The Best Baby Thermometers, Tested by Real Moms and Their Littles

Our testers agreed that the Kinsa Smart Thermometer was the best for little ones

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Baby Thermometers

Verywell Family / Leticia Almeida

An accurate, easy-to-use thermometer is one of the essential baby items you need to have at the ready, but really hope you don't need all that often. If and when a fever strikes, you'll be happy to have a thermometer that works well on infants, giving you an accurate read on what's going on in that tiny little body.

Tested & Approved

The Kinsa Smart Thermometer is our top pick thanks to its easy-to-use app, super-fast response time, and consistent readings. If you are in the market for a budget-friendly thermometer, we love the ergonomic design of the Vicks SpeedRead Digital Thermometer.

Fever is something we need to evaluate in a baby under 2 months because their immune systems are more delicate, and they don’t have a developed blood-brain barrier that basically keeps things separate from the blood and separate from the brain,” Mona Amin, DO, a board-certified general pediatrician based in Florida and member of Buybuy Baby’s Parenting Pros, tells Verywell Family. “So we want to make sure that there’s no infection that’s coming into the blood or brain.”

The best baby thermometers offer easy setup and use, a simple reading display, and quick response time. To help you narrow down your choice, we researched, reviewed, and tested a variety of thermometers on our own children.

Of everything we tested, here are the best baby thermometers to get you started.

Best Overall: Kinsa Smart Thermometer

4.9
Kinsa Smart Thermometer

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    4.5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4.9/5
  • Consistency
    4.8/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Data Readability
    5/5
Pros
  • Easy to use

  • App tracks temperatures

  • Quick response time

Cons
  • App required for initial setup

  • Error message possible at times

We love the many different features of the Kinsa Smart Thermometer, including its user-friendly app and quick response time. All temperature readings are stored in the Kinsa app, which can also track symptoms of a sick baby and provide advice on whether to treat them at home, call a doctor, visit the doctor, or head to the ER. While the app is required for initial setup, you don't need to use it every time. Our testers found it easy to navigate and liked the option of storing temperature readings for everyone in the family.

Parents and caregivers will appreciate the thermometer’s quick response time, with results showing up in less than five seconds. We rated the Kinsa Smart thermometer a 5 out of 5 for its ease of use because, despite requiring an app, it was incredibly intuitive. When the thermometer is done reading a temperature, it alerts you by making a beeping sound. Plus, the tip is flexible and soft, making it more comfortable for everyone in the family, no matter how small. (Note: Once a thermometer has been used rectally, it should only be used rectally.)

Type: Oral, rectal, and armpit | Display: Digital | Response Time: 8 seconds or less | Age Recommendation: Newborn and up | Battery Type: Coin

What Our Testers Say

“This was by far my favorite thermometer. It has a flexible design for durability, a helpful app, a bright color indicator, a single button to take the temp, and the ability to store each family member's individual temperature,” Latifah Miles, Commerce Editor, Verywell Family.

Kinsa Thermometer

Verywell Family / Leticia Almeida

Best Rectal: Vicks Baby Rectal Thermometer

4.2
Vicks Baby Rectal Thermometer

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    4.5/5
  • Responsiveness
    5/5
  • Consistency
    2.8/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Data Readability
    4/5
Pros
  • Flexible tip

  • Large display screen

  • Compact design

Cons
  • Only for rectal use

  • Packaging difficult to open

A flexible tip and compact design are just a couple of reasons why we think the Vicks Baby Rectal Thermometer is ideal for rectal temperatures. Our testers loved the thermometer’s small design, as it ensures you don’t insert the thermometer too far. Simply press a button to activate the thermometer, and expect to wait for 10 seconds for a reading. Despite the thermometer saying it takes up to 10 seconds for a result, our testers noted that it only took about five seconds which is why we rated it so highly for the response time.

A large digital display is backlit, so you won't be second-guessing your reading in the dark. While the entire thermometer isn’t waterproof, you can clean the tip easily with rubbing alcohol or soap and warm water.

