Best thermometers 2020: for tracking temperature and ovulation

From fighting fevers to finding your peak ovulation time, these are the best thermometers for a variety of situations

Best thermometers 2019: for tracking temperature and ovulation
(Image credit: Withings)

Everyone needs a thermometer at home, and not just for playing doctor. If a loved one is unwell, finding out their temperature can make the difference between sitting them down with a blanket in front of some daytime TV and calling in the medical professionals, which is where the best thermometers come in.

If they are unwell, or if they're very young or old, getting the environmental temperature right is equally important, so a room thermometer can make a big difference.

There's no 'one' thermometer, though: there are a host of ways to measure temperature – and, indeed, a number of reasons you might want to do so, not just for illness – so below we've rounded up our pick of the best thermometers for every situation. Before we get to those, here's how to choose the right one for you...

 Choosing the best thermometer 

When thinking of thermometers we might first picture the cold, uncomfortable mercury-filled rods we had thrust into the fleshy undersides of our tongues when we were young. Those days have, thankfully, passed – with today's best thermometers, usually you don't need to take an internal measurement at all.

Doctors tend to employ the much more comfortable ear thermometer these days. If this is the way you're leaning – and it's absolutely not a bad choice – it's a good idea to pick up some extra lens filters to keep things hygienic and wax-free well into the future.

Don't be afraid to pick up more than one thermometer if you need to. They're not (usually) too expensive, and some purposes like ovulation measurement absolutely require an internal measurement. That may not be something the younger members of your household get on too well with, but baby thermometers can employ some nifty tricks to get that temperature reading without too much fuss.

Hygiene is extra important if you do opt for an internal thermometer – these are flexible and much more comfortable than they once were, but be sure to clean yours with an alcohol wipe after use, particularly if you've just done a rectal measurement. 

If you're using a room thermometer to monitor the environment, look to see if it can take other readings, too. Environmental pollutants can affect your health and general wellbeing. If things don't look too good, you might want to crack a window or pick up a good air purifier.

Let's take a look at the best thermometers available right now...

The best thermometers to buy now 

Best thermometers: Braun Thermoscan 7

(Image credit: Braun)

1. Braun Thermoscan 7

The best thermometer for sheer ease of use

Reasons to buy
+ Exact temperature readings + Included lens filters + Temperature memory + Colour-coded display 

There's no fun in taking someone's temperature six or seven times in a row in order to calculate an average, but that's something some thermometers demand – how do you know you've measured at the right point, or if you've activated the thermometer properly?

Braun's Thermoscan 7 is our top pick for the best thermometer and is also Braun's flagship offering. Not only is this ear-reader extremely accurate, but it includes built in guidance to make sure you're pointing its sensor at the exact right point of the inner ear to get a good reading first-time. 

It even pre-warms the ear tip to ensure it's not too uncomfortable, and keeps a log of the last nine temperature readings.

Best thermometers: Awair 2nd Edition

(Image credit: Awair)

2. Awair 2nd Edition

The best thermometer for the smart home

Reasons to buy
+Clear display+More than just temperature+Impressive looks+Smart functionality
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

Okay, yes, this is primarily marketed as an air quality monitor, but hear us out. If you’re looking to keep an eye on room temperature we can’t think of a much better option. 

Why? Well, the Awair’s sensors are quick to update, and sync with a mobile app that tracks temperature (and pollutant levels, and humidity) over time. Spotting dips, or being alerted to spikes, means you can keep on top of the temperature as it happens, perfect for a child’s room or looking after an elderly relative.

Its beautiful pin-point LED display can double up as an incredibly handsome clock, too, all while silently monitoring temperature in the background.

Best thermometers: Withings Thermo

(Image credit: Withings)

3. Withings Thermo

The best thermometer for smart functionality

Reasons to buy
+ Great for charting + Non intrusive + Self-reading possible + Extra app advice 

If someone has a fever, it's important to keep track of it. Withings calls the Thermo a smart temporal thermometer, which has something of a double meaning: it uses its 16 infrared sensors to take a detailed reading of the forehead and temporal artery, and its smart functionality feeds those readings into a phone  app so you can monitor them over time.

