Choosing the Best Baby Thermometer (2017 Guide & Reviews)

Last update: Oct. 27, 2016

One of the scariest mom moments I’ve faced was when my son got his first fever.

He was a super healthy child and only had a cold before. At around 13 months old, I noticed he was acting strangely one day during lunch.

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After touching his forehead, I began to panic. He was the warmest I’ve ever felt him and he had beads of sweat forming around his brows.

Nervously, I grabbed my thermometer to see just how warm he was. To my horror and dismay, it was reading 95.4 degrees. That couldn’t be right!

By the third swipe, and third inaccurate reading, I tossed it right in the garbage and drove my son to an urgent care center, where he had a 103 degree fever.

Choosing the best baby thermometer is not something to be taken lightly.

Read on to learn about various kinds and how you can choose the best one to keep your little one safe and monitored.

Baby Thermometer Reviews

Best Forehead & Ears Thermometer

Innovo Forehead & Ear Thermometer

As the name suggests, the Innovo Forehead & Ear Thermometer (click here to check the price on Amazon) is one of the most recommended by doctors and pediatricians for the forehead and ears, mainly because it is so reliable and accurate.

In my opinion, this takes precedent over any other of the bells and whistles it may have, and it's definitely one of the best temporal thermometers for babies.

What's great about it is that it's so quick and easy to use. You just have to press a button to let the device know if you are measuring the temperature on the forehead or in the ears (but recommends that ears should only be done if your child is one or older).

I prefer to measure my son’s temp using Fahrenheit, but you can also do so in Celsius. It can also hold a lot of temperatures because it has a large memory.

You can store up to 20 temps (I never use this feature, but a lot of moms like it) so you have an instant record if you need to call the doctor, or even toss it in your purse and go.

It also has a large screen, so the numbers are easy to read, even in the dark because it glows.

An alarm will sound if your child’s temp is above 99.5 degrees, which is pretty helpful.

It does need triple A batteries to work, and you will receive some initially.

The only thing to watch out for is that you keep it extremely clean.

Innovo discloses that any excess dirt or oil could throw off its measurements. So, clean the sensor regularly with rubbing alcohol.

All in all, a great thermometer for kids.

2nd Choice for Forehead & Ears

Paryvara Forehead & Ear Thermometer

Another one of my favorite kids thermometers designed for the forehead and ears, the Paryvara Dual Mode Digital Thermometer (click here to check the price on Amazon) is very good choice as well.

It’s priced similarly to the Innovo and works just as well. After many tests, it is proven to be very high quality, accurate, and reliable. This is because it has special software installed in it, making it ultra-modern, but easy to access.

With a press of a button, you get your child’s temperature in about a second. You decide if you want to measure the forehead or ear, and like the other thermometer, you can do so in Fahrenheit or Celsius. It also has a 20 temp recall.

In order to save the battery, it will automatically shut off after 10 seconds. It too has a backlight for night time readings, a fever alarm (scary but helpful), and batteries includes so you can take up to 3,000 readings.

You can even use it on yourself when you’re feeling under the weather!

I like this brand because it comes with a money back guarantee and a warranty for one year.

Also, because these thermometers seem to collect the most dirt and grime, it is sold with a carrying case that keeps it covered and clean in between use.

But, much like the Innovo, you have to regularly clean it with rubbing alcohol, or anytime its measuring piece looks drab and dull.

And, while this is unnecessary but I figured a fun little detail to include, the carrying pouch is filled with some stickers to distract your toddler or to make them smile when they are feeling down in the dumps!

Best Oral & Rectal Thermometer

ErgaLogik Digital Thermometer

Unlike the other brands mentioned so far, the Ergalogik Digital Thermometer (click here to check the price on Amazon) is designed to be used as an oral, rectal, or underarm thermometer, but is known as one of the best infant rectal thermometers.

It is priced reasonably, and is also one of the safest of its kind on the market.

Its waterproof design allows it to be cleaned easily and often (which is super important), and it can be used on everyone in your family, and it automatically gives a temperature using Fahrenheit.

It has an easy to read screen with a digital display, which I'm a pretty big fan of.

Much like the others, it shuts off to save the battery and will also beep when your child has a fever. It is accurate within 0.2 degrees (which is accurate enough, in my opinion).

The only downfall to an oral, rectal, or underarm thermometer is that is takes about 30 seconds to read, which can get a bit uncomfortable and lead to inaccuracies if your child is squirming or not holding it under their tongue properly.

It does bend and it has a wide base for safety issues if using it rectally (which is recommended when using it on infants), and it has a clear, protective case to keep it safe and stored properly.

