If you’re a keen cook, checking the weather, have kids or make your own beer, wine or yogurt, you’ll need a thermometer – but each activity has its own specialist range of thermometers. You need a robust, heat-proof device with a long probe if you want to check how your steaks are cooking; for kids you’ll find a forehead surface or ear thermometer often quick and easy, such as the Braun Forehead model.
Looking for a quick link for a cook? Check out our selection of the Best Meat Thermometer models available.
If you’re a parent, take a look at our range of the Best Baby Thermometer models available.
Wondering if you need to take an umbrella or sun-lotion? Check our reviews of the latest weather thermometers.
The main pricing difference is down to the type of temperature sensor in the probe, the quality of the electronics inside the unit (to provide repeatable, reliable readings) and the display readout (digital display or a ‘traditional’ analog view with a colored liquid inside a glass tube.
Additionally, the construction is really important but with different needs for the types of thermometer, with premium models for children featuring hygienic and safe construction and in some cases, waterproof switch gear.
I only cover thermometers on this site, so you’re reading dedicated reviews about the many types of device from a simple mouth thermometer to a wireless BBQ or grill thermometer to the latest remote-sensing surface device that is packed with sophisticated electronics.
There are a number of major manufacturers in the market, each with their own leading brands. These brands each produce several different models and has a very wide range of different features. It can be rather confusing, so I’ve written the best thermometer reviews to help you choose the right model for your needs either in the kitchen, by the BBQ or in your home for your childcare.
Since you’re visiting my site I guess that you are researching types of thermometer and are planning on buying a new device or searching for the best price for a model you’ve already chosen.
To help you with both tasks, I’ve written my unique interactive chart of thermometers below. I’ve also written reviews of many of the leading and bestselling thermometer products on the market to help you choose if a particular unit is right for you.
Best Thermometer Comparison Guide
|Thermometer||Brand||Probe||For||Price||Rating out of 5.0|
|Braun Ear Thermometer||Surface: |
|Weber 6492 Original Instant-Read Thermometer||Metal for:|
|Braun Forehead Thermometer||Surface: |
|Braun NTF3000US Braun No Touch plus Forehead Thermometer||Surface:|
|AcuRite 00613A1 Indoor Humidity Monitor||Internal||Weather||$9.98||4.2|
|CDN ProAccurate Quick-Read Thermometer||Metal for:|
|Grills, Cooking, Oven||$17.99||4.2|
|Veridian 08-352 60-second Digital Thermometer||Oral||Healthcare||$4.55||4.1|
Included in the chart are:
- Pictures of the Thermometers
- Thermometer brand and model
- Type of temperature probe – key to the way in which the thermometer is used (for example, a meat thermometer needs a long steel probe to read the temperature inside a steak or joint of meat; a surface probe is great for kids)
- Type of display – key to a clear readout of the temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius
- Price – these are approximate prices on Amazon.com. These often change based on special offers, promotions, availability and season. To help you, I’ve grouped the pricing on this matrix with $=under $10, $$=$10 to $30, $$$=$30 to $60, $$$$=$60+
- Rating – the average user rating on Amazon.com which is another great way to see what other buyers think of the product
(Tip: to sort the grid by a particular column, just click on the heading of the column)
The thermometers on this chart are only the most popular or highly rated instruments available on the market. There are literally hundreds and there’s no way we can list them all.
Features of a Thermometer
Most thermometers have a similar aim and therefore a set of features that are standard – however, it’s the quality and reliability that are used to differentiate (and better quality, better reliability, more accurate readings, normally means a higher price). There are two key elements of a thermometer to look at:
Temperature sensor or probe
In a contact thermometer (one where you need to touch the sensor on the object you want to measure), the probe is normally made of metal to conduct heat efficiently, and surrounds and protects a sensitive electronic or chemical thermocouple sensor inside.
In a surface or remote-use thermometer (where you point the device at the object you want to measure), the probe focusses the radiated heat from the object on to a sensitive electronic sensor within the device.
Temperature display or readout
In most newer thermometers and all electronic devices, the display is normally a digital readout – options include backlighting and the ability to switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius degree readings.
Who Benefits From A Thermometer?
A top-quality thermometer is not cheap, so make sure that you are spending your money wisely. If you do any of these tasks or jobs, you’ll benefit from a high-grade thermometer.
