Best Infrared Thermometer

The best infrared thermometer to detect fevers and body temperature is the iHealth Forehead Infrared Thermometer. It’s one of the easiest to use medical infrared thermometers, accurate, includes a large clear LCD screen and quick 1 second read time.

To find the best infrared thermometer we looked at speed and accuracy of readouts, ease of use, and value for the money to bring you the top performing and best value handheld touchless thermometers. Touchless, infrared thermometers are convenient and safe, able to give precise readouts in just seconds. That said, during our evaluation we considered different types of infrared thermometers: medical infrared thermometers for human body temperature, veterinary infrared thermometers for body temperature in other animals, industrial and handyman’s infrared thermometers for machinery and pipes, and we’ve even considered who makes the best infrared thermometer for pizza ovens. Keep reading to learn about the iHealth and our other top picks.

Top 4 Best Infrared Thermometers

 #1  iHealth Forehead Thermometer

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: This FDA and CE-approved infrared thermometer for home use uses three sensors to ensure quick and accurate readings that you can count on.

Pros
  • Clear, easy to read LCD screen
  • Vibration alerts
  • Simple, one button operation
Cons
  • Fewer features than some smart-device compatible infrared thermometers
  • Limited temperature range for objects or ambient temp readings

This infrared thermometer is CE and FDA cleared for safety and is among the leading recommended home use infrared thermometers for humans. It offers non contact body temperature readings in as little as 1 second, using a combination of three high speed sensors. It promises accuracy of +/- .4º F.

It’s simple and easy to use as well, with a one-button function and a setting that allows you to switch easily between F and C settings. It doesn’t pair with smart devices unfortunately and it uses AAA batteries, which are said to last up to 3000 readings.  If you’re also looking to boost your activity level, take a look at the best running watches. To do this safely, it may be smart to also look into the best heart rate monitor.

 #2  Metene Forehead-Thermometer Infrared Thermometer

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: This infrared thermometer uses three sensors to compensate for ambient temperature and claims clinical repeatability of measurements to within 0.5º F.

Pros
  • Best forInfrared thermometer for adults, children or infants
  • Accuracy to within .2º and repeatability of .5º
  • 1 second reading
Cons
  • White on white LCD can be hard to read
  • Less temperature and use range
  • Requires contact

There are two main modes of use for this home medical infrared thermometer, ear and forehead. Using the ear canal it can give a reading in under 1 second that promises .2º accuracy and clinically validated repeatability. Forehead contact measurement is nearly as accurate and just as repeatable.

The Metene infrared body thermometer is among the best quick-reading digital thermometers you can buy for home use, and it benefits from a simple, intuitive user interface with a large backlit LCD screen. However, the screen’s white-on-white display can be somewhat hard to read in bright light. It’s powered by 2 AAA batteries and the batteries are included.  If you’re looking for a humidifier, you may want to also look at the best baby humidifier.

 #3  Cocobear Medical Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer

Award: BEST QUALITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: This convenient home medical infrared thermometer provides a non contact way to quickly measure body temperature in adults and children and promises accuracy of +/- .1º C. It also features an easy to read LCD screen and a memory function.

Pros
  • Easiest to of Use
  • Gives temperature readout in just 1 second
  • Non contact infrared thermometer for humans
Cons
  • More expensive than a regular digital thermometer
  • Limited feature content compared to some infrared thermometers

With a simple, ergonomic design, an easy-to-read backlit LCD and easy conversion between F and C, this is a solid choice for those looking for the best infrared thermometer for body temperature to use at home on adults, kids and babies. It can measure human body temperature from a distance of a few cm from the forehead, and gives a readout that promises accuracy of +/- just 0.1º C, which is a smaller margin of error than most mercury thermometers. It requires 2 AAA batteries, but fortunately it ships with batteries included.

As with our other recommendations for the best infrared thermometer for humans, this one has the key advantage of allowing a no contact first line fever assessment. While it lacks some of the features like memory and fever chart functions, that you can find on other medical infrared thermometers, it does provide handy ambient temperature and surface temp modes. A great no-contact digital infrared thermometer you can find on Amazon.com is the Sovarcate Digital Laser Temperature Gun with Color Display. It has a temperature range of (-58 to 1112°F) and emissivity adjustable range of 0.1-1.0 (pre-set 0.95) and is intended to measure the internal temperature of meat, ice, plastics, steel, etc. If you’re looking for additional medical equipment, you might be interested in the best body fat monitor too.

 #4  Testo 0560 1805 805I Smart and Wireless Probe Infrared Thermometer

Award: BEST SMART DEVICE

WHY WE LIKE IT: This smart infrared thermometer uses a laser pattern to ensure excellent accuracy and offers a great smart app that lets you save and log readings.

Pros
  • Great infrared thermometer for HVAC
  • Logs readings using your mobile phone
  • Compact and convenient to carry
Cons
  • Smaller distance to spot ratio than the Etekcity Lasergrip 1080
  • More expensive than most consumer infrared thermometers

While it’s more pricey than some competitors, this ultra compact pen shaped digital laser infrared thermometer offers some unique functionality thanks to its ability to work with a smart phone app and synch up with other Testo products. Thus you can save your temperature and humidity and leak detector readings in the same place.

