The best forehead thermometer
Forehead thermometers are a convenient alternative to the old standby "under the tongue" thermometer. When you or your child has a fever, it's important to get the most accurate body temperature reading possible. A high fever can be dangerous -- even fatal -- if not addressed in time. Forehead thermometers use infrared technology to determine how much heat is being emitted by the temporal artery. This offers a precise temperature reading so you can treat the fever based on the most accurate information.
If you're currently shopping for a new forehead thermometer, keep reading. We've created this helpful buying guide to help you choose the perfect model. We provide reviews as well, including our top choice, iProven's Medical Ear Thermometer with Forehead Function. Its versatile design allows you to use it either in the ear or on the forehead.
Considerations when choosing forehead thermometers
Contact vs. non-contact
As the name would suggest, contact forehead thermometers require contact with your skin in order to get a temperature reading. The probe must touch the forehead for at least one to five seconds. Non-contact thermometers must be held between one and six inches from the forehead. They take longer to work than contact models, and they are also slightly less accurate.
Multifunction vs. single function
Multifunction thermometers allow you to take temperature readings in other ways besides just the forehead. The most common alternate readings come from inside the ear canal. Multifunction models are convenient because they give you more than one way of getting a temperature reading and allow you to double-check the original temperature reading.
Some forehead thermometers can get a temperature reading in as little as one second. This is most convenient when dealing with a sick child, as they may not want to sit still for too long.
A backlit display makes reading your thermometer much easier, especially in low light. Because you may want to take a child's temperature when they're sleeping, having the ability to read the thermometer in the dark is a great convenience, so you don't disturb them.
Auto shutoff helps to conserve battery power. Batteries can be expensive, and it's easy to forget to shut off your thermometer when you or your child are ill. Auto shutoff saves your thermometer's battery power by turning it off after a short period of inactivity.
Some thermometers use a special sound or visual cue to alert you when a fever is dangerously high. This type of forehead thermometer is more intuitive and easier to use, especially for older users.
The memory function on a forehead thermometer stores previous readings for future reference. Many times, a doctor wants to know the history of your temperature during an illness. The memory function makes this information easy to track and record.
Age and temperature technology
Some thermometers allow you to enter the patient's age. This helps the thermometer determine the level of concern you should have regarding a temperature. Fever specifications are different between infants, children, and adults; this feature helps to manage those differences.
Most forehead thermometers cost between $10 and $60. For $10, you'll find forehead thermometers that are contact models with few, if any, special features. For $30, you can get a non-contact forehead thermometer with fever alert and auto shutoff. A $60 forehead thermometer is non-contact and also includes an ear probe for alternative temperature reading.
Q. What type of batteries do I need for my forehead thermometer?
A. The majority of forehead thermometers require two AA or two AAA batteries. Though it's possible to find rechargeable models, most function by using basic disposable batteries.
Q. Is a forehead thermometer an accurate way to get a temperature reading?
A. Absolutely. As technology has improved, the readings you can get from a forehead thermometer have become even more accurate than first generation models.
Forehead thermometers we recommend
Best of the best: iProven's Medical Ear Thermometer with Forehead Function
Our take: A flexible option that works great for kids and adults alike.
What we like: Works for sleeping kids as backlit screen makes reading a breeze.
What we dislike: Instructions claim you should wait 30 minutes before using if you switch rooms that have differing temperatures.
Best bang for your buck: Innovo's Non-Contact Digital Infrared Forehead Thermometer
Our take: High-tech look at a great price point.
What we like: No risk of cross-contamination due to non-contact technology. Reads temperature in one second.
What we dislike: Some users complain that the readings are not accurate.
Our take: A good all-around thermometer that's easy to use and easy to read.
What we like: Color-coding makes temperature readings easier to decipher. Comes with a handy storage pouch.
What we dislike: Some complain the readings are not consistent.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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