Recommendations for buying a digital infrared thermometer

Here is all the information you need to choose the right digital infrared thermometer.

Recommendations for buying a digital infrared thermometer
Tips on how to buy a digital infrared thermometer. Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

It has certainly been one of the most requested products during the pandemic, but do you know how to choose the right one for your needs? So you know how to choose the right one for you. Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, many places have implemented temperature taking with digital infrared thermometers.

What is a digital infrared thermometer?

It is a medical device that allows us to measure the outside temperature of the human body. They are also known as infrared pyrometers or non-contact thermometers.

Buy your thermometer with an established warranty

Many of these devices do not have a procedure to make the warranty valid (some do not even have a warranty at all). In the event of a defect in your thermometer, the purchase ticket should back you up.

Verify that it is in good condition

When you buy your thermometer, ask them to open the package to verify that it is in good condition. Make sure that it is well assembled, has no loose parts, that it is well-positioned and that the battery compartment can be properly closed. In the event of a defect in your thermometer, the purchase ticket should back you up.

Consider that they are battery operated

Infrared digital thermometers are battery-operated, so you should consider buying a package according to the instructions. If you do not have the instructions, ask the seller for advice on this subject.

Compare models

There are several thermometer options on the market. These types of thermometers will give you a reliable reading; however, for more accurate readings you may want to consider purchasing an otic (i.e., ear) infrared thermometer, which may be more expensive.


Use it correctly

To get the most accurate result, measure the temperature at the right temple, at the level of the temporal artery or forehead, and perpendicularly, make sure that the person does not move, that the area is free of hair or sweat and place the device at a distance of about five centimeters, approximately the thickness of three fingers.

Waiting before taking the temperature

One factor that affects the temperature measurement is if the person has been subjected to very high or low temperatures (for example, if coming in from the cold from the street, or was in a car with a high temperature). In this case, it is also advisable for the person to rest for a few minutes in the same place where the reading will be taken.

Store it in a cool, dry place

Keep the digital infrared thermometer in a dry place at room temperature. Try to disinfect it with disinfectant wipes constantly, without touching the sensor part to avoid damaging it accidentally.

Must be at room temperature

Before using it, it is recommended that you leave it in the room where you are going to use it so that it is conditioned to room temperature for about 10 minutes.

Take age into account

Body temperature is different depending on age. Babies always have a higher body temperature than adults or the elderly. As we get older our body temperature is usually lower.


Reference table

So that you can interpret the results provided by the digital infrared thermometer, here is a table with the person's age and the average temperature in degrees Celsius corresponding to his or her body:

From 0 to 2 years old: from 36.4 °C to 38.0 °C
From 3 to 10 years old: from 36.1 °C to 37.8 °C
From 11 to 65 years: from 35.9 °C to 37.8 °C
Over 65 years old: from 35.8 °C to 37.5 °C


When its useful life is over, take it to one of the "electronic recycling fairs" held by various government agencies or educational institutions.


In case you feel sick and the thermometer shows a temperature like the ones mentioned above, the first thing to do is to consult your doctor. Tell him/her about all the symptoms you may have (coughing, sneezing, or dizziness) so that he/she can correctly diagnose the cause of your discomfort. Do not self-medicate, as this may lead to an erroneous diagnosis and, consequently, your treatment may not be adequate.

They do not cause any harm

Contrary to what has been reported on social networks, these devices do not emit radiation. They work by detecting the heat emitted by a person (thermal radiation), without the need for contact. This radiation is converted into electrical signals that are processed internally by its electronic components to display the measurement on a small screen (display).

Use of infrared thermometers

Our bodies give off infrared radiation. These devices measure the thermal radiation emitted by our bodies and convert it into electrical signals that, thanks to their internal electronics, we can read as temperature.

The temperature of the human body is not the same everywhere. This is due to the difference between a person's internal temperature and the temperature on the outside (skin), which is in contact with environmental conditions.

It is false that "they can cause ophthalmological or neuronal damage". Measuring the temperature in the hands or arms is not recommended, unless the device clearly states it in its instructions, as it would be erroneous. The manufacturers of these devices recommend a distance of 1 to 5 centimeters.

The thermometer should be positioned parallel to the forehead of the person whose temperature is to be measured so that the reading is as accurate as possible.

Did you know?

Fever is the increase in body temperature as a response to a disease or inflammatory process of infectious or non-infectious cause (bacteria, viruses, parasites, tumors, among others).

For each degree of temperature rise our oxygen consumption increases by 13% and there is an increase in the need for liquids and calories.

A condition that can alert us before reaching fever is "febrile", that is, a state of elevated temperature that, without being a fever, indicates that something is happening in our body.