A good thermometer is essential for newborns, toddlers and adults alike. Especially newborns, as their immune systems are still developing and they can’t tell us what’s wrong.
Modern technology has brought us the forehead thermometer (a.k.a “temporal artery thermometers”) and for parents of infants and squirming toddlers they’re great for teething and flu season.
Recently, the market for these thermometers has grown exponentially. There are lots to choose from so it’s hard to know what is the best forehead thermometer. To help, we discuss the features you should look out for and review 5 of the best you can buy right now.
How Does a Forehead Thermometer Work?
A forehead thermometer works a bit like a bar-code scanner. You hold it a few centimeters away from your child’s head and make a slow sweep across the forehead. This takes a reading from the temporal artery. With the best forehead thermometers, you can get a reading in just a single second!
Are They Accurate?
This is key. If the thermometer gives a high reading, I’ll be taking my little one to see her pediatrician ASAP. So the reading needs to be accurate because we need to be sure!
The good news is many hospitals and healthcare facilities across America are now using forehead thermometers. The top-rated models are both FDA and paediatrician recommended for further peace-of-mind.
Of course, if you really want to ensure accuracy then perhaps you should go with a rectal thermometer. Many parents feel uncomfortable with this, and it’s not much fun to do in the middle-of-the night. With a forehead thermometer, you don’t have this problem.
Are They Consistent?
You might have seen complaints online about the consistency of temperature readings. People taking back to back readings and getting different results. This is usually because these kinds of thermometers need around a minute to re-calibrate.
Also, the thermometer needs to be at room temperature before taking a reading. So if you’ve just come inside and it’s in your bag, you should wait a little while for accurate results.
Dual Forehead / Ear Thermometers
Whenever I want to be sure of something, I double-check. The latest forehead and ear thermometers let us take a quick scan and to check the temperature in the ear (a much more fiddly process) if we’re concerned.
Advantages of Forehead Thermometers
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of forehead thermometers
Quick & Easy
Not only are the readings provided by forehead thermometers quick, the process of taking temperatures is incredibly easy. It really is like using a hand-held scanner!
This is one of the best advantages for me. With “no contact” thermometers you don’t physically need to touch (or wake) your baby. Just hold the scanner close to their forehead.
Also, you don’t need to remove clothes, blankets, or try to get it under an unwilling arm or tongue.
Great In The Dark
The best forehead thermometers have an illuminated LED display. This is great for night-time readings or in darkened rooms. They have pretty big displays so you can still see it with one eye open!
Rectal and ear thermometers need probe covers to keep everything hygienic. A forehead thermometer doesn’t need them at all.
Many of the leading names such as Braun, Philipps and Exergen (creater of the world’s first temporal artery thermometer) have forehead thermometers for sale. There’s a lot of healthy competition which means you can get a good model for well under $50.
Rectal Thermometers are the best method for taking an infant’s temperature. However, when they get to being a toddler (and beyond) they will be met with some resistance. So you’ll need to buy another one before too long.
A forehead thermometer can be used on infants and seniors alike so you’ll use it for longer.
Bath Water / Formula Temperature
As an added bonus, many forehead thermometers can take the temperature of bath water and formula milk to ensure it’s just right for your baby.
Forehead Thermometer Reviews
Braun Forehead Thermometer
Braun are one of the leading names in thermometers so it’s useful to use them as a benchmark.
Their forehead thermometer has a number of useful features that make it stand-out (no pun intended). Firstly, the Braun forehead thermometer is incredibly easy to use.
There’s a color coding system using green, amber and red to easily show if your baby has a fever. This saves me googling it after every reading!
The display itself is nice and big, and it’s back-lit so you can take readings easily at night or in darkened room. The directions for use are also printed onto the console, and this is a nice touch.
It takes a reading in around 3 seconds. Braun recommends two passes across the forehead but it usually “Beeps” after one.
The major drawback with this thermometer is it only shows Fahrenheit, there is no Celsius reading. It is also only for taking body temperature and not for the room, water or milk.
The Braun forehead thermometer is available for sale on Amazon. You can check today’s price here.
Babynow Non Contact Infrared Digital Thermometer
The Babynow forehead thermometer costs around twice-as-much as the Braun. So, you’d expect a few more nifty features and the good news it has them!
