Digital Thermometers

Monitor and measure body temperature safely and with ease when using modern digital body thermometers. Our range includes thermometers suitable for both adults and children in a variety of different thermometer types.

Thermometers provide an estimated core body temperature reading, providing insight into one of the vital signs of bodily health. The advent of digital thermometers has ushered in a wide range of types, from updated versions of those old-school oral models to non-contact infrared thermometers, which help measure core body temperatures.

Doctor Essentials Medical Equipment

The Different Types Of Digital Thermometers

“Non-invasive” methods include temporal (readings from the temples) and axillary (taken from the armpit), while oral, ear (tympanic) and rectal measurements are classed as “invasive.” All our LCD display thermometers provide a visual reading for accuracy and convenience in Celsius or fahrenheit.

1. Contact Thermometers

Oral Thermometers

Oral thermometers comprise a probe with a stainless steel thermistor tip to conduct body temperature from the patient. Measurements are taken from the mouth, rectum or armpit (axillary).

  • The oral method is suitable for patients aged 4+
  • An axillary or armpit reading is generally reserved for patients who cannot safely have an oral reading.
  • Rectal measurements are most suitable for babies and children up to the age of 3.

Tympanic Ear Thermometers

Employing infrared technology, the ear thermometer is extremely quick and simple to use, and particularly suitable for babies and small children. Used by the NHS, this style of doctor's thermometer offers highly accurate results. Readings can be obtained by scanning the tympanic membrane (eardrum), and gently pull the middle of the earlobe up and back (just back for children under 1 year).

Temporal, Forehead Thermometers

Ideal for paediatric use, the temporal thermometer measures heat flow from the temporal artery in the forehead to the skin and uses it to calculate core body temperature in a matter of seconds. The temporal artery is ideal for this application as it is easy to locate, close to the skin’s surface and has a steady blood flow.


How do digital thermometers work?

Temperature changes in the body can be measured using a digital thermometer, the sensor emits a current, voltage or resistance change when a change of temperature is detected. The thermometer will then measure and read the detected electric signal, i.e. the temperature.

How do you use a digital thermometer?

Depending on the type of thermometer you have whether it’s in ear, forehead, stick or non-contact, methods of use will vary. We recommend checking the product guide to ensure accurate temperature readings. However, for a comprehensive guide on all types of thermometers check our temperature readings blog.

Why are digital thermometers more accurate?

Digital thermometers tend to provide a more accurate reading as they can measure to the tenth degree rather than measuring in increments.

What affects your body temperature?

Normal body temperatures range from 36.1°C to 37.2°C but are affected by several factors, including:

  • Time of day – body temperature typically peaks some 0.5°C higher at around 6pm and reaches its lowest (about 0.5°C less) around 4am
  • Age – the range above is typical for those aged 11-65. Children aged 0-10 years tend to have slightly lower body temperature, and the 65+ cohort is even lower.
  • Site of measurement – rectal or ear readings are the closest to true core body temperature, around 0.3-0.6°C higher than oral measurements, while temporal (forehead) and axillary (armpit) readings are around 0.3-0.6°C lower than oral temperature.

A temperature over 38°C is indicative of fever induced by infection or illness. Anything over 41.5°C is classed as hyperpyrexia and below 35°C as hypothermia. Both require immediate intervention.

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