The best baby thermometers

best baby thermometers

by Hannah Carroll |
Updated

Every family medicine cabinet should have a baby thermometer as it's necessary when you think your baby or toddler might have a fever. You may have a thermometer for their bath water, or baby room thermometer to ensure your baby's surroundings are just right, but you'll need a specific thermometer for when they're poorly. However, it's often a device you may not think about buying until your child is actually unwell.

Some of the options available can seem like an expensive piece of kit compared with the simple, old thermometers of our own childhoods, but they should last and are worth the investment for piece of mind. Your little one is likely to bring back numerous colds and flus from time spent at playgroups, nurseries and school through the years. Modern devices are easy to use and will allow you to check all family members' temperatures, so you can keep track of everyone's wellbeing.

Although colds and flu are a common aspect of childhood and are usually nothing to worry about, the advice from the NHS is to check your child's temperature if you think they are hot or are showing signs of being unwell. You should Ring the NHS Helpline on 111 if you have a baby under three months old with a temperature of 38°C or a baby between three and six months old and with a temperature of 39°C.

What to look for when choosing a thermometer

Every parent knows trying to hold a baby or toddler still for six minutes to get an accurate reading with an old-style thermometer is near impossible, so one that gives you a fast, accurate, digital reading is essential.

Look for one with a screen that is backlit light for nighttime use and a clear display. The ease of taking a temperature – at times without waking a sleeping child - is important, so perhaps consider contactless varieties. Not all baby thermometers are designed the same, so choose a type that will be the easiest for you to use. Finally, reliability is key so look for reputable and trusted brands and make sure you always have spare batteries to hand.

Best baby thermometers at a glance:

• Best overall: Boots Non-Contact Baby Thermometer - Buy now on Amazon UK
• Best for clear display: Tommee Tippee No Touch Forehead Thermometer - Buy now on Amazon
Best for easy use: Braun No Touch + forehead thermometer - Buy now on Amazon UK
• Best for colour-coded display: Braun Healthcare ThermoScan 7 Ear Thermometer with Age Precision - Buy now on Amazon UK

To help you take your baby's temperature, whether that's by forehead or ear, we've rounded up some of the best baby thermometers on the market. We have taken price, features, and design into consideration when selecting our favourites.

The best baby thermometers 2024

Best overall

Check your baby’s temperature with ease and precision. The Boots Pharmaceuticals Non-contact Thermometer allows you to check your baby's temperature without disturbing their sleep, a must if your baby is resting off an illness. 

Clinically proven for accuracy, this thermometer features a unique symbol system that quickly indicates whether your baby's temperature is within normal range or elevated, saving you from any guesswork or uncertainty. With the J symbol signaling everything is okay and the L symbol indicating a raised temperature, monitoring your baby's health is clear and easy. The only downside our mum tester Victoria found with this is how tricky the result was to see at times. “I would change the fact that the light doesn’t come on automatically so sometimes you have to peer very close to it to read the temperature.” Victoria said. 

It's a multi-purpose tool that can also assess the temperature of your baby's bottle, food, bathwater, and even the room environment. Plus, its non-contact design ensures hygiene and comfort for your little one, minimising the spread of germs.

The thermometer's built-in memory stores the last 60 readings, allowing you to track changes over time easily. It also comes with a sleek design and storage case, ideal for travel. Mum tester Michelle loved how easy this thermometer was to use, commenting, “I think the fact that you don't have to disturb baby is the best thing about it. And it reads the temperature in as little as 2 seconds. It also stores the last 60 readings so you can see if there temperature has gone up or down.”

Read our full Boots Non-contact Thermometer review

Pros

  • Non-contact readings
  • Comes with a storage case
  • Built-in memory

Cons

  • Some found the screen a little too dark to read
  • Built in memory records last 60 readings
  • Automatic shut-off
  • Adjustable illuminated display
  • Non-contact design

Best for easy use

Braun Healthcare No Touch forehead thermometer

Rrp: $59.99

Price: $32.38
Alternative retailers
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The Braun No Touch + forehead thermometer offers dual technology for quick and precise temperature readings with a touch mode for placing the thermometer on the forehead and no-touch mode for holding it in front of the child's forehead. This means you can check their temperature without disturbing their sleep or if they’re being a bit wriggly. Our mum tester Laura loved this feature, commenting, “I could easily keep an eye on my sleeping child's temperature without disturbing him. It is quick and easy to use giving you a reading within 2 seconds.”

