One of the first sure signs of an oncoming illness is a fever, but it can be hard to tell whether you have one based on touch alone – that’s why it’s great to have a thermometer at home.
When I started shopping around I realised that most thermometers are marketed towards children, so it’s difficult to work out which are best for adult use.
There are two adults and three kids in my household so buying a child-only thermometer wasn’t an option – I wanted one that could be used for me and my husband, as well as the kids.
I’ve put together a round-up of the best in-ear thermometers for adults and given their best features, along with any extra information you may need at the end.
So whether you’re keeping track of an illness, or need to take your temperature every day for health reasons, these are the top three in-ear thermometers for adults:
Best In-Ear Thermometer for Adults in the UK
Braun Thermoscan 7 IRT6520 Thermometer
(Check Amazon’s Price)
This thermometer by Braun is often recommended and used by doctors, so you know that you’re getting a reliable product.
Braun are a respected brand and this is the one I eventually bought.
It has age precision technology to ensure that you are getting an accurate result every time and it is suitable for use on the whole family, just set the age range before taking a temperature.
One of my favourite features about this thermometer is that it has 9 temperature memories, meaning that you can easily keep track of any temperature changes over time, without having to write it down and risk losing it.
It also has a prewarmed tip, which is great as placing a cool tip within the ear can result in inaccurate readings, it also makes it more comfortable to use – no more yelping and flinching (and that’s the adults!).
When taking a reading, the display screen colour codes the reading according to the age range that you’ve set so you know immediately whether the person has a fever or not and you don’t have to cross-reference temperature charts.
The thermometer itself is made from BPA free materials and comes with a storage case so you can take it with you on the go, which is handy if you have an illness that requires you to constantly monitor your temperature.
- Age precision technology
- 9 temperature memories
- Prewarmed tip
- Backlit display with Night light for use in the dark
- Comes with storage case, 21 disposable probe covers and 2 AA batteries
- Temperature can be measured in both Celsius and Farenheit
- Once you’ve used all the tips, you have to buy more
- There is a loud beep when the thermometer is turned on that can’t be turned off
Best In-Ear Family Thermometer UK
Med Linket Digital Infrared Thermometer
(Check Amazon’s Price)
This thermometer by Med Linket is suitable for use by the whole family as it’s multi-purpose and can take temperatures from ears, foreheads and surfaces.
This is another good option for a thermometer if you just need one for the adults AND the kids.
Ear temperature readings should only be taken from the age of 3 months, so the forehead temperature feature can be used in babies under this age.
The ear temperature reader can be used for older children and adults as ear temperature readings tend to be more accurate.
A handy feature of this thermometer is that it can also be used to take temperatures from surfaces, so it’s a great way to see how hot your baby’s milk is before feeding them or the temperature of their bath water.
It can also be used to measure the ambient temperature of a room! Handy if you want to argue about whether to put the heating on…
The LED light will change colour depending on the temperature reading taken, green for normal, yellow for a low fever and red for a high fever – extra helpful for older adults who may have vision problems as they can just look at the colour displayed on the screen.
I also love that this thermometer has a silent mode, meaning that you can take the ear temperature of your sleeping children without the fear of waking everyone else up!
The thermometer itself is made from plastic and extremely lightweight, but that doesn’t mean that it’s low quality.
The device is in compliance with the Medical Device Directive 93/42/EEC, so you can be assured that you’re using a thermometer that has met all medical guidelines and is safe to use on anyone.
- Multifunctional and multipurpose
- Memory recall that stores the last 19 temperatures taken
- Fever warning that is shown by different coloured displays
- Silent mode
- LCD, backlit screen
- Celsius and Farenheit measurements
- Doesn’t come with a storage case, AAA batteries or hygienic probe tips, so these must be purchased separately
Best In-Ear Adult Thermometer For Fast Results
4-In-1 Fairywill Digital Thermometer
(Check Amazon’s Price)
This professional precision digital thermometer can be used on both the forehead and in the ear to get an accurate temperature reading as well as surface temperatures and ambient room temperatures.
We all know how uncomfortable it can be to hold a thermometer in your ear for an extended amount of time when you’re not feeling your best, but this thermometer solves that issue as it takes a temperature reading within a second!
It also has a high-temperature warning to let you know when you’re running a fever.
This thermometer is simple to use with a large LCD display screen that makes the readings easy to see.
