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The best thermometers: traditional oral thermometers to high-tech professional-standard gadgets

From traditional oral thermometers to high-tech professional-standard gadgets, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best tools to quickly and precisely read your temperature at home.

Thermometers

It might not be the most exciting item on your shopping list, but a good thermometer should be a staple in every household. This is not only for your own peace of mind, either. These days we are increasingly being asked to take our temperatures at home by GPs, pharmacists and more.

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So, how do you go about deciding which thermometer is right for you? Sometimes it’s the simplest of items that can be the most difficult to differentiate between.

First, think about the reasons you’re looking for a thermometer. Perhaps you want one on hand to check for fever when you feel unwell, in which case a standard digital thermometer should suffice. You can buy models to use in the armpit, orally or rectally, or sometimes all three. It’s worth noting that different approaches can be more effective in different circumstances.

If you are taking your temperature on a regular basis, perhaps to monitor a chronic or suspected illness, you may be looking for something higher spec, closer to a professional tool. Among these, different models will offer different features such as fast results, touch-free operation or minute precision.

Then there are thermometers designed with certain people in mind, for example designs that aim to put children at ease or those which aim to help women track their fertility and ovulation via body temperature readings.

Whatever your needs, our guide to the best thermometers on the market offers something for everyone.

 The best thermometers at a glance:

The best thermometers:

Best basic thermometer: Amazon Basic Care Digital Thermometer

A simple yet accurate digital thermometer

Amazon Basic Care - Digital Thermometer

This cheap and cheerful thermometer is the perfect just-in-case purchase to keep in your cupboard to check the odd fever or high temperature.

If you are simply looking for a thermometer to take the occasional reading when you or your loved ones have a mild fever, this basic model is everything you need. Easy to use and suitable for use at any age, it reads body temperature in about 60 seconds, beeping to let you know it’s ready. It’s got a flexible tip for comfort and can be used in either Fahrenheit or Celsius.

Best for flexible use: Femometer Digital Thermometers

Take readings in three different ways

Femometer Digital Thermometers

A simple-to-use digital thermometer that can be used to take readings orally, rectally or from the armpit. Precise readings are usually available within one minute.

Whether you need to take a temperature reading orally, rectally, or from the armpit, this digital thermometer from Femometer can be used for all three, offering temperature readings within one minute. It’s easy to use, beeps to let you know it’s ready and features a handy low/high indicator, so you know how to interpret your temperature reading. It comes with its own protective carry case so that you can store it anywhere without worrying about damage.

Best for the whole family: Braun Digital StickThermometer with Age Precision

Readings tailored to age groups

Braun Digital StickThermometer with Age Precision

This highly accurate thermometer is perfect for family use as it offers the option to choose your age range, meaning it will correctly interpret your temperature readings based on safe ranges for various ages.

This Braun thermometer features Age Precision, a tool that allows you to indicate the age range of the person whose temperature needs to be measured. Safe body temperatures differ significantly across three different age ranges: birth to 3 months, 3-36 months, and 36 months and over. So, if you are likely to take the temperature of family members in different age groups and don’t want to worry about working things out yourself, this digital thermometer is the one for you.

Best for kids: Peppa Pig Digital Thermometer

Fun design for young children

Peppa Pig Digital Thermometer

Let Peppa Pig help soothe your little one when they’re feeling poorly with this colourful illustrated digital thermometer by Jellyworks. Offering accurate body temperature readings in 10 seconds.

No child likes having their temperature taken, but when it has to be done for their safety, why not add to their comfort with a thermometer designed with their interests in mind? As well as looking cute, this digital thermometer is shock-proof, wash-proof and suitable for both oral and armpit use. It offers high accuracy, readings in 10 seconds, and an average battery life of 5 years.

Best for quick readings: Braun ThermoScan 3 Ear thermometer

Precise temperature readings in 1 second

Braun ThermoScan 3 Ear thermometer

If speed is what you’re looking for, choose the Braun ThermoScan 3, which gives accurate readings in just 1 second by reading the infrared heat generated by your eardrum.