The LED colour-changing backlight ensures easy reading in any light and changes colour depending on the temperature severity. It also features patented technology for accurate temperature readings. It's also compact, fitting nicely into a changing bag and it doesn’t require disposable covers. No-touch technology means you don't have to disrupt your child's rest, and the memory function allows continuous monitoring.

Our mum tester loved the colour adjusting backlight, saying it “makes it simple to recognise if your child is seriously ill as it glows Red, Amber & Green depending on the temperature range.”  Some mums however would have liked the addition of a storage box or bag for hygiene. “I would like a box or bag to keep this thermometer in to ensure it keeps clean and safe.” Mum tester Laura said.

Read our full Braun Healthcare No Touch + forehead thermometer review

Pros

  • No touch mode
  • Fast readings
  • Backlit colour-changing display

Cons

  • Doesn't come with a storage box or bag
  • Fast 2-second reading
  • Proximity sensor 
  • Silent mode
  • Backlit display 

Best for colour-coded display

This ear thermometer offers professional-grade accuracy for measuring your baby's temperature. It also features a night light and colour-coded display so you can easily see if your baby has a fever. It gives you the option to adjust the settings for accuracy according to your child's age, making it suitable for the whole family. One parent tester found their toddler preferred this thermometer for others, commenting, “my toddler won't allow me to use any other thermometer, but he is happy with this one. He even got used to it now and does not resist. It only takes 3 seconds to get a measurement. If on doubt you can always take another measurement!”

A patented pre-warmed tip ensures comfort for your little one and you can rest assured that this thermometer is even used in hospital settings as well as GP surgeries. Although it isn’t non-contact, you can still use this thermometer when baby is lying down or asleep, making it very convenient for parents. Furthermore, using the ear as a measurement site offers even more accuracy, reflecting the true core body temperature more precisely. It also gives you a result within seconds. 

The thermometer is gentle on little ears and also hygienic to use thanks to the provided hygiene caps to ensure cleanliness which you can also purchase refills of when you run out with one mum tester saying, “comes with plenty of plastic covers and the refills are cheap to buy.” In the box you’ll also find a storage box and simple instructions.

Pros

  • Age-adjustable fever guidance 
  • Pre-warmed tip
  • Hygenic tip

Cons

  • May disturb your sleeping baby because readings are taken in-ear
  • Patented pre–warmed tip 
  • Age Precision technology
  • Night light
  • Colour-coded display

Best for a clear display

Tommee Tippee NoTouch Infrared Forehead Digital ThermometerTommee Tippee

Offering quick and accurate temperature readings without disturbing your child’s sleep, the Tommee Tippee No Touch Forehead thermometer works at 4cm away from the forehead and a press of a button, giving you a temperature reading within two seconds, displayed clearly on the LCD panel. Our parent tester Thokozani found this thermometer very easy to use, commenting, “the accuracy and efficiency of the thermometer ensure that my daughter’s temperature is provided quickly. With traditional contact thermometers, if the child moves in anyway, it could distort the reading of the thermometer. If the Digital forehead no-touch thermometer records a very high temperature, the Fever indication system alerts you the user, by letting off three short beeps, followed by one long beep to warn of potential fever.”

Its efficiency allows for quick temperature checks without causing any discomfort or stress for your child, and it stores previous readings for comparison over time. Parent testers found this very reassuring and consistent. 

While parents liked the design, some did find the instructions a little unclear. Other’s also found it a little bulky compared to other, sleeker designs, meaning they didn’t find it as easy to hold or store compared to others. Our mum tester Samantha agreed, saying; “If I could change one thing about the thermometer I’d change the size. It is bulkier than thermometers I’ve used previously meaning storage and transportation is a little more difficult. I found the grip uncomfortable when using it in one hand whilst contending with a wriggly toddler. A narrower device would work better for me.”

Read our full Tommee Tippee No Touch Forehead Thermometer review

Pros

  • Non-touch for easy readings
  • Has a clear fever indicator
  • Stores last 20 readings in memory

Cons

  • Doesn't come with a case
  • Stores last 25 readings
  • 2 second readings
  • Fever indication
  • LCD display panel

Best for simplicity

iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer

Rrp: $35.98

Price: $22.98

Using infrared technology, the iHealth PT3 infrared no-touch thermometer provides precise readings within 1 second from a distance of 2cm from the forehead's center. With a single-button control and quiet vibration alert for minimal disturbance, it’s easy to use and best suited for sleeping babies. 

