A good clinical thermometer should be a must in every household. GIGA shows the most reliable and popular rectal, oral and armpit thermometers.
A clinical thermometer cannot heal, but it is still an indispensable tool for suspected or already existing illnesses. Regular measurement of body temperature provides objective readings and is more helpful than a subjective feeling about one’s own state of health. In babies and toddlers, parents are responsible for ensuring that their condition is correct. According to the recommendation of the health portal of German pharmacists, a clinical thermometer is part of the “basic equipment” in the household.
Medical thermometer: formerly mercury, today digital and smart
So-called expansion thermometers with toxic mercury were previously widespread and have not been sold in Europe for over ten years. If you still have such a copy at home and want to get rid of it, you should hand it in to recycling centers with a pollutant collection point, as it is hazardous waste.
Nowadays, predominantly digital clinical thermometers used where an electronic sensor is responsible for temperature measurement. There are three types:
- Contact thermometer: Need physical contact, measure the temperature orally (in the mouth) or rectally (in the anus).
- Ear thermometer: Are held briefly in the ear canal. Measure the heat radiation from the eardrum.
- Contactless thermometer: Measure the body’s heat radiation from a few centimeters away.
The Price range for clinical thermometers is great. Usable models are available for 3-10 euros. For high-end thermometers with app and recording function, up to 100 euros are due. Due to the Corona crisis However, there are occasionally exorbitantly high prices at which a provider tries to profit from the current situation. GIGA editor Stefan used research in specialist journals for this overview. Fever thermometers will be presented that have received special praise from the press and customers and are therefore recommended for purchase.
Clinical thermometer bestseller at Amazon: Beurer FT 13
- Flexible measuring tip
- Fever alarm
- Readiness for use is signaled by a cryptic “Lo” on the display
The constantly updated bestseller list “Rectal, Oral & Axis Thermometers” at Amazon provides good information on recommended thermometers. The contact thermometer has been at the top for some time Beurer FT 13. The customer rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars, with over 500 reviews submitted.
A practical feature is the flexible measuring tip, which is supposed to facilitate measurements in the mouth or anus. The message “Lo” on the display could be a little irritating: It means that the clinical thermometer is ready for use (see operating instructions). From a body temperature of 37.8 ° C, the Beurer Ft 13 emits a warning tone.
Medical thermometer bestseller at Otto: Braun ThermoScan 5 IRT6020
- Fast and pleasant infrared measurement
- Hygienic protective covers
- With very high fever values imprecise
The Braun ThermoScan 5 topped the bestseller list of thermometers at Germany’s second largest online retailer Otto at the beginning of the year. It is an infrared ear thermometer, the Otto customers expressed almost entirely positive about it. The handling was classified as “easy”. However, according to the Stiftung Warentest, it measures “only up to 40 degrees precisely”, and above that “it became less precise”.
The disposable protective caps for the Braun ThermoScan 5 are hygienic, but also generate garbage and other costs. 40 replacement caps can be found in stores for around 6 euros:
Test winner contactless clinical thermometer: Nokia Thermo (Withings Thermo)
- Fast and accurate
- No skin contact
- Extensive smart functions via mobile phone app
- Relatively expensive
- Cannot be set up in 5 GHz WLANs
The magazine TESTBild (edition 01/2018, also available from Readly) has tested 15 clinical thermometers, including models that work without contact. The test winner in this category with the grade “good” (2.4) is the “Nokia Thermo”, which can also be found in stores as “Withings Thermo”. Reason for the different names: Nokia sold its health division to the Withings company in 2018.
The Nokia / Withings Thermo measures an exact value in three seconds – without skin contact. To do this, move it along the forehead with a little distance (measurement on the temporal artery). At almost 100 euros, the model is extremely expensive, but it can set itself apart from conventional clinical thermometers with numerous useful functions. One of these is synchronization via WLAN, in which the recorded measured values are stored in the associated app (iOS and Android). The health protocol for up to 8 users can be helpful when visiting a doctor.
The manufacturer’s video shows how to set up the Withings Thermo and compare the data with the app:
Winner at Stiftung Warentest: Hartmann Thermoval Rapid and Scala SC37T
Update from August 6th, 2020: The Thermoval Rapid Scala SC37T models have been hard to come by for months.
- Very good measurement accuracy
- Body contact required, measuring time 11 seconds (Hartmann) or 31 seconds (Scala)
The last extensive clinical thermometer test by Stiftung Warentest was several years ago. In the 09/2008 edition, 18 models of different designs had to prove themselves. Two of them achieved the best result with the grade “good” (1.9): Das Hartmann Thermoval Rapid and the Scala SC37T – Both are contact thermometers. Both can still be found in stores today at prices below 5 euros. The measurement accuracy is “very good” for both models, according to the Stiftung Warentest. Disadvantages are not mentioned – at most, the measurement time of 31 seconds for the Scala SC37T could be a bit too long for some restless toddlers.
Buying a clinical thermometer: what you should know
Where is the best place to measure fever?
In the case of contact thermometers, the correct measuring point on the body is decisive, which together with a sufficient measuring time leads to a correct measured value. “The most reliable is rectal measurement in the anus. The temperature under the tongue is 0.3 to 0.5 degrees lower, measurements under the armpits or on other skin areas are unreliable, ”says Dr. Wesiack, specialist for internal medicine in Hamburg, opposite T-Online.
Measuring the temperature in children is a particular challenge, as they can take an oral measurement “only breathe through the nose for a few minutes, do not open the mouth and do not bite the thermometer”, as the professional association of pediatricians e. V. notes.
Infrared thermometers for the ear can make it easier for children to measure, but parents must make sure that they target the eardrum and that there is no faulty measurement due to ear wax (see “Pediatric Diseases from A to Z” by DDr.med. Peter Voitl).
When does one have a fever?
The professional association of German internists e. V. names the following temperature values (measured in degrees Celsius) to determine fever:
- 36.5 ° C – 37.4 ° C: normal temperature
- 37.5 ° C – 38.0 ° C: Subfebrile temperature (“elevated temperature”, no fever yet)
- 38.1 ° C – 38.5 ° C: Slight fever
- 38.6 ° C – 39.0 ° C: Moderate fever
- 39.1 ° C – 39.9 ° C: High fever
- 40.0 ° C – 42.0 ° C: Very high fever
Note on our own behalf
Fever is a serious phenomenon that affects the aspect of health. GIGA cannot give any professional advice here, but only provide an overview of currently available clinical thermometers that can help in recording the state of health. In the event of serious symptoms of fever or other symptoms, it is absolutely advisable to seek medical advice.