What features should you look for in an ideal thermometer?


Accuracy is the most important factor when choosing a thermometer.  You don’t want to risk it when it comes to dealing with body temperature and the potentially serious consequences it may have, especially in infants and children.  Choose one that is scientifically tested and assures accurate results.

Measurement accuracy primarily depends on whether the thermometer is used correctly, so read the operating instructions!

Response time

Pick a thermometer that delivers temperature readings quickly.

Measurement point

There are different thermometers to choose from, depending on which body area you wish to take measurements from.  Temperature measurement can be taken rectally, orally, axillary, by ear or by forehead.  Each measurement point has its advantages and disadvantages.


Older mercury glass thermometers are hazardous and brittle.  The thermometer you choose should be sturdy, safe to use and you should be able to store it securely when not in use.


It should be easy to clean.  Non-contact infrared models allow remote temperature measurement without touching the patient’s body.

Convenience and suitability

How easy is it to use the thermometer?  A few points to consider are:

  • Digital oral, infrared ear and forehead thermometers are very convenient and easy to use.
  • You can use a thermometer with backlit display during the night.
  • Ear thermometers should be carefully constructed. An optimally shaped thermometer tip is a prerequisite for precise measurements in infants and children.
  • Forehead thermometers are perceived as the least disruptive and therefore the most comfortable way to measure body temperature.
  • Thermometers with an LCD display are easy to read.
  • Rectal measurement is the most reliable way to obtain a core body temperature value. Rectal temperatures are generally thought to be the most accurate for checking a young child's temperature.
  • A senior citizen, who suffers from impaired vision or shaky hands may need a thermometer that is easy to handle, have a larger readout display or delivers the temperature readings loud and clear.

Units of measurement

Check if the thermometer offers the results in degrees Celsius.

Temperature range

Check if the thermometer offers the results in degrees Celsius.