DIGITAL THERMOMETERS COMPARED
Find out what features a digital thermometer can offer, and whether they are easy to use by reading our digital thermometer reviews.
Good thermometers need to be simple to use, safe and accurate.
Below we will describe the two main types of meter and show you a table for you to compare devices available on Amazon.
Key criteria we check before we add a device to our comparison are:
Stage 1 – shortlisting – products must pass this test before getting into our tables:
Safety - Medical devices in the UK and EU must carry the ‘CE’ quality marking. Ideally, CE marking will be clearly mentioned on the product page. If not mentioned there, we check the product photos and Q&A, and If it's not CE marked, it doesn't make the short-list.
Quality - Strength of reviews, ammount of reviews, we prefer to see over 1,000 reviews before short-listing a product.
Value for money - We check that the price falls into a sensible range for the features offered
Stage 2 – We show you a short-list so you can compare quickly and easily:
Cost - the exact price can vary day-by-day with Amazon
Features – How do they compare for the features we have highlighted?
Back-up – Generally we prefer products supplied direct by Amazon, for easy returns/resolution if something goes wrong
There are two main types to consider, which we compare below:
Infrared Non-contact Thermometers.
Infrared Non-contact thermometers
These are usually simply pointed at someone’s forehead (usually at a distance of around 5cm) and give a reading very quickly. A great infrared no-contact thermometer should be easy to use and quick to give a measurement. Features to look at for include:
A backlight for seeing readings in the dark and a traffic-light system to indicate a fever are popular features.
Some also have the ability to measure room and surface (ie liquid) temperatures.
Another advantage is that they are hygienic and don't require probe covers like some ear thermometers do, although you must make sure you keep the infrared sensor clean
Consistently the best-rated Infrared non-contact thermometers are made by Ankovo. Recently they have added a new black sleeker designed model, both make our top picks below.
Digital In-ear thermometers
Ear thermometers take a reading after a second or two, using infrared to measure the heat generated inside the ear. The reading may be wrong if the thermometer isn't correctly placed in the ear and also earwax can also affect the accuracy. Features to look out for include:
Simple one-touch operation is best so you don't have to reach for the instruction manual in the small hours of the morning.
Look for models with backlights so you can read the results without turning lights on.
Some in-ear thermometers require you to buy disposable probe covers, which is hygienic but an additional cost to consider.
Two models from Braun are our recommended picks. German manufacturer Braun may be pricey, but you're paying for reputation and quality here. We have an earlier model of one of these dating back to 2004, it still works after 16 years. The Thermoscan 3 has been reduced since the Thermoscan 7 came out. You could buy a cheaper in-ear thermometer, but why run the risk of looking cheap / breaking it? Get on the phone now and explain to Mum how much more practical the no-contact models are.
Taking a temperature
All of these types of digital thermometers may need to be used in slightly different ways to obtain accurate readings, so it's important you read the instructions carefully and familiarise yourself with using the thermometer for when you really need it. For example, some no-contact thermometers require scanning across the forehead and others work by aiming at one point. Both thermometer and patient should be given time to acclimatise to the environment that they're in if there's been a significant change in temperature. When using no-contact thermometers, hair must be pushed back off the forehead and any perspiration wiped away.