Best Baby Thermometer Reviews in 2018
If you've ever tried to take your squirming baby's temperature, you know that with the wrong thermometer, it can turn into a monumental and frustrating task. The ideal thermometer for babies can be used quickly with little to no contact, but that is also accurate and affordable.
Unless you have an unusually cooperative baby, you're going to want a thermometer that takes no more than three seconds to work. There is a ton of new technology, especially infrared, that is capable of taking a baby's reading in a second or less.
Not many people want to spend 30 minutes or more trying to set up a thermometer and getting it to work. You probably want one that you can take out of the box, turn it on, and go.
Your main worry when buying a new thermometer is probably accuracy; and it should be. There is a huge variety of thermometers out there of all shapes, sizes, models, and technologies. However, if it doesn't read correctly, none of this matters. I can't tell you how many times I've bought a digital thermometer only to find that it read every member of my family at the same exact temperature, when one of us was very obviously feverish. This is not something that inspires confidence in a worried parent.
Try not to get anything that requires your child to hold still for a long period of time, or that feels cold or uncomfortable on their skin.
If you're trying to track your child's temperature over time, you may want something that stores past readings. This way you won't forget to write it down when your hands are full. This could be important if your baby has a fever and you want to tell your doctor exactly how it's progressed.
The last thing you want to do when you go to check your sleeping baby's temperature is turn on a bright light and wake them up. It's likely you and the baby aren't getting enough sleep as it is. Try to find something with a back-lit screen so you can see the reading in the dark.
Most thermometers (oral, anal, digital ear, axillary) require probe covers, making it necessary to buy extra supplies if you run out. No contact varieties are the most hygienic.
Most of us are on a budget and we don't want to pay a ridiculous amount of money just to get an accurate and easy reading. Decide on your price range, then consider your needs as a parent, and what functions are most important to you.
What's out There?
Stick-On Strip Thermometer
These are great in concept. They stick onto baby's skin and can either tell you the reading with chemical color coding, or by connecting wirelessly via blue tooth for a continuous readout. However, they lack accuracy; the strips tend to only read skin temperature, not body temperature. I wouldn't recommend using these for your baby.
Infrared no-contact thermometers
These are great because you don't actually have to touch your baby for a temperature. They usually work at a distance of about five cm, which is great for a baby. They also work very quickly, making them ideal for an older and more hands-on baby.
Digital ear thermometers
These are a popular option because they work quickly and accurately. They're usually what we see when we go to a doctor's office for a check-up. The probe must be inserted correctly into the ear, however, for an accurate reading, so read the instructions before using it. Wax buildup in the ear may also affect the reading.
This works by swiping the sensor across the forehead to the temporal artery. While it's usually pretty accurate, it can be difficult to use correctly on a moving child. It takes about two seconds to get a reading, and it's easy to clean.
Oral and Anal
While these are probably the most accurate on the market, they are not favorites among parents. As you probably know, both require the baby to hold still for at least thirty seconds, and they're uncomfortable. Babies won't close their mouths around a traditional oral thermometer, making accuracy impossible.
Dual Mode Thermometers
Recently these thermometers with a sensor for the ear and for the forehead have become popular. These are really great if you're having a hard time getting an accurate reading on the forehead because it's sweaty or if you can't get a good reading in the ear because of wax.
This is an exception to oral temperature measurement. If your baby is already used to sucking on a pacifier, then this may work very well for you. It reads while the baby sucks. I could have used this when my baby ran her first fever; I would have been saved a great deal of hassle if I'd known they existed at the time. It may not be ideal while the child is asleep, however.
Although it's less intrusive than an oral or anal thermometer, this type takes just as long to read. Axillary temperatures are also known to be the least accurate of all methods. When I tried to use them with my baby, I remember being told to add a degree to whatever reading I got. Even with this advice, I didn't feel confident of its accuracy, especially since my baby squirmed through the whole reading. The other problem is that if you don’t get the sensor deep in the armpit and leave it there, the results will be pretty far off the mark. I won't be adding these to the review because they are inconvenient, to say the least, when working with babies.
Some other resources
I recommend watching some videos outlining the use and features of the different thermometers. Here is a video showing how to use some different types. This should give you some extra insight into there use and help you make your decision.
Best Baby Thermometers
Metene Digital Infrared Non-Contact Forehead Thermometer
This is a perfect example of a high quality no-touch digital thermometer. It reads in both Celsius and Fahrenheit and also has a mode to detect object temperature (I'm not sure why). Hold the sensor 5 cm away from baby's forehead and it gives you a reading in only a second. As far as accuracy is concerned, it's on par with conventional thermometers as long as it's used correctly. As with all non-contact thermometers, I'm always concerned that I might be holding in the wrong spot or too far away. The instructions are very simplistic and not very helpful, so it may be worth looking up an instructional video if you buy this product.
PureTech Baby 4-in-1 thermometer
This product is great because it has a tympanic (ear) and forehead sensor built into it. For those of us who are extremely paranoid about missing a fever, this is a nice feature. It's also got a back-light that changes to red if your child does have a fever. I'm not too impressed by this; we all know what a fever looks like and I'm not sure we need red flashing lights to make us even more anxious! This product doesn't have a long memory function, but it does give you the previous reading to compare your result. It takes about 2-3 seconds to read. The product is accurate, but it has to be placed correctly, so be sure you know just how to place both the tympanic and the forehead probe.
Proven Rectal Baby Thermometer
Even though I'm not a big proponent for the use of rectal thermometers on an infant, this product does have one advantage: it's extremely accurate. While other products tend to be finicky about placement, this one will not have you worrying about an accurate reading. This product is probably best if you have a very young baby; I don't see an older baby or a toddler tolerating it as well, particularly since it takes about ten seconds to read. It can be more difficult to tell whether a newborn infant is feverish and sick than it is with an older child, making accuracy a chief concern for worried parents. For this reason, you might consider having it in addition to another less intrusive thermometer, especially since it's very reasonably priced.
Exergen Temporal Scan Forehead Artery Baby Thermometer Tat-2000c Scanner
This product is designed to read your baby's temperature in just a couple of seconds by swiping the sensor across the forehead, towards the ear. If you read the instructions and use it correctly, it proves to be very accurate. However, the thermometer is very picky, so if you don't use it correctly, you're going to get some crazy readings. Also, it only has one button and this makes changing modes and checking previous temperatures confusing.
AVANTEK Ear Thermometer
Supposedly medical grade, this product works by reading tympanic temperature using infrared technology. It's accurate within 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit and works in seconds. It's back-lit and has a memory function, allowing you to scroll through several previous temperatures. I appreciate this function because I always forget to write them down. It also has a fever alert and will beep when your child's temperature reaches above 99 degrees. One tricky thing about this product (actually with all tympanic thermometers) is that you need to make sure you place the probe in the baby's ear correctly. The ear canal is differently shaped than that of an adult, so make sure you read the instructions before use.
Out of these five thermometer, the winner would have to be the Metene Digital Infrared Non-Contact Forehead Thermometer. It's quick, non-invasive, and accurate. This product is also great for when your baby is asleep because you don't have to touch the skin with it at all. It's easy to clean, and as a bonus function, it can measure object temperatures! This is a high-quality and affordable thermometer. It doesn't have all of the added functions that some of the other products have, such as the memory capacity or dual mode function. However, what it lacks in functions, it makes up for in comfort, simplicity, speed, and accuracy.