Guide to Picking Thermometers

Fever is one of the most common illnesses today, as it is often a symptom of many underlying diseases. It is our immune system that is responsible for the increase in temperature since a higher temperature can help cells work faster, and these cells include the ones that are actually used to fight infections. So, when there are infections in the body, the immune system increases the body’s temperature to make immune cells like lymphocytes and phagocytes fight the infections faster and with better efficiency.

In order for people to detect if they have a fever, they would use thermometers, which are devices that effectively monitor the temperature of a human or an animal. If you currently don’t have a thermometer at home, here is a guide to picking thermometers so that you will buy the most suitable one for you and your family.

What is a Thermometer?

man with a thermometer

A thermometer is a device or instrument that is specifically used to track and monitor temperatures. Thermometers can be used in rooms, outdoor areas, and appliances. However, for this guide, we will talk about thermometers that are used on humans, which include children, teenagers, adults, and seniors.

In order for a thermometer to measure temperature, one end of the thermometer is usually placed on the person’s skin, and the thermometer would then take a few seconds or minutes to determine the temperature of the person. The temperature can be displayed in Celsius or Fahrenheit, and these are two of the most popular units of temperature.

What are the Different Types of Thermometers?

There are different types of thermometers, and each has its own way of monitoring temperature. Some temperatures are faster in determining a person’s temperature, while there are a few that are considered more accurate than others. Here are the different types of thermometers you should know about.

Mercury Thermometer

mercury thermometer

The mercury thermometer was regarded as the most common type of thermometer before digital thermometers became more available on the market. True to its name, the mercury thermometer has a small amount of mercury inside it.

The mercury reacts to the temperature at the tip of the thermometer, and it turns from solid into liquid as it expands and rises up its tube container at the center of the device. The temperature would then be determined by looking at where the mercury stopped rising or expanding. Unfortunately, mercury thermometers are not used a lot anymore because of how toxic the mercury inside them is.

Digital Thermometer

digital thermometer

After mercury thermometers became less common, digital thermometers took their place as the most popular type of thermometer today. The digital thermometer typically looks like a smaller version of a mercury thermometer, but the way it tracks temperature is different from the latter.

A digital thermometer would have a sensor on its tip or end, which would then calculate the temperature of the person’s skin that it touched. Then, the temperature would be displayed on the LCD screen at the top of the thermometer. The digital thermometer can read temperatures on a person’s armpit, in the person’s anus, or under a person’s tongue.

Check out these two digital thermometers for reference:

  • Boncare Digital Thermometer for Adults – this thermometer features a soft silicone tip with a stainless-steel probe that is suitable for underarm or rectal use. This product has accurate and fast reading, as it can already provide results in about ten seconds.
  • Vicks SpeedRead V912US Digital Thermometer – a thermometer that can give you accurate temperature readings in only eight seconds. This also has a Fever Insight feature that enables you to know the temperature of a person without reading the numbers. When the display is green, it means that the person’s temperature is normal, but when it is yellow or red, it indicates elevated temperatures.

Forehead Thermometer

forehead thermometer

The forehead thermometer is a type of digital thermometer that can determine the temperature of a person by just placing the end of the device on the person’s forehead. The forehead thermometer is suitable for babies and children, as it can read the temperature quickly without the need to irritate the skin for a few minutes.

When you use mercury or digital thermometers on children, there is a high chance the children will just get annoyed with the device and throw or place it away from them, so you wouldn’t really be able to get accurate readings on their temperature. With forehead thermometers, you can easily and quickly find out the temperature of a child if they are awake or asleep.

Here are two of the best forehead thermometers that are available for purchase:

  • iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer – this is one of the most popular forehead thermometers that features non-contact technology that would only require you to place the thermometer within 1.18 inches from the center of the forehead to get accurate temperature readings.
  • Braun Forehead Thermometer – this forehead thermometer has color-coded temperature guidance so that you can easily know if a person has a normal or high temperature. You can also change the unit of temperature shown on its backlit screen from Celsius to Fahrenheit and vice versa.

Ear Thermometer

ear thermometer

Another type of thermometer that is very easy and convenient to use is the ear thermometer. This type of thermometer, also known as a tympanic thermometer, reads temperature by simply placing the tip of the instrument inside a person’s ear. Much like the forehead thermometer, the ear thermometer usually takes only a few seconds to get a reading of a person’s temperature.

Because of how fast the ear thermometer reads the temperature, the ear thermometer is good to use on children. However, there may be some children that can get irritated by having a thermometer on their ear, so the ear thermometer may only be used on children when they are asleep. The ear thermometer is much more suitable for teenagers and adults that don’t get annoyed with having a device or instrument on their ears.

