7 Best Baby Thermometers on the Market

best baby thermometers

A kiss on your baby’s forehead might give you an indication that he or she has a fever; however, you can’t be certain until you actually take the baby’s temperature. To do this correctly, you’ll want to have one of the best baby thermometers on the market. A fever in a baby is nothing to take lightly as it likely means the baby has some type of infection and may need to see the pediatrician.

Believe it or not, there is a wide variation in what is considered a normal temperature in a baby. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a healthy baby can have a rectal temperature of between 97 degrees Fahrenheit and 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit and will still have a normal temperature. Any rectal temperature of at least 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater constitutes a fever that might indicate an infection is going on.


Remember that a high temperature alone doesn’t mean the baby has something serious. Age is somewhat of a factor, as a high fever is more serious in a baby who is under the age of three months. If the baby is still smiling, eating, and seems well, the fever may not be serious. The time of day is important. Fevers tend to be higher in the afternoon and evening so a high temperature earlier in the day may be more serious than a high temperature in the evening.

Taking your baby’s temperature is one of those things that parents need to learn how to do. What kinds of baby thermometers are out there and which are the best baby thermometers? You need to know which ones will be most helpful in determining your baby’s temperature with the highest degree of accuracy and with the greatest ease of use. This article will help you decide which baby thermometer is best for you and which you probably might want to pass up on purchasing. Each device has unique features so pay attention to the features that are most important to you.

Simple Comparison Table for the Best Baby Thermometers

Here’s a great quick reference on the baby thermometers out there. Take a look at the features you most want in a baby thermometer and decide for yourself which one would be worth purchasing:

Name Method Used Ease of Use Special Features
iProven DMD-489 Baby Thermometer Forehead and Ear Temperature Detection Easy: It has only two buttons. It has a nice calibration feature.
OCCObaby Clinical Forehead Baby thermometer No-touch forehead temp detection Easy. Digital read-out and only one button to press. There is a bonus rectal thermometer with purchase.
iProven DT-1221B Baby Thermometer Rectal temperature detection Requires a rectal temperature so only modestly easy. Inexpensive and has a digital readout but takes a few moments.
Gear District Clinical Digital Thermometer Oral, rectal, or armpit temperature detection Easy. Just insert or place the thermometer and push the button. Inexpensive and takes just ten seconds to read out the temp.
Hylogy Infrared Thermometer Dual Mode
Thermometer
Forehead or ear temperature detection Easy. Just two buttons for ear or forehead use. Modestly priced and gives temp in just one second.
Paryvara Temporal Medical Thermometer Forehead and ear temperature detection Easy. Just two buttons for ear or forehead temp detection. Expensive but can be used on adults, children, or babies.
Fairywill Baby Thermometer Forehead and ear temperature detection Easy. Just two buttons for ear or forehead temp detection. Less expensive and can be used in all ages.

How do they Stack Up? Detailed Reviews of Some of the Best Baby Thermometers

There are seven great baby thermometers out there, each with special features that make them one of the best baby thermometers you can buy. Let’s take a look at these thermometers in detail so you can make an informed choice as to which one you want to purchase for your baby:

1. iProven DMT-489 Baby Thermometer ― Most Accurate Infrared Thermometer

iProven DMT-489 Baby Thermometer

This is a dual-mode thermometer that makes use of infrared technology for perhaps the most accurate measurement of your baby’s temperature. It is practical and easy to use and has its own calibration technology that makes it suitable for use in a medical clinic. The temperature is reproducible every time the temperature is taken and it can be used for babies, toddlers, children, and adults.

The time necessary to read the measurement is only 1 second with a beep that shows the thermometer is ready (whether there is a fever or not). There are only two buttons, labeled “ear” and “forehead” so it is relatively easy to both use and read. It needs no disposable covers and stores the last twenty readings in its memory so you can track the progress of the fever and its treatment.

