat higher-quality than that of most thermometers in its price range. Instead of being just an ugly all-plastic package of the kind that needs scissors to open, the back is made of a piece of nicely textured recyclable cardboard that’s easy to slide out. It’s always nice when a package doesn’t frustrate you before you even get to the device!
My first impression of the Javelin thermometer after taking it out of the package is that it feels solid enough to suggest high quality without being unnecessarily heavy. It fits comfortably in the hand at several angles.
The probe itself folds against the body when not in use to save space. The construction, with a gap in the plastic, means it’s easy to pull the probe outward. It doesn’t get stuck in such a way that you need to try to pry behind it to get it out.
And the probe itself offers just the right amount of resistance. You don’t want it to be too easy to move, or it won’t stay in the position you chose. And you don’t want it too stiff, either, or it would be annoying to use. The Javelin gets the balance exactly right.
Starting It Up
Usually, starting up a new kitchen gadget is a deliberate process. Not so with the Javelin, which immediately started measuring the temperature as soon as I pulled the probe out of its resting position.
This automatic start is one of those features that you may or may not appreciate. It’s great to have that level of convenience and not need to turn it on with a switch or button. (A previous thermometer from a different brand that I tested relied on a button that broke within a day, rendering it useless.)
On the other hand, this does take up more battery life than necessary. As I sit here typing this with the Javelin next to me, it’s continuously monitoring the ambient temperature in the room, which isn’t useful or necessary.
Given the long estimated battery life of 4,000+ hours, I see this feature as more of a pro than a con. I’d rather need to replace the battery a bit sooner than deal with an extra moving part that might break! But your preferences may vary.
Putting the Lavatools PT12 Javelin Digital Thermometer Through its Paces
With a thermometer, of course the one thing that matters most is whether its temperature is accurate. And, I’m delighted to say, the Javelin excels in that regard. My tests showed it as being accurate to within 0.3° F, which is even better than the 0.9° F promised.
Naturally, you’ll also want speed. When you have time-sensitive pots on the stove, you don’t want to be standing there for 15 seconds holding a thermometer and waiting for the reading to appear. I conducted five different tests, timing the thermometer for each one and allowing it to come to room temperature in between.
Here are the results of my speed tests:
- Test 1: 2.87 seconds
- Test 2: 3.19 seconds
- Test 3: 3.63 seconds
- Test 4: 4.67 seconds
- Test 5: 2.80 seconds
This comes out to an average response time of 3.43 seconds. This is even faster than the thermometer promises.
I’m thrilled to see that this tool under-promises and over-delivers both in terms of accuracy and response time.
Other Comments and Considerations
Changing Between Fahrenheit and Celsius
When the Javelin starts up, it’s automatically in Fahrenheit mode. If you prefer Celsius, you’ll need to open the back, take out the battery, and flip a switch underneath. We appreciate that the switch is well hidden, which probably helps to protect the tool from splashes and steam.
However, it’s not as simple as you’d hope to get inside. You’ll need a coin or something similar to open a back, and then something small and sharp (I used a toothpick) to coax out the battery.
Lack of a Clip/Attachment Method
You should also be aware that the Lavatools PT12 Javelin thermometer does not have a clip or any other way of attaching it to a pot or container.
For the kind of cooking I typically do, this isn’t an issue. I can just take occasional measurements by hand and then put the thermometer away between uses.
But if you need ongoing, continuous temperature monitoring as you cook, you may prefer a thermometer that has a clip.
Specs & Features
- Response time: 4 to 5 seconds
- Required insertion depth: 5mm (0.2 inches)
- Maximum temperature: 482° F (250° C)
- Minimum temperature: -40° F (-40° C)
- Estimated battery life: 4,000+ hours
- Battery included? Yes
Pros & Cons
This definitely isn’t the cheapest thermometer out there, but it’s surprisingly affordable given its quality and features. It falls somewhere in the mid-range of kitchen thermometer prices, while offering quality and precision that we would expect to find from higher-end tools.
In other words, we think it’s a bargain for the price! (I’ve personally spent more on thermometers that were several times less accurate and took twice as long to give results.)
Of course, you can spend more if you want something fancier. But for a standard home kitchen thermometer, the Lavatools PT12 Javelin digital thermometer strikes the perfect balance between quality and affordability.
The Lavatools PT12 Javelin thermometer is a fantastic tool that we would recommend for almost any home cook. It’s very accurate and has a fast response time. With its IP65 rating, it should be able to withstand basic splashes and steam. And its construction feels solid and durable. Thanks to its precise readings, it would work well as a sous vide accessory if you’re not confident that your immersion circulator is accurate!
We also love the fact that it doesn’t have buttons or switches outside, which makes it feel more splash-proof. (The tradeoff, of course, is that the switch to change from Fahrenheit to Celsius takes some extra work to access.)
As always, the big question is whether the product tester decides to keep the device. As normal people with normal-sized home kitchens, it’s not realistic for Cuisine Technology’s product testers to keep everything they try out for reviews!
So what’s the verdict—will the tester keep the Lavatools Javelin thermometer, or give it away?
Our tester says: “I’m definitely keeping it. It’s earned a permanent place in my home kitchen, and if/when it breaks someday, I’ll probably buy another of this exact model to replace it.”