Last updated: August 9, 2021

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No more counting temperature lines on the analogue thermometer. Just read the temperature on the screen! You want to know immediately how warm it is outside or in your home? Thanks to digital thermometers, you can simply read the temperature on the display. The measurement is also lightning fast and the data appears on the screen without delay.

You never have to wait for the thermometer liquid to expand. Our digital thermometer test 2021 will help you with your purchase decision. We show you the advantages and disadvantages of digital thermometers and which criteria can be used to distinguish between different models. Finally, we answer all your questions about the topic in our guide.




Summary

  • The digital thermometer measures more accurately than the analogue one. The digital measurement is also faster and you can easily read the temperature on the screen.
  • Most digital thermometers can measure humidity and air pressure in addition to temperature. Very expensive models include even more functions, so that they serve as a small weather station.
  • We recommend buying a digital thermometer if you want to know the temperature at a glance. We also recommend a digital thermometer for those interested in the weather, as you can store and evaluate the measured data.

The Best Digital Thermometer: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for digital thermometers

There are countless digital thermometers on the market. Especially on the internet, the range is huge. We show you the most important evaluation criteria with which you can distinguish between different models. When buying a digital thermometer, look for the following criteria:

You can read more about the individual criteria in the following paragraphs:

Measuring range

An important difference between different thermometer models is the measuring range. It describes the range between the lowest and the highest temperature that can be measured with this device. Which measuring range is most suitable depends on the intended use. For example, a thermometer for measuring room temperature ideally has a measuring range of -10° to +40° degrees Celsius.

It is highly unlikely that the temperature of a room will fall below -10°. Extending the range downwards is therefore unnecessary. An outdoor thermometer, however, must indicate much lower temperatures, depending on the location. For this, it needs a measuring range that goes deep into the minus. A measuring range of -30° to +50° is therefore suitable for outdoor thermometers.

Other types of thermometers are built for a smaller specific measuring range. A clinical thermometer, for example, only measures between 35° and 42°, while the measuring range of a refrigerator thermometer is -10° to -30°.

Size

The size of the thermometer varies greatly depending on the model. The smallest models are only a few centimetres in size. They can be bought as key rings, for example.

The smallest models are only a few centimetres in size.

However, you can also buy a digital thermometer that is 20 by 20 centimetres. However, such a thermometer usually has more functions than just measuring temperature (measuring humidity, weather forecast...). These digital thermometers serve as small weather stations.

Accuracy

A big advantage of digital thermometers over analogue ones is the accurate measurement result. Digital thermometers can indicate the temperature accurately to decimal places. We recommend that you buy a thermometer that gives the temperature to tenths of a degree. This is ideal for measuring air temperature.

Whole degrees Celsius would be too inaccurate, but more accurate readings than the first decimal place are unnecessary. Most digital thermometers have a measuring accuracy of +/- 1° and a display accuracy of +/- 0.1°. The display accuracy describes how detailed the value is on the screen.

However, it has no influence on the measuring accuracy. A device can therefore measure very accurately, for example to three decimal places, but only display this value rounded to one decimal place.

Other measuring functions included

Depending on the model, a thermometer can also measure other values than just temperature. Very often it is the humidity. Such instruments are called thermo-hygrometers. We especially recommend this device because it allows you to keep an eye on the humidity of your indoor space. It helps you to avoid mould.

A thermo-hygrometer

is a device that measures humidity as well as temperature. Some temperature meters can also measure air pressure. They are called thermo-barmeters. For normal use, you rarely need this function. However, if you are interested in the weather, we highly recommend it for your outdoor thermometer. Air pressure is crucial for making a weather forecast. Many digital thermometers also show the current time.

For weather enthusiasts, there are even professional thermometers that serve as a small weather station. In addition to hygrometer, barometer and time, a weather forecast can be displayed. Other functions such as frost alarm, alarm clock or information on wind and moon phases are also included. The collected data can be recorded and saved.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a digital thermometer

In order to support you in buying a digital thermometer, we answer the most important questions in the following section.

