Different Types of Thermometer: Benefits and Drawbacks

Different Types of Thermometer: Benefits and Drawbacks


Nowadays, many people like to take their temperatures using a thermometer. It is quite convenient for people to measure their body temperature with a thermometer. Besides, it is also necessary for some special cases.


Digital thermometers are becoming more popular than mercury thermometers because they are easier to read and they give a more accurate temperature reading. Some digital thermometers even have fever alarms that will go off when a person’s temperature reaches a certain degree.


Like any other device in your home, it’s essential to understand how your thermometer works. Not all of them work in the same way or produce the same temperature readings.


When someone is unwell, the last thing you want to do is rely on assumptions. Here’s a quick rundown of medical thermometers, including how to use them and what their readings signify.


Types of medical thermometers

Read the manufacturer’s directions carefully, regardless of the type you choose. If you use a thermometer incorrectly, it will not produce accurate findings.

Don’t use a thermometer intended for another use, such as a scientific or meat thermometer, on a person. These won’t give you accurate results.


Digital thermometers

Heat sensors in digital thermometers can determine body temperature. You can measure the temperature of the mouth, rectum, or underarm.

Please remember that armpit (axillary) temperature is typically 12 to 1°F (0.6°C) colder than mouth temperature when evaluating digital thermometer readings. Oral thermometers are 12 to 1°F (0.6°C) warmer than rectal thermometers.


  • In roughly one minute or less, digital thermometers deliver precise readings.


  • If you take an oral reading too soon after eating or drinking, they can alter the results by the warmth of your meal or drink. Wait for at least 15 minutes.
  • For newborns and little children, rectal readings may be painful.
  • Do not use the same thermometer to take rectal and oral temperature readings. This may necessitate the purchasing of two thermometers, each of which should have a clear label.
  • Replace the Thermometer batteries on a routine basis. Ensure you have the correct batteries for your device on hand and that you know how to change them so you’re not caught off guard in an emergency.

Oral thermometers

A digital or mercury thermometer can take your oral temperature. The benefits and drawbacks of mercury thermometers are discussed below. The usual mouth temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). Oral temperatures between 97°F (36.1°C) and 99°F (37.2°C) are considered normal.

Some people have a naturally chilly temperament, whereas others are significantly warmer. It’s a good thing to understand what your normal temperature is so you can tell whether you have a fever while you’re unwell.



  • Children above the age of three and adults benefit the most from oral thermometers.



  • Small toddlers and others who have breathing problems may not be able to seal their mouths long enough to get an accurate measurement.


Ear (tympanic) thermometer with digital display

Tympanic thermometers use infrared ray technology to monitor the temperatures inside the ear canal. The tympanic temperature is 0.5°F (0.3°C) to 1°F (0.6°C) higher than the mouth temperature.



  • Tympanic thermometers are more accurate and deliver faster readings than an oral or rectal thermometer, particularly in children.



  • Tympanic thermometers are not suggested for newborns under the age of six months due to the size of the ear canal.
  • To acquire accurate results, they must be appropriately positioned.
  • Earwax might cause results to distort.
  • In a tiny or bent ear canal, they may not fit well.


Temporal (forehead) thermometer

The temperature of the superficial temporal artery, a branch of the carotid artery, is measured by forehead thermometers using infrared sensors.


Non-contact infrared thermometers are one type. In places like airports, supermarkets, and concerts, forehead thermometers that do not require direct touch have become increasingly popular.


The temperature of the forehead is around 1°F (0.6°C) lower than the temperature of the mouth.



  • Temporal thermometers produce results in a matter of seconds.
  • They’re simple to use and apply to infants, toddlers, and adults.
  • According to certain studies, temporal thermometers in children are as reliable as rectal thermometers and produce better results than ear or armpit thermometers. These conclusions, however, aren’t conclusive and have doubts in other investigations. a reliable source



  • If you don’t set your forehead thermometer correctly and according to the manufacturer’s directions, you won’t get the right reading.
  • External elements like gusts, wind, internal warming, and direct sunlight can all alter readings.
  • Certain items of clothing, such as caps or heavy jackets, can affect the results.


App-based thermometer

The majority of free phone apps for taking temperature readings record the degree of places rather than humans. Digital thermometers that connect to the app through Bluetooth options available in phone apps that assist individuals to take their temperatures.



  • Orally, rectally, or under the arm, temperatures can be taken.
  • They provide you with results in 8–10 seconds.
  • Some apps allow you to discreetly upload your temperature readings to a healthcare and weather map, which can assist local authorities in detecting disease surges in your area.
  • Based on the reading, some apps make recommendations for medical next measures.
  • The majority of apps allow you to keep track of numerous people’s temperatures.



  • Not every app or app-connected thermometer is trustworthy. Some companies have a stronger track record than others.
  • Digital thermometers without Bluetooth technology may be much more expensive than app-based thermometers.



To conclude, when it comes to taking your temperature, there are a few different ways you can do it. You can use an oral thermometer, a rectal thermometer, or a temporal artery thermometer. But which one is the most accurate?


Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. Oral thermometers are the least accurate because they only measure the temperature of your mouth.

Rectal thermometers are the most accurate because they measure the temperature of your anus, which is closest to your core body temperature.


If you have a clinic or healthcare, make sure the thermometer suppliers are trustworthy and authentic.

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