The Best Baby Thermometer – Which is easiest and most accurate?

by Amy A. Sylvestre - Last Updated: March 5, 2018

After many hours of research, I have concluded that my overall favorite thermometer for at-home use is the ENJI Family Digital Thermometer. You cannot beat the price. It works for every stage of your baby’s life from being a newborn to infancy to childhood and then to adulthood.  It can read body temperatures in three different ways: orally, rectally, and under the armpit. It is a premium thermometer that is reliable, well-priced, and easy to use.

Our Top 5 Choices for Best Baby Thermometer

ENJI Family Digital Thermometer

 This quality digital medical thermometer is wonderful for you the whole family.  The ENJI brand is trusted by doctors’ offices and hospitals. 

It can be used orally for children four years old and older.  You can also use it to read a temperature by holding it under the armpit for a few seconds. For your newborns and infants up to three months of age, you will be pleased that this same thermometer can be used to take rectal temperatures.  In less than twenty seconds, you will have a precise reading.  You can set the ENJI thermometer to read in Celcius or Fahrenheit. It is also waterproof for easy cleaning.  You can keep it sanitary with the included plastic case. 

In addition to the free and useful “Home Remedies E-book, it also comes with a one-year warranty and 100% money back guarantee. The complimentary book offers helpful home remedy solutions to help heal common ailments like an upset stomach, bug bites, runny noses, and headaches.

I love this thermometer for its ease of use, different reading modes, price point, and simplicity. In my opinion, it is the best bang for your buck when it comes to purchasing thermometers for your family.

Safety First Rectal Thermometer

The Safety 1st Gentle Read Rectal Thermometer is one of our top picks because is simple to use, easy to clean, and gives quick, accurate readings.

It is also very reasonably priced and gives a fast reading in just five or so seconds. It is easy to wash and keep clean compared to some other rectal thermometers. To protect your baby, it has a flexible tip and a safety guard to prevent over insertion that would be painful and dangerous to your little one.  The thick handle is nice because it is easy to hold in place with just one hand so you can also keep a safe grip on your baby.

The simplicity of this rectal thermometer is nice because it is very simply made with no extra confusing settings. It simply turns on and off, then will beep when complete giving an accurate reading of your baby’s temperature.  It is also helpful that it will recall the last reading and comes with a replaceable long-lasting battery. You can read it in Celsius or Fahrenheit.

To use this thermometer, you simply remove the protective cover, use a water-based lubricate, press the “on” button, when the “L” appears on the digital display, slowly insert the lubricated tip into the baby’s rectum. You can remove it when it beeps to read the thermometer. Be sure to clean the rectal thermometer with rubbing alcohol.

I love the Safety First Rectal Thermometer because is great for newborns and infants. It is made with a flexible tip so that your baby is not harmed in any way.  I appreciate this thermometer for its simplicity and accuracy. It is also extremely well-priced for all that you are getting with this thermometer.

Kinsa Smart Stick Digital Thermometer

If you are looking for a super smart, techie thermometer, this is the one for you. The Kinsa Thermometer is pediatrician-recommended because of its accuracy and reliability.

The features of the Kinsa are undeniably unique and helpful. You simply plug it into your smartphone and the reading is ready in seconds. It is compatible with all iPhones 4 and up as well as all major Android devices.  Because there are no batteries that can die, the Kinsa could be the last thermometer you will need to buy for your family.  This smart thermometer is versatile and takes accurate oral, rectal and underarm temperature readings. I like that it keeps each family member’s health details on your phone for your reference or to share with your doctor.

The Kinsa’s app is free and offers helpful advice for moms and dads, plus a cute bubble popping game to occupy your baby while waiting for the temperature to read. It suggests next steps based on the temperature reading.  It also records fevers and other symptoms.  If you want, you can log any medication given to reference later.  It is nice that you can use this thermometer with an infant for accurate rectal readings but also for your older children and yourself as an oral or underarm thermometer. 

The battery-free design means it always ready to be used and you do not have to worry about batteries dying or corroding. The Bump gave this thermometer the Parent & Tech Award.

I love this thermometer because it is a high-tech, next generation, smart thermometer. There will no need to find a piece of paper in the middle of the night to track your baby’s fever or the dosage of medicine given. At your fingertips, you will have all the necessary information to communicate to your medical provider simply by using your phone and free app. You may want a simple, no hassle thermometer in your home in addition to this smart version.

