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Best thermometer 2021: Digital, in-ear and non-contact thermometers from £5


Our roundup of the best thermometers to buy, for adults and babies alike

When it comes to buying the best thermometer, you’ve got a few different types to choose from. With prices as low as £5, digital thermometers undoubtedly represent the best value for money, but pricier in-ear thermometers and non-contact thermometers are also good options.

The latter two options use infrared light to measure temperature and have the advantage of taking readings faster than the under-the-tongue variety. That can make it easier to take a fidgety child’s temperature and, in the case of non-contact thermometers, there’s also no need to wash the thermometer after each use.

Below you’ll find our buying guide outlining the different types of thermometer in a bit more detail, as well as our roundup of some of the best thermometers you can buy.

Update: If you have symptoms of coronavirus, which includes a new continuous cough, the loss of sense of smell or taste, or a high temperature, it’s recommended that you phone 111 for further advice. The NHS deems any temperature above 38˚C to be a high temperature, but you don’t need to confirm this using a thermometer if you have symptoms of a fever, including your chest and back feeling hot to touch. Of course, one of the best things to do if you think you might have coronavirus is to take a lateral flow or PCR test.

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How to buy the best thermometer

What are the different types of thermometers?

As we mentioned above, the main types of thermometer are digital, in-ear and non-contact. Here we’ll explain some of the key differences between them:

Digital thermometers: The cheapest and most accessible option, you can easily pick up a digital thermometer from your local pharmacy for less than £10. Indeed, the most affordable option in our roundup below, the Beurer FT 13, will cost you just £5 from Amazon. Many digital thermometers can be used orally, rectally or under the armpit (although we don’t recommend this for an accurate reading).

In-ear thermometers: These are reasonably self-explanatory. In-ear thermometers such as the Braun Thermoscan 3 (below) take measurements from the eardrum using an infrared sensor. They’ll likely cost a fair bit more than the most basic of digital thermometers, but they’re much less invasive, making them good options for babies and small children.

Non-contact thermometers: Even less invasive are non-contact thermometers. These work by measuring the infrared energy emitted from the forehead, which is then converted into a temperature reading.

READ NEXT: Get the best readings with our favourite blood pressure monitors

The best thermometers to buy

1. Beurer FT 13 Digital Thermometer: Best budget thermometer

Price: £5 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re after a basic digital thermometer, the Beurer FT 13 does the trick at a very reasonable price. Simply pop it under your tongue for an accurate reading. It’s got a clear LCD display, a fever alarm for when a measurement is over 40°C, and some limited memory storage that allows you to retrieve a previous reading.

Crucially, it will cost you just £5. At this price, there’s very little else you could ask for from a digital thermometer.

Key specs – Thermometer type: Digital contact; Measurement unit: Degrees Celsius or Farenheit; Memory function: Yes (one previous reading); Fever alarm: Yes; Battery: 1x LR44 (included)

2. Braun Age Precision Family Digital Thermometer: Best thermometer for all the family

Price: £15 | Buy now from Argos

A temperature of 38 degrees C may be a little toasty for an adult, but in a baby it's dangerously high and may indicate that the little one has a fever. These age differences are ignored by most thermometers, but this fast, accurate model from Braun puts it centre stage.

It's very easy to use. First press a button to choose the person's age range, then take their temperature by popping the flexible tip under their tongue or underarm. You'll get a reading on the large LCD display within eight seconds (some buyers say it's faster than that), plus a colour-coded signal that reveals whether the result is low, healthy or high according to age. If a fever is detected, the thermometer will beep 10 times – mercifully not loud enough to frighten little ones!

Key specs – Thermometer type: Digital contact; Measurement unit: Degrees Celsius; Memory function: Yes; Fever alarm: Yes; Battery: 1x 3V (included)

Buy now from Superdrug

3. iHealth Non-Contact Thermometer: Best no-touch forehead thermometer

Price: £37 | Buy now from Lloyds Pharmacy

Infrared forehead thermometers are preferred by public venues that want to check their visitors' temperatures to minimise the risk of Covid-19 infection, not least because they're more hygienic than thermometers you stick in your mouth. This sleek iHealth model is also quiet and unintrusive, so you may find your kids prefer it too. Its one-second results are faster than any of the contact (oral and under-arm) thermometers in our rundown, although users complain that it goes through batteries rather quickly. Also bear in mind that no-touch thermometers can be less precise than their contact counterparts.

Key specs – Thermometer type: Digital infrared no-contact; Unit: Celsius/Fahrenheit; Memory function: Yes; Fever alarm: No; Battery: 2x AA (included)

Buy now from Lloyds Pharmacy

4. Braun ThermoScan 3: Best thermometer for newborn babies

Price: £37 | Buy now from Argos

If your baby isn't keen on the idea of having a thermometer pointed at their forehead, stuck under their tongue or wedged into their armpit, then this is the product for you (and baby). It measures heat from the eardrum, without needing to be inserted into the ear canal, so your tot doesn't need to see or feel it at all. However, as with other infrared thermometers, its readings aren't quite as precise as those you'd get from a contact thermometer.

Key specs – Thermometer type: Digital infrared no-contact; Unit: Celsius/Fahrenheit; Memory function: Yes; Fever alarm: Yes; Battery: 3V (included)

Buy now from Boots

5. Tommee Tippee 2 in 1 Pen Thermometer: Best thermometer under £15

Price: £13 | Buy now from Superdrug

This small, waterproof thermometer is designed to be used on babies and toddlers, but makes an ideal travel thermometer for all ages. The '2 in 1' of its name indicates you can use it under your child's tongue or armpit, but unless your newborn is world-beatingly compliant you'll almost always go for the armpit option. Results are accurate and fairly quick, and up to 25 recent readings are stored automatically so you can keep track of your little one's progress.

Key specs – Thermometer type: Digital contact; Unit: Celsius; Memory function: Yes; Fever indicator: Yes; Battery: 1x CR2032 (included)

Buy now from Superdrug

6. Sejoy Infrared Forehead Thermometer: Most versatile thermometer

Price: £50 | Buy now from Boots

Not everything whose temperature you need to check is a person, of course. So as well as its standard Forehead Mode, this infrared thermometer has an Object Mode that you can use to take the temperature of surfaces – ideal for checking items such as heated baby milk. It's fast, delivering a reading within three seconds, and it automatically saves the last 10 recordings along with date, time and mode.

Key specs – Thermometer type: Digital infrared no-contact; Unit: Celsius/Fahrenheit; Memory function: Yes; Fever alarm: Yes; Battery: DC3V (included) or 2xAAA

Buy now from Boots

7. Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Baby Healthcare Kit: Best budget thermometer kit

Price: £12 | Buy now from Amazon

This baby healthcare and grooming kit is a great gift idea for new parents. Its digital oral thermometer may not be as foolproof when taking baby's temperature as a more expensive model, but it does include features such as a fever alarm - and we love the handy carry case and accessories.

Key specs – Thermometer type: Digital contact; Unit: Celsius; Memory function: No; Fever indicator: Yes; Battery: 1x LR41 (included)

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