Choosing the right thermometer for babies and children is an important decision. They are often reached for in times of need, worry or even the middle of the night when low lights and fatigue can make everything a blur.
There's a huge number of different options available, starting at a few pounds and going up to £80 or more. It can make finding the right one tricky, but we’ve done the research and spoken to parents to make finding the right thermometer much easier.
The NHS has warned against the use of forehead strip-type thermometers, as they can give inaccurate results, but says that a cheap digital thermometer from a supermarket, pharmacy or online is perfectly adequate. We've included these in the list below, as well as a number of more advanced options, to give you the best choice possible.
Fevers in older children can usually be treated at home, and we have lots more advice on what to do if your baby has a fever, but do note that the NHS urges parents to seek urgent medical advice if their little one is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 38C (101F) or more, or is between 3 and 6 months old and has a temperature of 39C (102F) or more.
If your little one suffers from febrile convulstions and seizures, it would be worth checking this article out.
Best thermometers at a glance
- Best in-ear thermometer: Braun ThermoScan7 Ear Thermometer with Age Precision (£52.99)
- Best Wi-Fi connected thermometer: Withings Thermo Smart Temporal Thermometer (£90)
- Best thermometer for young families: Braun No Touch and Touch Age Precision Thermometer (£55)
- Best thermometer for fuss-free design: Tommee Tippee No Touch Forehead Thermometer (£49.99)
- Best budget thermometer: Braun Age Precision Digital Stick PRT2000 (£10)
- Best thermometer for night-time: iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer (£20)
- Best thermometer for multiple uses: Vital Baby Protect 4-in-1 Contactless Thermometer (£39.99)
- Best thermometer for travel: Tommee Tippee Digital 2-in-1 Thermometer (£12.99)
- Best thermometer for ease of use: Sweet Dreamers Contactless Infrafed Thermometer (£17.99)
- Best thermometer for useful features: TPZ No Touch Infrared Forehead Thermometer(£14.99)
What to look for when choosing a thermometer for your family
How you take the reading – Thermometers can measure body temperature via the forehead, ear, under the tongue, armpit, or rectally. It’s helpful to consider the age of your child(ren), how intrusive they may find each of these methods and how quick the readings take.
Non-contact temperature readings, measured at the forehead, are the least intrusive and thankfully no longer mean a significant jump in the price of the thermometer. However, they're not always as accurate as other means.
Power supply – Digital thermometers need batteries to operate, however it’s worth considering which type of battery.
You may be more likely to have AA or AAA batteries readily available at home versus the flat, coin-shaped batteries some devices require. Either way, consider how quickly and easily you can replace the batteries if needed urgently.
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Accessories – Most in-ear thermometers will require a disposable, cone-shaped, cover for each use. Typically, these types of thermometers come with a decent number of spare covers included, however these can quickly run out and need replacing. Depending on the device, replacement in-ear covers typically cost under £10 for around 40 or more units.
Can you track multiple users or chart temperature? – It may be helpful to have a memory function on the thermometer that can keep track of the readings from multiple users and avoid any confusion. Even when monitoring a single child, it helps to know how their temperature has changed over time which saves you from having to remember or jot down each reading.
Here's our 10 of the best thermometers for babies and toddlers
1. Braun ThermoScan7 Ear Thermometer with Age Precision, £52.99
– Best in-ear thermometer
Type: In-ear | Batteries: 2 AA batteries required (included) | Memory: 9 readings | Readings: 4 seconds
With its pre-warmed tip to ensure accuracy, nightlight and memory that stores the last 9 temperature readings taken, this thermometer consistently impresses users and is a firm family favourite.
It has a popular age-adjustable fever setting to reflect that the definition of a fever changes depending on your child’s age. So whether you have a newborn and/or a 5-year-old, the colour-coded reading can help you interpret their temperature at first sight. There are 21 disposable probe covers included.
Parent tester Karen said, “I love the product! The display screen on the outside makes it really easy and quick to read results. Instructions of use are very clear and easy to follow. The function of age input and memory makes it really handy. I tested it on my 2 year old who doesn’t like to have anything put in her ear so the speed of reading is crucial. It does an excellent job.”’
Pros: Colour coding quickly indicates red for fever
Cons: One of the higher priced options on our list
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2. Withings Thermo Smart Temporal Thermometer, £90
– Best Wi-Fi connected thermometer
Type: no contact | Batteries: 2 AAA batteries required (included) | Memory: Personal history for up to 8 users | Readings: 2 seconds
Behind this impressively designed thermometer lie some equally impressive features. Temperatures are read using a no-contact gesture moving the green tip –which houses 16 infrared sensors – across the forehead. Expect highly accurate, fast, and non-intrusive results.