Babysitters, grandparents, and other adults who take care of your babies will likely not have the free app and the quick knowledge needed to use the Kinsa Smart Stick. But, for parents, the free app makes you well prepared for taking care of your baby with a fever. Considering all you are getting when you purchase the Kinsa Smart Stick, the cost of this thermometer is extremely reasonable and the price is actually lower than some thermometers with fewer features.

Vicks Baby Rectal Thermometer

The Vicks Baby Rectal Thermometer is specifically designed for measuring an accurate rectal temperature of your baby.  Rectal readings are vital for newborns and infants and this thermometer makes it easier for moms and dads.

For new parents, it can be a bit overwhelming to take a rectal temperature of a wiggling, potentially sick baby.  You want to be sure to not hurt the baby by placing the thermometer in too far.  Parents appreciate the Vicks because of the short probe. It guards against harming the baby by over inserting it. The design is compact and the grip ergonomic.

With your purchase, you will receive one digital thermometer with an included battery, a storage case, and one instruction manual. Your baby will appreciate that this thermometer is painless and reads quickly in around ten seconds. You will appreciate that it is accurate, easy to use, and that you will find out almost immediately if your baby has a fever that is high enough to be concerned. You will be able to see the reading easily because of the teal back-light.  It is also very easy to clean after each use.

I love the Vicks Baby Rectal Thermometer because of its design. It fits nicely in your hand and is great for both the parent and for the baby. It is clear that the designer thought about how to shape this thermometer to protect your little one while making it very simple for the parents.  Because it is designed for newborns and infants, this may be the thermometer you choose for those first few months at home with your new arrival.  It is reasonably priced but is slightly more than some of our other recommendations.


The Digital Medical iProven DMT-489 Thermometer

The iProven Medical Ear Thermometer is a consistent and reliable ear thermometer that also has a forehead function.  

The iProven is usable for all ages. It is great for parents with young children.  The easy back-light screen makes it easy to read during the night. This thermometer is also appropriate for adults which means if you no longer have a newborn, you will not need to purchase multiple thermometers for your home.

This thermometer is unique in that it has been clinically calibrated and tested for medical use. It is simply designed with just two buttons where you select head or ear depending on where you want to read body temperature. You can know that this is a reliable thermometer because it has been extensively tested and is also FDA approved. The iProven thermometer model is rated as top medical quality. You will appreciate that you do not have to wait for a self-test or to pre-warm the tip for accurate readings.

After just a second or two, a loud beep will notify you that the temperature reading is ready. You can decide to use the head mode to get a quick indication by holding the thermometer for just three seconds. The ear reading mode will give a result in just one click for an extremely fast reading. This is great to get a quick indication if your little one has a fever or not without upsetting him or her.

Conveniently, the last twenty readings can be recalled easily. It comes with a fever alarm.  There is also a one hundred day money back guarantee. Reviews say that the customer service is exceptional.

I love the iProven Digital Thermometer because it is top rated for medical use. It takes the worry out of taking accurate readings. Remember that this thermometer does not read rectally. If you suspect a fever with your newborn or infant under the age of three months, you will likely want to also have on hand a rectal thermometer that can confirm any readings from the iProven if a fever is suspected.  You will appreciate that this digital thermometer is reasonably priced. But, it is slightly more than some of the others on our top five list.

Considerations for Choosing a Baby Thermometer

Every family will likely experience fevers with their little ones from time to time.  It is important to have a trustworthy baby thermometer in your home to be able to determine how severe the fever as well as next steps to take.  Fevers can be particularly stressful with your babies and infants. They cannot tell you what is wrong and it can often happen during the night. To be able to accurately take your child’s temperature will put your mind at ease and let you determine what your baby needs at that moment.

It is very important to have a thermometer in your home that is easy to use and gives a quick reading. But, the most important factor is certainly an accurate reading.  Knowing the accurate temperature of your baby determines whether he needs medicine or if it is more serious and he needs medical attention. Experts say that for babies under three months of age, a temperature of 100.4°F or higher can be very dangerous.