Sometimes speed is what you need, and the Braun ThermoScan 3 Ear thermometer is the fastest thermometer we’ve seen, giving you accurate and precise temperature readings in just 1 second. The device works by reading the infrared heat generated by your eardrum, meaning its readings meet clinical standards. It’s also got a fever indicator that beeps once for a normal reading, twice for elevated and 4 times for a high temperature.

Best for professional accuracy: Braun Healthcare ThermoScan 7 Ear thermometer with Age Precision

A precise ear thermometer that meets clinical standards

Braun Healthcare ThermoScan 7 Ear thermometer with Age Precision

This professional-standard ear thermometer can be used on all ages and offers precise and accurate readings fast. It even self-heats its probe, so your ears aren’t bothered by the cold.

If true professional-level accuracy is what you’re looking for from your digital thermometer, the Braun Healthcare ThermoScan 7 Ear thermometer with Age Precision is the one for you. Suitable for any age, including babies, it features a self-heating probe to avoid any unpleasant coldness in the ear. You can choose the correct age range for your reading, which will be accompanied by an indication of whether your temperature is normal, elevated or high for your age.

Best for fertility tracking: Femometer Digital Basal Body Thermometer Fertility Monitor

Reads your temperature to track ovulation

Femometer Digital Basal Body Thermometer Fertility Monitor

If you are interested in using your body temperature to track your fertility and ovulation, the Femometer basal body thermometer and the associated app can help you, whether you’re looking for contraception or fertility support.

Did you know that basal body temperature can be used to track your fertility? Many women regularly track their body temperature in order to predict their fertile and non-fertile windows as well as ovulation. The Femometer Fertility Monitor is a great option for anyone looking to do the same, it is clinically accurate and can be used alongside the Femometer app to track various aspects of your fertility. It takes a little longer than most to read your temperature (3-5 minutes), but the results are highly accurate.

Best for on-the-go use: Forehead Thermometer Temperature Indicator Forehead Strip

An easy-to-use travel option

Forehead Thermometer Temperature Indicator Forehead Strip

Take a simple-to-use, accurate option for temperature readings wherever you go with these forehead strips, which come with their own pocket-sized travel case and can be wiped clean and used again and again.

The quickest, easiest and cheapest option on our list, these forehead strips are a popular choice for use with children or the elderly. You hold the strip against your forehead for the given amount of time to give a quick reading of your temperature. Instructions are included in the handy portable carry case, making this a great option for when you’re on the go. It’s also reusable, so you can simply wipe it clean and pop it back in the carry case, ready for next time.   

Best traditional thermometer: Geratherm Mercury Free Oral Glass Thermometer

A classic model of oral thermometer

Geratherm Mercury Free Oral Glass Thermometer

Whether you feel more comfortable using the traditional model or simply enjoy the aesthetic of an old-fashioned product, this oral thermometer is effective and precise.

This thermometer probably looks closer to the model you saw used while you were growing up. A lightweight glass thermometer in white and green, it uses gallium-indium-tin instead of mercury to accurately measure your temperature. Place it under the tongue, close your mouth and wait 3 minutes for an accurate reading.

Best for hygiene: iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer

A touch-free digital thermometer

iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer

Avoid germ transfer and obtain an accurate temperature reading without the need for disruptive physical contact with this no-touch infrared thermometer.

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This type of touch-free digital thermometer has become more commonplace since the pandemic. The hygiene benefits of a hands-free temperature reading are obvious, but this device is also great for children and vulnerable people, as it reads temperature without disturbing them. Hold the device around one inch away from the centre of the forehead, and the infrared sensor can accurately read the temperature of people of any age.

If you want to read more expert-recommended round-ups and product guides, check out our Household page, where you’ll find more home recommendations, including the best clothes airers, the best dehumidifiers, and the best hooded blankets.