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Thermometers are key tools to monitor a person’s temperature. They can help individuals monitor body temperature and fevers. The best thermometers are easy to use and read.

Medical News Today includes reputable, well-received devices with a range of price points and features.

Additionally, MNT looks at some of the following:

  • Health claims: MNT includes companies that make no questionable health claims.
  • Trust: MNT includes companies that operate transparently regarding their products, services, and leadership. Also, those companies have certifications from reputable third-party organizations where relevant.
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Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more.

Best for all ages: Braun Thermoscan 7

  • Price: $59.99
  • Thermometer type: ear
  • Key features: age-adjustable, pre-warmed tip, disposable lens covers

This Braun thermometer takes the temperature from the ear. It features a light and a beep sound to confirm that the thermometer is in the correct position in the ear.

It is suitable for all ages, and a person can adjust the age to improve the accuracy of the reading. It also has a color-coded display to allow people to interpret results easily and quickly.

The thermometer comes with disposable lens covers for sanitary purposes.


  • disposable covers for hygiene
  • suitable for all ages
  • age-adjustable for improved accuracy


  • higher price than other thermometers
  • some user reports of incorrectly high readings
  • long setup process for each use
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Best price: Vicks ComfortFlex Thermometer

  • Price: $14.99
  • Thermometer type: oral, rectal, or underarm
  • Key features: memory feature, waterproof, color-coded results

This thermometer from Vicks can take the temperature from the mouth, the rectum, or under the arm. It is suitable for all ages.

It can produce a temperature reading in 8 seconds and provides color-coded temperature results, which are easy to read.

It is also waterproof for easy cleaning and has a memory feature so that a person can view the last reading.


  • automatic shutoff feature to help save battery
  • suitable for all ages
  • can take temperature from three body locations


  • no display backlight
  • allows users only a short time to rotate the screen 90 degrees and read results before the reading disappears, according to reviewers
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Best forehead thermometer: Exergen TAT-2000C Temporal Artery

  • Price: $49.99
  • Thermometer type: forehead
  • Key features: soft glow display, memory feature, silent mode

This thermometer from Exergen measures temperature from the forehead. It reads the temperature from the temporal artery, which is directly connected to the heart.

It is suitable for all ages and includes a silent mode so that a person does not disturb others when using it.

Additionally, it has a soft glow display so a person can view the reading in any light. It also has a memory feature and stores the last eight readings.


  • silent mode
  • soft glow display
  • easy to switch from Fahrenheit and Celsius using one button


  • difficult to open the battery cover
  • lacks accuracy, according to some reviewers
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Best for fever warning: iProven Forehead and Ear Thermometer

  • Price: $29.97
  • Thermometer type: forehead and ear
  • Key features: infrared technology, quick readings, fever warning, colored display

This thermometer is suitable for all ages and can take the temperature from the ear or the forehead. It uses infrared technology to scan the temperature in both locations.

It provides readings within 1–3 seconds and has a fever warning when the temperature is higher than recommended. The fever warning consists of three quick beeps and a red warning light.

It also has a colored display to allow for easy reading.


  • suitable for all ages
  • provides readings quickly
  • fever warning


  • no disposable hygiene covers for ear readings
  • decrease in accuracy when the batteries are low on power
  • backlight lasting only 2 seconds
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Best smart thermometer: Kinsa Smart

  • Price: $24.98
  • Thermometer type: oral, armpit, or rectal
  • Key features: app-compatible, personalized guidance

This thermometer is suitable for all ages. It is compatible with the Kinsa app, which is available on Android and iOS. This app keeps track of readings and provides personalized advice based on age, temperature readings, and symptoms.

A person can also use the app to track medication dosages and set reminders.

This thermometer produces a temperature reading in 8 seconds.


  • easy tracking of medications and readings using the app
  • suitable for all ages
  • personalized advice available through the app


  • difficult to use without the app
  • user reports of difficulty pairing the device with their phones
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Best for extra-large LED display: iHealth Thermometer PT3

  • Price: $54.99
  • Thermometer type: forehead
  • Key features: three infrared sensors, extra-large LED display, vibration notifications

This thermometer is suitable for all ages and uses three infrared sensors to improve accuracy. A person takes the temperature from the forehead.

Instead of beeping or buzzing, the thermometer uses vibration to avoid disturbing other people. The device provides temperature readings within 1 second.

Additionally, the thermometer has an extra-large LED display.


  • non-contact thermometer
  • three infrared sensors
  • extra-large display for reading results quickly


  • questionable accuracy, according to some reviewers
  • no color-coded results
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Best easy to clean: Vicks SpeedRead V912US

  • Price: $14.99
  • Thermometer type: oral, rectal, or underarm
  • Key features: memory feature, color-coded display, water-resistant

This thermometer from Vicks is suitable for all ages. A person can take the temperature from the mouth or underarm of adults or from the rectum of infants.

It has a memory feature and stores the last reading. It also has a color-coded display to provide easy-to-read results.

Results are available in 8 seconds. Additionally, the thermometer is waterproof for easy cleaning and features an automatic shutoff to help save battery.


  • lower price than many other thermometers
  • easy to clean
  • suitable for all ages
  • easy-to-read results


  • limited battery life
  • cannot change from Fahrenheit to Celsius
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Best ear thermometer: Equate Infrared

  • Price: $29.98
  • Thermometer type: ear
  • Key features: fever alert, power-saving digital display, low battery indicator, memory feature

This thermometer is suitable for individuals of all ages. A person takes the temperature from the ear, and the company provides five disposable caps for hygiene purposes.

It features a fever alert, a low battery indicator, and a power-saving digital display. Additionally, the thermometer’s memory feature can store the last 10 readings.


