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 offer versatility, however, as they can be used orally, rectally or under the arm, allowing users flexibility or the option to compare readings from different locations to gauge accuracy. Still, basic digital thermometers were the most affordable thermometers we found, and owner reviews routinely find them to be the most straightforward and easy to use.
In addition to being simple to use, basic digital thermometers are as accurate as rectal thermometers and far less uncomfortable. For example, the ReliOn 60 Second Rigid (Est. $3) provides straightforward, accurate results without the bells and whistles, and it comes in at about one-tenth the price of other types. Similarly, the Omron Digital Thermometer MC246 (Est. $10) is a basic and accurate model that can take a temperature almost anywhere on the body. One complaint is common among users for both models: They take a long time to register a temperature. The ReliOn takes about 30 to 60 seconds, and the Omron 60 to 90. For younger kids, this can be too long to hold a thermometer in place.
On the other hand, owners truly appreciate the straightforward and simple operation of both models. Both signal they've reached a final reading by beeping, though the Omron offers a few more advanced features. Specifically, the Omron Digital displays the previous reading when turned on, which makes tracking a fever a bit easier. It also displays Celsius and Fahrenheit, unlike the ReliOn 60 Second Rigid. Another common complaint owners of the ReliOn share is that it is not very durable. Some Amazon.com reviewers say it arrived inoperable while others say it died within weeks or months.
Because the ReliOn 60 Second Rigid is more widely available in the U.S. than the Omron Digital, gets the thumbs up from a consumer testing agency and mostly positive user reviews (not to mention the lowest price tag of any thermometer editors found reviewed), it is named the best reviewed digital thermometer.