Infrared Thermometers

Infrared thermometers are a safer alternative to mercury thermometers. They contain no toxic mercury, and instead measure infrared radiation to determine the temperature of an object. All objects above Absolute Zero emit some amount of infrared radiation, and the warmer that object is, the more it emits. These thermometers measure the amount of infrared signal from an object in order to determine what temperature it is.

IR thermometers can be used for a wide range of applications, from monitoring surfaces too hot to touch to identifying problems with insulation. They can also be used to find leaks around windows and doors, or the how well an A/C vent is working. Medically, they can be used to determine if someone has a fever.

The use of an IR thermometer for a given application depends on the temperature range it is sensitive to, and the accuracy. When measuring the temperature of molten steel, it may not be important to know it within 2-3 degrees. However, when measuring a patient with a fever or quality control of food services, one must know the temperature within a fraction of a degree.

Pros and Cons of Infrared Thermometers


  • Contain no mercury.

  • Often much more accurate than traditional thermometers.

  • Must faster than traditional thermometers, important when taking the temperature of children or infants.

  • Very versatile. They can measure the temperature of moving parts, foods, windows, A/C systems.

  • The device can be mounted a short distance from the hot object for operation for extended periods

  • Spreads less germs because it does not go into the mouth or any body cavity.


  • Does not measure the temperature of liquids and gases

  • Accuracy can be affected by dust

  • Users may obtain inaccurate readings caused by reflection of radiation from hot objects

  • Rapid changes in temperature can affect IR thermometers


How to Use an Infrared Thermometer

It's pretty easy; you only need to fix the batteries in their compartment and turn on the device by pressing the power button. Next, just aim the device to the surface you want to measure.

Be sure to stand close to the object or within the DS ratio indicated by the manufacturer for accurate readings.

Types of Infrared Thermometers

Here are the different types of infrared thermometers.

  • Spot infrared thermometers: these kinds display the temperature on a particular spot on a surface. These are the most common medical thermometers.

  • Infrared scanning systems: the devices scan larger areas and are used in manufacturing processes.

  • Infrared thermal imaging cameras: these kinds use cameras to measure the temperature at different points over a larger area to create two-dimensional images called thermograms.


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Mosen IR

  •  Ear and forehead attachments standard.

  • Displays last 32 readings, allowing you to track fever symptoms.

  • Very accurate medical thermometer.

  • Requires contact and therefore sterilization between each use

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Lasergrip 1080

  • Lasergrip 1080 has a range for -58 to 1022 degrees F. Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

  • Works from 14 inches away. No contact necessary.

  • Has a 2 year warranty and automatic shutoff to save battery.

  • Takes reading in 15 seconds.

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  • Medical IR thermometer. Dual mode for ear and forehead use.

  • Takes 8 seconds and stores the last 20 readings, which allows users to track fever symptoms

  • Requires contact with the surface and therefore sterilization between each use.

  • Hard to use to measure things you cannot reach.

Recommended Standard Thermometers

Covidien thermometer

Covidien Thermometer

  • Gold standard hospital thermometer. Used in offices and emergency departments worldwide.

  • Reads in 3-5 seconds with 0.1C accuracy.

  • Requires disposable sanitary covers.

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