Type: Rectal | Display: Digital | Response Time: 10 seconds or less | Age Recommendation: Newborn and up | Battery Type: Coin

What Our Testers Say

 “It's slightly more expensive than other options and is only a rectal thermometer, so it's not as versatile as other thermometers. But it is an ideal shape for taking a rectal temperature from an infant. The shape is foolproof—it makes sure you don't insert it too far and cause any discomfort to your baby,” Ashleigh Morley, Verywell Family Editorial Director, Commerce.

Best Ear and Forehead: Elepho eTherm Ear & Forehead Thermometer

4.6
Elepho eTherm Ear & Forehead Thermometer

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    4.5/5
  • Responsiveness
    5/5
  • Consistency
    4.5/5
  • Ease of Use
    4/5
  • Data Readability
    4.3/5
Pros
  • Quick reading time

  • Large LED display

  • Ergonomic design

Cons
  • Not the best method for newborns

  • Cap and battery backing may fall off if dropped

If you’re looking for a fast-reading thermometer that’s easy to use, the Elepho eTherm Thermometer is a great pick. You can take your baby’s temperature with one hand thanks to its ergonomic design. We rated the Elepho thermometer a 4.5 for its ease of setup because our testers found that it was ready to use right out of the box. Once you have it set up, you simply touch it to their forehead with the cap on, or remove the cap and insert into the ear before use. When the temperature reading is ready, it beeps, so you don’t have to check repeatedly or wait for results.

Our testers say temperature results showed up "almost immediately"—a much-appreciated feature for parents and caregivers wrangling a squirmy baby. The screen is large, bright, and clear, making it easy to read results in any type of environment.

Type: Ear and forehead | Display: Digital | Response Time: 1 second | Age Recommendation: Newborn and up | Battery Type: AAA

Elepho Thermometer

Verywell Family / Leticia Almeida

Best Multipurpose: FridaBaby Digital 3-in-1 True Temp Digital Thermometer

4.3
fridababy 3-in-1 touchless thermometer

Courtesy of Fridababy

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    4/5
  • Responsiveness
    4/5
  • Consistency
    4.5/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Data Readability
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Quick reading time

  • Backlit display

  • Stores 40 temperature readings

Cons
  • Costly

  • Forehead reading difficult on wiggly babies

We think the Frida 3-in-1 thermometer is straightforward and simple to use for families needing to know if their little one has a fever. Temperature results show up in approximately one second, and the thermometer stores up to 40 previous readings, so you can keep a log for the doctor if necessary. We rated the Fridababy thermometer highly for its data readability and storage because you can easily read current and previous readings on the same screen.

In addition to taking the temperature of any family member, you can also check a bottle or a room's temperature with the thermometer’s touchless technology. There’s also a storage pouch, making it ideal for family trips or simple diaper bag storage.

Type: Ear and forehead | Display: Digital | Response Time: 1 second | Age Recommendation: Newborn and up | Battery Type: AAA

What Our Testers Say

“The ear reading is much easier to use on an infant than the forehead reading. It's cool that you can use it to take the room temperature (great for making sure your infant has a comfortable sleeping temperature) and a bottle temperature (if you're concerned a bottle might be too hot)," — Ashleigh Morley, Verywell Family Editorial Director, Commerce.

Frida Baby thermometer

Verywell Family / Leticia Almeida

Best Budget: Vicks Speedread Thermometer

4.6
Vicks Speedread Thermometer

Courtesy of Vicks

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4.3/5
  • Consistency
    4.5/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Data Readability
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Colored-coded temperature readings

  • Water-resistant

  • Automatic shut-off

Cons
  • Display screen is not backlit

  • Slow response time with some methods

We appreciate how easy to use, affordable, and quick the Vicks Speedread thermometer is to operate. With color-coded fever warnings, you don’t have to guess what counts as an alarming reading for your baby. The display screen will light up red for a high fever, yellow for mild, and green if their temperature is OK.

Despite the thermometer's "Speed" name, we got mixed results in that department: The tester who used it as a rectal thermometer on her baby said results showed up almost immediately, while the one who used it orally on her tween found it took nine seconds, a difference the manufacturer acknowledges. Due to the mixed response times, we rated this thermometer a 4.3 out of 5 for the responsiveness attribute. We do like that it's water-resistant, because accidents happen! In case you forget to turn it off, the thermometer features a built-in, automatic shut-off to help you save battery life.