This infrared thermometer features a 10:1 distance to spot ratio and has a range of up to several feet when measuring larger areas. It works well for HVAC applications, electronics and DIY automotive work, such as checking air inlet, brake rotor or tire temperatures. The Raytek Ranger ST20 Infrared Thermometer is another purchase worth considering, since it has a compact design, offers accurate readings, and is used by professionals. It requires no contact, has a user-selectable temperature range of -25 to 999°F, has a D:S ratio of 12:1 in order to detect the amount of thermal electromagnetic radiation emitted from the target. If you need to make your home more accessible, take a look at some of these best patient lifts.

How We Decided

In order to bring you the best infrared thermometers for a variety of use cases, we focused on accuracy, durability and reliability of measurement.

For selecting among infrared thermometers for human body temperature measurement we looked for models that had a reading time of 1.5 seconds or less and a .5º or smaller margin of error. While with home use infrared thermometers, medical diagnostic grade accuracy may not always be possible, they still provide useful first line info and the best infrared body thermometers are as accurate as traditional mercury thermometers.

We also took into consideration battery type and life, giving preference to infrared thermometers that use easy to find AAA batteries or include rechargeable Li-ion batteries. Smart device compatibility and memory functions were a bonus.

For our picks for the best infrared thermometer in all categories, features like emissivity adjustment and dual laser sights were a bonus.

Best Infrared Thermometer Buyer’s Guide

Features to Consider

  1. Temperature Range
    Infrared thermometers are optimized to read certain temperature ranges, and depending on your intended use, this can be the deciding factor in which product is the best infrared thermometer for you. If you’re looking for the best infrared thermometer for pizza ovens, for example, you’ll want one that has accuracy up to at least 800º F. HVAC repair work, on the other hand, will require more sensitivity in the 40-120º F range. And if you’re looking for the best infrared thermometer for human body temperature measurement, a range of just 10-12ºF, or from around 94-106º F is all you’ll need, but you’ll want much greater precision than you get with industrial infrared thermometers.
  2. Sensitivity
    Along those lines, the sensitivity you’ll need depends on what you’re using it for. The best infrared thermometer for humans, for example, will have a precision of less than .1º margin of error. If you’re looking to measure heat build up on your car’s tires, however, an error of +/- 2% or several tens of degrees is perfectly acceptable.
  3. Distance to Spot Ratio
    This refers to the ratio of the distance at which you can measure a surface and the area of the surface the infrared thermometer will measure. For medical infrared thermometers, a ratio close to 1:1 may suffice, as they are typically held within a few centimeters of the forehead or ear. If you’re looking for the best infrared thermometer for pizza oven, auto repair or water heater work, however, you’ll want a much higher ratio so you can measure surface temp from a comfortable distance.
  4. Emissivity
    Emissivity refers to the ability of an object or material to emit infrared energy, which IR thermometers use to measure the temperature of an object. Emissivity values range from 0, for a perfectly reflective surface, to 1.0 for a perfectly absorbing surface. So, a shiny mirror or piece of foil would be close to zero, while a matte black insulating box would be close to 1.0. Most everyday objects and surfaces have emissivity values near .95, and for this reason many simpler IR thermometers have a fixed emissivity calibration at .95. If, however, you measure very differently reflective objects–think a brake disc versus a tire– you might want to look into an infrared thermometer with user-adjustable emissivity calibration.

Infrared Thermometer FAQs

What is the most accurate infrared thermometer?

It depends on the application. Industrial infrared thermometers typically have a trade off between precision and range, so if you want to measure the temp of a pizza oven, an accuracy of 2-3% is generally sufficient, whereas if you’re looking for the best infrared thermometer for humans, an accuracy of within .5º or less than .5% is necessary.

Are infrared thermometers any good?

Infrared thermometers are accurate, reliable and have a variety of uses which they’re well suited to. A non contact infrared thermometer allows you to measure the temperatures of very hot objects without risking burns or equipment damage, for example. Medical infrared thermometers let you measure human body temperature more quickly and with less risk of contact with infectious fluids or particles than do traditional mercury thermometers.

How do I choose an infrared thermometer?

Decide what sort of tasks you need it for, and then look for temperature range, emissivity adjustment if needed, and accuracy. If you’re looking for the best infrared thermometer for body temperature, accuracy and reliability are important, while range is less so.

What is an infrared thermometer best used for?

There are several applications that rely heavily on infrared thermometers. Medical infrared thermometers are used to help minimize contact with potentially contagious patients, while ensuring an accurate temperature reading, for example. Industrial and mechanic infrared thermometers are an all but essential piece of equipment for HVAC work. They also help with diagnostics for auto repair and utility repair, letting you check the temperature of components quickly and reliably, even if you can’t reach them.

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Ryan Mcbride

Ryan McBride is a writer based in Los Angeles. He has contributed work to magazines and sites including Gayot, Spy, Paper, Ladygunn, 3AM and the Crab Creek Review. He writes consumer reviews, essays, science and tech journalism as well as literary and art criticism.

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