Are oven thermometers accurate?

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If you’ve been in the appliance industry for any period of time, you’ve likely been told that oven thermostats are not accurate. Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s just not true.

Oven thermostats are typically quite accurate and the problem is not the thermostat itself, but the user, and I’m going to explain why. Here, I have five different brands of thermostats, all varying in price by just a few dollars. They were not the cheapest thermostats that I could get my hands on, but they were most certainly not the most expensive.

I’ve now placed the oven thermostats on a baking sheet in the center of the oven and it’s time to preheat. After 10 minutes has gone by, the oven is now reaching its set temperature at 350 degrees. Taking a look at our thermostats, we can see that each thermostat is well below the 350 degrees that the oven was set for. The reason behind this is, is that the air inside the oven heats faster than any object inside of it, including the oven cavity.

To correct our mistake, we closed up the oven door and let ’em bake for another 30 minutes. Taking a second look, we now see that our oven thermostats are all reading almost exactly 350 degrees. In order for these thermostats to be accurate, they must go through the original preheat, as well as 20 to 30 minutes of additional cook time.

Please take into consideration that over time, cooking oils and greases will build up inside the thermostats, taking them out of calibration, in which case they should be replaced.

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