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What to look for when buying a thermometer for your family, according to experts

Keep these tips in mind when shopping for your next thermometer.
Little girl getting temperature taken with ear thermometer
ozgurcankaya / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Whether you've got a newborn, a toddler or a teenager at home, a thermometer can be helpful for detecting fevers before they get worse. Trying to find one that will work for every member of your family can get a bit complicated, so Shop TODAY consulted medical experts to find out what you should be looking for when you go to purchase your next thermometer. We've also scoured the web for 10 of the best devices you can buy right now!

1. CKeep Oral Thermometer

“A thermometer that is cost-effective, reliable and easily cleaned between uses makes a thermometer good for families,” Farshad Fani Marvasti, director of the public health curriculum for the University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix, told Shop TODAY.

The doctor swears by this oral thermometer that captures temperatures in just seconds. The budget-friendly product can also be used as an underarm or rectal thermometer, making it a versatile option for every member of the family.

2. Equate Infrared In-Ear Digital Thermometer

When it comes to thermometers, one size definitely doesn’t fit all, and sometimes certain members of the family find an in-ear option easier to handle.

“Ear thermometers offer the advantage of avoiding the mouth, which is sometimes an issue with children or people who cannot keep the oral device safely in place for a reading,” said Dr. David M. Aronoff, director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Division of Infectious Diseases.

Equate’s infrared in-ear digital thermometer comes complete with a storage case, a protective probe cover and five disposable probe cap filters to get you started. Most importantly, the thermometer offers fast readings, so it’s perfect for capturing your kiddo's temperature in a flash.

3. Femometer Oral Thermometer

When your child is sick, the last thing you want to worry about is fumbling around with a complicated device that needs a massive instruction manual to operate. So when time is of the essence, a digital thermometer with a probe is your best bet.

“They can be used under the tongue or under the armpit. Digital thermometers are accurate and easy to read,” said Kathryn Tart, dean of the University of Houston College of Nursing.

Fermometer’s bestselling oral thermometer works quickly to capture the temperature of kids and adults alike and can be used in the mouth, armpit or rectum. As an added bonus, it’s got an automatic shutdown feature that helps preserve battery life.

4. iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer

You've probably had your temperature checked in public over the past few months with one of these no-touch devices, and they're becoming increasingly popular. This bestseller offers a reading in one second and vibrates with notifications rather than making a loud beeping noise, so you can easily check your child's temperature at night without waking them up.

"Infrared non-contact thermometers are easy to use, easy to clean and disinfect and are non-contact, so they can be helpful for limiting instrument contamination with use," Aronoff said. "Readings can be affected by environmental conditions but are generally reliable."

5. iProven Medical Thermometer

In a matter of 10 seconds, this digital thermometer reads your temperature and can be used in three ways thanks to its flexible tip. The waterproof tip also lends itself to regular cleanings, something that can extend the life of your device.

"Most oral and ear thermometers last for several years if properly used and cleaned as per instructions," Marvasti said.

6. Braun Digital Ear Thermometer ThermoScan 5

Thousands of Amazon shoppers have bestowed a five-star rating on this durable design. The digital ear thermometer features a unique pre-warmed tip that helps make sure you get an accurate temperature reading and a memory recall function that stores your last reading so you can easily track fevers. Disposable lens filters also let you check everyone's temperature without cleaning the device in between.

"Because ear thermometers often use infrared technology to sense temperature from the eardrum, they need to be clean and the ear canal needs to be unblocked," Aronoff explained.

7. iProven Medical Digital Ear & Forehead Thermometer

Have one kiddo that prefers an ear reading and another that does better with a forehead thermometer? This one from iProven works double duty to test in both locations with the help of infrared scan technology that measures the radiation emitted by your eardrum and forehead.

To make things even more convenient, it offers quick results in three seconds or less and lights up with a red warning light when a fever is detected. "A digital forehead thermometer is the best to use for young children as it is the easiest and fastest to use and is easy to read," Tart said.

8. Chooseen Digital Forehead and Ear Thermometer

Ideal for babies, this eight-in-one digital thermometer seamlessly takes readings on the forehead and ear in just one second. It can also measure the temperature of liquids (baby bottles and bathtubs) and has a convenient silent mode that comes in handy for napping little ones.

"Small, disposable probe covers may be supplied with ear thermometers. It is important that the proper sized probe or probe cover is used particularly in children with small ear canals," Aronoff said.

9. GoodBaby Touchless Thermometer

If you're short on time and can't regularly cleanse your thermometer, a touch-free device can offer great results without worry about contamination. This multitasking thermometer can also be used in the ear and stores up to 35 previous readings.

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