It is one of the more expensive products on the market for baby thermometers. While it is easy to use, it doesn’t reflect the core temperature (or rectal temperature) of the baby so the reading may be swayed by external factors, such as the ambient temperature of the room and whether or not the baby is sweating. It requires direct contact with the baby so it may awaken the sleeping baby when checking his or her temperature.
Pros
  • The infrared technology is very accurate with easily reproducible readings every time.
  • It detects both the ear temperature and the forehead temperature, making it a dual thermometer.
  • It requires no real skill in order to get an accurate temperature reading.
  • It stores in its memory the last twenty temperature readings so that the fever can be tracked over time.
Cons
  • It is one of the more expensive baby thermometers on the market with a price that more reflects professional use rather than home use.
  • It doesn’t give the core temperature of the baby and most doctors believe that the core temperature is a better reflection of whether or not the baby has a fever.
  • It may awaken a sleeping baby as it requires direct contact with the baby.
  • It makes a beeping sound after the reading, which can awaken your sleeping baby or startle your baby.

2. OCCObaby Clinical Forehead Baby Thermometer – Most Expensive Product

OCCObaby Clinical Forehead Baby Thermometer

This is a thermometer designed especially for children but can be used by older people (and even adults). It is a dual mode thermometer that can measure that can measure an ear or forehead temperature. It claims to be a no-touch, infrared ray system that can detect the temperature without having to touch a sleeping child. The readout is instant and it offers a multicolored alert system that will tell you if your baby has a fever. It is backlit for nighttime use in the nursery.
The measurement part of the head of the device has a large surface area so it more accurately depicts the temperature. It is waterproof so it can be used in the bathtub. There is a sixty-day money-back guarantee for any reason and a one-year replacement policy should something happen to the device.

While it claims to be accurate, this doesn’t measure the core temperature (core temperature), which is what most pediatricians prefer to be measured in babies. Promotional feature (the rectal thermometer promotion) would provide a more accurate temperature reading but this is a limited-time feature. It says nothing about precision, which is the inter-reading similarity in readings when more than one reading is necessary.
Pros
  • This is a waterproof device that can be washed or accidentally dropped in the tub without incident.
  • It is a no-touch system that won’t awaken a sleeping baby to check his or her temperature.
  • It has a wide measuring head, which enhances the surface area detection of body temperature.
  • It is backlit and provides a four-color system that helps parents determine whether or not the temperature represents a fever.
  • It is silent so it won’t startle the baby while taking his or her temperature.
Cons
  • It is the most expensive product in this review.
  • It doesn’t measure the core temperature (rectal temperature), which is the most effective way of detecting fever in babies.
  • It doesn’t have a memory device that keeps track of the temperature over time so you have to write down the temperature.

3. iProven DT-R1221B – One of the cheapest of the best baby thermometers

iProven DT-R1221B

This is a cheap investment in your baby’ health. It measures the rectal temperature, which is an accurate representation of the baby’s core temperature. After inserting it into the rectum, it takes ten seconds before the device has completed its job. It is accurate to up to one-tenth of a degree. The tip is rigid but smooth so it can easily be inserted into the rectum with petroleum jelly or KY-jelly.

It has a readout that helps parents decide if the temperature is too high, too low, or normal. It is waterproof so it can be washed after insertion into the rectum with no disposable covers required. It records the last reading in order to follow the course of the fever. It is silent so it won’t awaken a sleeping baby. It has an any-reason 100-day full refund within a hundred days of the time of purchase.

The main things wrong with this product are that a rectal temperature is more technically difficult to obtain and requires some skill. Contrary to their claims, taking a rectal temperature will easily awaken a sleeping child and it takes a full ten seconds to get an answer from the thermometer. It isn’t backlit so it may be difficult to use in a darkened nursery. It only records the last temperature reading, so you may have to document the fever over a longer course of time by writing down the temperature. The thermometer’s design is straight, which may be more difficult to use as a rectal thermometer.
Pros
  • It is the cheapest of the best baby thermometers reviewed in this article.
  • It measures the core temperature in babies, which is what the doctor usually prefers to have measured.
  • It stores the last temperature recorded in the device.
  • The company offers a 100-day, no-questions asked money-back guarantee.
Cons
  • It has a straight-tip design, which is technically more difficult to use for parents taking their baby’s temperature.
  • It isn’t backlit so it may be difficult to use in a dark nursery.
  • It will likely awaken a baby who is sleeping.
  • It only stores the last reading and not the last several readings so it may only provide information of the temperature change over a short period of time.