Equipped with three built-in sensors, including an ultra-sensitive infrared sensor and a distance sensor, it ensures maximum accuracy when you need it most. One mum tester loved how easy this device was to use, commenting, “this thermometer is incredibly easy to use, with a simple one-button operation that quickly and accurately measures your body temperature. The large, easy-to-read display shows the temperature clearly, and the results are available within seconds.” The thermometer is suitable for all ages making it excellent value for money for the whole family. 

With no-touch measuring, it makes for a very hygienic choice and it’s also easy to clean. It operates with AAA batteries and provides readings in both Celsius and Fahrenheit, although some parents did note that changing the settings wasn’t all that easy. “One thing that isn’t clear is how to change from Fahrenheit to Celsius. However I did work it out. Press and hold the button for around 5 seconds, press button to show ‘C’ in the window then press and hold for 5 seconds to confirm.” One parent said.

Pros

  • LED backlit display
  • clear, large reading
  • quiet for unobtrusive nighttime use

Cons

  • There isn't an on/off switch, so when in your bag, it could inadvertently activate and drain battery
  • non-contact use
  • sleek design
  • vibrates to indicate when temperature is taken
  • Clear, LED backlit display

Best for being quiet

With silent operation and the option for zero-contact measurements, the Brother Max Infrared Digital 2-in-1 Head/Ear Thermometer is ideal for parents who struggle to get close to their little ones when they’re feeling under the weather. Suitable from birth, this thermometer provides quick and precise temperature readings from both the head and ear in just one second, accurate to 0.2°C. One mum reviewer said,  “easy and quick to use with accurate results, which is what I need as a mama!”

It features infrared technology for reliable results, and its 2-in-1 design eliminates the need for probe covers, simplifying the cleaning process. Additionally, it can be used as a non-contact thermometer by holding it 1 cm away from the forehead, providing further flexibility.

The thermometer is user-friendly and comes with clear instructions and a handy cover for storage. It's BPA and mercury-free, ensuring safety for the whole family. With a battery included, it's ready to use straight out of the box, making it a practical and reliable choice.

Pros

  • No need for probe covers
  • One-touch readings
  • Silent so won't disturb sleeping baby

Cons

  • Some parents said the readings were not that accurate compared
  • Accurate infrared technology
  • 2-in-1 design
  • 1 second readings
  • Ready to use

Best for quick results

With its straightforward operation, you can hold the Femometer thermometer 2-3cm away from the forehead and press the start button for a temperature reading in just 1 second. An instant red screen alerts you to a fever, ensuring quick identification of potential health concerns. One mum reviewer said “this thermometer is the best Iv ever had ! When you have little ones you need quick and easy ! And this is that.”

This thermometer features two modes: "Body" mode for measuring body temperature and "Surface" mode for measuring the temperature of water, bottles, and food meaning it can double up as a bath thermometer and used before giving your tot their bottle or food. Medically certified, it provides precise readings with its precise sensor probes. 

With its infrared technology, it not only measures forehead temperature but can also gauge the temperature of objects and rooms. The large LCD screen with 3 backlight indicators makes it easy to interpret results, with a warning sound for abnormal temperatures.

Included in the package are the touchless infrared thermometer, user manual, and batteries, ensuring you're ready to use it right away. One mum reviewer commented,  “I’ve tried ear thermometers with my daughter (9 months) but struggle to get a reading cos her ears are so small. This head thermometer is brilliant and gives you an instant reading.”

Pros

  • Non-contact thermometer
  • Result in one second
  • Flashes red and beeps to alert of a fever

Cons

  • Some parents found some of the readings were inaccurate
  • Non-contact design
  • 2 operating modes
  • Travel bag included
  • Big LCD screen with 3 backlight options

Best for being compact

The compact size of the Braun Digital Stick Thermometer makes it portable, fitting easily into a changing bag or handbag, and its affordable price makes it accessible to all parents. With Braun's age precision technology, it can adjust temperature readings based on the age of the child, ensuring accuracy for babies, older children, and adults alike. Simply select your child's age before taking their temperature for precise results. One mum reviewer said, “it's fast, accurate, doesn't give unreliable readings and it just works without a hassle.”

