Product Review: IQ 120
Automatic Temperature and food temperature monitor for Charcoal Smokers (Weber Kettle, Weber Smokey Mountain models, Big Green Egg Smokers, Drum Smokers, etc.).
This review will focus on the product features of the IQ120. The IQ120 is successor of the IQ110, which we reviewed here: http://www.bbqrevolution.com/pitmaster-iq-110-review/ . If you are not familiar with the IQ110, please read the review prior to continuing with this one.
The IQ120 intends to bring the reliability and low cost of the IQ110 while adding in the features of the of the high-end pit control systems. Let’s look at those new features and how they work.
Notable Features of the IQ 120:
Adjustable Air Damper: The damper is located on the surface of the unit over the fan. This is used to regulate the amount of air that can be blown into the smoker. The damper can be set from 0-4. The higher the number, the more air that can pass into the smoker.
LED display: This is a cool feature and nice upgrade. The LED display also can be toggled to show your pit temp or your food temp, whichever you prefer.
Fan speed: You can adjust your fan blower speed on the IQ120. The default is 0, which is an automatic controller. If you are using a larger pit, you can set the blower speed as high as 5, to introduce as much air as possible to the air hungry cookers.
Food and Pit Alarms: You now have the ability to have alarms alert you when your food is done or your pit temp is not optimal. The volume is controllable as well.
Temp Delay Modes: You can now have you the IQ change the temperature during the cook, when your food reaches a set temperature.
Testing -Product Review:
Now that we know what the IQ120 offers, let’s put it to the test! We’ll look at installation, operation, and performance.
The product consisted of 6 parts: the control unit, air adapter, hose, temperature probe, food probe, and an AC adaptor. For our review, we used the Weber 22” Smokey Mountain. We installed the IQ120 in about 2 minutes, no problems. The unit paired well with the WSM, with the hanging rope/harness placed over the lid handle of the WSM, and the unit resting on the WSM door handle. Note, make sure the unit does stays a couple inches from the smoker, so it does not overheat.
Whereas the operation of the IQ110 is fool proof (you turn the dial to the desired pit temperature and the IQ takes care of the rest), The IQ120 does required interaction from the user. I can’t understate the importance of the owner’s manual. Read this a couple of times before using the IQ120. The IQ110 was so simple (and that is the beauty of it, in my opinion), that one might think they can just attach the IQ120 and go. The 120 will take you through a series of program steps, so have your manual ready until you are familiar with the steps.
I programmed/set the following parameters for our cook (WSM 22” cooker):
- Damper set to 4
- Pit temp set to 250
- Food probe threshold set to 200
- Alarm disabled, no delay used
- Blower speed set to automatic
- Display set to show food temp
After gaining the confidence that I had set this correctly, the cook went very well. The unit performed well in all the parameters I set above. I did get worried during the cook when I changed temperature on the fly, as it appeared to revert to the initial program set up. Because this was tested at a competition, I unplugged it and did the startup process again, as to not take any chances.
The IQ120 certainly has added an arsenal of features and the programs. Pitmaster IQ again delivers on its promise. The 120 is an upgrade from the 110 and the new features all seem to deliver the same reliability we have come to expect from Pitmaster IQ. The IQ120’s digital readouts, delays, and fan speeds all allow the user more control than its predecessors do. While I probably won’t need or use a lot of the delay features, they are there for those that prefer them. The IQ120 nicely priced self-contained pit and food control system; just make sure you have the manual handy the first few cooks!
Note: After this review, the next time I used the IQ120, I noticed it had quick instructions printed on the back of the unit, which is very helpful and initially overlooked. It performed well again!