4. Gear District Clinical Digital Thermometer – The Last Thermometer you’ll need to Purchase

Gear District Clinical Digital Thermometer

This is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved device for use in infants, toddlers, children, adults, and even pets. It’s also one of the cheapest and one of the best baby thermometers for rectal temperature measurements. It can measure the rectal, oral, or under-arm temperature. It can read and give parents their baby’s temperature after just ten seconds. It has a flexible tip, which makes it more comfortable to use rectally. It just needs to be turned on and it will record the temperature in both Celsius and Fahrenheit.

It has a low battery indicator and will shut itself off after a few minutes. It claims to be accurate to within 0.02 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be used with or without a sheath to protect the cover and comes with ten disposable sheaths. It is waterproof so it can easily be cleaned after use. It stores the last temperature it recorded for parents to track their baby’s temperature over time. According to the manufacturer there is a 100 percent lifetime guarantee/warranty on the product so you don’t have to worry if it breaks at any time. It also provides a digital guidebook on fever treatments.

While this is a cheap and accurate thermometer, it is designed for rectal, oral, or armpit use and once you’ve used it for the rectum, do you really want to put it in your mouth or in your baby’s mouth? It only comes with ten free protective sheaths so after that, you’ll need to use it without a sheath and wash it carefully afterward (or purchase more protective sheaths). It has a flexible tip but not a curved tip so it requires special positioning to get the baby’s rectum ready for insertion of the thermometer. It takes ten seconds to get a reading, which can be difficult to do when checking the rectal temperature of a squirming or screaming baby. It isn’t backlit so it can’t be used in a dark or dim nursery.
Pros
  • It is an FDA-approved product for determining the baby’s temperature.
  • It comes with protective sheaths so disease isn’t passed from one person to another.
  • There is a flexible tip, which makes it more comfortable for baby.
  • It Is waterproof for easy cleaning.
  • It is extremely accurate to within 0.02 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • It has a lifetime replacement warranty.
Cons
  • It only comes with ten protective sheaths so you’ll need to purchase more sheaths after that or use it without sheaths.
  • It involves taking a rectal temperature, which takes some practice and skill.
  • The reading time is ten seconds, which is longer than any of the infrared thermometer models.
  • It has an LED readout that isn’t backlit so it can’t be used in dim lighting.
  • It only stores one prior temperature reading.

5. Hylogy Infrared Thermometer Dual Mode – Good Price-Range Thermometer

Hylogy Infrared Thermometer Dual Mode

This is a thermometer specifically-designed for babies and is a dual-mode, infrared thermometer that can be used on the ear or on the forehead. It has just two buttons to check the “ear” or “forehead” mode. It gives a reading in one second and beeps when it is done. It is wireless and has a memory of the last 20 temperature readings so you can track your baby’s temperature over time.

It can be used in older children and adults, too, and is accurate to 0.2 degrees Celsius or 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit. It has a backlit LED screen so it can be use in a dark or dim nursery. The display shuts itself off after ten seconds. There is customer service number given for problems and a 24-month warranty. The battery is good for 3000 readings and requires two AAA batteries (that aren’t included).

While it is fast in detecting the temperature, it has three downsides. First, it doesn’t measure the baby’s core body temperature (rectal temperature), which is preferred by most pediatricians. Second, it requires two AAA batteries that aren’t included in the device. Third, it makes a loud beeping sound when the reading is complete, which can startle a sleeping baby.
Pros
  • It is cheaper than similar models on the market.
  • It has a backlit LED screen for easy use in a dark nursery.
  • It gives a temperature reading after 1 second.
  • One battery insertion lasts for 3000 temperature readings.
  • It has a longer than average twenty-four-month warranty.
  • It has a memory feature that stores the last 20 temperature readings.
Cons
  • It makes a loud beep after the temperature reading, which may startle the baby.
  • It doesn’t come with batteries included so you need to purchase them before you can use them.
  • It doesn’t record the core temperature of the baby (the rectal temperature).

