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Internet Guide to Finding the Best Home Medical Thermometer

Braun ThermoScan ear thermometerA digital home medical thermometer is becoming a standard family accessory. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find objective reviews of thermometers (or of most other personal health monitor products) on the internet. This article is intended as a list of sites that will guide you.

Consumer Reports in October 2005 reported on thermometers, but the full survey is available to subscribers only. A press release is here. The report found:

The more expensive ear thermometers take a reading in just one second. However, Consumer Reports found the readings might not be reliable….The forehead thermometer from Exergen is slid across the forehead to get a temperature. Yet at $50, it is also pricey and was not especially precise. The $10 Accu-Beep digital thermometer from BD did the best job. It beeps when properly placed under the tongue and gives an accurate reading in sixty seconds. If you want a thermometer reading even faster, Consumer Reports found two other very good performers that cost $13. They are the Vick's Comfort-Flex and Omron 20 Seconds Digital. Both thermometers will give a reading in 30 seconds or less.

Commercial sites like Amazon.com and Epinions include user reviews. Here are links to reports I've written, summarising reviews of several of the most popular models:

Braun Ear Thermometer - ThermoScan IRT 3020
Fairhaven Digital Basal Thermometer
Vicks Rectal Baby Thermometer

Medical sites – and some others – contain a lot of introductory information on temperature, on thermometers and on how to use them.

The Mayo Clinic in its Children's Health section offers a slide show titled "Choosing a Thermometer".

At WebMD Health is a long article, “Body Temperature,” including an outline of the different types of thermometer and how to use them correctly, and HealthTouch Online has an article, “How to Take an Oral Temperature.”

The eHow website includes a series of basic instruction sheets:

How to use a thermometer
How to take a temperature
How to use a baby thermometer
How to use a rectal thermometer
How to use a digital ear thermometer
How to chart your basal body termperature

Amazon.com is one of the best sources of information on new products and the latest prices. Its customer reviews are particularly helpful, as they sometimes provide guidance not only on the product itself but also on issues relating to pregnancy and women's health.

Ear Thermometers

A short article is at the How Stuff Works website, titled “How do ear thermometers work?” The iVillage: Pregnancy and Parenting site contains a doctor’s article, “Are ear thermometers accurate?

In late-2009 the most popular ear thermometers at Amazon.com were:

1. Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer with ExacTemp Technology
2. Temperature Check 4-in-1 Digital Infrared Thermometer (Ear/Forehead/Ambient/Clock)
3. Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer - IRT4520
4. IRT3020 Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer
5. Omron MC 514 Ear Thermometer with Advanced Temperature Scanning

Babies

A comprehensive article at the Baby Center site discusses “How to take your baby’s temperature.” Another article is titled “What kind of thermometer is the most accurate?” The Yale Medical Group has a useful article, “Measuring a baby’s termperature.” An interesting article talks about a design award for a Vicks baby thermometer. See also my own article, "Choosing the Best Baby Thermometer".

Basal Thermometers

Many women’s and pregnancy websites discuss these. An example is the Sister Zeus site. The Beyond Fertility commercial site offers an article, “Do I need a basal thermometer?

Updated November 5th, 2009

 

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