Using the thermometer is easy—just place it under your child's armpit, and you'll have a temperature reading within eight seconds. Its clinically proven accuracy provides reassurance for parents, with temperature measurements you can trust. The thermometer features a gentle and flexible tip, ensuring comfortable usage for the whole family, from adults to children and babies. Plus, it offers multi-site usage choice, suitable for oral, rectal, or underarm use, providing flexibility and convenience for parents.

The main downside compared to other thermometers is that putting a thermometer under your child’s armpit when they’re not feeling well can be a little uncomfortable for them compared to other non-touch models. It’s a firm favorite amongst parents however, with one returning parent commenting, “this is my second one of these thermometers. The first one was old and worn out. This latest one is very easy to use and quick to show temperature. However the sound indicating completion does not always work.”

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Age-adjustable fever guidance 

Cons

  • Takes longer to give a reading than other thermometers
  • Flexible tip
  • Age Precision technology
  • Audio signal 
  • 8-second reading

FAQs ...

What is a high temperature for babies and what should I do?

"Your child's body is working all the time to maintain the optimum core temperature. Which all their organs need to function," explains consultant paediatrician and neonatologist Dr Elia Maalouf.

"When we take a baby or child's temperature, or an adult's for that matter, we're really measuring the core temperature of their body rather than that of the surface of their skin," explains Elia. "In order for the body to function efficiently, that temperature must fluctuate within a normal range of 36.5 to 37.2 degrees.

"Infections are the most common reason your child will get a temperature," says Elia.

"When an infection invades his body, it mounts what's called an 'inflammatory response' against it. Blood circulation increases around the infected area, carrying the antibodies needed to fight it. This causes his temperature to rise, which also happily kills off some bacteria and viruses that can't take the heat."

So a higher-than-normal reading on the thermometer can actually be a positive sign. "It's an indication that your child's body is mounting an effective response to kill off the infection," explains Elia.

"However, if your child has a temperature of 39.5 or above, you should always take action to try to lower it," he says.

The NHS urges parents to seek urgent medical advice if their baby under three months old has a temperature of 38°C or is between three and six months old and has a temperature of 39°C.

What Type of Baby Thermometers Are There?

There are so many different types of baby thermometers on the market that cost anywhere from £10 upwards; here's a run-down of the different options available:

In-ear thermometers: You'll notice most doctors use a digital in-ear thermometer to take babies' temperatures —this is because it is quick and painless while giving an accurate body temperature reading.

Non-contact thermometers (forehead): These work by taking an infrared reading from your baby's forehead, meaning you can check on their temperature with no physical contact. Don't confuse these with the cheaper strip forehead thermometers, which are very different and much less accurate. The NHS recommends avoiding using forehead strip-type thermometers.

Armpit thermometers: The NHS still recommends these when taking your baby's temperature —especially when they are a newborn.

Rectal thermometers: Although this is considered the most invasive way of checking temperature, it is thought to give the most accurate result.

Room thermometers: These can help you make sure that your baby's room is at the safest temperature for a baby. Experts suggest 16–20°C with a light blanket. Take a look at our pick of the best room thermometers here.

Bath thermometers: A baby's bath should be 37-38°C, and the only way to make sure you've got it right is with a baby bath thermometer.

When should I check a baby's temperature?

If your little one is appearing unwell or showing symptoms of a fever, it's always best to check their temperature. You may also want to measure their temperature if they're more fussy than usual or seem uncomfortable. They could be acting this way for a plethora reasons but it's best to check temperature for the process of elimination.

If your baby is under 2 months old, we'd recommend checking their temperature every two to four hours when they have a fever. Babies older than that won't have to be checked as regularly but it's still a good idea to keep track a few times throughout the day. Note the readings down for their doctor too.

How do I clean a baby thermometer?

Wipe the tip of your thermometer with alcohol-based wipes or some disinfectant. Alternatively, you could dip some cotton wool in some rubbing alcohol and wipe over it. You can do the same with an ear thermometer, or you can change the earpiece. Make sure the thermometer has fully dried before using again.

About the expert

Dr Elia Maalouf is a consultant paediatrician and neonatologist at the Portland Hospital for Women and Children, the UK's largest private children's hospital. Dr Elia Maalouf specialises in the treatment of fevers.

Hannah James is a Parenting and Lifestyle Writer working across Mother&Baby, Yours and Grazia.

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