Buying guide for best forehead thermometers
When your child is sick, determining whether or not a fever is present — and how high it might be — can help you decide whether you can treat the issue yourself or need to consult with your doctor. Several different types of thermometers can effectively take a temperature, but you’ll get the quickest, easiest reading from a forehead thermometer.
A forehead thermometer uses infrared technology to measure the heat emitted by the temporal artery in the forehead. Most models require gently pressing the probe to the temple to get a reading, but there are also non-contact models that only require holding the thermometer a couple of inches from the forehead.
But if you want to be sure that you’re getting accurate temperature readings, it’s important to choose the right forehead thermometer. That means deciding whether you want a thermometer that can be used multiple ways, how quickly you need your reading, and what other features will make the thermometer as easy as possible to use.
Fortunately, our helpful guide has all the tips, tricks, and product recommendations you need to take the confusion out of shopping for the perfect forehead thermometer.
Contact vs. Non-contact
Contact forehead thermometers that require you to press a probe tip to the forehead or temple are typically more accurate than non-contact models. Contact models usually provide faster readings, too. They’re also an ideal option for taking your own temperature.
non-contact forehead thermometers, however, are less likely to disturb a sleeping child, because you only have to hold it 1 to 6 inches from the forehead and scan it across the forehead to get a reading. Also, minimal disinfection is needed if you’re using the thermometer for multiple people, because there’s no actual contact with the skin.
Multifunction thermometer vs. single-function thermometer
While all forehead thermometers can provide a temperature reading via the forehead, some models actually allow you to take readings in other ways as well. You can find thermometers with both forehead and ear modes, so you’re able to scan the forehead or insert the probe into the ear canal to take a temperature.
Ear temperature readings can sometimes be more accurate, but inserting the probe into the ear isn’t advised for newborns and can disturb children who are sleeping. With a multifunction thermometer, you can switch between the two temperature-taking modes depending on your needs.
Forehead thermometer prices
Inexpensive: The most affordable forehead thermometers are usually models that require contact with the forehead to register a reading, take five or more seconds to read a temperature, and don’t offer much in the way of special features. They typically range from $10 to $20 and are a good option if you’ve never used a forehead thermometer before and want a basic model to get started with.
Mid-range: Forehead thermometers that don’t require contact with the forehead are usually a bit more expensive, but they can provide readings in as little as three seconds and offer special features like a fever alert, auto-shutoff, and memory function. They usually cost between $20 and $35 and are an ideal choice if you want one that works as efficiently as possible.
Expensive: Ranging from $35 to $60, the most expensive forehead thermometers don’t require contact with the forehead and also allow you to take a temperature with an ear probe. They can provide a reading in as little as a second and offer a variety of special features, including a fever alert, auto-shutoff, memory function, and age and temperature technology.
Q. How accurate are forehead thermometers?
A. A forehead thermometer usually provides readings that are one-half to 1 degree lower than an oral thermometer would. However, because a forehead model provides its readings by measuring the heat from the temporal artery in the forehead, and arterial temperature is often the most accurate indicator of body temperature, many medical professionals feel forehead thermometers provide highly accurate results.
Q. Is it necessary to sanitize a forehead thermometer?
A. While a forehead thermometer only comes into contact with the forehead, it’s still possible for germs to be present on the skin. To avoid passing germs between members of your family, wipe down the probe or sensor area of the thermometer with an alcohol wipe after each use. If you have a non-contact model that doesn’t require the sensor to touch the skin, it’s a good idea to clean the probe anyway because accidental contact can occur.
Q. What type of batteries do forehead thermometers use?
A. It varies from model to model. However, most forehead thermometers require either two AAA or AA batteries