Good Digital Thermometer for People
April 24, 2005 11:37 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a good digital thermometer for humans? We have several, which we bought at the drugstore for $10 or so, and they all suck. They all give readings that vary by as much as two degrees when you take your temperature twice. Often they seem to under report temperature. I just took mine with a new one we bought, and typically, it reported my temperature as 94.5 the first time, and 97.9 the second. My wife got similar results. We have a new baby, and would like a good thermometer. We'd be willing to spend a lot more on it than ten dollars if it works well. Can anyone recommend one?
posted by Alex Marshall to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Our pediatrician told us not to use any type of thermometer other than the rectal variety for our new baby...maybe because the variability is so great. other than that I don't have advice on any specific brand. i think ours is by "the first years" and we've tended to believe it. haven't done rigorous testing though.
posted by jacobsee at 1:31 PM on April 24, 2005

May I inquire why the thermometer has to be digital?

Mercury thermometers are cheaper, work better, never need calibration, and last a lifetime with no power source if they are not dropped. The only downside I can think of is the possibility of accidental mercury release.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:29 PM on April 24, 2005

Try tempadots which are basically disposable, single-use thermometers. Very accurate. The ear-type thermometers you see in doctor's offices are fast but not very accurate, especially with fevers.

The cool thing about these is that you can keep them in the medecine cabinet and they're always there. Thermometers have a habit of disappearing when you need them the most.

Plus 10 bucks will get you about 100 of them.
posted by jeremias at 2:35 PM on April 24, 2005

I recommend an external scan thermometer ($50, but you said price was no object):

Most gentle thermometer available, measures accurate temperature with a gentle scan across the forehead. More accurate than ear thermometer (Harvard Medical School study) and at least as accurate as rectal thermometer. Used in premier hospitals, recommended by pediatricians.

I bought one for someone in the office (baby shower) and she reported very satisfactory results (testing on her husband), as did everyone else who did amazon reviews (link above).
posted by WestCoaster at 5:35 PM on April 24, 2005

most thermometers are filled with colored alcohol now. no worries about mercury ingestation or spillage.
posted by ShawnString at 7:43 PM on April 24, 2005

I have the temporal thermometer linked by westcoaster. It is pretty accurate--I usually take two readings, and they are often less than about .2 degrees apart. The tympanic thermometer we had previously wasn't as accurate, and the cheap digital rectals sucked. Bonus for the temporal thermometer is that you can use it on a sleeping child and they will probably stay asleep. Also, tympanic thermometers aren't great with ear infections, obviously.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 9:35 PM on April 24, 2005

If anyone's still reading this thread... can someone explain to me why my sister's pediatrician (baby is 15 months) says that the newer forehead strips are *the most accurate* now? As someone who went through most of nursing school (but dropped out after changing my mind), I don't understand how a forehead strip could possibly be more accurate than a rectal, especially considering the skin is subject to outside influences!!
posted by IndigoRain at 1:13 AM on May 5, 2005

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