6. Paryvara Temporal Medical Thermometer – FDA-Approved Dual Mode Thermometer

Paryvara Temporal Medical Thermometer

This is one of the more expensive products on the market for monitoring your baby’s temperature. It has the latest in infrared technology so that it is considered a hospital-grade device. It detects both the forehead and the ear temperature with just two buttons to decide which one you want to detect. The reading is instant (within one second) and can be used in people of all ages, including newborns and adults. It comes with its own pouch and has a thirty-day, no-questions-asked 100 percent money return guarantee and a manufacturer’s one-year warranty.

It detects both Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature readings and has batteries included that last for 3000 readings. Its digital display is backlit in order to read it in a dark nursery without awakening the baby. There is a loud beep if the temperature is above 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit or over 37.5 degrees Celsius. There is a 24-hour email customer support feature if you have any problems with it and need advice.

It has only a 30-day money back guarantee, while other products have a longer guarantee. It makes a loud beeping sound if the baby has a fever and this can startle a sleeping baby in the nursery. Its email support may be a 24-hour support system but, because it involves emailing the company/manufacturer, it won’t give you answers immediately when you most need it.
Pros
  • It uses state-of-the-art infrared technology for detecting temperatures on surfaces.
  • It has a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
  • It is backlit so it can be used in a dim environment.
  • It will tell you if your child has a temperature of over 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • It has an online customer support feature.
Cons
  • It doesn’t detect the core (rectal) temperature, which is what most pediatricians prefer.
  • It doesn’t offer any phone customer support.
  • It only has a 30-day money return policy.
  • It makes a loud beep when your child has a fever, which can awaken a sleeping child.

7. Fairywill Baby Thermometer – Less Expensive among Deluxe Models

Fairywill Baby Thermometer

This is a dual-mode baby thermometer that measures both ear and forehead temperatures. It has just two buttons (labeled “ear” and “forehead”). It is extremely sensitive and can give a precise reading of the baby’s temperature within one second. It has an alarm that beeps when your baby has a fever. It can be used in people of all ages. It doesn’t require any disposable cover so there is nothing more to purchase. Even the batteries are included and preloaded into the device.

When a fever is detected, the backlighting turns to red for three seconds and seven buzzing sounds can be heard. The ear detection method cannot be used in children younger than three months. It has memory of the last twenty readings so you can follow the course of your baby’s temperature. It can detect the temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit. It has a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

While this is an infrared device, it does not record the core temperature of the baby, which is what the doctor prefers to have as this is a better way to measure a baby’s temperature. It can’t be used as an ear thermometer if your baby is under the age of three months (because this method of detection is less accurate in this age group). It doesn’t offer any online or phone customer support. It makes a noise when there is a fever, which can awaken a sleeping child.
Pros
  • It is backlit in green and change to red backlighting if a fever is detected.
  • It is the cheapest among the dual-mode thermometers.
  • It can read in Fahrenheit and Celsius.
  • It has a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
  • It has memory storage of the last twenty temperature readings.
  • It is easy to use with only two buttons.
Cons
  • It doesn’t record the core (rectal) temperature, which is what the pediatrician usually likes to know.
  • It doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee.
  • It makes a loud sound if there is a fever, which can awaken a sleeping child.

Buying the Best Baby Thermometers: A Buyer’s Guide

When buying a baby thermometer, you basically have two choices. You can purchase an infrared thermometer for about $30-$40, which is perhaps the latest technology in temperature measurement. You can also purchase a rectal thermometer, which doubles as an armpit thermometer, for about $10. There are clear differences between the two that you should know about before buying a thermometer for your baby.

Infrared Thermometer Technology

An infrared thermometer is generally a no-touch thermometer that measures the “blackbody radiation” or the temperature being emitted by a small surface area, generally the forehead, of the infant or child. They are occasionally referred to as “laser thermometers” because a laser is used to aim the thermometer in the direction of the baby’s forehead. It measures the amount of infrared energy (thermal energy) emitted by the forehead.