- Enthusiast Cook or chef:
- A meat thermometer to use on a roast or on the BBQ
- Parent or carer:
- A thermometer to check if a baby or child has a temperature if they are unwell
- A thermometer is used to check the temperature of the water in an aquarium
- Home brewer:
- Make sure your home brewed beer or wine is not spoilt during fermentation
- Weather enthusiast
- Keep track of the temperature and weather outside.
Which is the Best: Top 5 Tips to Choose the Best Thermometer
- The probe surrounding the sensor should be robust and suit the task
- The case should be well-finished either with hygenic wipe-down finish for cooking or parenting
- The battery or power source should be a high-capacity battery such as CR123A, RCR123A or 18650.
- The temperature range should cover your tasks and be in the degree scale you are familiar with
- The accuracy and repeatability of the readings is essential.
Accuracy of the Sensor
Most electronic thermometers are incredibly accurate – often to within 0.1 degree Celcius. High temperature thermometers can be less accurate (to within 10 deg C) but for baby care it’s especially important to make sure your new device is correctly calibrated and accurate. Look for a government standards sticker on the device (for example from British Standards or similar).
For meat and cooking thermometers, an accurate readout is important, but it’s often more important to have repeatable accuracy – so the reading at a particular temperature is always the same.
Clear Temperature Display
All of the thermometers on this website are either electronic – with a digital display of the temperature – or analogue with a moving pointer that rotates around a dial display to show the temperature.
For a baby thermometer, it’s useful to have a backlit digital display, so you don’t have to switch on the main lights in your child’s room but are still able to read the numbers.
It’s also important for both baby and cooking thermometers to be able to freeze the temperature reading so you get a chance to look at the display before the temperature changes. Most digital thermometers beep when they have accurately read the temperature (after a second or two) and then display the temperature for a few seconds before powering-off to save battery life.
The two temperature ranges most commonly used are Celcius and Farenheight. Don’t mix them up! To give you an idea of the difference between the two, take a look at the equivalent temperature of the boiling point and freezing point of water. Boiling point 100 degrees Celcius = 212 degrees Farenheight. Freezing point is 0 degrees Celcius = 32 degrees Farenheight.
Types of Thermometer
There are several types of thermometer that each use a different chemical or electronic method of reading the temperature and each have their own pros and cons. Here are the main types.
An infrared thermometer can take an accurate reading of the surface of an object by recording the thermal radiation of the object (which could be your baby’s forehead or a steak on the grill !) They are non-contact, which makes it much easier to use without distressing your child and, for cooking, without potentially burning yourself on a grill or oven.
Some non-contact thermometers also include a low-powered laser – this is simply used to help you ‘point’ at the object and is aligned to the thermal radiation sensors so that you can accurately record the temperature on a precise part of the object. These types of thermometers are normally accurate to within +/- 2 deg C (so a little less accurate than a contact-based digital thermometer).
Liquid Crystal Thermometers
This is a relatively new form of consumer thermometer that’s formed as a flexible strip that is normally used to check the temperature. There are three main uses for this type of thermomenter:
- Check the temperature of a baby or child – simply place the strip on the child’s forehead and the correct temperature square changes color (and this type of thermometer often has a limited range – since it’s aimed at home use – of between 95-104 deg Farenheight.)
- Display the temperature of an aquarium – the strip is stuck to the outside of the glass of an aquarium.
- Display the temperature during home brewing – the strip is stuck to the outside of the glass bottles or fermentation unit.
The heat-sensitive chemical crystals change color at different temperatures, so medical versions of this type of thermometer have good accuracy often as good as +/- 0.1 deg C. They are also convenient to use and do not distress or wake a patient.
Digital thermocouple Thermometer
This is perhaps the most common and many of the devices on this site use a termocouple to read the temperature. A thermocouple is made of two different conductors that are stuck together in the tip of the sensor. When there’s a change in the temperature, the two conductor materials change their electrical resistance – and this change is then detected and converted to a temperature reading. These types of device are accurate, fast at reading the temperature and cheap. They need to be accurately calibrated during manufacture but it’s used in many ofthe most commonly available thermometers on the market.
There are hundreds of different models and types of thermometers on the market – each with different uses, accuracy and prices to match. This site reviews some of the best thermometers available and provides guides to help you choose the right unit for your home needs.