The most common complaint surrounding basic digital thermometers is the length of time it takes to obtain a reading, typically around one minute. These thermometers do offer versatility, however, because they can be used orally, rectally or under the arm, allowing users to compare readings from different locations to gauge accuracy. The BD Digital Thermometer 524030 (Est. $15) gets positive feedback from owners and professional reviews, and it comes at an affordable price.
The BD Digital Thermometer 524030 makes an audible beep to alert you that it's in the proper position for accurate testing, eliminating the guesswork that comes with positioning many basic digital thermometers. It is a bit unbalanced, however. A number of owners posting to Amazon.com say that it's too heavy to hold in place using just your tongue; it's necessary to hold it in place with the support of a hand. Because it takes about a minute to produce a reading, some users say this is a pain, especially for kids who aren't the best at holding a thermometer in place to begin with.
There are some complaints from owners who say that the BD Digital Thermometer isn't consistent, based on getting different readings when taken consecutively. However, the heat retained from the previous reading will impact consecutive measurements, resulting in a slightly higher reading for immediate repeated uses. For this reason, a few owners who work in the health-care industry and who have posted reviews to Amazon.com say that, when using a basic digital thermometer, you should typically count on the first reading as the most accurate.
We also found a few recommendations for the Omron Digital Thermometer MC246 (Est. $10) , which has a similar design to the BD Digital Thermometer. It's less expensive, but doesn't offer the same backlit display or audible correct-position alert as the BD Digital Thermometer. Otherwise, it's a very similar device, with a memory to display the last measurement taken when the unit is powered on. Like the BD Digital Thermometer, it operates using an LR41 button battery or equivalent, but the Omron Digital Thermometer has an auto-shutoff function that powers the unit off after it has been idle for 30 minutes.
We found two professional reviews of the Omron Digital Thermometer MC246, from Australia-based Choice magazine and New Zealand-based Consumer magazine. The Omron Digital Thermometer is sold in the U.S., although it's not as widely available as the BD Digital Thermometer.
Since the BD Digital Thermometer is more widely reviewed and is available in the U.S., we chose it as the best-reviewed basic digital thermometer over the Omron Digital Thermometer. It's versatile, easy to use and has a few extra features that aren't essential, but are convenient.