I've been using this product for over 2 years and love it. I give it as wedding shower gifts, because it's one of my most useful kitchen tools. (Mine was marketed under the Sunbeam name, but it's absolutely IDENTICAL to this model TW362B, except mine has white buttons.) I've been researching these thermometers again, because I'm getting ready to buy a second one as a backup: I don't want to be without this item for even one day.
Before buying this model, I went through 2 other brands / models, and this one is best. I generally use it several times a week. For example, I insert it in my whole-wheat bread loaves after they've baked for 15 minutes; the alarm enables me to remove them from my baking stone at the perfect time, when the interior temp is 194. Keeping the probe in the loaf for a few minutes after removing the latter from the oven has enabled me to determine that residual heat causes the interior temp to rise to the desired 200 degrees. People compliment me on these loaves all the time, and I've never had a failure since I started using this tool.
My probe has been dropped numerous times, but I've never had to replace any parts and it's still working great.
I suspect the negative reviews are due to one of the following:
1) Some people appear to have been writing about the OLDER model, not the new and improved Model TW362B.
2) Maybe people have been using it at temps that are too high. Like ALL other probe-and-cable type thermometers that I've seen, this one can't be used in ovens that have been heated to high temps, and I wouldn't think it could tolerate the high heat of a grill, for instance. That may explain many of the failures people have written about!
The instructions say not to put it inside an oven that is hotter than 392 degrees (presumably because the oven heat would damage the cable and/or sensor). For a while, I was setting my oven to that temp. Then I learned elsewhere that when you set your oven to 350, it can actually spike up to 400 while it's heating. So now I try to avoid using this thermometer in any oven hotter than about 360, which is the temp I use for my bread. (I leave the probe sticking in the bread for 20 minutes at a time in a 360 oven, and so far it's worked fine.)
Having said that, I must admit that several times I've forgotten and put it in a 375 to 400-degree oven for maybe 10 minutes at a time, and no harm has come of it. Now that I've heard you can risk higher temps if you wrap the probe cord in foil, I may go up to 400 deliberately, but only after I get my back-up.
Thermoworks, are you listening? How about upgrading this model so that it can tolerate higher temps? Except for that detail, it's just about perfect, and I hope you keep carrying it!
3) Maybe people have been getting sensitive parts WET. Somewhere I read that for probe-and-cable thermometers of this type, the place where the cable attaches to the curved steel of the probe can't be made truly waterproof, so it shouldn't be submerged. I hand-wash my probe, of course, and I've been careful to keep that spot dry (as well as the other end--the part that inserts into the main body of the thermometer).
If I need to soak my probe (which rarely happens, but sometimes I leave it overnight and bread crumbs are stuck to it the next day), I stand it in a small glass of soapy warm water, which makes it easy to keep the cable-joining part high and dry. That works well; the stuck-on stuff then wipes off very easily and quickly.
4) Regarding alarms that don't go off: at one point I thought my unit had gone bad because its alarm inexplicably stopped working. Then when I finally looked at it carefully, I discovered that my daughter had turned the alarm OFF without telling me! A simple flip of the switch cured that problem. (My previous models had lacked that switch, so I hadn't paid any attention to the switch.)
I haven't ever used the magnet, because magnets on ANY product never seem to hold as they claim.
In summary, I've found this to be a great product with MANY uses.