This forehead thermometer is an “Instant Read” and takes just a single second! It also has a “triple scan” feature so you can use it for room temperature, bath water, and formula, too.
Another important feature is it stores the last 20 temperature readings. This will help monitor a baby’s changing temperature without writing it down.
One thing that I dislike about digital thermometers is they beep very loud. This kind of defeats the object of being “non-invasive” if the sound wakes baby, This temporal thermometer has an option to toggle off the sound, which is ideal for night-time reading.
Unlike the Braun thermometer, it does provide both Fahrenheit and Celsius readings. It comes with a bright-blue drawstring pouch so it’s easy to find in a hurry.
The major drawback with this model is obviously the price. However, this is probably the best forehead thermometer for you if you want to measure rooms and bath water as well.
If you like the sound of all the extras, you can check out the latest price and customer reviews here.
TempIR Forehead And Ear Thermometer
Kidsaversnetwork first highlighted TempIR when we looked at the best baby thermometers of 2015.
This model is one of the latest “Dual Thermometers” so you can take the temperature either by forehead or ear. If you’re like me, you’ll do both as I constantly over obsess (or so I’ve been told!) with the kids, so I really like this “double checking” feature.
It’s an “Instant Read” so you’ll get the reading in just one second. The unit is good to go again after a 10-second rest which is great. As is the fact it’s an “environment thermometer” so you can use it for room temperature and bath water, too.
Another plus is there’s no need for hygiene covers like with other ear thermometers as it uses an infra-red scan. I also like the way it powers off after 10 seconds because with everything going on sometimes you forget to switch off thermometers.
The display is back-lit, but the light only stays on for around three seconds. A bit longer for bleary-eyed readings would have been perfect.
Also, this is not a “non contact” thermometer. You can touch the forehead or move it away, but only by 1 cm to 2 cm. You also need to know the manufacturers state it’s to be used by infants over 3 months, so it’s not suitable for newborns.
Finally, check on Amazon for the latest price, from time to time they have this on big discount so you might well be lucky!
Preve Forehead Thermometer
The Preve forehead thermometer is a “Multi-Function Thermometer” which can measure body temperature, room temperature and surface temperatures such as bath water and milk.
It uses the same “traffic light” system as the Braun model to show if your baby has a fever (red) or is higher than normal (amber). There’s also a voice read-out of the temperature, which can also be turned off if you’re using it at night.
The only drawbacks to this model are the instructions are a bit lacking. For example, if you actually touch the forehead, it’ll give an inaccurate reading. You need to ensure the unit is 1cm – 3cm away from the forehead. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a great thermometer to use.
What I really like is it comes with a life time manufacturer’s warranty, and you can read more customer reviews here.
Generation Guard Dual Thermometer
If you’re looking for an accurate ear and forehead thermometer that won’t break the bank, check out this one from Generation Guard. It’s FDA and CE certified so it passes the main safety standards, but is it any good?
Well, like many of the best forehead thermometers reviewed in this article, it provides a temperature reading in just 1 second.
The other big selling point for this model is that it’s a “Dual Thermometer”. I don’t know about you, but I always like to take a couple of readings just to make sure. Being able to check forehead temperature and in the ear (a much more accurate measure as we discussed here) is much more reassuring.
As all parents know, taking an infants temperature is fiddly. More so when they become a toddler! I think it’s really neat that you can use the ear probe for when they settle down a bit (if ever!) or are sleeping. It’s to have options.
Another big plus with this thermometer for babies is that it can measure room temperature and also bottle milk temperature. This is great for newborns during those cold winter months. It also means you won’t just use it when they get sick.
This dual thermometer has a big, backlit LED screen so its easy to see in darkened rooms. It also stores 20 readings so you can give an accurate record to the doctor if need be. There’s also a drawstring pouch to keep it safe and out of harms way.
Something you need to be aware of is you have to take the cap completely off for ear readings. It would be better if it stayed fixed to the unit as it’s easy to misplace things when you’re tending to a sick baby at 3 am!
Finally, the Generation Guard Dual Thermometer comes with a 30 day “No Hassle” money-back guarantee. So you can see it yourself and still get a refund if things don’t work out.