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Good, better, best: Thermometers for daily temperature checks

Fevers are nothing to mess with — especially considering today’s global pandemic — so having a reliable thermometer to use at home regularly is important. Thermometer sales skyrocketed in the early days of the pandemic, leaving many homes without an option for self-checking. Now, it seems that they’re back in stock in stores and online, so now’s the time to buy. Given that schools and most businesses still require you to self-check and report any fever before heading in, odds are you’ll need one or two around the house for many months to come.

While most thermometers will give you an accurate temperature reading, some have more bells and whistles that may be important depending on the need. We’ve researched the best thermometers for home use to give you options on price and functionality to make your shopping experience easier.

no-touch thermometers

Good: Enji  digital thermometer

Parents everywhere will recognize this thermometer. It’s a classic, inexpensive thermometer that’s reliable and can be used orally, rectally, or in the underarm. It also has a light-up temperature display, so if you’re trying to take a little one’s temp at night, you won’t wake them fully. They sell for just under $6 on Amazon, and if you have Amazon Prime it ships for free. This version says it can read a temperature in as little as 10 seconds, so your wriggling toddler will only have to stay still for a short time.

Better: iProven forehead and ear thermometer

This thermometer is optimized for temperature-checking via the ear or forehead, whichever you prefer. It’s easy to use and can detect a temperature in just one second. It will display a red light along with the reading if it detects a fever. You can store 20 temperatures in the unit, so you can get an accurate picture of your body’s response to different stimuli as the day goes on. In addition to the forehead and ear, you can also check the temperature of the room. You can find this model at Walmart for $24.89. It comes with two AAA batteries, so keep more handy in case it runs out.

Best: iHealth no-touch forehead thermometer

This no-touch option can read a person’s temperature a little more than an inch away from the forehead, making it super hygienic to use with multiple people at a time. According to the description, “An ultra-sensitive infrared sensor collects more than 100 data points per second while distance and environmental sensors combine to account for other variables; ensuring maximum accuracy every time temperature is taken.” It can read a temperature in just one second, and it vibrates when it’s ready, so there is no noise disturbance if you’re taking someone’s temperature while they sleep. This one is available on Amazon for $19.99. It’s gotten nearly 115,000 reviews on Amazon — 89% of which are four or five stars.

women getting temperature taken
Anja Ivanovic/Shutterstock

Doctors consider 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) to be a normal body temperature for adults, but a range is acceptable. “Anecdotally, I would say that there are a lot of people who may not be aware that normal temperature is a range, not a fixed number,” Dr. Donald Ford, a family medicine physician at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, told CNN. “More recent large studies show normal temperatures ranging from 97 to 99 degrees, and many individuals may fall outside of this range and be perfectly fine.” The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers it a fever when a temperature reaches 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) or greater.

Because temperatures are in a range, it’s important to know your baseline temperature. This can be done by taking your temperature at the same time over several days to get an accurate picture of what “normal” looks like for you and your family. Then, if you’re not feeling well and believe you may have a fever, you’ll have a more accurate picture of where your body sits.

Now is not the time to ease up on your health, and knowing where you are before you leave the house and interact with others is a critical step for everyone’s safety. These thermometers are all good options to help aid in that process.

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