For larger families, this device will be an extremely helpful companion. There’s the capacity for unlimited guests users, but for 8 individual users you can track their personal readings in detail. By programming up to 8 names they appear on the futuristic-looking device screen making it easy to switch between users. You then have access to historical data for each individual via the smart phone app.
User data is automatically sent to the app via Wi-Fi where you can add comments, details and even photos. This information can then be shared with other family members or health professionals. There’s also an impressive battery life of up to 2 years from just 2 AAA batteries.
Pros: An impressive, intuitive device to stay well informed on multiple users
Cons: The highest priced option on our list
3. Braun No Touch and Touch Age Precision Thermometer, £55
– Best for young families
Type: No touch and Forehead | Batteries: 2 AAA batteries required (included) | Readings: 2 seconds
The silent mode combines with a backlit display, an aiming light and on-screen guidance to help ensure the device is best positioned for optimal readings particularly during the night. This intuitive device ensures that readings taken in low light on a sleeping baby or child are made easier and stress-free.
Users can quickly assess the temperature readings as the Braun No Touch and Touch Age Precision Thermometer colour codes the display from green, to amber, to red – guided by the child’s age - to equip users with exactly the information they need and removing the need for any guess work.
Parent tester Brogan said, “This is so much better [than our previous in-ear thermometer] and our GP said it’s a trustworthy brand. You can also use it to measure bath water temperature which we found useful.”
Additionally, for self-measurement, switching to the touch feature is helpful as you then don’t have worry about being at an accurate distance.
Pros: Well-built, versatile device from trusted brand
Cons: No memory function
4. Tommee Tippee No Touch Forehead Thermometer, £31.99
– Best for fuss-free design
Type: No touch | Batteries: 2x LR44 batteries required (included) | Memory: 25 readings | Readings: 2 seconds
With a simple, easy to use design, this thermometer fits comfortably in the hand and takes a reading from a maximum 4cm distance. The design particularly stands out for its simple two-button design. The large “Start” button is just below the power button so even the most technologically challenged will find it easy. It is ideal for either a sleeping or restless child due to the quick reading delivery.
Consisting of a large display that shows the temperature reading in sizeable lettering, users find the Tommee Tippee hassle free and reliable. Moving through modes is simple and includes surface temperature for situations such as checking a baby’s milk bottle.
MFM Group Editor Gemma says, "this is reliable, quick to use in a crisis and so simple even my toddler knows how to use it."
Pros: Comfortable to hold, simple to operate
Cons: Fever alert and beeps can’t be silenced
5. Braun Age Precision Digital Stick PRT2000, £14.99
– Best budget buy
Type: In ear, oral and rectal | Batteries: 1x 3V coin battery (included) | Memory: last reading recall | Readings: 8 seconds
Age Precision technology from Braun allows the fever reading on this thermometer to be adjusted with the push of a button depending on the age of your child.
The colour coded display sits at the top of the device and will help you instantly know if your child has a fever. Readings take 8 seconds and the thermometer beeps when it’s finished.
The flexible stem makes readings a lot more comfortable than more rigid options. It can be used without filters (although Braun recommends probe covers for oral readings) and is cleaned with soap and water or disinfected with rubbing alcohol.
It’s also comforting to know that Braun is the #1 thermometer brand chosen by doctors. The pricing makes it an affordable, simple to use option from the market leader.
Parent tester Naomi commented, “It’s been great. It’s now used on number two. It’s user friendly.” She adds, “I like that it has a traffic light system so you don’t have to remember temperature ranges (veterinary nurse here so we are generally lower in temp which always confuses me).”
Pros: Large age adjustment button makes it great for switching between siblings (once cleaned)
Cons: One of the longest reading times on our list
6. iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer, £20
– Best for night-time readings
Type: No touch | Batteries: 2 AAA batteries required (included) | Readings: 1 second
The LED display on this thermometer can be operated in total darkness, and a vibrating haptic feedback when a measurement has been successfully recorded ensures a near silent experience, making this a great option for night-time use with babies or children that wake or stir easily.
This eye-catching device is sleek and simplistic. It’s much more aesthetically appealing, and perfect for users who don’t like the look and feel of other “gun”-shaped no-contact thermometers.
The iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer boasts some impressive technology too. When taking readings, over 100 data points are collected by ultra-sensitive sensors ensuring high accuracy as the device can effortlessly identify the warmest point on the forehead. There’s also a distance sensor to help users position the device accurately.