Plus, it’s small and thin enough to pop in your diaper bag or purse if you want to have on one hand.

Batteries and instructions are included, but you pretty much push a button and measure!

It has received nothing but positive reviews and ratings, so if you feel more comfortable using a thermometer like this, this one is your best bet! It's one of the most accurate digital thermometers out there.

Best Infrared Thermometer

Dr. Madre Infrared Thermometer

The Dr. Madre Infrared Thermometer (click here to check the price on Amazon) is one of my favorites and also super cool!

It takes your child’s temp without actually touching them. This is because it has infrared technology, so it pretty much uses a laser light to do the swiping and registering.

And, it’s not entirely overpriced, especially for the convenience of just swiping and being done.

The Dr. Madre takes less than a second to get a body temp, and because its infrared, doctors and pediatricians agree that it is one of the most accurate and consistent ways of knowing if your child has a fever.

I personally love this kind of thermometer because it allows you to do a sneak attack on your child when they are sleeping to monitor them without waking them up.

If you need to keep a history of temps, it can hold your last 12 readings. It is designed to speak the temp to you using English, Spanish, or it can be done in silent mode. While I don’t think this feature is overly necessary, it is kind of cool.

You do have to be about 2 to 4 inches from your child’s skin surface for it to measure properly. Once you press the button, scan, and it beeps, you’re done.

It is sold with a two-year manufacturer replacement warranty, and you can return it with no questions asked in thirty days to get your money back. This shows parents that the product is very durable and it really does work.

I know several moms who use this kind and brand, and they have spoken very highly of its quality and effectiveness.

Why you really need a baby thermometer.

Chances are, your infant and toddler cannot communicate very well (or at all yet).

There really is no way of knowing if they are fighting off infection without the use of a thermometer.

Not only is it heartbreaking when your little one can’t tell you they don’t feel well, it’s also very dangerous. While a newborn thermometer certainly isn’t going to treat your baby’s illness, it will help quickly identify that there is a problem.

Colds and flu are sneaky when it comes to preying on the weak immune system of your baby. Your child can feel 100% when you put them to bed and in the morning be completely different.

Most of the time, fevers can be controlled and reduced with the help of some pain relievers like Motrin or Tylenol at home, but to dose some out, you need to be aware if your child is running a higher than normal temperature or not.​

It is strongly advised that if your child runs a fever of 104 degrees, they should be admitted to the hospital for help and monitoring.

What to look for in a good baby thermometer.

With so many thermometers to choose from, it can be difficult deciding on the right one.

This is the problem I faced.

I thought I’d register for the most expensive one (it’s got to be the best, right?), but I did no research, and I ended up not only inconvenienced and stressed, but in a big dilemma.

I wish I had done some research and made sure my thermometer had the following:

  • It's suitable for your baby’s age. A thermometer is not a one size fits all item, unfortunately. You will need to invest in several over the course of your baby’s developmental stages. Depending on your baby’s age, there is a preferred thermometer that will get you the best results. We’ll dive into this further down in the article.
  • It's accurate. You need to really trust the measurement you are getting. A few degrees make a huge difference and it is absolutely useless if it is not reading correctly. There is no need for a trip to the doctor just because of an inaccurate temperature reading. Let’s face it. If your thermometer is not accurate, then you are essentially wasting both your time and money. Helpful tip: you should get the same reading every single time. Do this three times in a row check to make sure the reading is consistent.
  • It’s easy to use. Sometimes, you panic when you have to take your child’s temperature, especially if you suspect they are very ill. A thermometer should be very simple to use, and does not require detailed steps or instructions. Trying to stay calm while navigating a sick and irritated child is hard enough. Make sure your thermometer is easy to use in even the toughest situations.
  • It's fast. The quicker the better! Many small children and babies can’t sit still for very long, especially if they are in pain or discomfort, so you should be able to get a reading in eight seconds or less. Anything longer may be inaccurate. Of course, for older children, time is not as big of a factor. Your four-year-old most likely won’t be squirming around while you are trying to take their temperature. However, if you suspect your child may be ill, you may be more anxious to find out than them.
  • It has a large screen. A large screen is helpful, especially when the temperature flashes on it and doesn’t remain on there long. The last thing you want to do is take the temp again, so opt for something that is easy to see and read (and trust me, your vision gets blurry as you age, so the bigger, the better!). Better yet, it should have a light up screen so you can even take a temperature in the dark. This is perfect for when you don’t want to turn a light on and disturb your baby even further.
  • There's a completion alert. A buzz or a ding is nice to hear so you know that you can check your child’s temp. You may end up with inaccurate results if you leave the thermometer in too long or not long enough. And, when you’re worried or upset (and so is your child), you may not be able to focus and keep track. Let the thermometer do it for you.
  • It’s easy to clean. For obvious reasons; you want something that is easy to clean because you don’t want any germs or viruses lingering around on anything that goes around your baby. Skip thermometers that have tiny crevices or detailing. The gross stuff will only hang around on it. Sterilize your baby’s thermometer after every use so that you don’t cross-contaminate.