It’s comfortable to hold and the design of this particular thermometer, with minimal buttons, means that it’s easy to take your own ear temperature, rather than risk getting someone else infected by coming too close.
The thermometer is infrared, so you don’t need any hygiene caps as you don’t have to touch any skin surface to take an accurate temperature reading.
This avoids any possible cross-contamination that may occur if using it on multiple people, although you can disinfect it for peace of mind.
- Extremely fast temperature reading
- No hygiene caps needed as it’s infrared (although you can use them if you prefer)
- Ergonomic design
- High temperature warning
- Temperature memory that stores the last 20 readings taken
- Comes with a travel pouch and 2 AAA batteries
- Must be kept at a stable temperature for 30 minutes before using in order to receive an accurate result
- Extremely sensitive to heat, so you can’t hold the thermometer for too long
Are Mercury Thermometers Legal In The UK?
The better digital thermometers are more expensive than the old-style ones, so you might be tempted to keep hold of an old one.
It’s not illegal to own and use a mercury thermometer in the UK, but it’s illegal to sell them. This is because they have several safety issues.
If a mercury thermometer is used in the home, it’s very easy for the glass to break and release the mercury inside.
The inhalation of mercury can prove toxic to humans, causing lasting damage to the nervous, digestive and immune system, as well as the lungs and kidneys, and can even be fatal.
Due to this, the UK Health Protection Agency decided that it is illegal to sell mercury thermometers to the general public, although if you already have one you are allowed to continue to use it without any legal implications.
If you currently use a mercury thermometer in your own home, I’d advise that you switch to a digital one for a number of reasons:
- Digital thermometers give faster readings – When using a mercury thermometer, you have to wait for the mercury to heat up and then rise up the glass tube to show the temperature. Digital thermometers can provide almost instantaneous results.
- Digital thermometers are more accurate – Technology within the medical field has come a long way in recent years, meaning that the gadgets we use now are more accurate than ever. Digital thermometers also do not require calibration like mercury thermometers do. Instead, you can turn them on and you’re good to go.
- Digital thermometers are a lot safer to use – As mentioned above, mercury inhalation can prove fatal. Most mercury thermometers are made of glass, which can easily be broken to release the toxic fumes inside. There is no risk of this with a digital thermometer.
How Do You Dispose of Mercury Thermometers in the UK?
I have three young boys and I wouldn’t feel comfortable having what is essentially a glass vial of mercury in the house.
Be aware that mercury thermometers need to be disposed of correctly as they contain hazardous material.
You’ll need to find a hazardous waste disposal service, you can input your postcode onto the government’s website to find one closest to you. Then, there are certain steps that you must take.
- You should separate and store your hazardous waste safely
- Next, use an authorised business to collect and dispose of your hazardous waste
- You must fill in a consignment note in order to dispose of hazardous waste. You should keep 1 copy of this for yourself, and give 2 copies to the carrier disposing of the waste for you.
- Finally, you must ensure that you keep the consignment note, the consignee returns that you receive back from the business that receives your waste, and any related documents such as the carrier schedule for 3 years.
In-Ear Thermometer Temperature Chart Reference (UK)
Here’s a brief guide to what temperature(s) are recognised as a fever in the UK.
Generally, an in-ear reading above 38°C is considered to be a fever, and anything below 36°C is a low body temperature.
In adults the normal range for an in-ear temperature reading is between 35.9°C (96.6°F) and 37.6°C (99.7°F), but the exact number can vary for each individual.
|Age||Normal Temperature Range |
(above 38c = fever)
|Under 6 months||In-ear readings are not as reliable, so check with a doctor. As a guide, the normal range is around 36.4 – 38c|
|6 months – 2 yrs||36 – 38c|
|3 – 10 years||36.1 – 37.8c|
|11 – 65 years||35.8 – 37.6c|
|65+ years||35.7 – 37.5c|
Bear in mind this is just for in-ear temperatures. It’s different for temperatures taken by mouth, armpit, or rectally.
There are also multiple factors that determine your normal body temperature, such as:
- A person’s age and sex
- Activity levels
- Time of day the reading is taken, your body temperature tends to be lower in the morning
- Food and fluid intake
- The stage in your monthly cycle (for women)
Both of these readings can have a variety of causes, so it’s best to seek medical advice, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms.
Overall, the best in-ear thermometers above should remove a lot of the stress and hassle of quickly seeing if the adults – and kids – in your household have a fever or not.