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The best infrared thermometers in 2022

Best infrared thermometer
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best infrared thermometers let you take someone's temperature from a safe distance. That protects you if they have an infection. It means you can quickly test a group of people. And it’s a lot less personal and invasive than traditional methods of taking people's temperature.

An infrared thermometer works a bit like a single-pixel infrared camera, measuring infrared radiation from an object. Like cameras, there are a variety of features and prices, suited to different applications (if you want more pixels, check out our guide to the best thermal imaging cameras.)

As well as people, infrared thermometers are also good for testing the temperature of objects. A non-contact thermometer, aka pyrometer, can be used to measure the temperature of things you don’t want to touch, such as industrial freezers, cooking pots, kilns, and running engines. Note, though, that industrial thermometers have a much wider measurement range than medical thermometers, so they won't be accurate enough for using on people's bodies.

In this article, we look at the best infrared thermometers for both purposes. We'll look at the best infrared thermometers for medical use first, before moving onto the best infrared thermometers for industrial use

The best infrared thermometers for medical use

(Image credit: iHealth)
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1. iHealth PT-3 Forehead Thermometer

The best infrared thermometer for simplicity

Specifications

Time to reading: 1 sec
Accurate range: 15℃-42.9℃ (59℉-104℉)
Accuracy margin: +/- 0.4˚C (0.3˚C in medical range)
Distance: 3cm/1-inch max

Reasons to buy

+
Ambient sensors boost accuracy
+
Easy to use
+
Gorgeous design

Reasons to avoid

-
You need to get quite close 

Looking for something simple? Here's elegant and popular choice, with a single button for a read out. Directed at the centre of the forehead from about 2cm away (just under an inch), you can get an accurate reading and – unlike many rivals – without an annoying confirmation beep. 

In a market swamped with just-good-enough packaging, it’s nice to find a quality document reminding you how best to use this kind of thermometer – specifically to measure the centre of the forehead, just above the nose, when dry. Sweat, even from a good cry, alters the texture of the skin which affects the measurement. The system algorithmically combines data from 100 readings plus a distance measure and an ambient temperature thermometer – all of which boosts confidence in the reading. This thermometer is powered by two AAA batteries, which are included.

(Image credit: GE )
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2. GE Trucheck TM3000

The best infrared thermometer for screening programs

Specifications

Time to reading: 1 sec
Accurate range: 32℃-43℃ (89℉-109℉)
Accuracy margin: +/- 0.4˚C (0.3˚C in medical range)
Distance: 3cm/1-inch max

Reasons to buy

+
Ambient sensors boost accuracy
+
Body and surface modes
+
Mute function

Reasons to avoid

-
Need to get quite close 

The GE Trucheck isn’t the cheapest digital thermometer. But it comes from a brand associated with reassuring quantity of medical equipment, so you are getting a high quality product. 

In their explanatory video, GE aren’t shy about the 30 second wait between use, or the potentially more frustratingly 30 minute wait you should observe when moving from one room to another (to allow the Trucheck to adapt to the ambient temperature). That said, the fact they're putting this limitation front and centre, rather than drowning us in marketing speak, feels reassuringly sincere.

Parents will appreciate that there is a mute option for taking the temperature of sleeping infants, and a surface check option for checking things like the temperature of a milk bottle. These modes are cycled through with a single key; the other steps back through the last 10 readings. 

(Image credit: Withings)
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3. Withings Thermo

The best infrared thermometer with app support

Specifications

Time to reading: 0.5 sec
Accurate range: 35.5-42˚C (95.9-107.6˚F)
Accuracy margin: +/- 0.2˚C (Medical)
Distance: 1cm (0.4in)

Reasons to buy

+
Brilliant software
+
Swipe-to-touch display

Reasons to avoid

-
You need to get close 
-
Only 8 profiles

A Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connected smart thermometer, the Withings Thermo doesn't just take accurate readings from the arteries in the forehead; it records them too. The 20 x 5 pixel LED display looks futuristic, and it doesn’t just show the read out; you can swipe up to select the family member. Oddly, the app is limited to eight profiles, but at least that’s enough for most families.