Comparing the different types of baby thermometers.

Pediatric thermometers come in all sorts of varieties. Some are taken orally, while others are used externally. Each of these types of thermometers should be closely assessed to help you decide which will work best for you.

Most of these newborn thermometers have a combination of the features listed above. Now it’s up to you to examine the pros and cons of each style of thermometer. Although there is no wrong choice, some mothers are diehard fans of one or the other.

Let’s take a look at each type of pediatric thermometer and compare their benefits with their drawbacks.

Temporal Thermometers

Best for: Children 3 months old and up.

Price point: on the higher end.

Also known as forehead thermometers, these guys are the most expensive.

They are pretty high tech, though, using infrared technology to scan and measure the temporal artery temperature on your baby’s forehead. You do not need to touch your baby, but slide it across the general area.

These are particularly good thermometers for toddlers.

Temporal Thermometer Advantages

Accuracy. These thermometers are known to be very reliable and should be used on children who are at least three months old and up. In fact, forehead thermometers are frequently used in hospitals because they are so accurate.

Easy to use. These types of thermometers are extremely easy to use and non-invasive for your little one. They even provide an accurate reading if your baby doesn’t hold still. Think about it, how often does your little one hold still when they don’t have a fever.​

Potential Drawbacks

Price. These guys are the most expensive thermometer you will find for your baby. While the technology is amazing, it’s up to you to decide if you need something so fancy.

Needs a dry environment to work. If your baby’s forehead is sweaty or just plain wet, this thermometer may not give you as accurate of a reading. You might need to damp their forehead dry before scanning.

Axillary Baby Thermometers

Best for: Any age.

Price point: on the lower end.​

These thermometers are best known as underarm thermometers.

Axillary thermometers work by making contact with your baby’s skin to give you a reading. Use these as a screening thermometer in addition to another thermometer.

Axillary Thermometer Advantages

Great for screening. Many parents use these thermometers for a preliminary screening. If the screening is overly high, a secondary thermometer can be used. This way you don’t have to give your little one a poke in the rear, every time you take their temperature.

Low cost. You can use just about any thermometer out there for armpit screening. The cost is low, and it is well worth it to have one of these in the house as a backup.

Unfortunately, these types of thermometers have more disadvantages than they do advantages.

Potential Drawbacks

Inaccurate readings. Underarm thermometers are the least accurate way of measuring for a fever. They can vary an entire 2 degrees or more than an internal thermometer. This could give you the scare of a lifetime in certain instances!

Hard to use. While it may sound easy enough, these types of thermometers can be quite tricky to use. Try holding a possibly sick baby down long enough to get a reading from skin contact. This is especially difficult because to get a more accurate reading, your child’s armpit must be completely dry.

Baby Ear Thermometers

Best for: Children 1 year and up.

Price point: medium to high.

Ear thermometers are one of the most common types of thermometers that are used.

All you have to do place the tip in your child’s ear and you get a fairly accurate temp.

The probe is inserted into your child’s ear canal. The sensor in the thermometer measures heat waves put off by the eardrum.

This is best use if your child is a year or older, because younger children’s ear canals may be too narrow to get a good reading.

Baby Ear Thermometer Advantages

Comfortable. This is an extremely non-evasive way to get an accurate read of your baby’s thermometer. Your child will most likely not even know it’s there.

Accurate. Many hospitals use these types of thermometers which are a good indication of how accurate they are.

Provides a quick read. Ear thermometers are one of the fastest ways to check your child’s temperature. Within seconds, you will know if you were worried for no reason, or if in fact, your child does have a fever coming on.

Potential Drawbacks

Needs a clean ear. For a 100% accurate reading, your child’s ear will need to be clean. The reason for this is so that the sensor can properly measure the infrared heat waves in your child’s ear. This can sometimes be a difficult task when your baby is feeling under the weather.

Not great for young children. This is best used if your child is a year or older, because younger children’s ear canals may be too narrow to get a good reading.