What is special about a digital thermometer and what advantages does it offer?

A digital thermometer measures the air temperature faster than an analogue thermometer. With the analogue one, you look at how high the liquid has risen and count the strokes to find out the temperature. With the digital thermometer, it's easier: the temperature is displayed directly on a screen.

You can't misread the temperature because you miscounted the temperature bars. Measuring with a digital thermometer is also more accurate than with an analogue one. In addition, depending on the model, it is possible to store and evaluate the temperature data recorded.

digital Thermometer-1

You can read the temperature at a glance on the screen of a digital thermometer. Most models measure humidity as well as temperature.
(Image source: Jipen/ 123rf.com)

If the temperature changes, it takes about five minutes for an analogue thermometer to display it correctly. The reason: it always takes a moment for the thermometer fluid to expand. Watch out: If you still have a mercury thermometer at home, be careful!

Attention! Mercury is highly toxic.

Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal. If you break such a thermometer, you must be extremely careful. Mercury is already in a liquid state at normal room temperature. If it evaporates, there is a great health risk. When it evaporates, toxic vapours are produced. If these are inhaled, mercury poisoning occurs.

What types of digital thermometers are there?

Basically, digital thermometers for measuring air temperature are divided into those for indoors and those for outdoors. However, there are also many thermometers that measure both indoor and outdoor temperatures. These are usually radio thermometers.
Advantages Disadvantages
Digital outdoor thermometers measuring range down to minus (°C), usually waterproof, decorative, usually various measuring functions higher price (especially with several measuring functions)
Digital indoor thermometers often cheaper than outdoorthermometers, may also serve as a decorative piece only measuresindoor temperature, fewer functions (temperature, temperature). also serves as a decorative piece only measures indoor temperature, fewer functions (temperature, humidity, pressure)
Digital radio thermometers exact measurement data thanks to external sensors, indoor and outdoor climate compared, transmission to outdoor sensor works wirelessly often more expensive, sensors must be installed outside

In the following sections you can learn more about the individual thermometer types:

Digital outdoor thermometers

Digital outdoor thermometers (general)

As the name suggests, these thermometers are used to measure the outdoor temperature. They have a measuring range that goes particularly deep into the minus (°Celsius). This is urgently needed, as temperatures outside are much lower than indoors. In most cases, an outdoor thermometer has more functions than just temperature measurement. Humidity is almost always measured as well. Some multifunctional models measure precipitation, pressure and wind or even calculate a weather forecast. If you are interested in the weather, you can also save and evaluate the data. If you want to install your thermometer outside, make sure that the device is wind and weather resistant. This is the case with most models. In addition to its measuring function, an outdoor thermometer can also serve as a decoration for your garden. Some solar thermometers, for example, are very suitable for this purpose (see also: Editors’ favourites).

Advantages
  • Measuring range down to the minus range (°C)
  • often waterproof
  • decorative
  • usually various measuring functions
Disadvantages
  • higher price (especially with several measuring functions)
Digital indoor thermometers

Digital indoor thermometers (general)

Digital thermometers that are only intended to determine the indoor air temperature have fewer functions than outdoor thermometers. Measuring functions such as precipitation measurement are obviously unnecessary. What should an indoor thermometer measure? With many models, you can measure humidity and pressure in addition to temperature. Other functions are rather unnecessary. Therefore, the price is usually lower than that of a good outdoor thermometer. However, the design of an indoor thermometer may play a more important role. Certain indoor thermometers are available in different colours. Depending on the screen size, appearance and functions, the individual models differ in price.

Advantages
  • usually cheaper than outdoor thermometers
  • may also serve as a decorative piece
Disadvantages
  • measures only indoor temperature
  • fewer functions
Digital radio thermometers

Digital radio thermometers

A radio thermometer is a measuring device that has a radio connection to its external sensors. In most cases, the sensor for the outside temperature is attached to the wall of the house. The sensor measures the values (temperature, humidity…) and transmits them to the display. The measured data is displayed on the screen. The transmission process works wirelessly. Wireless thermometers can measure and display the indoor as well as the outdoor temperature. To get the most accurate results, you can install a sensor in each room. The measured values of each individual room are then shown on the display.