There is a memory on-board for up to 32 readings, which can be transferred to an Android or iOS device. And, thanks to the Wi-Fi, distance is less of an issue than with Bluetooth-only devices. The real advantage of this system, though, is the ability to record measurements to pass on to health professionals. US citizens can offset the high cost via FSA health plans without prescription.

(Image credit: Extech)
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4. Extech IR200 non-contact forehead thermometer

The best infrared thermometer for reducing your risk

Specifications

Time to reading: 0.5 sec
Accurate range: 2.0 to 42.5°C (89.6-108.5˚F)
Accuracy margin: +/- 0.5˚F, +/- 0.3˚C (Medical)
Distance: 5 to 15cm (1.9-Inch to 5.9-Inch)

Reasons to buy

+
Simple, pistol-type control
+
Fast readings
+
Measures from up to 15cm away from subject
+
32-reading memory

Reasons to avoid

-
Bulky for the home user

This is a great infrared thermometer for measuring the temperature of groups of people, such as students or colleagues. Extech is a subsidiary of FLIR, which is the biggest name in thermal imaging, which should give some reassurance as to the quality of this product. The pistol-like design means that it is easy to use, and with a measuring range of up to 5.9in away (five times that on most pistol-grip thermometers), there is a greatly reduced risk of actually touching the person's forehead or transmitting infections. It has big button controls, and a simple-to-read display, and promises accurate readings in just 0.5 seconds. 

(Image credit: Braun)
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5. Braun Thermoscan 7

The best in-ear infrared thermometer

Specifications

Time to reading: 1 sec
Accurate range: 35.5 - 42˚C (95.9 - 107.6˚F)
Accuracy margin: +/- 0.15˚C (Medical)
Distance: 3cm/1-inch max

Reasons to buy

+
Accurate readings
+
Easy-to-use fever warning 

Reasons to avoid

-
Disposable probe guards need  replacing

This infrared thermometer uses an in-ear measuring technique, which does mean you will have to get in close to the person. But by pressing the probe into the ear, using a disposable plastic guard, you can push the accuracy of the measurement to +/- 0.15˚C. There are 21 probe guards in the box, and 50 compatible ones cost about the same as a large latte (or rather more if you want Braun own-brand ones). 

This thermometer also uses Braun’s “Age Precision” technology to remind you what is a ‘safe’ temperature: tap the button to cycle through ‘0-3 months’ ‘3-36 months’ and ‘over 36 months’ and, when you take a reading, you’ll get a color-coded backlight (green for OK, yellow for ‘elevated’ or ‘red’ for high. Especially with young kids it’s helpful to be reminded of when to worry and when not to! 

(Image credit: iProven)
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6. iProven DMT-978

A good choice for large groups

Specifications

Time to reading: 1 sec
Accurate range: 35.5 - 42˚C (95.9 - 107.6˚F)
Accuracy margin: +/- 0.5˚C
Distance: 5cm/2-inch max

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to take measurement
+
Good for large groups
+
Audio and visual warnings

Reasons to avoid

-
Lens needs cleaning

Simple but effective, and easy to grip, the IR200 stores up to 32 readings and so is a good choice to monitor groups such as a school class. A large backlit LCD display makes monitoring and recording temperatures quick and easy, and an adjustable alarm alerts you visually and audibly when the temperature exceeds the programmed limit. It offers a body temperature accuracy of ±0.3 degree Celsius/0.5 degree Fahrenheit.

(Image credit: Gekka)
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7. Infrared Wall-Mounted Forehead Thermometer

The best infrared thermometer that's wall-mounted

Specifications

Time to reading: 0.5 sec
Accurate range: -32 to 43˚C (-89.6 to 109.4˚F)
Accuracy margin: +/- 0.2˚C
Distance: 5-10cm (2-4in)

Reasons to buy

+
Great for offices and shops 
+
Better range than a handheld
+
Big display

Reasons to avoid

-
Not portable

For cafes, stores and offices, a wall-mounted digital thermometer is an ideal solution. It means you can directed people to take their own temperature with a polite sign, rather than have to do it for them. 