When looking for a baby thermometer, keep in mind that you will likely need to use it when your baby is likely unhappy, cranky, and not feeling well. And as mentioned, it could even be in the middle of the night when both you and baby are tired and out of sorts. Simplicity may be helpful during these stressful moments.

As you consider buying a baby thermometer, look for one that is:

  1. Accurate
  2. Reads Quickly
  3. Appropriate for the age of your baby
  4. Has a long battery life
  5. Is easy to use

Thermometer Care

Using a thermometer is normally straightforward but there are a few things to keep in mind. Certainly, you want your baby to be safe when placing something in or on the body.

Be sure to keep your baby thermometer clean. No matter what kind of thermometer you use, be sure to keep it clean.  Some thermometers play double duty and work in the ear, rectum, armpit, and forehead. It is very important to sanitize after each use so that you will not reintroduce germs to your little one or to other family members. For most thermometers, you can use rubbing alcohol or simply warm water and soap to be sure it is sanitized. Some would advise designating each thermometer for just one use be it rectal, oral or underarm to avoid transferring any bacteria.  Either way, after every use, be sure you clean and sanitize your thermometer, dry it, and place any included cover over it.

Read all the instructions before taking your baby’s temperature. You have likely used a thermometer for yourself for years but before you use it to take your infant’s temperature, take the time to carefully read the included instructions. This will help eliminate inaccurate readings because of user-error.

Always attend your baby while taking a body temperature. It is very important to never leave your little one unattended while you are checking his or her temperature.

Check the battery life of your baby thermometer. Many thermometers come with long-lasting batteries. Some can be replaced and others only last the life of thermometer. It is important to make sure that your baby thermometer has working batteries before storing it away. This will save you when your baby suddenly feels warm and you go to retrieve the thermometer only to discover that the batteries are dead.  Keep an eye on the battery life at each use to prevent this from happening.

Types of Thermometers

There are many different types of thermometers available for your family. It is important that you select the appropriate thermometer based on your baby’s age.

  1. Rectal Thermometer
  2. Ear Thermometer
  3. Forehead Thermometer
  4. Oral Thermometer
  5. Pacifier Thermometer
  6. Auxillary or Armpit Thermometer

Rectal Thermometer

Many pediatricians recommend using a rectal thermometer for the first three months of your baby’s life.  They offer the most accurate reading and they are particularly helpful with infants because they cannot hold a thermometer in place in their mouths. As you already know, babies tend to move which make other types of thermometers, like the forehead option, more challenging than the rectal version.

It is very important to get an accurate temperature reading to make sure your baby is doing well and is not in danger. For certainty, start with a rectal thermometer for your newborn baby, the most accurate form of temperature measurement.

To use a rectal thermometer, be sure it is sanitized. Place your baby on his back. Gently bend her knees to her chest.  Turn on the thermometer and insert the tip into the rectum until the tip disappears. Be sure to hold the thermometer in place so it doesn’t slip if your baby moves. Most thermometers beep once your baby’s temperature is ready to be read. Slowly remove the thermometer and clean it. Some babies seem to be unphased by using a rectal thermometer while others truly hate it. Try using a lubricate like vaseline to make it more comfortable for your baby.

New moms and dads, you will likely want a rectal thermometer. As mentioned, many experts say that the most accurate way to get a baby’s temperature is through a rectal reading.

Ear Thermometer

While ear thermometers are quick, easy to use, and very popular, it not recommended to use them on babies younger than three months old because their ear canals are too small.  They are not as accurate as the rectal option because of possible earwax that can interfere with getting an inaccurate reading.

According to WebMD, ear thermometer readings were not as accurate when compared with rectal thermometer readings. If exact precision is required, ear thermometers are not always accurate enough for infants. They are certainly less precise than a rectal temperature reading.

For body temperature measurement, the infrared sensors are used to sense the temperature of the eardrum remotely.  The eardrum is sensitive and cannot be touch directly.  A thermopile is an infrared sensor and is often used in ear thermometers.

To use an ear thermometer, hold your child’s head still and gently place the tip of the thermometer in the ear without any force.  The tip should not touch the eardrum. Then, follow the specific instructions of your thermometer. Normally the thermometer will beep once it is ready to read.

Forehead Thermometer

Temporal artery (forehead) thermometers are excellent and very accurate. It is commonly used in doctor’s offices and hospitals. You may want to consider a forehead thermometer for your baby once it is over the age of three months.  If you use the forehead thermometer on your infant and suspect a fever, double-checking with a rectal thermometer is ideal.