Vicks SpeedRead

Verywell Family / Leticia Almeida

Type: Rectal, oral, axillary | Display: Digital | Response Time: 8 seconds | Age Recommendation: Newborn and up | Battery Type: Coin

Best Basic: iProven Dt-R1221AWG Medical Thermometer

4.5
iProven Oral and Rectal Thermometer

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Setup
    5/5
  • Responsiveness
    3.5/5
  • Consistency
    3.8/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Data Readability
    4/5
Pros
  • Color-coded fever warning

  • Backlit screen

  • Measures temperature of objects 

Cons
  • Slow response time

  • Difficult getting accurate reading

  • Learning curve upon initial setup

While this is not an option for newborns, the iProven thermometer is an easy, basic oral thermometer for the rest of the family. Once your babies reach toddlerhood and they are able to be still for long enough to get an accurate read, then the iProven can be used on them as well. Designed like a traditional oral thermometer, this budget-friendly option simply sits under the tongue, and with a press of a button, your results will appear.

If your child has a fever, the display screen shows a sad face, which comes in handy for newer caregivers and parents that might not know the temperature range associated with fevers. Our testers love how easy it is to use, but the response time was on the slow side, taking approximately 10 seconds for a reading, which is why is rated low for this attribute.

Type: Oral | Display: Digital | Response Time: 1-10 seconds | Age Recommendation: 4 years old and up | Battery Type: 1 LR41

iProven Thermometer

Verywell Family / Leticia Almeida

What Our Testers Say

“The reading is clear and easy to see and stays on the screen for a long time after recording the temperature, which is nice if you forgot what it was or need to reference it again,” Ashleigh Morley, Verywell Family Editorial Director, Commerce.

Compare

Overall Rating Setup Responsiveness Consistency Ease of Use Data Readability
Kinsa Smart Thermometer
Best Overall:
Kinsa Smart Thermometer
4.9
4.5 4.9 4.8 5 5
Vicks Baby Rectal Thermometer
Best Rectal:
Vicks Baby Rectal Thermometer
4.2
4.5 5 2.8 5 4
Elepho eTherm Ear & Forehead Thermometer
Best Ear and Forehead:
Elepho eTherm Ear & Forehead Thermometer
4.6
4.5 5 4.5 4 4.3
fridababy 3-in-1 touchless thermometer
Best Multipurpose:
FridaBaby True Temp Digital Thermometer
4.3
4 4 4.5 5 4.5
Vicks Speedread Thermometer
Best Budget:
Vicks Speedread Thermometer
4.6
5 4.3 4.5 5 4.5
iProven Oral and Rectal Thermometer
Best Basic:
iProven Dt-R1221AWG Medical Thermometer
4.5
5 3.5 3.8 5 4

Final Verdict

We love the Kinsa QuickCare Thermometer for its user-friendly app, fast response time, and the option to take a temperature three different ways. You can download the Kinsa app to keep track of your baby’s temperatures at home, and it's easy to store the thermometer in the diaper bag for travel purposes. There’s also the Vicks SpeedRead Thermometer, which is water-resistant, budget-friendly, and features a color-coded fever reading. Plus, to save battery life, the thermometer automatically shuts off when it isn't in use.

How We Rated the Baby Thermometers

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best baby thermometers we tested. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These baby thermometers are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great baby thermometers, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These baby thermometers are just average.

3.4 and below: We don't recommend baby thermometers with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

How We Tested the Best Baby Thermometers

First, we read competitor reviews and details about nearly 20 thermometers from more than a dozen thermometer manufacturers. We considered price, design, comfortability, technology, and performance. We also consulted parents and caregivers for baby thermometer recommendations and reviewed guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Once we narrowed down our options, we put more than 10 baby thermometers through our testing regimen, evaluating packaging, how fast the thermometer responded, consistency between readings, durability via drop testing, and maintenance. We tested each thermometer twice on two different children, an infant and a tween. We spent hours testing the thermometers, scoring each product on a scale of one to five in these categories: ease of setup, response time, data readability and storage, accuracy/consistency, durability and ease of cleaning, and overall value. 