The more sensors you connect to your wireless thermometer, the more accurate the readings on the screen will be.

Most wireless thermometers also measure humidity and pressure in addition to temperature.

Advantages
  • exact measurement data thanks to external sensors
  • indoor and outdoor climate at a glance and comparison
  • wireless transmission to outdoor sensor
Disadvantages
  • Setting up the sensors outside
  • high complexity of the data

For whom are digital thermometers suitable?

We recommend digital thermometers to anyone who wants to be informed about the current temperature with a quick glance. These are, for example, people at work who briefly look at the thermometer before they leave the house. An analogue thermometer needs several minutes to correctly indicate a change in temperature.
The temperature is easy to read on the screen.

A digital display is also easier to read. We also deliberately recommend a digital measuring device for older people.

Visual perception deteriorates with age. This is when it is a great advantage not to have to count the lines on the analogue thermometer. On digital thermometers you can read the temperature in large numbers on the screen. Digital thermometers are also ideal for hobby weather researchers and weather enthusiasts.

You can take many other measurements in addition to the temperature. You can have the data saved automatically and then evaluate them directly on the computer. Take a look at the third favourite model of the editorial team (above) as an example.

How much does a digital thermometer cost?

You can buy a digital thermometer starting at 8 euros, which is intended for either indoor or outdoor temperature. Most of them also measure humidity. So you can buy a good thermo-hygrometer for 8 to 18 euros. Of course, there are also more expensive models on the market. They have more functions, work with solar energy or have a special design.

Good digital thermometers for indoors and outdoors can be bought from 12 euros. However, the price range to the most expensive products is huge. For a thermometer that almost serves as a weather station, you can spend a good 100 to 250 euros. These measuring devices have a correspondingly large number of functions. For example, they have animated weather forecasts, a calendar, an alarm clock, a moon phase display and data recording. You can buy a good radio thermometer for around 15 to 40 euros.

Of course, you can also spend more money on such a thermometer if you want additional services. In the table below, we have listed the prices of the different types of digital thermometers. Thanks to the bottom line, you can also compare the prices of digital and analogue thermometers.

Average prices: With extras (additional functions)
Digital thermometer for indoor or outdoor use only 8 € - 18 € up to 100€
Digital thermometer for indoor and outdoor temperature 12 € - 75 € 100€ - 250€
Digital wireless thermometer 15 € - 40 € 100€ -250€
Analogue thermometer 1 € - 20€ up to about 75€

You can buy simple analogue thermometers for as little as one euro. These inexpensive products are therefore not very high quality. However, you can spend up to 75 euros on an analogue thermometer. This price is due to better design, easier readability or better accuracy.

How do I measure my room temperature correctly?

After you have decided on a digital thermometer product, the next question is: Where is the best place to install the digital thermometer (or sensor)? We explain the most important tips for installing your room thermometer.

Ideal place: We recommend placing the thermometer in the middle of the room. It is important to ensure that no source of heat or cold has a direct influence on the measuring device. For example, it should not be exposed to direct sunlight or be installed next to the heating.

However, there are other objects that emit heat and falsify your readings: People or even electronic devices such as a computer. A refrigerator that is often opened or a window that is left open is considered a cold source.

digital Thermometer-2

When installing your room thermometer, make sure that the measuring device is not exposed to direct sunlight.
(Image source: Białasiewicz/ 123rf.com)

Ideal height: Your readings will be most accurate if you install your thermometer or sensor one to two metres above the ground.

Accuracy: Of course, it is not only the location of the measuring device that matters. Even the best installation is useless if the device measures inaccurately. It is therefore important that your thermometer has an accuracy of ± 0.5 °C maximum.

In what other areas are digital thermometers used?