Interestingly, forehead thermometers essentially determine temperature by reading the artery that is close to the surface of the skin in the forehead.

To use a forehead thermometer, you remove the protective end cap, put it in the center of your child’s forehead, and simply swipe the end of the thermometer gently across your baby or child’s forehead, and it should read the temperature accurately.

Oral Thermometer

An oral thermometer takes your temperature by securing it under the tongue which means it is not to be used for infants, babies or small children. Only use it with someone who is capable of holding the thermometer securely under the tongue until an accurate reading is given. Some say that oral thermometers are most suitable for children who older than four years because they are more likely to be able to keep the device firmly in their mouths.

Pacifier Thermometer

Pacifier thermometers are used to check the body temperature of babies or infants. Instead of irritating your baby like some types of thermometers, they help to measure the body temperature as they provide soothing comfort in a way that may be familiar to your precious little one.

As the thermometer is held in your baby’s mouth, the temperature is checked by your baby’s natural sucking instinct. The pacifier thermometer is safe for checking the body temperature of babies but some say they are not as accurate as rectal thermometer readings. When exact temperature measurements are not absolutely necessary, the pacifier thermometer seems to be a reasonable and much easier alternative for parents of older infants. Some reviews say that a pacifier thermometer takes a comparatively long time (three to five minutes) to get an accurate reading.

Axillary/Armpit Thermometer

Underarm thermometers are held tightly in place in the underarm to measure body temperature. It is necessary to hold the thermometer for several minutes to get an accurate measurement. Some say, as a good guide, to add one degree Celsius to the axillary temperature for a reading closer to the rectal temperature reading.   The armpit thermometer is known to be inferior to the rectal temperature but can help you if your little one has diarrhea or another sickness that will make it too uncomfortable to use a rectal thermometer. It may be a bit of a challenge when using an armpit thermometer if your baby will not stay still for the few minutes that is needed to take an accurate temperature reading.

When my infant son was hospitalized, the nurses always used armpit thermometers to check his temperature. To be cautious, they would confirm it with a rectal thermometer only if they were suspicious of a higher fever.

For an accurate armpit reading, you will need to undress your baby from the waist up.  Then cradle or sit your little on your lap. You can also lay your baby down if that works best.  Try to soothe your little one. Simply place the thermometer under the armpit and hold it there securely until the reading is ready. If you suspect a fever, you can confirm it with a rectal thermometer to determine next steps.

Our Review Process

We know that making decisions for your baby is extremely important. We also know that you will rely on the baby thermometer that you choose to guide you in caring for the health of your baby. Every home needs to be equipped with a thermometer that is appropriate for the age of the baby.

We have invested more than ten hours of research to help us make our top five selections.  Through many hours of reading reviews, we offer experienced advice so that you can make the best decision with accurate information.

To save you time, we have spent many hours sifting through professionals reviews as well as fellow parents’ first-hand opinions.  Our goal is to equip you with the same knowledge that we have discovered in less time.  Hopefully, you can easily and quickly find solutions for your baby without having to spend absorbent time reading reviews. After comparing many different opinions, it led us to these top five selections reviewed here.



It is never fun when you think that your baby might be sick. It can certainly be worrisome and even scary at times. All parents want quick answers to be able to find quick solutions. A reliable baby thermometer can take the guesswork out of the care of your little one.  Any of our top choices should meet your needs for your baby over three months of age. But, keep in mind our choices that are made specifically for rectal temperature readings.  Remember that it is recommended that a rectal thermometer is best and most accurate for newborns and infants under the age of three months.

My overall favorite is the ENJI Family Digital Thermometer because it is suited for your whole family, including your infant, and is very reasonably priced with a great money-back guarantee.

Amy A. Sylvestre
Amy is a writer, mom, and southerner living in the suburbs of Chicago. She has also worked for several large non-profit organizations. Amy is married to her hunky pilot husband, and they have two sons, Graham and Hudson. Graham is a hilarious, talkative, three and half year old. After a strong fight with congenital heart disease, Hudson passed away at eight months old. Amy is also in the process of growing her family through adoption. You can find Amy wrestling with God and motherhood on her blog at
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