Anyone use a Pitmaster IQ110 or IQ120?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by jamielamb, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. jamielamb

    jamielamb Newbie

    I have been checking out the Pitmaster IQ110s and IQ120s online and have seen some stellar reviews, but I have also seem some frustrated consumers.  Seems like the guy who came up with the idea gets pretty defensive with customers when people tell him there are issues with their units.  I even read that one guy couldn't get his IQ to work properly, sent it to Pitmaster at their request and in the end they told him nothing was wrong with it.  They only gave him 2 options...Pitmaster could return the unit to him or give him a 50% refund.  50% REFUND?!!  What a joke.  I am not even a customer yet and that one left a bad taste in my mouth.

    On the other hand there are a ton of reviews from people saying they love the things and they eliminate a lot of the temperature babysitting.

    The IQ110 is $139 and the IQ120 is $199...not a small chunk of change for what seems like a computer fan that you can change the settings on.  The IQ120 has probes for both the smoker temp and another for the meat temp, which sounds great, but I am not sure how often I would use the other functions you get with the more expensive model.  I am smoking a brisket (first meat smoke on the mini WSM) and I can pick one of these IQ's up locally rather than waiting on shipping.  Anyone use these? Experiences? Necessary for a mini WSM?
  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    First off I don't have a temp controller for my mini, so I can't give you any firsthand experience on using one. I can say, however, that a mini that is made well (fairly airtight seal between the pot, grill and lid) and the use of a charcoal basket will get you upwards of 8 hours out of a load of fuel with little to no babysitting. I use a maverick ET-732 to monitor my pit temp and once it's dialed in it pretty well stays put.
    For the sake of explanation, I use a Smokey Joe Gold and an Imusa 32 quart pot.
    I have toyed with the idea of getting a temp controller but it's not something I can't live without. A good thermo, however, is a MUST.
  3. jamielamb

    jamielamb Newbie

    Thanks for the response.  I seasoned the mini this weekend and it held temp great.  However, the mini was empty, so I am just unsure how much I am going to have to babysit it.  I finally took the pot off the mini at 9 hours and let the fire flare out.  It was still at 165 degrees when I did that and the dampers were nearly fully closed.  I have a quality Tel Tru thermometer running into the pot and a cheap kitchen thermometer for my meats that is pretty accurate, at least when I check it against some of my wife's other meat thermometers.  I may do one cook on the mini before I go investing in some expensive fan that I don't need.  I keep seeing Maverick ET-732 over and over so I may go check one of those things out instead...
  4. I do not recomend The IQ The one I received alarmed over temp 20 degrees below set point. When I asked for help he told me my thermometer was not accurate the IQ was right, he didn't know what In used, didn't offer help just defended His device. I now use a BBQ Guru party Q, works great.
  5. I have two Pitmaster IQ-120 stokers.  One is the old code version 1.3 the other is the new 2.0 code.  I have used them on several different cookers (including the mini-wsm and a WSM-14.5), they have behaved rather well.   I have started a brisket, gone to work, come home 8 hours later, with confidence the temperature would stay set within a couple degrees while I was away.  One time I bought cheap lump charcoal, which was mostly crumblings.  The crumblings worked their way down and blocked most of the air holes in the charcoal grate, the pitmaster compensated by increasing air-flow to keep the temperature stable.  Had it not been in place, the temperature would have dipped and the fire would have extinguished.  Another time, my mini-WSM got hit by blowing rain, the temperature dipped 50 degrees, then the pitmaster increased the stoke to the fire and the temperature recovered.  Assuming good charcoal, and good weather, most people do not need a stoker.  However, it is great at compensating for the unexpected.  As another feature, the 120 model can change pit temperature based upon meat temperature.  If you use this feature, it can be great. 

    You can for example:

    Slow smoke chicken at 225, when the breast meat hits 115, automatically raise the pit temperature to 350 to help crisp the skin and improve bite-through.


    You can slow smoke your brisket at 225, when the meat hits 200, reduce pit temperature to 150, to rest the meat in the cooker.  This trick works on mini-wsm and wsm-14.5, but not a Kamado, which can take hours for it's temperature to drop low enough for a rest. 

    I have found my probes to be accurate on the Pitmaster. It was compared against a calibrated ET-733 and a Fluke  87 with type K thermocouple.  I also did the boil test for confirmation.  The classical dome thermometer which comes with most smokers is notoriously inaccurate, unless you pony up for a TelTru.  Given a choice between a dome temperature, and the pitmaster's temperature, my money is on the pitmaster. 

    Here is a couple pictures.  The IQ installed on a mini-WSM, and a second one on a Kamado (far left). 

    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
  6. jamielamb

    jamielamb Newbie

    Addertooth, I think you need a few more smokers...just sayin'.  I have the Smokey Joe silver, but I do like the set up you have there on the gold.  I think I will just smoke this brisket I have and see how it does before I go trying to solve a problem I may not even have.  I know when I smoke using my Brinkmann 2 door vertical smoker I can't step away for more than an hour.
  7. I am the laziest smoker alive.  I like setting up the charcoal and the smoking wood, lighting it up, putting the meat on, and then going out and enjoying my day.  With a stoker, charcoal smokers are as fuss free as an electric with an AmazeN smoker tube/tray. 
  8. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I imported a couple if IQ-110s back to the UK 3 years ago and I regularly use one on my Weber 22". The first time I tried it I had a problem controlling the temperature - but then I admitted defeat and actually read the instructions. Since then it has worked flawlessly and it is used regularly. I met John when I was in St Louis and he was passionate and inspiring when it came to BBQ. Although I always use it in conjunction with an ET-732 I am considering buying an IQ-120 as well. I have always found the temperature probe on my IQ-110 to be pretty much in sync with the ET-732.

    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  9. jamielamb

    jamielamb Newbie

    After reading numerous comments about how almost everyone uses or owns the Maverick ET-732, I started to get a little paranoid about my cheapy beginner thermometer/probe from Walmart.  It cost $14.97 right off the shelf, so I cannot expect much.  I had never looked at reviews before now on it, but they are not impressive.  Fearing that this cheap thermometer has actually been way off the last few times I have used it, I did a test last night.  I boiled water and made a glass of ice water.  When I stuck the probe in the ice water it dialed in at 34 degrees.  Seems reasonable.  I then took it immediately out of the ice water and stuck it in a pot of boiling water.  A perfect 212 degrees, which is the temperature that water boils at.
  10. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Inside I am sure that they all use very similar electronics and the probes are standard too. The main difference with the ET-732s and 733s compared with your Walmart thermometer is that they have dual probes so that you can see the temperature of the meat and the cooking chamber of the BBQ, they have alarms that can be pre-set and also they have a remote unit that you can read indoors whilst the smokers are outside. As far as temperature accuracy between the units is concerned there is probably very little difference.
  11. jamielamb

    jamielamb Newbie

    I ended up buying an ET-733.  It is pretty great so far after 2 cooks.  I like that the screen lights up in the dark if you wish and the fact that I walked to my neighbors house that was caddy corner from mine and on the opposite side of the house that my my smoker was on (over 300 feet easily) and it was still telling me the temperatures without interruption.  I boil tested the probes along with my tel tru thermometers and they are consistently close to one another.  I decided against the pitmasters because I just don't have issues with temperature swings in the mini that I have.

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