I don’t know where I got the idea from, but I’ve long thought that knowing how hot a pan is would be tremendously handy. And of course, the obvious way to measure surface temperature is with an infrared thermometer. So, I went and got a Ryobi IR001 Non-contact Infrared Thermometer (with Laser) from Amazon (see http://amzn.com/B001O7H61Y).
So far, it is particularly handy for seeing how close to boiling water is (212°F) and when a pan is hot enough to saute (350-400°F).
My only complaint is that it tops out at about 600 °F, and sometimes higher would be nice.
Also, I really wish that I would remember to keep notes on temperatures for frying eggs, pancakes, and what exactly is high, medium, and medium high?