posted February 11, 2022
FireBoard Spark Review
Hey Grillers, Hey! We’re back at it once again with a review on the newest instant-read thermometer from FireBoard! The FireBoard Spark is a serious contender in the instant-read thermometer space, running right up against our favorite, the Thermapen ONE. While it won’t take the Thermapen in an all-out, high-noon quick draw, it boasts a massive feature list that could quickly put it in the number one spot for you Backyard BBQ heroes. Will the Spark live up to its premium $149 price tag? Let’s take a look.
FireBoard sent us this equipment for testing and review purposes, however, all opinions are our own.
FireBoard Spark Features
The FireBoard Spark features the following:
- Instant-Read thermocouple probe delivers fast and accurate temperature readings
- External probe port enables monitoring of long-term cooking sessions
- Sync Mode transforms your Spark into a remote FireBoard monitor
- NSF Certified
- NIST-Traceable calibration certificate
- NFC scanner allows streamlined labeling of instant-readings
- USB-C rechargeable Li-Ion battery provides 12+ months of normal use
- WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE) and FireBoard Cloud enabled
- Built-in magnets for easy storage on metal surfaces
The FireBoard Spark
On the surface, the Spark looks to be a standard instant-read thermometer, but that’s far from the truth. In an industry-shaking move, FireBoard has made the Spark a hybrid between an instant-read and a standard remote BBQ thermometer! They’ve placed an external probe port on the rear of the unit right above the charging port. With a probe plugged in it is still possible to take instant readings with the built-in probe, making the Spark a multitasking beast! As far as accuracy goes I’ve found the unit to be spot on using the instant-read probe or an external through all of my testings.
Since the Spark has built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities it can be set up to work with the FireBoard app. There, if you plug in an external thermometer probe you’ll be able to track temperatures and monitor an entire cook! The app won’t monitor instant-read probe, however, it will keep a record of each reading you take with it. If you have another FireBoard product, such as the FireBoard 2 Drive, the Spark can be set up to be used as a remote display. Just put the Spark in sync mode in the settings and you’re ready to fire!
The Spark carries a standard IP66 environmental rating which means it can take some dust and splashes, but don’t leave it out in heavy rain or run it through the dishwasher.
While not quite as quick as a Thermapen ONE, I’ve found the Spark to be fast enough to fit my needs. It only takes 3-4 seconds for an accurate temp and gives you a little buzz and blinking light near the charge port when it gets there. You read that right, friends! The Spark has haptic feedback! Alongside that happy little vibration, the Spark will save the temperature in a smaller font in the corner of the screen for a few minutes for your reference.
Speaking of that screen, FireBoard is right on target! They’re using a 192×64 backlit LCD panel that features 360° rotation so you can orient the thermometer however you’d like and can display temperatures as a whole number or with a tenths position included. The Spark has a fully adjustable backlight, contrast, and the ability to invert the screen colors from white-on-black to black-on-white. The internal 2600mAh battery should last around 12 hours running that screen, according to FireBoard.
The Spark also features a built-in NFC reader which is an advanced feature said to be used to “allow streamlined labeling of instant-readings.” I haven’t used this feature and couldn’t find any documentation on it, so this is as far as I’ll go.
FireBoard Spark Operation
Operation of the Spark is incredibly simple; just rotate the thermometer probe out and it’s ready to go! There is also a power button on top of the unit that you can long-press to turn it on in cases where you’d like to use an external probe only. When in instant-read mode, a single tap of the power button will log the current temperature shown on the screen.
Finding the menu is fairly simple. While the unit is powered on, a long press of the power button will pull it right up. From here, single button presses will cycle through the options and long presses will confirm your selection, change a setting option, or take you into a sub-menu. Simply wait a few seconds with no button press and the Spark will go right back to the main screen.
What We Like
- The Display – The best display on an instant-read thermometer, hands down! It’s super easy to read and customizable.
- Sync Mode – Owning a FireBoard 2 Drive (or standard FireBoard) makes this feature incredibly valuable. With the Spark in sync mode, I can monitor my temperatures anywhere within Wi-Fi range without having to fiddle with an app on my phone. I stick the spark to my fridge with the built-in magnets and it works just as well as any of my RF thermometer units.
- Case and Magnets – Although they add to the overall thickness, magnets are super convenient. The back of the case is beveled at 45 degrees so it sits nicely on a flat surface.
- Rechargeable Battery
What Could be Improved
- External Probe not included – For the price of the Spark, it would be nice to find one in the box. ($149 at the time of review)
- Read Speed – While the “techy” among us will appreciate the extra features, a bigger focus on speed to keep up with the competition would be beneficial.
- FINGERPRINTS – The screen is an absolute fingerprint MAGNET. Keep a microfiber handy.
Great Recipes for the Fireboard Spark
Do you have the FireBoard Spark, or are you planning on buying one in the future? If so, I recommend trying these awesome recipes on your grill.
- Smoked Pulled Beef Chuck Roast
- Grilled Rib Eye Steak with Roasted Garlic Resting Butter
- Drunk Brisket with Bacon BBQ Sauce
FireBoard Spark Review: Final Thoughts
The FireBoard Spark is a major contender for the best instant-read title. In my eyes though, it falls a little short for the price. To take advantage of the features that would put the Spark above the Thermapen ONE require that you already own a FireBoard or purchase one separately. At almost $50 more, I can’t recommend the Spark over the aforementioned ONE. If you’re already invested in FireBoard’s product line it’s a great buy. Thank you FireBoard for finally bringing some premium competition to the instant-read thermometer battle!
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