Pros: Simple yet highly functional design
Cons: The device needs to be less than 2cm from forehead
Available from: Amazon
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7. Vital Baby Protect 4 in 1 Contactless Thermometer, £39.99
– Best for multiple uses
Type: No contact & In-ear | Batteries: 2 AAA batteries required (included) | Memory: 1 previous | Readings: 2 seconds
This versatile 4-in-1 contactless thermometer can check head and ear temperature, as well as calculate liquid and room temperatures, so you can use it for other uses beyond just fevers in the family.
Our parent testers were particularly impressed by the easy-to-read colour code system, which instantly tells you whether temperatures are in the safe zone, on its backlit display.
It's the cheapest thermometer out there, but our parents gave positive feedback on its sturdy build, compact size and the fact it was ready to use straight from the box. Parent tester Elizabeth said, “While this is relatively expensive, it’s also genuinely useful, and much smarter than your average thermometer.”
Pros: Useful everyday tool for room, bath & bottle temperature
Cons: Low memory recall - not ideal if keeping track of the whole family
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8. Tommee Tippee Digital 2-in-1 Thermometer, £12.99
– Best for travel
Type: Under tongue and underarm | Batteries: 1 CR2 battery required (included) | Memory: 1 previous reading | Readings: 8-15 seconds orally
Weighing just 70g, this is a compact thermometer with a flexible and waterproof tip; particularly useful to pop in your baggage when travelling. It differs from the comparative Braun Age Precision Digital Stick thermometer on our list because the Tommee Tippee Digital 2-in-1 Thermometer design has a curved underside. This design can be positioned away from resting against the skin and helps facilitate more comfortable readings for both parent and child.
There is an impressively large display, and the device will sound an alert if a high temperature is registered. However, you may have to exercise a lot of patience, especially if taking the temperature underarm, as the manufacturer recommends waiting at least 60 seconds to get an accurate reading.
This thermometer is a particularly good option for those who are not comfortable pointing a device at their child’s head and prefer the under tongue technique, and it's also great value given it comes from a trusted brand.
Pros: Curved designed for more comfortable readings
Cons: Waiting for readings may feel like an eternity with a wriggly toddler!
9. Sweet Dreamers Contactless Infrared Thermometer, £17.99
– Best for ease of use
Type: No contact | Batteries: 2 AAA batteries required (included) | Memory: 50 readings | Readings: 2 seconds
This UK-based, family run company have produced a device that not only impressed our home testers but also gave them peace of mind during times of uncertainty.
“The product is so easy to use and fast reacting, it definitely makes life easier. The fact that you can view the previous 50 readings is extremely helpful," parent tester Natasha commented. “The quality of the product feels good, the design is fit for purpose, easy to hold and use, even when your hands are full.”
With a reading range up to 5cm away and results in just 2 seconds, it’s quick and easy to check the temperature of even a sleeping child. The device also has a mute function to ensure no beeps or alerts go off in the dead of night.
Our testers appreciated that in addition to a changing colour LED display, the unit also uses a smiley face system – so even the most sleep deprived of parents can quickly assess the temperature readings. They also liked the fact it can be used for liquids as well as body temperature. All these features combined with an up-market look & feel and longevity for all the family, really do ensure the Sweet Dreamers thermometer delivers value.
Pros: Premium design
Cons: Bright LED display which can’t be dimmed
10. TPZ No Touch Infrared Forehead Thermometer, £14.99
– Best for useful features
Type: No contact | Batteries: 2 AAA batteries required (Not included) | Memory: 32 readings | Readings: 1 second
Despite being one of the lowest priced thermometers on our list, the TPZ No Touch has a host of helpful features and is a firm family favourite. Chunky and easy to use, it delivers quick, reliable results.
It measures body, liquid and ambient room temperature. Additionally, it’s very sleeping-child friendly with a mute function, ultra-fast 1 second readings, backlit display and 1-5cm measuring distance. All features to help ensure you don’t disturb your little one during their much needed rest.
The device has quite a few more buttons and switches than other thermometers on our list, but most users report moving through the different modes relatively easily.
Pros: Flip a switch to move between body and surface temperature modes
Cons: No batteries included
Available from: Amazon
Our 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our independent reviews, testing undertaken during the MadeForMums Awards, and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club. Each year thousands of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.
When testing these thermometers, we considered how the reading is taken, how it's powered, whether any additional accessories are required and if you can track multiple users or chart the temperature.
Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don’t just tell you what is best, we help you discover what is best for your family.
Janet is mum to two children aged 6 & 9 and a great-Aunt too. She began writing early, penning her first book aged just 7. She has published 2 books
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