What you need to know to buy a no-fuss digital thermometer for your baby or child.

Baby having temperature taken with no contact digital thermometer

Digital thermometers are placed in the ear or use no-contact readings. They’ve been designed to make the process of taking a child’s temperature less invasive and quicker than old school temperature thermometers If you have one of these old thermometers kicking around you should no longer use it (they’re often filled with mercury) and upgrade to one of the different types of digital thermometer – which type will depend on your needs and your budget.

The NHS also doesn’t advise using strip-type forehead thermometers for gaining an accurate reading as they show the temperature of the skin rather than the body. Find out what features digital thermometers can offer and whether they’re easy to use by reading our digital thermometer reviews.

Digital ear thermometers

Ear thermometers (also known as tympanic thermometers) are designed so that they disturb babies as little as possible, even allowing parents to take their baby’s temperature when he or she is asleep.

They take a reading after a second or two, using infrared to measure the heat generated inside the ear.

The reading may not be accurate if the thermometer isn’t correctly placed in the ear and earwax can also affect the accuracy.

These types of digital thermometer shouldn’t be used with newborns as their ear canals are too small.

Digital Thermometer

Digital ear thermometer features to look out for

  • Good ear thermometers need to be simple to use on even the most wriggly children. 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.

Infrared no-contact thermometers

Even newer to the scene than ear thermometers are infrared no-contact thermometers.

These are usually simply pointed at a child’s forehead (usually at a distance of around 5cm, but this can vary from brand to brand) and give a reading very quickly.

They’re obviously appealing to parents as you may not even have to disturb your sleeping child to get a measurement.
Digital Thermometer

No-contact thermometer features to look out for

A great infrared no-contact thermometer should be easy to use and quick to give a measurement.

A back light 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 (i.e. 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.

Find out what our parent testers thought of different thermometers in our first look digital thermometer reviews.

Smart digital thermometers

Some thermometers can now be connected up to apps on your smartphone or tablet so that you can store a larger database of past readings or connect up to health advice.

Digital Thermometer

How to spot a high 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.

Where to buy a digital thermometer

When buying a digital thermometer, make sure you’re handing your money over to a reputable seller. Check the retailer’s returns policy and pay attention to customer feedback and reviews. For more details on shopping online safely and arranging refunds for faulty products, see our advice on shopping online.

Boots, Argos, Amazon and Superdrug are some of the most searched-for digital thermometer retailers at the time of writing. We’ve included links to these retailers handpicked because of their stock availability, best value price or warranty options.

  • Boots – stocks a handful of digital thermometers priced around £15 or more. You can earn Boots reward points on your Advantage card and delivery is free when you spend over £30. Boots also scored well in our annual retailer survey for beauty, health and wellbeing shops.
  • Argos – offers a wide selection of digital thermometers from brands including Braun, Dreambaby, Kinetik Wellbeing and Tommee Tippee. Prices range from just £10 for basic models and go up to around £60. You can get same day in-store collection at selected Sainsbury’s stores and if you collect Nectar points, you’ll get 2 for every £1 you spend.
  • Amazon – has thousands of digital thermometers in stock, but try to stick to models that are fulfilled by or sold by Amazon if you can – it’s much easier to resolve issues if something goes wrong. It’s also advisable to stick to brands that you recgonise, or look reputable from a search online. You’ll get free delivery on most orders if you’re a prime member, too.
  • Superdrug – offers a modest range of digital thermometers to suit all budgets. Brands include Braun, Kinetik Wellbeing, Tommee Tippee and Vital Baby. You can get free home delivery when you spend over £15 or free same day in-store collection and you can collect points on the Superdrug Health and Beauty card.

Coronavirus update – June 2021

If you’re worried that your baby or child has contracted Covid-19, check if he or she is running a fever. You can find out if their temperature is high by reading our guide to what should a baby’s temperature be?. A fever in adults is generally considered to be 37.8C or higher.

Best Baby Thermometer Reviews

Brother Max 6-in-1 thermometer review

£60.00Typical price

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FIRST
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Key features

  • Forehead (no contact)
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 verdict:

‘Brilliantly simple to use’ was the verdict of the family who tried out this thermometer. It doesn’t have a traffic-light system to give you an indication of fever so you need to know your baby or child’s normal temperature range. But other than that our parent volunteer and family thought this was a great invention. We haven’t tested this thermometer in a lab setting so can’t comment on its accuracy.

Pros
  • Intuitive and simple to use
  • Innovative and clever design
Cons
  • Pricey

Medisana 76120 Infrared Clinical Thermometer review

£35.00Typical price

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Key features

  • Forehead (no contact)
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verdict:

Our parent volunteer liked the Medisana Infrared Clinical Thermometer. Although she thought that using it to take body temperature was a bit tricky at first, the thermometer did provide reassurance that it was being used correctly. She didn’t like the fact that you couldn’t turn off the noisy bleeps though, which she felt could disturb a sleeping child.