What to Look For in a Baby Thermometer

As much as we all want to buy a thermometer that's accurate and easy to use, we should remember that it's not the most important tool in determining whether a baby is sick. That is actually our power of observation.

“In the end, what’s most important in a fever in a child over 3 months is how the child is acting. So being off a degree here in there with the type of thermometer is not a big issue,” Mona Amin, DO, a board-certified general pediatrician based in Florida and member of Buybuy Baby’s Parenting Pros. “If the child is miserable, dehydrated, or having difficulty breathing and feeling warm to a caregiver; we want to evaluate them.”

That said, here's how to choose the thermometer that's right for your family.

Types of Baby Thermometers

Thermometers are classified based on where you place them to take the temperature. 

  • Oral: An oral thermometer is one that’s placed directly under the tongue. This type of thermometer is easy to use, but it's best for older children (4 years and up, per the American Academy of Pediatrics) and adults. As long as the mouth stays closed around the thermometer, the result should be accurate. This can be hard for smaller children to do, so you’ll want to keep that in mind.
  • Rectal: Taking a baby’s temperature rectally will give you the most accurate results, especially for infants under the age of 3 months. While this method is challenging, it's recommended by doctors. “These are the most accurate for a child who won’t keep a thermometer under their tongue. It gives the best ‘core-reading of the temperature.’ Unlike ear and forehead thermometers, it can’t be influenced by warmth on the surface of the skin such as laying down on one side,” Dr. Amin says. (Clearly mark your rectal thermometer to make sure it is never used in another way.)
  • Armpit: Technically referred to as axillary thermometers, these resemble the design of oral thermometers and are easy to use. “These usually come all-in-one with the rectal thermometer. These are great ways to check a temperature for a child who is cooperative and can stay still for an axillary temperature or keep the thermometer under their tongue for an oral temperature,” Dr. Amin says. Armpit measures give you an idea if a fever is present, but isn’t considered the most accurate. 
  • Ear and forehead: Ear and forehead thermometers are often packaged as a two-for-one deal. Typically, you use it with a cap for taking temporal (forehead) temperatures and remove the cap to take tympanic (ear) temperatures. Dr. Amin says these are great options for kiddos, but she recommends waiting until the child is over 3 years old. “[Their temperatures] can be falsely high if the child is laying on one side, so for best accuracy, it would be a digital rectal thermometer,” she explains.
  • Non-contact thermometers: Used often in school nurses' offices (and so many other settings during the pandemic) because they reduce the spread of germs when used by multiple people, these thermometers use infrared technology to read temperatures on the forehead or ear. Though the AAP says they are fine to use on children of all ages, when we tested out some of the non-contact temporal thermometers, we got readings that were much less consistent than our top picks.

Ease of Use

At times, taking a baby’s temperature can be similar to changing a diaper: difficult. Babies move a lot, so finding a thermometer that’s easy to use for both you and your baby is key. Most electronic thermometers make things easier on the user with features such as a beeping when the temperature has been taken. Some take only one push of a button to activate. These small details may not seem like much, but when you have a sick kiddo, they mean you can get back to the business of comforting them sooner. 

Design also plays a large role in how easy a thermometer is to use. For example, if you plan on taking a baby’s temperature rectally, you’ll want a smaller thermometer to hold. For an ear and forehead thermometer, an ergonomic hold will likely feel most comfortable. Additionally, if any pieces need to be taken off, you’ll want to ensure removal and attachment are simple and that parts are easy to store so they aren't lost.

Response Time

Whether you’re taking your own temperature or your baby’s, no one wants to wait for a thermometer reading to show up. Many parents and caregivers prefer a thermometer with a quick response time when caring for a sick baby.

Before you make your final decision, check the thermometer’s response time. Typically, thermometer readings can take anywhere from one to 10 seconds, or possibly longer, to show up. Fevers can be scary for parents and caregivers, so while 10 seconds may not sound like a lot, it can feel like forever if you have to wait.

Data Readability and Storage

It’s no secret technology has taken over many aspects of our lives, and thermometers are no exception. For parents and caregivers wanting to track a baby's temperature, some thermometers have the capability to connect to an app to record temperatures and symptoms for future reference and conversations with a doctor.

