Baby Thermometers
  • The 9 Best Baby Thermometers

    January 13, 2020
    14 min read

    As your child grows, there will likely be times when you suspect your little one has a fever or is sick. You'll want to have a baby thermometer in the house to check her temperature and find out if it is higher than usual.

    Although a thermometer can never replace a diagnosis by your healthcare provider, having a reading of your child’s temperature can give you some insights that you can take to your provider should you see signs of a fever or other symptoms of sickness.

    We surveyed more than 5,000 Pampers Parents to find out which baby thermometers they think are the best and reviewed the top 9 products. Plus, we’ve described the different types of baby thermometers on the market; listed what to consider when buying a baby thermometer; and given you a step-by-step guide on how to use your baby thermometer once you’ve got one at home.

    What's in this article:

    Types of Baby Thermometers The 9 Best Thermometers for Your Baby or Toddler Things to Consider When Buying a Baby Thermometer How to Use a Baby Thermometer

    Types of Baby Thermometers

    Experts recommend using one of these types of baby thermometers:

    • Temporal artery thermometers. With these thermometers an infrared scanner measures the temperature of the temporal artery that runs close to the skin along the forehead. These thermometers are usually OK to use once your child is older than 3 months, although some models may be acceptable for newborns, too. They may not be as accurate as rectal thermometers, but many Pampers Parents find them easier to use, and less invasive.
    • Ear thermometers. These work by sensing heat radiated through your little one’s eardrum. In some cases, these can be less effective because earwax or the shape of the ear canal prevents the probe of the thermometer from taking an accurate reading. These types of thermometers may be easier for you to use than a rectal thermometer, but keep in mind that they may not be as accurate.
    • Digital thermometers. The tip of a digital thermometer has a sensor, which measures body temperature when placed in your baby’s rectum or under her arm. Typically, a rectal temperature reading is most accurate. Although you might find a rectal baby thermometer a little tricky to use at first, with a little practice, you can get the hang of it. A rectal thermometer is best to use for children who are under 3 months old. Once your child is older and can keep her arm down for long enough, you can also use a digital baby thermometer by placing it in her armpit.

    With all of these baby thermometers, the temperature is typically shown on a small digital screen.

    Some Thermometer Dos and Don’ts

    • Oral thermometers should not be used for children until they are at least 4 or 5 years old.
    • Don’t use a mercury thermometer because, if the glass breaks, the mercury can be toxic for you and your little one.
    • If you have a rectal thermometer, never use it on other areas of the body.
    • If you have more than one thermometer at home and one is used rectally, label each one carefully so that you don’t accidentally use the rectal thermometer orally, for example.
    • Although most baby thermometers can be used on adults, too, a standard “adult” thermometer may not be as easy to use with children. A baby thermometer, which is specially designed for children, may have special features like a flexible tip and a smaller size.

    Read more about how to use your baby thermometer.

    “There are a lot of good thermometers. Pick one that is easy to use on a squirmy baby or toddler.”

    Pampers Parent

    The 9 Best Thermometers for Your Baby or Toddler

    Braun Forehead Thermometer

    Why pick this one? The absolute favorite among Pampers Parents was this Braun Forehead Thermometer. With this thermometer you simply swipe the temperature reader along your little one’s forehead to the temples twice to get a reading within seconds.

    The display shows the temperature reading in big letters, and the screen itself changes color to help you more easily identify the reading: green when no fever is detected, yellow for a slightly elevated temperature, and red for a high temperature.

    This thermometer is pretty easy to use with a simple on/off switch and a green button you have to press while taking a reading, but some Pampers Parents found that setting certain options (like switching between Fahrenheit and Celsius) can be a little tricky.

    Two AAA batteries are provided, but you may need to replace these from time to time as they are not rechargeable.

    Overall, this is the best baby thermometer according to Pampers Parents, so even though it comes with quite a hefty price tag, it’s definitely worth considering.

    Highlights: This thermometer allows you to take your child’s temperature without waking him or removing his clothes. The Braun Forehead Thermometer could also be a great option if you don’t want to deal with inserting a thermometer in your little one’s rear or placing it in his armpit.

    Price*: about $56 on Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: It’s easy to use and gives a quick and accurate reading. It’s also comfortable for the child.
    • Cons: The reading may not be as accurate if you don’t place the thermometer right in the middle of the forehead. This can make getting a reading tricky if your baby is fussy and moving around a lot.

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    2. ANKOVO Thermometer for Fever Digital Medical Infrared Forehead and Ear Thermometer

    Ankovo Forehead Thermometer

    Why pick this one? This ANKOVO thermometer was also very popular among Pampers Parents. The very neat thing about this thermometer is that it can be used both as an infrared forehead thermometer as well as an ear thermometer.