These are two great ear thermometers that you can check out online:

  • CHOOSEEN Ear Thermometer – an ear thermometer that offers quick and convenient temperature readings that would only take about two seconds to produce results. What’s great about this thermometer is that it has an ear mode and a forehead mode, so you can transform this device into a forehead thermometer.
  • Braun ThermoScan 7 – this thermometer has a pre-warmed tip so that it won’t be cold or irritating whenever it is placed on a person’s ears. The ExactTemp system in the thermometer can guide you in using the device in a proper position for more accurate readings.

Infrared Thermometer

infrared thermometer

The infrared thermometer is able to read temperatures through thermal radiation, which is a type of radiation that is emitted by humans, animals, plants, and objects. This type of thermometer is also sometimes called a laser thermometer due to how red laser light is utilized to pinpoint where exactly the temperature is being read.

What’s great about infrared thermometers is that they are non-contact instruments, which means that they don’t have to touch a person’s skin to get accurate temperature readings. But the drawback to infrared thermometers is their price, as they are often more expensive compared to other types of thermometers on the market. However, you will be able to find a few affordable infrared thermometers in online stores.

Below are two of the best infrared thermometers that can be used on kids and adults:

  • THERMOBIO Medical Grade Infrared Thermometer – this thermometer features three ultra-sensitive sensors that are effective in reading accurate temperature. In order for its batteries to last, the thermometer has a 30-second auto power-off function that automatically turns off the device whenever it is not in use.
  • Surcom Digital Infrared Thermometer – a great infrared thermometer that can get relatively accurate temperature readings in less than two seconds. You can use this thermometer at 1.2 inches away from a person’s forehead, and the three temperature color backlights on the screen (green, yellow, and red) indicate if the person has a fever or high temperature.

Things to Consider When Picking Thermometers

Things to Consider When Picking Thermometers

Because there are different types of thermometers to choose from, you may have a hard time picking which one is the best for you and your family or housemates. Besides the types of thermometers, you will also need to pick a specific brand or model of thermometer. Not all thermometers are made equal, as some will be better than others. Here are the things to consider when it comes to picking and buying the best thermometers.

Temperature Reading Speed

woman looking at the LCD screen of a thermometer

The first thing that you need to consider when buying thermometers is their temperature reading speed, which basically determines how quickly they can read and determine the temperature of a person. In today’s era, there are already a lot of thermometers that have quick response times, as they can already show you the temperature of multiple people in just a few minutes.

The infrared thermometer is arguably faster in terms of reading speed, but it is sometimes expensive for home use. Ear and forehead thermometers are two of the best and most suitable types for families and for people that don’t want to speed a lot on thermometers.

Reading Accuracy

In addition to reading speed, you should also consider the reading accuracy of the thermometer. The reading accuracy determines if the thermometer is calculating and showing the real temperature of a person. Of course, the most accurate thermometers are the expensive ones that are bigger and have more parts involved in tracking or monitoring temperatures, but for home use, a thermometer that is 80% to 90% accurate is sufficient.

Temperature Range

doctor checking the ranger of an infrared thermometer

Thermometers would usually have a temperature range, which enables them to be more accurate in reading temperatures in exchange for having only a short range of temperatures that they can read. For example, there are some digital thermometers that can only read between 35 degrees to 42 degrees Celsius. While that specific range is short, it is already sufficient for you to determine if a person has a fever or not.

Shorter temperature ranges are suitable for those that just want to use thermometers for reading a person’s temperature, while longer temperature ranges are for people that want to know the temperatures of animals, plants, and objects.

Units of Temperature

If you want an easier time knowing your or another person’s temperature, then you should pick the thermometer that shows the unit of temperature that you are more familiar with, which can be Celsius or Fahrenheit. Affordable digital thermometers would usually have only one unit of temperature displayed on their LCD screen, while there are mid-tier thermometers that allow you to change the displayed unit, so you have a choice if you want Fahrenheit or Celsius shown on the screen.

Reliable Reviews

woman holding a thermometer

Reviews are very important if you want to have an easier time finding the best thermometers available today. In reviews, you will often find ratings for different thermometers, and these ratings would already tell you if a specific product is good or bad based on the experience of the reviewers.

Moreover, you will also find every bit of information about specific thermometers, which is essential if you are trying to look for specific features that only a few thermometers have. Through reviews, you can easily find out which thermometers are considered the best by many while also enabling you to save time in looking for suitable thermometers.

And this is a simple guide to thermometers and the things you need to consider when buying them. Thermometers are fairly common, so you wouldn’t have a hard time finding one in stores. However, not all thermometers are effective or accurate, so you really need to know what to look for in order to have the most reliable thermometer at home. We hope that this guide has helped you in gaining more knowledge on picking the best thermometers to buy.