Pros
  • Reasonable price
  • Reassuring measurement process
  • Gives results quickly
  • Backlight glows red when fever is indicated
  • Measures liquid and room temperature too
Cons
  • Quite noisy bleeps tell you reading is successful and no option to turn them off
  • Instructions need careful reading to get an accurate measurement
  • Didn’t seem to work as well for measuring liquids

Miniland Baby Thermoadvanced Plus Thermometer review

£40.00Typical price

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Key features

  • Forehead (no contact)
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verdict:

Our parent volunteer liked the Miniland Thermoadvanced Plus’s compact size and found it easy to use, though instructions were definitely needed at first. She thought the speak function could be useful for some parents, but pointed out that although you can mute this, you can’t mute the bleeps that let you know a reading has finished, which means you could still disturb a sleeping child.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Gives results quickly
  • Backlight glows red when fever is indicated
  • Measures liquid and room temperature too
Cons
  • Quite noisy voice and/or bleeps tell you reading is successful
  • Didn’t seem to work as well for measuring liquids
  • Smartphone connectivity seems a bit gimmicky

Motorola Smart In-Ear Thermometer review

£39.99Typical price

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FIRST
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Key features

  • In-ear
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 verdict:

This is a speedy thermometer that’s easy to use, and if you’re not fussed about syncing to the app (which isn’t especially user-friendly), you’ll still be able to save readings into the thermometer and track them that way.

Pros
  • Easy to take a temperature
  • Fast
  • Great memory size
  • Backlit display
Cons
  • Detailed instructions are difficult to find
  • App is slow to sync with device

Nurofen FeverSmart review

£84.99Typical price

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Key features

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 verdict:

Nurofen’s FeverSmart is a unique thermometer that records temperature over time via an app, without the need to wake your child. We found it easy to set up and use and straightforward to read the recordings. We thought the temperature history was particularly useful if you want to track a fever over time. These features come at a cost though. So if you only want to take the occasional reading we think it would be worthwhile looking into cheaper alternatives. Depending on the age of your child you may also find they’re tempted to fiddle with the monitor so it could need regular reattaching.

Pros
  • Easy to set up and use
  • No need to disturb your sleeping child
  • Temperature recordings can be tracked over time
  • Straightforward to read the recordings
Cons
  • Older children may be tempted to fiddle with or remove the monitor
  • Cost per use

Motorola Smart Touchless Forehead Thermometer  review

£49.99Typical price

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Key features

  • Forehead (no contact)
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 verdict:

We found Motorola’s Smart Forehead Thermometer straightforward to use. We liked that you can use it to measure the temperature of liquids and that it can record up to 50 temperature readings on the device. The temperature button lights up red or green to clearly indicate a normal or high temperature. It’s at the higher end of the price scale for digital thermometers but has plenty of features, and it can be found cheaper if you do a bit of searching online. We weren’t impressed that you needed to go online to read the full user guide and we didn’t think the app would add much value for many parents.

Pros
  • Non-intrusive
  • Can measure surface temperature
  • Memory function
  • Back-lit screen
Cons
  • Full instructions not included in box
  • Not possible to mute

Oblumi Tapp thermometer review

£40.00Typical price

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FIRST
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Key features

  • In-ear and forehead (no contact)
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 verdict:

The Oblumi Tapp is clever and its tiny size makes it a great travel device. Setting it up is fairly simple, although there are a few steps involved. The data it stores through the Oblumi Tapp app is useful and it’s easy to switch between profiles so you can keep records of your whole family’s temperatures. It does takes a little longer to complete a reading than some other digital thermometers I’ve tried, which could be tricky if you’re dealing with a wriggling child.

Pros
  • Tiny
  • Intuitive app
  • Stores multiple readings and profiles
  • Can set alerts for repeat readings and medication reminders
  • Can be used as a forehead
  • Ear or liquid thermometer
Cons
  • Quite slow to take readings
  • Instructions say the ear thermometer mode can’t be used with children under the age of three

Vital Baby 4 in 1 Contactless Thermometer review

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PASS

Key features

  • Forehead (no contact)
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 verdict: Worth a look

This multi-purpose thermometer did well in our tests but didn’t stand out in any area. Temperature readings are accurate, but it’s slightly slower than claimed and lacks some features, such as a silent mode and multiple memory slots.

Pros
  • Accurate temperature readings
  • Can be used contactless and in-ear
  • Easy-to-read display
  • Memory function recalls last temperature reading
  • Can be used to measure room and liquid temperatures
Cons
  • Temperature readings take slightly longer than the claimed two seconds
  • Can’t mute bleeps when taking a sleeping child’s temperature

Braun ThermoScan 7 with Age Precision IRT6520 review

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PASS

Key features

  • In-ear
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 verdict: A good choice

This Braun is among the better models we tested. It passed the accuracy standards and is comfortable to use. It has plenty of useful additional features that make understanding the temperature readings a little easier.