    To take the forehead reading, all you need to do is run the sensor over the forehead while pressing the button that reads “head.” To take the ear reading, remove the cap, place the tip of the baby thermometer into the entry of the ear canal, and press the button that reads “ear.”

    The manufacturer claims the device can take an accurate reading in just one second. There’s a loud beep to let you know when the temperature reading has been taken — a feature you may not appreciate if your baby is sleeping!

    Two AAA batteries are supplied but these will need to be replaced when the batteries run low.

    As the second-best baby thermometer on this list and with a lower price point, this multi-use thermometer is great value for money.

    Highlights: The screen is backlit in red for readings over 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and the thermometer gives off an alarm sound for elevated readings, too.

    Price*: about $19.99 on Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: It’s a big plus to be able to get readings from two different areas. It’s accurate and the results are easy to read.
    • Cons: The ear probe cover can slip off easily, and the beeps can startle the baby.

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    3. Vicks ComfortFlex Digital Thermometer

    Vicks ComfortFlex Digital Thermometer

    Why pick this one? This digital baby thermometer is great because it allows you to take a reading rectally, orally, or in the underarm.

    The manufacturer claims it can give a temperature reading in as few as 8 seconds, but an armpit reading could take around 22 seconds.

    The display of this thermometer changes color based on the reading: green if the thermometer doesn’t measure a fever, yellow for a mild fever, and red for a high fever.

    Just like most of the other thermometers on this list, it can give a reading in both Fahrenheit and Celsius, and it’s also suitable for use on the older children and adults in your family. It’s BPA free and water resistant.

    Although some Pampers Parents wished it provided a quicker reading, and that it would give off a sound when the reading was done, others liked that this thermometer was “old school” and simple to use without many extra bells and whistles.

    Keep in mind: Thermometers should only be placed orally once your little one is older than 4 or 5 years old. Also, the same thermometer should not be used on your baby both rectally and elsewhere. If you’d like, you may wish to buy one of these thermometers for rectal use and another for underarm or oral use, and label each one carefully.

    Highlights: This thermometer has a flexible tip for extra comfort for your little one.

    Price*: about $9.98 on Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: It’s simple and straightforward to use, and the small size means it fits comfortably in the baby’s underarm. The versatility was also a big pro for many Pampers Parents; they loved that they could choose from three different places (rectum, underarm, mouth) to take the temperature.
    • Cons: Some Pampers Parents wished that this product had a longer battery life.

    Buy it NOW

    4. Braun Thermoscan 7 IRT6520 Thermometer

    Braun Thermoscan 7 IRT6520 Thermometer

    Why pick this one? This thermometer is one of the more expensive ones on this list, but many Pampers Parents felt it was worth it.

    This thermometer offers lots of bells and whistles, including

    • a light and beep alert that lets you know when it’s in the right position
    • a night light for easier readings at nighttime
    • a pre-warmed tip the manufacturer claims makes for more accurate readings
    • a light indicator that pulses while the temperature reading is in progress, and remains on solidly for three seconds once the reading has been successfully taken
    • a color display that changes between green, yellow, and red depending on your little one’s age and temperature. If you input your little one’s age, the thermometer will indicate whether the temperature is considered normal, elevated, or high for your child’s specific age.
    • a log of the last nine temperature readings, which helps you track your little one’s temperature over time.

    This thermometer comes with two AA batteries, which you’ll need to replace when they run low.

    Highlights: This product comes with 40 lens filters that cover the probe that enters the ear. If you run out of these probe covers, you’ll have to buy more.

    Price*: about $56.50 on Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: Many Pampers Parents found this thermometer to be very accurate, and they loved the extra features.
    • Cons: This thermometer doesn’t work unless a lens filter is attached.

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    5. OCCObaby Clinical Digital Baby Thermometer

    OCCObaby Thermometer

    Why pick this one? If you’re looking for a standard digital thermometer that will get the job done without too many added features, then this OCCObaby model is definitely one to consider.

    It can be used rectally, which experts consider to be the most accurate way to gauge your baby’s temperature, or orally, once your child is 4 or 5 years old. Just don’t use the one thermometer in both spots!

    This thermometer has a flexible tip; is waterproof; offers a quick 10-second reading; has a large digital display; offers both Fahrenheit and Celsius options; and has a fever alarm that beeps if it reads a high temperature.

    This thermometer automatically powers off, which might help save on battery life. One LR44 battery is required.

    “I love this thermometer because it’s just simple and I don’t really like the new forehead thermometers. This one is easy to stick under your baby’s arms or in his rectum. The tip of it is very flexible and soft so you can wiggle it or tilt it without harming the baby.”

    Pampers Parents

    Highlights: The small size means that it’s great for babies and young children. It also comes with a storage case to keep it protected and clean.