  • suitable for all ages
  • disposable ear covers for hygiene purposes
  • fever alert


  • does not have a color display, making it difficult to read results
  • one review mentioning that the ear cap changes the accuracy of readings
  • questionable accuracy, according to reviewers
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Best memory feature: HoMedics TIE-240

  • Price: $32
  • Thermometer type: forehead
  • Key features: infrared technology, memory feature, high fever alarm

This no-contact thermometer takes temperature readings from a person’s forehead using infrared technology. It has a memory feature and can store up to 50 readings.

In addition to taking a person’s body temperature, it can take the temperature of liquid, rooms, or food.

It has a color-coded display to make results easier to read and a high fever alarm. Results are available within 2 seconds.


  • no-contact thermometer
  • can store up to 50 previous readings
  • quick results
  • can measure the temperature of rooms, liquids, and food


  • may not be accurate, according to reviewers
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Below, we have added a comparison table featuring all the above thermometers.

PriceThermometer TypeKey features
Braun$59.99ear• age adjustability
• pre-warmed ear tip
• disposable lens covers
Vicks ComfortFlex$14.99• oral
• underarm
• rectal
• memory feature
• waterproof
• color-coded results
Exergen$49.99forehead• soft glow display
• memory feature
• silent mode
iProven$29.97• forehead
• ear
• infrared technology
• quick results
• fever warning
• color-coded display
Kinsa Smart$24.98• oral
• underarm
• rectal
• app compatible
• personalized guidance
iHealth$54.99forehead• three infrared sensors
• extra-large LED display
• vibration notifications
Vicks SpeedRead$14.99• oral
• underarm
• rectal
• memory feature
• color-coded display
• water-resistant and easy to clean
Equate Infrared$29.98ear• fever alert
• power-saving digital display
• low battery indicator
• memory feature
HoMedics$32forehead• infrared technology
• memory feature
• high fever alarm

A person may wish to consider the following factors when shopping for a thermometer:

  • Type: Some people may prefer to use a non-contact infrared thermometer, which takes a reading from the forehead. However, others may question the accuracy of this type of thermometer and wish to purchase an underarm, ear, oral, or rectal thermometer.
  • Age suitability: If a person wishes to purchase a thermometer for the whole family, they should ensure that the thermometer is suitable for all ages. Some thermometers have a feature that allows a person to declare the age of the person having their temperature taken.
  • Price: A person should consider their budget and how much they wish to spend on a thermometer before purchasing.
  • Memory features: For some, a memory feature may be essential, as it allows a person to track their readings. Not all thermometers offer this feature.
  • Other features: A person should consider which features they deem important in a home thermometer. For example, some may want a color-coded screen that allows for easy reading of results.

How a person uses a thermometer depends on the type. Each thermometer should come with instructions detailing how it works.

When using an infrared forehead thermometer, a person generally needs to hold it a few centimeters away from the forehead without touching the skin. They may need to hold down a button while doing this. The thermometer will indicate when it has read the temperature and display the reading on the screen.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that a person should hold the infrared forehead thermometer perpendicular to the forehead. The FDA also says that a person should not touch the forehead and that the distance necessary varies between products.

A person generally uses an underarm, ear, oral, or rectal thermometer by placing the thermometer in the appropriate location and holding it there for a few seconds. The thermometer will indicate when it has taken the reading and display the results.

According to a 2020 review, infrared forehead thermometers work because the human body emits infrared radiation. The detector in the thermometer transfers this into electromagnetic signals and can then display a temperature reading.

A 2021 review concluded that results varied in the ability of an infrared thermometer to screen for infectious diseases.

Ear thermometers work in the same way as forehead thermometers. They use infrared radiation to detect the temperature inside the eardrum.

However, digital thermometers allow users to take temperature orally, under the arm, or from the rectum. These thermometers contain heat sensors to identify the body temperature.

There is limited research on which type of thermometer is most reliable and accurate.

Several types of thermometers are available, including:

  • ear
  • forehead
  • digital

Ear and forehead thermometers generally use infrared radiation to take the reading. Digital thermometers often require a reading from the mouth, underarm, or rectum.

Most thermometers are suitable for both adults and children. However, some brands may manufacture special children’s thermometers.

Below, we answer some frequently asked questions about thermometers.

Will baby thermometers work on adults?

Generally, baby thermometers work just as well on adults. However, adult thermometers may not work so well on babies or younger children. A person should check the instructions to find out the age suitability of the product.

Research suggests that infrared thermometers are unreliable in young infants, so people should avoid these for this age group.

What thermometers work better: Ear or forehead?

According to a 2022 study, forehead and ear thermometers are just as reliable as the other types of thermometers.

Therefore, a person should choose the thermometer they would feel most comfortable using.

When should a thermometer be calibrated?

A person should calibrate their thermometer before every use. They should also calibrate it if they drop it, after storing it for a long time, and when measuring the temperature of a different individual or object.

When is the best time to take your temperature?

There does not appear to be the best time of day to take the temperature. However, a person should ensure that they take their temperature around the same time every day.

Can thermometers lose their accuracy?

There is no reliable research to indicate that thermometers lose their accuracy over time. However, this may be possible with age and when battery life gets low.

The FDA states that drafts, direct sunlight, and nearby radiant heat sources can affect the accuracy of the thermometer. The FDA also suggests leaving the thermometer in the room where a person will take their temperature for 10–30 minutes before using it.

Several kinds of thermometers are available to purchase in the United States, including infrared forehead thermometers, ear thermometers, and digital thermometers that take readings from the mouth, underarm, or rectum.

Many thermometers are suitable for all ages. However, a person should check this before purchasing.

There is limited information available to indicate which type of thermometer is the most accurate and reliable.