In addition to the oral variety, you can now get affordable ear and forehead models for use at home. Ear or tympanic-membrane thermometers measure temperature based on heat radiated through the tympanic membrane, or eardrum. The Mayo Clinic does not recommend these thermometers for newborns; Mayo advocates a minimum age of 6 months—basically when children are old enough to balk at the rectal thermometer but too young to manage an oral one. At home, I use an ear thermometer with my toddler and an oral for my 7-year-old.
Forehead or temporal-artery thermometers measure temperature based on heat radiated from the temporal artery running across the forehead—all it takes is a light touch of the thermometer to the forehead. On the downside, results from these thermometers may be affected by things like sweating and air temperature taking the temperature itself may not wake up the sick person, but wiping the sweat off his head first will probably do the job anyway.
Although research consistently shows that rectal temperatures in children are most accurate, some studies done on children suggest that, when used correctly, measurements from forehead thermometers are close to those obtained rectally. A few ear and forehead thermometers. Photo: Michael Hession. Oral thermometers are all similar in structure and attempt to distinguish themselves through bright colors. For adult at-home use, Dr. John Mills said he would buy an oral thermometer, citing an article published in in the Annals of Internal Medicine that specifically focused on adult temperature readings.
Researchers looked at studies that compared temperatures taken centrally internally—via the pulmonary artery, bladder, or esophagus with ones taken peripherally oral, tympanic membrane, temporal artery, axillary.
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Not surprisingly, they found that central methods were always more accurate. In medicine we are always a little wary of new technology—if your device is complicated or you are unable to use it properly, it may not be as reliable. I would use oral first and then tympanic membrane. However, this is in contrast to a small study that suggested temporal artery thermometers are more accurate than ear thermometers in children. No word on what difference in adult and child foreheads might cause this difference. In our own tests, we found both forehead and ear thermometers to be accurate within the stated 0.
As someone who grew up sharing a room with a light sleeper, I also know that a thermometer for kids should be fast, painless, and, ideally, silent to minimize the risk of waking either the sleeping patient or a hypothetically cantankerous sibling. Once we knew which categories we wanted to look at, we chose thermometers based on customer ratings and best-selling items on Amazon and those suggested by major product review sites like Consumer Reports , Thoroughly Reviewed , and Parenting.
Then we narrowed things by considering the features like backlit displays, or color-coded systems that flash to indicate whether a temperature is normal, a low-grade fever, or a high-grade fever. We also looked for devices that were easy to clean, rather than ones that require disposable protective caps or sleeves. Rectal thermometers are still considered the gold standard—they offer the most reliably accurate measurement of core body temperature.
A fever in a newborn of more than Even though it remains the most accurate measurement, rectal temp is going to be a hard sell past infancy. For the older crowd, there are other, less invasive ways to go, and those formats are accurate enough for the purposes of home use. One of the features we were most interested in was the ability to silence a thermometer. Before you start thinking about factors like ease of use and extra features, the most important aspect of a thermometer is always going to be its accuracy and consistency in measurements.
Thermometers are used by people of all ages, so for testing in the initial guide we called in a senior tester, year-old Sidney Kirschner, who was generous enough to spend his afternoon repeatedly taking his temperature in exchange for a Hershey bar. We tested additional thermometers for an update to this guide with a panel of five Wirecutter staffers in our office.
We looked at how close the measurements we got at home were to the professional thermometer and how long it took to give final measurement. Although the ear and forehead thermometers all gave results in less than three seconds, operating time for oral thermometers ranged from 8 seconds to an excruciating high of 60 seconds.
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This was not exactly scientific, but it did allow us to hear or, in some cases, see how the thermometer reported a fever. Most of the alarms alert you to an elevated temperature at Mills stressed that even though we often talk about a fever as anything higher than Everybody has a different personal set temperature as a baseline and it can vary throughout the day.
To find out how a forehead thermometer worked in the outside world, we tested one on a healthy person sitting in the sun. The reading came back as You can follow all of the instructions wipe off sweat, wait after exercise , but the environment around you is still going to influence your skin temperature. In the end though, almost all of the thermometers tested gave readings that were acceptably consistent with the professional-grade thermometer. Every thermometer we tried bounced around within a small range from measurement to measurement, and a larger range if we moved its sensor significantly from reading to reading; this is a common source of complaint in thermometer reviews.