In this article we have mainly dealt with digital air temperature meters. However, there are other applications for digital thermometers. You can read more about these applications in the following sections:

Digital clinical thermometers

Unfortunately, it happens from time to time that we do not feel well and want to measure our body temperature. Then a precise clinical thermometer is needed. Digital clinical thermometers are very accurate. These modern devices measure the temperature either on the forehead or in the ear. With the ear, it is important to place the thermometer in the correct position of the ear.

This becomes difficult if, for example, a sick child moves around a lot or resists having his or her temperature taken. Then there is hygiene: a protective cap must always be used for the ear. These end up in the rubbish after use. You therefore have to buy new protective caps and produce waste.

We therefore recommend that you buy a clinical thermometer for the forehead. You should not use analogue mercury thermometers because mercury is highly toxic. However, you can now buy analogue thermometers that work with liquids other than mercury.

Digital fridge thermometers

It is also important to know the temperature of your refrigerator. Most refrigerators are set too cold. However, if it is set too warm, this quickly becomes a problem as the food can run off. To keep an eye on the temperature, refrigerators use digital thermometers.

Thanks to the display, you can easily read the temperature. Often, digital fridge thermometers have a built-in alarm that sounds if the inside of the fridge is too warm. However, there are also analogue models for the fridge.

They are cheaper and can sometimes also be used for the freezer compartment. However, it is more difficult to read the temperature on an analogue thermometer than on a digital one.

Digital infrared thermometers

Infrared thermometers can measure the temperature of an object from a distance. The big difference to other thermometers is that they do not have to touch the object to be measured. This is a great advantage, for example, if the object is fragile, movable or difficult to reach.
The infrared measurement itself is very fast. However, the infrared thermometer must adjust to the ambient temperature before measuring. This adjustment can take a little time, especially in cold rooms.

The measurement is also very fast and accurate. Infrared thermometers have a much larger measuring range than air thermometers.

Digital meat thermometer

A meat thermometer helps you to prepare your roast in the oven perfectly. This type of thermometer is also called a barbecue thermometer, roast thermometer or kitchen thermometer. It is used to find out the ideal cooking time for food. Without such a thermometer, you will take your roast out of the oven even though it is still completely raw inside.

To prevent this, the thermometer measures the core temperature of the meat. However, many of these devices are not only suitable for meat, but also for fish, bread, cakes and baby food, for example. With digital meat thermometers, you can determine the desired temperature in advance. If the temperature is reached or exceeded, the thermometer emits sounds or other signals.

What alternatives are there to digital thermometers?

You can use analogue thermometers as an alternative to digital thermometers. We have compiled the advantages and disadvantages of digital and analogue thermometers in this table.

Analogue thermometers:

Advantages
  • do not need batteries, so no need to change batteries all the time and no additional costs
  • do not age, can be used for life
  • cheaper than digital thermometers
Disadvantages
  • less accurate measurement result
  • measurement rather slow, expansion of the liquid takes a moment
  • temperature must be read from the lines
  • data cannot be stored
  • health hazard with mercury thermometers

Digital thermometers:

Advantages
  • Very accurate measurement result
  • Fast measurement process
  • Thanks to screen, temperature is easy to read
  • Easy to read even for poor eyes
  • Measurement data can be stored
Disadvantages
  • Need batteries, cost and effort

  • Measurement inaccurate when batteries are low
  • Device ages, deteriorates over time
  • More expensive than analogue thermometers

You can buy an analogue thermometer for very little money. It will show you the temperature for a lifetime without you ever having to change batteries.

digital Thermometer-3

An analogue thermometer is an inexpensive alternative that shows you the temperature without you having to maintain it. However, if you want accurate readings that you can easily read, you are better off with a digital thermometer.
(Image source: Gelazius/ 123rf.com)

However, a digital thermometer can measure the temperature much more accurately and quickly. You can read the measured values very easily. In addition, a digital thermometer is usually able to display the air pressure, humidity and other information in addition to the temperature.

Image source: Uttamaharad/ 123rf.com

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