Are infrared forehead thermometers accurate?

Since several thermometer models are available, determining the accuracy of the model you intend to use is paramount. Infrared forehead thermometers employ infrared technology to provide users with quickest temperature measurements. This is why most parents have resorted to using them to check their children’s fever at home.

infrared forehead thermometers at times provide inaccurate measurements. Even with this allegation, there isn’t robust proof. So, are infrared forehead thermometers accurate? Get a hint in this discussion before deciding whether to buy them.

Are Infrared Forehead Thermometers Accurate

Accuracy is everything we need from a temperature measuring instrument. However, before stepping into answering the question on the topic, understand how to check an infrared thermometer accuracy. You can learn more about this from Braun forehead thermometer .

After receiving your package, you don’t rush to start using it immediately. The manufacturer manual recommends buyers to get through basic things to ascertain the thermometer is properly working. Herein is a simple manual that guides buyers to determine the accuracy of their thermometers.

Ensure the thermometer is near or at the location, you will use it for testing. So, if, for instance, you took it from a hot location and want to use it in a cooler location, take it slow. When changing locations of use, ensure you allow the thermometer to sit for about twenty minutes before using it. This enables it to adjust to similar ambient temperature to give accurate results.

Secondly, you should ensure the sensor is clean before you use the thermometer. Any form of grime and debris can affect the final temperature reading of your thermometer. If there are debris you need to clean, you will use clean cotton and some alcohol. Dip your wrapper in alcohol and wipe carefully.

Lastly, the distance to target ratio also means a lot when using an infrared forehead thermometer. Most manufacturers write this on either the side of the thermometer or in the user manual. If the ratio is written as 10:1, the object under test will have approximately an inch diameter at a 10″ distance. Reduced distance, in this case, increases the test area of the object under test. So, the final reading is the average value of temperature under the diameter in focus.

Now, you have an idea about checking the accuracy of an infrared forehead thermometer. So, are infrared forehead thermometers accurate? Can we ascertain that and recommend them to people?

Infrared forehead thermometers are tested and proved efficient, safe, and accurate in measuring temperatures. However, research shows that they guarantee accurate results if used correctly as per the manual. These thermometers have gained popularity due to their ability to measure temperature and do great in mass screening. Overall, infrared forehead thermometers provide optimum safety while guaranteeing accurate and quick readings.

Most health care personnel prefer internal thermometers. However, when there is a need for mass testing, infrared thermometers come in as gold standards. Manufacturers recommend the usage of these thermometers as per the manuals. Moreover, they don’t pick results in people who have used the fever-reducing pills or medication. However, since many establishments require quick temperature checkups, they have gained popularity with the excellent work. They are proved safe, fast, and accurate in measuring temperature

However, researchers still prove that these devices can offer inaccurate results if not properly used. They have further given us three aspects that can make them inaccurate. Below are the reasons why the infrared forehead thermometers can be inaccurate.

They Depend Extremely on External Variables

Various external variables can affect the temperature reading by the infrared forehead thermometers. This is why most specialists still hold that these thermometers are not ideal for children. For instance, radiant warmers are among the external variables that might cause inaccuracy when using these thermometers.

The work of radiant warmers is to maintain a normal body temperature of infants. In case the warmer affects the forehead, possibly expect wrong temperature readings. However, not just warmers can affect the final readings. There are other variables like, for instance, if you measure the temperature of a child with sweat. From the discussion above, specialists recommend wiping off all dirt on the forehead before measuring temperature.

Another factor that can affect results is if you take temperature while still, the child is moving. As you can see, these are common aspects that aren’t also easy to control. This is why most specialists advise that they are not ideal for children.


Studies show that infrared forehead thermometers provide inconsistent temperature measurements. The varying temperature measurements lie in a range of about even three degrees Celsius. You can take several readings within a specified period and still get different values.

This high level of inaccuracy and inconsistency can threaten the life of an infant. Moreover, these thermometers have received poor responses from those who have used them. This shows they are not such ideal temperature measuring instruments, especially for children.

The Score Lowest of All

Several thermometer models exist in the market. We have oral, tympanic, axillary, and forehead thermometers. All these models perform a similar duty of measuring temperature. However, they don’t have similar accuracy levels at all. From the test conducted, tympanic thermometers are most accurate for use. Forehead thermometers, on the other hand, are said to be less accurate than others. They provide less invasive measurements and thereby making them less accurate of all.

However, infrared forehead thermometers are the easiest and quickest temperature measuring devices of all. In terms of accuracy, shift to other options to avoid the dangers of using inaccurate readings.


So, are infrared forehead thermometers accurate? We have discussed above how to check the accuracy of an infrared forehead thermometer. As we have seen, they are fast and precise temperature measuring instruments in the market. However, they don’t make ideal options for children. Researches also show that these thermometers provide inconsistent temperature readings if they are used correctly. Therefore we can deduce that they don’t make perfect options as such.

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