With a sick infant on your hands, a thermometer that’s quick and comfortable for your child is key. By measuring the temperature inside the ear canal with an infrared ray, the best ear thermometers for baby tell you in just a few seconds if a fever is present. Though not recommended for newborns, ear thermometers are safe for babies who are at least 6 months old and can be used on older children and adults as well, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Anyone caring for a sick, squirming infant will appreciate features on an ear thermometer that make the stressful process just a little bit easier. To that end, the best ear thermometers may have features like a pre-warmed tip or a compact probe that helps it go unnoticed by a sleeping child. The display screen should be easy to read, and the reading time should be lightning quick, ideally taking no more than a couple of seconds.
Besides finding the right thermometer for your family, it's important to pay attention to how to take your baby's temperature. Correctly using a digital ear thermometer will give you more accurate readings no matter which one you choose. To accurately use an ear thermometer, gently pull the ear back and up to straighten the ear canal. It’s also a good idea to make sure the ear is clear of earwax when using the device.
Keeping all this in mind, here are the best ear thermometers for baby. Each one is highly rated on Amazon and comes with batteries so it's ready to use right out of the box.
1. The Overall Best, All Things Considered
Parents in search of the most accurate ear thermometer will appreciate this Braun ear thermometer's patented pre-warmed, soft tip that make temperature readings more accurate to a tenth of a degree. The thermometer also features an ExacTemp guidance system that confirms the probe is well-positioned in the ear with a light and a beep. Highly rated on Amazon with more than 3,800 reviews, it's able to take quick readings in just a few seconds.
It's considered the best ear thermometer for baby according to The Bump and Verywell Family, too, and comes with a memory function that recalls the last temperature reading to keep track of of fluctuations. The display screen is large and easy to read, though it does not light up. Also in the box: a storage case and 21 disposable lens filters that cover the probe to avoid cross contamination. Refills are available, and they’re BPA-free and recyclable.
Fans say: “I've purchased the cheaper "no name" brands thermometers before and they just don't work as well. The cheaper brands will have much less precision and accuracy. My kid was sick and the inconsistency of the cheaper thermometer made me so mad that I quickly purchased this one. Spending a little extra is well worth getting a more consistent reading when trying to determine how sick a [loved] one might be...”
2. A Smart Ear Thermometer With A Helpful Tracking App
Smarter than your average ear thermometer, the Kinsa ear thermometer pairs via Bluetooth with an app that tracks temperatures as well as symptoms and medicine doses. It even offers real-time guidance on next steps based on symptoms and family health information. And, it's fast. The thermometer delivers temperature readings in one second with a beep, and the display screen is lit and easy to read. Motherly ranked it as a "must-have" product for babies during cold and flu season, and the BPA-free thermometer is also a favorite of Verywell Family. A probe cover is provided for storage but no filter or cover is required for taking temperatures. The thermometer can function with or without the free app (compatible with iPhones and Android phones), and the device itself can hold up to 50 temperature readings.
Fans say: “This is the best thermometer my family has ever owned! It literally takes one second to register an accurate temperature...It's compact (so much smaller than the Braun thermometer we used to have) and comfortable (which is great when your child has sore ears)...I think the coolest feature is the integrated smartphone Kinsa app...We are most definitely a Kinsa family from now on. It's the high tech family health tool I didn't know we had been missing, but now can't live without.”
3. The Most Versatile: An Ear Thermometer That’s Also A Forehead Thermometer
For a highly rated ear thermometer that can also function as a forehead thermometer, look no further than this dual-mode model from iProven. Not only does this pick hold a 4-star Amazon rating after nearly 7,000, it is Wirecutter's pick for best ear and forehead thermometer, and it's also the best thermometer according to editors of The Bump. A temperature reading takes one second and a forehead reading takes three seconds, but you'll know almost right away if your baby has a fever or not: The large, backlit display screen lights up red to indicate a reading with a fever or green when no fever is found. The thermometer saves up to 20 readings for convenient tracking and comes with a bag for storage and a money-back guarantee.
Fans say: “This thermometer is really convenient. I like that I can choose to use it on the forehead or ear and both seem accurate. I tested it on myself and my kids. I also like that it is really quick to give a temperature reading. The only thing I wish it had are covers for when it's used in the ear, but I suppose washing it from time to time is better for the environment.”
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