The forehead is highly vascular and is a good general area for detecting the surface temperature of your baby’s skin. It isn’t a perfect mechanism for detecting the core temperature as it can be influenced by the ambient temperature and can be inaccurate if the baby is sweating. Sweat naturally cools the skin, which will artificially lower the temperature reading on the thermometer. Even the heat from the person holding the thermometer can artificially raise the reading on the meter.

The infrared thermometer acts like a lens that focuses the thermal radiation from the baby’s forehead or middle ear onto a detector in the thermometer that converts the radiant power (emanating from the body) to an electrical signal and displays it as a temperature reading on the unit’s reading pane. Some thermometers are nicely backlit so you can get a reading in a dimly-lit or dark room. The thermometer never has to touch the baby’s skin and the directions will tell you how far away from the baby’s forehead the thermometer needs to be in order to get an accurate reading.

The downside of using an infrared thermometer is that the answer can be altered by things like sweat on the baby’s forehead, the age of the baby (the ear thermometer is less accurate in infants under the age of three months), the temperature of the person holding the device, the distance the thermometer is away from the infant, and the ambient temperature of the room. It isn’t the same as the core body temperature, which is only really able to be gotten through a rectal thermometer.

The advantage of using an infrared thermometer is that it requires essentially no skill and doesn’t disrupt even the fussiest of babies. It’s a no-touch system so you can even check the forehead temperature of your sleeping infant without interrupting their sleep (unless the model has a loud beeping sound when a fever is detected). Some models are completely silent so you can slip into the nursery, aim the thermometer at the baby’s dry forehead and obtain a one-second reading.

Rectal Thermometer Technology 

The other alternative to checking a baby’s temperature is to use a rectal thermometer, such as the Gear District Clinical Digital Thermometer or the iProven DT-R1221B Thermometer. These involve a little more effort than an infrared thermometer. The devices have a short probe with a temperature detector or (less commonly) a mercury in a bulb at the end of it.

You need to lubricate the tip of the thermometer with KY-jelly or petrolatum jelly before inserting the tip of the thermometer in the baby’s rectum and holding it there until the thermometer beeps or until the temperature reading fails to increase. The tip should be placed around an inch into the baby’s anus in order to get a core temperature reading. A good device will beep when it has completed its measurement so you don’t have to wait to see if the reading has stabilized. There are no devices out there that are backlit so you’ll need to take a reading in a lit room, which might awaken the baby.

The advantage of using a rectal thermometer is that it gives the most accurate measurement of the baby’s core temperature. A forehead thermometer reading and even an ear thermometer reading can be artificially low depending on the ambient temperature and other factors; however, a good rectal temperature reading will accurately reflect whether or not the baby has a fever in all circumstances. Most pediatricians prefer a rectal temperature to any other method of obtaining the baby’s temperature as it will really tell if the baby has a fever or not.

The other advantage of obtaining a rectal temperature is that it can be used in babies of all ages. Most manufacturers of dual-mode thermometers state that the ear mode can’t be used in infants under three months of age (not because it’s dangerous but because it gives an inaccurate reading). Even so, it is doubly more important to get an accurate core temperature on a baby under three months of age because fevers in this age group are generally more serious than fevers in children over this age.

The disadvantages of getting a rectal temperature using a rectal thermometer include the fact that it takes some skill (and overcoming the “invasiveness” of the procedure) in order to get the temperature recorded. Unlike the infrared thermometer (which takes only a second to give a response), it can take up to a full minute before the rectal temperature reaches the baby’s core temperature and gives an accurate reading.

While it generally isn’t painful and is perfectly safe to do, it does require undressing the baby and holding his or her legs up to get a reading. The baby usually won’t sleep through the process and may become fussy because he or she isn’t bundled and wearing a diaper. Feverish babies can become chilled just by taking their temperature. You also need to remember that a core temperature will be higher than a forehead, ear, or armpit temperature. An average core (rectal) temperature is 98.6 to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (37.0-38.9 degrees Celsius).