    Price*: about $9.89 on Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: Many Pampers Parents highlighted the affordable price, the ergonomic design, and the fact that this thermometer is easy to clean as key benefits. Many also found it to be accurate and easy to read.
    • Cons: It could be a tad bit bigger in size, and it could give a temperature reading a little quicker.

    Buy it NOW

    6. iProven Digital Medical Thermometer

    iProven Digital Medical Thermometer

    Why pick this one? This iProven baby thermometer can be used for oral or rectal temperature readings, and is suitable for all ages.

    It will take your little one’s temperature in just a few seconds. You might like that the display features smileys to indicate how serious your little one’s fever may be. A smiley face indicates a normal temperature, whereas a frowning or unhappy face indicates a higher temperature. The thermometer also beeps to indicate a fever, which can be a great additional signal for you.

    It’s waterproof so you can quickly and easily disinfect it before and after use.

    Highlights: The tip is flexible for additional comfort for your little one. This thermometer comes with a hard cover to keep it safe.

    Price*: about $13.49 on Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: It’s easy to handle, accurate, and quite affordable.
    • Cons: It could be a little bigger in size overall, and the display could be a little bigger, too.

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    7. Kinsa Smart Thermometer for Fever

    Kinsa Smart Thermometer for Fever

    Why pick this one? If you’re looking for a “smart” thermometer that you can sync with an app to track your little one’s temperature, then look no further than the Kinsa Smart Thermometer.

    You don’t have to use the Kinsa app after the initial setup of your thermometer, but you might like the convenience of the app’s temperature tracking, symptom tracking, medicine reminders, and other great features. Of course, if the app connectivity doesn’t interest you too much, you may be better off going for one of the other thermometers on this list.

    This water-resistant thermometer, which has a flexible tip, can be used for all ages of children, including newborns. The manufacturer claims it can give an oral, rectal, or armpit reading in eight seconds or less.

    The manufacturer claims the battery will last for up to 600 measurements. When it does run low, you’ll need to buy a new CR2032 battery (watch battery) as this product only comes with one lithium battery.

    There are no probe covers with this product, but standard probe covers that you can buy separately should fit this thermometer if you’d wish to use them.

    Highlights: The app connectivity of this product is a real bonus as many thermometers on the market don’t have this feature. The Kinsa app is free, and is compatible with most iPhone and Android phones.

    Price*: about $16.99 on Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: Lots of Pampers Parents loved the app—especially that it can track temperatures and sync this info with the profiles of various members of the family. Pampers Parents liked that this tracking made it easier to show this information to the doctor.
    • Cons: It could be easier to set up the app and pair it with the thermometer.

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    8. AKID Forehead and Ear Thermometer

    AKID Medical Thermometer

    Why pick this one? The benefit of this thermometer is that it offers both forehead and ear readings, so you have both options at your fingertips depending on which you find easier to do.

    The read time is about one second, which makes it one of the quickest thermometers of all the products on our list. This thermometer also has a three-color backlit screen (green, orange, or red) to indicate the severity of your little one’s temperature.

    This product comes with a cloth storage bag and two AAA batteries.

    Highlights: It can store the last 35 temperature readings, which can come in handy if you’re wanting to track your little one’s temperature over several days, for example.

    Price*: about $19.99 on Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: It’s super quick, which is helpful when you have a sick, fussy baby.
    • Cons: It can be a little hard to use if you have a wriggly baby as you’ll need to hold this thermometer against the forehead to get a successful reading.

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    9. Caroune Forehead and Ear Thermometer

    Caroune Forehead and Ear Thermometer

    Why pick this one? Rounding out our list of nine best baby thermometers is this thermometer by Caroune. This product can be used to take both an infrared temporal reading and an ear reading. Just remove the probe cap if you’d like to take an ear reading.

    This thermometer offers a 1-second reading, and records the last 32 readings. It also has little lights (green, yellow, red) so you can see the severity of any fever at a glance.

    This product comes with one soft cloth storage bag and two AAA batteries.

    Highlights: This product features a fever alarm that goes off to indicate a higher-than-normal reading, but, if you’d prefer no noise, you can easily turn the buzzer off. Not all models offer this mute function, which can come in handy if your little one is asleep.

    Price*: about $25.99 on Amazon.com

    Pampers Parents pros and cons:

    • Pros: Pampers Parents loved that you have both options of forehead reading and ear reading.
    • Cons: The temperature readings could be more accurate.

    Buy it NOW

    Things to Consider When Buying a Baby Thermometer

    “I considered ease of use, ability to use on a difficult baby, ability to use without disturbing a sleeping child, and, lastly, price when shopping for a thermometer.”