Pros
  • Accurate temperature readings
  • Easy-to-read display
  • Memory function with room for nine readings
  • Comfortable to use
  • Traffic-light system and age precision can help take the hassle out of understanding temperature readings
  • Comes with storage case
Cons
  • Need to buy replacement probe covers which is an added expense
  • Can’t mute bleeps when taking a sleeping child’s temperature

Braun No Touch + Touch Thermometer with Age Precision BNT400 review

Test resultShow Context

PASS

Key features

  • Forehead (no contact)
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 verdict: Accurate and easy to use

Braun’s No Touch + Touch Forehead Thermometer with Age Precision is excellent. It’s one of only two thermometers to score a maximum five stars for ease of use. Couple that with accurate temperature readings and you’re on to a winner. The first time we tested it, it didn’t meet the international standards for accuracy. We tested two additional devices and they both passed, which is why we’re happy to recommend it. However, because of that initial test failure it’s not eligible to be one of our Best Buys.

Pros
  • Accurate temperature readings
  • Easy-to-read display
  • Traffic-light system and age precision can help take the hassle out of understanding temperature readings
  • Can mute the bleep so as not to disturb sleeping child
  • Can be used to measure food and liquid temperatures
Cons
  • No memory function to see last temperature reading taken

Kinetik Wellbeing Ear and Forehead Thermometer review

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PASS

Key features

  • In-ear and forehead (no contact)
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 verdict: One of the best

This thermometer pairs accuracy and comfort with useful features, such as a silent mode and memory function. It was rated as one of the most comfortable to use thermometers by our user panel and is a worthy Best Buy.

Pros
  • Accurate temperature readings
  • Comfortable to use
  • Clear display
  • Traffic-light system can help take the hassle out of understanding temperature readings
  • Silent mode
Cons
  • Temperature readings slightly slower than claimed
  • Bleeps quite loudly

Kinetik Wellbeing Inner Ear Thermometer review

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PASS

Key features

  • In-ear
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verdict: Other thermometers are nicer to use

The Kinetik Inner Ear thermometer is cheaper than most other thermometers we’ve looked at. It doesn’t have a lot of extra functions but does have a memory to store historical readings. It provides accurate readings, but we found other thermometers more pleasant to use.

Pros
  • Accurate temperature readings
  • Memory function with room for 10 readings
  • Comes with a storage pouch
Cons
  • Can’t mute bleeps when taking a sleeping child’s temperature
  • No backlight means it’s hard to see readings in a dark room
  • Need to buy replacement probe covers which is an added expense

Tommee Tippee No-Touch Forehead Thermometer review

Test resultShow Context

PASS

Key features

  • Forehead (no contact)
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verdict: Versatile and easy to use

This is an easy thermometer to use, providing accurate readings quickly and clearly. It’s among the more expensive ‘no touch’ thermometers we tested, but it’s worth it.

Pros
  • Accurate temperature readings
  • Easy-to-read display
  • Memory holds 25 readings
  • Silent mode
  • Can be used to measure food and liquid surface temperatures
Cons
  • Using the various functions could be more intuitive

Lloyds Pharmacy Non-Contact Forehead Thermometer review

£20.00Typical price

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PASS

Key features

  • Forehead (no contact)
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verdict: An excellent thermometer

This is an excellent Best Buy digital thermometer. It provides accurate temperature measurements and is simple and pleasant to use.

Pros
  • Fast and accurate temperature readings
  • Simple to use
  • Comfortable
  • Can be used to measure surface and room temperatures
  • Memory holds 20 readings
Cons
  • Can’t mute bleep when taking a temperature

Lloyds Pharmacy Digital Ear Thermometer review

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PASS

Key features

  • In-ear
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verdict: Good and affordable

This is an accurate thermometer that has some nice features, including a memory function to help you track changes in temperature. It’s simple to use, although we felt the temperature nozzle was a little thick for very small ears.

Pros
  • Accurate temperature readings
  • Memory function with room for nine readings
  • High temperature warning can help take the hassle out of understanding readings
  • Inexpensive
Cons
  • Temperature sensor a little too thick for small ears
  • Need to buy replacement probe covers which is an added expense

Boots Ear Thermometer review

£30.00Typical price

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PASS

Key features

  • In-ear
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verdict: A good option

This is a decent thermometer that provides accurate readings, but it’s not quite as nice to use as our Best Buys.

Pros
  • Accurate temperature readings
  • Easy-to-read display
  • Memory function with room for 10 readings
  • Can be used to measure room and liquid temperatures
  • Comes with protective case
  • Time and date display can help organise tracked readings
Cons
  • Takes more time than most to produce a temperature reading
  • Temperature sensor a little too thick for small ears
  • Need to buy replacement probe covers which is an added expense

Boots Non-Contact Thermometer review

£40.00Typical price

Test resultShow Context

PASS

Key features

  • Forehead (no contact)
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verdict: Fast and accurate temperature readings

This impressive multi-purpose thermometer is simple to use and returns accurate readings faster than all others we tested. It’s not quite a Best Buy but is still worthy of a place on your shortlist.

Pros
  • Accurate and fast temperature readings
  • Easy-to-read display
  • Memory function with room for 60 readings
  • Can also be used to measure room and liquid temperatures
  • Comes with protective case
  • Time and date display can help with organising tracked readings
  • Silent mode
Cons
  • Feels heavy