Not super easy to use. Well, at least at first. Practice a few times on how to get the thermometer in just the right place before you need to use it. It takes a little getting used to, and you don’t want the added pressure when your baby may be ill.

Oral Thermometers

Best for: Children 4 years and up.

Price point: on the lower end.

One of the most accurate reading types, oral thermometers get placed under your child's tongue for a few moments. These old-school thermometers have not changed a whole lot since you were a kid.

Oral Thermometer Advantages

Accurate. Used in both hospitals and schools for an accurate reading you can trust.Cheap. You can find a decent oral thermometer for a reasonable price. If you are on a budget and have toddlers in the house, this may be your best bet.

Quick reading. Much quicker than the oral thermometers of the past. These guys can read your child’s temperature accurately in under a minute.

Potential Drawbacks

Age sensitive. They are mainly designed to be used on children who are over four -years-old and will keep the device firmly in place. Otherwise, your child’s thermometer could become a choking hazard.

Remember the school nurse asking you to place the thermometer under your tongue? The moment she was out of the room, you just had to look. This gave an incredibly inaccurate reading, and you had to start all over again.

Rectal Baby Thermometers 

Best for: newborns.

Price point: low to medium.​

Rectal thermometers are the most accurate types of baby thermometers. They have a small probe, an on/off button and a digital readout built into the handle. They are known to be very accurate. If you have an infant, and you are concerned they have a fever, this method may be for you.

When shopping for a rectal thermometer, look for one that has a wide base and a flexible tip. This style tip will give you an accurate reading without inserting too far into your baby. So, what are some other benefits to choosing a rectal thermometer?

Rectal Thermometer Benefits

Rate of accuracy. It’s not the actual thermometer that is better at reading. Instead, it is where you are placing the thermometer. Your baby’s bum temperature is the closest to their core temp.

Low price point. You can find a pretty decent rectal thermometer for a low cost.

Potential Drawbacks

Not great if you have company. You never know when and where your baby’s head will feel a bit warm. You don’t always have time to wait until you are in a private area to make sure they don’t have a fever. A rectal thermometer can make for an awkward moment.

Not great for older kids. Let’s face it. There is a certain age that your child is going to stop letting you put a thermometer up their bum. At least they’re cheap, right?

Pacifier Baby Thermometers

Sometimes you may see a pacifier thermometer.

You may be thinking what a genius way to take a temperature, but unfortunately it has been shown to give nothing but inaccurate readings.

In a lot of instances, these kinds of thermometers have been shown to even become possible choking hazards for your little one. Steer clear of these at all costs.

So, although this is a type of thermometer, it should be avoided, as recommended by most doctors.

Other Thermometers to Consider

  • iProvèn
  • braun
  • generation guard
  • kinsa
  • generation guard rectal
  • puretech

If you’re looking for an ear and forehead thermometer that is quick and easy to use, but is also baby, toddler, and child friendly, then the Puretech Baby Thermometer (click here to check the price on Amazon) may be for you.

With just the touch of a button, you can get your child’s temperature displayed on a screen. It literally takes 1-3 seconds, which is important if you are worried about the health and safety of your little one. A red background warning will appear when temperatures exceed 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit (or 37.5 degrees Celsius).

It has a dual-mode, so you can take a temp on the forehead (which is suitable for all ages), or in the ear for kiddos over one. If you want to compare readings overtime, you can click the button to view the last reading which has been stored.

Parents also love how it comes with a 30 day money back guarantee (no questions asked). It comes with a user manual, a battery, a stand (for days that you need to access it quickly), and a case. It can be cleaned with ease, and can even serve as a multi-purpose item by measuring a room’s temperature or serving as a digital clock.

It’s little and light enough to take with you anywhere and it has received numerous accolades about how effective and accurate it is.

It can be scary when your child gets sick.

But, it’s something you need to be aware of, especially when they cannot verbally tell you how they feel.

Whichever type of thermometer you decide to go with for your family, make sure that it is extremely accurate. Hopefully, with the help of the information provided here, you can make a better judgment of what you need when it comes to the right thermometer for your baby.

Parents, especially brand new parents tend to over-react (Don’t worry! There is nothing wrong with caring for your newborn.). You want to ensure that when the situation arises, you will have the proper equipment handy.

Once you have shopped around and found several thermometers that will work correctly when you need them, you can begin selecting other things you want in your thermometer.

Your baby can’t tell you when he or she is sick. Putting a hand to the forehead can only go so far. Have at least one thermometer ready to tell you if your baby has a fever or not. A good thermometer can help you get ahead of a situation before it becomes out of control.

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