    Pampers Parent

    Here are some features to look at when choosing the best baby thermometer for you and your little one:

    • Safety. Ensure that the thermometer you pick is safe to use for your child’s age. For example, some thermometers aren’t recommended for children under 3 months old. Before buying a thermometer, check that the product hasn’t been recalled. Once you have your thermometer at home, ensure that any small parts like storage bags, batteries, and probe covers, which can be choking hazards — as well as the thermometer itself — are kept out of reach of children.
    • Accuracy. This is very important when it comes to a thermometer. Rectal baby thermometers are most accurate. If you’re in any doubt about the accuracy of the thermometer you’re considering buying, ask your baby’s healthcare provider for a recommendation on the most accurate baby thermometer.
    • Ease of use. It’s a good idea to choose a thermometer that’s easy to use when your baby is sick and fussy. Some Pampers Parents prefer the forehead reader for this reason, while others prefer the digital ear or rectum baby thermometers. The easier you find the thermometer is to use and the less discomfort it causes your little one, the higher the chance you’ll be able to get a more accurate reading faster.
    • Speed. With a fussy baby it’s great to be able to take the reading quickly. You don’t want to disturb your little one for too long, especially while she’s feeling sick and cranky. Some thermometers can take the reading in just a second while others may take up to 30 seconds.
    • Comfort. Overall, an infrared thermometer that simply glides along your little one’s forehead may be most comfortable for her. A stick thermometer with a soft, flexible tip may be more comfortable than a rigid probe. Just keep in mind that not all flexible tip models can be used rectally, so double check the product guidelines.
    • Extra features. Consider which bells and whistles, if any, you’d like from your thermometer:
      •Colored lights indicating the severity of the temperature
      •Smiley faces indicating whether the temperature is normal, mild, or high
      •Beeps that signal when a reading has been taken (some but not all models let you mute sound)
      •A fever alarm that goes off when there is an elevated temperature reading
      •A night light or backlit display for easier middle-of-the-night reads
      •A pre-warmed tip offered by some ear thermometers
      •App connectivity to help you track things like temperature and symptoms so you can easily show the data to your baby’s healthcare provider.
    • Reliability. You want your thermometer to work when you need it to, and to not run out of battery power or malfunction just when you’d like to check your little one’s temperature in the middle of the night. Most of the thermometers on our list come with just one set of batteries, so it might be useful to have some spare batteries at home. You might also like to buy two thermometers so that you have a spare should one break down, or so that you can take a second reading if you’re unsure about the accuracy of the first.
    • Additional supplies. Some models require you to buy additional probe covers, and won’t work unless you have placed one on. Consider whether this additional purchase is a deal breaker for you.
    • Price. Some thermometers are under 10 dollars while others are almost 50 dollars. More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better or more accurate, but it may be an indicator of the quality of materials and the number of extra features. Infrared thermometers are among the more expensive, for example, but not necessarily any more accurate than a more affordable digital stick thermometer.

    How to Use a Baby Thermometer

    Whenever you suspect your baby might have a fever, take his temperature.

    Because each thermometer is a little different, you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. However, here are some basic steps to follow:

    1. Clean the thermometer following the instructions that came with the product. Cleaning it with soapy water or rubbing alcohol, and then rinsing it with cool water may be all that’s needed.
    2. Place the thermometer as directed in the instructions. This could be on the forehead, under the underarm, or in your little one’s bottom or ear. If you use the thermometer rectally, you should put a small amount of petroleum jelly on the tip to lubricate it. If you use an ear thermometer, it may require a probe cover. Never leave your little one unattended with the thermometer.
    3. Leave the thermometer in place as long as suggested in the product guidelines. This is usually a few seconds up to about a minute. Some models signal when the thermometer has taken a reading; for others you’ll have to watch the clock.
    4. Check the reading. Typically, a reading of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher indicates a fever.
    5. Contact your child’s healthcare provider right away if you’re ever concerned about your little one’s temperature or symptoms, or if:
    6. Child’s ageTemperature
      Your newborn is 2 months old or younger100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Call immediately.
      Your baby is between 3 and 6 months old101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
      Your child is older than 6 months103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
      Anytime your child …has had an elevated temperature for more than a day
    7. Disinfect the thermometer according to the manufacturer’s instructions and place it back in its case or cover. Store safely out of reach of children.

    When your little one has a fever, you'll appreciate having a thermometer in your medicine cabinet or first aid kit that can provide information about her condition.

    Be sure to reach out to your baby's healthcare provider with any questions or concerns, especially if your baby seems unwell or has a temperature. The provider can diagnose any medical conditions and offer expert guidance on how you can help her feel better sooner.

    Recall Notice

    Before buying a product, always check that it’s approved and hasn’t been recalled on sites like the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

    *Prices are correct at the time of writing.

    How We Got These Results

    We surveyed thousands of parents in the Pampers Community and asked them to choose the products they love the most, and to share their views on specific products and product categories. Based on the survey responses, we have taken the top product picks and added our own research to create this article. The aim is to help you choose the right product for you and your family. We might receive commissions on purchases made from the links in this article, but the products featured are the Pampers Community’s top choices.

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