If an app isn’t your thing, don’t panic. Many other thermometers on the market are designed to store temperature readings without the need for an app. Those can generally hold a certain amount of readings until it becomes full or readings need to be deleted.

Additional Features

Color-coding fever alerts, emojis, backlit displays, and other additional features come in handy for families, though they aren't all necessary. For families who travel often, check to see if the thermometer includes a storage bag for simple portability. An app can help you see any trends in baby’s temperature, while a backlit display comes in handy during middle-of-the-night changes or thermometer readings.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What type of thermometer is best for newborns?

    If you have to take the temperature of a newborn, it’s recommended to use a rectal thermometer. A rectal reading is the most accurate reading for children under the age of 3 years old but specifically babies 3 months old or younger. Dr. Amin says her favorite is the Vicks SpeedRead Thermometer (view on buybuybaby).

    “It is a digital thermometer and registers the temperature quickly. I always have two in my house; just in case one stops working. To check a rectal temperature, put a little Vaseline on the tip and insert it into the rectum,” she recommends. But because some parents aren’t comfortable using the rectal method when their child is a toddler, Dr. Amin’s next recommendation would be a (contact) forehead thermometer for children over age 1.

  • When should you take a baby's temperature?

    If you notice your baby acting differently or appearing “off,” consider checking their temperature via touch and thermometer. “Tactile temps (using your touch) can be a good gauge, but it’s also important to confirm with a thermometer reading. If your baby feels warm and is acting off (more sluggish, more sleepy, not feeding well, not acting at their baseline); it’s a good idea to check their temperature,” Dr. Amin tells Verywell Family. “For younger babies, check the back of their neck for warmth. If they feel warm and sweaty on the back of their neck, and their feeding and/or behavior is off; confirm they are not spiking a temperature."

  • What is a baby's normal temperature?

    A baby’s normal temperature is similar to the average temperature of 98.6 degrees for adults, but it really varies per child. Plus, a temperature above 98.6 degrees doesn’t necessarily mean the baby's temperature is concerning.

    “[W]e know that a temperature above 100.4 is considered a fever in any person. By textbook, the average normal temperature is 98.6 degrees. But, that doesn’t mean that a temperature of 99 is a cause for concern. Babies' temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day,” Dr. Amin clarifies.

  • What should you do if your baby has a fever?

    Fevers can be an alarming ordeal for parents and caregivers. Knowing what to do if your baby has a fever can give you peace of mind and prepare you for the next time, especially if they’re a newborn with a fever. “If your baby is under 1 month of age, they need to be seen immediately in a hospital,” Dr. Amin says. “If they are between 1 month to 2 months and have a fever, speak to your child’s clinician or their staff. Your baby will likely need to be evaluated in the office or a hospital, depending on their symptoms.”

    Babies under the age of 1 month with a confirmed fever may need to give a urine sample, bloodwork, or undergo a lumbar puncture to ensure a bacterial infection isn’t present, Dr. Amin says. “If they are showing any signs of congestion or cough, they may also need a viral swab to confirm if the cause is able to be a documented virus.”

    For babies over the age of 1 month, talk to your child’s pediatrician or their staff. “They will want to know what symptoms your baby has, any sick contacts, how they are feeding, and how many wet diapers they are making,” Dr. Amin says. “If they’re doing well, they will ask you to come in at the next available appointment or give you some things to monitor.”

    Fevers present for more than five days, even if the baby acts well, should be evaluated by a doctor, Dr. Amin recommends. “Overall, it’s how your baby is appearing clinically that is more concerning than the number on the thermometer,” she says. “Having a good thermometer can be helpful for monitoring the duration of a fever, but we are more concerned with how your child is acting than the number.”

Why Trust Verywell Family

Katrina Cossey has been a digital content producer and news and feature writer for more than six years. She has covered topics ranging from local and national news as well as writing and researching parenting content. Katrina is a parent herself and owns the iProven Digital Thermometer. She loves the color-coded warning system for fevers, but has trouble getting an accurate reading on her always-moving toddler.

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4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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