A rectal thermometer is designed to stay that way—used for the rectum only. Never just wash it off and use it later as an oral thermometer or even as an armpit thermometer. Rectal thermometers have a shorter and more bulbous tip designed for rectal use only. Babies over the age of two can’t cooperate well with an oral temperature reading anyway and an armpit thermometry reading is notoriously inaccurate. You’ll have to buy an oral thermometer or an infrared thermometer for when your baby reaches the age when rectal temperature taking is more challenging.

Research on Infrared Thermometers versus Rectal Thermometers

You might want to know about what the experts have to say on which thermometer will give you the most accurate reading of your baby’s temperature. In a study of 200 infants and preschoolers, researchers (who published their results in the Journal of Emergency Nursing in 2010) indicated that infrared measurement of a child’s temperature was not accurate enough to justify the use of such devices in hospitals. This type of measurement tended to overestimate the temperature in children who really had no fever and to underestimate the temperature in children who were, in fact, feverish.

Even so, other research has indicated that these types of readings, especially tympanic readings or “ear readings” are perfectly adequate for use in a hospital setting. These devices have the advantage of being very fast (about one second) in determining the temperature with much less invasiveness than takes place with a rectal temperature (which takes up to a minute to determine). You might easily find that a tympanic thermometer is used in your local hospital emergency room if you take your baby in for evaluation. Rectal thermometer readings tend to be reserved for very young infants (under the age of three months), where an accurate reading is crucial and tympanic or forehead readings are inaccurate.

The Bottom Line on the Best Baby Thermometers

In making your purchase, keep these things in mind when you decide what you’ll need to keep track of your baby’s temperature when he or she is sick:

  • Remember that the infrared thermometer is more expensive but much less invasive. Rectal thermometers, such as the iProven DT-R1221B and the Gear District Clinical Thermometer are probably what your pediatrician would prefer as the readings are more accurate and they cost only about $10 versus the $30-$40 you’d spend on an infrared thermometer. Unfortunately, the rectal thermometer is more invasive and takes up to a minute to get a reading. What you save on money with a rectal thermometer, you spend in the time and effort it takes to get a more accurate reading.
  • Select a Backlit Infrared Thermometer over one that isn’t backlit. You’ll want to check your baby’s temperature when he or she is sleeping sometimes and waking him or her up to turn the light on probably isn’t the best idea. The Fairywill Baby Thermometer, the Paryvara Temporal Medical Thermometer, the Hylogy Infrared Thermometer Dual Mode Thermometer, and the iProven DMT-489 thermometer are all backlit so you can use them in a dark or dimly-lit room.
  • Decide if you need an alarm system to tell you the baby has a fever. If you are a real newbie at parenting and need help identifying whether or not your baby’s temperature is a “fever” or not, try the Fairywill Baby Thermometer, the Paryvara Temporal Medical Thermometer, or the OCCObaby Clinical Forehead Baby Thermometer—all of which give a beeping sound or a color change on the meter telling you the baby’s temperature is elevated. The Hylogy Infrared Thermometer Dual Mode will beep even if the temperature isn’t elevated so don’t be confused if it beeps and the reading seems normal.
  • When in doubt, ask your pediatrician before buying your thermometer. Your pediatrician may be adamant that you buy a rectal thermometer as the readings you’ll get will be more accurate and it can be used in newborns. These devices are much cheaper, too, than an infrared thermometer but will become something you’ll be less likely to use when your child gets older and will have to purchase an oral thermometer or an infrared thermometer for older kids. Most pediatricians won’t be fussy about what brand you’ll pick so if you’re on a budget, try the Hylogy Infrared Thermometer Dual Mode, which is about $10 cheaper than many of the other brands of infrared thermometers.
  • Think about the long term. While rectal thermometers are cheap and preferable by pediatricians for young infants, will you really want to check a rectal temperature on your preschooler when your baby gets older? A cheaper rectal thermometer will all too quickly become obsolete as you’ll need an oral or infrared thermometer on an older child. You may want to make the bigger purchase of an infrared thermometer that will last for a longer period of time. For the first three months of the baby’s life, you can use a cheap drug-store brand of rectal thermometer and save your money for a good infrared thermometer, such as the OCCObaby Clinical Forehead Baby Thermometer, the Fairywill Baby Thermometer, or the Paryvara Temporal Medical Thermometer.

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