Here's the best infrared thermometer of this type. While normal temperatures are met with a green light, there is a ‘fever alarm’ with beep-beep sound and red light.  That might seem a little unsubtle, but otherwise operation is relatively painless.

This thermometer can be powered by USB-C lead, and one charge should last up to a week. Wall mounting is as simple as hanging on a nail or hook, though you might wish to take a little more care to prevent theft. The biggest challenge is choosing the right hanging height, especially if some of your visitors are children.

Best infrared thermometers for industrial use

(Image credit: BTMeter)
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8. BTMeter BT-1500

The best infrared thermometer for high temperatures

Specifications

Time to reading: 0.25 sec
Accurate range: -50˚C to 1500˚C (-56˚F to 2,738˚F)
Accuracy margin: +/- 2%
Distance spot ratio: 30:1

Reasons to buy

+
Great for industrial applications
+
Huge temperature range
+
Accurate at distance

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for medical use

The wide temperature range of this thermometer gun makes it suitable for a huge number of applications, from checking the surface temperature of a pizza in the oven through automotive to HVAC. The dual laser beams help target the right spot and mean you can get a reading at a safe distance, even in a furness or kiln. A case and battery are both included. 

Professionals will also appreciate the Emissivity adjustment. The reflective properties of different materials affect IR thermometers, but experienced pros will find the ‘E’ toggle easy to use, as well as appreciating the ability to set max and minimum warnings. The LCD is adequate, too, though contrast could be better. Note that, like all industrial thermometers, it's not accurate enough for use on humans.

(Image credit: Etekcity)
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10. Etekcity Lasergrip 800

The best pistol-grip ABS IR thermometer

Specifications

Time to reading: under 0.5 sec
Accurate range: -50 to 750˚C (-58 to 1382˚F)
Accuracy margin: +/- 0.1˚C(+/- 2%)
Distance spot ratio: 16:1

Reasons to buy

+
Accessibly priced
+
Useful tool for numerous tasks
+
Laser pointer for easy aim

Reasons to avoid

-
Fixed emissivity
-
Not suitable for medical use

Ideal for use in electrical troubleshooting, HVAC, automotive and cooking and baking, this is an affordable IR thermometer which still boasts some of the features of pricier rivals. 

You can take a continuous reading by holding the ‘trigger,’ or release to lock the result on screen, and the IR pointer will always make it easy to see where you’re getting your reading from. While it’s a simple button press to flick from Celsius to Fahrenheit, the Emissivity is fixed at 0.95, and the accuracy is not medical grade. 

As long as you work with that understanding – and can stay around 36cm / 14 inches from your subject – you’ll still be able to, for example, check the surface temperature and cook the perfect steak, or locate problems areas with your home’s insulation that, once fixed, could save you more than the price of entry in heating bills! The 9V battery is given a good life thanks to the seven-second auto shutdown.

(Image credit: Amazon)
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10. AmazonCommercial DT-827V

The best multipurpose IR thermometer

Specifications

Time to reading: 0.15 sec
Accurate range: -50 to 760˚C (-58 to 1400˚F)
Accuracy margin: +/- 2˚C(+/- 2%)
Distance spot ratio: 12:1

Reasons to buy

+
Backlit reverse LCD is easy to read
+
Dual lasers
+
Adjustable emissivity

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for medical use
-
Needs 9V battery

AmazonCommercial’s play for the practical tool market means you’re getting a lot of pistol-grip thermometer for a very limited investment. This system boasts not one but two laser-pointer style beams which are pointed so that – as you get the pistol at the right distance for the best possible measurement – they appear to converge. 

The sensor is also faster than some, with a 150ms response time, with the ability to adjust the emissivity from 0.1 to 1 so you can work with different surfaces. Temperature scales can be changed too, of course, but that is common; many thermometers are fixed to a certain surface reflectivity (typically 0.95), making them less flexible. The reverse LCD display with backlight makes reading easier than some, too. We wonder, though, why Amazon isn't mixing things up a bit and using a more modern battery than the 9V.

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With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 


Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 


He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones (opens in new tab), The Smart Smart Home Handbook (opens in new tab), 101 Tips for DSLR Video (opens in new tab) and The Drone Pilot's Handbook (opens in new tab)

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