The real deciding factor here is the features, so we focused on those. The average measurement time of 8 seconds was the fastest tested—beating our runner-up by up to 15 seconds and the slowest thermometer tested by more than 50 seconds. Amazon reviews for the product consistently mention the speed as a key feature. Half of the thermometers we tested had small numbers in a display window roughly 0. Vicks was also the only thermometer with a useful fever alarm.
No preternatural ability to interpret shrill beeping required. The best oral thermometer: Vicks ComfortFlex. Like the other thermometers in its class, the Vicks thermometer stores the most recent reading. The thermometer comes with a user manual, a one-piece case, and five single-use probe covers. You can buy replacements, but the thermometer is water-resistant, so save your money—an alcohol swab or soap and water on the tip between each use will work just fine.
Our version of the Vicks thermometer was also Fahrenheit only.
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For us this was a flaw, but it would almost certainly be a dealbreaker for people who think in Celsius. Kaz Incorporated, the makers of this thermometer, told us that newer versions can be switched between the two scales, but currently many retailers are still selling off their existing Fahrenheit-only inventory.
Many of the negative reviews on Amazon and Drugstore. The 3-volt, CR battery is easily replaceable, but when you buy a new item, it should work—if yours is a dud, send it back. If our top oral thermometer pick is unavailable, consider the similarly priced Sanpu Digital. In our experience, this device was up to 15 seconds slower than our top pick, on a par with the others we tested. Unlike the top pick, however, this thermometer can switch from Fahrenheit to Celsius it took a few minutes of staring at the instruction manual to figure out exactly how.
Like our top pick, the Sanpu has a large, easy-to-read backlit display, which we found easier to read than that of our previous runner-up pick , the Generation Guard MT Our top pick for the forehead and ear is the iProven DMT thermometer. The iProven switches easily between the two and features a clear, backlit, color-coded display.
Our forehead and ear thermometer pick. Readings were nearly instantaneous in the ear and took less than 3 seconds for the forehead our oral thermometer pick clocked in at 8 seconds per reading. When the cap is removed, it reveals an ear measurement tip—here you press the aptly named Ear button. A traditionalist, Kirschner still preferred the oral thermometer, but, after a brief tutorial, he found the iProven easy to use and liked the instantaneous readings and the clear, backlit screen displaying his temperature.
The user manual reports a range of In what seems to be a consistent problem with thermometers sold for at-home use presumably no one designing them has tried to take the temperature of a sleeping kid , you cannot silence the alarm. On the other hand, some Amazon reviews explicitly mention this as a positive as it makes the device easier to transport. Must Have. One person found this helpful. Good product, good price and prompt delivery. Overall - Good. See all 4 reviews. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. Do not buy this thermometer.
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We tested this out on our baby and got a wide range of temperatures, first We called our doctor and of course they sounded the alarm and had us come in to double check the temperature, and it was normal on their machines - They were so worried about the readings we got at home on this piece of junk they made us go to the ER, where they again tested 5! Great concept, poor execution. The thermometer has a temperature swing of about 2 degrees. For any other thermometer that would be acceptable.
For a thermometer that could help you decide whether or not to take your child to the emergency room, it is not. The thermometer has about a 12 degree temperature range. As other people have said it is very inconsistent. This is true in any mode; touch or no-touch. I have sent the thermometer back to Braun on a warranty claim.
They were kind enough to sen me back a brand new thermometer. It was just as bad as the original. This item would not read the temperature consistently.
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My daughter had a Avoid this product. I have 4 children. I too bought this, hoping it would work great.
I have 4 children, and our Braun Thermoscan ear thermometer broke after 15 years on a recent plane trip when liquid medication in our suitcase leaked onto it. Bought this hoping for a similarly great product that would not require constant purchase of probe covers. I have been using it for the past 48 hours on all the people in our house. If you use it on the same person 5 times, you will get 5 different numbers. And there is always at least degree difference when you measure the same person at the same time using the touch vs no touch methods. I just measured all 6 family members at the dinner table.
According to the thermometer, 5 of us have fevers over This thermometer does not work reliably at all. It is a great concept, but it will not give you accurate readings. We bought this some time ago, and when we couldn't find a regular thermometer in the house we found this. It claimed I had a fever of Suffice it to say my wife panicked and was about to call an ambulance, when we found a thermometer after emptying an entire closet the temperature was Go to Amazon.
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