Admittedly this is on the more expensive end of thermometers, but its vibration feature makes it easy to take your own temperature, and the app can also offer some measure of advice – whether it's a recommendation of over-the-counter medicines, or to seek help from a doctor.

Best thermometers: Braun no touch

(Image credit: Braun)

4. Braun No Touch + Touch

The best thermometer for babies and kids

Reasons to buy
+ Undetectable + Multi-functional + Quick measurements + Backlit for night use 

Using a thermometer can be pretty invasive, particularly on those who aren't really aware of why you're trying to stick something in their ear, armpit, mouth or worse. Plus, if you're trying to monitor the temperature of an unwell baby, the last thing you want to do is wake them up from a restful nap.

Braun's versatile infra-red thermometer mutes itself with a physical switch, and can get a reading from 2cm away – though you may want to opt for a touch reading taken on the forehead instead. It's also capable of measuring liquid temperatures, so you can check if that bath (or that porridge) is a little too hot.

Hands-down the best thermometer for babies and children.

Best thermometers: Miniland Thermo Kit

(Image credit: Miniland)

5. Miniland Thermo Kit

The best thermometer for difficult babies

Reasons to buy
+Three thermometers in one pack+Bath temperature readings+(Hopefully) not upsetting+Many options for measurement
Reasons to avoid
-Empty List

Taking a baby’s temperature requires a certain mix of cunning and skill, and Miniland’s clever kit gives you three options in one pack.

There’s the more traditional body thermometer, which may be the most difficult to employ; it does, at least, have a flexible tip, and if your little one isn’t too ticklish it can be used in the armpit.

Potentially more effective (if your baby can be convinced to use it) is the pacifier thermometer, a soft-ended sucker offers a solid approximation of their internal temperature.

Figure in the owl-shaped atmospheric thermometer, which is equally adept at showing the room temperature as it is being slung in a bath to make sure it’s just right, and you’ve got a solid and very affordable package. 

Best thermometers: Femometer Vinca Basal Thermometer

(Image credit: Femometer)

6. Femometer Vinca Basal Thermometer

The best thermometer for tracking ovulation

Reasons to buy
+ Subtle design + Handy companion app + Incredibly accurate + Button-free operation 

Tracking ovulation with a regular thermometer is neither easy or accurate. To do the job properly you need a basal body thermometer – one designed to take internal temperature with the tightest accuracy possible, and the ability to track changes in your temperature over time. 

Placed under the tongue first thing in the morning, the discrete and compact Femometer feeds its results (which are within 0.1ºF) automatically to its app, and draws up a chart to show when you're ovulating. 

Our pick for the best thermometer for tracking ovulation does take a couple of minutes to make a reading, but it's easy to use and provides useful insight into your monthly cycle.

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Best thermometers: GroEgg2

(Image credit: Gro)

7. Gro Groegg2 Thermometer for Babies

A cute addition to the nursery

Reasons to buy
+Also a nightlight + No reading required + Pretty cute + Dimmable if required 

When you have a little one at home, even if they're not currently poorly, it's important to make sure the conditions are right at night. You'll tuck them in, make sure they've got their favourite soft toy, and take a quick glance at the GroEgg to ensure the temperature is within a safe and comfortable margin.

The great thing for bleary-eyed new parents is that you don't even need to focus on the numbers. Colour coding on the Groegg – which can double as an animal-skinned and dimmable nightlight – gives you that information instantly. It's the Goldilocks of thermometers: Blue is too cold, an angry red is too hot, and a warm orange is just right. 

Best thermometers: iProven DTR-1221BG

(Image credit: iProven)

8. iProven DTR-1221BG

The best thermometer for taking internal temperature readings

Reasons to buy
+ Easy to find + Flexible measurements + Reasonably fast + Switchable temperature scales 

While there's a lot to be said for an ear or forehead thermometer, sometimes your doctor might advise you to measure temperature in other places. 

iProven's flexi-tipped DTR-1221BG thermometer is suitable for both oral and rectal use, can switch between Fahrenheit and Celcius depending on your preferred scale, and gets the job done within 10 seconds. 

There's no light, so it's tricky to read in the dark, but at least that bright green colouring makes it stand right out in your bathroom cabinet so you won't struggle to find it.